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Lord Williams of Mostyn: No decisions have been taken about academic selection or new arrangements for post-primary education. Officials from the Department of Education for Northern Ireland will be discussing these issues with key education partners and representatives of parents over the coming weeks. The Government's aim is to develop a modern and fair education system which addresses the weaknesses of our current arrangements and enables all children to fulfil their potential.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Irish Government signed the Council of Europe Framework Convention on National Minorities on 1 February 1995. The Irish Government ratified the convention on 7 May 1999 and it came into force on 1 September 1999.
The UK Government signed the Council of Europe Framework Convention on National Minorities on 1 February 1995. The UK Government ratified the convention on 15 January 1998 and it came into force on 1 May 1998.
The Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston): The Government are fully committed to the tScheme for the approval of trust services, and are also looking at ways to increase the take up of these services. To this end the e-envoy is preparing consultation papers on digital signatures for citizens and businesses which will explore ways of promoting take-up; we hope to issue these papers early in the new year.
Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: The Electronic Communications Act 2000 gives the Secretary of State a time-limited power to establish a statutory scheme to approve cryptographic service providers and establishes the objectives of such a scheme. It is a matter for my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry as to whether this power will be used.
Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: Electronic signatures are accepted as legally admissible under the Electronic Communications Act 2000. They are being increasingly used in business, and the tScheme has done valuable work in setting common standards for approval.
Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: The e-Government Interoperability Framework has no implications for data privacy as it covers technical standards for exchanging data only and does not cover the type or content of the data being exchanged. The e-Government Interoperability Framework does not therefore impinge on data protection policies.
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