Results tagged “RIPA” from Spy Blog -

The Home Office has published its summary of the responses to the public consultation Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000: Consolidating orders and codes of practice (1.7Mb .pdf) which ran from April to July.

The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000: consolidating orders and codes of practice - responses to the consultation (269Kb .pdf) says that:

The 222 respondents comprised:

  • 104 local authorities;
  • 9 local authority associations;
  • 10 law enforcement bodies;
  • 9 other public authorities;
  • 6 legal reform or scrutiny bodies;
  • 5 communications service providers;
  • 3 training organisations;
  • 2 housing agencies;
  • 2 oversight commissioners (the Chief Surveillance Commissioner and the Interception of Communications Commissioner);
  • 68 members of the public (of whom 27 had experience of working with RIPA); and
  • 4 other NGOs with interests in the prosecution of offenders, waste management, computing and children's rights.

Spy Blog raised the following issues in response to this public consultation, with little success:

1) Mandatory use of strong Encryption should be explicit in the Regulations and Codes of Practice

2) Automatic Number Plate Recognition data needs to be brought within the RIPA framework

3) Sub-division of "Communications Data" to now include a separate Location Based Services data category

4) All Local Authorities should have their Intrusive Surveillance and Covert Human Intelligence Source powers removed. Access to Subscriber Details should continue, but no LA access to Location Based Services data.

5) The abuse of Children as Covert Human Intelligence Sources

20 Oct 2009 : Column 1359W

Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have been convicted of offences under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000; if he will commission research into the efficacy of the legislation; and if he will make a statement. [293656]

Mr. Hanson: Information showing the number of persons found guilty at all courts for offences under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 ('RIPA') in England and Wales from 2000 to 2007 is shown as follows:

20 Oct 2009 : Column 1359W

20 Oct 2009 : Column 1360W

Persons found guilty at all courts of offences under RIPA in England and Wales

Persons found guilty at all courts of offences under RIPA in England and Wales
Offence Statute 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007

Unlawful interception of a postal, public or private telecommunications system

Sections 1(1), (2), (7)









Failure to give effect to an interception warrant

Sections 11(4), (7)









Unlawful disclosure of details of interception warrant

Sections 19(4)









Failure to disclose key to protected information

Section 53









Disclose details of a S49 notice

Section 54


















These are from the official Ministry of Justice statistics. Figures for 2008 are due to be published at the end of January 2010. The encryption provisions of RIPA came into force on 1 October 2007 and these figures are therefore not yet reflected in the table. Some information is available in the Chief Surveillance Commissioner's report for 2008-09 which shows there were two s53 convictions for failing to disclose the key to protected information.

The Government are satisfied that offences set in RIPA are appropriate and that the legislation is being used effectively.

Why is the conviction of News of the World's "Royal Gossip Editor" Clive Goodman and his henchman Glen Mulcaire, and those criminals uncovered via Operation Brabatus Barbatus e.g. former Policemen turned private investigators Jeremy Young and Scott Gelsthorpe, not recorded in the 2007 convictions column ?

Is this because they were convicted of conspiracy to intercept communications unlawfully ?

What was the 2004 "Failure to give effect to an interception warrant" case ?

What was the 2007 "Disclose details of a S49 notice" i.e. the "tipping off" about a notice to hand over a cryptographic key or the plaintext de-crypted data ?

Only this weak yet repressive Labour government, could make the spurious claim that the RIPA legislation "is being used effectively."

If the Rt Hon Sir Stephen Rose had been more transparent and explicit in his (censored) Annual Report of the Chief Surveillance Commissioner to the Prime Minister and to Scottish Ministers for 2008-200 (.pdf) under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 and the Police Act 1997, which fails to "name and shame" the culprits at the "public authorities" who have been acting illegally, the perhaps today's story in the Daily Telegraph, about the increasingly meddlesome and authoritarian function creeping "Executive Non-departmental Public Body ", the Environment Agency, would already have been dealt with over 2 years ago.

Government officials track cars and trespass on private property, report shows

Government officials have been improperly tracking cars and trespassing on private property after receiving advice from the Home Office on circumventing the law, internal documents seen by The Daily Telegraph have disclosed.

