The membership list of the far-right BNP (British National Party) was leaked and put on the internet. As everyone knows, once it’s on the net, it basically stays on the net, whether there is a legal order preventing its publication or not. No UK-based newspaper or websites would publish the list or place a link on their websites. While it is illegal to publish such a list in the UK’s jurisdiction, that does not extend to servers beyond the UK. And a few minutes of trawling through the search engines should land you to the list.
The list in question includes information such as addresses and occupations of the members. However much I despise their policies and views, its publication was illegal and intrusive. Among the 12,000 names, apparetly there were a few police officers, two solicitors, a doctor and a few teachers. One could say that this figure is disturbing and that the BNP is managing to infiltrate its way to positions of power and influence. However I find it oddly assuring that there seems to be so few: the BNP is still a fringe phenomenon. Nevertheless, there was a disturbing element to the story: Mr Nick Griffin, the party leader, believes that this list was leaked by a person who felt the BNP has gone too moderate.
If the employer, which may be the state, has a policy of firing people who are members of the BNP, then this leak is no good news for the card-carrying BNP employees. Whether this list could be used to instigate dismissal in conformity to the laws of the realm I’m not sure, but then the employer can ask the employee a straight question whether he/she is a member or not. It will be more awkward for those applying for jobs and for the employers. What should an employer do, when confronted with a perfect candidate who does not publicly express opinions that the BNP espouses, but who nevertheless is a member of the BNP according to the list illegally leaked?