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Today only: The Geek Atlas ebook half price

The Geek Atlas on ebook reader

I don’t really intend this to be an advert but for a while now I’ve half intended to pick up a copy of John Graham-Cumming’s The Geek Atlas. I just bought a DRM-free ebook half price as part of an International Day Against DRM promotion.

Protection of Freedoms Act 2012

One of the reasons given against a pardon for Alan Turing in a November 2011 blog post by John Graham-Cumming (who successfully campaigned for a Turing apology in 2009) was that the Protection of Freedoms bill, if passed, would make a pardon unnecessary. This is because this

specifically allows for the disregarding of convictions under the old law that was used against Turing. Once disregarded the law causes their convictions to be deleted. It’s not quite the same thing as a pardon, but its effect is to lift the burden of a criminal record from these living men.

Now the bill has gained Royal Assent, becoming the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. A short piece in The Independent calls this “a freedom too late” for Alan Turing. The Turing pardon e-petition now has over 33,000 signatures.

Source: Protection of Freedoms Bill.

No pardon for Turing

A government minister in the Ministry of Justice, Lord McNally, in response to a question from Lord Sharkey on Thursday 2nd February 2012 made a statement in the House or Lords that “a posthumous pardon [for Alan Turing] was not considered appropriate”.

The statement acknowledges that the offence of which Turing was convicted “now seems both cruel and absurd” but says that Turing “would have known that his offence was against the law and that he would be prosecuted”. This says that the:

long-standing policy has been to accept that such convictions took place and, rather than trying to alter the historical context and to put right what cannot be put right, ensure instead that we never again return to those times.

Back when the pardon petition was launched in November 2011, John Graham-Cumming, the man responsible for the Turing apology petition in 2009, wrote a blog post explaining why he did not support the pardon petition: Why I’m not supporting the campaign for a pardon for Alan Turing (26 November 2011).

On the Math/Maths Podcast this week Samuel Hansen spoke convincingly about a pardon, above an apology, as having the effect of removing the conviction, not merely apologising for it. Graham-Cumming points to the Protection of Freedoms bill, currently passing through the House of Lords, which:

specifically allows for the disregarding of convictions under the old law that was used against Turing. Once disregarded the law causes their convictions to be deleted. It’s not quite the same thing as a pardon, but its effect is to lift the burden of a criminal record from these living men [those who are “still hurt by that law”].

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