Results tagged “Whistleblowers” from Spy Blog -

Another Parliamentary Question for the Spy Blog Wilson Doctrine category archive:

Topical Questions
Oral Answers to Questions -- Cabinet Office
11:30 am 12th March 2014

HC Deb, 12 March 2014, c306

David Davis (Haltemprice and Howden, Conservative)

The Wilson doctrine is a convention whereby Government agencies do not intercept communications with Members of Parliament without explicit approval from the Prime Minister. In a letter to my hon. Friend Nick de Bois in 2012, the Minister told him that the Wilson doctrine did not apply to metadata, thereby exposing whistleblowers to risks from which parliamentary privilege should protect them. Will he review this policy, discuss it with the Prime Minister and report back to the House?

Francis Maude (The Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General; Horsham, Conservative)

I absolutely understand the point that my right hon. Friend makes and I will undertake to look at this with my right hon. Friends the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister.

We will be watching for any (lack) of progress on this important issue.

Spy Blog has re-submitted our FOIA Request which was refused over 6 months ago, on the grounds of imminent publication.

Cabinet Office - 6 F Off IA exemptions not to publish Detainee (Torture) Inquiry Interim Report requested back in December 2012..

Still no Detainee (Torture) Inquiry interim report over a year after submission to Downing Street

The process of clearing the report for publication has taken longer than envisaged, but it is important for the Government to be able to publish as full an accounting of the Inquiry's work as possible, without compromising national security and consistent with its legal obligations. Discussions with the Inquiry about clearing the report for publication are nearing a conclusion and it is hoped that the Government will be in a position to publish as full a version of their report as possible in the autumn, although no date has been set.

" in the autumn, although no date has been set."

It is now over 3 years since Prime Minister David Cameron announced the the setting up of Detainee Inquiry on 6th July 2010

It took a year for the Terms of Reference for the Inquiry to be produced and it only worked for about 6 months before being abandoned.

It then took another 6 months to produce the Interim Report, which has now been delayed / suppressed for another year.

Given that the Detainee Inquiry had hardly got into the detail of any investigations into the allegations of UK government complicity in the use of torture i.e. there had been no public witness evidence sessions etc., the Interim Report is likely to be quite content free, especially after the boycott by civil liberties and human rights organisations and the lawyers of some of the alleged victims of such torture..

Rt. Hon. Sir Peter Gibson, the retired High Court Judge who served as the RIPA Intelligence Services Commissioner, was presumably chosen to chair the Detainee Inquiry partty because of his experience in producing already self censored public reports, with confidential annexes for the Prime Minister. It is inconceivable that he would have put anything into the report which would have damaged national security tactical operations or confidential sources, so what, apart from political complicity, is there to censor ?

We would have liked to have seen our suggestions for witness anonymity and the promises from the Cabinet Office, the Attorney General and the heads of the Intelligence Agencies regarding immunity from prosecutions or disciplinary procedures for insider witnesses or whistleblowers who might have evidence about which the senior management of the Intelligence Agencies may have been unaware.

Witness but not whistleblower protection for the Detainee Inquiry into torture complicity of MI5, SIS, GCHQ

There is also the question of immunity of the Inquiry itself from being targeted by the Intelligence Agencies or their foreign based colleagues, to try to identify and neutralise or counter-spin any whistleblower evidence being considered by the Inquiry in private.

Given the recent revelations about NSA and GCHQ bulk snooping on transatlantic fibre optic cables, any future Inquiry must get explicit written promises that they will not be targeted for interception or Communications Data / Metadata analysis..

This is vital if there is to be, as promised, a future Inquiry into these torture allegations, which will face the same problems of credibility and excessive secrecy s the abandoned Detainee Inquiry.

Remember that since the original allegations of complicity in torture, highlighted by the Binyam Mohamed case, the Government has passed the Justice and Security Act 2013, which introduced Closed Material Procedure into civil cases, which has both pros and cons.

