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  Policy Development - Cyber Security
Posted by: ReadingLib - 03-24-2017, 07:37 PM - Forum: Party Policy Draft Papers - Discussion - No Replies

The phenomenon of Internet crime is one that has only appeared in the last 30 odd years.

The subject itself covers the whole spectrum of issues from insecure internet sites, the hacking and theft of corporate and personal data, to denial of service attack’s for financial or political gain.

Cybercrime is now seeing a greater visibility, but much of this is pre-occupied with state sponsor cyber warfare, industrial espionage and organiser crime.

Police forces, their resources already spread thin are ill equipped to tackle Internet crime and national initiatives have focused on high level issues such as Islamic extremism, and not local threats.

Child protection and the investigation of alleged child exploitation now take up a disproportionate amount of time and resources for law enforcement agencies.

An emphasis on community policing and boots on the ground lead to the loss of 1500 fraud prevention offices from the national police force in previous decades, further undermining policing.

With arbitrary thresh holds set on the value of fraud needed to trigger an investigation, it is likely that a whole generation of low value internet fraudsters has emerged, unlikely to ever be discovered or prosecuted as long as they pursue a low profile career in crime.

Early December saw a denial of service attack on the home routers of a number of home broadband supplier’s most noticeable customers of Deutsche Telekom , the UK Post Office and TalkTalk.

Un-identified hackers had exploited a known deficiency in the software in certain models of home broadband wireless routers to swamp the routers with white noise generated by a piece of malware or malicious software which infected the router itself.

Home routers are bought in bulk from the manufactures and supplied to the customer with a company logo on it, but seemingly with no attempt to patch know software bugs or change widely known default administration passwords.

Many internet providers are competing on price not service, not least because of a high customer churn rate, and any additional customisation is an incurred cost to be avoided.

Computer operating system vulnerabilities remain a strong issue. With the Microsoft Windows operating systems almost total domination of the computer market, it represents a potential single point of failure.

Microsoft has attempted to avoid a repeat of the security issues with the Windows XP operating system, by designing a mechanism to in effect coerce users to upgrade to Windows 10 by persistent and intrusive alert boxes and arguably miss-leading inducements know as dark patterns.

Although this will gradual reduce the volume of laptops open to exploitation, significant reservoir of Windows XP machine remain alive, often infected with malicious software, and unlikely to be retired or replaced for years to come.

The use of Windows Update to force people to upgrade though does have one serious drawback. Its arbitrary nature and the disruption it causes has meant many people simply turn the feature off as being inconvenient, and therefore never receive important updates.

With Windows XP these included periodic updates to the Malicious Software Removal tool which was used to quietly dis-infect afflicted machine, although a body of opinion believed the running of the software and its automatic modification of system files in itself breached privacy laws.

Many of these compromised machines, both private and commercial, are, grouped together into networks of  remotely controlled computers called botnets, and used to co-ordinate denial of service attacks, swamping chosen website with fake network traffic to slow or disable them.

As society moved towards the nebulous phenomenon of the Internet of things, in which every one of your home appliances is connected to the Internet, from home heating to fridges, a more encompassing approach to internet security needs to emerge.

Hijacking of webcams is already a known issue, with victims blackmailed or exploited, as is the issue with user’s disc drivers being maliciously encrypted to force payment in Bitcoins, to have them unlocked.

A policy of better education, better provision of safe guards, and better policing all contribute to a safer computer environment. The government’s flagship initiative the National Cyber Security Centre is a positive step and should be applauded for bringing the subject into the public domain.

Software and hardware vendors, along with broadband suppliers need to take steps to offer more robust security.

It has been said that it will take several more generations before the general populous are wholly computer literate, but people continue to be defrauded due to a combination of gullibility and a lack of basic IT security education.

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  NEC Statement - Terror attack in London
Posted by: ReadingLib - 03-23-2017, 07:36 PM - Forum: NEC Press Releases - No Replies

The Liberal Party UK is deeply saddened by the loss of life in what is being treated as an act of terror in London. Our sympathy goes out to victims of the attack and to their families and loved ones. 

Whilst it is too early to understand what motivated this attack, we condemn a recourse to violence and terror as a means to promote any cause.

The Liberal Party supports initiatives, both government and community based, that seek to address social and political issue which draw otherwise law abiding citizens towards senseless acts of violence within our democratic society.

Engaging with those elements of British society who are likely to be led astray by extremist views requires a proactive and multi-agency approach. This should be aimed at bringing together community leaders, politicians, the police and the intelligence services, to guide such individuals back into the mainstream political process.

