January 2005 Archives

A low cost spoofing and cloning attack has been demonstrated by researchers from Johns Hopkins University and RSA Laboratories on some Texas Instruments RFID tag based tokens, used for transport road tolling and the purchase of fuel at petrol stations, and as part of a car key vehicle immobiliser system.

The researchers created a cheap code cracking device from off the shelf Field Programmable Gate Array hardware, to brute force attack the 40 bit keyspace. They wrote software to simulate the radio protocols of the RFID tokens on a laptop computer connected to radio equipment.

These tokens do not use modern strong cryptography, such as the AES algorithm, but the attack demonstration (including online videos) should be seen as a dire warning for the likes of Tesco, WalMart or the US Department of Defense who seem to be set to use billions of far less sophisticated yet still re-programmable RFID tags e.g. EPC Class 1 Generation 1 or Generation 2 tags, which do not use any encryption at all !

It also has implications for the privacy and security of new USA Biometric Passport for which it is also planned to use unencrypted RFID chips.

Now that the Identity Cards Bill has finished its House of Commons Committee stage, with virtually no amendments, it looks as if the Report and Third Reading are provisionally set to be on Thursday 10th February 2005:

"Provisional Forthcoming Business of the House of Commons

Thursday 10 February

The House will sit at 11.30am

Oral Questions – Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Legislation – Identity Cards Bill – Remaining Stages
Adjournment - *

The House will sit in Westminster Hall between 2.30pm and 5.30pm

Westminster Hall: - Debate on the 3rd Report of the Health select committee, session 2003-04: Obesity [HC 23, 2003-04]"

This is almost the last chance to lobby your Members of Parliament
on this Identity Cards Bill.

Mark Oaten MP, the Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesman has recived a Written Parliamentary Answer from Des Browne, the Minister for Citizenship and Immigration regarding the recent meetings held by the Idenity Cards Programme with the private sector in the last 6 months.

They seem to have attended about 20 conferences and seminars, and had meetings with at least 60 companies.

You may well wonder what meetings, if any, there have been with people or groups who are worried about the privacy and security of the proposed scheme, or who are opposed in principle to some or all aspects of it.

Perhaps our FOIA request for meeting diaries, minutes, agenda etc. will make things clearer.

A previous Parliamentary Questions by Mark Oaten elicited a list of 7 consultancy companies being paid to help with the Identity Cards Development Parner phase of the scheme, i.e. mostly £6.5 million already spent on work by PA Consulting

A Parliamentary Question from the Conservative MP John Bercow shows that PA Consulting seems to bill their 32.5 full time equivalent consultants at over £1000 a day each on average against this Develomment Parner project.

Home Secretary Charles Clarke has announced in Parliament that he is planning to introduce legislation which will break Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the right to a fair trial as enshrined in the Human Rights Act 2000 which will apply to everyone in the UK, not just foreign terrorist suspects:

1. In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law. Judgment shall be pronounced publicly but the press and public may be excluded from all or part of the trial in the interest of morals, public order or national security in a democratic society, where the interests of juveniles or the protection of the private life of the parties so require, or to the extent strictly necessary in the opinion of the court in special circumstances where publicity would prejudice the interests of justice.

2. Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.

3. Everyone charged with a criminal offence has the following minimum rights:

(a) to be informed promptly, in a language which he understands and in detail, of the nature and cause of the accusation against him;
(b) to have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence;
(c) to defend himself in person or through legal assistance of his own choosing or, if he has not sufficient means to pay for legal assistance, to be given it free when the interests of justice so require;
(d) to examine or have examined witnesses against him and to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on his behalf under the same conditions as witnesses against him;
(e) to have the free assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand or speak the language used in court."

The plan seems to be to allow a "whole range" of measures under a regime of Control Orders which could include house arrest, electronic tagging, denial of telephony or internet access, denial of association with some as yet unspecified people etc., all without actully having to present any evidence to a court. The whole point of having to go through a legal court procedure is precisely so that politicians and faceless petty officials cannot impose ever changing Kafkaesque rules and regulations which cannot be challenged by the defendant.

