May 2004 Archives

The European Union Commission bureaucrats have ignored the votes in the European Parliament and the warnings from European Union state Data Privacy authorities, and have signed an agreement with the United States about the unilateral transfer of airline Passenger Name Record data to the USA.

The political scheming and misleading public statements by those involved in the EU negotiations with the USA make sorry reading, and can be found in the Privacy and Travel category of the The Practical Nomad Blog by Edward Hasbrouck.
and by Statewatch and by Privacy International(.pdf)
c.f. the actual text of the agreement which was signed on May 28th 2004.

The Data Retention period is being spun as, for some unfathomable reason as 3 years and 6 months. In practice, the actual Data Retention period will be for at least 8 years, which is allowed for "records which have been manually accessed". Under what circumstances will a transatlantic flight record not be "manually accessed" by a US official ?

The 34 data fields in the Passenger Name Record that will be "pulled" or eventually "pushed" from the airline Computerised Reservation Services such as Galileo/Apollo, Sabre, Amadeus, or Worldspan etc. include:

Attachment "A"

1. PNR record locator code
2. Date of reservation
3. Date(s) of intended travel
4. Name
5. Other names on PNR
6. Address
7. All forms of payment information
8. Billing address
9. Contact telephone numbers
10. All travel itinerary for specific PNR
11. Frequent flyer information (limited to miles flown and address(es))
12. Travel agency
13. Travel agent
14. Code share PNR information
15. Travel status of passenger
16. Split/Divided PNR information
17. Email address
18. Ticketing field information
19. General remarks
20. Ticket number
21. Seat number
22. Date of ticket issuance
23. No show history
24. Bag tag numbers
25. Go show information
26. OSI information
27. SSI/SSR information
28. Received from information
29. All historical changes to the PNR
30. Number of travelers on PNR
31. Seat information
32. One-way tickets
33. Any collected APIS information
34. ATFQ fields"

The implications of collecting and forwarding these data which invade the privacy of passengers and their families and business associates (if they have not paid for a flight personally) are very worrying, especially as the aim of all of this seems to be Passenger Profiling, with all the scope for massive mistakes, racial harrassment and ineffectiveness against real terrorists, which plans like CAPPS II entail (thanks again to Edward Hasbrouck for his excellent online resources on this issue).

The first cinema audiences to watch the new Harry Potter film are going to be spied on by cinema ushers armed with high tech Night Vision equipment

"Harry Potter and the wizard idea to foil cinema pirates

Martin Wainwright
Monday May 31, 2004
The Guardian

Cinema ushers across Britain go into action today with a new piece of equipment which makes their ice-cream trays and hand torches look tame.
Military-style night-sights have been sent to every outlet in the country showing the new Harry Potter film, The Prisoner of Azkaban.

Staff have been instructed to spend all two hours and 22 minutes of the film scanning the dark - for pirates making illegal copies"

Will Warner Bothers succeed in exporting Night Vision equipment to the Lebanon or Syria to police the Harry Potter film in the Middle East ?

The US Government takes a dim view (literally) of Night Vision equipment in the wrong hands and are prosecuting a man caught in another entrapment/sting operation for supposedly trying to export such equipment to Hezbollah terrorists in the Lebanon

It does not matter how "discreet" the cinema spies claim to be, the chances are that they will never find a single unauthorised film bootlegger, but they will invade the privacy of thousands of their customers.

Copyright infringement , despite the hype from the vested commercial interests, is not a Crime , it is a Civil matter.

As such, it does not justify the abuse of privacy which the police would have to show suspicion of a Serious Crime, and get the written permission of a senior officer to conduct Surveillance, as per the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 part 2 with the sort of Night Vision equipment that is being deployed by Warner Brothers.

What other infrared or light multiplier CCTV cameras have been or are being installed to spy on cinema audiences who have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the darkness during a film performance ?

We would remind Warner Brothers and the staff at cinemas about the new offence of Voyeurism under Section 67 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 with a penalty of up to 2 years in jail.

It could be argued, that decades of custom and practice have made cinemas, when the lights are dimmed, into places where romantic couples often engage in "private acts" and that they "do not consent" to being observed or recorded.

"67 Voyeurism

(1) A person commits an offence if-

(a) for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification, he observes another person doing a private act, and
(b) he knows that the other person does not consent to being observed for his sexual gratification.
(2) A person commits an offence if-

(a) he operates equipment with the intention of enabling another person to observe, for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification, a third person (B) doing a private act, and
(b) he knows that B does not consent to his operating equipment with that intention.

The article by Bruce Blair, a former US Airforce Strategic Air Command Minuteman launch officer about the deliberate policy of cirumventing nuclear missile Permissive Action Link command and control systems in the 1970s, at the height of the Cold War is literally astonishing:

"Last month I asked Robert McNamara, the secretary of defense during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, what he believed back in the 1960s was the status of technical locks on the Minuteman intercontinental missiles. These long-range nuclear-tipped missiles first came on line during the Cuban missile crisis and grew to a force of 1,000 during the McNamara years ? the backbone of the U.S. strategic deterrent through the late 1960s. McNamara replied, in his trade-mark, assertively confident manner that he personally saw to it that these special locks (known to wonks as ?Permissive Action Links?) were installed on the Minuteman force, and that he regarded them as essential to strict central control and preventing unauthorized launch.

