April 2004 Archives

New MI5 website - SSL encryption at last !


It is good to see that the re-vamped MI5 Security Service website (also available in Arabic) has finally got around to making available an SSL/TLS encrypted web contact form, for reporting possible threats against the United Kingdom's National Security.

Immediate threats e.g. a suspicious package or vehicle should be reported via the normal Emergency Services 999 or 112 telephone numbers. Other suspicions can also be reported via the confidential Anti-terrorism Hotline 0800 789 321.

Despite our constructive criticisms of the UK and allied Government security bureaucracies on civil liberties issues, we are not, in any way, supportive of enemies of democracy.

However, we have never been impressed with the requests to send CV's of potential MI5 recruits to external recruitment agencies via unencrypted internet email. Is this some kind of initiative test to weed out those applicants with no clues about confidentiality ?

Thanks to Statewatch for the news of a Draft European Union Directive on Data Retention (.pdf) proposed by France, Ireland, Sweden and the United Kingdom, which sheds some more light on what David Blunkett pushed for in terms of Data Retention at the EU Summit following the Madrid bombings in March.

The proposal to retain all telephone, mobile phone and internet etc. traffic data , itemised billing etc. (N.B. this includes the communications traffic data of the innocent majority of people, not just specifically of anyone actually under criminal investigation) for at least 12 months is in direct contrast to even the incomplete and ineffective
Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act Voluntary Data Retention Scheme which the UK Home Office produced after dithering for over 2 years in "consultation with industry" (but not, of course, in consultation with the general public).

This "Voluntary Scheme" for Data Retention was the subject of learned analysis and debate at Scrambling for Safety 7 conference.

"Article 4
Time periods for retention of data

1. Each Member State shall take the necessary measures to ensure that >data shall be retained for a period of at least 12 months and not more than 36 months following its generation. Member States may
have longer periods for retention of data dependent upon national criteria when such retention constitutes a necessary, appropriate and proportionate measure within a democratic society.

2. A Member State may decide to derogate from paragraph 1 of this Article, with regard to data types covered by paragraph 2 of Article 2 in relation to the methods of communication identified in paragraph 3(b) and 3 (c) of Article 2, should the Member State not find acceptable, following national procedural or consultative processes, the retention periods set out in paragraph 1 of this Article. A Member State deciding to make use of this derogation at any time must give notice to the Council and to the Commission stating the alternative time scales being adopted for the data types affected. Any such derogation must be reviewed annually."

Are they really now planning to impose the massive cost and administatrative burden involved in say, keeping web proxy server log files for 12 months, when under the UK Voluntary Code of Practice Appendix A (.pdf), on practical and cost grounds, the plan is to keep them for only 4 days ?

Iis the UK Government going to have to derogate annually from an EU Framework Decision that is co-sponsored by the UK Government itself ?

To quote James Hammerton's response to an article in The Times:

"The problem Gove is forgetting here is that Blunkett has been attacking civil liberties so outrageously and relentlessly that no one trusts him, and the civil libertarians are continuously on the defensive against this that and the other attack Blunkett proposes. There is barely time to catch breath and take stock of one policy that attacks if not removes a civil liberty, before Blunkett throws up another, if not 10 more."

There will be a free public meeting entitled "Mistaken Identity", to debate the UK Government's controversial Draft ID Card Bill and Compulsory Biometric SmartCard and Centralised Database plans.

When: Wednesday 19th May, 2004
13.30 - 17.00 hrs

Where: The Old Theatre, Ground Floor, Old Building, London School of Economics
Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE

Email: meeting@stand.org.uk to indicate that you will be attending (feel free to use anonymous remailers, nym accounts etc. - your privacy is important!).

"Mistaken Identity" press release:

Action on Rights for Children are publicizing a peaceful protest of families awith children, against the awful Big Nanny database provisions of the Children Bill, and against schemes like Ryogens etc., outside a Government IT conference on 11th May, from 11.30 am to 2pm, outside the Millenium Hotel in Grosvenor Square, London.

Full ARCH press release:

After over 2 years delay, the Home Office has finally published a Draft ID Cards Bill and Consultation document (.pdf) ?Legislation on Identity Cards: a consultation

Here are a few immediate points of concern, no doubt more will emerge upon further study:

Address information

NO ! NO ! NO! - this turns the ID card into a potential Genocide or Apartheid Card. How easy would it be to produce an address based arrest or vigilante hate list of everybody with "Mohammed" in their name ?