The 60th Anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz extermination camp brings to mind the quotation from Pastor Martin Niemoller, who was locked up in the Dachau and Sachsenhausen concentration camps:

"First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out, because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the communists
and I did not speak out, because I was not a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out, because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me."

How can this Labour Government introduce such a fundamental attack on the the principle of Habeas Corpus ? The end does not justify the means.

We oppose the use of electronic tagging which leads to the early release from prison of any Violent or Sexual offenders who are highly motivated or driven to break their bail conditions. The technology of Mobile Phones and Global Positioning Satellite units simply cannot produce foolproof "no-go zone" monitoring for such people. Terrorist suspects, must surely also come into this category, unless the plan is to extend this beyond actual suspects, to say, their friends, families and associates. This only succeeds in creating more active terrorists out of passive sympathisers, just like it did with Internment in Northern Ireland.

Fixed line phone based electronic tagging can be used for "house arrest", but how is that any more acceptable in a democracy when it is imposed at the whim of a politician, rather than by the legal system of courts, after due consideration of all the evidence ?

The 5th and 6th sessions of debate on the Identity Cards Bill by the House of Commons Standing Committee B, bring no comfort to opponents of the Bill.

The morning session, the 5th (of only 8 sessions) must have been some sort of Parliamentary tactic by the Conservatives to delay proceedings, which was crushed by the introduction and passing of another Programming Amendment, which is not quite what those of you familiar with computer programming etc. might at first think.

This is what is called by the press a "guillotine", i.e. a vote to limit the amount of time which is allocated for debate, which is used by the party with a majority to counter the opposition's delaying tactics, or to try to sneak controversial clauses past Members of Parliament without any debate or amendments. In the strange argot and jargon used in the House of Commons, the Members of Parliament refer to this as "the use of knives", which again, is not immediatly obvious to the onlooking public.

ProceedingsTime for conclusion of proceedings
Clauses 1 to 3, Schedule 1, Clauses 4 to 1111.25 am on Tuesday 25th January
Clauses 12 to 155.30 pm on Tuesday 25th January
Clauses 16 to 199.15 am on Thursday 27th January
Clauses 20 to 2511.25 am on Thursday 27th January
Remaining proceedings5.30 pm on Thursday 27th January

This Bill is not getting the level of detailed scrutiny by Parliament which it deserves.

Des Browne, the Minister for Citizenship and Immigration, is insisting that you can only have a single Identity Card, and that you have to choose which of your names becomes your "official" name e.g. Mrs. Cherie Blair, the wife of the Prime Minister or Ms. Cherie Booth QC, the leading barrister.

Tesco, the largest retail chain in the United Kingdom, and apparently the third largest in the world, seems to be set to increase its controversial item level RFID tagging trials of DVDs from two stores to ten.

According to a statement from Tesco read out on Tuesday night's BBC Newsnight TV programme, by Paul Mason, their Business Correspndent:

"Suggestions that Tesco might use this technology to track products once they've been purchased, thereby invading customers' privacy , are simply wrong. In fact it would be illegal in Europe. In fact the "radio barcode" is only activated when it is in close proximity to the reader, located in the store, or distribution centre."

Tesco are being "economical with the truth" in their statement, as these RFID tags do not just work with readers in Tesco stores, they work and can be tracked via their "unique" individual serial numbers by any compatible reader, in rival stores using the same technology, or readers with extended range antennas in the hands of various snoopers.

As we have pointed out before, the current "radio barcodes" which is what Tesco are calling their RFID tags, are too electronically simple to incorporate any encryption technology and they are not "killed" at the checkout.

Whether Tesco continue with their existing Mead West Vaco intelligent labels or they use their new supplier ADT remains to be seen.

"Tesco is expanding a yearlong trial tracking on-shelf availability of DVDs from two stores to 10. The U.K. retailer earlier this month ordered 4,000 RFID readers and 16,000 antennas from Tyco Fire & Security's ADT Security Services."

