Vague treason law could be used to punish political enemies, says Index

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Index on Censorship rejects proposals for a new UK treason law.

A report by influential think tank Policy Exchange proposed creating a new offence of treason that would be committed if anyone “does any act” intended to aid “an attack on the UK by any state or organisation.” Index believes this definition is so broad as to be unworkable and presents a grave threat to freedom of expression.

The report was co-authored by Tom Tugendhat MP, chair of the foreign affairs select committee, and has been endorsed by former Home Secretary Amber Rudd.

“The UK already has a raft of terror laws and successive reviewers of these laws have argued there is no need for further legislation in this area,” said Index chief executive Jodie Ginsberg. “Vaguely defined laws such as the one proposed can easily be used by more extreme governments to punish political enemies rather than simply tackle those engaged in violence.”

“We should resist these repeated attempts to try to tackle terrorists using broad brush laws that ultimately chip away at all our hard won freedoms and liberties.”

Index on Censorship has also called for changes to the proposed Counter Terror and Border Security Bill currently going through parliament.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_basic_grid post_type=”post” max_items=”12″ style=”load-more” items_per_page=”4″ element_width=”6″ grid_id=”vc_gid:1532607187002-45641f4b-0394-6″ taxonomies=”6534″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Internet free speech isn't an insular issue

For Silicon Valley’s high-tech companies, finding the Next Big Thing is what matters most. When a Google executive came to London on 12 October, he delivered a speech at an apt venue: Policy Exchange, the favourite think thank of the party tipped to form Britain’s next government.

David Drummond, the 46-year-old American lawyer who serves as Google’s chief legal advisor, spoke about the ways in which Google has tried to ensure unfettered internet access by users worldwide.

But Google has also complied with requests from China and other countries to block websites, a practice seemingly at odds with its corporate motto, “Do no harm.” Drummond argued that criticism of Google’s policy in these areas has overlooked the larger global issue: increasingly repressive internet legislation in many of the 150 countries where the company operates.

Martin Bright: whistleblower Christopher Galley should not be sacked

This is a guest post by Martin Bright

The sacking of Christopher Galley, the Home Office civil servant who leaked documents to the Conservative Party, demonstrates the golden rule in such cases: the whistleblower always suffers. As a serial recipient of leaks, I know this is defeatist talk, but journalists and their publications should recognise this as a fact.

The criminal case against Galley and his Tory ‘handler’ Damian Green MP collapsed this week. But Galley was still dismissed for gross professional misconduct. In times like these, depriving someone of their job is a serious matter, especially when it leaves a disciplinary charge on the CV.

This is a particularly vindictive way to approach a whistleblower, especially cruel when the information he leaked should have been in the public domain anyway. I don’t believe there isn’t somewhere in the vast Home Office bureaucracy that Galley could have been found a job (well away from confidential documents if necessary).

The same is true of Derek Pasquill, the Foreign Office whistleblower who leaked details of the government’s relationship with radical Islam to me. Derek was also dismissed, despite the immense service he did to the country and the government (its policy changed as a direct result of his disclosures).

I believe there is a duty of care on the part of those who directly benefit from the work of whistleblowers towards those who have taken risks on their behalf. Derek Pasquill is fighting his dismissal, and I believe the New Statesman, the Observer and the think tank Policy Exchange (the publishers of his allegations), should help him with his legal costs.

The same is true for the Conservative Party in this case, which should help Christopher Galley back into employment immediately.