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

Even whilst MPs and Lords were being fobbed off in Parliament last Thursday 12th June by Government Ministers, after the Joint Intelligence Committee Top Secret papers were left on a train, regarding the lax and arrogant culture of "these rules and procedures do not apply to me personally", which seems to be endemic amongst senior civil servants in central Whitehall departments, there was Yet Another Example which threatened to give intelligence assistance to enemy terrorists and organised criminals and to unfriendly or evil nation states.

Exclusive: New batch of terror files left on train

IoS returns confidential documents to Treasury as officials promise to tighten procedures

By Simon Evans and Margareta Pagano
Sunday, 15 June 2008

Secret government documents detailing the UK's policies towards fighting global terrorist funding, drugs trafficking and money laundering have been found on a London-bound train and handed to 'The Independent on Sunday'.

The government papers, left on a train destined for Waterloo station, on Wednesday, contain criticism of countries such as Iran that are signed up to the global Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental body created to combat financial crime and the financing of terrorism.

is an organisation of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The confidential files outline how the trade and banking systems can be manipulated to finance illicit weapons of mass destruction in Iran. They spell out methods to fund terrorists, and address the potential fraud of commercial websites and international internet payment systems. The files also highlight the weakness of HM Revenue & Customs' (HMRC) IT systems, which track financial fraud.

The Independent on Sunday has returned the documents, and will divulge no details contained in them.

[...]

Alistair Darling, the Chancellor, who is in Japan at the G8 meeting, has been told of the latest debacle, and his department insists steps are being taken to tighten security procedures.

Last night, a spokesman said the Treasury regretted the latest incident: "We are extremely concerned about what has happened and will be taking steps to ensure it doesn't happen in the future."

[...]

They may be "extremely concerned" that they have been found out in public, but there is no evidence that they are capable of really , effectively, "taking steps to ensure it doesn't happen in the future".

All the same Obvious Questions we asked in our previous blog article apply to this case as well.

See Top Secret Joint Intelligence Committee current intelligence assessments left on a train

How many sensitive Government documents are being taken out of their physically secure office locations, and although they are not being lost, they are simply being copied illegally ?

There needs to be some criminal prosecutions of senior Whitehall civil servants responsible for allowing this culture of sloppy data security to infect the senior echelons of Whitehall.

One or more Labour Government Ministers should do the honourable thing and resign from office over this latest data security disaster., which is symptomatic of systematic failures in management, training and data security technology resources.

If all we get is Yet Another Review, then that will be an insult to the general public, and to the majority of conscientious and honest civil servants.


On Thursday, the High Court made a Judgment in the case of 5 anonymous people who have been subjected to the Treasury's bureaucratic nightmare of financial asset freezing.

Read the text of the Judgment on the British and Irish Legal Information Institute website:

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2008/869.html

Neutral Citation Number: [2008] EWHC 869 (Admin)
Case No: PTA 13, 14, 15, 17 & 19/2007

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE
QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
ADMINISTRATIVE COURT

Royal Courts of Justice
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
24 April 2008

B e f o r e :

Mr Justice Collins

____________________
Between:
A, K, M, Q & G
Applicants
- and -

H.M. Treasury
Respondent

________________

Essentially the Judge has ruled that the two Asset Freezing financial sanctions Orders in Council should be quashed, but leaving room for such sanctions to be properly imposed via an Act of Parliament.

Presumably there will be some new clauses added to the Counter-terrorism Bill 2007-2008, currently oozing its way through Parliament at the moment.

The well informed, or well briefed or leaked to, David Leppard in the Sunday Times has a story about Serious Organised Crime investigations, which does not bother to mention the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA)

The Sunday Times January 07, 2007

Taxman to get bugging and phone-tap powers

David Leppard

TAX inspectors are to be given new powers allowing them to tap taxpayers' telephones and plant bugs inside their homes and offices.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) says its inspectors need such covert surveillance to tackle the growing threat from organised and white-collar crime.

SOCA started to be set up two and a half years ago, and became fully operational in April 2006. It specifically combined the investigative branch of what was then Her Majesty's Customs and Excise, with the National Crime Squad and the National Criminal Intelligence Service, and is supposed to be targeting Serious Organised crime, including money laundering etc.

It has all the possible powers of secret surveillance of every sort permitted under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 e.g. intrusive planting of electronic bugging devices in premises (which may involve actually breaking into them in secret), tracking devices in vehicles, interception of phone calls, emails, internet access, letter and parcel post, communications traffic data etc, as well as powers of search, arrest, and even financial assets seizure via the Assets Recovery Agency.

What possible excuse is there for the renamed, merged Her Majesty's Customs and Revenue, to demand such powers for tax inspectors, under the pretext of tackling "organised crime gangs" ?