RFID tags should be kept in the warehouse and logistics chain, and not allowed to pollute the infospace with their anti-privacy pollution beyond the retail checkout.

Consumer privacy groups such as CASPIAN are calling for a boycott of Tescos RFID tagged products (c.f. www.BoycottTesco.com), who despite their claims to be in consultation with consumer groups, are simply ignoring the RFID position paper supported by many privacy and consumer groups, including those in the UK such as notags.co.uk

Action on Rights for Children need some money to help with legal costs in challenging the Children Act 2004.

This is an area of huge concern, as the Big Nanny state seems to be intent on creating Yet Another National Database on all 11 million children and their parents or guardians and is the subject of our recent Freedom of Information Act request regarding Clauses 12 and 29 on "Information databases":

"11) Regulations under subsection (5) may also provide that anything which may be done under regulations under subsection (6)(c) to (e) or (9) may be done notwithstanding any rule of common law which prohibits or restricts the disclosure of information."

The justification for all this intrusion is to allegedly prevent social services disasters like the torture and murder of Victoria Climbié, but actually it seems to be more of a bureaucratic backside covering or blame shifting exercise. Plenty of people and departments and agencies knew that Victoria was "at risk", but they did not act professionally. How a massive national database mostly full of data about children who are not at risk is going to help prevent such disasters in the future is a mystery. It will lead to many vulnerable children not seeking help from professional advisors, for fear of their confidential details being blabbed to all and sundry.

The appeal from ARCH:

Now for a Freedom of Information Act request of a type which is very common in say the USA. This one asks for the offical meeting diaries and agendas of meetings, travel and entertainment expenses of some of the Civil Servants in charge of the Identity Cards and National Identity Register scheme in the Home Office:

We have sent a FOIA request to Office for National Statistics regarding the Citizen Information Project:

We have sent in a couple of Freedom of Information Act requests to the Department for Education and Skills:

George W. Bush's inaugral speech yesterday, for his second term in office as President of the United States of America has been dismissed by some critics as "empty rhetoric"

However, what if he is actually sincere ?

Has President Bush just promised to protect us from the creeping Big Brother / big Nanny State being promulgated under the "climate of fear" here in the United Kingdom by Tony Blair's Nu Labour Government?

"Today, America speaks anew to the peoples of the world:

All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you.

Democratic reformers facing repression, prison, or exile can know: America sees you for who you are: the future leaders of your free country.

The rulers of outlaw regimes can know that we still believe as Abraham Lincoln did: "Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and, under the rule of a just God, cannot long retain it."

The leaders of governments with long habits of control need to know: To serve your people you must learn to trust them. Start on this journey of progress and justice, and America will walk at your side."

There have been some clarifications ,from Des Browne, Minster for Citizenship and Immigration at the Home Office, during the first four sessions of the Standing Committee B debates on the Identity Cards Bill, which will have an enormous impact on the feasibility, complexity, privacy, security and cost of the National Identity Register and ID Card scheme. Thanks to the extra technical complexity which the Government is piling onto the scheme, Information Technology hardware, software and consultancy suppliers could potentially make a fortune.

The House of Commons Standing Committee B is now scrutinising the 184 Amendments to the Identity Cards Bill.

There looks set to be only 8 sittings of debate, a totally inadequate amount of time given the complexity and controversy that this Bill involves.

