“Your access to information is critical to the success of our society, not only because it is vital to maintaining the transparency of our government, but also because making all the benefits of modern technology available to all of us is an essential mechanism to enabling a vibrant, modern, sustainable economy.”
Information is the life blood of freedom and democracy, and it creates the marketplaces that allow micro-needs to be met by micro-producers in a micro-economy. We believe that the right to access information and the right to privacy are fundamental human rights, and that they are essential to the full functioning of effective human society.
LIFE will include basic Internet and basic mobile phone service in the WellFair services, as well as the TV license fee. The Information budget comes to £25Bn, or £34 per person per month.
Free Phone & Internet for Everyone
Universal communications access for everyone is vital to establishing a vibrant economy that will support us all.
LIFE will make the provision of basic mobile phone service and Internet access a requirement of all wireless spectrum and Internet service licenses. Every business offering mobile phone or Internet access services will be obliged to provide a free tier of minimum service. The definition of minimum service levels will subject to a consultation with the industry before 2017, however the expectation is that something like 60 minutes of non-emergency calling per day would be appropriate for mobile phone service, and 1Gb per day for Internet.
The WellFair Information budget contains a provision for £21/month for every person, and some of this will be paid to each person’s mobile phone and Internet access service providers in return for the guarantee of basic access for all, the elimination of roaming charges across the EU, and stopping charging more for mobile v. landline number calling. In return for receiving this stipend, the phone company will have to continue to provide a minimum service level irrespective of the payment status of the customer. It will be up to each phone company to define their own service levels that will be uncancellable, so long as they exceed the minimum of including 30 minutes of talk time, emergency calls and 5Mb of data every day. (Of course, the phone companies will still be able to sell enhanced services on top of these basic minimums.)
All regulated public utilities will be required to provide free phone and online access to their customer service.
LIFE will introduce legislation to force all communications providers to remove any discrimination in per minute rates for calls to landlines and mobile phones.
Our right to privacy in the digital realm and to review all the information collected by our government about us, protects our freedom and puts the power back in our hands.
LIFE will introduce a secure citizen identity protection system based in xID. This will allow everyone to engage with the Internet and modern technology safe in the knowledge that their privacy is protected and their private information is kept private. The Democracy and Freedom Bill 2015 will enshrine these privacy rights into law.
A new Department of Citizen Identity (DCID) will be established to protect citizen information. Independent and separate from law enforcement and defense, this department will be charged with securing the xID system, and report directly to the Assembly.
National Secure Communications Infrastructure
To support digital privacy LIFE will commission the installation of a nationwide secure communications infrastructure. This is a large infrastructure project designed to link every Community in the UK using a secure, citizen-owned communications network which will form the backbone of the xID system.
Communities will be encouraged to establish community-wide, free, wireless Internet access using funding from the NIB.
The TV license fee will become part of the WellFair services budget. The total budget comes to £3.8Bn, or £27 per person per year.
Initially the fee will be distributed to the BBC at the state level, and after the structure of the BBC has harmonised with the Community and Region democratic layers, it will be distributed to Communities, with only the portion necessary to fund national and international BBC programming retained at the state level.