HMRC should be supplying SOCA with any necessary tax records, after appropriate permission has been sought and authorised, and they should leave the investigation of such gangs to SOCA, who are probably also investigating the very same people for drugs smuggling or human trafficking crimes etc.

If HMRC and SOCA are not working together efficiently, then senior heads need to roll.

If the tax evasion investigation is not serious enough to justify the involvement of SOCA, then it is not serious enough to justify intrusive surveillance and electronic or postal interception either.

Remember how NuLabour Chancellor of the Exchequer and Prime Minister in waiting Gordon Brown, is promising to "cut red tape by 25%" ?

We are not convinced - see "More Treasury financial snooping triplicated red tape"

We have, eventually, had a result from our Freedom of information Act request for the

'The Partial Regulatory Impact Assessment mentioned in the Explanatory Notes to Statutory Instrument 2006 No. 2657 The Terrorism (United Nations Measures) Order 2006

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2006/20062657.htm'

We reluctantly submitted this, after failing to get any information from the Treasury website, and from emails and phone calls to the Treasury itself.

See our FOIA blog entry for more details.

The Partial Regulatory Impact Assessment is on-line at:

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/em2006/uksiem_20062657_en.pdf

This document admits that there has been no actual consultation with anybody, and it makes unsubstantiated claims that there will be no impact on, or cost to, for example, small businesses, despite the wording being so catch-all as to encompass every "person" in the United Kingdom, both individuals and corporate entities.

There is no Code of Practice to regulate the use or abuse of such widespread powers to demand financial information. These powers appear to be a way of circumventing the protections and audit trails, such as they are, envisaged in the forthcoming Code of Practice for the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Part III

These powers, and their criminal penalties, have subsequently been duplicated and then triplicated by the two further, almost identical, overlapping Orders, mentioning the Taliban and Al Qaida, and North Korea.

More Treasury financial snooping triplicated red tape

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Gordon Brown is responsible for the mess of red tape regulations which he has inflicted on businesses and their customers here in the United Kingdom.

He seems to have vaguely promised some City of London financiers, to yet again "cut red tape by a quarter".

We do not trust or believe him.

What is the difference between:

Statutory Instrument 2006 No. 2657
The Terrorism (United Nations Measures) Order 2006

Made 10th October 2006
Laid before Parliament 11th October 2006
Coming into force 12th October 2006

and

Statutory Instrument 2006 No. 2952
The Al-Qaida and Taliban (United Nations Measures) Order 2006

Made 14th November 2006
Laid before Parliament 15th November 2006
Coming into force 16th November 2006

and the

Statutory Instrument 2006 No. 2958
The North Korea (United Nations Measures) Order 2006

Made 14th November 2006
Laid before Parliament 15th November 2006
Coming into force 16th November 2006

These three sets of lengthy, immensely powerful financial snooping regulations, introduced without any public consultation, without any independent safeguards, and without detailed Parliamentary scrutiny, seem to largely overlap and add to the burden of complicated bureaucratic red tape being inflicted on us by the "control freak" Chancellor and possible future Prime Minister Gordon Brown

We are still trying to understand the new, unlimited financial records snooping powers which Chancellor Gordon Brown has granted himself, following his Chatham House speech in October.

Statutory Instrument 2006 No. 2657
The Terrorism (United Nations Measures) Order 2006


which was published on the 10th October, and came into force on the 12th October 2006, says, in the Explanatory Notes:

A partial regulatory impact assessment of the effect that this instrument will have on the costs of business may be attained [sic] from the Asset Freezing Unit of the Financial Crime Team, HM Treasury, 1 Horse Guards Road, London SW1A 2HQ and is also available on HM Treasury's website (www.hm-treasury.gov.uk). A copy of the regulatory impact assessment has been placed in the libraries of both Houses of Parliament.

Unfortunately, we can find no reference to this United Nations Measures 2006 Order Partial Regulatory Impact Assessment on the HM Treasury website, and, despite emailing and phoning the Treasury , they have not been forthcoming.

Does the Partial RIA actually exist, or is it still being revised and there was an error in the Explanatory Notes to the Statutory Instrument ?

Why the secrecy ?

Is it to do with the Gordon Brown's evasive answers to questions about SWIFT financial network snooping scandal ?

This Order in Council , which is as long and as complicated as many full Acts of Parliament, and which Parliament did not have the opportunity to scrutinise or debate, was published in the middle of a public consultation:

The Regulation of Money Service Business: A Consultation, September 2006 (.pdf 80 pages)

The Order in Council which Gordon Brown promised in his Chatham House speech, regarding "terrorist finance" has now been published online:

Statutory Instrument 2006 No. 2657
The Terrorism (United Nations Measures) Order 2006

N.B. this Secondary Legislation is as long and as complicated as many a Primary Act of Parliament, and it also includes criminal penalties of up to 7 years in prison, which should surely have been properly debated and amended in Parliament.

