By Graham Vanbergen
– Britain is slowly legislating its way to authoritarianism. If ever
proof of this was needed, one only has to look as the mass surveillance
spying apparatus installed over all citizens facilitated by the recent Investigatory Powers Act that is unrivalled in the Western world and secret courts of the 2013 Security & Justice Act. But the latest proposals in the form of a new Espionage Act are even more alarming.
The Official Secrets Act 1989 is an Act of the Parliament that repeals and replaces section 2 of the Official Secrets Act 1911.
Broadly speaking a breach of the Act “can be committed only by persons
who are or have been, and the offence under section 8 can be committed
only by persons who are, crown servants or government contractors.”
What the new Espionage Act does is to bring the entire population in
to that same legal realm aside from government employees or contractors
working for government.
Initially, it looks reasonable to put in place safeguards to protect
big data leaks in the modern world. But what this proposal does is ban
the reporting of such leaks as well. In addition, the act of leaking and
whistleblowing in the public interest would put those actions by
individuals in the same category, as far as government is concerned, as
spying for foreign states and giving them the same extended jail
sentences, from two to fourteen years behind bars.