When the history of the nuclear cold war is finally comprehensively written, this McNamara vignette will be one of a long litany of items pointing to the ignorance of presidents and defense secretaries and other nuclear security officials about the true state of nuclear affairs during their time in the saddle. What I then told McNamara about his vitally important locks elicited this response: ?I am shocked, absolutely shocked and outraged. Who the hell authorized that?? What he had just learned from me was that the locks had been installed, but everyone knew the combination.

The Strategic Air Command (SAC) in Omaha quietly decided to set the ?locks? to all zeros in order to circumvent this safeguard. During the early to mid-1970s, during my stint as a Minuteman launch officer, they still had not been changed. Our launch checklist in fact instructed us, the firing crew, to double-check the locking panel in our underground launch bunker to ensure that no digits other than zero had been inadvertently dialed into the panel. SAC remained far less concerned about unauthorized launches than about the potential of these safeguards to interfere with the implementation of wartime launch orders. And so the ?secret unlock code? during the height of the nuclear crises of the Cold War remained constant at OOOOOOOO."

The use of PAL codes was apparently re-instituted in 1977.

Could somebody in authority please double check that all nuclear weapons safeguards in all countries, are actually in place right now, and not just on paper ? This is especially important for easy to transport tactical weapons which are a prime terrorist target.

Submarine launched ballistic missiles, of course, have always eschewed PALs, due to the difficulty of sending Presidential or Prime Ministerial "launch code" authorisation. They work on the principle of "we will launch our missiles at a certain time unless we hear an order not to launch", and/or if the submarine can no longer contact home after a certain period. This includes listening to see if BBC Radio 4 is still on the air etc.

The military history of the Cold War, and even Hollywood films such as the 1983 classic Wargames, need to re-evaluated in the light of this information.

Blunkett satellite tracking hand waving

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David Blunkett and Tony Blair are supposed to be giving more details today about Labour's plans to
electronically tag even more offenders than at present.

Apart from unreliable "lie detector" tests (why are these not firstly applied to politicians ?), the latest soundbite policy seems to be promising to track not just prisoners on bail at home, as at present, but a wide variety of people who will somehow be magically tracked on the move, if they are near the scene of a crime or a designated "no go" area.

Will the mainstream media bother to ask a few technical questions about this soundbite policy ?

This hand waving concept is based on as yet unproven technology, and places an absurd reliance on Global Positioning Satellite and Mobile Phone location technology.

This may eventually work for tracking offenders in the wide open spaces of the USA (but only to the nearest 200 metres or so) where there is a Federally mandated E911 emergency services location infrastructure being built, but this does not exist in the UK.

GPS tracking needs a clear view of at least 4 satellites in the sky i.e. it does not work indoors, where the vast majority of sexual abuse happens., It does not even work in crowded urban streets, where the view of the equatorial geostationary satellite orbit low down in sky, because of our northern latitude, is blocked by trees or buildings. GPS units also do not work inside the favourite vehicle of kidnappers and abusers, a closed panel delivery van.

Since the GPS satellite signals were never designed to be a security mechanism, they are not two way, so the receivers can be easily spoofed to provide tagged criminals with alibis for their crimes.

Mobile Phone cell location can be several miles out in accuracy, due to the quirks of radio wave propogation and reflection, as demonstrated in the notorious Soham murders case, where, according to the Cell Location Data, one of the victim's mobile phones was apparently last used at least 5 miles from the relevant mobile phonne mast, and possibly somewhere in area up to 10 miles away, from the true location.

Fixed phone line electronic tagging of low risk prisoners on bail, who have little incentive to abuse the system, has its place in enforcing night time curfews etc.

The current and for the foreseeable future technology and national infrastructure, does not exist to locate tagged people on the move with sufficient accuracy to enforce "no go" areas around , for example, schools, or to prevent serious attempts by highly motivated sex offenders to spoof the system.

CORRECTION: thanks to those people who have reminded us that GPS satellites are mostly not geostationary about the equator.

"GPS has poorer coverage the further you go from the equator, but the GPS satellites are NOT geostationary, they are in a 55 degree inclined orbit, which gives poorer coverage away from the equator.

There are 4 augmentation satellites (WAAS and EGNOS systems) that ARE
geostationary that can also be used for navigation, but the 24 GPS
satellites are NOT geostationary."

Alex Allan, the former UK Government e-Envoy is returning to the UK to be the Permamant Secretary to the Department of Constitutional Affairs, under Lord Falconer. c.f. the
announcement on the No10 Downing Street website. Apologies for not noticing this news earlier - where better to obscuree an official announcement, than by hiding it in plain view on the Prime Minister's website ?

Alex Allan was the real life equivalent of the Bernard Woolley character in the satirical TV series "Yes, Prime Minister" , to both John Major and Tony Blair.

The DCA - motto "Justice, rights and democracy"
sounds awfully similar to the Department for Administrative Affairs in the "Yes, Minister" series, but this time Alex Allan is taking the Sir Humphrey Appleby role.