The justification for the Order, is compliance with United Nations Security Council resolutions, as implied in the title.

However, the previous Orders referring to such resolutions specifically against the Taliban and Al Qaida, have been revoked by this Order, so this is, in fact a new, infinite General Power, which the NuLabour Government has grabbed for itself, without any debate about the details in Parliament.

Are they also intending to use it to "freeze the financial assets" of Northern Irish terrorists or so called animal rights extremists, since there is nothing whatsoever in this Order to prevent them from doing so ?

A worrying aspect of this Order is that according to Schedule 1 Evidence and Information the Treasury is only obliged to "take such steps as they consider appropriate"

The Treasury can "designate" anybody, and they are theonly judges of what they consider to be terrorist activity or association, for which they do not have to show any actual hard evidence.

By invoking this Order, the Treasury can demand any document or record from any British citzen or corporate person i.e. banks and financial institutions with subsidiaries in the UK, under a criminal penalty of up to 2 years in prison.

The Treasury can also hand this data over to any foreign Government.

There is also a secrecy provision, if they choose to only tell certain people or financial institutions, and not the general public about the freezing of assets, backed up by a criminal penalty of up to 2 years in prison.

There is a penalty of up to 7 years in prison for people who delliberately continue to allow funds transfers etc. in contravention of the Designation orders by the Treasury.

There also seems to be an extraordinary carte blanche:

7. An action done under this Schedule is not to be treated as a breach of any restriction imposed by statute or otherwise.

So kiss goodbye to the Common Law Duty of Confidentiality, the whole of the Data Protection Act, all of the Financial Services Authority rules on Confidentiality and Insider Trading, and any European Union Directive etc.

How can this be right ?

There also appears to a complete circumvention of the still as yet not in force, but likely to be so early next year, Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 Part III dealing with Encrypted data.

"document" includes information recorded in any form and, in relation to information recorded otherwise than in legible form, references to its production include references to producing a copy of the information in legible form;

i.e. you will be forced to hand over the plaintext to encrypted financial data, without even any of the weak safeguards provided by RIPA Part III and the Code of Practice, to which we contributed to the public consultation on, this summer.

Effectively this is equivalent to a RIPA Section 49 Disclosure Notice, but without any of the safeguards and independent oversight which is supposed to be provided by the various RIPA Commissioners and the Chairman of the Financial Services Authority.

Any bank or financial institution or individual who is served with both a RIPA section 49 Disclosure Notice and has some or all of the same information demanded of them by someone using the this Treasury Order, will be in an impossible position with regard to the RIPA Tipping Off criminal offence and this Treasury Order Confidentiality criminal offence.

There is also a "Get Out of Jail Free Card" for the Treasury, namely:

Section 18 The Crown

(2) No contravention by the Crown of a provision of this Order makes the Crown criminally liable;

[...]

What possible justification is there for the Treasury to exempt itself from criminal liability, if they do not intend to get up to sneaky and illegal activities ?

Is the real purpose of this Order to provide a firmer legal basis on which to continue to snoop on and data mine the SWIFT international financial network etc., rather than to actually freeze alleged terrorist financial assets ?

How else is the Chancellor's pipedream of a "Bletchley Park" style "forensic accounting" team meant to work ?

The fifth and final part of our commentary on Gordon Brown's
Speech by the Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, on "Meeting the terrorist challenge" given to Chatham House, 10 October 2006.

What does the Chancellor know about "Cultural action against terrorist extremism" ?

The fourth part of our commentary on Gordon Brown's
Speech by the Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, on "Meeting the terrorist challenge" given to Chatham House, 10 October 2006

More than "28 days detention without charge was mentioned, with no evidence that this is necessary - even the complicated "no binary liquid explosives on traransatlantic flights" plot arrests in August does not provide evidence that even more time is needed to bring charges. If the first charge gets you convicted to life imprisonment, what is the point of further multiple life sentences, for attacks which have not actually been carried out ?

Gordon Brown - part 3 of the Chatham House speech

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This is the third part of Gordon Brown's frightful Chatham House speech - "Identity and border controls"

Fulll text: Speech by the Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, on "Meeting the terrorist challenge" given to Chatham House, 10 October 2006

Gordon Brown - Chatham House speech part 2

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Here is the second part of our commentary on Gordon Brown's (long) speech to Chatham House on Tuesday.

Speech by the Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, on "Meeting the terrorist challenge" given to Chatham House, 10 October 2006

Feel free to add your own comments below:

Gordon Brown's Chatham House speech part 1

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Since we have vaguely promised not to publish very lengthy blog postings, here is the first part of our commentary on Gordon Brown's speech today.

