Results tagged “Photography” from Spy Blog - SpyBlog.org.uk

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The I'm a Photographer Not A Terrorist ! campaign is organising a

Mass Gathering in defence of street photography


12 Noon
Saturday 23rd January 2010
Trafalgar Square

I’m a Photographer, Not a Terrorist! invite all Photographers to a mass photo gathering in defence of street photography.

Following a series of high profile detentions under s44 of the terrorism act including 7 armed police detaining an award winning architectural photographer in the City of London, the arrest of a press photographer covering campaigning santas at City Airport and the stop and search of a BBC photographer at St Pauls Cathedral and many others. PHNAT feels now is the time for a mass turnout of Photographers, professional and amateur to defend our rights and stop the abuse of the terror laws.


I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist !

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Obviously inspired by the Icelanders are NOT Terrorists! campaign, which highlighted just how inept and internationally embarrassing Gordon Brown and his henchman Alistair Darling's mis-handling of the Icelandic banking crisis, there is now another protest against this Labour government and its army of jobsworth apparatchik bureaucrats, who are making life hell for ordinary, law abiding photographers (i.e.most of the general public) , under the spurious pretext of "security theatre" / Climate of Fear.

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I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist !

This campaign blog also has a Bust Card for photographers to print out and carry, with some handy legal advice for Photographers (and for the very confused and poorly trained Police on the streets etc.), which is being improved through the comments.

N.B.they should also print out the 24 hour contact details for some firms of solicitors experienced in criminal and human rights arrests, criminal charges and legal appeals etc. since, iIf you are harassed and then arrested, you will probably no longer have access to your mobile phone or PDA electronics contacts address book.however , the Police will probably be snooping through this and copying it "for intelligence" purposes if they can.

See our Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers etc - new window">Hints and tips for Whistleblowers etc., especially the section on What to do if you are arrested as a whistleblower:

The Register reports:

Met warns officers off photographers

The return of copper plate photography?

By John Oates
Posted in Policing, 9th July 2009 12:59 GMT

The Metropolitan Police has issued guidance to its officers to remind them that using a camera in public is not in itself a terrorist offence

[...]


However, the actual Metropolitan Police Service Photography advice web page is not a comprehensive guide to the relevant legislation and legal powers, for an amateur or professional photographer and for the Police Constables and Police Community Support Officers (PCSO) who are meant to enforce them fairly and proportionately.

The web page mentions the Terrorism Act 2000 section 43 (stop and search with "reasonable suspicion") , section 44 (stop and search without reasonable suspicion) and section 58A (eliciting, publishing or communicating information about current or former members of the armed forces, intelligence services or police constables , but not PCSOs etc.)

It sheds no light on where exactly the controversial Terrorism Act 2000 section 44 powers are actually in force, According to the Statute, they are supposed to be temporary,and strictly limited to a specific location and for a limited duration, not general purpose police powers available all everywhere, at all times.

However the Home office is still trying to keep the extent of the use of these powers secret from the public, thereby ruining any deterrent effect, and simply increasing the fear , mistrust and hatred of the Police - see the progress of the Spy Blog Freedom of Information Act request on this topic:

ICO serves an Information Notice on the Home Office re our complaint about the Terrorism Act 2000 s44 stop and search Authorisations

The Met Police Advice on Photography web page also omits mention of the Official Secrets Act 1911 Prohibited Places, which no longer applies to some buildings which it used to, before Gordon Brown;'s failed Public / Private Finance Initiatives tax dofge schemes.Former Government owned office buildings, including the Ministry of Defence and the HM Treasury buildings in Whitehall, and the Home Office now in Marsham Street, and the Ministry of Justice (in the redeveloped former Home Office buildings in St Anne's Gate /Petty France) are now owned by property companies based in foreign tax havens, which lease the poperties back to the Government. As such these buildings are no longer automatically "Prohibited Places" under the OSA 1911 , like they used to be, by virtue of ownership by the Crown, and they have not been specifically designated by a Secretary of State as being so.

However, there are Prohibited Places, where it is a non-arrestible criminal offence (prosecution of which still requires the permission of the Attorney General) to make make "models, plans, sketches" etc, including photographs, in the vicinity of, typically military bases which are stillowned by the Crown. Later legislation also designates any Licensed Nuclear Site i.e. nuclear power stations, research laboratories and re-processing plants etc, and any "aerodrome" owned by the Civil Aviation Authority i.e. Heathrow Airport etc.

See Current Prohibited Places under the Official Secrets Act 1911

None of these Prohibited Places actually ban photography by the public for innocent, non-espionage purposes, but the burden of proof seems to shift to the photographer having to prove his innocence.

What is also needed is a similar statement from the notorious British Transport Police, who, disproportionately, conduct even more unnecessary and counterproductive Terrorism Act 2000 section 44 stop and searches than the Met Police do.

There is plenty of evidence that some Police forces seem to be trying to cover up their obnoxious policy of racial profiling, by indulging in even more stupid racial profiling to "balance the figures" on section 44 stops and searches etc. - see the Report on the Operation in 2008 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and of part 1 of the Terrorism Act 2006 by Lord Carlile

In London, there are by-laws against commercial photography and filing, without prior permission (and payment of fees) in areas such as Trafalgar Square or Parliament Square, and on the whole of the London Underground railway Tube network.

Remember that Private Security Guards or even Police Community Support Officers acting on their own without a real , sworn, Police Constable in Uniform physically present, cannot exercise any of these powers, no matter how many yellow or orange high visibility vests or "official" Security Industry Authority photo id badges they sport.

See also the previous Spy Blog article: NPIA Practice Advice on Stop and Search in relation to Terrorism and on the War on Photographers

According to a Written Answer by the Home Office Minister Admiral Lord West of Spithead, the controversial "If you suspect it, report " terrorism propaganda campaign, involving posters and some local newspaper and local radio advertising, launched in March 2009, has cost at least £1.7 million, and the "anti-terrorist hotline" costs about £120,000 a year to run.

Spy Blog: Metropolitan Police terrorism fear Propaganda Poster lies about bombs, reconnaissance and CCTV cameras - updated 25th March 2009

This campaign includes this false and misleading poster, which claims a non existent link between public CCTV and protection against terrorist bombs:

"A bomb won't go off here because weeks before a shopper reported someone studying the CCTV cameras"

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In answer to a Question by Baroness Neville-Jones (Shadow Security Minister, Home Affairs; Conservative):

9 July 2009 : Column WA176

Lord West of Spithead (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Security and Counter-terrorism), Home Office; Labour)

The confidential anti-terrorist hotline is administered by the Metropolitan Police Service. The hotline receives, on average, 243 calls per month.

In March 2009, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) launched a national media campaign to raise counterterrorism awareness. The anti-terrorist hotline received more than 1,800 calls in March 2009 and more than 1,100 in April 2009.

The anti-terrorist hotline is a 24-hour facility for members of the public to volunteer information to specially-trained police officers, in confidence, regarding any activity which they suspect to be terrorism-related.

The police service considers the anti-terrorist hotline to be a valuable means for the public to volunteer information in confidence. It is assessed that more than 80 per cent of calls received by the hotline contain information relevant to terrorist activity.

It is estimated that the anti-terrorist hotline costs approximately £120,000 to run each year.

[...]

Incredibly, this Written Answer about the "Anti-Terrorism Hotline", does not bother to mention the actual telephone number ! i.e. 0800 789 321

"on average, 243 calls per month" equates to about 2900 calls a year or about £40 per call.

The "more than 1,800 calls in March 2009 and more than 1,100 in April 2009" following the ACPO poster, local press and local radio advertising campaign, has, presumably, now tailed off to below the "on average, 243 calls per month" figure, which must include the effect of the advertising campaign stimulated peaks.

If you bother to hunt around on the Metropolitan Police Service website, there is a "If you suspect it, report it" web page which gives further details about the "Anti-Terrorist Hotline", but none of the Climate of Fear propaganda posters or adverts bother to give details of how to find this web page.

This creepy and disproportionate web page tries to throw suspicion of involvement in terrorism on anyone who uses a "Van, Passport, Mobile Phone, Camera, Chemicals, Masks and Goggles, Credit Card, Computer, Suitcase or Padlock" i.e. the vast majority of millions of innocent people !

