February 2005 Archives

After a miserable day's shambolic "debate" in the House of Commons, which hardly discussed the first few clauses let alone the typically Home Office trick of putting a very controversial Schedule at the end of the Bill, so that it would not be debated or amended even under a "normal" programme schedule, the evil Prevention of Terrorism Bill passed its Third Reading in the House of Commons - Ayes: 272 Noes: 219

The House of Commons seems to be no more than a legislative "rubber stamp" for this Nu Labour or should that be Ingsoc Government

The terrorists are still laughing at us.

Will the House of Lords be more reasonable and reject this largely unecessary, yet totalitarian legislation, outright when they start their own, highly compressed scrutiny (only 4 days, which is 2 more days than the Government allowed the House of Commons).

The Government has been showing its contempt for Parliament in the highly curtailed debate on the very controversial Prevention of Terrorism Bill.

They were not content with limiting the Committee, Report and Third Reading stages to a single day, which in itself is an affront to the House of Commons for such a complicated and fundamentally dangerous and powerful piece of legislation.

After over 180 amendments had been tabled, supposedly to be debated in under six hours, the Home Secretary, decided to "clarify" his "concessions" that he had decided on over the weekend, by writing a letter to the Conservative Home Affairs spokesman David Davis, outlining the fact that instead of actually tabling the "concession" amendemnets for debate and scrutiny in the House of Commons, the Government would presnt them later to the House of Lords.

To make matters worse, the Home Secretary then wasted about two of the six hours alloted for debate by "explaining" the contents of his letter, which had not been made available to all MPs before the start of the debate, and how it would do such and such in the way of providing more Judicial involvement in Control orders.

Even if you support this Bill, you should be dismayed by this abuse of Executive power - the Members of Parliament were not debating the Bill as presented or even the Amendments as tabled, but the unsigned copy of the Home Secretary's letter of intent, which may not even survive debate in the House of Lords starting tomorrow.

If this was the only time which a late arriving letter from the Home Secretary, which contained important issues or clarifications for the debate going on in the Commons had somehow, mysteriously, despite an army of civil servants, been distributed late to MPs, but,, not, of course to the press and tv media, then the Government might be forgiven for a blunder.

However they did exactly the same thing with the curtailed debate on the Report stage and Third Reading of the equally controversial Identity Cards Bill, only last Thursday 10th February, when the late document was the Home Secretary's response to the 14 points put to him by the Joint Committee on Human Rights.

Charles Clarke even made use of the "failed shoebomber case" of Saajid Badat, a British citizen who pled guilty to a conspiracy to cause an explosion charge, involving a bomb threat outside of the United Kingdom, today. This case was nearly compromised by former Home Secretary David Blunkett's sub judice comments last year. How this case is relevant to "Control Orders", which are meant to apply when there is no evidence available, when this case was successfully prosecuted due to the evidence of the shoe bomb found in the failed terrorist plotter's home, is a mystery.

The Badat case actually undermines most of the Home Secretary's assertions that "Control Orders" are somehow needed to foil imminent terrorist attacks. "Control Orders" would have been of no use in this case, which only came to light because of indirect telephone "communications data" evidence -not "intercept evidence", but apparently "Belgian phone cards" which linked the other failed British "shoe bomber" Richard Reid and Saajid Badat with a common Al Queada agent now being held in Belgium.

A commentor on a previous posting topic Heathrow Terminal 4 "see under your clothes" X-Ray scanner has made a very worrying accusation about his recent experience with this alleged "security scanner":

"Last Friday February 25 on my way flying back to Washington DC between 1-2:30 PM I was hand picked in a queue of about 100 people most of them white. I was the third persons (black males) to have been put aside by a security agent instructing us to go through an additional set of security system different from the one used for the general public. Inside the box, the agent instructed me to get red of my backpack and jacket, to adopt a strange posture… and to spin round.