More importantly, they have nobbled Norwich Pharmacal Orders via section 17 of that Act.

It is now impossible to see how the revelations of rendition / kidnapping and torture in the Binyam Mohamed civil case, which saw former and current Secret intelligence Service officers having to give evidence (from behind a screen) in a civil court, could now take place, so one of the main possible reasons for the deliberate delays in the Detainee Inquiry would seem to have been removed i.e. the fear of another such court case

However the fall of the evil Libyan dictator Gaddaffi, also led to the some prima facie evidence of even more MI6 and other UK Government complicity in kidnapping and torture, something which the Detainee Inquiry noted but did nothing about..

Since the Detainee Inquiry obviously did not actually get around to investigating the Libya allegations, it is very puzzling what exactly there could be in this interim report, which is taking the Cabinet Office so long to censor.

If there really is nothing for the UK Intelligence Services to hide with respect to complicity in torture, then these delays are actually damaging to national security, because the public at home and abroad will be naturally suspicious of the activities of British intelligence agencies.

If there is something to hide, then the Coalition Government must show themselves to be strong enough to denounce and prosecute all of those involved, no matter how senior or distinguished. They should punish the securocrat bureaucracy to prevent it from happening again..


On Wednesday 12th December 2012, Spy Blog attended the launch of the website, which offers free, pro bono legal, journalistic and psychological help for whistleblowers. They intend to campaign on changing the inadequate laws and bureaucratic "shoot the messenger" attitude which pervades the UK's power structures.

WhistleBlowers UK give some independent, not commercially motivated, advice on securely contacting them, which is good, but which needs amplification and more detailed, practical, step by step guides.

Are You a Potential Whistleblower?

We will try to minimise the stress and impact of what you are contemplating by showing you the correct process to legally assess, document and reveal wrongdoing in your workplace / sector / environment. In order to protect yourself under the Public Interest Disclosure Act (1998), the Employment Act (2008), or even the Official Secrets Act (1989), you should follow certain procedures and you will find it much easier to gain credibility - in front of a very sceptical and fickle public audience who are riven by a multitude of political views and vested interests - if you do so.

We can help you with the necessary confidential advice and assistance you will need in order to make the experience of whistleblowing worthwhile and create a positive outcome out of the negative situation you find yourself in at present. Most of all, do not be scared, you do have friends and supporters out there - you just haven't met us personally yet!
Talk To Someone With Experience In Your Field

If you wish to discuss your case, confidentially, with a fellow whistleblower who has experience in your particular sector (auditing, financial, medical, defence, or general commercial then please contact us on 0207 040 8224 and we will put you in touch with one of our members.

Concerns About Security And Confidentiality

The level of security that you adopt will depend upon the threat that you perceive to yourself, the capabilities of the organisation, the gravity of the information, and any implications arising from it, upon which you are intending to 'blow the whistle'. We are adopting a WORST CASE SCENARIO below - you may not need to take some or all of these precautions... BUT even with the best will in the world, whistleblowers in the past have been let down by allies, journalists and even regulators who have failed to take adequate precautions to protect their anonymity.

We have compiled a list of key points to help you protect your identity when communicating online or sharing documents with third parties.

In person

You may of course come to the Centre for Investigative Journalism offices, the temporary hosts of WBUK, at Gloucester Building, Gloucester Way, London EC1R 0BN.

By email

You will need an email address that has never been associated with you and which never will be associated with you. You need to set it up from a computer that has no link to you.

Do not use a computer, house or office network that you normally use. Generally, it is best to sign up for a Hotmail or any other popular free email account.

Make sure that this webmail accounty is based outside of the United Kingdom.

Ideally do not use Gmail / googlemail, which is strong on security but very bad for anonymity.

Only use this email address to make contact and correspond with one of our team. Ideally you will have a phone that we can call back (see 'by phone' section below). A message such as "call me John/Jane, you can call me securely on this mobile number, I have information/a story/ documents" will do.