"1) during proceedings on the Identity Cards Bill the Standing Committee shall (in addition to its first meeting at 9.25 am on Tuesday 18th January) meet—

(a) at 2.30 pm on Tuesday 18th January; and

(b) at 9.25 am and 2.30 pm on Thursday 20th January, Tuesday 25th January and Thursday 27th January;

(2) the proceedings shall be taken in the following order, namely, Clauses 1 to 3, Schedule 1, Clauses 4 to 45, Schedule 2, New Clauses, New Schedules and remaining proceedings on the Bill;

(3) the proceedings shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion at 5.30 pm on Thursday 27th January"


"The motion was drafted in the usual manner, after consultation with the usual channels. It provides for eight sittings and, while arguably that might not be a generous allocation of time, it is sufficient to enable proper scrutiny of the Bill. We are willing to review the proposed timetable and, if necessary, to add extra time on Tuesday 25 January to the afternoon sitting. That will happen, I hasten to add, if more time is needed because, despite the terms of the motion, it is open to us to sit beyond 5.30 pm. There is no compunction for us to finish at that time."

" That the order of Committee of this morning be amended in paragraph 1(b) by leaving out ''9.25 am'' and inserting ''9.10 am''"

N.B. there is still the Report stage and the Third Reading to be completed before the Bill goes off to the House of Lords.

The Third Reading has been limited to a single day, but that day has not yet been fixed, but will presumably be before the presumed May 5th General Election is campaign is called perhaps in April. That will be the political crunch point at which the Conservatives and Labour backbench Members of Parliament could in theory just possibly rebel against their party front benches, and scupper the Bill, but that might be rather too much to hope for, given their shameful collective record of not standing up to the executive branch of government.

Will the House of Lords put as much effort into opposing this Bill as they did against the Hunting Act ?

Needless to say, despite a couple of promises by the Home Office Minister for Citizenship and Immigration Des Browne to clarify some details about Addresses, and possibly about Age related issues all the Opposition Amendments were withdrawn or defeated.

have all been passed unamended by the Committee.

Ofcom FOIA request reply after only 8 days.


We have had a reply to our first Freedom of Information Act 2000 request to Ofcom, for a copy of the Mobile Phone Location Based Services Code of Practice, after only 8 working days.

Ofcom deny participating in drawing up this Code of Practice. Why was Ofcom, the Mobile Phone Industry regulator not involved in even any discussions about a Mobile Phone Industry Code of Practice covering such a sensitive and controversial issues like the privacy and safety of children.

We have been pointed to what seems to be a .pdf copy of this Code of Practice, however, we are not sure that this version was intended for publication, as it is not on the official website of any of the organisations involved in drawing it up.

The controversial Identity Cards Bill is starting its Committee stage in the House of Commons today. There is another Committee session due on Thursday and it will all be completed by Thursday 27th January 2005, a scandalously short time allowed for amendments and debate on such a complicated and controversial Bill which seeks to fundamentally change the trust relationship between the government and the people of the United Kingdom.

The list of Amendments which have been tabled up to and including today Tuesday 18th has been published - 184 amendments so far!

There are:

  • 1 Labour Government amendment

  • 2 Labour amendments

  • 82 Conservative amendments

  • 70 Liberal Democrat amendments

  • 27 joint Liberal Democrat and Conservative amendments,

  • 2 new clauses tabled by the Conservatives

Let us know if we have miscounted the number of amendments in each category, but it gives an idea of how complicated and controversial this Bill is. It is self evident how little detailed scrutiny of the Identity Cards Bill there can possibly be by MPs before the 27th January deadline.

Despite this large number of amendments, there are some astonishing ommissions, e.g. there is no amendment which addresses the apallingly draughted 31 Tampering with the Register etc.:

31 (3) (b)
"where it makes it more difficult or impossible for such information to be retrieved in a legible form from a computer on which it is stored by the Secretary of State, or contributes to making that more difficult or impossible."

Both the The Observer and the The Telegraph report that a night club in Glasgow is following similar night clubs in Barcelona and Rotterdam by offering to implant VeriChip RFID chips under their loyal customers' skin.

This has many advantages for the bar or night club, by allowing them to extract money from customers who have decided that even credit cards are too bulky or inconvenient to carry, or who cannot even remember their own names whilst high on drugs or drink.

They are treating their loyal customers like animals such as cattle or pet cats or dogs, where identical technology is used.