I was of cause offended, shocked and humiliated by such practice, I made this comment to the agent: “I noticed that you are hand picking only black people for this additional security boot, aren’t you?” In response, he got furious and said:"We are only doing what the government asks us to do". His voice and tone became intimidating and menacing saying that I risk arrest if I resisted security measure. I was embarrassed in front of hundred of white people some of them just laughing. After I went through the double security system, I tried to talk to one of the supervisor to complain about the practice explaining to him that it is frankly unnecessary and dangerous to use a selective measure base on passenger skin color. He said in response: “ if you are going to Nigeria, you are likely to be pick because most people forming the queue at that precise time are passengers departing to Nigeria” but I was not going to Nigeria and we were the only 3 Blacks males in the queue of more than 100 people."

Surely even if this technology works perfectly and is safe, then racial profiling or racial discrimination is absolutely not the way to make use of it ?

Does anybody know who might be best able to investigate this incident further ?

Technically, the Home Office is now in breach of the Freedom of Information Act, as they admit that they have not complied with our FOIA request to see the "official meeting diaries, agenda of meetings, travel and entertainment expenses involving Katharine Courtney, Stephen Harrison, and the post of Head of Marketing, from September 2001." i.e. the senior people in the Identity Cards Programme Team, within the statutory 20 working days.

They state that "further consideration is required", but they are not invoking any "public interest balancing exercise".

Howeever, we are minded to give the Home Office a few more days before asking for an internal review of the case, provided that this does not end up as a delay which lasts beyond the time when the House of Lords is due to scrutinise the Identity Cards Bill.

Even if the Government accedes to some of the Liberal Democrat and Conservative Opposition demands, and introduces an amendment to the Prevention of Terrorism Bill on Monday, which has a Judge rubber stamping a Control Order insead of just the Home Secretary doing so, this will still be an evil piece of legislation.

Judging from some of the Amendments which have been tabled, the Conservatives seem to be probing to see if the people subjected to "non-derogating" Control Orders i.e. not "house arrest" can be forced (under threat of 5 years in prison for not complying with the Control Order) to give up "information" to, presumably foreign intelligence agency personnel, or to be sent abroad for questioning/torture ("extraordinary rendition" in US political euphemism jargon)


"'(3A) A control order may not require the controlled person to leave the United Kingdom.'."

'(3A) A control order may not require the controlled person to talk to any specified person or any other person who is not a British citizen or is in the employment of or under contract to any foreign government.'.

'(3A) A control order may not require the controlled person to submit to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment.'."

We are still dismayed, but not actually surprised, given the amount of Home Office legislation we have read, that the weasel word "any" has crept in to the clauses dealing with the actual serving of a Control Order.

For all those Englishmen at Home in their Castles, this might come as a bit of a shock:

"5 Modification, notification and proof of orders etc.

6) For the purpose of delivering a notice under subsection (5) to the controlled person a constable or a person authorised for the purpose by the Secretary of State may (if necessary by force)—

(a) enter any premises where he has reasonable grounds for believing that person to be; and

(b) search those premises for him."

That means that the police or some other as yet undefined secret policeman or a private sector bailiff, can enter by force, any premises in the UK and make a search without a warrant signed by a Magistrate or Judge or even the Home Secretary. What constitutes "reasonable suspicion" in such cases ? Rumour, hearsay and the flimsiest of evidence very often.

There are no restrictions on arranging a reasonable time, contacting the actual keyholder or landlord of a premises (it is unlikley that many of the Belmarsh detainees, for instance, will be substantial property owners themselves), or any legal duty to repair the damage or to compensate for lost business as a result of such a forced entry and search.

This is enforced by:

"6 Offences

(3) A person is guilty of an offence if he intentionally obstructs the exercise by any person of a power conferred by section 5 6)."

which leads to penalties of:

"(7) A person guilty of an offence under subsection (3) shall be liable— (a) on summary conviction in England and Wales, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 51 weeks or to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale, or to both; (b) on summary conviction in Scotland or Northern Ireland, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale, or to both."

This applies not just to the person on whom a Control Order is being served, but to any friends , family , members of the public etc. who are deemed to be "obstructing". Who determines this and how ?