There is now, after many years without one, a confidential online form, which does make use of the standard SSL / TLS session strong encryption, built in to your web browser software to protect the confidentiality of your e-commerce credit card etc.online transactions.

N.B. Reminder to the MPS: your Digital Certificate expires later this month on the 24th July 2009, do remember to get a new one ordered and installed before then.

However, "text messages from mobiles are not accepted", which is an utterly stupid policy. What are they worried about ? SMS text messages are no more difficult to trace than mobile phone calls.

There is also no no Web Form or Mobile Phone Multi Media Message Service facility for uploading digital images or video clips taken by members of the public on their digital cameras or mobile phone cameras of "suspicious" people, locations or objects.

It is inconceivable that in the aftermath of the next major terrorist attack in the UK, there will not be an appeal to the public to send in such digital images and video clips of "anything suspicious".

Why waste crucial time in the minutes and hours immediately after such an attack, by hurriedly setting up an untested web upload form or an SMS / MMS capable mobile phone number, and then trying to publicise it. ?

This facility should already be in place, after having been properly specified and stress tested to cope with the huge surge in demand which will follow a major incident.

Adding such a secure web form and SMS/ MMS digital image / video clip upload facility would cost only a few hundred pounds, and even allowing for several thousand pounds for extra secure, resilient infrastructure, testing and training, this will still only cost a fraction of the the £1.7 million pounds wasted on the counter productive, insulting and widely ridiculed advertising campaign.

See BoingBoing: Remixes of the paranoid London police "anti-terror"/suspect your neighbours posters.

Will the Metropolitan Police and other Police forces curtail their "Surveillance State" abuses of photographs and videos of innocent people, following this legal Judgment in the England and Wales Court of Appeal (Civil Division) ?

Wood v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis [2009] EWCA Civ 414 (21 May 2009)

For an expert legal view, see the Panopticon blog

Privacy and the Police - Important Court of Appeal Judgment

It is important to note that the result of the Court of Appeal's judgment is that the taking of the photographs did not per se constitute a unlawful interference with Mr Wood's right to privacy. Rather what was unlawful was the excessive retention of the photographs beyond a time when there was any reasonable basis for supposing that Mr Wood may engage in criminal conduct at the arms fair. On the question of whether this judgment sets a precedent on the question of whether the police can generally take photographs of ostensibly law-abiding citizens, it is worth noting Lord Collins' concluding comments: 'it is plain that the last word has yet to be said on the implications for civil liberties on the taking and retention of images in the modern surveillance society. This is not the case for the exploration of the wider, and very serious, human rights issues which arise when the State obtains and retains the images of persons who have committed no offence and are not suspected of having committed any offence' (paragraph 100).

Whether this Judgment actually leads to the destruction of the millions of images of innocent people, which are currently being stored and retained by Police Forward Intelligence Teams and on other "intelligence" databases and files etc., remains to be seen

Will the "in your face" photographic harassment by FIT police and civilian cameramen of political activists and journalists, especially at public demonstrations, (see examples, and the counter reaction which this provokes, at the FIT watch blog) and the whole infrastructure of CCTV snooping and monitoring come under proper, critical, value for money and privacy oriented scrutiny ?

Or will these matters be swept under the carpet again, through bureaucratic inertia, buck passing and fatuous excuses like "the Olympics" or the "security of crowded places" ?

Will this Government or the next one, actually repeal the stupid and repressive laws and policies which are used to harass innocent photographers in public places ?

The contract of advertising agency Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy with the Metropolitan Police Service expires at the end of March.

They are being replaced by Gordon Brown's favourite ad agency Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, who gave him "Design services" during his Labour party leadership non-election "coronation" campaign.

ABV BBDO have also been awarded the lucrative Home Office ID Cards propaganda account.

Presumably Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy are at least partly to blame for the current Metropolitan Police Service anti-terrorism advertising campaign launched today.

This campaign includes this false and misleading poster, which claims a non existent link between public CCTV and protection against terrorist bombs:

"A bomb won't go off here because weeks before a shopper reported someone studying the CCTV cameras"

street_chemicals_cctv_450.jpg

There is no evidence that any Islamic extremist or Irish terrorists or Animal Rights extremists or neo-Nazi extremists, who have exploded, or tried to explode bombs, or set off incendiary devices, have been deterred from doing so by the presence of CCTV cameras. Some may have been tracked down partially through the help of CCTV footage, after their attacks or attempted attacks, but that is not what this poster is implying.

There is no evidence that any of them who have actually had access to any explosives, have ever been caught in the act of "terrorist reconnaissance" of CCTV cameras, neither by members of the public (which is what this poster misleadingly claims), nor by regular Police street patrols, nor even by any covert surveillance of known suspects.

Since you do not need any equipment to check out where public CCTV cameras are, just your eyes and your memory, it is unlikely that any real terrorism or criminal reconnaissance of CCTV camera systems will ever be detected in the way that this poster implies.

This poster is just Climate of Fear propaganda, and it will no doubt be used to justify the harassment of photographers taking photos, perfectly legally in public places, which have been infested with CCTV spy cameras, something for which there is plenty of evidence for.

See Matt Wardman's Official Harassment of Photographers in the UK: I have a Little List

We are reporting this misleading poster to the Advertising Standards Authority, and urge you all to do the same.

UPDATE:

David Mery rightly points out that this re-run of previous Climate of Fear campaigns is likely to lead to lots of False Positive denunciations of innocent people

Police calls for a climate of fear

Considering how bad trained police officers are at spotting terrorists, asking untrained people to attempt to do the same will end up creating more suspicion of anyone behaving a bit differently. This will obviously target those who have different customs and those who are afflicted by some illness, fuelling further discrimination. These campaigns also focus on common objects, recently photographers have been particularly targeted. Looking at our environment, be it buildings or CCTV surrounding us, - hostile reconnaissance as it is called by the police - is a cause for arrest but so far has not been a cause for any conviction.

UPDATE: 25th March 2009

The Advertising Standards Authority has decided to pass on the complaint about this poster to the Independent Advertising Standards Council for their consideration,

Before publishing such images is banned under the Terrorism Act section 58A which comes into force on Monday, (they might still be banned retrospectively), here are a couple of photos of some Metropolitan Police motorcycle outriders, delaying ordinary traffic, in favour of possibly Gordon Brown or someone else who thinks that they are important, traveling in a two car convoy, turning from Holborn into Kingsway in central London, yesterday.

Kingsway_Cops_300.jpg

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Who are those innocent looking mobile phone wielding onlookers ? Will they all have their Communications Traffic Data snooped on, "just in case" ?

See: Mass photography protest - 11 am Monday 16th February 2009, Metropolitan Police HQ, New Scotland Yard


It will be interesting to see if the new Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson reacts to this protest against the stupid and repressive Labour Government's terrorism laws, and the inept way in which some of his officers interpret them:

Monday, 9th February 2009

Photographers snap into action over new law

Comedian Mark Thomas is to join with NUJ members in an event to highlight the threat of a new UK law that could be used against press photographers taking pictures of the police.

The Counter Terrorism Act allows for the arrest and imprisonment of anyone whose pictures are "likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism".

The union is joining with campaigners to organise a mass picture taking session outside London's police HQ on Monday 16 February - the day the act becomes law.

Mark - who uses his comedy act to expose state and corporate wrongdoing - will be joined outside New Scotland Yard by renowned documentary-maker Chris Atkins, NUJ vice-president Pete Murray and a bevy of photographers.

Photojournalist and NUJ member Marc Vallée said: "The plan is simple, turn up with your camera and exercise your democratic right to take a photograph in a public place."

There have already been cases of photographers stopped from working by police quoting anti-terror laws.

John Toner, the NUJ's organiser who looks after freelance photographers, said: "Police officers are in news pictures at all sorts of events - football matches, carnivals, state processions - so the union wants to make it clear that taking their pictures is not the act of a criminal.

"Our members are photographers - not terrorists."

Roy Mincoff, NUJ Legal Officer, said: "Photographers do not want to endanger the health and safety of the police or the public - but it is important in a democracy that they can do their jobs properly without facing unnecessary legal restrictions."

