Government “Avoiding Accountability” in WhatsApp Messages


Prime Minister Boris Johnson (left) and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (right) will use their smartphones to visit a pizza pilgrim at the West India Pier in London Docklands on June 26, 2020.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson (left) and British Finance Minister Rishi Sunak (right) will use their smartphones to visit a pizza pilgrim at the West India Pier in London Docklands on June 26, 2020.

If the legal objection is successful, the Minister may be banned from using platforms such as WhatsApp and Signal for formal communications.

On behalf of the citizens of the Transparency Activist, the campaign law group Foxgrove accused the government of not having a legal policy on “textual government.”

Members of both cabinets and shadow cabinets use WhatsApp and Signal.

We asked the Cabinet Office for comment.

But earlier, a Cabinet Office spokesman told the BBC that “appropriate arrangements” had already been put in place to comply with the guidance, “which is being reviewed on a regular basis.”

Some instant messaging services allow you to permanently delete a message. Critics say it can be used by politicians and staff to avoid accountability.

Campaign participants threaten to sue the government if it does not clearly explain its policies regarding such messaging platforms and how it complies with the law within 14 days.

Last month, they sent a statutory letter containing a similar request for transparency in these types of communication, but without a separate response.

This new letter is a formal pre-litigation notice and the last opportunity to respond before proceeding.

Public record

According to official guidance that has existed since 2013, records should only be kept “when necessary for substantive discussions or decisions in the course of doing business.”

For example, this law applies to messages exchanged between special advisers and ministers regarding government policy.

British law requires that such messages be archived and recorded, and it is the responsibility of the originator or recipient of such messages to “take action” to ensure this is done. ..

Messages on such platforms can be set to self-destruct or be permanently deleted. That is, it cannot be saved as a public record or published in a later Freedom of Information (FOI) request.

“Rampant favoritism”

“The WhatsApp and Signal governments are undemocratic and illegal,” said Kerry Shaw of The Citizens.

“It allows for rampant patronage and overruns infecting this government.

“We see large-scale theft of evidence to people and to history.”

last monthThe group sent a legal letter to the government asking for an explanation of these issues.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports responded with a full FOI approval letter. This said Fox Gloves is a “play of time”.

Instant message

This challenge adds further scrutiny of the Cabinet’s use of mobile phones for official government communications.

10 people haven’t started investigating after the text message leaked- First reported by the BBC -Johnson said he could “fix” tax issues related to Dyson staff who came to the UK to tackle the pandemic.

It came soon after Treasury has released two text messages It was sent by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak as lobbying continued.

The Institute for Government Think Tank is also campaigning to log all messages sent and received on official phone calls.

“We need a public record of what happened,” said Associate Director Tim Durant. I told the BBC. “Text messages are essentially conference-like conversations.”

Posted on