An online petition has been launched to pardon "the father of computing" Alan Turing for past convictions of gross indecency.

The e-petition, hosted by the government's petition site, calls on the government to posthumously pardon Turing and quash his conviction for gross indecency. The computer pioneer was convicted of the offence in 1952, when homosexual acts were illegal in the UK.

Turing was given the choice of either prison or chemical castration and chose the latter. He is believed to have suffered severe side effects and two years later he died from cyanide poisoning, with an inquest ruling it was suicide.

Turing, an avowed patriot, complained of being hounded by the security services following his conviction, and there is speculation the security services may have believed he was a seucrity risk as a result of his sexuality and his foreign travels. Throughout the cold war gay men with knowledge of state secrets were viewed as a potential blackmail target for foreign powers.

Turing's leading work on breaking the Germans' Enigma code during the war was top secret. He went on to help create the world's first modern computer - the Manchester Small-Scale Experimental Machine.

The e-petition, which so far has over 7,000 signatures, says his treatment and death "remains a shame on the UK government and UK history".

In 2009, thousands of people signed a petition calling for a posthumous government apology to Turing. The then prime minister Gordon Brown responded by saying he was sorry for the "appalling" way Turing was treated for being gay.

The new petition has a closing date of November 2012. If the petition is signed by at least 100,000 people it becomes eligible for discussion in the House of Commons.