Results tagged “SIS” from Spy Blog -

Another bit of proposed legislation, which will hopefully be lost due to the forthcoming General Election, is the flawed Bribery Bill 2009

For some reason it has been introduced by Jack Straw's Ministry of (In)Justice in the House of Lords.

Note that there are no provisions to strengthen the legislation against corrupt lobbying by Members of the House of Commons or of the House of Lords or of senior Whitehall Sir Humphreys.
Incredibly, it appears that this Labour Government still intends to make it illegal for, say the Secret Intelligence Service MI6 to bribe a Foreign Government official for information or influence, even where this serves the United Kingdom's national security interests.

Conversely, they are giving any "law enforcement agency", an unfathomable exemption from bribery offences, "for the prevention or detection" of Serious Crime. This includes Local Authority Trading Standards or Environmental Health departments, who are notorious for their lack of expertise and training, when it comes to "simple" Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act use of Covert Human Intelligence Sources.

What conceivable excuse have these "law enforcement agencies", including the Police or HM Revenue and Customs, got for bribing anyone whatsoever ?

The Sunday Times has a fairly detailed article on Sir John Sawers, including criticisms of his appointment by retired incumbents and contenders for the post of Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS/MI6).

There are named quotations from Sir Richard Dearlove (Chief of SIS from 1999 to 2004) and Sir Francis Richard (Director of GCHQ from 1998 to 2003), as well as from another, anonymous, former Chief of SIS.

From The Sunday Times
October 4, 2009

On Her Majesty's Not-So-Secret Service

Anne McElvoy


When he takes up his job on November 1 in the postmodernist building (known as "Legoland" to its occupants) in Vauxhall Cross on the Thames, he'll be the first C since Sir John Rennie, in 1968, to come from outside its ranks.

As one senior source puts it, "His life will change immediately. It won't be possible for friends to write to or phone him at home. He will disappear from normal life. He will not live at his home, but at a place in central London whose location will be kept secret. His security will be reviewed weekly. His driver will use different routes to take him from there to the office."


One recently retired C has taken the unusual step of speaking out to The Sunday Times Magazine about the appointment.

Is this code for Sir John Scarlett, the outgoing Chief ?

Sir John Scarlett's immediate predecessor was Sir Richard Dearlove (Chief of SIS from 199 to 2004), who is quoted directly, but his predecessor Sir David Spedding died in 2001.

Surely Sir Colin McColl (Chief of SIS from 1989 to 1994) does not count as "recently retired" ?

Which really only leaves the outgoing Sir John Scarlett as the unnamed "recently retired C".

"It's a dreadful mistake," he says flatly. "The problem will be operational credibility with the troops. What kind of signal does it send if someone who was barely in the service before he left it is appointed as its head? He is dealing with people who have devoted their lives to SIS, as MI6 is formerly known.

Perhaps "formerly" should read "formally" ?

"I know what the case in favour is: good Whitehall style, wide contacts and so on. But those shouldn't be the main criteria for this post. The main job is to lead the Secret Intelligence Service, and I am not convinced John Sawers, whatever his many talents, is at all qualified for that."

The retired C goes on to lambast David Miliband, seen as the prime mover behind the appointment: "It's the move of a very inexperienced foreign secretary. Sawers is an able, likable policy wonk. But the needs of the service have not been taken into account."


A typical day for Sawers will start with the morning meeting at Vauxhall Cross. This will be attended by the eight senior officers who make up the service's board of top personnel.

It discusses big operations and priorities.

The rest of the day is often spent in one-to-one meetings with senior officers and, says one who has attended the meetings, "an awful lot of time is spent liaising with Whitehall".

He meets the prime minister or foreign secretary frequently and has management meetings and updates from other secret-service chiefs. Dealings with the CIA and other key allied services are also conducted directly through his office, so he will travel frequently -- but his name does not appear on passenger flight lists, and great efforts are made to ensure that his whereabouts remain unknown at any time.