By Jon Swaine and Holly Watt
Published: 5:32PM BST 21 Sep 2009

Reports from the Office of Surveillance Commissioners (OSC), a Government agency, found that staff from the Environment Agency investigating the illegal disposal of waste may have broken the law.

The OSC uncovered evidence that the Home Office may have improperly advised the Environment Agency on how to circumvent strict laws governing the use of covert surveillance.

Despite the alleged breaches being uncovered last year, the documents - released following a Freedom of Information request - show that the Environment Agency has continued to use the controversial tactics.

Last night, the Environment Agency said that it was suspending use of the tactics pending a legal judgement on whether they were acceptable.

However, the agency is also trialling a register of secret informants who report suspected waste offences in the north east of England, and eventually plans a national spy network, the Commissioner reported.

"a register of secret informants" or "a national spy network" ? How soon before all their names and addresses etc. are dumped onto an unencrypted USB memory stick to be lost or stolen ? Or will they simply be sold by insiders to criminals ?

Why should anybody trust the untrained, inexperienced Environment Agency with the recruitment and handling and protection of Covert Human Intelligence Sources ?

The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has published:

The Management and Use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (.pdf 892Kb)

The policy advice on the use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR), is mostly common sense, especially regarding actual roadside ANPR with at least two other mobile patrol vehicles to actually stop and search vehicles which have been flagged up by the ANPR / Police National Computer / Local Intelligence database system.

This document does not say much about the National ANPR Data Centre (NADC), but there are some clues about the ANPR data stored on the Police National Computer, with some potentially abusable or easily misinterpreted Warning Markers and the PNC ID categories, which could easily lead to false positives, where innocent people being threatened with firearms or tasers. Similarly, known really violent and dangerous people could just as easily be stopped by the Police, who are unprepared for them, thereby potentially putting themselves and the passing public at risk, because of false negative matches, again involving just a single digit error.

Reminder: Home Office RIPA CoP Con closes today


There is still time to send in your response (via email) to the Home Office Public Consultation on the

Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000: Consolidating orders and codes of practice

which closes officially today, Friday 10th July 2009.

Ignore the attempt to only focus on the official Questions, and feel free to tell the Home Office your positive suggestions about, and constructive criticisms of, the current mess of Regulations.

N.B.There is another current Home Office Public Consultation:

Protecting the Public in a Changing Communications Environment

which closes on July 20th:

See Spy Blog:

Communications Data public "consultation" with only one permitted option

Researchers from the Policy Engagement Network, based in the London School of Economics Information Systems and Innovation Group, have produced a 57 page report, which is essential reading for anyone worried about the Home Office's EU Directive based mandatory Communications Traffic Data Retention laws, and their vague plans for extending this even further the Interception Modernisation Programme (IMP), the review of Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) codes of practice and legislation .

It is also relevant to Sir John Chilcot's Privy Council Working Group review of Intercept as Evidence, and to GCHQ's Mastering the Internet plans, and to other Surveillance Database State policy issues like the National Identity Register / ID Cards scheme:

Briefing on the Interception Modernisation Programme (.pdf 57 pages)


In this briefing we aim to provide some depth of understanding of the nature of the Home Officeʼs latest proposals on communications surveillance. We are sympathetic with the needs of the law enforcement community and we agree with the Home Office that the communications environment is changing. However we question whether the Home Office fully understands the extent to which the way in which surveillance activities are authorised would change were its wishes granted, in turn leading to a tipping of the balance in favour of state power and away from the individual. We are also concerned that there is a significant under-estimate of the burdens being placed on Communication Service Providers at a time where elsewhere in government there is a demand for universal broadband internet provision which industry is supposed to fund. This report was not drafted to respond to the Home Officeʼs Consultation document, but rather we are adding more expertise to the public deliberation on this policy. The report is the result of research we conducted with key experts across the UK and internationally.

Table of Contents:

If we can summon up any enthusiasm, or delude ourselves that the Home Office politicians might genuinely listen to our concerns and practical suggestions, then Spy Blog might make a formal submission to this new Public Consultation:

Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000: Consolidating orders and codes of practice (.pdf) (1.8 Mb)

Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000: Consolidating orders and codes of practice

Passed in 2000, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (called RIPA), created a regulatory framework to govern the way public authorities handle and conduct covert investigations.