The photo taking will start at 11am outside New Scotland Yard on Broadway, London.

Monday 16rh February 2009, from 11am

Location Map - Broadway, London, SW1

Nearest Tube Station is St. James's Park

Remember, that, very sneakily, New Scotland Yard is just within the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 ss 132 -138 Designated Area around Parliament Square (see the ParliamentProtest.org.uk blog for details), and so the Metroplitan Police may attempt to arrest people, or to impose arbitrary Conditions etc.

See also:

See our previous blog articles for background links:

The current illegal bureaucratic "War on Photographers" is being debated tomorrow by the London Calling Photographers group:

See their wiki page for this meeting tomorrow Wednesday 4th February 2009:

London Calling Photographers' Meeting 4th february 2009


Know your rights: Facing the police crackdown on public photography

London Calling Photographers are proud to announce the first debate.

We are proud to announce the presence of Olivier Laurent, News Editor of the British Journal of Photography, Superintendent David Hartshorn, of Metropolitan Police Public Order Branch and Jeff Moore, Chairman of the British Press Photographers' Association.

Digital Photography School will also be giving away a "Press Photography Lowepro camera bag" on the night.

Agenda

Please note that this agenda is provisional and subject to the presence of all our guests.

7:35 - Welcome speech from the London Calling Photographers

7:45 - "Know your rights: Facing the police crackdown on public photography" - Speech by Olivier Laurent, News Editor of the BJP

8:15 - "Title to be confirmed" - Speech by the Superintendent David Hartshorn of the London Metropolitan Police

8:45 - Open debate and QA Session - Moderated by Jeff Moore, Chairman of the BPPA

9:15 - Open discussion and free session

Please keep in mind that not all the guests have confirmed their availability for the evening and the agenda is subject to modifications. If you feel that the agenda need something more, please feel free to propose any modification to carlo[at]londoncallingphotographers.org.

Contact

For any information please contact:

* Carlo Nicora (carlo[at]londoncallingphotographers.org - [...])
* Simon Pollock (simon[at]londoncallingphotographers.org - [...])

When

Wednesday 4th February 2009 @ 19:00

Audio/Video/Blogging

Simon Pollock will blog the event for Digital Photography School and the event will be taped for a Podcast/Videocast.

[...]

Location

The Distillers - Smithfield - In our own upstairs room

66 West Smithfields

London

EC1A 9DY

map

[...]

See also the recent Spy Blog articles:

Participants in this debate may also be interested in our relevant Freedom of Information Act requests:

  • MoJ - Prohibited Place - Official Secrets Act 1911

    Many of the Private Finance Initiative lease back / tax dodge Government Buildings, in and around Whitehall are no longer "Prohibited Places" including HM Treasury, the Home Office , the Ministry of Defence etc.

    The relevant power of arrest under this Act was one of the few that were repealed by the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005.

  • HO Terrorism Act 2000 s44 Authorisations

    The Home Office is attempting to keep secret from the public, the approximate actual geographical extentt and validity time period of the supposedly extraordinary , temporary, strictly limited Terrorism Act section 44 stop and search without reasonable cause powers.

    This secrecy is counterproductive to these powers being as a deterrent to real terrorists.

    This secrecy also unnecessarily wastes lots Police and public time and resources, by stopping and searching innocent people, who would otherwise have been informed not to be carrying or transporting potentially "suspicious" dual use items (e.g. ammonium nitrate fertiliser) in temporary Section 44 powers areas.

    [hat tip to Rob in the Spy Blog comments ]

    UPDATE:

    David Mery has reported some of the remarks by Superintendent David Hartshorn, of the Metropolitan Police Public Order Branch, made during this debate, regarding hostile reconnaissance, the scale of the Metropolitan Police's public order events operations, and some tips on how to complain: Hostile reconnaissance - no conviction yet but trials coming

The awful and unnecessary Counter-Terrorism Act 2008 is creeping into force, having been partially commenced by the rubber stamping of this Order:

2009 No.58 (C.6) - Prevention And Suppression Of Terrorism - The Counter-Terrorism Act 2008 (Commencement No. 2) Order 2009

2. The following provisions of the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008 shall come into force on 16th February 2009--

[...]

(d) section 76 (offences relating to information about members of armed forces etc), together with Schedule 8 (offences relating to information about members of armed forces etc: supplementary provisions);

See Counter-Terrorism Bill clause 83 reminder - chilling effect on reporting or speculation about military or intelligence service or police personnel ?

The War on Photographers , and Military Historians and Biographers etc. intensifies, by making it a serious terrorist crime to "attempt to elicit" information e.g. name, address, photograph etc.,about a current or former member of the Police, Armed Forces or Intelligence Services.

It does not matter if there is a legal defence available to you in Court, it is too late for your liberty and career, once you have been tainted and blacklisted, by being arrested under a terrorism law, even if you are never charged or are found not guilty.

How soon before this law is used to threaten, harass and arrest political demonstrators or activists, who take photos of the Police etc. who are taking photos of them ?

Why are former members of these organisations covered, without exception i.e. including all those who have been kicked out for treason, espionage, corruption etc and those Walter Mitty fantasists or con artists, who exaggerate their former military careers, skills or experience, for vanity or to swindle people.?

How soon before this law is invoked by those in the Police, Military or Intelligence services who want to hide or cover up incompetence, corruption or worse from investigative journalists or other investigators ?

Why are other people who are just as much targets of terrorists e.g. Judges, juries, prison officers etc. not covered by this law ? If they are adequately covered by the pre-existing Terrorism Act section 58, then why is this new Terrorism Act section 58A needed at all ?

(j) the entries in Part 2 (disclosure of information and the intelligence services), Part 4 (financial restrictions proceedings), Part 5 (control orders) and Part 6 (pre-charge detention) of Schedule 9 (repeals and revocations).

See Counter-terrorism Bill - covert DNA sampling and analysis with no effective safeguards

Keep guard of your teacups, they may be stolen from you by official burglars or undercover agents, who want to secretly sample your DNA or fingerprints, if Home Office Minister Admiral Lord West's ideas on how this bit of the Act is going to be used are true.

N.B. the main sections 19 to 21 Disclosure of information to the intelligence services were commenced on Christmas Eve, 24th December 2008, so, perhaps "Santa" or his little helpers were really after your DNA and fingerprints rather than mince pies etc..

Vernon Coaker

Minister of State

Home Office

19th January 2009

Coaker joins a long list of Labour Home Office Ministers who have legislatively signed away the freedoms and liberties of the innocent majority, without any proportionate decrease in crime or terrorism.

Is there time to makes some Freedom of Information Act Requests to the Police and Military, or to take some Photographs etc, before February 16th 2009 ?

The National Police Improvement Agency, on behalf of the Association of Chief Police Officers has now issued some updated advice:

Practice Advice on Stop and Search in relation to Terrorism (.pdf)

Every person searched under section 44 should be told explicitly that they are not suspected of being a terrorist.

This is rather misleading, since if you are stupid enough to allow the Police conducting a Terrorism Act 2000 section 44 stop and search to take your Name and Address etc, something which they have no power to demand under that particular section, but which they very often attempt to do, especially when completing the cumbersome paper Stop and Search Form (or the new, supposedly quicker electronic version), you will eventually have this data logged on an electronic database, which may well be handed over in bulk to foreign police and intelligence agencies.

This information could also be disclosed , to your detriment when applying for jobs, in future Criminal Records Bureau Enhanced Disclosures.

The "Good News" is that this NPIA / ACPO practice advice, which must surely form the basis of the training and operational briefing of Police Officers, specifically re-iterates that there are no restrictions on Photography or Digital Imaging conferred by the Terrorism Act 2000.

2.8 PHOTOGRAPHY

The Terrorism Act 2000 does not prohibit people from taking photographs or digital images in an area where an authority under section 44 is in place. Officers should not prevent people taking photographs unless they are in an area where photography is prevented by other legislation.

If officers reasonably suspect that photographs are being taken as part of hostile terrorist reconnaissance, a search under section 43 of the Terrorism Act 2000 or an arrest should be considered. Film and memory cards may be seized as part of the search, but officers do not have a legal power to delete images or destroy film. Although images may be viewed as part of a search, to preserve evidence when cameras or other devices are seized, officers should not normally attempt to examine them. Cameras and other devices should be left in the state they were found and forwarded to appropriately trained staff for forensic examination. The person being searched should never be asked or allowed to turn the device on or off because of the danger of evidence being lost or damaged.