There is no justification for including Address information on the ID Card or on the central database.

Apart from the thousands of people of no fixed abode, the ?1000 fine for not having "accurate and up to date" information in the system is evil.

40% of the electoral roll changes each year in London, with 25% in other major cities. Are people going to be stung for another ID card fee and and another day stolen from their holidays or earnings to re-register every time they change address ?

Gathering up into a central target and potentially disclosing the addresses of battered wives and children, victims of sexual abuse, Confidential Human Informants, members of the police, prison or security services etc. must be a bad idea and will put people's lives at risk. People in these categories refute the canard of "nothing to hide, nothing to fear".

There should be no special categories or exemptions, no address information should be held on the system.

The requirement to register your current address, and all other addresses, and all previous addresses, is actually potentially more stringent than the change of address notifications which are imposed on people on the Violent and Sexual Offender's Register. Offenders (ViSOR) only might be photographed or fingerprinted, everybody on the National ID Register will be photographed and fingerprinted and possibly have other biometric details taken e.g. iris scans as well, for the rest of their lives (unlike offenders on ViSOR)

Even the Home Office's own Entitlement Card focus group research showed that Address information was the most contentious issue, especially amongst ethnic minorities.

What are the procedures when someone dies ?

How are people going to authenticated as being dead ?

Where are the criminal penalties to safeguard against corrupt petty officials or another Dr. Harold Shipman from fraudulently signing a death certificate when someone is alive, and causing their existing Passport or ID Card to be flagged as no longer valid ?

There are over 30,000 "zombies" in India who are in this situation where their relatives have had them declared legally dead, in order to steal their property.

31 Tampering with Register (surely they mean "the Register" ?)

Amending Section 3 of the Computer Misuse Act 1990 is a waste of time. The whole CMA needs to be reformed (it predates the popularity of the Internet and the World Wide Web).

It is probably a Good Idea to create a class of Critical National Infrastructure computer and telecomms systems with harsher penalties if these are attacked, but also with penalties for the operators amd managers, company directors, civil servants and Ministers in charge of these systems if they fail to spend enough money and resources to maintain them at state of the art security patch levels.

However, the vague, undefined wording about a category of computer system called a "National Identity Register" computer with a harsher than standard penalty of 10 years in jail, is meaningless and open to misinterpretation. Do they mean the actual core servers and infrastructure, or does this also include the peripheral data entry or enrolment terminals, or the entire Internet Virtual Private Network in between ?

There is no acknowledgement or thought of Denial of Service attacks which do not alter any data but which would have a devastating effect on the ID Card system.

National Identity Scheme Commisssioner

If his annual reports can be censored, and, it would seem he has no powers or budget or staff to investigate complaints from the public, then Sir Swinton Thomas (if he really exists), the "invisible" Interception Commissioner might as well be doing the job .

Audit trails

It is to be welcomed that a full audit trail is to be kept, including who has asked for ID information about an individual.

If, as has been claimed, the system is to reduce the number of racist or unfair police "stops and searches" then the individual must have access to the full audit trail in order to show that they have beenn harrassed unecessarily.

The deliberate Data Protection Act delay of 41 days to reply to a Data Subject Access request should be sufficient for any tactical policing issues e.g. an imminent arrest, to be irrelevant in acceeding to such a request.

29 Unauthorised Disclosure of information

Why does the Official Secrets Act not apply to this scheme ?

Surely the ID Card data must be considered to be Protecively Marked material at the level of Confidential or Secret or higher classification ? i.e. must not be sent unencrypted via internet email etc.

Does the 2 years in jail for anybody working on the National ID Register who discloses information, also appy to any systems design or architecture information as opposed to passwords or individual citizen's data records ?

The defence of "he believed, on reasonable ground, that he had lawful authority to make the disclosure in question" is an evil clause and should be struck out. Either someone is properely authorised or they are not. There should be no discretion in the matter, and if it means that the Home Secretary has to sign to authorise each disclosure, then so be it. If there is no proper chain of command and authorisation structure, then the scheme should never be started.

Does this actually make this ID scheme incompatible with ICAO Biometric Passports, by prohibiting the system from being linked with other national government's Passport or Border Control systems ?

Possession of counterfeiting equipment:

The same mistakes as were made with the Mobile Telephone (Re-programming) Act 2002 are being repeated with respect to posssesion of "dual use" computer, smartcard reader or printing equipment.