We still cannot find any mention in the Bill or in any of the tabled amendments, anything about Criminal Records, and Criminal Records Bureau Enhanced Disclosures regarding people who have complied with Control Orders and who have therefore never been convicted of anything by a court of law. What are the rules for purging the record of the fact that they have been subjected to a Control Order ? Or does the black mark stay on your secret police zapiska for the rest of your life, even if the Control Order has been quashed by a Court ?

What gets revealed to a potential employer during a Criminal Records Bureau Enhanced Disclosure check ?

The Home Office really have not thought through all the implications of this rushed legislation. It is clear from the list of Amendments that this point has escaped the scrutiny of Members of Parliament as well.

Another point which the Home Office has not thought through is what if Control Orders are served on Children ? Can they be hunted down and served with a Control Order without a responsible adult or legal advisor present ?

The so called "non-derogating" Control Orders in Clause 1 Section 3 are far too loosely worded, duplicate existing anti-terrorism legislation and in some cases are just nonsense:

The Daily Telegraph has an article where Charles Clarke comes up with Yet Another Reason for Identity Cards (is this the real one ?) - to allow the "relaxation" of border controls so that the UK can join the European Union Schengen Information System, which the UK is not formally part of.

Clarke opens door to easing border controls

"Speaking after attending his first formal meeting of EU justice and home affairs ministers, Mr Clarke said a successful ID card system could change British opposition to Schengen, paving the way for border posts to be swept away.

The introduction of ID cards could change the situation "15, 20, 25, 30 years down the line," Mr Clarke said. "You would have to have an ID card system that works well."

The Home Office has not yet managed to convince us that they can secure their proposed National Identity Register for 60 million people in the UK. How can they possibly make the Schengen Information System II secure for 25 European Union countries with a population of 450 million people ?

BBC and other media reports about a Home Office study into the effectiveness of CCTV surveillance spy cameras, chaired by Professor Martin Gill of the the University of Leicester, seem to bear out previous studies,which show that public CCTV camera surveillance schemes do not actually cut crime or the fear of crime.

We will link to the actual study if and when we can find it on the labyrinthine Home office website.


"The impact of CCTV: fourteen case studies"

Prime Minister Tony Blair's article in the Daily Telegraph has these weasel words:

"We have to balance protection for the public from terrorism with safeguarding civil liberties. But there is no greater civil liberty than to live free from terrorist attack."

Those words are an insult to all the British people who have risked their lives and those who have died fighting against tyrannical governments and ideologies.

There are worse things than mere terrorist attacks - having to live under a repressive government, for one.

We have requested an internal review under the Freedom of Information Act regarding the inadequate disclosure of the now out of date Gateway Reviews of the Identity Cards scheme.

The only hopeful sign is that the Office of Government Commerce promise to try to reply within a month, which would still leave time before the General Election to appeal to the Information Commissioner for a legally binding Decision Notice

Home Secretary Charles Clarke has published the very controversial Prevention of Terrorism Bill

If you read the Bill, you will be struck by its complexity, and the over broad general powers it tries to grab for the Executive branch of Government.

You will be struck by how many of the terrorist related activities written in to this Bill are already crimes under the draconian Terrorism Act 2000.

e.g. Clause 1, subsection 8:

"(8) For the purposes of this Act involvement in terrorism-related activity is any one or more of the following— (a) the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism;

(b) conduct which facilitates the commission, preparation or instigation of such acts, or which is intended to do so;

(c) conduct which gives encouragement to the commission, preparation or instigation of such acts, or which is intended to do so;

(d) conduct which gives support or assistance to individuals who are
known or believed to be involved in terrorism-related activity;

and for the purposes of this subsection it is immaterial whether the acts of terrorism in question are specific acts of terrorism or acts of terrorism generally."

c.f. the briefing by Liberty Human Rights (.pdf) published before the Bill was made public.

After 35 working days we have a totally unsatisfactory FOIA Disclosure - OGC Gateway Reviews of the Home Office's Identity Cards scheme.

The "axis of weasel" of the Home Office and the Office of Government Commerce, probably with help from the Depratment for Constitutional Affairs, has managed to delay this simple FOIA request until after the passage of the controversial Identity Cards Bill through all its stages in the House of Commons.