Do you trust Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, not to further encroach on our freedoms or liberties whenever possible ?

Her record in office to date, is at least as bad as her notorious Labour predecessors as Home Secretary, therefore we are worried by this announcement of some forthcoming "guidance" to the Police:

Written answers Tuesday, 14 October 2008 Home Department Terrorism: Stop and Search

Dominic Grieve (Shadow Attorney General, Law Officers; Beaconsfield, Conservative)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance her Department has given to the police on the exercise of their power under section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 to stop and search those taking photographs in public places.

Jacqui Smith (Home Secretary; Redditch, Labour)

Guidance on stop and search powers under section 44 Terrorism Act 2000 was issued by the Home Office in Home Office Circular 038/2004 on 1 July 2004 covering the authorisations for the use of the power.

Operational guidance on the use of section 44 stop and search powers was issued by the National Policing Improvement Agency and the Association of Chief Police Officers in 2006.

Following a commitment given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister in October 2007, the operational guidance issued to the police on section 44 is currently being reviewed by the Home Office, the police, community groups and other stakeholders. The National Police Improvement Agency will issue revised guidance to all police forces in November. This will cover the taking of photographs in public places, although the general position is that there is no legal restriction on photography in such places.

At a guess, this "guidance" will not appear before the Glenrothes by-election on 6th November, because of the Labour government's usual attempts at political media spin and news propaganda management.

NUJ video - Press Freedom: "Collateral Damage"

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The National Union of Journalists has today released a press release and an online Flash video, which gives a glimpse of the deliberate targeting of even fully accredited media photographers who are covering political protests and dissent in the UK.

NUJ film shows police obstruction of journalists

The nine-minute video, called Press Freedom: "Collateral Damage", includes examples of the police obstructing journalists in their work.

Press_Freedom_Collateral_Damage_300.jpg

N.B. this is not a directly embedded Flash video object, which otherwise would act as a web bug, effectively allowing the Flash video hosting site, and whoever is snooping on them, to track visitors to the Spy Blog website, even if they are not actually interested in watching the video.

This film features Jeremy Dear, the General Secretary of the NUJ, who has tried to engage with the Home Secretary and senior Police chiefs over this matter, seemingly with little effect, and the photojournalist Marc Vallée, who was knocked unconscious and hospitalised by the Police whilst covering a demonstration in the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 Designated Area around Parliament Square.

As the video says, there are no laws preventing the Police from taking photographs in public, just as there are none which prevent professionals or members of the public from doing so either.

If professional photographers, who regularly document political demonstrations and protests feel intimidated, then what about the "chilling effect" on the freedom of members of the public who might try to snap a picture on their mobile phone or digital camera , now that there are Government and Police propaganda campaigns which demonise street photographers as if they were all terrorist suspects ?

The targeting and harassment of photographers e.g. "we know your name" etc. is more than just overzealous individual policemen, it seems to be a deliberate policy.

What is this Police surveillance footage and other data e.g. mobile phone Communications Traffic Data), which is not taken as evidence of acts of violent public disorder actually being used for ?

Who has access to this data ?

When, if ever, is this surveillance data destroyed ?

Is it it all just a waste of Police manpower and public money ?

The Home Office and the senior Police management need to stamp out this public and community relations disaster, which is just creating contempt, fear and hatred of the Police and the Government..

The Sunday Telegraph "Seven" magazine, has an article about the illegal Harassment of Photographers by officious jobsworths:

sv_photographers_300.jpg

Has our increasingly paranoid society declared war on the humble 'weekend snapper'?

Last Updated: 12:01am BST 17/08/2008
Page 1 of 3

An amateur photographer is chased by the police after taking pictures on the seafront; another man is frogmarched away when using his camera in a town centre. Since when did carrying a camera in public provoke so much suspicion and hostility? Sam Delaney reports. Illustration by Ulla Puggaard

[...]

This article brings together first hand and other recent reports of illegal harassment of innocent photographers, by private sector security guards, by Police Community Support Officers and even by supposedly fully trained Police Constables, all of whom are flouting the law, not only by demanding that photography should cease, or that photos should be deleted, but also in some cases by demanding "ID".

All of this is illegal, but normal law abiding members of the public are often intimidated by the fluorescent jacketed officious jobsworths.

Would anyone be interested in joining in with others in a bit of Sousveillance to name and shame some such jobsworth little hitlers ?

Email us, ideally using our PGP public encryption key, and after having read our Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers etc. guide

Meanwhile, we are still awaiting the results of a Freedom of Information Act request, originally to the Home Office, now being dealt with by the Ministry of Justice, regarding exactly where it is actually illegal to take photographs in, of, or near "sensitive buildings" which have been designated as Prohibited Places under the Official Secrets Act 1911.

This is not at all clear, given that even some Government and Military buildings are no longer actually owned by the Crown, or have foreign based owners, due to various Public Finance Initiatives and tax avoidance schemes by property developers.

See the Spy Blog UK FOIA request category archive MoJ - Prohibited Place - Official Secrets Act 1911

What actual use to the public, are Select Committees of the House of Commons, and the Reports which they publish ?

The Labour Government invariably cherry picks a quotation from the summary of such a Report, especially if it was written by a Labour Chairman of the Committee e.g. Government Response to the Home Affairs Committee: A Surveillance Society? (.pdf) leaped on the phrase ,

We reject crude characterisations of our society as a surveillance society in which all collection and means of collecting information about citizens are networked and centralised in the service of the state.

This allowed the Government to claim:

The Government welcomes the committee's rejection of the characterisation that we live in a surveillance society where the state is engaged in a centralised network of collecting and analysing information on the individual.

Anyone actually reading though the detail of the Report, will see that it really supports the premise that the UK is already a Surveillance Society.

See Home Affairs Committee report - A Surveillance Society ? - unenforceable recommendations which the Government will simply ignore

Incredibly, it seems that such Select Committee Reports, published in public, cannot be quoted, even in passing, in a Court of Law or a Tribunal, because that somehow infringes on the freedom of speech of Members of Parliament , according to the 1689 Bill of Rights - see:

Increasingly, the contents of the Select Committee report are leaked or briefed to the mainstream media, before its official publication. Such favoured media outlets are then either fed a line, or manage to draw the wrong conclusions.

Yesterday, for example, The Daily Telegraph managed to claim that

New internet watchdog to police Facebook

Internet users will be protected from abusive bloggers and malicious Facebook postings under proposals to set up an independent internet watchdog, The Daily Telegraph has learnt.

By Nicole Martin, Digital and Media Correspondent
Last Updated: 1:27AM BST 30 Jul 2008

The body, made up of industry representatives, would be responsible for drawing up guidelines that social networking sites, the blogosphere, website owners and search engines would be expected to follow

[...]

Naturally, any suggestion of Yet Another Government Quango to attempt to suppress the free speech of bloggers, has understandably provoked a reaction against this stupid idea.
e.g.

However, when you actually read the Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Report into Harmful content on the Internet and in video games, it only mentions "blogs" once, in passing, concentrating on various worthy Child Protection chat forum monitoring schemes etc.

The Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph are, somewhat belatedly, gleefully reporting the "outing" of a military fantasist by habituées of he British Army Rumour Service website, which happened a couple of months back back in April, - see their ARSSEpedia wiki page on Jim McAuley

See

There always have been such military fantasists, some who have never been in the military atl, and some who, like Jim McAuley exaggerate their military career. ARSSE even has a tongue in cheek wiki page "bluffers guide" which helps others to detect them or, which might help potential fantasists to spin a more convincing yarn - Walting With Confidence ("walt" as in Walter Mitty)

Jim McAuley has resigned from his current military job as a cadet force instructor, and made an apology.

A fantasist has been caught making a fool of himself in public, and has apologised. All well and good.

So why is this story rather troubling to Spy Blog ?

These two mainstream media publications have lifted text and pictures without attribution and without linking to the online URLs .of the sources for this story. What does that say about the standards and ethics of professional "investigative" journalists, compared with bloggers ?

