Freedom of Information Act document leaks could become criminal : The Guardian

Campaigners warn of ‘oppressive’ proposal to lower threshold for prosecution of whistleblowers and journalists.

Whistleblowers and journalists could be imprisoned for revealing documents that can be obtained through freedom of information requests, campaigners have warned.

Responding to the consultation on Law Commission proposals for a new espionage act with more punitive powers, freedom of speech organisations have condemned plans for lowering the threshold for prosecutions.

The Campaign for Freedom of Information and the rights group Article 19 fear that the proposals would make it easier to secure convictions by weakening the test for proving an offence and even criminalise passing on information discoverable under FoI requests.

Under the 1989 Official Secrets Act, some offences require proof that a disclosure is likely to damage defence, international relations or law enforcement, or fall into a class of information likely to damage the security services’ work.

The Law Commission says the “likely to damage” test prevents prosecutions being brought because proving this requires more damaging information to be revealed in court. It wants the harm test to be reduced from “likely” to cause harm to “capable” of causing harm.

The Freedom of Information Act, however, only exempts information about defence, international relations and law enforcement using the threshold of “likely to harm”. Leaking information which is capable of, but very unlikely to, cause harm would therefore potentially become an offence, it is claimed.




  1. “Thus, restrictions on personal liberty, on the right of free expression of opinion, including freedom of the press, on the right of assembly and the right of association, and violations of the privacy of postal, telegraphic, and telephonic communications, and warrants for house-searchers, orders for confiscations as well as restrictions on property, are also permissible beyond the legal limits otherwise prescribed.”

    Germany 28 February 1933…
    Back so soon?…


  2. “At the same time the capacity to assert social and political control over the individual will vastly increase. It will soon be possible to assert almost continuous control over every citizen and to maintain up-to-date files, containing even the most personal details about health and personal behavior of every citizen in addition to the more customary data.
    Zbigniew Brzezinski (Page 20 “Committee of 300)

    According to Brzezinski, we shall be under endless surveillance around the clock for 365 days a year ad infinitum. (Page 42 “Committee of 300)

    Strong and Stable global planning brought to fruition by Theresa May…


  3. “likely” to cause harm to “capable” of causing harm. Doesn’t sound as if there’s that much of a difference.

    The majority of people leaving their house and venturing into the town centre aren’t likely to cause harm, but every single one of them is capable of causing harm.

    As I said…the Tories have a way with words.

    The difference might arise in court when you tried to prove you weren’t capable of causing harm (to the police force) when you had proof through an information request, and reported through MSM or Alternative Media that outed police officer was a convicted child molester – and now living next to a child’s playground – to the people living in his area.

    Liked by 1 person

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