He is a Grateful Dead fan with a website

We look forward to seeing his influence on the development of privacy policies and laws in the UK regarding RFID tags, given his membership of an international advisory panel to the EPCglobal standards and promotion body.

Abu Hamza arrest hype

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The hype about the arrest of Abu Hamza started off with The Sun.

The Sun is reported as actually having precipitated the 3am raid on Abu Hamza's home, by tipping off the police that they were going to publish their "story" about his imminent arrest, which they claim to have got from

"And The Sun learned last night from sources in Washington that the extradition process has been under way in secret for WEEKS."

The Sun article manages to claim, presumably for its own political agenda, that Abu Hamza is "Palestinian-born", rather than having been born in Egyptian.

They have been running a hate campaign against him so vitriolic, that, presumably, they have been trying to predjudice any jury trial which he might ever face in the UK.

"He faces deportation to America within weeks."

No, not even under the new "speedier" Extraditon Act 2003, the likelyhood is that no decision will be made on his extradition until 2005, as that is when the Special Immigration Tribunal appeal, under the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 will be heard, about the already in train process of stripping his UK nationality from him.

The Extraditon Act unjustly applies retrospectively and is a disgraceful surrender of UK sovereignty by Home Secretary David Blunkett since US authorities no longer have to show reasonable evidence to a court in the USA to apply for extradition from the UK, they just need to make a statement claiming that there might be evidence. The reverse process i.e. extradition of someone in the USA back to the UK in such a manner is forbidden under the US Constitution.

Indictment United States v. Mustafa Kamel Mustafa
a/k/a Abu Hamza al-Masri

(Why do US legal indictments seem to be produced on a manual typewriter ?)

If you actually read what he has been indicted for in the USA, one can immediatly see that the main "evidence" against him for "conspiracy", rests on the use of phone call intercept and communications data "evidence" about his home phone in the UK and a satellite phone in Yemen.

It is not illegal to buy ?500 of satellite phone air time even nowadays. It may possibly be construed to be so under the Terrorism Act 2000, but this happened in 1998, before the Act was passed.

Abu Hamza has already been questioned by UK authorities about the 1998 Yemen kidnap affair in 1999, and no charges were brought, despite an extradition request from the Yemen authorities, and the fact that Abu Hamza's sons were peripherally involved in the incident, where the storming of the kidnappers' hideout by the Yemen authorities led to the deaths of 4 of the hostages.

Presumably the USA government thinks it can make use of this phone intercept evidence which,under the UK Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, is inadmissable in a UK court.

The USA indictment uses strange, nonsensical terminology, which does not correspond to any offence under UK law, such as "jihad training camp", Does this mean a hostile weapons training camp, or does "jihad" mean, as has been pointed out countless times, simply mean "struggle" i.e. a peaceful Koranic study camp ? No camp of any sort was actually set up.

They also use the phrase "facilitating violent jihad in Afghanistan" in the period up to the USA led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. In what way was this illegal, given that the Taliban regime was only recognised by its neighbour Pakistan ?

When Abu Hamza lost his hands and eye in Afghanistan fighting the Soviet forces, was he "facilitating violent jihad in Afghanistan" ? If so, then so were many USA agents and allies.

How exactly is our security enhanced by extraditing Abu Hamza to the USA ? If he is to be extradited anywhere , it should be to the Yemen.

Better the devil you know and keep under surveillance. Abu Hamza on the streets of London, under close MI5 scrutiny must be more of an intelligence asset than having him locked away in the USA.

Why are the Government giving this fanatic the oxygen of publicity, and the chance to portray himself as a martyr ?

The media are hyping up "England" football hooligans again as the Home Office
trumpets "Record numbers banned ahead of Euro 2004"

"Record numbers of football trouble-makers will be banned from travelling to Portugal this summer for Euro 2004, according to Government figures released today.

Currently 2,188 individuals are banned from attending domestic and international football matches, compared to around 100 for Euro 2000."

Home Office Minister Caroline Flint also said on Sky News that there are some 500 banning orders going theough the system at present, so that the Home Office expects there to be more than 2700 people who are banned from travelling to Portugal.

Portugal has introduced temporary border controls, as allowed under the Schengen agreement, but obviously the Sirene and Schengen Information System II will be in use.

As a result, all the tens of thousands of innocent England fans are being monitored and are "guilty by association until proven innocent". Their travel bookings , hotel bookings, mobile phone records etc. will all be under analysis by UK and Portuguese and European police forces using Intelligence Visualisation software from companies like i2 and Xanalys.

Yesterday, the UK Government used a guillotine motion to curtail amendments and debate on the Civil Contingencies Bill part 2 i.e. the controversial Emergency Powers part of the Bill, which has now had it's
Third Reading in the House of Commons.

All our concerns about this Bill still stand.

The Government has rejected virtually all the constitutional protections and suggestions from the Joint Committee on the Civil Contingencies Bill, and from MP's during the debate.

