Friday, January 06, 2006

The digital citizen bites back

Governments are keen on encouraging digital uptake by citizens, because they see the potential both to get votes, reduce voter apathy, and to reduce costs by expanding e-government. But what gives with one hand takes with another. The Register reports that Craig Murray, the former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan has effectively avoided the Official Secrets act by publishing classified documents the government attempted to suppress on his blog. Murray now claims these appeared in over 4,000 blogs within 72 hours. And that the government are unlikely to prosecute him under the OSA - as would of course still be possible - since no jury would be likely to convict.

Both official secrets and contempt of court have long been regarded as dead in the water since the advent of the Internet and at least since the Spycatcher debacle. It will be interesting to see what action, if any, the government do take.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to see what action, if any, the government do take.

Almost certainly absolutely none whatever.

I've been pressuring my own MP, David Lammy, to respond to the allegations that the UK government has been complicit in torture by foreign governments in general and transit through the UK by CIA rendition flights in particular; he has utterly failed to respond (even by acknowledgement) to any of my letters.

As with him, so with the rest of the New Labour crew and the scum in suits who infest the FCO. Silence really is their only option, since to say anything at all (nobody, but nobody, would believe a denial) would only ramp up public suspicion of (and disgust with) their collaboration with torturers. "Never apologise, never explain" has always been the civil service's mindset; in this case, the FCO will be hoping that the longer it stays silent, the more likely that the issue might eventually be persuaded to go away.