The same hype tactics of promoting the VeriChips as a status symbol "allowing" a customer easier access to the "VIP" lounge/party/promoted event are evident in Glasgow as in the other European trials of the technology. Almost all of these VeriChip "trials" involve free or subsidised equipment and/or implants, and are publicity stunts aimed at supporting the share price of the chip manufacturer.

The bar/night club owner/promoter also benefits from the media hype and publicity that VericChip implants in humans always generates ("no such thing as bad publicity")

We agree with notags.co.uk in condemning the attempted introduction of VeriChips into the UK. Implanting sub-dermal tracking devices in humans is wrong, and should be illegal.

The NO2ID online petition opposing the UK Government's plans for a National Identity Register and Biometric ID Cards has now had an official "response" from the Government.

This petition is on the Prime Minister's Number 10 Downing Street websiteis still open for more signatures. It had already collected 3230 signatures when it was submitted in November 2004.

Please excuse the tone of our comments on the official Government's response to the NO2ID petiton, as it insults our intelligence:

Why have the US authorities still not sorted out their inept "name matching against alleged lists of terrorists" procedures before transatlantic flights take off from Europe ?

US sends BA jet back to Britain

GeneWatch UK have launched a report calling for stronger privacy and human rights safeguards regarding the National DNA Database

This is another area of technology with huge implications for our privacy, but which our elected political representatives and the general media seem to be ignorant of, as was shown by their inept performance in scrutinising the Human Tissue Act, which permits DNA analysis without your consent, but does not even mention RNA, chromosomes, or protein folding and other similar genetic analysis techniques.

Why is the Forensic Science Service being privatised ?


Why is the Forensic Science Service being privatised ?

According to a Ministerial Statement by Home Office Minister Caroline Flint, the Government seems to be on its way to moving the FSS another couple of steps down the road to privatisation.

Nobody would object to the FSS deriving income from training foreign scientists in the latest techniques etc, but realistically just what is the attraction to private investors ?

How is the "market for forensic science services" in the UK anything but a state controlled monopoly ?

What does this mean for the privacy of the growing National DNA Database that this service controls ? Will private sector companies get access to this data in return for "investment" ?

The Ministerial Statement:

Home Secretary Charles Clarke has made a Ministerial Statement on the progress of implementing the Bichard Inquiry recommendations.

bOINGbOING has been writing about various unsecured web cameras which can be found via Google searches e.g. here and here and some more here

Various technological and security blog commentators have taken up this story (hardly really news, per se).

The situation is far worse than this, as mere web cameras are not the only "real world" devices now connected to the world wide web.

Increasingly there are cheap controller boxes which integrate various control systems into Supervisory Control And Data Aquisition (SCADA) systems, via ethernet and even via wireless networks. It used to be o that simple "black box" microcontrollers with serial RS232 interfaces, with the set up control menus or data aquistion and logging, via a plugged in terminal or laptop computer device, usually required an engineer to visit remote or widely dispersed customer sites in person. Now the aim seems to be to save costs by doing this all remotely, in many cases via the internet.

A fraction of these systems are also unsecured, either with default or no passwords, and also present a web interface once they are connected to an office or factory or other internet connection.

You can also use Google to search for these systems which include luxury home and office building automation systems which control lighting, heating, curtains, ventian blinds etc., according to people we know who have actually installed such systems (whilst taking the apprpriate security measures, which many of their rivals do not bother with).

There are even some systems accessible via the world wide web, which control video door entry systems, where you can literally open the door at the click of a mouse, after having checked the internal "security" cameras to see if anyone is at home !

Any control systems which are connected to reasonably heavy duty electric motors e.g. curtain opening/closing systems, present a potential fire risk, if attacked via their web enabled controllers, manually or via malware script to continually open and close at maximum speed.

The Independent has an interview with Sir Stephen Lander, Chairman of the Serious and Organised Crime Agency and former Director General of the Security Service MI5.