The Daily Telegraph have also, to their utter discredit, published Jim McAuley's full home address.

Exactly what crime did Jim McAuley commit ? None.

What harm did he do, to anyone or anything but his own reputation ? None.

Where is the overwhelming public interest in publishing his home address ? None.

Being an Army Cadet Force instructor may be a minor, low level military job, but that still made him a current "member of Her Majesty's forces". Nobody disputes that he did actually serve as a member of the Army Catering Corp.

One of the Clauses of the Counter-Terrorism Bill currently going through Parliament, and which has been over shadowed by the "42 days" furore, is Clause 83:

83 Offences relating to information about members of armed forces etc

(1) After section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000 (c. 11) (collection of information)

insert--

"58A Eliciting, publishing or communicating information about members of armed forces etc

(1) A person commits an offence who--

(a) elicits or attempts to elicit information about an individual who is or has been--

(i) a member of Her Majesty's forces,
(ii) a member of any of the intelligence services, or
(iii) a constable,

which is of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, or

(b) publishes or communicates any such information.

(2) It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under this section
to prove that they had a reasonable excuse for their action.

(3) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable--

(a) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or to a fine, or to both;

(b) on summary conviction--

(i) in England and Wales or Scotland, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, or to both;

(ii) in Northern Ireland, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, or to both.

(4) In this section "the intelligence services" means the Security Service, the Secret Intelligence Service and GCHQ (within the meaning of section 3 of the Intelligence Services Act 1994 (c. 13)).

[...]"

Remember that even if you are not charged or convicted under this section, but simply arrested, you will suffer the humiliation of being fingerprinted and DNA sampled and will be tagged as a "suspected terrorist" for the rest of your life, on "intelligence databases" which will be secretly shared with foreign governments, without the full context of the incident being recorded.

Even if you have a "reasonable excuse" defence under subsection (2), that is too late, it only applies once you are facing prosecution in court, it will not prevent you from being arrested in the first place.

There are some Obvious Questions about this Clause 83:

  1. What is the justification for a 10 year prison sentence, just for information about current or former military personnel, intelligence service personnel or police constables, when the existing Terrorism Section 58 already has a penalty of up to 7 years in prison for "any" information ?

  2. Is this proposed legislation a tacit admission by the Home Office, that the conviction of the mentally sub-normal mentally sub-normal Abu Baker Mansha , who was given 6years in prison for possession of the name and a partial (out of date) address of a serving war hero, scribbled on a copy of The Sun newspaper, was, perhaps, not legally sound ?

  3. How many thousands of years in prison, do those people who individually and collectively contributed to the loss of the unencrypted military recruitment database, on a stolen laptop computer, which put the names and addresses of over 1 million people, including hundreds of thousands of military recruits and their families, at risk ? - see the Spy Blog category archive - MoD security and privacy breach

  4. The Daily Telegraph was obviously wrong to publish Jim McAuley's home address in the story above, but should the newspaper staff really be facing 10 years in prison and / or an unlimited fine for doing so ?

  5. Should the British Army Rumour Service bloggers and discussion forum members etc. really also be facing facing 10 years in prison and / or an unlimited fine ?

  6. Clause 83 makes no legal distinction between a current member of the SAS or other Special Forces, or of members of the Royal Family (several of whom are former or current military officers) and a former member of the Army Catering Corps - why are they are all covered equally ?

  7. Will this clause be abused by jobsworths, who will then try to restrict photography in public places of any Police constables or military personnel ?

    N.B. Police Community Support Officers are not sworn Police Constables.

  8. Will this clause have an unintended effect on voluntary organisations and charities, which help to look after former military people e.g. the Royal British Legion etc. ? Will the act of compiling membership lists, or taking group photographs of "old comrades" commemorations now be chilled ?

  9. Will there be a chilling effect on the authorship and publication of military history and memoirs ?

  10. Will there be a chilling effect on specialist publications like, say, Eye Spy Magazine, or the mainstream media in general ?

  11. Could this clause be used, perhaps in the future, to help to suppress any criticism of the military, intelligence agencies or the Police, by bloggers ?

There is no need for this Counter-Terrorism Bill 2008 Clause 83, and it should be dropped from the Bill.

Ideally the whole of the Terrorism Act 2000 Section 58 should be repealed, we should not be prosecuting people for "Thought Crimes" or for scientific or engineering knowledge, but only for actual possession of weapons, explosives, firearms or money etc. with a clear terrorist intent. At the very least, there should be a Statutory Code of Practice which clearly prevents Section 58t from being used to legally threaten or harass photographers, journalists, bloggers, historians, or biographers who write about military or intelligence or police matters, or anybody with relevant scientific or engineering training and knowledge.

Photography does NOT equal Terrorism

|

Photography_equals_Terrorism_poster_Met_Police_HQ_London_min.jpg

This example of the Suspiciously timed Climate of Fear propaganda campaign by the Police in the run up to the Counter-Terrorism Bill debates is actually being displayed in a window of the Metropolitan Police Service headquarters complex at New Scotland Yard, which backs onto Victoria Street. The angle of the photo catches a reflection of the Labour Party headquarters, casting its malign influence, on this stupid political Climate of Fear propaganda against innocent photographers,and mobile phone users.

Met_Police_HQ_opposite_Labour_Party_HQ_min.jpg

39 Victoria Street, London, houses the Labour Party headquarters offices, but the building also houses offices of one of Aegis Defence Services Ltd, one of the largest UK Private Military Contractor companies supplying mercenaries (mostly intelligence analysts rather than bodyguards) to the Coalition Forces in Iraq.

Close nearby at 25 Victoria Street, above the Starbucks cafe (hidden behind the white coach in this photo), on the corner of Victoria Street and Abbey Orchard Street, towards Parliament Square, are the offices of the Conservative Party. [UPDATE - thanks to Sepoy Agent in the comments below - this is the former location, it has now moved to the 3rd floor of 30 Millbank, and part of the 5th floor of the neighbouring Millbank Tower (20 - 24 Millbank). The Labour Party used to occupy a couple of floors on the south side of the complex, and used the ground floor lecture theatre for election campaign press conferences, but did not occupy the 33 story tower itself, which has excellent panoramic views over London. Walking from there to the Houses of Parliament involves passing the Security Service MI5 headquarters at Thames House at 11 - 12 Millbank, and 4 Millbank, where the BBC and other TV news and political reports are produced]

Pedestrians and vehicles passing through this area, are monitored by countless inhuman CCTV camera systems, or by faceless operators in CCTV control rooms.

Keen photographer and back bench Labour MP Austin Mitchell has attracted the signatures of 190 other Members of Parliament for his Early Day Motion, regarding the illegal threats and harassment by officious police officers, police community support officers, council wardens and private sector security guards etc., who are abusing the freedoms and rights of ordinary innocent members of the public who take photographs in public places:

About this blog

This United Kingdom based blog attempts to draw public attention to, and comments on, some of the current trends in ever cheaper and more widespread surveillance technology being deployed to satisfy the rapacious demand by state and corporate bureaucracies and criminals for your private details, and the technological ignorance of our politicians and civil servants who frame our legal systems.

The hope is that you the readers, will help to insist that strong safeguards for the privacy of the individual are implemented, especially in these times of increased alert over possible terrorist or criminal activity. If the systems which should help to protect us can be easily abused to supress our freedoms, then the terrorists will have won.

We know that there are decent, honest, trustworthy individual politicians, civil servants, law enforcement, intelligence agency personnel and broadcast, print and internet journalists etc., who often feel powerless or trapped in the system. They need the assistance of external, detailed, informed, public scrutiny to help them to resist deliberate or unthinking policies, which erode our freedoms and liberties.

Email & PGP Contact

Please feel free to email your views about this blog, or news about the issues it tries to comment on.

blog@spy[dot]org[dot]uk

Our PGP public encryption key is available for those correspondents who wish to send us news or information in confidence, and also for those of you who value your privacy, even if you have got nothing to hide.