This consultation takes a look at all the public agencies, offices and councils that can use investigation techniques covered by RIPA, and asks the public to consider whether or not it's appropriate for those people to be allowed to use those techniques.

In light of recent concerns, the government is particularly interested in how local authorities use RIPA to conduct investigations into local issues. Among other things, in order to ensure that RIPA powers are only used when they absolutely need to be, the government proposes to raise the rank of those in local authorities who are allowed to authorise use of RIPA techniques.

To respond to the consultation, reply by email to

You can also reply by post to:

Tony Cooper
Home Office
Peel Building 5th Floor
2 Marsham Street
London SW1P 4DF

If you need a copy of the consultation in any other format (such as Braille, large font, or audio) please write to the address above to request it.

This consultation closes 10 July 2009.

The Home Office has to re-establish public trust in the supposed "public consultation" process, which they have cynically abused in the past.


The wretched Home Office rushed through a Statutory Instrument (not debated by Parliament) which implemented the very policy being supposedly consulted about, halfway through the 12 week public consultation period, without even bothering to pretend that they had "listened" to any of the evidence being submitted !

Remember also that this is not the promised public consultation on the Communications Data Bill, and on the Home Secretary's evil idea about secretly data trawling the phone and internet records of millions of innocent people, currently kept by the private sector telecommunications and internet companies, Such a centralised government database would sneak around the current authorisation and financial audit trails and budget restraints (the authorities have to pay the private sector a small fee for each request). It would also further neuter the weak oversight and paperwork sample auditing, by the deliberately under resourced Interception of Communications Commissioner and the Intelligence Services Commissioners, established under RIPA, who can only ever hope to examine a tiny fraction of the hundreds of thousands requests for Communications Data made every year.

This Bill was threatened last year and the "public consultation" was supposed to gave started this January 2009, and seems to be attempting to create Yet Another Massive Secret National Database Of Innocent People, on the back of the necessary ongoing investment to keep GCHQ's capabilities at the state of the art, via the so called Interception Modernisation Programme.

The House of Commons Library now has a copy of the Privy Council Intercept as Evidence Advisory Group interim progress report 9th February 2009 (.pdf image scan only)

As predicted in our previous blog article, Chilcot Advisory Group on Intercept Evidence (lack of) Progress Report, there has been little tangible progress in the last year..

Note the emphasis on

Preventing successful defence "fishing expeditions"

bur there are no effective safeguards against prosecution "fishing expeditions", are there ?

Key stakeholders, such as Communications Service Providers (CSPs) have been engaged, in order to ensure that their legitimate concerns are identified and reflected at an appropriately early stage.

"Communications Service Providers" i.e. telecommunications and internet service provider companies have their own commercial agenda, which do not usually coincide with the privacy and security interests of their business and individual customers, neither of which seem to be represented as "stakeholders" in this Intercept as Evidence review.

If there had been anybody with some internet and telecommunications industry Consumer Privacy and Digital Rights experience on the Advisory Group, they might have been able to highlight the entirely negative consumer experience and collateral damage, where the commercial interests of CSPs conflict with those of their customers. Why shouldn't members of the public or businesses, who have suffered as a result of Phorm style deep packet inspection and interception, be able to call for Intercept Evidence in Court in civil cases ?

This Advisory Group does not appear to be considering an important aspect of current, let alone future technology and practice, which has already been misused in foreign terrorism trials involving mobile phone intercept evidence, such as those in Spain, namely the black art of supposedly expert "Voice Matching" technology. This is especially important where no clearly incriminating words have been uttered in the intercepted phone call.

See our Questions about the case of the first person to be served with a European Arrest Warrant in the UK, Farid Hilali, who was extradited to Spain, where he is facing

The whole European Union and other Mutual Legal Assistance legal aspects of United Kingdom "Intercept as Evidence" do not appear to be under consideration by this Advisory Group.