Do not use your real name or any other identifiable information when registering the email account. Never access the special email from home or work - use an internet café or library. Normally, unless you work in an area of high security and government interest, using public wifi may be safe. Remember, you cannot reliably hide your electronic location, or IP address, from the network, although you can hide it from us and anyone who may be monitoring us. You can do this by using the 'Tor' service, or another anonymiser service. However, these tools could attract attention if you do so from places which may be monitored.

You can contact us at the following email address:

N.B. they have not yet published a PGP/GPG Encryption Key and there is no use of SSL/TLS encryption on the supporters email subscription form

Existing whistleblowers (who may well be contacted by others with similar experiwences) and their supporters should try to come along to the next CryptoParty London (or in other locations around the world) where expert users will guide them through the often somewhat daunting provess of configuring and using encryption and anonymity software and techniques, to protect potential whistleblowers and their evidence.

By phone

Do not use a mobile phone that you have used before, even if you use a 'Pay-As-You-Go' SIM card. The less smart the phone you use, the better. Buying a secondhand phone from a car boot sale or suchlike is the best advice we can give.

Do not use a smartphone with GIS services. If you need to contact us by phone, never use your own landline, mobile phone or any work phone - especially mobile phones issued to you by your employer. Using '141' 'conceal my number' isn't enough - the number is recorded anyway.

'Pay-As-You-Go' SIM cards and phones can be purchased from local shops for a few pounds; do not register the SIM, never give out the number and use it only for contacting 'Whistleblowers UK.' Alternatively, you can use public phones.

If you query is not sensitive you can contact us on this temporary number: 020 7040 8526.

WBUK should also publish publish a mobile phone contact number(s), which would be useful for recieving SMS text messages (less personally revealing than voicemail)

Buying and using a mobile phone also needs quite a few , common sense precautions and there are several things to be aware of to improve your anonymous use of such phones.

Similarly, there are some things to avoid when setting up "free" webmail accounts.

See CryptoParty London Bring & Swap ( .pdf)

After you make first contact

A member of the team will assess your situation and advise you. Should you wish to whistleblow, the advisor will discuss with you appropriate arrangements for meeting in person or for sending documents electronically (or as paper). We will, if required, make arrangements for you to disclose your information with a trusted journalist in the safest way possible.

Legal And Emotional Support

Once proper internal procedures for reporting wrongdoing have failed, employees bringing complaints have faced perpetrators or complicity in management and aggressive polices of harassment to hide wrongdoing and intimidate those who threaten to bring a complaint. We can support you during this difficult process by providing access to pro-bono legal and psychological advice.

Is Whistleblowing Right For You?

Several of the whistleblowers who have been involved in setting up this organisation say that while they wanted to change the world they live in, they would never wish their experience on their loved ones: "we didn't realise the heavy sacrifice involved when acting on one's conscience. We cannot recommend whistleblowing to everyone and sometimes the advice may be - find another way."

See also our Spy Blog:

Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers etc.- Technical Hints and Tips for protecting the anonymity of sources for Whistleblowers, Investigative Journalists, Campaign Activists and Political Bloggers etc.

Perhaps some of the scandals which have been suppressed by the deliberate Whitehall political delays to Freedom of Information Act requests, may now be slowly starting to emerge.

Home Office Immigration scandal whistleblower Steve Moxon, writes:

Beverley Hughes is quitting 'cos she's just been found out to be a liar: new FOI disclosures

Beverley Hughes, MP and children's minister, is standing down, she says, to spend more time with her family.
Oh yes?
It's an old euphemism.
Just a coincidence then that she is not responding to her local paper's request to discuss the new Freedom of Information disclosures of Home Office documents proving she lied in the immigration scandal over which she presided?

Bev had to resign as minister for immigration back in 2004 for 'misleading the House (of Commons)' -- lying, IOW -- re what she knew of problems with visas at our Romanian embassy. This was in the wake of my coming forward as a 'whistle-blower' over systematic illegal non-application of immigration law across all immigration casework [rubber-stamping applications without checking them, in a procedure named BRACE -- 'backlog reduction accelerated clearance exercise' -- which was applied to all cases for periods].

