Feeds

Bloggers have killed Official Secrets Act, claims Murray

Not exactly. But they're not exactly in prison, either...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

Ordinarily we'd avoid mentioning the Government's unaccountable failure to gaol Craig Murray, in case we inadvertently reminded its members of something they missed from yesterday's 'To Do' list. But, as the man himself so plainly wants to draw attention to his continuing liberty, we might as well just go ahead. Bloggers, says Murray, have killed off the Official Secrets Act.

We wouldn't put it that strongly ourselves, but the Act certainly doesn't look well. Last week, Murray, a former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan*, responded to Foreign Office attempts to suppress two confidential documents by publishing them on his website and encouraging blogs the world over to republish them. Murray now claims these appeared in more than 4,000 blogs within 72 hours. We've no idea whether or not the total hit 4,000, but whatever, it's loads and loads - far beyond any number that the UK Government could ever manage to deal with.

Despite this, Murray hasn't even been questioned. "We have published," he says, "what were, undoubtedly, classified British Government documents. Under the notorious Official Secrets Act that is an offence, and everyone connected with it is plainly guilty. There is no public interest defence."

Actually, it's not the numbers as such that have kept the security forces off Murray's back. Not directly, anyway. Having the documents reproduced throughout the world certainly ensures they can never be suppressed, but has no obvious effect on any desire the Government might have to wreak awful vengeance on Murray. The reverse, if anything. Murray himself acknowledges this to an extent, observing: "British criminal trials still involve juries, and they are reluctant to convict in OSA trials, where they often sympathise with the motives of the defendant. Clive Ponting was acquitted after leaking that the Belgrano was heading home when British forces sank it. The jury acquitted him against the clear direction of the judge. And that was in the context of the Falklands War, which the British public supported. What chance of a conviction in the context of the Iraq war, which the British public oppose?"

It's also in Murray's favour that he's loudly opposing torture while the UK Government is giving every indication of skulking around conniving at it. If the Government busts Murray, his book gets more publicity, more waves of outrage will ripple through blogdom, and the jury could well chuck out the charges and render the OSA even deader than it is already. Must be annoying to have Murray crowing about it, though, when you're striving not to notice that official secrets breaches have gone global. ®

* It occurs to us that life must be hard for the current UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, whoever they may be. All ambassadors are fairly silent by Murray's standards, but silence from the envoy to Uzbekistan these days might so easily be thought of, throughout the world, as indicating some kind of cynical, torturing, CIA stooge. For the sake of your reputation, whoever you are, we urge you to leak something, quick.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.