Current PGP Key ID: 0xA165A29480CFAA4C which will expire on 6th September 2014.

pgp-now.gif
You can download a free copy of the PGP encryption software from www.pgpi.org
(available for most of the common computer operating systems, and also in various Open Source versions like GPG)

We look forward to the day when UK Government Legislation, Press Releases and Emails etc. are Digitally Signed so that we can be assured that they are not fakes. Trusting that the digitally signed content makes any sense, is another matter entirely.

Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers and Political Dissidents

Please take the appropriate precautions if you are planning to blow the whistle on shadowy and powerful people in Government or commerce, and their dubious policies. The mainstream media and bloggers also need to take simple precautions to help preserve the anonymity of their sources e.g. see Spy Blog's Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers - or use this easier to remember link: http://ht4w.co.uk

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

Digital Security & Privacy for Human Rights Defenders manual, by Irish NGO Frontline Defenders.

Everyone’s Guide to By-Passing Internet Censorship for Citizens Worldwide (.pdf - 31 pages), by the Citizenlab at the University of Toronto.

Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents - March 2008 version - (2.2 Mb - 80 pages .pdf) by Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Guide to Covering the Beijing Olympics by Human Rights Watch.

A Practical Security Handbook for Activists and Campaigns (v 2.6) (.doc - 62 pages), by experienced UK direct action political activists

Anonymous Blogging with Wordpress & Tor - useful step by step guide with software configuration screenshots by Ethan Zuckerman at Global Voices Advocacy. (updated March 10th 2009 with the latest Tor / Vidalia bundle details)

Links

Watching Them, Watching Us

London 2600

Our UK Freedom of Information Act request tracking blog

WikiLeak.org - ethical and technical discussion about the WikiLeaks.org project for anonymous mass leaking of documents etc.

Privacy and Security

Privacy International
United Kingdom Privacy Profile (2011)

Cryptome - censored or leaked government documents etc.

Identity Project report by the London School of Economics
Surveillance & Society the fully peer-reviewed transdisciplinary online surveillance studies journal

Statewatch - monitoring the state and civil liberties in the European Union

The Policy Laundering Project - attempts by Governments to pretend their repressive surveillance systems, have to be introduced to comply with international agreements, which they themselves have pushed for in the first place

International Campaign Against Mass Surveillance

ARCH Action Rights for Children in Education - worried about the planned Children's Bill Database, Connexions Card, fingerprinting of children, CCTV spy cameras in schools etc.

Foundation for Information Policy Research
UK Crypto - UK Cryptography Policy Discussion Group email list

Technical Advisory Board on internet and telecomms interception under RIPA

European Digital Rights

Open Rights Group - a UK version of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a clearinghouse to raise digital rights and civil liberties issues with the media and to influence Governments.

Digital Rights Ireland - legal case against mandatory EU Comms Data Retention etc.

Blindside - "What’s going to go wrong in our e-enabled world? " blog and wiki and Quarterly Report will supposedly be read by the Cabinet Office Central Sponsor for Information Assurance. Whether the rest of the Government bureaucracy and the Politicians actually listen to the CSIA, is another matter.

Biometrics in schools - 'A concerned parent who doesn't want her children to live in "1984" type society.'

Human Rights

Liberty Human Rights campaigners

British Institute of Human Rights
Amnesty International
Justice

Prevent Genocide International

asboconcern - campaign for reform of Anti-Social Behavior Orders

Front Line Defenders - Irish charity - Defenders of Human Rights Defenders

Internet Censorship

OpenNet Initiative - researches and measures the extent of actual state level censorship of the internet. Features a blocked web URL checker and censorship map.

Committee to Protect Bloggers - "devoted to the protection of bloggers worldwide with a focus on highlighting the plight of bloggers threatened and imprisoned by their government."

Reporters without Borders internet section - news of internet related censorship and repression of journalists, bloggers and dissidents etc.

Judicial Links

British and Irish Legal Information Institute - publishes the full text of major case Judgments

Her Majesty's Courts Service - publishes forthcoming High Court etc. cases (but only in the next few days !)

House of Lords - The Law Lords are currently the supreme court in the UK - will be moved to the new Supreme Court in October 2009.

Information Tribunal - deals with appeals under FOIA, DPA both for and against the Information Commissioner

Investigatory Powers Tribunal - deals with complaints about interception and snooping under RIPA - has almost never ruled in favour of a complainant.

Parliamentary Opposition

The incompetent yet authoritarian Labour party have not apologised for their time in Government. They are still not providing any proper Opposition to the current Conservative - Liberal Democrat coalition government, on any freedom or civil liberties or privacy or surveillance issues.

UK Government

Home Office - "Not fit for purpose. It is inadequate in terms of its scope, it is inadequate in terms of its information technology, leadership, management systems and processes" - Home Secretary John Reid. 23rd May 2006. Not quite the fount of all evil legislation in the UK, but close.

No. 10 Downing Street Prime Minister's Official Spindoctors

Public Bills before Parliament

United Kingdom Parliament
Home Affairs Committee of the House of Commons.

House of Commons "Question Book"

UK Statute Law Database - is the official revised edition of the primary legislation of the United Kingdom made available online, but it is not yet up to date.

FaxYourMP - identify and then fax your Member of Parliament
WriteToThem - identify and then contact your Local Councillors, members of devolved assemblies, Member of Parliament, Members of the European Parliament etc.
They Work For You - House of Commons Hansard made more accessible ? UK Members of the European Parliament

Read The Bills Act - USA proposal to force politicians to actually read the legislation that they are voting for, something which is badly needed in the UK Parliament.

Bichard Inquiry delving into criminal records and "soft intelligence" policies highlighted by the Soham murders. (taken offline by the Home Office)

ACPO - Association of Chief Police Officers - England, Wales and Northern Ireland
ACPOS Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland

Online Media

Boing Boing

Need To Know [now defunct]

The Register

NewsNow Encryption and Security aggregate news feed
KableNet - UK Government IT project news
PublicTechnology.net - UK eGovernment and public sector IT news
eGov Monitor

Ideal Government - debate about UK eGovernment

NIR and ID cards

Stand - email and fax campaign on ID Cards etc. [Now defunct]. The people who supported stand.org.uk have gone on to set up other online tools like WriteToThem.com. The Government's contemptuous dismissal of over 5,000 individual responses via the stand.org website to the Home Office public consultation on Entitlement Cards is one of the factors which later led directly to the formation of the the NO2ID Campaign who have been marshalling cross party opposition to Labour's dreadful National Identity Register compulsory centralised national biometric database and ID Card plans, at the expense of simpler, cheaper, less repressive, more effective, nore secure and more privacy friendly alternative identity schemes.

NO2ID - opposition to the Home Office's Compulsory Biometric ID Card
NO2ID bulletin board discussion forum

Home Office Identity Cards website
No compulsory national Identity Cards (ID Cards) BBC iCan campaign site
UK ID Cards blog
NO2ID press clippings blog
CASNIC - Campaign to STOP the National Identity Card.
Defy-ID active meetings and protests in Glasgow
www.idcards-uk.info - New Alliance's ID Cards page
irefuse.org - total rejection of any UK ID Card

International Civil Aviation Organisation - Machine Readable Travel Documents standards for Biometric Passports etc.
Anti National ID Japan - controversial and insecure Jukinet National ID registry in Japan
UK Biometrics Working Group run by CESG/GCHQ experts etc. the UK Government on Biometrics issues feasability
Citizen Information Project feasability study population register plans by the Treasury and Office of National Statistics

CommentOnThis.com - comments and links to each paragraph of the Home Office's "Strategic Action Plan for the National Identity Scheme".

De-Materialised ID - "The voluntary alternative to material ID cards, A Proposal by David Moss of Business Consultancy Services Ltd (BCSL)" - well researched analysis of the current Home Office scheme, and a potentially viable alternative.

Surveillance Infrastructures

National Roads Telecommunications Services project - infrastruture for various mass surveillance systems, CCTV, ANPR, PMMR imaging etc.

CameraWatch - independent UK CCTV industry lobby group - like us, they also want more regulation of CCTV surveillance systems.

Every Step You Take a documentary about CCTV surveillance in the Uk by Austrian film maker Nino Leitner.