What is new -- with the long-awaited disclosure from the Home Office after my FOI request back in 2005, when the Act first came into law -- is that it is now proven that she lied about the whole wider problem of illegal administration of immigration applications.

This shows that she is unfit to be either a minister (which she still is; though not of immigration, obviously) or an MP.

Below is my analysis re the most telling lines from the Home Office disclosure documents (which are archived in several small bundles on their website's FOI pages).

The documents are available at the Home Office FOIA disclosure page:

Information relating to "BRACE" (Backlog Reduction Accelerated Clearance Exercises) from 2004

These documents also provide a glimpse into the draughting and re-draughting of Government "Lines to take" by the Press Office civil servants and by Special Political Advisor spin doctors.

This is all even further evidence, that the notorious David Blunkett, who was in charge of the Home Office back in 2004, which failed to handle "Immigration" policy properly, should never be inflicted on us again as a Government Minister, no matter how desperate Gordon Brown is to re-shuffle his Cabinet.

The MP's expenses scandal seems to have paralysed the "Westminster village" of professional politicos for the last couple of weeks or so.

Given Spy Blog's interest in Whistleblowers and in the privacy and security of anonymous whistleblowing sources (see our Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers, Investigative Journalists, Political Bloggers and Activists - , in the public interest, we read with interest today's story in the Sunday Times, and the later one on the Mail on Sunday website, who name the intermediary brokers of the whistleblower CDROMs containing the uncensored MPs expenses documents, as John Wick and Henry Gewanter,

They were first named by the Wall Street Journal, which appears to have betrayed whistleblower source confidentiality - why should any whistleblower or other confidential journalistic source ever trust them again ?

If whistleblowers are forced to go to the mainstream media, rather than through their management systems or independent confidential whistleblower complaints systems, then there is no moral question about money.

The mainstream media like the Daily Telegraph profit financially from setting the news agenda with a big journalistic "scoop", so whether or not the actual whistleblowers get paid, or whether it is only their advisors and intermediaries who get paid, is not very important if the allegations are true, as they obviously are in this MPs expenses scandal.

Will the publicity about John Wick and Henry Gewanter now actually protect them somewhat, from the vindictiveness of those in power, who they have helped to expose ?

Will the media and political attention focus on them as intermediaries, rather than on the actual whistleblower source(s) ?


Business of the House: Government Information (Unauthorised Release) (4 Dec 2008)

Andrew Mackinlay (Thurrock) (Lab):: A little while ago I had a hand in getting the Prime Minister to reaffirm the Wilson doctrine, and he extended it to modern electronic surveillance. On the face of it, it would appear that the Wilson doctrine has been abrogated by the police in this case. Clearly, the e-mails of the hon. Member for Ashford (Damian Green) were looked at. I venture to suggest that he was listened in to, and...

4 Dec 2008 : Column 143

Jacqui Smith: I am sorry my hon. Friend has not received the reply to the letter, which I sent him yesterday and in which I made it clear that the Wilson doctrine as outlined by the Prime Minister has not been abrogated.


Mr. Parmjit Dhanda (Gloucester) (Lab) The Home Secretary has been clear and unambiguous today. Will she go further on the point of my hon. Friend the Member for Thurrock (Andrew Mackinlay) about the Wilson doctrine? Can she reassure all hon. Members that our home numbers, work mobiles and the phones that we use in this House are covered by the Wilson doctrine, as well as our e-mail accounts?

Jacqui Smith: As I have suggested, the Wilson doctrine applies, and it applies as outlined by the Prime Minister.

4 Dec 2008 : Column 151

Remember that the Wilson Doctrine is interpreted very narrowly by this Labour Government - the "seizure of evidence" by the Police, when they grab someone's computer is not "interception of emails" in transit, although the end result in terms of betraying confidential information can be the same.