Unless the House of Lords can be mobilised to amend the Emergency Powers in part 2, will be in the position where a junior Whip (not even a proper Minister of State) has the power to declare a State of Emergency, just by giving an Order orally, without the need for written orders or Digitally Signed emails etc., with the power to suspend all our civil rights and liberties, order forced evacuations, order the destruction of property without compensation etc. This Bill does not actually provide the the necessary funding, training and coordination between Emergency "Responders" to actually cope with a large scale Emergency.

The lack of this training and preparedness in the UK was demonstrated by those selfsame Members of the House of Commons during by their negligent and irresponsible evacuation of the Commons Chamber, before proper biological, chemical and radioactive contamination checks could be made after the recent purple powder" incident.

We fear that they have just potentially facilitated a future constitutional Coup D'Etat or "permanent state of emergency" dictatorship.

This has been a dismal failure of Parliament and the Opposition to provide proper democratic checks and balances on the Government bureaucracy.

There has been a similar dismal failure of the UK media to report on or analyse the controversial Emergency Powers in part 2.

The Home Office have announced that PA Consulting are to be the "Development Partner for the controversial ID Card scheme.

The "Development Partner" is not supposed bid for the multi-billion pound rollout and operations contracts

Given the Home Office budget of ?20 million to be spent on ID Cards for 2004 - 2005 mentioned in their Corporate Plan 2004-2005 (1Mb .pdf), then the guesstimates are that this contract is worth up to ?10 million, with a further ?5 million being spent on the Passport Office Biometric trial.

It is not clear if the "Development Partner" contract will actually include any work on pilot projects to test the areas which the Atos Origin (was SchlumbergerSema) Passport Office Biometric trial specifically fails to investigate, such as the scalability of the Card Reader infrastructure, and all the horrendous security and Critical National Infrastructure problems associated with the National Identity Register central databases - "all your eggs in one basket".

Why has the Home Office not made public the results of the Office of Government Commerce "Gateway Reviews" of the project ? Commercial confidentiality cannot be an issue. The public and Parliament need to know what the actual detailed functional specification are, together with the OGC's assessment of the project risks, and the measures which are being taken to prevent Yet Another Government IT Project Disaster, before any vote on the Draft ID Card Bill.

Some idea of the disasterous way in which the Home Office has worked with PA Consulting in the past, on the notorious Criminal Records Bureau systems, was presented as oral evidence to the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Commons on 15th March 2004.

Phil Booth has published a comprehensive write up of the "Mistaken Identity" meeting held at the London School of Economics on Wednesday, on his infinite ideas machine blog which has been picked up by the widely read superblog

The issues and concerns about the Draft ID Card Bill and the proposed National Identity Register biometric database were aired by distinguished speakers, including the frontbench opposition spokesmen from 3 major political parties, who thought it important enough to come to the meeting, despite the "purple flour" security incident in the House of Commons, just prior to the meeting.

If the "purple flour" had actually been a biological weapon, not only would have several Members of Parliament been infected, but the audience opposed to the Draft ID Card Bill would also have been at risk, along with the rest of the population of London. Those MPs really should not have evacuated the House of Commons Chamber so soon. Analysis of chemical wepons can be very quick, but this is not so with biological ones, despite lots of research into cheap Biosensors, which are likely to produce lots of false alarms.

Whistleblower update ?


There is news that the lifting of the visa restrictions imposed on Romania and Bulgaria, after the Home Office Immigration scandal which led to the resignation of Home Office Minister Beverely Hughes.

Since we do not have quite the same goldfish like attention span as the media and political spin doctors, we are curious about the fate of the whistleblowers who were so central to the affair.

Is Steve Moxon, still suspended from his job at the Immigration and Nationality Directorate office in Sheffield ? What was the outcome of his Industrial Tribunal under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 ? Or is the process being dragged out in adminitrative limbo, in the hope that we will forget all about it ?

Similarly, what is the fate of James Cameron, the British consul in Bucharest , who was suspended by the Foreign Office ?

In contrast, Clare Short, the former Cabinet Minister whose revelations about the surveillance of United Nations Secretary General Kofe Annan does not seem to have been censured.

Email us if you have any updated information on the fate of these whistleblowers (use our public PGP encryption key if
you know how to).

What the two protestors who threw condoms full of purple dyed flour at the Prime Minister and other MPs during Prime Minister's Question Time yesterday was wrong.

However, it was not by any stretch of the imagination, "terrorism" as defined by the Terrorism Act 2000.

"2) Action falls within this subsection if it-

(a) involves serious violence against a person,
(b) involves serious damage to property,
(c) endangers a person's life, other than that of the person committing the action,
(d) creates a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public, or
(e) is designed seriously to interfere with or seriously to disrupt an electronic system.

The facts of the case are clear - with many MPs as witnesses, covered live on television. Nobody was "terrorised", nobody was hurt, nobody's health was put at risk, there was no actual "criminal damage", certainly not "serious criminal damage".

The two protestors were held overnight, and denied access to their legal advisors until today, whilst being held at the Paddington Green high security police station which is used to hold terrorist suspects.

It seems that after being questioned by Anti-terrorist police, the two have been now been charged with "threatening, abusive, or harrassing behavior " Public Order offences.

