Thanks to my experiences as McKenzie Friend in my life as a computer scientist, I have become a member of the Committee of the Law Group of the British Computer Society which specialises in IT and The Law.
The Committee Members I have met so far are marvellous colleagues, with a barrister as Chair, expert witnesses with experience in paedophilia and an expert in online reputation!
We are now working on a series of events starting with our response to the public consultation that the Law Commission published:
- Protection of Public Data – a Consultation Paper of 326 pages dealing with Official Secrets Acts effectively.
The meeting on Wednesday March 8th in Southampton Street off the Strand:
- free and open to non-members as well;
- starts at 6 for 6.30, ends at 8 with drinks and nibbles
- requires registration via this link.
If you can’t make it to Covent Garden, remote participation is planned via webstreaming.
The contents of the consultation lists 8 chapters and 4 appendices:
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
CHAPTER 2: THE OFFICIAL SECRETS ACTS 1911, 1920 AND 1939
CHAPTER 3: THE OFFICIAL SECRETS ACT 1989
CHAPTER 4: MISCELLANEOUS UNAUTHORISED DISCLOSURE OFFENCES
CHAPTER 5: PROCEDURAL MATTERS RELATING TO INVESTIGATION AND TRIAL
CHAPTER 6: FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
CHAPTER 7: PUBLIC INTEREST DEFENCE
CHAPTER 8: LIST OF CONSULTATION QUESTIONS AND PROVISIONAL CONCLUSIONS
APPENDIX A: COMPARATIVE LEGAL ANALYSIS
APPENDIX B: MISCELLANEOUS UNAUTHORISED DISCLOSURE OFFENCES
APPENDIX C: GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS, ORGANISATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS CONSULTED
APPENDIX D: THE OFFICIAL SECRETS ACTS 1911, 1920 AND 1989
The List of Consultation Questions and Provisional Conclusions is 6 pages long and will be the topic of debate.
A 32-page summary document is also available.
Coincidentally, the same professor is also working on this consultation:
- Misconduct in Public Office – with Police Corruption as a new offence!
That may promise the development in the right direction, given what we’ve come across in terms of police corruption.
But then we’ve also got Lord Neuberger’s announcement:
- Witnesses are not needed in civil disputes as cases are often decided by who performs best in court.
Well, yes, that’s what we discovered, especially when Litigants in Person had to fend for themselves because lawyers had failed them:
- judgments are written out beforehand
- it’s a ping pong between the barristers and the judge is the arbiter…
The advent of ‘digital’ won’t turn white collar criminals into ethical professionals. Only video recordings without the chance of being tampered with would turn round what we’ve observed.
Meanwhile: have your say at this consultation on the Protection of Public Data on Wednesday March 8th at the British Computer Society from 6pm to 8.30!