Since the whistleblower leak inquiry covers the last couple of years or so, what exactly were the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command granted access to, with respect to the Parliamentary email system ?

  • Were the Police granted access to all of the emails sent and received via Damian Green's Parliamentary email account ?
  • Were these emails restricted to only the ones sent to or from the Home Office whistleblower Christopher Galley (if , indeed, any such emails actually exist at all) , or were other emails from or to constituents, or correspondents of Damian Green, also scooped up in the data trawl ?
  • Were the Police granted access to the entire Microsoft Exchange server or shared folders containing correspondence from more than one MP and their constituents ?
  • Were they granted access to archives or backups, going back 2 or more years ?

There are separate questions about any content of any such emails i.e. Interception (which is supposedly covered by the Wilson Doctrine) and any email server logfiles which potentially betray the identities of other whistleblowers or other confidential journalistic contacts i.e. Communications Traffic Data. The latter is not covered by the Wilson Doctrine, but it should be.

It appears that Damian Green's Parliamentary email account was suspended on the Thursday of his arrest.

The Speaker of the House of Commons, Michael Martin appeared to be clueless and not in command of any facts about exactly what privacy, confidentiality and privilege breaches there had, or had not been, regarding the Parliamentary email system.

The Mail on Sunday has put a strange spin on its "whistleblower spies" report, which must stem from the first evidence session of the Joint Committee on the Draft Constitutional Renewal Bill (not yet available online), which was, presumably held on Tuesday 6th May 2008.

Without bothering to mention this Joint Committee directly, they report:

Mail on Sunday

Whistleblower spies are left out in the cold by new Government rules

Last updated at 01:31am on 11th May 2008

Britain's spies will not be covered by new rules that protect Government whistleblowers.

Officers from MI5, MI6 and the GCHQ listening station who raise the alarm over their roles must instead have the issue dealt with internally.

However, other Government departments will be covered by the new code of practice designed to ensure public service honesty, integrity and independence.

The Civil Service Code (revised in 2006) provides even less protection for whistleblowers than the old version did - see the the previous Spy Blog article - Minor changes to the Civil Service Code might affect whistleblowers

The rules - in the proposed Constitutional Renewal Bill - will ensure grievances are investigated by independent officials from other departments.

Justice Secretary Jack Straw's decision to exclude spies comes despite the huge growth in size and activities of the main agencies - plus continuing questions over their role in the Iraq war run-up.

Jack Straw has an appalling record regarding whistleblowing civil servants in his own Departments. Remember the persecution and smear campaigns against the former British Consul to Romania and Bulagaria, James Cameron and the former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray ? All of these whistleblowers allegations proved to be true, and in the public interest, but both of them were smeared and persecuted by the Foreign Office bureaucracy, under Jack Straw, in spite of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998

The head of Whitehall's watchdog last week demanded that the spooks be given the protection of an independent investigation.

First Civil Service Commissioner Janet Paraskeva, who reports directly to the Queen, asked a committee of MPs considering the Bill: "Where is the regulatory apparatus for our security services?

"We are asking questions about why all these organisations are excluded from some kind of regulation.

"Why should those civil servants not have the same right of access as other civil servants to an outside body if, in fact, they are concerned about what they have been asked to do?"

Previously, GCHQ officers have been able to go to the Commissioner with grievances, but the new Bill will remove that right and bring them in line with the other security services.

Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell said MI5 and MI6 had their own codes of practice and complaints procedures.

He added: "There is an independent person that they can go to and that person can then refer those complaints directly to the Prime Minister."

Note how the quote from Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell does not actually mention GCHQ !

The actual section of the Draft Governance of Britain - Constitutional Renewal Bill (.pdf 98 pages) which excludes organisations from the purview of the Civil Service Commissioner is clause 25 (2):

25 Application of Part

(2) The parts excluded are --

(a) the Secret Intelligence service
(b) the Security Service
(c) the Government Communications Headquarters
(d) the Northern Ireland Civil Service
(e) the Northern Ireland Court Service

What possible reason is there for excluding "the Northern Ireland Civil Service" and "the Northern Ireland Court Service" ?