The interview did not ask the question "approximately, to the nearest
£20 billion
, how much does Serious and Organised Crime cost the UK annually ? £20 billion or £40 billion ?"
, but it does, somehow, magically assert that:

"Organised crime is estimated to have a £15bn a year turnover."

Sir Stephen did reveal something of interest to Home Office kremlinologists:

"The priorities that are adopted by Britain's elite crime fighting force will be partly based upon the number of column inches newspapers give to different types of organised criminality, Sir Stephen disclosed.

Researchers at the Home Office have looked at about 30 newspapers, divided equally among broadsheet and compact newspapers, the tabloids, and the regional press, over the past five years. They have calculated which organised crime issues are the most pressing by measuring the column inches and number of stories devoted to each subject. Organised immigration crime came first, followed by drugs.

Sir Stephen explained: "The brainboxes in the Home Office have been putting together a sort of harm model."

"brainboxes in the Home Office" - your words, not ours, Sir Stephen.

"The model basically articulates the harm that is caused to the UK under a number of headings - the rewards taken and made by the criminal; the social and economical harm to the UK; the institutional harm - corruption for example and illegal immigration - and tries to put a cost [on them].

"It also brings into play judgements about the degree of public concern and they have a proxy for this, which is the amount of column inches in the press. Which is not quite right, but is probably as good as you will get. It is pretty rough and ready but it is asking the right questions. It is asking not, what is the incidence of something, but what is its impact."

So what happened to the British Crime Survey and even focus groups ? Surely these are at least as valid a methodology as measuring column inches in only 30 newspapers, owned by probably not more than five major media proprieters ? What about radio. television and the internet ?

"One of the priorities of the harm model is a better understanding of the problems."

He continued: "The first of the cracks of the methodology suggests that we need to do more on people-smuggling and people-trafficking."

So does this mean that because newspapers are obsessed with immigration issues that Soca will be giving people smugglers and traffickers more attention than it would otherwise? Sir Stephen replied: "Illegal immigration stories in the media are much the most frequent - they reflect a newspaper's policy line on a subject and they also reflect genuine anxiety."

What about the "climate of fear" hype and spin feedback loop ? The Home Office and Labour party spin doctors leak, brief, spin, send out press releases to target those 30 newspapers, which are then used by another part of the Home Office as the input to their "harm model" !

"People-smuggling has been growing across Europe and the UK is seen as very attractive location. The best estimates are that 95 per cent of the illegal immigrants who get here are paying someone to facilitate them, so it is a real money earner. It is a lower risk than drugs. It does have an impact that has been growing over the past 10 years."

He did, however, concede: "There is certainly a level of hype in some of the media coverage but nevertheless there is substantial money made at the expense of the UK and taken out of communities from poor countries."

Ministers will set the overall priorities of Soca, which in turn draw on the "harm model".

That is political harm if you have sloganised your policies as "tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime".

"But is it right that politicians should have such an influence in the way crime is tackled - why not leave it to the professionals? He argued: "You can't disentangle the political imperatives. If ministers want to have something slightly more important than something else then that is their political judgement.

"They run the country, I don't - it's their judgement that counts. It is a real problem [illegal immigration] - this has weight this problem, the degree of weight you attach to responding to this has to have an element of political judgement about it."

"For a national agency, of course it is going to be political, what else is it going to be?""

Why are the Home Office Civil Servants being employed to do political intelligence gathering at tax payers' expense ?

Yet the Home Office seems to be happy to ignore actual formal public consultations and even detailed reports from the House of Commons Committees on Home Affairs, Human Rights, Public Accounts etc.

Did the Department for Work and Pensions update their web page on the Business Cases for the so called Longitudinal Study because of our suggested Freedom of Information Act request or was it just a coincidence ?

Some of the Business Cases seem to have been removed - is this censorship ?

There is still no information on the alleged Ethics Committee and our original misgivings about Racial profiling etc. still stand, and given the admitted breaches of security at both the DWP and the IR, we have further questions about if any of these involved the controversial combined social security security and tax name and address etc. datasets which this so called Longitudinal Study, actually a permanent gateway between IR and DWP should be protecting and limiting access to.