Transport for London an attempt at a technological panopticon - London Congestion Charge, London Low-Emission Zone, Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras, tens of thousands of CCTV cameras on buses, thousands of CCTV cameras on London Underground, realtime road traffic CCTV, Iyster smart cards - all handed over to the Metropolitan Police for "national security" purposes, in real time, in bulk, without any public accountibility, for secret data mining, exempt from even the usual weak protections of the Data Protection Act 1998.

RFID Links

RFID tag privacy concerns - our own original article updated with photos

NoTags - campaign against individual item RFID tags
Position Statement on the Use of RFID on Consumer Products has been endorsed by a large number of privacy and human rights organisations.
RFID Privacy Happenings at MIT
Surpriv: RFID Surveillance and Privacy
RFID Scanner blog
RFID Gazette
The Sorting Door Project

RFIDBuzz.com blog - where we sometimes crosspost RFID articles

Genetic Links

DNA Profiles - analysis by Paul Nutteing
GeneWatch UK monitors genetic privacy and other issues
Postnote February 2006 Number 258 - National DNA Database (.pdf) - Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology

The National DNA Database Annual Report 2004/5 (.pdf) - published by the NDNAD Board and ACPO.

Eeclaim Your DNA from Britain's National DNA Database - model letters and advice on how to have your DNA samples and profiles removed from the National DNA Database,in spite of all of the nureacratic obstacles which try to prevent this, even if you are innocent.

Miscellanous Links

Michael Field - Pacific Island news - no longer a paradise
freetotravel.org - John Gilmore versus USA internal flight passports and passenger profiling etc.

The BUPA Seven - whistleblowers badly let down by the system.

Tax Credit Overpayment - the near suicidal despair inflicted on poor, vulnerable people by the then Chancellor Gordon Brown's disasterous Inland Revenue IT system.

Fassit UK - resources and help for those abused by the Social Services Childrens Care bureaucracy

Former Spies

MI6 v Tomlinson - Richard Tomlinson - still being harassed by his former employer MI6

Martin Ingram, Welcome To The Dark Side - former British Army Intelligence operative in Northern Ireland.

Operation Billiards - Mitrokhin or Oshchenko ? Michael John Smith - seeking to overturn his Official Secrets Act conviction in the GEC case.

The Dirty Secrets of MI5 & MI6 - Tony Holland, Michael John Smith and John Symond - stories and chronologies.

Naked Spygirl - Olivia Frank

Blog Links

e-nsecure.net blog - Comments on IT security and Privacy or the lack thereof.
Rat's Blog -The Reverend Rat writes about London street life and technology
Duncan Drury - wired adventures in Tanzania & London
Dr. K's blog - Hacker, Author, Musician, Philosopher

David Mery - falsely arrested on the London Tube - you could be next.

James Hammerton
White Rose - a thorn in the side of Big Brother
Big Blunkett
Into The Machine - formerly "David Blunkett is an Arse" by Charlie Williams and Scribe
infinite ideas machine - Phil Booth
Louise Ferguson - City of Bits
Chris Lightfoot
Oblomovka - Danny O'Brien

Liberty Central

dropsafe - Alec Muffett
The Identity Corner - Stefan Brands
Kim Cameron - Microsoft's Identity Architect
Schneier on Security - Bruce Schneier
Politics of Privacy Blog - Andreas Busch
solarider blog

Richard Allan - former Liberal Democrat MP for Sheffield Hallam
Boris Johnson Conservative MP for Henley
Craig Murray - former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan, "outsourced torture" whistleblower

Howard Rheingold - SmartMobs
Global Guerrillas - John Robb
Roland Piquepaille's Technology Trends

Vmyths - debunking computer security hype

Nick Leaton - Random Ramblings
The Periscope - Companion weblog to Euro-correspondent.com journalist network.
The Practical Nomad Blog Edward Hasbrouck on Privacy and Travel
Policeman's Blog
World Weary Detective

Martin Stabe
Longrider
B2fxxx - Ray Corrigan
Matt Sellers
Grits for Breakfast - Scott Henson in Texas
The Green Ribbon - Tom Griffin
Guido Fawkes blog - Parliamentary plots, rumours and conspiracy.
The Last Ditch - Tom Paine
Murky.org
The (e)State of Tim - Tim Hicks
Ilkley Against CCTV
Tim Worstall
Bill's Comment Page - Bill Cameron
The Society of Qualified Archivists
The Streeb-Greebling Diaries - Bob Mottram

Your Right To Know - Heather Brooke - Freedom off Information campaigning journalist

Ministry of Truth _ Unity's V for Vendetta styled blog.

Bloggerheads - Tim Ireland

W. David Stephenson blogs on homeland security et al.
EUrophobia - Nosemonkey

Blogzilla - Ian Brown

BlairWatch - Chronicling the demise of the New Labour Project

dreamfish - Robert Longstaff

Informaticopia - Rod Ward

War-on-Freedom

The Musings of Harry

Chicken Yoghurt - Justin McKeating

The Red Tape Chronicles - Bob Sullivan MSNBC

Campaign Against the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Stop the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Rob Wilton's esoterica

panGloss - Innovation, Technology and the Law

Arch Rights - Action on Rights for Children blog

Database Masterclass - frequently asked questions and answers about the several centralised national databases of children in the UK.

Shaphan

Moving On

Steve Moxon blog - former Home Office whistleblower and author.

Al-Muhajabah's Sundries - anglophile blog

Architectures of Control in Design - Dan Lockton

rabenhorst - Kai Billen (mostly in German)

Nearly Perfect Privacy - Tiffany and Morpheus

Iain Dale's Diary - a popular Conservative political blog

Brit Watch - Public Surveillance in the UK - Web - Email - Databases - CCTV - Telephony - RFID - Banking - DNA

BLOGDIAL

MySecured.com - smart mobile phone forensics, information security, computer security and digital forensics by a couple of Australian researchers

Ralph Bendrath

Financial Cryptography - Ian Grigg et al.

UK Liberty - A blog on issues relating to liberty in the UK

Big Brother State - "a small act of resistance" to the "sustained and systematic attack on our personal freedom, privacy and legal system"

HosReport - "Crisis. Conspiraciones. Enigmas. Conflictos. Espionaje." - Carlos Eduardo Hos (in Spanish)

"Give 'em hell Pike!" - Frank Fisher

Corruption-free Anguilla - Good Governance and Corruption in Public Office Issues in the British Overseas Territory of Anguilla in the West Indies - Don Mitchell CBE QC

geeklawyer - intellectual property, civil liberties and the legal system

PJC Journal - I am not a number, I am a free Man - The Prisoner

Charlie's Diary - Charlie Stross

The Caucus House - blog of the Chicago International Model United Nations

Famous for 15 Megapixels

Postman Patel

The 4th Bomb: Tavistock Sq Daniel's 7:7 Revelations - Daniel Obachike

OurKingdom - part of OpenDemocracy - " will discuss Britain’s nations, institutions, constitution, administration, liberties, justice, peoples and media and their principles, identity and character"

Beau Bo D'Or blog by an increasingly famous digital political cartoonist.

Between Both Worlds - "Thoughts & Ideas that Reflect the Concerns of Our Conscious Evolution" - Kingsley Dennis

Bloggerheads: The Alisher Usmanov Affair - the rich Uzbek businessman and his shyster lawyers Schillings really made a huge counterproductive error in trying to censor the blogs of Tim Ireland, of all people.

Matt Wardman political blog analysis

Henry Porter on Liberty - a leading mainstream media commentator and opinion former who is doing more than most to help preserve our freedom and liberty.

HMRC is shite - "dedicated to the taxpayers of Britain, and the employees of the HMRC, who have to endure the monumental shambles that is Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC)."

Head of Legal - Carl Gardner a former legal advisor to the Government

The Landed Underclass - Voice of the Banana Republic of Great Britain

Henrik Alexandersson - Swedish blogger threatened with censorship by the Försvarets Radioanstalt (FRA), the Swedish National Defence Radio Establishement, their equivalent of the UK GCHQ or the US NSA.

World's First Fascist Democracy - blog with link to a Google map - "This map is an attempt to take a UK wide, geographical view, of both the public and the personal effect of State sponsored fear and distrust as seen through the twisted technological lens of petty officials and would be bureaucrats nationwide."

Blogoir - Charles Crawford - former UK Ambassodor to Poland etc.

