THE Sun’s Matt Hancock scoop could not have been more squarely in the public interest.
Here was the married Health Secretary snogging his lover in his office while hypocritically demanding the rest of the nation continued to socially distance.
The Sun exposed Matt Hancock’s affair last month[/caption]
Hancock realised the game was up, quit and publicly apologised.
And since both sides of the political divide — and Britain’s most senior lawyer, Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland — agree the story was in the public interest then by definition so was the leak of the CCTV which brought it to light.
So it is monstrous that goons from the Government-backed Information Commissioner’s Office have raided two properties, seizing computers, hoping to identify the whistleblower.
It is an outrageous abuse. A tactic designed to punish those who rightly came forward, and sure to deter others who might have evidence of another scandal of national importance.
Let us remind the ICO of its official remit. It exists to “uphold information rights in the public interest” and “promote openness by public bodies”.
How are either served by police-style raids on those they suspect helped us expose Hancock’s rule-breaking?
The ICO has a further duty to safeguard “data privacy for individuals”. Is it seriously arguing that Hancock’s right to keep those CCTV images private trumps the public interest in revealing them and holding him to account?
Whistleblowers play a key role in bringing scandals to public attention via the Press. Like the hundreds of needless deaths at Stafford Hospital 15 years ago. Or the 2009 expenses debacle which engulfed MPs and peers.
Without whistleblowers we might know little of the PPE shortages last year or the crisis in care homes.
The next scandal may also be of life-of-death significance. Is the ICO’s aim to intimidate future whistleblowers into silence?
THE Covid alert app made sense before we had jabs or lateral flow tests. It has become an absurdity which is crippling Britain.
Yes, infections are soaring. But 520,194 people were “pinged” in a single week.
That means mayhem for businesses, pubs and hospitals with vast numbers of workers at home. Some 900 at Sunderland’s Nissan plant are self-isolating.
This is just among adults who still have the voluntary app. Millions have deleted it, MPs included. No wonder.
They have probably had two jabs and have maximum protection. They may have tested negative too. But they could still be pinged and condemned to ten days’ house arrest by an algorithm which may be wildly inaccurate.
Even the Government admits it is no longer “appropriate to the risk”.
Why should people jeopardise work or a family holiday for that?
Most read in News