Peter Hain, the Leader of the House of Commons has announced an astonishingly compressed time table for the passage of the Government's extremely controversial "Control Orders" legislation, the Prevention of Terrorism Bill.

The Bill is to be introduced tomorrow Tuesday 22nd February, the Second Reading debate will be on Wednesday 23rd February and it will finish its Committee and Report and Third Reading stages all in one day on Monday 28th February 2005 !

Given that the Home Office have had over 3 years to come up with more satisfactory legislation to replace the poorly drafted and rushed Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001, it is totally unacceptable to destroy our civil liberties and freedoms, not just for foreign terrorist suspects, but potentially for any British citizen, by introducing "Control Orders" which are not imposed by the Judicial system on the basis of actual testable evidence, but on the whim of a politician, acting on possibly illegal and secret and very often wrong or misinterpreted "intelligence".

Who cares if the Home Secretary Charles Clarke or the Prime Minister Tony Blair are actually decent honest people with a conscience, and could, perhaps, be trusted not to abuse this power ? That is not the problem.

The problem is that this law will be on the statute books for use by future elected dictators, and could just as easily be turned against you and your family as against the alleged Islamic terrorists who are currently the targets for the Government's mismangement of the terrorist menace.

For those of us who are already worried about the extraordinary powers which the Government has given itself under the controversial Emergency powers section of the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, which is meant to have Emergency Regulations reviewd by Parliament after 7 days, the extreme rapidity and "rubber stamp" nature of this "Prevention of Terrorism Bill" passing through the Commons in under 6 days (including the weekend), with only 2 days of actual debate, gives rise to actual fear and dread.

This is not a whinge about some notional "airy fairy" civil liberties concept, this is not a question of "being soft on terrorism", this is about the fundamental core beliefs which most people have taken for granted in British society. To undermine these is to let the terrorists win by default !

The Independent on Sunday reports that the "Control Orders" political deal between the leaders of the Labour Government and the main Opposition parties the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats failed to materialise on Friday.

More backroom wheeling and dealing seems to be set for today, and, apparently the "Control Orders" legislation is due to be announced tomorrow Tuesday 22nd February.

Since it seems that this legislation is going to be rushed through Parliament before the 14th March, all our usual doubts and fears arise again, about the prospect of yet another example of the evil way in which the Home Office abuses the English language, to grab infinite powers for itself, in legislation which Members of Parliament fail to scrutinise effectively.

If a Judge is to be trusted to "review" a "Control Order" case after 7 days, why on earth can't the Judge examine the "evidence" before granting a "Control Order" in the first place ?

We ask the question again, why is the "Westminster village" of politicians and journalists so keen to "restrict access to the internet or mobile phones" for terrorist suspects or their families, friends and associates ? Since these technologies are easier and cheaper to keep under legal surveillance, they should be encouraged to make more use of them, rather than being legally restricted from accessing them.

How could such a ban possibly be enforced anyway, without also having restrictions on movement and free association which would need to be enforced with the use of very expensive, 24/7 multi man teams of covert surveillance operatives, for each terrorist suspect ?

There must be no powers in this "Control Orders" legislation which would permit "speculative data trawling" or mandatory "data retention" of large numbers of innocent people's internet and phone communications data records (itemised bills, mobile phone cell locations etc.) under the pretence of enforcing such "Control Orders" against a few terrorist suspects.

We have pointed out before that "electronic tagging", whilst suitable for very low risk prisoners and as part of bail conditions for minor offences, is just not a suitable option for any violent or sex offender criminals who are highly motivated to re-offend. The enforcement of "no go zones" by electronic tagging is largely science fiction, and is no less illegal under the Human Rights Act than any other form of detention without trial.

If the Belmarsh or Guantanamo Bay detainees really are hardened highly motivated terrorists, then why would an "electronic tag" prevent them from commiting an atrocity ?

We await tommorrow's "Control Orders" legislation with a growing sense of resentment and a feeling of betrayal by those in the "Westminster village".

This afternoon should see the scheduled meeting between the Labour party Prime Minister Tony Blair, the Home Secretary Charles Clarke and the main Opposition party leaders Michael Howard of the Conservatives and Charles Kennedy of the Liberal Democrats, to cut some sort of political deal over the proposed "Control Orders".