The retired C I spoke to isn't convinced: "The service is loyal and cohesive and it can survive one bad chief. But it isn't encouraging for those within the service that an impulsive and immature foreign secretary should have made the wrong choice at such an important time."


We agree that the Labour apparatchik David Miliband is a national embarrassment as Foreign Secretary, but it is impossible to predict how well Sir John Sawers will turn out as the new Chief of SIS - we pray that he will be a resounding success.

However, given the lack of effective public oversight of "British Intelligence", how can we ever be sure that any disasters will not simply be covered up ?

The BBC have emailed to suggest that this forthcoming radio programme might be of interest to Spy Blog readers, especially with the recent announcement of the appointment of Sir John Sawers as the incoming Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, and the Centenary of "the decision made by the Committee for Imperial Defence in 1909 to create a Secret Service Bureau." (which later spawned both MI5 the Security Service and MI6 the Secret Intelligence Service):

Title: MI6: A Century in the Shadows
Channel: BBC Radio 4
Broadcast date: Monday July 27th 2009
Broadcast time: 9am

It seems that there will be "three episodes in total (one each week)."

An unprecedented look inside Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, which marks its centenary this year. BBC security correspondent Gordon Corera talks to senior intelligence officers, agents and diplomats as well as their former arch enemies about the shadowy world of espionage.

They have a "voice fragments" video clip on YouTube, with a helicopter flyby circling around the MI6 Secret Intelligence Service headquarters building at Vauxhall Cross

Click on the image above to go to the YouTube preview video clip link, which has deliberately not been embedded in this web page, in order to preserve the privacy of Spy Blog visitors, who would otherwise appear in YouTube's web server log files, regardless of whether they were interested in this video clip or not.

Today' saw the announcement of the appointment of Sir John Sawers KCMG as the new Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service MI6

He is presumably now in the process of being briefed, to take over this role, when the present incumbent Sir John Scarlett retires in November.

Sir John Sawers is currently the United Kingdom's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York.

However, according to The Times: Outsider Sir John Sawers appointed new head of MI6

Despite the fact that Sir John is not a current MI6 employee he did begin his career with the espionage agency, serving in Yemen and Syria. He then switched to the Diplomatic Service in the mid-1980s, following a more conventional path as a British envoy, and was appointed political director of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 2003. From 1999 to 2001 he was the foreign affairs adviser to Tony Blair.

On the positive side is his having studied Physics and Philosophy at a non-Oxbridge University, rather than subjects like history or the law etc., usually taken by Whitehall mandarins at Cambridge or Oxford.

On the negative side is his apparent political closeness to Tony Blair.

We wonder what former British Ambassadors and bloggers Craig Murray and Charles Crawford think of this appointment.

[UPDATE this blog post was temporarily unpublished, in error, and in the meantime, Charles Crawford has published his positive views about his friend Sir John Sawers, Superspy]

Will Sir John Sawers make any of the necessary changes in the running of SIS/MI6, which is still far too secretive and hard to contact via the internet, compared with their foreign rivals, and even compared with their sister agencies in the United Kingdom e.g. the Security Service MI5 ?

Spy Blog has a few suggestions in this regard, which the people at Vauxhall Cross SIS HQ are welcome to have (for free) - - contact us through email etc.

The annual Hay Festival, held at Hay-on-Wye near the Welsh border, is a very genteel affair, but some of the authors and speakers who entertain the arts and meedja intelligensia and other Guardianistas venture into the realms of politics and society etc.

One such is Sir Richard Dearlove, who gave a talk yesterday Richard Dearlove talks to Philippe Sands

The Master of Pembroke College, who was head of the Secret Intelligence Service (known as 'C') from 1999 to 2004 discusses the security challenges facing government, the problems of past and contemporary terrorism, and the impact on UK foreign policy and national security of events in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Palestine and Iraq.

The first mainstream media reports about this talk seemed to concentrate on his comments about the policy of "extraordinary rendition" and torture of terrorism suspects, but he also sems to have expressed concerns about the Surveillance Society being inflicted on us by the current Government.

