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UK redefines bureaucratic red tape for digital age

Britain redefined the ancient practice of tying important documents with a red tape and launched a new system designed for the digital age by classifying official communication into a smaller number of security categories.

world Updated: Apr 03, 2014 00:01 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar

Britain redefined the ancient practice of tying important documents with a red tape and launched a new system designed for the digital age by classifying official communication into a smaller number of security categories.

British official communication will now have three markings: Official, Secret and Top Secret, replacing the earlier six categories used when civil servants worked only with paper: Unclassified, Protect, Restricted, Confidential, Secret and Top Secret.

British bureaucratic systems and official communication were introduced in various colonies, including India, many of whom continue pre-colonial ways of conducting official business.

“The new markings will also allow information to be classified in a more consistent way and make it easier to share information between departments and with partner organisations without undermining security,” an official release said.

More than 700,000 civil servants and military personnel are using the new markings, and the wider public sector will adopt them at a later date.

The new system is specifically designed for working in a digital way and is more straightforward to understand.

Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude saidm “We have changed a security classification system that was designed decades ago and introduced a new system fit for the digital age.”