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  NEC Statement - Tackling Environmental Crime
Posted by: ReadingLib - 03-19-2017, 01:33 PM - Forum: NEC Press Releases - No Replies

The Liberal Party notes with alarm the rise in costs and incidents of environmental crime and clearing sites of fly tipping.

In England in 2015 it was estimated the cost of claearing fly-tipping was £50 m to local councils.

The Liberal Party wishes to support calls by the LGA to increase penalities for fly tipping.

Furthermore we call upon RIPA legislation to be varied to allow Local Councils to monitor hot spots for environmental crime whereby communities and local councillors nominate sites needing monitoring and the local authority publish those sites on the internet and ward Councillors advised.

That notice must give the justification for monitoring 4 weeks prior to surveilance and allowing any interested parties to appeal against it.

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  NEC Statement - Thames Water presecution
Posted by: ReadingLib - 02-09-2017, 08:31 PM - Forum: NEC Press Releases - No Replies

The Liberal party notes the impending completion of the trial of the privates water company Thames Water on water pollution offences. Thames Water now faces what the judge has stated will be the company's "biggest ever fine".

The private company has over a protracted period of time presided over a lax and accident prone operations, which has seen repeated pollution incidents affecting the River Thames, as well as water courses in the vicinity of Slough and the Newbury area.

These incidents have environmental, commercial and public health implications and often contain the most unsightly and polluting domestic materials.

The Liberal Party maintains that the supply of water is a natural monopoly, which should be returned to public ownership, both for reasons of supply and arguably protection of the environment.

A substantial fine will act as an important reminder of the consequences of a failure to respect the environment from which the company derives its business.

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  Letter to the Media - MPs Hypocrisy over objecting to result of Referendum
Posted by: ReadingLib - 02-04-2017, 07:35 PM - Forum: Local Association Press Releases - Replies (1)

Dear Editor

To be fair I am neither a supporter of Corbyn or the Labour Party,  however Jeremy Corbyn should be respected for his leadership over the Article 50 vote to leave the EU

Labour having supported the referendum then the only coherent thing was for them to accept the result

The Lib Dems are beyond contempt ,having stated they wanted a referendum,then saying they object to the vote because people who voted leave are to old or lack education to be counted

Can anyone believe that the SNP would be demanding a second vote on independence if they had won the Scots referendum to leave the UK , of course not !

The way some MPs who voted for the referendum and them opoosed its outcome must be at an all time low in political integrity.

To his credit Ken Clarke has always opposed referenda, so his oposition to its outcome is at least consistent.

It would be an omission not to say its a great shame MP's did not listen to his candid opposition to the Iraq invasion.

It appears a significant number of Labour MPs are out to undermine their own party and Leader even more than the Conservatives

Cllr Steve Radford
President of The Liberal Party

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  NEC Statement - GP Surgery opening times and funding
Posted by: ReadingLib - 01-20-2017, 07:05 PM - Forum: NEC Press Releases - No Replies

The Liberal Party notes with concern media reports that the Government has been instructing GPs to offer longer opening hours at their surgeries, as a response to increased admission to hospital A&E departments this winter.

These demands have been backed-up with veiled threats to withdraw extra funding, and suggestions of increased reporting and monitoring of surgery activities.

The NHS is indeed short of resources, just as GP surgeries are.  Many communities are seeing increased closures and amalgamations of surgeries, often at short notice and leaving patience anxious as to where they can make appointments and seek help.

The issues of the primary health care in our country however need a long-term solution combining not just extra funding, but local and national initiatives to alleviate the demands on finite resources.

The Liberal Party points towards its own Health & Wellbeing policy document as a first step towards alleviating the demands on the NHS on a long-term basis to the benefit of the wider community.

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  Funding of social care - Jan 2017
Posted by: ReadingLib - 01-17-2017, 08:39 PM - Forum: Local Association Press Releases - No Replies

The Conservative Government has recently proposed that local authorities in the UK will be able to increase local Council tax by up to 6% to fund social care.

At a time when the Government is talking about helping the Just Managing or Squeezed Middle, it is simultaneously talking about passing the burden of funding vital public services back onto these already struggling groups.

Yet the Conservatives, both in coalition, and now in power in their own right, have ruthlessly cut the transfer to local government year on year in the name of austerity and cutting the national debt.

The best estimate is that during the last parliament overall funding for public services fell by about 29%, whilst Social care funding has fallen by 9% in real terms over the past five years alone.

The Liberal Party opposes un-necessary and counterproductive austerity, which plainly doesn’t mean we are all in it together as David Cameron oft claimed.