This just compounds yesterday's security debacle. The Terrorism Act should not be used to arrest political protestors and hold them without charge or trial. Not even the majority of violent political protestors e.g. those who fight against the police etc. in street demonstrations or even full scale riots, which these two were obviously not, should be dealt with by the Terrorism Act.

Security failures at the Houses of Parliament


We suspected that the "security screen" which now separates some of the visitors who watch the Members of Parliament and Ministers in the Chamber of the House of Commons, was an utter waste of public money.

It seems that we were correct.

Yesterday's "protest" incident, which covered the Prime Minister and others with a supposedly benign purple dyed powder during Prime Minister's Questions, showed just how much of a Maginot Line this supposed "defence" actually is.

Even worse, the behavior of the MPs under the direction of the Speaker showed that they had not actually been listening to any of the security advice that led to the installation of the controversial screen in the first place.

If this screen was meant to protect against the "real threat" or possability of chemical or biological weapons attack by fanatics, then their action of clearing the Chamber and bumbling about the rest of the Palace of Westminster was entirely the wrong thing to do.

If they had been exposed to say anthrax etc. then their action put other people in the building, and members of the public at risk, by spreading the chemical or biological agent far and wide.

What they should have done was to seal off the Chamber, then wait for the analysis of the powder, and wait to to be decontaminated and sent for individual medical checks, if necessary.

The best defence of Parliament should be to make it absolutely clear that even if terrorists or others succeed in assassinating all our leading politicians, they will not have won. We will mourn the loss of the individual people involved, but we will democratically elect replacements.

The previous headline security breach, where protestors climbed up St Stephen's clock tower which houses the Big Ben bell, highlighted the fact there seem to be around 12,000 people who have been issued with photo ID passes to the Palace of Westminster and to Portcullis House next door (the buildings are connected by a tunnel).

Despite a rudimentary airport style metal detector and bag X-ray security check for visitors, it would seem that many of these pass holders evade such checks.

Even worse, we have witnessed the common practice of a pass holder opening the security door from the inside, and escorting up to 3 visitors around the buildings.

These visitors do not even have to sign in and sign out of the building, or wear Temporary Vistor Badges, as is common in many private sector and government offices, and which is part of the now public advice given by the new MI5 Security Service website.

This pass system, despite the armed police guards, does not even meet the basic fire safety criterion of showing exactly how many people are in the building at any one time, and therefore how many may still be trapped inside during a fire alarm or bomb alert, when the building is evacuated.

Changing the passes themselves to be more "high tech" like the proposed Compulsory Biometric ID Cards, would not make any difference to the security of the building at all, if these existing lax practices continue.

Privacy International have commissioned a YouGov poll, which shows deep seated opposition to the UK Government's Draft ID Card Bill plans:

"Key Findings
The majority say they support ID cards, but not to the extent that the
government claims

61% of the population support compulsory identity cards. This
contrasts markedly with repeated claims by government that 80% are
in favour of its proposal.

However, the majority of respondents oppose key elements of the Draft
Identity Cards Bill.

Many people object to the legal requirement to notify government of
change of address (47% against; 41% in favour)

Most people object to the legal requirement to inform government
whenever a card is lost, stolen or damaged (45% against; 44% in

Opponents may be in the minority, but they are signalling a new Poll
Tax revolt

28% of those opposing compulsory cards said they would take to the
streets to participate in demonstrations. This represents approximately
4.9 million people.

16% of those opposing compulsory cards said they would participate
in a "campaign of civil disobedience". This represents 2.8 million

6% of those opposing compulsory cards said they would prefer to go
to prison rather than register for a card. This represents over a million

Tory voters are much more likely to oppose the ID card proposals.
Nearly a quarter (24%) of Tory voters who object to compulsory ID
cards said they are prepared to take part in a ?campaign of civil

Come along to today's Mistaken Identity meeting at the London School of Economics, to discuss the Draft ID Card Bill with leading politicians and experts.

How far can you trust the media ? Not very far when it comes to figures of millions of pounds, apparently.

Despite the headlines on the BBC News website, the Scotsman etc. the recent foiled armed robbery attempt at Heathrow airport, of allegedly £40 million in gold bullion and up to £40 million in currency is NOT either the largest attempted robbery in the UK or even the largest actual gold bullion robbery in the UK.

If anyone bothers to read past the headklines or to view the video clip of the policeman in charge of the operation Detective Superintendent Barry Phillips of the Metropolitan Police "Flying Squad", you will see that he says "We have foiled what would have been ONE of the biggest
robberies ever committed in the UK"

However, the sensationalist hype from the BBC (and other media) headline writers transforms this into "THE biggest armed robbery attempt in Britain".

The infamous Brinks Mat gold bullion robbery in November 1983 netted the criminals ?26 million pounds worth of gold bullion - 6800 bars - about 3 tons of gold. This would have been worth over £55 million at todays prices, c.f the Office of National Statistics regarding inflation in the UK since 1750 (.pdf)

The BBC also fails to remind its audience of the largest attempted armed robbery in the UK - the Millennium Dome Diamonds heist - Operation Magician, which attempted to steal over £200 million pounds worth of diamonds.(worth over £213 million at todays prices).