No CCTV - The Campaign against CCTV

Barcode Nation - keeping two eyes on the database state.

Lords of the Blog - group blog by half a dozen or so Peers sitting in the House of Lords.

notes from the ubiquitous surveillance society - blog by Dr. David Murakami Wood, editor of the online academic journal Surveillance and Society

Justin Wylie's political blog

Panopticon blog - by Timothy Pitt-Payne and Anya Proops. Timothy Pitt-Payne is probably the leading legal expert on the UK's Freedom of Information Act law, often appearing on behlaf of the Information Commissioner's Office at the Information Tribunal.

Armed and Dangerous - Sex, software, politics, and firearms. Life’s simple pleasures… - by Open Source Software advocate Eric S. Raymond.

Georgetown Security Law Brief - group blog by the Georgetown Law Center on National Security and the Law , at Georgtown University, Washington D.C, USA.

Big Brother Watch - well connected with the mainstream media, this is a campaign blog by the TaxPayersAlliance, which thankfully does not seem to have spawned Yet Another Campaign Organisation as many Civil Liberties groups had feared.

Spy on Moseley - "Sparkbrook, Springfield, Washwood Heath and Bordesley Green. An MI5 Intelligence-gathering operation to spy on Muslim communities in Birmingham is taking liberties in every sense" - about 150 ANPR CCTV cameras funded by Home Office via the secretive Terrorism and Allied Matters (TAM) section of ACPO.

FitWatch blog - keeps an eye on the activities of some of the controversial Police Forward Intelligence Teams, who supposedly only target "known troublemakers" for photo and video surveillance, at otherwise legal, peaceful protests and demonstrations.

Other Links

Spam Huntress - The Norwegian Spam Huntress - Ann Elisabeth

Fuel Crisis Blog - Petrol over £1 per litre ! Protest !
Mayor of London Blog
London Olympics 2012 - NO !!!!

Cool Britannia

NuLabour

Free Gary McKinnon - UK citizen facing extradition to the USA for "hacking" over 90 US Military computer systems.

Parliament Protest - information and discussion on peaceful resistance to the arbitrary curtailment of freedom of assembly and freedom of speech, in the excessive Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 Designated Area around Parliament Square in London.

Brian Burnell's British / US nuclear weapons history at http://nuclear-weapons.info

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Recent Comments

  • wtwu: @ bbuckle - under section 44 of the Terrorism Act read more
  • bbuckle: I understand that a person stopped under section 44 does read more
  • Not A CCTV Fan: Surely the claim that taking photographs that might aid terrorists read more
  • wtwu: @ Gary S - you are correct, the PCSO exceeded read more
  • Gary S: A PSCO stopped me from taking photos of the outside read more
  • wtwu: @ Sepoy Agent - you are correct, of course - read more
  • Sepoy Agent: Not to detract from what you say, but the Conservative read more
  • wtwu: @ Edward - there is the whole disconnect between what read more
  • wtwu: @ Edward - there is a 2 page .pdf available read more
  • Edward Teague: 2nd thoughts - yr post could form the useful basis read more

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UK Legislation

The United Kingdom suffers from tens of thousands of pages of complicated criminal laws, and thousands of new, often unenforceable criminal offences, which have been created as a "Pretend to be Seen to Be Doing Something" response to tabloid media hype and hysteria, and political social engineering dogmas. These overbroad, catch-all laws, which remove the scope for any judicial appeals process, have been rubber stamped, often without being read, let alone properly understood, by Members of Parliament.

The text of many of these Acts of Parliament are now online, but it is still too difficult for most people, including the police and criminal justice system, to work out the cumulative effect of all the amendments, even for the most serious offences involving national security or terrorism or serious crime.

Many MPs do not seem to bother to even to actually read the details of the legislation which they vote to inflict on us.

UK Legislation Links

UK Statute Law Database - is the official revised edition of the primary legislation of the United Kingdom made available online, but it is not yet up to date.

UK Commissioners

UK Commissioners some of whom are meant to protect your privacy and investigate abuses by the bureaucrats.

UK Intelligence Agencies

Intelligence and Security Committee - the supposedly independent Parliamentary watchdog which issues an annual, heavily censored Report every year or so. Currently chaired by the Conservative Sir Malcolm Rifkind. Why should either the intelligence agencies or the public trust this committee, when the untrustworthy ex-Labour Minister Hazel Blears is a member ?

Anti-terrorism hotline - links removed in protest at the Climate of Fear propaganda posters

MI5 Security Service
MI5 Security Service - links to encrypted reporting form removed in protest at the Climate of Fear propaganda posters

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Secure Your Fertiliser - advice on ammonium nitrate and urea fertiliser security

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Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure - "CPNI provides expert advice to the critical national infrastructure on physical, personnel and information security, to protect against terrorism and other threats."

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Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) recruitment.

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Government Communications Headquarters GCHQ

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Serious Organised Crime Agency - have cut themselves off from direct contact with the public and businesses - no phone - no email

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Defence Advisory (DA) Notice system - voluntary self censorship by the established UK press and broadcast media regarding defence and intelligence topics via the Defence, Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee.

Foreign Spies / Intelliegence Agencies in the UK

It is not just the UK government which tries to snoop on British companies, organisations and individuals, the rest of the world is constantly trying to do the same, regardless of the mixed efforts of our own UK Intelligence Agencies who are paid to supposedly protect us from them.

For no good reason, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office only keeps the current version of the London Diplomatic List of accredited Diplomats (including some Foreign Intelligence Agency operatives) online.

Presumably every mainstream media organisation, intelligence agency, serious organised crime or terrorist gang keeps historical copies, so here are some older versions of the London Diplomatic List, for the benefit of web search engine queries, for those people who do not want their visits to appear in the FCO web server logfiles or those whose censored internet feeds block access to UK Government websites.

Campaign Button Links

Watching Them, Watching Us - UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign
UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign

NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card
NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card and National Identity Register centralised database.

Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.
Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.

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FreeFarid.com - Kafkaesque extradition of Farid Hilali under the European Arrest Warrant to Spain

Peaceful resistance to the curtailment of our rights to Free Assembly and Free Speech in the SOCPA Designated Area around Parliament Square and beyond
Parliament Protest blog - resistance to the Designated Area restricting peaceful demonstrations or lobbying in the vicinity of Parliament.

Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans
Data Retention is No Solution - Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans.

Save Parliament: Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)
Save Parliament - Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)

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Open Rights Group

The Big Opt Out Campaign - opt out of having your NHS Care Record medical records and personal details stored insecurely on a massive national centralised database.

Tor - the onion routing network
Tor - the onion routing network - "Tor aims to defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal anonymity and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security. Communications are bounced around a distributed network of servers called onion routers, protecting you from websites that build profiles of your interests, local eavesdroppers that read your data or learn what sites you visit, and even the onion routers themselves."

Tor - the onion routing network
Anonymous Blogging with Wordpress and Tor - useful Guide published by Global Voices Advocacy with step by step software configuration screenshots (updated March 10th 2009).

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Amnesty International's irrepressible.info campaign

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BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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NGO in a box - Security Edition privacy and security software tools

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Home Office Watch blog, "a single repository of all the shambolic errors and mistakes made by the British Home Office compiled from Parliamentary Questions, news reports, and tip-offs by the Liberal Democrat Home Affairs team."

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Reporters Without Borders - Reporters Sans Frontières - campaign for journalists 'and bloggers' freedom in repressive countries and war zones.

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Committee to Protect Bloggers - "devoted to the protection of bloggers worldwide with a focus on highlighting the plight of bloggers threatened and imprisoned by their government."

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Icelanders are NOT terrorists ! - despite Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling's use of anti-terrorism legislation to seize the assets of Icelandic banks.

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No CCTV - The Campaign Against CCTV

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I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist !

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Power 2010 cross party, political reform campaign

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Cracking the Black Box - "aims to expose technology that is being used in inappropriate ways. We hope to bring together the insights of experts and whistleblowers to shine a light into the dark recesses of systems that are responsible for causing many of the privacy problems faced by millions of people."

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Open Rights Group - Petition against the renewal of the Interception Modernisation Programme

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WhistleblowersUK.org - Fighting for justice for whistleblowers