Speech by the Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, on "Meeting the terrorist challenge" given to Chatham House, 10 October 2006

Feel free to add your own comments below:

The "invisible when there is a crisis" Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown has been unusually evasive in his Parliamentary Written Answer to the questions regarding the SWIFT financial communications network scandal, tabled by Dr. Vincent Cable, the Liberal Democrat MP and frontbench Treasury spokesman.

Written answers Tuesday, 25 July 2006:

Treasury
Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecoms

Dr. Vincent Cable MP, the Liberal Democrat deputy leader and Treasury spokesman, has tabled some Parliamentary Questions to the Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown regarding the SWIFT scandal.

The SWIFT scandal calls into question Gordon Brown's supposed anti-terrorist finance plans, announced in his "Bletchley Park Enigma codebreaking effort" speech to the Royal United Services Institute on February 13th 2006.

The risks of "insider dealing" and fraud and the loss of financial confidence, far outweigh the paltry effect on terrorist financing, which the betrayal of the SWIFT data seems to have resulted in.

Part 2: Oral or Written Questions for Answer beginning on Tuesday 18 July 2006:

The New York Times has a story "Bank Data Secretly Reviewed by U.S. to Fight Terror" which reports that US Intelligence agencies have had access to the Belgium based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) financial network which serves over 7,800 international banks, and handles the majority of the world's international bank money transfers in over 200 countries.

We have no problem with this sort of information being handed over for specfic, limited, terrorist investigations, but, as always seems to be the case, the temptation to speculatively "data trawl" through as much data, from as many innocent people as possible, was too much for the bureaucrats to ignore.

UPDATE:
Shamefully the UK print and broadcast media have chosen not to bother to analyse any of the implications for the United Kingdom, of this story, which has now been confirmed by the US Vice President Dick Cheney..

The UK political blogspace / blogosphere does not seem to have realised the implications of this story either, and how it could affect Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown's announced plans for a "Bletchley Park" type effort to supposedly track terrorist funding, part of his campaign to be seen as the next Prime Minister.

No doubt the full text of Gordon Brown's speech to the Royal United Services Institute today will eventually be available online.

UPDATED: The text of the speech is now available on the HM Treasury website

Some first impressions:

Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown continues his media spin campaign to try to convince the world that he is going to replace Tony Blair as Prime Minister, by pontificating on a wider range of subjects than simply the economy.

He gave a glimpse of his confused thinking about Terrorists and ID Cards in his interview with Andrew Marr on the BBC's Sunday AM morning political TV slot (AM - Andrew Marr, = ante meridian = Morning - doh !), ahead of his heavily leaked speech to the Royal United Services Institute tomorrow.

So that the British political blogosphere can appreciate, and hopefully properly dissect the thoughts of this NuLabour politician, we have partially transcribed this interview below, so that some of the nonsensical claims and actual falsehoods which he uttered, can be preserved via search engines, for posterity.

He seems to be threatening us with more repressive laws whilst claiming that there will be "safeguards for individuals" (mentioned 7 times) and "accountability to Parliament" (mentioned 5 times), which are incredible claims, given that he and his Government are set to vote against exactly such provisions in the Lords' Amendments to the Identity Cards Bill on Monday and the Terrorism Bill on Wednesday.

Has he actually bothered to read the full text of these Bills and of the Amendments ?

Partial transcript:

As NuLabour Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown tries to divert media attention from the by-election defeat on his own doorstep in Dunfermlline and Fife, his media spin machine has managed to plant a leak of some of the contents of a speech which he is due to give on Monday.

The BBC and The Guardian "berliner", The Independent and The Sun and The Mirror tabloids, report, in almost identical words, presumably simply "cut & pasted" from the Treasury press briefing, without troubling their readers with any sort of any proper analysis or background details:

"As Chancellor, I have found increasingly that an important part of the role of a finance minister is to address issues of international terrorism," Mr Brown will say.

"And I have discovered that this requires an international operation using modern methods of forensic accounting as imaginative and path-breaking for our times as the Enigma code breakers at Bletchley Park achieved more than half a century ago," the speech will say.

The Treasury spokesman said that "Gordon Brown believes we must now create a specialist centre where Britain's best financial experts can work on identifying, tracking and breaking down terrorist financial networks."

Is Gordon Brown planning to snoop even more heavily on the finacial transactions of the British public ? Is he also planning to attack the privacy and security of the world's financial networks ?

We have some obvious questions which the professional journalists do not seem to have bothered to ask.

WIll anybody in the audience at the United Services Institute dare to ask them on Monday, or will they be bundled out of the room and held under the Terrorism Act, for heckling ?

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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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