In whose opinion, exactly, is a particular computer etc. deemed to have been "designed or amended" to produce counterfeit ID documents ? There should be no such discretion or intellectual burden left to the opinion of a police officer - they simply do not have a clue as to the technology.

20 Disclosures without consent of a registered individual

It is good to see that the Home Office has not made any provision for Data Sharing or Disclosure without consent to foreign governments e.g. it will make it llegal to share ID Card data data with the controversial CAPPS 2 passenger information system in the USA. Obviously there is the "voluntary" aspect of travelling to the USA, where you could be deemed to have given permission to share this data, but the other , more controversial areas, where the USA authorities have full access to passenger lists etc of flights which are not even going to the USA, but are operated by carriers who do so, should, in theory be illegal and punishable by up to 2 years in jail. Is this really what the Home Office intended ?

Minor points:
The definition of "fingerprint" is unclear - does it mean one finger, if so, which one, or all ten digits ?

There is no mention of preferential treatment for veiled Muslim women, or any other group in the Bill. Stupid media leaks and disinformation !

The transcript of David Blunkett's interview on BBC Breakfast with Frost which has been re-broadcast and partially quoted by other media, even more unsubstantiated claims about the alleged benefits of Compulsory ID Cards:

In the panic to be seen to be doing something against terrorism, the Government seems to be throwing out the baby with the bathwater, and helping the terrorists to win by removing our freedoms unecessarily.

Various newspapers e.g. The Guardian, The Independent, The Scotsman, The Financial Times etc.seem to have been briefed (or are copying each other) about a new feature of the forthcoming Draft ID Cards Bill (supposedly due to be revealed on Monday) which has not so far been discussed by the Home Office at all, namely the creation of an offence of being in possession of a false document with a penalty of up to 10 years in jail.

If this is the only applies to the new ID Card then it must also be balanced with equally harsh criminal penalties for insiders who abuse the Central ID Database system, and for petty officials or others who demand one's ID Card vexatiously, but there do not seem to be any leaks about any such measures.

Why did the "journalists" not enquire if the wording of this offence will be drawn up in the usual Home Office "infinite powers" style and will also therefore threaten anybody who has been foolish enough to purchase a counterfeit ticket to a sporting or music event or for travel purposes, with 10 years in jail, after all, these are increasingly also temporary "identity documents" ?

When due to equipment failures (e.g. fingerprint scanners which have not been cleaned properly after scanning more than a few dozen people) one or both of your Biometric Identifiers fail to be authenticated properly, will you be treated as a serious criminal facing 10 years in jail ?

Will the wording also be broad enough to use the word "document" to cover copyright infringing music or video files etc ?

How about possession of a forged (spam) email document ?

Will "possession of countefeiting equipment" become yet another case of the Home Office failing to distinguish between "dual use" equipment such as computers or printers or smart card readers, like they did with the Mobile Telephones (Re-programming) Act 2002 ?

Where is the evidence for the often parrotted claim that "identity fraud costs the UK economy ?1.3 billion per year" ? The figures for credit card fraud are much lower than this around ?250 million a year for "customer not present" fraud, but that is not really Identity Fraud as such. The figures for Identity Theft based benefits fraud are even lower 9most of such fraud is due to people making false claims about their entitlements e.g. the cost of housing or an alleged medical condition, by people who do not hide their identity)

Do the journalists who are reporting this story have a pact with the Home Office spin doctors to merely parrot leaks about forthcoming legislation which should be first revealed to Parliament, on condition that they do not actually analyse or think through the implications of even the few details which they have been given a privilged sneak preview of ?

The House of Commons has just wasted nearly ?2 million of public money on a single alleged "security screen" which is somehow meant to protect the Chamber of the House of Commons from chemical or biological weapns attack, presumably by terrorists.

According to the debate in the House of Commons yesterday, ?600,000 has already been spent on a temporary screen installed over the Easter recess and a "builder's estimate" of ?1.3 million to be spent on a permanent one with more architectural features next year.

"22 Apr 2004 : Column 467
Mr. Hain:

There will be Members who question the value for money of both temporary and permanent structures. The temporary structure has cost ?600,000; the proposed permanent structure ?1.3 million. I appreciate that that will seem a considerable sum to our constituents"

There is no such screen in the House of Lords, only part of one of the galleries is being "protected", the Strangers' Gallery where some, but not all, of the Public and Tourists can view the debates in the Chamber of the House of Commons. The frontrowsofthisGallery,and the Press Gallery etc are not so "protected".

