David Anthony Elston

party: Pirate Party UK
constituency: Bridgend

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How would you reform surveillance law, oversight and practice to respect the rights of law-abiding people?

organisation: Open Rights Group (ORG)

We are constantly under surveillance, whether it is by Europe's biggest army of CCTV cameras or by companies like ATOS checking up on us. In a country of physical barriers, many find the online world a place to reclaim some freedom. But here too we are increasingly to be watched and restricted, while government and courts gather powers to disconnect us, block websites and monitor what we say and do.

Ever since the Pirate Party was founded we have been pointing out that the new world of technology brings new challenges and opportunities to politics. The Internet deserves a voice in parliament, as all too often our representatives have been wilfully ignorant. This is why we stand for digital rights. This is about protecting our rights and making sure that the digital revolution is available to all, and not just a few.

For many, the online world is a place to reclaim some freedom. Here too, we are increasingly watched and restricted. We're here to say it doesn't have to be like that.

Citizens' rights to private communication is vital. We will forbid third parties from intercepting or monitoring communication traffic, and require specific warrants to be issued by a court before communications traffic is monitored. We will oppose the return of the Communications Data Bill (“Snoopers' Charter”) or similar legislation added to any other bill. We will ensure that the freedom to encrypt data and communications is not abridged or limited, and that access to encryption tools is not restricted.

The Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee must be truly independent and robust, it must act for UK citizens not protect vested interests.
We will strengthen data protection laws; companies must inform data subjects of their rights and be clear about their data policies.

We will make it easier to apply to a court for compensation where data protection laws have been breached, and increase the penalties for any breaches of data protection laws. We will allow the courts to apply these penalties to both the individuals and companies responsible, proportional to the scale of the breach.

We want clearer guidelines and restrictions on the use of DNA records by authorities.This will ensure samples are only taken voluntarily or when there are reasonable grounds to suspect the individual of having committed a serious offence. Samples should be promptly destroyed if the individual is acquitted or not charged with a criminal offence, and they should only be held for the length of time for which there is a reasonable suspicion that the suspect has committed a crime.

Too often the out going government's digital policy has been directed by tabloid headlines, not experts in the field. We will stop the imposing by government of censorship tools such as so-called "web filtering" or site blocking as blanket tools. We will cut the copyright cops PIPCU. We will repeal the sections of the Digital Economy Act which conflict with digital rights.

- All government IT systems must be hosted internally
- Restrict exports of anti-privacy software
- Oppose the Snoopers' Charter
- Implement the Open Source Action Plan
- Expand the Open Government License

We will repeal sections 3 to 18 of the Digital Economy Act 2010 and strengthen the current protections against excessive or frivolous lawsuits for copyright infringement.

Should people in Scotland and Northern Ireland have the same free speech protections from libel bullies as their neighbours in England and Wales?

organisation: English PEN

Yes. We want to see our civil liberties, including free speech protected and in some cases, reclaimed:

It often feels like we live in a "say no first, ask questions later" society. Whether it's councils banning a 9 year old from blogging about school dinners or the government threatening to suspend social media, the Pirate Party has always stood up for freedom of speech. The courts must not be used to block freedom of expression and knowledge, and a reform of libel laws is overdue to ensure this. The right to speak out is fundamental in democracy.

We must protect the right to protest, assemble and strike.

There are numerous criminal laws that are poorly defined, overly broad, or easily and commonly misapplied; these laws stifle liberty. We would immediately repeal:

Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA), sections 49 & 54, which can force people to hand over encryption keys, and prevent them from telling anyone about the request

Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, sections 142-149, which prevent people from protesting at or near the Houses of Parliament.

Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, sections 63-66, originally aimed at ending "rave culture".

We would conduct a review of:

Communications Act 2003, Section 127, which is out of date, and inappropriate for the Internet age. People should not be arrested for making jokes on Twitter.

Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005, which is loosely defined, creates numerous violations of human rights (including allowing testimony obtained using torture).

Most importantly, it is time to claim back the 'commons', even on privately owned land that is used publicly. We have the right to gather and enjoy our shared spaces and we should be free from arbitrary restrictions and intrusions if we wish to do so. We want to see a rolling back of the more authoritarian excesses of the last few governments, including a review of terrorism legislation and laws designed to limit a specific type of behaviour, but that now have an impact on every day life and have come to threaten us all.

To what degree should access to information on the internet be restricted by the state or private companies?

organisation: Open Rights Group (ORG)

It should not be restricted by the state or private companies.

To quote our MEP:

"We need not just ‘roaming for Netflix’ but a net free from borders and discrimination!"

We are the only party in the UK that are truly anti-censorship and understand that we should have the same rights of access to culture and knowledge online as we do in the physical world.

Recent polling show that people support rent control by a margin of nine to one. Do you support a rent control that limits rent rises between tenancies as well as during tenancies?

organisation: Generation Rent

Renters are under enormous pressure and rent rates are contributing to the housing crisis. We would prohibit rent rises from exceeding inflation.