The London Evening Standard:

Former MI6 chief: Big brother society is eroding our liberties

"I'm a great believer in proportionality and as a citizen I worry about the loss of my liberties," Sir Richard said.

"But you know we have constructed a society which has great technical competence - and some of that competence isn't particularly regulated.

"I think the important thing in the UK is that there should be very strict legislation and strict legislative oversight."

He highlighted the 170,00 stop and searches the Met had carried out, compared with 200-300 in Manchester. "That is a mind-boggling statistic. That may well be an abuse of the law."

followed by The Daily Mail:

Former MI6 chief Sir Richard Dearlove warns against 'disturbing' surveillance society

The former head of MI6 has hit out at what he called 'striking and disturbing' invasions of privacy by the Big Brother state - claiming some are an 'abuse' of the law.

Sir Richard Dearlove, who led the Secret Intelligence Service from 1999 to 2004, publicly attacked the 'loss of liberties' caused by expanding surveillance powers, and described some police operations as 'mind-boggling.'

Both the Daily Mail and the Evening Standard used to be owned by Associated Newspapers, but thehe Evening Standard has been sold off earlier this year to a Russian businessman (who does not like to be called an oligarch), Alexander Lebedev.

He was, astonishingly, a former KGB foreign intelligence officer stationed in London in the late 1980's until he left the KGB / FSB in 1992, with the rank of lieutenant colonel , and then went on to make a fortune in banking, according to a The Sunday Times profile of him.

It is interesting how Sir Rich Richard Dearlove's comments seem to agree with those of Dame Stella Rimington, who in charge of MI5 the Security Service from 1992 until 1996, and even with those of Sir David Omand, the former head of GCHQ and former Cabinet Office Permanent Secretary and Security Intelligence Co-ordinator.

See Spy Blog:

Another Secret Intelligence Service MI6 anonymous briefing to the Sunday Times:

From The Sunday Times
May 31, 2009

MI6 woos home renegade ex-spy Richard Tomlinson

David Leppard

THE renegade former MI6 spy Richard Tomlinson has finally come in from the cold.

After more than a decade in exile, where he lived in fear of arrest and extradition to face trial in the UK, Tomlinson has at last buried the hatchet with Sir John Scarlett, chief of MI6.

Sir John Scarlett has now been in charge of SIS for just over 5 years, so is presumably due to retire very soon (both his predecessors were in place for 5 years as well).

Presumably his successor will be announced after the 100th birthday celebrations of SIS, according to the Rupert Murdoch owned sister paper of The Sunday Times, the New York based Wall Street Journal

The deal between the head of Britain's overseas spies and the whistleblower who claimed MI6 had a secret "licence to kill" follows a decision to send a mediator to negotiate with Tomlinson in Spain.

As a result, MI6 has agreed to let him return to Britain, unfreeze royalties from his book

The most interesting technical spy tradecraft tidbit revealed in that book (The Big Breach) was the claim that MI6 officers have used standard commercial (and therefore deniable) Pentel Rolling Writer rollerball pens, for their "offset Secret Writing" capability i.e. writing your message with the normal Pentel rollerball pen, onto a sheet of paper, with another sheet underneath. The water based ink tends to leak through and produce Secret Writing on the paper underneath, invisible to the naked eye, but easily developed with the appropriate (unnamed) chemical.

This probably does not work with the allegedly Non-Toxic water Gel based inks, which some newer models of Pentel pens (and those from other manufacturers) now use.

and drop the threat of charges. It has also apologised for its unfair treatment of him.

In return, the former spy who was sentenced to a year's jail for breaking the Official Secrets Act in 1997, has agreed not to speak to the media or make further damaging disclosures about the shadowy work of his former employer.

Quite a rapprochement, if true.

Can either side actually be trusted to keep to the terms of such a deal ?