The air supply to the Houses of Parliament is that of a draughty old Victorian building, and obviously does not have a filtered air supply equivalent to that of a Level 4 containment Bioweapons research laboratory - the "security screen" simply cannot protect MPs from these weapons.

The "security screen" can drown out the shouts of protestors, and its looming presence is presumably psychological pressure to enhance the "bunker mentality" of MPs when voting for Anti-Terrorist measures.

Any chemical or biological attack, anywhere in the entire Houses of Parliament, no matter how small, will cause an evacuation and decontamination routine which will gather exactly the same amount of media and press overkill saturation coverage for terrorists as a bomb or shooting incident.

The alleged justification for this "security screen" is not, apparently, to protect members of the public, or even indivudual members of Parliament, to somehow to protect Democracy itself.

There is absolutely no chance of this "security screen" being effective.

It should be made clear that killing or injuring all of the UK Government and Opposition will still not be enough for terrorists to claim a victory over our Democracy - we will elect new Members of Parliament. If our soldiers and security forces are willing to put their lives at risk, then so should the Members of the House of Commons.

Parliament has a disasterous record of ineptitude over the building of Portcullis House, where each MP's office cost over ?1.3 million each, following an illegal tendering process which gave the contract for the bronze roofing to the highest bidder. Questions must therefore be asked about the ?2 million being wasted on this "security screen" - was there a proper competitive tendering process ?

All that this "security screen" has done is to help further isolate the Members of Parliament from the general public, and to attempt to hide the smell of panic rising from the floor of the House of Commons. This is yet another small victory for terrorism.

Detica MORI ID Cards poll spin

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A telephone opinion poll on ID Cards conducted by MORI is being hyped by the Home Office and by the IT Consultancy Detica who commisioned it, presumably with some of the public money that they get from their UK government contract for e-government programme development. Thanks to Chris Lightfoot for reminding us that the MORI polling organisation also has a commercial interest in ID Cards, as they are running the selection process for the 10,000 "volunteers" who are to participate in the Passport Office's Biometrics evealuation trial (technically not actually to do with ID cards at all, but with the introduction of a Biometric Passport Card which will only be valid for travel within the European Union)

Despite their headline spin that "The public say ?yes? to ID cards ? civil liberties argument fails", if you actually read the published poll document (.pdf)
even Detica have to admit that:

"Although 94% of people are aware of the scheme?s existence, two thirds (67%) have little or no knowledge of the Government?s national ID card proposals."

This invalidates any claims that 80% of the public support the actual Biometric ID card scheme which is being proposed by the Government - how can they if they do not know the details ? This point should be made by the media and by Parliamentarians to David Blunkett when he uses this poll as "evidence" of public support for his particularly intrusive and expensive and ineffective ID card proposals.


"Almost 60% people have little or confidence in the Government?s ability to introduce ID cards without hitches. Results suggest scepticism in the competence of the Government to manage large-scale technology projects."


"41% lack confidence in the Government's ability to store personal information securely"

and nobody wants to pay for the scheme:

"Almost half (48%), stated they do not want to pay anything towards a national ID card"

Of course the alleged 11% who are opposed or strongly opposed to the idea of ID Cards represent over 6 million people in the UK. If even only a small fraction of these do not sign up for the scheme, then, together with the millions of EU nationals who will still be allowed into the UK for up to 3 months with no need to register for an ID Card, the scheme will be utterly useless for trying to track down a few dozen terrorists or even a few thousand illegal immigrants out of a population of 60 million or so.

Since most Government services are no longer delivered face to face at a Government office, with further cuts in the number of civil servants promised, the plan to use a Biometric ID Card, which needs expensive specialised secure computer hardware readers, cannot be used to help to identify people over the phone, over the internet or by post. The proposed ID card would provide no advantage over the existing systems, yet it would cost billions.

EPCglobal UHF Generation 2 RFID tag standard


Will the still unpublished EPC UHF Generation 2 protocol improve the security and privacy and range of EPCglobal compliant RFID Tags ?

According an article in RFID Journal, a candidate standard has been submitted by 13 RFID chip suppliers, including the giant Phillips and Texas Instruments, so there is a very good chance that their views will prevail.