In order to help Spy Blog readers and future students of this creepy Surveillance Society / Police State, we have OCR / copy edited this image scan into a more web search engine friendly text based format below:

Hat tip to David Mery, for spotting this before us:

The Court of Appeal has recently ruled on a case involving the Regulation of Investigatory powers Act 2000 Part III Investigation of electronic data protected by encryption etc section 49 notices and section 53 prosecutions regarding law enforcement access to encryption keys or forcing the hand over of de-crypted material etc.

The British and Irish Legal Information Institute has now published the text of the recent Court of Appeal ruling which upholds that a refusal to hand over your secret decryption keys, after being served with a RIPA section 49 notice, does not attract the limited legal protections against self incrimination i.e. the appellants can be prosecuted under RIPA section 53 for refusing to hand over their decryption keys or the unencrypted files:

S & Anor, R. v [2008] EWCA Crim 2177 (09 October 2008)

"Furthermore, by way of emphasis, we can see no possible ground for a successful application that the prosecution under section 53 of RIPA should be stopped as an abuse of process."

The Court of Appeal takes the view that simply handing over your encryption key is not an admission of guilt, and that if the de-crypted material is innocent, then you have nothing to fear.

If the encrypted material was something which was hard to misinterpret e.g. a simple financial transaction, we might agree,

However, we disagree, when the encrypted material, as in this case, will be potentially misinterpreted according to the subjective interpretation and prejudices of police officers and prosecutors, in this case under the "thought crime" Terrorism Act 2000 section 58 collection of information which has the catch all wording:

(a) he collects or makes a record of information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism,

This also goes for any encrypted data which may or may not be considered "obscene" in the opinion of a particular police constable.

The only positive thing that can be said about the publication of the Annual Reports of the the 3 RIPA Commissioners, is, that for the very first time, they have all been published at the same time.

Thee Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 Part IV, legally requires that

58 (4)
As soon as practicable after the end of each calendar year, the Intereception of Communications Commissioner shall make a report to the Prime Minister with respect to the carrying out of that Commissioner's functions.

and similarly that

60 (2)
As soon as practicable after the end of each calendar year, the Intelligence Services Commissioner shall make a report to the Prime Minister with respect to the carrying out of that Commissioner's functions.

The Chief Surveillance Commissioner, whose office predates RIPA, which imposes extra duties and powers on him, has a similar legal duty under the Police Act 1997 Part III

"The Chief Commissioner shall make an annual report on the discharge of functions under this Part to the Prime Minister"

The wording of both of these Acts also sets a legal duty for publication:

"The Prime Minister shall lay before each House of Parliament a copy of every annual report made"

The Chief Surveillance Commissioner's Report, has consistently over the years been available and online in the July following the calendar year to which it refers. This is hardly a stellar performance, for such a short, vague report, which but this is better than the other two RIPA Commissioners, whose reports used to be published in October, and, scandalously recently over a year after the Calendar Year to which they refer.

It is welcome that all three Reports are available at the same time in July.

However, given the lack of detail in any of them, they should really be published before the end of January following the calendar year to which they refer.

The following is not meant to be a criticism of the integrity or professionalism of any of the individual RIPA Commissioners, who are all former senior Judges, but rather of their timid interpretation of their admittedly restricted roles under the legislation. and the deliberate budget constraints imposed on them by the Government.

See the next three blog articles:

This mechanism of a RIPA Commissioner's Annual Report, with no resources or willingness to investigate complaints from the public, does not provide the proper level of transparency and scrutiny of secret snooping and surveillance, which the public has a right to demand in a democratic society.

There is little doubt that the Government is trying to avoid detailed scrutiny of its policies and mistakes by the mainstream media and by bloggers.

They have published 30 Ministerial Statements, on the last day before Parliament breaks up for the 11 week Summer Recess, something which contravenes the specific promise in the Ministerial Code not to do so

They have also published:

We will comment on these when we have read them.