Home Office Minister of Staet for Crime Reduction, Policing, Community Safety and Counter-Terrorism Hazel Blears was quoted as saying that these "Control Orders", which would apply to everyone, including British citizens, could be used against "animal rights" extremists or right wing political extremists.

Home Secretary Charles Clarke, in oral evidence to the Home Affairs Committee contradicted this, and was careful to use the weasel words "international terrorist threat around al-Qaeda and its related organisations" which in this context is code for "we know that these 'Control Orders' could and should apply to terrorism across the Northern Ireland and and Republic of Ireland international border, but we do not want to complicate things by mentioning this"

The media have been hyping up the term "house arrest", which Charles Clarke has been careful to not to use.

No doubt Michael Howard and Charles Kennedy will be pressing for "intercept evidence" to be made admissable in UK courts.

The Home Office will no doubt continue to reject this, mainly because it appears that it would not have solved the dilemma of the Belmarsh detainees, against whom there does not seem to be enough "intercept evidence" to make any difference. Presumably the "intelligence" against them is mostly of the informer or dubious "torture" confession variety.

Some of the people in Belmarsh and some of those facing extradition to the USA are accused of supplying money or supplies (not weapons) to rebel groups in Chechnya. The Home Office still has not proscribed any terrorist organisations in Chechnya - why not ? How can "Control Orders" be applied to sympathisers of groups which are not illegal in the UK ?

It seems astonishing that the "Westminister Village" of politicians and journalists are seriously talking about restricting the use of mobile phones or the internet for suspected terrorists or, their families and supporters.

Surely these technologies are far easier and cheaper to keep under surveillance than "house arrest" or even prison detention ? The authorities should be positively encouraging terrorist suspects or supporters to make use of these technologies, not the reverse.

It is unclear to what extent friends, families and co-religionist worshipers at Mosques etc. will be tainted by and affected by "Control Orders" against terrorist suspects.

Any of the "range of measures" under the as yet unspecified "Control Orders" must be clearly defined and must only be applied, on the basis of actual evidence, by the judicial system, not by the Home Secretary or any other politician.

If Charles Kennedy and Michael Howard are serious about human rights and the proper way to fight terrorism, then they must reject Tony Blair and Charles Clarke's "Control Orders" regime entirely, and not be fobbed off with any half measures like judicial review after the "Control orders" have ruined the lives of the people they have been applied to, their families, friends and associates.

If you want to see how easy it is for innocent people to get onto "intelligence" lists of alleged terrorists or terrorist sympathisers, have a look at the list of alleged IRA members published on Cryptome, which has included various controversial lawyers and politicians who are definately not actual members of the IRA.

There is an interesting article in The Sunday Times about the private sector "Islamic terrorist database" set up by the American lawyer who sued the US tobacco industry for tens of billions, and was awarded billions in legal fees. He seems to be investing some of his millions in another class action suite against banks and financial institutions supposedly involved in funding the September 11th 2001 terrorist attacks, and, presumably the Saudi Arabian government.

However, this private sector "database" and the staff of former US intelligence operatives hardly fills one with confidence about the allegedly less comprehensive and less well funded Government systems.

FOIA request reply from DfES re OECD PISA study


We have had a reply from the Department for Education and Skills regarding our
FOIA request about the OECD PISA comparative study into educational standards, after only 15 working days.

It seems that not enough schools could be recruited to make the sample for England statistically valid for international comparisons (the whole point of the exercise), despite increasing financial incentives up to £1000 per school.

It is nice to know a bit more about what Charles Clarke was presiding over when he was Education Secretary.

The Public Whip website shows the breakdown of which Members of Parliament voted, and how, on the Third Reading of the Identity Cards Bill yesterday.

Notable for their absence were the architects of this Bill, namely the Prime Minister Tony Blair, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Browne, the notorious former Home Secretary David Blunkett, as well as the flip flopping Tory Front Benches.

Report stage is now over, at about 5 minutes to five.

The Third Reading debate was led by Home Secretary Charles Clarke.