Funding needs to come from an adequate settlement from central government, which in turn needs to ensure all in our society pay their fair share of taxes and contribute to the provision of fully funded local services for the most dependent in our society.

Liberals would replace the Council Tax with a local income tax and a local rate based on land values, which has the added advantage of promoting the release of unimproved land for commercial or domestic development as well as taxing the profits made from land ownership.

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  Letter to the Guardian - Unequal unearned wealth - 5th Jan 2017
Posted by: ReadingLib - 01-06-2017, 07:56 PM - Forum: Local Association Press Releases - No Replies

Dear Sir,
Polly Toynbee once described me when introducing me at a meeting as ‘a man with a plan’.  This is it!  I look forward to reading her new book Unjust Rewards.
It is an obscene inequality of wealth and opportunity that some UK citizens inherit unearned billions of pounds worth of  capital free of tax while others inherit nothing.   It is the UK Liberal Party gradualist and reformist policy that every UK citizen with at least one UK citizen parent should start receiving on their 25th birthday at least £1,000 UK Universal Inheritance from the past wealth of our country.  Over the following ten or more years the amount would be increased by the same amount each year until it reached a minimum 10 per cent of average wealth of every UK adult and child citizen.
UK Universal Inheritance would be financed by a new progressive Unearned Capital Receipts Tax, or Accessions Tax, on total lifetime capital gifts and bequests received. This would encourage the wider spread of giving.  The UK Universal Inheritance would be included in the total to be taxed and so would be clawed back in due course from more fortunate beneficiaries.  Inheritance Tax, our misnamed tax on giving and bequeathing capital, would be retained for administrative and cross-referral purposes and renamed Capital Donor Tax.  Its rate would be reduced from 40% to 10%, except for giving to non-UK tax payers.  Current unlimited exemptions and tax reliefs for agricultural land and other businesses, which have ensured that one third of all land is still owned by the families who grabbed it at the time of the Norman Conquest,  would be  abolished.  
Why is the traditional Liberal Party the only UK political party to tackle the issue of positively redistributing the outrageously unequal unearned ownership of capital in each new generation?  The Preamble to its traditional Liberal Party Constitution, regrettably dropped at the time of the merger with the SDP that formed the Liberal Democrats, calls for Liberty, PROPERTY and Security for All. 
Yours sincerely,
Dane Clouston
Oxford Liberal Party

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  NEC Statement - Investigatory Powers Act
Posted by: ReadingLib - 12-20-2016, 09:44 PM - Forum: NEC Press Releases - No Replies

The Liberal Party notes with concern that the Investigatory Powers Act has now received royal assent.  It is not an exaggeration to say that it represents one of the most significant transfers of power from people to the state in our lifetime. 

The bill will allow the surveillance of anyone (and potentially everyone) in the UK, without the need for suspicion of involvement in a crime or evidence of wrongdoing, without the need to target a person or premise and without ever notifying anyone that they have been spied on.

It would be hard to imagine a more uncomfortable situation for political movements than to know that every communication they made was being intercepted and stored by the government they may be challenging or competing with. It would potentially make a Watergate lawful.

The lack of Parliamentary and media opposition is truly alarming, with the opposition Labour and SNP MPs almost exclusively abstaining in the final vote on this legislation.

Privacy from State Intrusion and Democracy are pillars of a free society which risk being systematically undermined in the name of law enforcement and national security. 

The Liberal Party believes these are principles which should take precedence and the party strives to promote these principles in all its actions.

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  NEC Statement - Cuts to Pharmacies funding
Posted by: ReadingLib - 12-02-2016, 09:58 PM - Forum: NEC Press Releases - No Replies

Pharmacies in England note with alarm that the Government is making a 12% reduction to the budget available for pharmacies for the current year, with a further 7% in the following financial year.

This equates to a cut of 113 million pounds by March 2017 and a further 208 million pound cut for the period 2017-18.

The Liberal Party believes that pharmacies in our communities are a vital part of both the health service and the retail mix which keeps our high streets vibrant.

We welcomes the fact that all organisations representing pharmacies are offering to undertake more work for the NHS in a range of services which would relieve pressure on our GPs. This would mean that the GPs could then spend more time with ill patients and in turn relieve hospitals of some of their burdens.

Pharmacies could be commissioned to undertake additional services by the Local Authorities and CCG's

We further requests the Liberal Party Chair on behalf of the NEC  write to the Secretary of State for Health when these reports are produced to protest about the short sighted approach of the Government in making huge cuts in a valuable and valued front line service which could be better harnessed to save large amounts of money and provide a more localised service to patients.

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