The Information Commissioner has commented on the Home Office's wretched plan to scrap the current system of obtaining Communications Traffic Data from the Communications Service Providers i.e. the telecomms and internet companies, and instead slurping all those log files into a massive centralised, and secret, Government database

15 Jul 08 - A communications database would be 'a step too far' (.pdf)

Speaking at the launch of his annual report,

Information Commissioner Annual Report 2007 - 2008 (.pdf)

Richard Thomas will say: "I am absolutely clear that the targeted, and duly authorised, interception of the communications of suspects can be invaluable in the fight against terrorism and other serious crime. But there needs to be the fullest public debate about the justification for, and implications of, a specially-created database - potentially accessible to a wide range of law enforcement authorities - holding details of everyone's telephone and internet communications. Do we really want the police, security services and other organs of the state to have access to more and more aspects of our private lives?

"Speculation that the Home Office is considering collecting this information from phone companies and internet service providers has been reinforced by the government's Draft Legislative Programme which, referring to a proposed Communications Data Bill, talks about 'modifying procedures for acquiring communications data'."

See our previous blog article Communications Data Bill announced:

Will there be strict limits and adequate safeguards regarding exactly who has access to such retained log files ?

Will there be a cheap, easy, rapid, fair and decent error correction and complaints procedure for individuals and businesses ?

Will there be criminal penalties for data abusers, generous financial compensation and prompt public apologies from senior officials and politicians when, not if, things go horribly wrong ?

Can pigs fly ?

Richard Thomas believes that there has not been sufficient parliamentary or public debate on proposals to collect more and more personal information without proper justification, citing the expansion of the DNA database and the centralised collection and retention of data from Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras as two recent examples.

The Information Commissioner is not being tough enough - he should be threatening to prosecute the Home Office for planning to breach the fundamental principles of Data Protection, with this disproportionate scheme.

This Home Office scheme would circumvent even the weak auditing and alleged safeguards provided by the single, censored and increasingly deliberately delayed annual reports to the Prime Minister, of the Interception of Communications Commissioner and the Intelligence Services Commissioner.

It would make it easier for secret disproportionate speculative "data trawling" through innocent people's data, instead of narrowly targeted, proportionate searches of actual terrorist or serious criminal suspects.

It would also allow secret exports of the data to foreign governments, without any oversight from the UK RIPA Commissioners, or any private individuals or companies in the UK.

This plan would circumvent even the weak auditing and alleged safeguard provided by the single, censored and increasingly deliberately delayed annual reports to the Prime Minister, of the Interception of Communications Commissioner and the Intelligence Services Commissioners, and would presumably make it easier to do speculative "data trawling" through innocent people's data, instead of narrowly targeted, proportionate searches of actual terrorist or serious criminal suspects.

These RIPA Commissioners are even weaker than the Information Commissioner, as they have no legal powers to prosecute any abuses, and no budget to investigate any complaints from the public.

The Earl of Northesk has asked four Questions in the Lords about the Home Office's Interception Modernisation Plan. The Home Office's former Admiral Lord West of Spithead fails to convince us that the Home Office has any clue about the technical feasibility or costs involved in this project, even to the nearest billion pounds - i.e. a replay of the wretched ID Cards scheme all over again.

Part of this Interception Modernisation Plan presumably, includes the secret centralised Communications Traffic Data snooping database.

The Earl of Northesk's Questions:

Another Parliamentary Question and deliberately evasive and non-transparent non-Answer regarding the Wilson Doctrine:

14 July 2008 : Column 20W

Members: Electronic Surveillance

Mr. Maude: To ask the Prime Minister whether communications traffic data on telephone calls made (a) by and (b) to hon. Members is covered by the Wilson Doctrine. [217354]

The Prime Minister: I set out the position on the Wilson Doctrine on 12 September 2007, Official Report, column 2103W.

This "Answer", presumably means that Communications Traffic Data on telephone calls by Members of Parliament (and the Lords) can be snooped on, including what should be legally privileged telephone communications to and from MP's constituents.

The Question does not ask about Communications Traffic Data regrading the log files generated by internet web browsing, email or instant messenger communications, or facsimile transmissions or postal mail communications.

Liberty Human Rights and their Irish equivalents, the British Irish Rights Watch and the Irish Council for Civil Liberties have actually won a case before the European Court of Human Rights against the United Kingdom Government, regarding domestic and international telephone and other electronic data communications the 1990s.