The new standard is supposed to replace the existing Class 0 and Class 1 RFID tags:

"The proposed specification describes a 96-bit field-programmable RFID tag that can operate in the UHF spectrum (868 to 956 MHz) globally and supports secure communication between reader and tag. The protocol includes a 32-bit kill command that renders the tag inoperable. Allen says systems using the protocol would be able to read 1,700 tags per second in North America and 600 per second in Europe, where there are tighter restrictions on the power output of readers."

Compared to the existing weak 24 bit Class 0 and the trivially weak 8 bit Class 1 "Kill Codes" the proposal to have a 32 bit one must be an improvement, but whether this actually offers any real improvement in security from Denial of Service attacks or actually helps with privacy is still open to question until the full specification and the alleged "secure communications between reader and tag" are explained.

It will still be possible for developers and retailers to be stupid and to program one master "kill code" into a batch or an entire ware house of RFID tagged goods, instead of allocating a separate, random "kill code" to each RFID tag, which would then have to be retrieved securely from a database at the checkout.

Back from holiday

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We are back from a short holiday abroad, so apologies to our regular readers for the lack of recent updates.

Anyone who has emailed us recently will have to wait for a reply a little longer, as we wade through close on a thousand alleged emails.

One of us witnessed the following at Heathrow Airport Passport & Immigration control this evening - a gentleman spent rather longer than average going through the control, when a human Home Office employee took a second look at him, since he had shaved off the moustache which he was sporting when his Passport Photo was taken. In this case things were sorted out good naturedly.

What would have happened had it not been a human, but a so called facial recognition system, such as is planned for ICAO standard Biometric passports, which failed to recognise his Biometric Identifier i.e. his actual face compared with the recorded image of his face ?

The Government's plans for the local or central Big Nanny databases which will be created on every Child and parent in the UK, under the Children Bill, overturning any confidentiality under Common Law are still secret, and have not yet been clarified.

You can get a glimpse of the sort of thing that is envisaged by looking at the
RYOGENS (Reducing Youth Offending Generic Solution) project being tested by Local Authorities in Lewisham in London and Warwickshire, with the support of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, the Home Office etc. but which the developers hope will be rolled out to most other Local Authority areas.

The Ryogens system shares data and soft intelligence Concerns about vulnerable Chilfren between the Police and Schools and Social Services, below the levels of concern required for statutory reporting, and also links to Geographical Information Systems and attempts to alert various Child Care Professionals i.e. it must include rumours and unsubstantiated reports and possible libels.

This system is web based and the result of a "Rapid IT Procurement Process" which is usually code for "shoddy work, to impossible deadlines promised by the sales droids to the gullible politicians and civil servants, with no consultation with the general public".

We are not convinced that the necessary security, managerial, procedural and audit procedures are in place for a system which deals with sensitive personal information about Children and their families.

There are limited technical details about the poject available:

Guy Kewney reports from the London Wireless LAN Event trade show that Last Mile Communications / TIVIS (Total In Vehicle Information System) Limited seem, somehow, to have done a monopoly deal with the notorious Highways Agency of the Department of Transport to install microwave beacons on 150,000 lamp posts as part of the National Roads Telecommunications Services Project. Where was the public consultation on this massive project ?

N.B. these are the same beaureaucrats who allowed the Trafficmaster Automatic Number Plate Recognition surveillance network to appear on public land without any public debate.

The National Roads Telecommunications Services Project promises all sorts of high speed telecomms network access, which is all well and good, however, the system is apparently going to work at 63 to 65 GigaHerz.

63 to 65 GigaHerz is well into the Passive Millimetre Wave Radar Camera operating range.

Are we now, thanks to this proposed massive network of external Millimetre Wave Radar spotlights, going to have our privacy further eroded by "see through walls" and "see under your children's clothes" Passive Millimetre Wave Radar Cameras and imaging systems which will now be able to snoop at longer range or through thicker obstacles, then they would normally capable of when only working with "background radiation" illumination ?

All the reassurances that Passive Millimetre Wave Radar Cameras only use "natural background" radiation and must therefore be "safe" will be nonsense if this system is deployed on our streets.

What are the health risks, if any, of constant exposure to 63 or 65 GHz millimetre wave radar radiation ? What about any harmonics which are produced by the actual equipment, at lower and higher frequencies ? Where are the health studies which prove that the proposed power levels are safe ? It is not fair to compare the alleged effect on health by using results or experience from Mobile Phone frequencies (0.9GHz and 1.8 GHz) and power levels, with a system which uses frequencies an order of magnitude higher (63 GHz).