We have been neglecting individual consumer item level RFID tag privacy recently, as it is less of an immediate threat than Compulsory Biometric ID Cards. The National Consumer Council have now published a report (.pdf) "Calling in the chips: findings from the first summit exploring the future of RFID technology in retail" held in February 2004 under Chatham House Rules. i.e. with frank quotations from industry and privacy group sources published without direct attribution.

Photo ID on internal UK flights

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Why is it that some, but not all airlines operating internal flights within the United Kingdom are now demanding Photo ID before they will let you on board ?

None of this petty bureaucracy actually makes us any safer from terrorist attacks.

We would urge you to boycott any domestic airline carrier which is seeking to enforce such Soviet style or Apartheid internal travel documentation requirements for domestic travel within the United Kingdom.

Are they introducing this policy, which is contrary to the fundamental human right of freedom to travel, as part of Government policy, or have they taken it on themselves to erode our human rights ?


"All passengers must present valid photo identification at check-in for all flights.

The only acceptable forms of photo-ID on Ryanair flights are:

* A valid passport
* A valid National Identity Card issued by a European Economic Area (EEA) country (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Malta, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, UK (plus Switzerland). Please note that not all EEA countries issue National Identity Cards.
* A valid driving licence with photo (is only acceptable on UK domestic flights and UK-Republic of Ireland-UK routes only)

N.B. Children under 16 years (including infants) travelling with an adult are required to have photo-ID when travelling on flights between European Economic Area (EEA) countries (excluding UK domestic flights and UK-Republic of Ireland-UK routes and German children under 10 using a valid Government issued Kinderausweis travel document). Acceptable photo-ID for children under 16 are: a valid passport or inclusion on the passport of the parent with whom they are travelling; or a valid National Identity Card issued by an EEA country. Only children under 16 travelling with an adult on UK domestic flights or UK-Republic of Ireland-UK routes may travel without photo-ID.

Expired forms of photo-ID will not be accepted for any flight. Failure to present valid photo-ID matching the names on your reservation will result in your being refused check-in without refund."


"The airline requires all passengers to provide photographic ID at check-in on all flights including domestic services.

Acceptable forms of ID on UK domestic flights are:

A valid passport - an expired passport can be used up to a maximum of two years after expiry
Valid photographic EU or Swiss national identity card
Valid photographic driving licence
Valid armed forces identity card
Valid police warrant card/badge
Valid airport employees security identity pass
A child on parent' s passport is an acceptable form of ID
Valid photographic firearm certificate
Valid Government-issued identity card
SMART card
Electoral identity card

Acceptable form of non-photographic ID:

Pension Book"

Note that none of these Photo ID documents can actually be checked properely for authenticity by the airline booking staff. Who eaxactly is familiar with, and has online access to, for example, the Pension Books of citizens from each of the 25 European Union countries ?

Astonishingly, the credit card with which you have paid for your flight, is not, considered to be sufficient ID !

Some petty jobsworths at BMI seem to be demanding to see photo ID, even when BMI's Terms and Conditions clearly state that Photo ID is not required for domestic flights:

"For travel within the UK (including Belfast) there is no requirement to carry photographic ID. For international flights, each passenger must be able to present a passport and passengers travelling to Dublin or Cork must now provide either a passport or another type of photographic identification. Failure to provide the appropriate ID at check-in will render the passenger unacceptable for travel."

N.B. there is supposed to be Passport free freedom of travel between the Irish Republic and the United Kingdom.

You expect this kind of bureacratic travel madness in the USA, as illustrated by John Gilmore's experiences and law suits c.f., but now it seems to have spread to the United Kingdom.

Maxine Carr ID

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Why are the tabloid media hounding the notorious Maxine Carr ? They seem to be intent on exposing her new ID, even to the extent of challenging the court injunction which is meant to protect her new identity. The voyeuristic press hysteria has lead to the real risk of illegal vigilantism, despite the fact that she is also one of the Soham murderer Huntley's victims.

The fact that the Home Office cannot be trusted to keep confidential documents regarding her new identity safe, further reduces any trust that might still exist that they are likely to be able to secure the proposed Compulsory Biometric National Identity Register.

Under the Government's proposed Draft ID card Bill, it will be an offence, punishable by repeated ?1000 civil penalty fines, not to provide the National Identity register with accurate details of all current and other names and all current and former addresses, and the times and dates at which you resided at those addresses.

These name and address requirements are even more stringent than even the Violent and Sexual Offenders Register (ViSOR), yet, unlike ViSOR entries, they will last for the rest of your life:.

VIPER (Video Identity Parade Electronic Recording) is an attempt to use a central database of images stored in Wakefield, for use in Police Identity Parades, in theory to overcome the cost and difficulty of finding similar looking members of the public to line up with a suspect.

A civilian worker in Blackpool has been arrested for perverting the course of justice after abusing the system for some time, by using some "simple technique" (e.g. an editing selection cursor highlight) to "draw the victim's attention to one face in the line-up."

This abuse only came to light when a pattern of 100% identifications via the "virtual identity parade" were noticed. If there had only been one or two such instances, they would have gone undetected.

If this relatively simple "raw Biometric data" system is not technologically and procedurally secure, then what hope is there that the proposed Compulsory Biometric ID Card system will ever be so ?