See CASE OF LIBERTY AND OTHERS v. THE UNITED KINGDOM (Application no. 58243/00), Strasbourg, 1 July 2008

This affair was brought to light through the discovery, back in 1999, of the Capenhurst Phone Tap Tower (now since demolished), which was built and operated in secret by GCHQ on part of the secure Capenhurst factory run by British Nuclear Fuels. This is conveniently located directly between two of the main microwave relays operated by British Telecom, which used to be the main telecommunications link between the Republic of Ireland and the UK and the rest of Europe (still in use, but there are fibre optic cables now as well).

Why that had to do this at all, rather than GCHQ installing their telephone tapping equipment with the cooperation of British Telecom within their infrastructure, is a mystery. Presumably, now that digital telephone exchanges are universal in the UK, such telephone tapping (supposedly under warrant) is technically easier, even though the technology has improved and data volumes have got bigger.

The ECHR has found that the claimants rights to privacy in communications under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, was breached, because the then currently applicable law the Interception of Communications Act 1985 was not sufficiently clear about the secret alleged safeguards regarding the capture, selection, keyword filtering, dissemination, data retention and eventual destruction of intercepted material, which are supposed to protect the public from excessive snooping by overzealous, jobsworth or corrupt officials.

41. The applicants complained about the interception of their communications, contrary to Article 8 of the Convention:

"1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others."

Essentially, because the telephone interception "safeguards" were (and still are) so secret, and because the Interception of Communications Commissioner (both under IPCA and under RIPA) never make things any clear to the public either, these mass surveillance telephone interceptions were ruled as not being "in accordance with law".

69. In conclusion, the Court does not consider that the domestic law at the relevant time indicated with sufficient clarity, so as to provide adequate protection against abuse of power, the scope or manner of exercise of the very wide discretion conferred on the State to intercept and examine external communications. In particular, it did not, as required by the Court's case-law, set out in a form accessible to the public any indication of the procedure to be followed for selecting for examination, sharing, storing and destroying intercepted material. The interference with the applicants' rights under Article 8 was not, therefore, "in accordance with the law".

70. It follows that there has been a violation of Article 8 in this case.

The case has taken so long to come through this ECHR process, that the IOCA 1985 law has been repealed by the newer Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.

The ECHR has awarded modest costs of 7,500 Euros to Liberty etc., but there are no punitive damages against the United Kingdom Government.

The Court note that it was possible to make the secret safeguards a lot more public, without endangering "sources and methods" which might compromise National Security, as , for example, the German Government has done with its G10 Act, or as indeed, the UK Government has done to some extent, with the partial publication of RIPA Codes of Practice.

However, there does not appear to be anything in the ECHR judgment which orders the UK Government to be any less secretive, or any more transparent and accountable to the public. regarding such telephone interceptions.

The only crumb of comfort would seem to be that this ECHR judgment applies equally to both international and domestic telephone interceptions, which does not really amount to much comfort, given today's technology and the current, all encompassing RIPA legislation.

This looks like a moral victory for the human rights defenders, but a practical one for the surveillance state snooper bureaucrats.

The only glimmer of hope is that, perhaps, some of the saner and more decent people within the Whitehall bureaucracy, might just be able to use this ECHR judgment, to press for a full review of the over-broad, over-complicated and opaque Regulation of Invesigatory Powers Act, and its very weak public safeguards.

The Register, and the mainstream media report:

Snoop-happy councils warned off RIPA abuse
'Or they'll take our toys away'

By Chris Williams
Published Monday 23rd June 2008 10:06 GMT

The head of the Local Government Association (LGA) has today warned every council in England to restrict how their investigators use new surveillance powers, or risk losing public support.

Sir Simon Milton's letter follows a recent rash of news stories exposing how councils nationwide have been using the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) to monitor dog fouling and littering. He urged councils to review how they authorise surveillance to ensure that only more serious transgressions such as fly tipping and benefit fraud are tackled by such means.


Excessive, petty snooping, using RIPA powers by Local Councils seems to cross party political lines (it is not just NuLabour who are at it) , and it needs to be stopped, well before it gets linked to Hazel Blears' "tension monitoring" plans for "community" snooping and informing.against arbitrarily defined "troublemakers" and political opponents.