If there have been no such health studies, then a "safe" level of power output cannot be set arbitrarily. The proposed level of 200mW has more to do with not interfering with satellite and military communications systems than with respect for human health or privacy.

We should not be repeating the mistakes made with Mobile Phone microwave frequencies and infrastructure. Show the public that these technologies are safe and will not impinge on their privacy, before the equipment is deployed at tens of thousands of locations all over the country.

Yesterday the Evening Standard, other news media, and blogs hyped up a ridiculous ABC News story "'Very Nasty' Potential Bomb Plot Involved Deadly Chemical" allegedly targeted at either the London Underground Tube system or at Gatwick Airport.

Why don't journalists check the sanity of stories from alleged "intelligence sources" ?

Instead of rushing off to grab edited soundbites from toxicology experts about how nasty the chemical might be if inhaled, they, yet again, did not ask the obvious questions:

How difficult is a search engine query for "world production of Osmium" ? This immediately yields academic sources which show that Osmium is an extremely rare metal, rarer than platinum, with an annual world production of less than 500 kilograms

Do terrorists use gold bullets these days ? They would be cheaper than Osmium Tetroxide.

A much more serious threat was exposed by the BBC Kenyon Confronts team which last year purchased (cheap) Sodium Cyanide with no difficulty.

If GCHQ really did intercept communications about such a "plot" , how exactly was it foiled ? Does simply warning the laboratory chemical suppliers of minute amounts of Osmium Tetroxide constitute "foiling a terrorist plot" ? How much of the chemical actually was purchased and delivered or stolen ? Why was there no MI6 or MI5 "sting" operation to ensnare the alleged plotters ?

If genuine, what is the actual motive for releasing such a story to the media ?

If this was a genuine GCHQ and MI6 (or MI5 ?) operation, why are "intelligence sources" blabbing about it to ABC News in the USA ?

Where in this "story" is there any evidence of any "terrorists" actually having been arrested for this alleged plot ? The implication is that the suspects are the 9 UK nationals recently arrested in Luton and Croydon etc, along with a bag of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, who are currently being held under the Terrorism Act , and who have not yet been charged with anything.

Is it the intention to prejudice any future criminal trial with such leaks to the USA media ?

After having been forced to admit that of the 27 foreign countries in the Visa Waiver scheme will be ready to issue Biometric Passports by October 2004, the US Government is now extending their controversial US-VISIT system to every country except Mexico and Canada (not just Canada, as is being reported by the media)

US Depertment of State Press Conference, April 2, 2004

US Depertment of State
Daily Press Briefing
Adam Ereli, Deputy Spokesman
Washington, DC
April 2, 2004

The second announcement concerns the Visa Waiver Program and the US-VISIT Program. The Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security have asked Congress to pass legislation to extend for two years the requirement for the Visa Waiver Program countries to include biometrics in passports issued on or after October 26, 2004.

In the context of requesting this extension, the Department of Homeland Security will also begin enrolling Visa Waiver travelers through the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology, which is the US-VISIT Program, at all airports and seaports by September 30th, 2004.

As you all probably know, the US-VISIT system is a fast and easy process that requires two digital index finger scans and a digital photograph from the traveler to verify his identity. We believe that an extension of the Visa Waiver Program will avoid potential disruption to international travel and, at the same time, enrollment in the US-VISIT -- in US-VISIT will help mitigate the security concerns related to extending the deadline for biometric passports.

QUESTION: Does that mean that once the two years are over, and presuming that the Visa Waiver countries meet the requirement for biometrics, that after that they won't have -- their citizens won't have to be fingerprinted when they come in?

MR. ERELI: I think that's an issue that the Department of Homeland Security will review at the time. But it's not a decision, I think, that's been made now.

QUESTION: Have you informed the 27 countries of this?

MR. ERELI: We have been briefing Visa Waiver Program governments on the request to Congress. We've been briefing them today, both through our embassies abroad and together with the Department of Homeland Security through their ambassadors in Washington, and we've also been briefing congressional staff on the initiatives over the past couple of days.

QUESTION: And I'm sure the reaction has been overwhelming joy, yeah?

MR. ERELI: Well, I think there's a recognition that, you know, that we're trying to both meet the requirements of security and facilitate travel. And, we all agree that biometric passports are desirable and necessary. There seems to be difficulty in meeting those requirements. An extension is a good idea. And at the same time, the US-VISIT Program, I think, has proven to be a pretty low-hassle way of protecting the traveler and protecting the homeland.

