Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Conservative Party tries to erase 10 years of its internet history

Thanks to a reader for drawing this Computer Weekly story to my attention:
The Conservative Party has attempted to erase a 10-year backlog of speeches from the internet, including pledges for a new kind of transparent politics the Prime Minister and chancellor made when they were campaigning for election. 
Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne campaigned on a promise to democratise information held by those in power, so people could hold them to account. They wanted to use the internet transform politics. 
But the Conservative Party has removed the archive from its public facing website, erasing records of speeches and press releases going back to the year 2000 and up until it was elected in May 2010. 
It also struck the record of their past speeches off internet engines including Google, which had been role model for Cameron and Osborne's "open source politics".
Computer Weekly also tells you how the Tories did it, but there is some good news:
The Internet Archive was unavailable for comment. But a fortnight after Computer Weekly started asking its San Francisco HQ for an explanation, the Conservative speeches have begun reappearing on its site.
This suggests we should not trust anyone - certainly not political parties and certainly not Conservatives - with keeping the only copy of their own archives.


Tim said...

It's not just the Conservative party site that has lost its memory. For example, David Willett's recent relaunch of his personal website has sadly had much the same effect on his archive of press releases and speeches as I noted here: http://www.tenpencepiece.net/blog/2013/08/24/link-rot/


Anonymous said...

For a rather saner look at the issue than the Computer Weekly article, I'd suggest http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/11/13/sorry_the_tories_didnt_make_the_internet_disappear/ .

This is perfectly normal -- we do it, Labour do, the Greens have... it's just the way these things are done.

Andrew Hickey said...

Anonymous was me, Andrew Hickey (in case this also shows as Anonymous...)