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Labour MP Liam Byrne launches ‘People’s Plan for Digital’

Shadow digital minister launches online collaborative project for the public and industry to share and debate ideas on the UK’s digital future

Labour shadow digital minister Liam Byrne has launched a “People’s Plan for Digital” website, which he said is aimed to help design “the most advanced digital society in the world”.  

The online plan is a collaborative effort in which the public and industry can add and debate their ideas on how to improve digital across the UK. 

The site, launched earlier this week, is already flush with ideas, including allowing young people to delete content about themselves online, universal superfast broadband access and open standards for NHS interoperability.  

Anyone who accesses the site can create a profile, allowing them to share thoughts, comment and debate other people’s ideas, making an interactive plan to build “the world’s most advanced digital society”, said Byrne.

He said the site aims to help “accelerate digital democracy by pioneering new technologies to help parliament get the UK’s policy for digital technology right”.

Writing in The Guardian, Byrne said the Labour party aims to future-proof the country’s digital infrastructure, and wants to “put trust at the heart of Britain’s new data protection system through the Data Protection Bill to ensure companies can innovate, but only if they collect and use people’s data responsibly”.  

He added: “I think there’s one more step we can take – we can actually use digital tools to help us develop digital policy.”

Byrne said the People’s Plan for Digital will draw on deliberative democracy techniques to ensure parliament is able to use the “best ideas anywhere in the world” to develop a good plan.

Earlier this year, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn highlighted the need for the UK to invest in skills and training to ensure citizens are equipped to take advantage of the benefits of technological change. 

Corbyn added that if technology is “publicly managed” in a way that shares the benefits, it could create a “gateway for a new settlement between work and leisure”.

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