QUESTION: Okay. Just have you guys given any thought to any other measure you could take that could make the United States even more unpopular than it already is right now in the rest of the world? "

MR. ERELI: Teri.

QUESTION: You do --

QUESTION: Change of subject?

QUESTION: You do realize that this is -- that this is going to be seen, or is being seen, as a major slap in the face to some of your closest allies?

MR. ERELI: It's not -- certainly, if that's the way it's seen, then it's certainly not intended in that light. We are asking -- we are not requiring visas. We are requesting a two-year extension. I think that is recognition that the program has a value and the program is important.

That is exactly what it looks like from here in the United Kingdom. Where exactly is our Special Relationship ? Why are we being treated like criminals ? Don't you trust us, despite the British casualties side by side with the US military in Afghanistan and Iraq ?

We might tolerate these inherently useless anti-terrorist measures if they were applied to everyone crossing the USA borders, including US citizens, Mexicans and Canadians.

At the same time, there are security needs. I think everybody recognizes those security needs, and that the US-VISIT Program is a very, very low-hassle, unintrusive way of protecting the public and protecting the United States. "

The US-VISIT system is intrusive and does cause unecessary extra delays - the nominal 15 second delay per passenger claimed when the programme was launched in January equates to an extra delay over over 1 hour 40 minutes for the last passengers to disembark from a Boeing 747 Jumbo jet airliner. The latest claim by Asa Hutchinson, the under secretary for border and transportation security, is 23 seconds which equates to an extra delay per passenger of 2 hours 33 minutes. The only way that such delays can be avoided is by making more checking staff and equipment available, which, at peak times, is clearly going to be physically impossible at the busiest airports.

Who is protecting us in the UK from terrorists using stolen or faked or genuine USA Passports, which, surprise, surprise are, very hypocritically, not going even start getting Biometric Identifiers until after the October 2004 deadline, just like all the othe Visa Waiver countries.

Border controls between countries should be the same for each others' nationals. Now that the USA is going to fingerprint and facially scan every visitor from the United Kingdom, whether they have a visa or use the Visa Waiver scheme, then it is time for the Home Office to reciprocate quid pro quo.

All USA visitors to the United Kingdom should also be fingerprinted and facially scanned. There is no need to spend lots of money doing this in a high tech way (the Home Office cannot be trusted with high technology projects). Instead we should follow, the Brasilian example, where a single Immigration official in Rio de Janeiro airport eventually copes with all the incoming USA visitors, armed with a normal commercial digital camera, and a fingerprint ink pad and roller.

We should be equally as vague as the USA government are in revealling exactly how long these Biometric Identifiers and their associated time, date, location records are kept for (it looks like forever), and which agencies they are to be shared with. In the spirit of the recent European Union Declaration on Combating Terrorism, this would mean sharing USA citizens' fingerprints and facial images etc. with all 25 countries in the European Union (after May 1st) plus a variety of EU agencies.

We shall be investigating the route for getting the World Trade Organisation to rule on what seems to us to be a non-tarriff trade barrier, since USA salepeople and merchants do not face the same fingerprinting and facial scanning requirements when entering the European Union, as do United Kingdom or other European Union salespeople and merchants when entering the USA.

Prime Minister's Press Conference, Thursday 1st April 2004 (this is not an April Fool's Day joke)


We believe that there is a difficult situation here and because of the fact that a lot of people involved in terrorism are actually coming from such backgrounds, but don't you believe that this might lead to a conflict within the British population itself eventually?


Well I hope in part it depends on what people like yourselves say to the Muslim community, because in the end it is perfectly obvious why we are having to do this, we are having to do this because we want to protect our people against terrorism, and in protecting people against terrorism we are protecting the Muslim population as well. But we need the laws that we have. Look I think that we will need to readjust our terrorism laws still further, I have to say this to you, and I think that the whole issue of identity cards that a few years ago were not on anyone's agenda are very much on the political agenda here, probably more quickly even than we anticipated, and that is because we are living in a new world and with a new threat that we have to take account of."

Astonishingly, Tony Blair is linking ID Cards with anti--terrorist measures, something which even David Blunkett and Jack Straw have denied would have any effect on terrorists.

Changes to the anti-terrorism laws are needed - to introduce more safeguards against them being abused for purposes which are not related to terrorism, and to provide criminal penalties against those petty officials who attempt to do so.


You mentioned earlier there might be a need to adjust terrorism laws further and you made reference to ID cards. Can you tell us more about that? And I thought the Cabinet had decided to defer ID cards for a few years.