The techie end of the so called "blogosphere" is full of suggestions, following the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster along the lines of: "wouldn't it be a good idea if we set up an GSM Mobile phone Short Message Service (SMS) Disaster Warning Alert System ?"

James Cascio at WorldChanging

Howard Rheingold at Smartmobs,

Julian Bond at Voidstar

Leaving aside the whole question of actually getting enough warning data and disseminating it at the international or governmental level, in time to evacuate thousands or millions of people, the discussion is touching upon the suggested use of SMS as a mechanism for distributing pre-disaster emergency alerts, in the hope that some lives could have been saved.

There are lots of problems with this whole concept - do not do it!

Some people have even set up such a system, in the aftermath of the disaster in Sri Lanka e.g. the Alert Retrieval Cache, which illustrates exactly how not to create such an SMS warning system by publishing people's private mobile phone numbers on the world wide web which can then be abused by spammers and other criminals.

The "filtering" of "too many test requests" is simply based on the +94 prefix for Sri Lanka, or the +66 prefix for Thailand, which can be easily forged in an SMS message. There can be no way for the operators of this "do it yourself" SMS warning system, since they are not actually telecomms operators, to get real Cell ID Location Based Data to verify the approximate physical locations of these handsets.

The BBC reports that:

""Police probe 'peeping tom' claim"

CCTV camera allegedly used as a 'peeping tom' tool
Three council workers are under police investigation after they allegedly used CCTV cameras as a "peeping tom" tool.
The three men, who work for Sefton Council in Merseyside, are believed to have pointed a street safety camera into a woman's flat.

The men were suspended from their positions in the council's CCTV operation centre in Bootle last month.

Sefton Council says it is co-operating fully with Merseyside police in pursuing the investigation."

Are these people being investigated for the criminal offence of Voyeurism, under section 67 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 ?

Thanks to a reader of this blog for drawing our attention to this story.


The local news version of this story is online, from the Liverpool Echo. Why didn't the BBC quote the Liverpool Echo as a source ?

It seems that the Sexual Offences Act is being invoked, but that "Nobody has been arrested or charged".

The Prime Minister has appointed Bill Jeffry as the new Security and Intelligence Coordinator, to succeed Sir David Omand when he retires at Easter.

Bill Jeffry is currently the director general of the controversial Home Office Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND), a department which seems to be under such bureaucratic strain as to misplace or forget about correspondence, which has led to the resignation of two Home Office Ministers: Beverely Hughes and David Blunkett. He must surely have made decisions which led to the shameful treatment of the whistleblowers Steve Moxon working in the IND office in Sheffield, and James Cameron, the British Consul in Bucharest, which does not bode well for the rest of us, now that he has an even more powerful job.

The small pool of senior officials who are trusted by the politicians to deal with intelligence and security matters seems to be a very small one. Are these really the best people available

So who replaces Bill Jeffry at IND ?

Is the Freedom Of Information Act now going to be used as a scapegoat or excuse like the Data Protection Act was, for inadequate handling of sensitive intelligence data by the Police ?

Are all FOIA requests to the Police going to be treated as if they were part of a "mosaic attack" i.e. a police style intelligence operation conducted by organised criminals or terrorists ?

It is worth checking the Register of Data Controllers to see if the public body which you send a Freedom of Information Act request to, has bothered to register a Data Purpose under the Data Protection Act which covers "Complainants, correspondents and enquirers"

This article published by the local newspaper icnetwork.co.uk makes one wonder just what exactly the Police have been doing over the last few years to perapare for the FOIA.

"Police fear over Information Act
Jan 2 2005

Police chiefs fear Midland gangland crime bosses and racist extremists will exploit the new Freedom of Information Act to unmask informers and outwit the authorities."

A Freedom of Information Act 2000 request has been sent off for the Office of Government Commerce Gateway Reviews of the Identity Cards Programme.