The unncorrected transcript of what David Blunkett and Des Browne said to the Home Affairs Committee this week is now online

Reading the actual transcript is even more depressing than our off the cuff recollection of the soundbites:

"Mr Blunkett: The media have. I have been very circumspect and I have indicated what the security services have said to me, which is they believe that in excess of a third of those who are engaged in supporting terrorism use multiple identities in order to be able to evade detection and to evade us being able to disrupt their activities"

"Mr Browne: ...There is no doubt that terrorists employ multiple identities. There is no doubt that they employ false identities for money laundering. In fact, our information is, as the Home Secretary said, that 35% activity involves the use of false identities, and I know from my own experience in Northern Ireland how successful we were in terms of policing terrorism by being able to stop people from using false identities and using them in many other circumstances."

Do they mean 35% of the multiple identities which are used by terrorists are actually British identities ?

If the figure is really so high, then civil service and Ministers' heads need to roll, as there must either be staggering incompetence, or else there are terrorist sympathisers working within the system.

If the figure of 35% only includes a small proportion of United Kingdom identities, then to use this as supporting evidence for a UK ID Card is dishonest - even if the proposed system worked perfectly, the effect on terrorists use of multiple identities would be negligable.

How many false identities does a terrorist or spy actually need ? Probably only one at most.

"Mr Blunkett:...I love academics when they get into these areas. I would be very happy to have a debate with Professor Thomas about this"

We look forward to David "Mastermind" Blunkett debating computer systems security.
with a distinguished Professor.

"Q676 Mr Singh: Home Secretary, I understand that if somebody refuses to register they could face civil penalties of up to ?2,500. Do you envisage a situation where taking that approach we might create ID card martyrs who refuse to pay?

Mr Blunkett: It is precisely to avoid people being martyrs in relation to the ID card, if they get fined ?2,500 for disobeying the law and not being able to correctly identify themselves then the consequent enforcement action would be on the failure to pay the fine. I think it is very important that we do not have martyrs;"

You can still go to jail if you refuse to pay a civil fine. There will be martyrs and refusniks, exactly as with the previous Tory Poll Tax (which affected fewer people than the Compulsory ID Card Poll Tax would do)

"Mr Browne: ...By definition, we will pick up a significant number of people who may have bad thoughts or bad intentions by building on the existing documentation and putting them into the system, whether they like it or not,"

This really does show an Orwellian, authoritarian mindset, grasping at technology, in the vain hope that it can provide fixes for wider social and political problems.

Privacy legal precedent

| | Comments (2)

It is ridiculous that the UK has no Privacy statutes per se, and that it seems to be left to rich and famous people, such as Naomi Campbell who can afford hugely expensive lawyers to promote their particular Privacy, which may or may not set a legal precedent for the rest of us.

John Scarlett, MI6 and the internet


The new head of MI6, John Scarlett, came to the public's attention during the Hutton Inquiry into the death of Dr. David Kelly, and seemed to exonerate the Prime Minister from blame over the ludicrous hype surrounding the Iraq Intelligence Dossier affair.

The Hutton Inquiry evidence published John Scarlett's then email addresses
"Scarlett John - ISS - []", and Scarlett John - ISS - john .uk.

Other email addresses were wholly or partially censored e.g. by blotting out the " .uk" part of the address

GSI the Government Secure Intranet is allowed to handle Protectively Marked documents up to the low level of "Restricted". X.GSI is a subset of this which is equipped to handle Protectively Marked documents up to the medium level of "Secret". No Protectively Marked material should be sent through the Internet email gateways without extra CESG approved encryption.

Interestingly the people whose email addresses were revealed e.g. Alastair Campell, have now left jobs which they were doing at the time of the Hutton Inquiry - did the censors know or guess ahead of time ?

MI6 the Secret Intelligence Service (which supposedly concentrates on foreign intelligence gathering) does not have a public website or email address, which rather puts it behind the new MI5 Security Service website. This explains the role of MI5 and dispells a few public misconceptions, and now includes an SSL/TLS encrypted web form which might encourage more people to contact the organisation.

John Scarlett should take the opportunity of his new appointment to bring MI6 into the 21st century and onto the world wide web, since there is a need to re-establish public confidence in the UK's Intelligence Agencies.

Who takes over from John Scarlett as Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee ?

The line up of speakers for the Mistaken Identity meeting at the London School of Economics on Wednesday 19th May seems to be an interesting one:

Mark Oaten MP, Lib-Dem Home Affairs spokesman
Simon Thomas MP, Plaid Cymru
David Winnick MP. Labour, member of the Home Affairs Select Committee
Jonathan Bamford, Assistant Information Commissioner
Peter Williamson, President of the Law Society
Roger Smith, Director, JUSTICE
Ross Anderson, Professor of Security Engineering, Cambridge University
Paul Whitehouse, former Chief Constable, Sussex Police
Rhon Reynolds, 1990 Trust

Awaiting confirmation

David Blunkett, Home Secretary
Sir John Stevens, Commissioner Metropolitan Police Service
David Davis MP, Conservative Shadow Home Secretary
Iqbal Sacranie, Muslim Council of Britain
Shami Chakarabati, Director, Liberty Human Rights

Yesterday, the Home Affairs Committee of the House of Commons took oral evidence from David Blunkett MP, the Home Secretary and Desmond Browne MP, Minister of State for Citizenship and Immigration, Katherine Courtney, Director, Identity Cards Programme, and Stephen Harrison, Head, Identity Card Policy Unit, Home Office.