Why should different rules apply to them, as apply to civil servants in England, Wales and Scotland ?

We cannot be bothered to try to make any of these points on the "article comments" section on the Daily Mail / Mail on Sunday website - they always seem to ignore anything which even gently points out factual errors or omissions in their articles, let alone anything which disagrees with their political slant, which is a pity, as it rather devalues their website.

Perhaps our regular Associated Newspapers Ltd. visitors could feed this comment back to their management.

The Reporters Without Borders: new updated version of the "Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents" inspired us to get around to revamping what had become a rather too long, but important blog article, which gave Hints and Tips for, initially, Home Office whistleblowers, investigative journalists and bloggers. This was published originally in May 2006, during the height of the media frenzy surrounding the buck passing and musical chairs when the "not fit for purpose" Home Office blob spawned the Ministry of (in)Justice.

The original blog post and comments remain:

Home Office whistleblowers - hints and tips

but the actual Hints and Tips "below the fold" section, has been moved and broken up into more manageable pieces, to form a new mini-blog:

Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers mini-blog - "Technical Hints and Tips for the anonymity of sources for Whistleblowers, Investigative Journalists, Campaign Activists and Political Bloggers from Spy Blog"

Please feel free to comment and correct any errors.

There is a section which needs some help from the readers of Spy Blog, namely, to compile a list of public contact details of reasonably trustworthy journalists, bloggers, independent regulators, politicians etc., and their specialist fields of interest, who might be interested receiving story tips and whistleblower leaks from UK Government Departments or public or private sector organisations.

They need to have some reasonable track record of protecting the identities of their journalistic, or blogger, or complainant contacts and sources.

This list is intended to help a potential whistleblower sound out people, to see if they are likely to take up their cause, and to avoid a scattergun approach of random emails or phone calls or letters etc, which might tip off the scoundrels who the whistleblower is trying to expose, in the public interest.

Obviously only the public contact details will be re-published, as we hope and assume, that all of the people on the list will have multiple email accounts, PGP public encryption keys, web sites, blogs, mobile phones, fax and landline numbers, VoIP etc. i.e. that they are all therefore "suspicious" according to the latest Police / Government Climate of Fear propaganda posters.

A new version of the Civil Service Code has now been published.

There are a few minor changes which might affect whistleblowers, as it now more clearly forms part of the contract of employment of a Civil Servant.

Even Special Advisors , who are exempt from the sections dealing with political impartiality, are still expected, by the Civil Service, at least, to comply with the rest of the Code.

However, although there is now a mention (in a footnote on the last page) , of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 no real guidance is given as to when this might, or might not apply.

The whistleblowing legislation (the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998) may also apply in some circumstances.

The supposedly independent Office of the Civil Service Commissioners of will, apparently now sometimes take complaints from Civil Servants directly, rather than only after all the internal management complaints processes have been exhausted, something which was and which may still be deeply flawed at the Home Office.

The Commissioners will also consider taking a complaint direct.

However they do not offer any confidential telephone hotline, or SMS text message, or anonymous or encrypted email or web form facilities, which means that some Civil Servant whistleblowers are not going to trust them to keep their complaints confidential from their line managers and work colleagues.

similarly, the duty of confidentiality has now been reduced to the very simple yet catch-all:


6 You must not:


  • disclose official information without authority. This duty continues to apply after you leave the Civil Service.

There is no guidance about, for example, the publishing of anonymous work blogs by Civil Servants, so it is really hard to see how the press releases and speeches claiming that the Civil Service is fitr for the 21st Century can be completely true..

When will there be a legally enforcable Ministerial Code of Conduct ?

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 wiil use this verifiable public key (the ID is available on several keyservers, twitter etc.) to establish initial contact with whistleblowers and other confidential sources, but will then try to establish other secure, anonymous communications channels, 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