Now to wait and see what, if anything turns up, and if the OGC is more responsive than the Home Office, or vice versa.

You can follow the progress of this FOIA request, and eventually other FOIA requests at our new UK FOIA request tracking blog

Will anything emerge before the Committee Stage of the Identity Cards Bill is concluded in the House of Commons by Thursday 27th Janaury 2005 ? How are Members of Parliament meant to have a fully informed debate and to propose appropriate amendments, if this information is still kept secret ?

The Sunday Times reports:

""Agents hijack army website"
Adam Nathan, Defence Correspondent

TWO disgruntled former army intelligence agents have caused a security alert after hijacking a military website. The men were able to take control of the site’s e-mailing facility shortly before Christmas after the Intelligence Corps apparently failed to renew its subscription."

This story was originally reported on the Cryptome website on 27th December, and followed up by the Irish News edition of the 31st December.

Currently, there do not seem to be any MX records for the domain intelligencecorps.co.uk i.e. no internet email servers, and the domain appears to be simply parked with a domain name registrar in the USA.

Paying money for the use of a commercial .co.uk domain name whose registration has lapsed does not constitute "hijacking" and is not illegal.

"When recruits send e-mails inquiring about jobs with the corps via its website, the men send back messages claiming that the unit is "responsible for the murder of innocent civilians and the direction of terrorism".

The men, Kevin Fulton (a pseudonym) and Sam Rosenfeld, formerly worked for the Force Research Unit (FRU), a covert branch of the Intelligence Corps set up to infiltrate Northern Ireland paramilitary groups. The FRU, later renamed the Joint Services Group (JSG), has been linked to murders by loyalist terrorists.

Both men claimed last week that they had been abandoned by their military intelligence handlers and that their lives were in danger from republican terrorists seeking revenge. They said the reason for hijacking the website was to draw attention to their treatment by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The ministry said: "It looks as if the e-mail address . . . has been allowed to lapse and has been taken over. We are investigating how this happened." It said the website was owned and operated by the Intelligence Corps but its contents were being transferred to the main MoD site."

So why are the two pages which give career information contact details for Soldiers and Officers still showing the .intelligencecorps.co.uk email adresses ?

There should be an investigation into why exactly the so called Intelligence Corps of the British Army was using anything other than an official .mod.uk or .gov.uk domain name in the first place. At least if the registration of these had lapsed, they could not be so easily snapped up by third parties. The investigation should also hunt down any other offical Ministry of Defence websites and email systems which have security weaknesses in their technical set ups or, at least as importantly, in their managerial procedures.

"The Intelligence Corps uses the website to attract potential recruits. More than a dozen applicants have used the e-mail facility on the site — usite.army.mod.uk/intcorps — since Rosenfeld and Fulton hijacked it. Instead of careers information they have received messages from the former agents."

How dim do you have to be to send your personal details via unencrypted email, over the insecure Internet when enquiring about or applying for a job with an intelligence agency ?

We would automatically fail candidates who applied this way ! Even the new Intelligence Corps website on the main MOD web site complex, still publishes an unencrypted, non-MOD email address.

We welcomed the introduction of a Secure Sockets Layer encrypted contact webpage for the Security Service MI5, and believe that all careers contacts for the British Armed Forces should take similar precautions.

What happens when a successful recruit is stationed overseas and finds that the local foreign intelligence agencies or terrorists have copies of his curricuklum vitae , and his home address which he applied from whilst still at school or university, i.e. in all likelyhood what is still the home address of his parents or relatives, obtained from unencrypted internet traffic monitoring ?

There is no excuse for treating this sort of information, even from unsuccessful potential recruits, many of whom are technically still children under the age of 16, who also deserve to have their details kept confidential under normal and well understood Data Protection principles, with less online security than for a paltry online credit card transaction.

Obvious;y the former Intelligence Corps agents seem to be more au fait with internet propaganda and public relations than the Ministry of Defence - this is not acceptable in 21st century "network centric" warfare.

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