There was a repeat of a previous soundbite, allegedly based on secret information

David Blunkett:
"in excess of one third of terrorists use multiple identities"

Des Browne:
"35% of terrorists use false identities"

Do they mean 35% of the multiple identities which are used by terrorists are actually British identities ?

If the figure is really so high, then civil service and Ministers' heads need to roll, as there must either be staggering incompetence, or else there are terrorist sympathisers working within the system.

If the figure of 35% only includes a small proportion of United Kingdom identities, then to use this as supporting evidence for a UK ID Card is dishonest - even if the proposed system worked perfectly, the effect on terrorists use of multiple identities would be negligible.

How many false identities does a terrorist or spy actually need ? Probably only one at most.

David Cameron MP (Conservative) quoted previously heard evidence from Professor Martyn Thomas of the UK Computing Research Committee:

"There is a technical systems engineering issue here which is captured in popular wisdom by "don't put all your eggs in one basket". If you create either a single card that has multi functions or a single database then you are adding to the nation's critical infrastructure unnecessarily and by doing that you are making a very large range of services, probably a growing range of services, vulnerable to a single attack, either a deliberate attack or a fault that arises as a consequence of mis-implementation or accident."

David Blunkett said in reply:

"I love debating with academics. I am happy to have a debate with Professor Thomas".

We look forward to David "Mastermind" Blunkett debating computer systems security.

David Blunkett in response to questions about the ?2500 and ?1000 civil penalties in the Draft ID Card Bill:

"It is very important to avoid martyrs"

Despite not shedding any further light on the actual costs of the proposed system, it did emerge that there have been huge technical problems with the Passport Office's small scale Biometric Pilot scheme, which , according to Katherine Courtney, is

"not for testing the robustness and scalability" of the system

When will somebody at the Home Office bother to think about the scalability issues and cost of a system for 60 million people ?

If you find David Blunkett's pronouncements to be too authoritarian, then consider Des Browne, who seems to believe that the Compulsory Biometric Database, will somehow enable the tracking of people:

"who may have bad thoughts or bad intentions"

Is the Government seriously talking about Orwellian Thought Crimes ?

How exactly are such bad thoughts and intentions to be recorded in a database ? Perhaps unproven, hearsay, rumours and libels are to be recorded as "facts" on the "clean database" ?

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 came into force today. The new offence of Voyeurism carries a penalty of up to 2 years in jail.
and being placed on the Violent and Sexual Offenders' Register.

Every operator or installer of a web camera, or a CCTV surveillance camera, or a mobile phone with a built in camera (including the Mobile Phone Networks), should read the relevant clauses, and think twice about taking or facilitating the taking of voyeuristic images.

Any such images of Children (which now includes 16 and 17 year olds) carries even higher penalties.

"67 Voyeurism

(1) A person commits an offence if-
(a) for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification, he observes another person doing a private act, and
(b) he knows that the other person does not consent to being observed for his sexual gratification.

(2) A person commits an offence if-
(a) he operates equipment with the intention of enabling another person to observe, for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification, a third person (B) doing a private act, and
(b) he knows that B does not consent to his operating equipment with that intention.

(3) A person commits an offence if-
(a) he records another person (B) doing a private act,
(b) he does so with the intention that he or a third person will, for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification, look at an image of B doing the act, and
(c) he knows that B does not consent to his recording the act with that intention.

(4) A person commits an offence if he instals equipment, or constructs or adapts a structure or part of a structure, with the intention of enabling himself or another person to commit an offence under subsection (1).

(5) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable-
(a) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or both;
(b) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years.

68 Voyeurism: interpretation

(1) For the purposes of section 67, a person is doing a private act if the person is in a place which, in the circumstances, would reasonably be expected to provide privacy, and-

(a) the person's genitals, buttocks or breasts are exposed or covered only with underwear,
(b) the person is using a lavatory, or
(c) the person is doing a sexual act that is not of a kind ordinarily done in public.

(2) In section 67, "structure" includes a tent, vehicle or vessel or other temporary or movable structure."

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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Recent Comments

  • wtwu: NetIDMe seems to be in process of being wound up read more
  • wtwu: The House of Lords have approved the Regulations, without a read more
  • wtwu: Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill Government Note on the read more
  • wtwu: The former Customs Officer and the others involved in dealing read more
  • wtwu: BBC reports the password was $ur4ht4ub4h8 When Hussain was read more
  • wtwu: "only" an extra 4 months in prison for failing to read more
  • wtwu: Although not confirmed as part of the Wilson Doctrine per read more
  • wtwu: For now (just before Christmas 2013) it appears that the read more
  • wtwu: As expected, the ISC did not give the intelligence agency read more
  • wtwu: N.B. the Intelligence & Security Committee is now legally consituted read more


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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