General election 2024: The Green Party promises Digital Bill of Rights

The Green Party manifesto contains several tech nuggets, including a bill to ensure independent regulation of social media platforms, increase R&D investment and a cautious regulatory approach to AI pledges

The Green Party manifesto for the 2024 election, unsurprisingly, makes a push for green and clean technologies, but also highlights opportunities for artificial intelligence (AI) and the need for strong data protection regulations.

The manifesto, which comes in three versions – long, short and “easy to read” – said that one of the party’s immediate commitments is to reform the media sector.

“Elected Greens will push for effective regulation of both traditional and social media, safeguarding our democracy and the spaces for shared cultural expression,” the manifesto said.

It added that while cultural institutions are at risk, the media landscape is domineered by billionaire and big-tech ownership, where media company owners are maximising profits by “irresponsible practices that undermine democracy and promote harmful online content”.

The manifesto said that the party pledges to push for the UK to be a leading voice on standards “for the rule of law and democracy in digital spaces with a Digital Bill of Rights to ensure independent regulation of social media providers”.

According to the manifesto, the new bill would safeguard elections “by responding to the challenges of foreign interference, social media and declining confidence in democracy”.

The Digital Bill of Rights would also give people greater control over their own data, the manifesto added.

“Given the complexity of this legislation, elected Greens will push for the bill to be developed through a broad and inclusive public conversation,” the manifesto said.

The Green Party promised a £30bn increase in research and development (R&D) investment over the course of the next Parliament, with additional funding for tackling “the climate and environmental crisis” through research into energy storage and carbon-capture technology, among others.

The manifesto highlights the rise of AI, which the party acknowledges has “enormous potential for good”, but needs to be well regulated.

It said that elected Greens will push for a “precautionary regulatory approach to the harms and risk of AI”, and would aim to align the UK’s approach with other European countries, UNESCO and global efforts to “support a coordinated response to future risks of AI”.

The Greens are also concerned with not leaving anyone behind, and ensuring fair access to any benefits arising from new technologies, while addressing potential bias, discrimination or privacy issues that can arise from the use of AI.

“We would insist on the protection of the Intellectual Property of artists, writers and musicians and other creators,” the manifesto said. “We would ensure that AI does not erode the value of human creativity and that workers’ rights and interests are respected when AI leads to significant changes in working conditions.”

Other commitments in the Green Party manifesto include that all new homes will be required to use solar panels, heat pumps or equivalent low-carbon technologies, a promise to move to renewable energy technologies such as wind or solar to reduce energy bills, and the development of new energy storage technologies.

Read more about the 2024 general election:

  • The Labour Party is promising to reform the planning rules that govern whether new datacentre builds can proceed or not, but stakeholders warn the sector’s growth must not come at the expense of the environment.
  • The Conservative Party manifesto contains little by way of new commitments for tech and digital, but lays out plans to continue existing policies and promises made under the last government.
  • The Labour Party manifesto for the UK general election promises a new industrial strategy and an overhaul of planning rules to help support the digital and tech sector.
  • The Lib Dems have promised a new industrial strategy and emphasised the importance of the digital sector, skills and regulating AI, as they lay out plans for the UK general election.

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