Last week, Tomlinson was unavailable for comment. His father, David, declined to discuss the matter. Friends of the former spy say, however, that he has already been back to Britain. "He was determined not to give in to them . . . He'll probably feel at a bit of a loss now," said one.

We would have liked the Sunday Times / David Leppard to have asked the Whitehall briefers about whether or not the amendment to the Terrorism Act 2000, brought in by the Counter Terrorism Act 2008 section 76 Offences relating to information about members of armed forces etc. was instrumental in this rapprochment.

Terrorism Act 2000

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

(1) A person commits an offence who--

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

(i) a member of Her Majesty's forces,

(ii) a member of any of the intelligence services, or

(iii) a constable,

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

(b) publishes or communicates any such information.


There are no exceptions whatsoever in the wording of this stupid legislation, which came into force on February 16th 2009. It clearly applies to all current and former intelligence officers, including Richard Tomlinson, for the rest of their lives.

It even applies to defectors and double agents actually working for foreign intelligence agencies or criminals etc. !

It must also make the further chill the publication of any autobiographies or histories or investigative journalism, which attempts to research or publish any names or identifiable information about former military, intelligence or police people into a Serious Terrorist Criminal Offence,punishable by up to 10 years in prison (if convicted) , and blacklisting on terrorism watchlists and financial sanctions and criminal records employment checks databases worldwide, even if you are never charged or convicted.

The words "attempts to elicit" also catch unsuccessful queries for such information.

Therefore you could be risking 10 years in prison (a serious enough penalty to allow the UK authorities to demand your extradition from a foreign country) simply by asking Spy Blog to reveal Richard Tomlinson's address, something which we have no idea about.

Obviously this does not actually prevent foreign intelligence agencies, serious organised criminal gangs and terrorists from gathering such target intelligence on their individual opponents in the UK military, intelligence agencies or police forces.

The spy business in the UK seems to be booming, at least so far as the creation of Flashy, if somewhat flawed, recruitment websites is concerned

There was a front page advertisement for MI6 Officers in The Guardian on Wednesday [hat tip to the Obsolete blog)] - see:

Guardian readers, Britain needs you
If nothing else, it's a good time to be a spy: it must be, MI6 is advertising on the front of the Guardian
* Richard Norton-Taylor
* Wednesday August 20 2008 16:30 BST

This advert does not bother to point directly to the main MI6 / SIS website or to their website, which also includes vacancies does not bother with vacancies for technical IT and administration staff,

Incidentally, this website seems to be on a shared webserver, for which the SSL Digital Certificate has expired: uses an invalid security certificate.

The certificate is only valid for
The certificate expired on 02/03/2008 23:59.

Exactly the same applies to the alias as well.

Given the amount of money they are spending on recruitment, is it really so difficult to pay for a current SSL Digital Certificate, to help to protect the confidential recruitment process from enemy snooping ?

Why is there still no SSL / TLS encrypted web form to allow people from around the world to securely contact the Secret Intelligence Service with intelligence tip offs, like even the MI5 Security Service or the US FBI or CIA websites have ?

Instead, there is now another website, which seems to have sub-contracted out to the BNB Recruitment Solutions plc. recruitment and outsourcing agency and their Flash happy recruitment meedja consultants TCS

What exactly is the justification for using a non "" domain name for this website ? Given the strong dual branding of both "SIS" and "MI6", why have these brand names (and the potential confidential recruitment process) not been protected by registering all the available combinations of "SIS" and "Mi6" and "officer(s)" etc. ? Surely it would have made more sense to keep this website within the "," domain name space to reduce the chances of fake recruitment CV phishing website attacks by foreign intelligence agencies etc.?

Apart from the use Flash (although, thankfully, there is a HTML version), the website also uses the large display touch screen mobile phone metaphor.


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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Please bear in mind the many recent, serious security vulnerabilities which have compromised the Twitter infrastructure and many user accounts, and Twitter's inevitable plans to make money out of you somehow, probably by selling your Communications Traffic Data to commercial and government interests. (same window)


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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