There are certain issues that are going to come up in the near future about terrorism laws and what we need to do in respect of that, and the ... will publish proposals on it. But we need to make sure that in the light of fresh information and operations such as the one that we have just seen that we are keeping our law up to date with the reality on the ground. The second point in relation to ID cards is that I think there is no longer a civil liberties objection to that in the vast majority of quarters. There is a series of logistical questions, of practical questions, those need to be resolved, but that in my judgment now, the logistics is the only time delay in it, otherwise I think it needs to move forward."

"no longer a civil liberties objection" ??

There are plenty of valid civil liberties objections which have not been answered by the Government, perhaps what Tony Blair means is that he is simply planning to ignore the objections without debate ?

What was the point of the "Cold War" and what is the point of the "War on Terror" if our fundamental civil liberties, which is what are under attack, are thrown away by soundbite politicians ?

Where is the detailed Government's Draft ID Cards Bill which was promised in the Queen's Speech ?

If rigourously checking the documents of a few thousand Immigrants is beyond the capabilities of the Home Office, then why should anyone believe that they can cope with 60 million of us who will need to go through essentially the same kind of ID Card enrolment process ?

Remember that, unlike Passports or Driving Licences, there can not be any economies of scale due to postal applications, which are ruled out by virtue of the reliance on Biometric Identifiers for which we will have to queue and queue in person, and then pay the ID Card Poll Tax to remain "entitled" to the Government services which we have already paid for and already have a right to.

Please write to, or fax or email your MP and object to the Prime Minister's statement.

The Home Affairs Committee of the House of Commons will hold another Oral Evidence session in its Inquiry into ID Cards:

Date: Tuesday 20 April in
Location: The Grimmond Room, Portcullis House.
Witnesses: Representatives from Edentity Ltd, Cubic Corporation, LaserCard Systems Corporation and QinetiQ

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 www.pgpi.org
(available for most of the common computer operating systems, and also in various Open Source versions like GPG)

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

Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers and Political Dissidents

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

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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

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

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

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

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

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


Watching Them, Watching Us

London 2600

Our UK Freedom of Information Act request tracking blog

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

Privacy and Security

Privacy International
United Kingdom Privacy Profile (2011)

Cryptome - censored or leaked government documents etc.

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

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

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

International Campaign Against Mass Surveillance

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

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

Technical Advisory Board on internet and telecomms interception under RIPA

European Digital Rights

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

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

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

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

Human Rights

Liberty Human Rights campaigners

British Institute of Human Rights
Amnesty International

Prevent Genocide International

asboconcern - campaign for reform of Anti-Social Behavior Orders

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

Internet Censorship

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

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

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

Judicial Links

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

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

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

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

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

Parliamentary Opposition

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

UK Government

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

No. 10 Downing Street Prime Minister's Official Spindoctors

Public Bills before Parliament

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

House of Commons "Question Book"

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

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

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

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

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

Online Media

Boing Boing

Need To Know [now defunct]

The Register

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

Ideal Government - debate about UK eGovernment

NIR and ID cards

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

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

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

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

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

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

Surveillance Infrastructures

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

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

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

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

RFID Links

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

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

RFIDBuzz.com blog - where we sometimes crosspost RFID articles

Genetic Links

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

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

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

Miscellanous Links

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

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

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

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

Former Spies

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

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

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

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

Naked Spygirl - Olivia Frank

Blog Links

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

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

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

Liberty Central

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

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

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

Vmyths - debunking computer security hype

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

Martin Stabe
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


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

Ralph Bendrath

Financial Cryptography - Ian Grigg et al.

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

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

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

"Give 'em hell Pike!" - Frank Fisher

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

geeklawyer - intellectual property, civil liberties and the legal system

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

Charlie's Diary - Charlie Stross

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

Famous for 15 Megapixels

Postman Patel

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

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

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

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

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

Matt Wardman political blog analysis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No CCTV - The Campaign against CCTV

Barcode Nation - keeping two eyes on the database state.

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

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

Justin Wylie's political blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Links

Spam Huntress - The Norwegian Spam Huntress - Ann Elisabeth

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

Cool Britannia


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

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

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

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UK Legislation

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

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

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

UK Legislation Links

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

UK Commissioners

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

UK Intelligence Agencies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 irrepressible.info 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


WhistleblowersUK.org - Fighting for justice for whistleblowers