UKIP barely mentions the Internet in its 76-page manifesto – and doesn’t mention the word ‘broadband’ at all.
There is also nothing resembling a hint of a plan to set money aside for improving mobile coverage. Anyone hoping for Nigel Farage to preside over a reinvigoration of communications infrastructure as Prime Minister is out of luck.
While the Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Green Party manifestos all sketch out plans to either continue or improve on the current BDUK (Broadband Delivery for the UK) scheme, which aims to make sure everyone has access to a basic service by 2016, UKIP has no current plans to increase investment in Broadband Britain.
The only time the document mentions Internet access is in reference to it facilitating criminal activity in a section headlined ‘Crime and Sentencing’:
“The nature of crime has changed dramatically. The Internet, impossible to police completely, is growing as a medium to commission and commit crime. Up to one third of women report being the victim of domestic violence, yet in itself it is not an offence. There is confusion concerning laws on carrying potentially lethal weapons. While we once believed we had abolished slavery, people trafficking is increasing and modern-day slavery is a harsh reality.
“UKIP believes it is time for a review of what is and what is not a criminal offence and we will commit to such a review, together with a review of commensurate sentencing policy to address the changing nature of crime today. The emphasis of such a review is likely to be on up to date sentencing procedures and processes for internet/cyber crime, sexual crime relating to minors, fraud, aggression, intimidation, people trafficking and gang masters and drug & substance abuse.”
This week, revenge porn – the act of posting intimate pictures and/or video of someone with the intent to humiliate them – became a specific offence in England and Wales. Those found guilty of posting revenge porn can face up to two years in prison.
Aside from plans to create a new role for a Director of National Intelligence, who would oversee the operations of all UK security services, including GCHQ, UKIP has no further plans to reform Internet surveillance laws.