The text of the Letter from Sir Simon Milton to All Council Leaders in England regarding abuse of RIPA powers:

The Home Office has given some vague details about the number of Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 Part III - Investigation of Electronic Data Protected by Encryption etc. Section 49 Notices which have been issued since October 2007:

29 Apr 2008 : Column 361W

Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many people have been (a) proceeded against for and (b) convicted of failing to disclose information in encrypted form under section 53 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000; [200550]

(2) how many prosecutions and convictions there have been under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 for withholding passwords and encryption keys to hard drives since that provision entered into force. [200588]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 23 April 2008]: These provisions came into force on 1 October 2007 and to date eight section 49 notices have been served, four of which were in terrorism related cases. In these four cases two people have been charged with the offence of failing to comply with a section 49 notice, and the appropriate investigating authorities are also considering what action to take in regard to the other two terrorist related cases. These cases have yet to come before the courts.

Remember that even before this legislation was brought into force, after seven years or so of delay, it had been amended so that the penalty in a vaguely worded, undefined "national security" investigation could be up to 5 years in prison, instead of up to 2 years in "normal" cases.

In two of the remaining (non-terrorism related cases) the encryption keys have been disclosed.

What about the other two non-terrorism related cases then ?

See the URL links in the previous Spy Blog entry - "All Your Encryption Keys Are Belong To Us" - RIPA Part III to come into force on 1st October 2007

We are still not impressed with the alleged safeguards in contained in the Statutory Code of Practice, which fails to insist that disclosed Cryptographic Keys or the sensitive data which they are protecting, is always encrypted by the Police or or Intelligence Agencies themselves during transit and storage.

How long before there is a missing laptop computer / CDROM disk / USB flash memory device etc. scandal involving such RIPA Part III section 49 seized cryptographic data ?

We suggested this during the Public Consultation on the Draft Code of Practice, back in 2006, but we were ignored.

Is there any evidence that the still unresolved HMRC Child Benefit Database CDROM and the Ministry of Defence Recruitment laptop scandals have had any effect on the Home Office at all ?

Almost a year since the Public Consultation held last summer, and over 7 years since the legislation was passed, the Home Office the seems to be intent on bringing the controversial Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 Part III - Investigation of Electronic Data Protected by Encryption etc. into force on 1st October 2007.

It does seem that some of our (and obviously other people's suggestions) have been listened to, but some sensible , practical ones have been ignored:

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.


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.

We offer this verifiable GPG / PGP public key (the ID is available on several keyservers, twitter etc.) as one possible method to establish initial contact with whistleblowers and other confidential sources, if it suits their Threat Model or Risk Appetite, but will then try to establish other secure, anonymous communications channels e.g. encrypted Signal Messenger via burner devices,or face to face meetings, postal mail or dead drops etc. as appropriate.

Current PGP Key ID: 0x1DBD6A9F0FACAD30 which will expire on 29th August 2021.

You can download a free copy of the PGP encryption software from
(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:

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)


Watching Them, Watching Us

London 2600

Our UK Freedom of Information Act request tracking blog - ethical and technical discussion about the 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

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 - 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 have gone on to set up other online tools like The Government's contemptuous dismissal of over 5,000 individual responses via the 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 - New Alliance's ID Cards page - 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 - 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 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 - 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 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 journalist network.
The Practical Nomad Blog Edward Hasbrouck on Privacy and Travel
Policeman's Blog
World Weary Detective

Martin Stabe
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
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


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.


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 - 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


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

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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

syf_logo_120.gif Secure Your Ferliliser logo
Secure Your Fertiliser - advice on ammonium nitrate and urea fertiliser security

cpni_logo_150.gif Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure
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."

SIS MI6 careers_logo_sis.gif
Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) recruitment.

Government Communications Headquarters GCHQ

National Crime Agency - the replacement for the Serious Organised Crime Agency

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.

FreeFarid_150.jpg - 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)

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).

Amnesty International's campaign

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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

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."

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

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."

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

No CCTV - The Campaign Against CCTV


I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist !


Power 2010 cross party, political reform campaign


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."


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

wblogocrop_150.jpg - Fighting for justice for whistleblowers