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Jeremy Corbyn pledges to introduce 'bill of rights' for internet users

Published 30/08/2016

Tough new laws are needed to protect people's online privacy, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has insisted.

Launching a "digital democracy manifesto" as part of his battle to retain the party leadership, Mr Corbyn pledged a "bill of rights" for internet users who would be entitled to a "digital citizen passport" which would provide a secure and portable identity for their online and data activities.

"We will protect the human right of individual privacy with strict laws against the unauthorised hacking of digital citizen passports by either public bodies or private individuals," the policy document stated.

Mr Corbyn, who became embroiled in a public row with Virgin Trains after the company released footage of him walking past unoccupied seats before being filmed sitting on the floor complaining about how "ram-packed" carriages were, also called for a clamp-down on "unwarranted snooping" via CCTV.

The "digital democracy" push, which was advertised on the street in East London's hi-tech hub via a traditional chalk board, was hit by technical hitches as the live-streaming crashed.

The Labour leader, who has been attacked by critics for not doing enough to combat cyber bullying of his opponents, likened online abuse to the continuation of pub talk and insisted he would not tolerate it.

"Many people use instant access to Twitter, more or less, like continuing a pub conversation and deeply regret the abuse they have sent people at that time, but unfortunately, it's there for eternity," he said.

The Labour leader was flanked at the digital agenda launch by policy adviser Richard Barbrook, who describes himself as a "cybernetic communist" and has used Twitter to attack "Blairite traitors" for launching a "coup" against Mr Corbyn.

The document promised to foster more co-operative ownership of digital platforms by getting Labour's proposed national investment bank to fund websites and apps designed to slash the cost of connecting producers with consumers.

Mr Corbyn pledged to bring high-speed broadband and mobile connectivity to every household, company and organisation across Britain in a £25 billion scheme backed by the investment bank.

The Labour leader said he was "open minded" about a national broadband network being publicly owned, alongside private providers.

Mr Corbyn, who said he would consult on the prospect of voting via the internet, insisted Labour had learned valuable digital campaign lessons from Bernie Sanders.

The Labour leader insisted that while Mr Sanders failed to win the Democratic Party US presidential nomination, he had succeeded in changing the political agenda.

Mr Corbyn suggested some MPs lacked the ability to use computers.

"It is reported some members of parliament are reluctant to turn on their computers because they don't know how to. I don't know if it's true or not, but I've heard it said."

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From Belfast Telegraph