Feeds

UK parliament presses for pardon for Alan Turing

Government won't block war hero's redemption

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Members of the UK House of Lords have debated a motion to grant a full Parliamentary pardon to Alan Turing, the Second World War savant whose code-breaking skills did so much to ensure the Allied victory.

Turing was one of the key figures who worked at the Bletchley Park cryptanalysis center during the war, decoding German military messages using the very earliest programmable calculators and computers. Historians estimate that the activities of Bletchley staff like Turing, and hardware genius Tommy Flowers, cut the length of the war by years.

Turing was convicted of gross indecency in 1952 after admitting to the then-crime of being a homosexual, and was forced to undergo chemical castration. He lost his security clearance and committed suicide (which was also a crime at the time) two years later.

Last year, the UK government turned down a request for a pardon for Turing, saying that while his sentence was "both cruel and absurd –particularly poignant given his outstanding contribution to the war effort," it must stand since Turing did commit an offence against the laws of his time.

On Friday, the House of Lords debated issuing a Parliamentary pardon to Turing. The proposer - Liberal Democrat Lord Sharkey - said that while the government should issue a full pardon, it was up to Parliament to apply pressure.

"It is not too late for the government to pardon Alan Turing. It is not too late for the government to grant a disregard for all those gay men convicted under the dreadful [legislation]," he said. "I hope the government is thinking very hard about doing both of those things. We owe a huge debt to Alan Turing and debts have to be paid"

The motion received cross-party support from the House of Lords. Baroness Trumpington, who worked at Bletchley during the war and met Turing there, added her support from the Conservative benches for the pardon, saying that without him the German U-boat blockade could have starved Britain out of the war.

"While in 2009 the then Prime Minister Gordon Brown issued an apology for Turing's treatment, this government should do more," she said. "This is not about legal issues but about recognising the debt this country owes Alan Turing."

A Parliamentary pardon isn't as good as the real thing, but is at least a step in the right direction. The government has indicated that it won't stand in the way of the House of Lords motion, but so far it looks unlikely to budge on clearing the record of an authentic British hero. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Lawyers mobilise angry mob against Apple over alleged 2011 Macbook Pro crapness
We suffered 'random bouts of graphical distortion' - fanbois
Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET
Cupertino revenue hit by cheapo downloads, says report
US court SHUTS DOWN 'scammers posing as Microsoft, Facebook support staff'
Netizens allegedly duped into paying for bogus tech advice
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
Verizon bankrolls tech news site, bans tech's biggest stories
No agenda here. Just don't ever mention Net neutrality or spying, ok?
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
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.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management
How using vulnerability assessments to identify exploitable weaknesses and take corrective action can reduce the risk of hackers finding your site and attacking it.