Charles Clarke quoted Michael Howard's dubious track record of public statements on ID Cards.

The handful of MPs who have spoken in the debatres so far, continued their objections, with Richard Allan for the Liberal Demcroats, David davis the conservative Home Affairs spokesman, Alex Salmond of the SNP (pointing out that 9 of the tabled amendmendments dealing with Scotland and Wales have not been debated), David Winnick , the Labour member of the Home Affairs Committee, John bercow (Conservative) etc.

John Gummer, the conservative former Minister now seems to be planning to vote against the Bill, despite being in favour of ID Cards, on the very reasonable grounds of the scandal of the Parliamentary guillotines and curtailment of debate on what is so fundamental a change in the relationship between the state and the citizen.

Just before 6pm i.e. after less than an hour of debate the Division on the Third reading has been called.

The Ayes voted 224, the Noes had 64 i.e. it looks, as if the Conservatives have mostly abstained, and the Governmnet has won the Third Reading in the Commons as expected.

The fight moves on to the House of Lords, but whether they will oppose this Bill as aggressively as they did with the Hunting Act, or whether they will just politely make their points and not actually hinder the Governmnet, like they did with the Civil Contingencies Act, is open to question.

Identity Cards Bill - another half hour of debate


The third session of today's debate on the Identity Cards Bill, resulted in a mere half an hour of debate. Aall the rest of the time is taken up in the mechnics of the voting process which usually takes 10 to 20 minutes a time.

Richard Allan MP made his points at breakneck speed, and did manage to get a verbal promise from Minister Des browne that the public bodies to which your National Identity Register data could be passed on to without your permission would be those public bodies defined under the Human Rights Act i.e. not directly to the USA FBI or the Russian FSB or Europol etc, although, these foreign agencies can of course be given your data by NCIS or SOCA or other UK Government Agencies.

Des Browne also responded to the debate which had drifted on to the use of CCTV Surveillance cameras, to intimate that he did not think that say, coincil employees or private sector CCTV opertors would have access to the NIR data.

However, we shall check Hansard tomorrow to see if he was precluding the speculative real time or offline searching of the NIR facial biometrics database by various agencies or not (an innaccurate process at best).

The second three quarters of an hourof debate on the Identity Cards Bill, has been taken up by some talk around the restrictions on the Identity Card Scheme Commissioner's powers and censorship of his report. Even the Minister Des Browne's speech was curtailed mid flow,. He had spent / wasted some time in explaining that somehow it was not the Government's fault that the response to the Joint Committee on Human Rights was not available before the debate got underway.

All pretty feeble really, if, as is being claimed it was available yesterday, it should have been online yesterday.

It is very disheartening watching your civil liberties being frittered away in this strange Parliamentary theatre.

By the way, when you read the debate in hansard, do not be fooled by the votes, which have been runniing at 330 to 230 for the Governmnet and around 110 to 130 for the Opposition.There are fewer than 20 MPs present in the Commons Chamber at any one time taking part in the debates. Some few MPs may well be watching the debate on TV, but it is much more likely that most of those voting have no clue about what exactly they are voting on, having been given their party orders vias mobile phone or via Blackberry devices which are newly popular amongst MPs.

The Identity Cards Bill is proceeding under Yet Another Programme Motion i.e. the time for consideration of the clauses and amendments has been "guillotined" by means of a vote of 220 against 131.

The first half hour, during which there has been no response from the Minister Des Browne, to any of the amendments or debate, except to claim that the Government's response to the 14 points raised by Joint Committee on Human Rights is now available in the vote lobby, a claim which another MP disputed.

This is the response which was rwquested by Monday 7th February 2005.

Prime Minister's Questions yesterday showed how little Tony Blair is willing to debate the real detail of his Identity Cards Bill, which is due to complete it's main rubber stamping session in the Commons today, in under 4 hours of so called "debate". Many of the key details of the Government's plans are still secret, and Members of Parliament (with only a couple of honourable exeptions) have been lax in their scrutiny of the details of this Bill.

The public admission this week that Tony Blair is a technophobe makes one wonder just who has brainwashed him into making such extravagent claims about biometric technology, which not even the people selling the technology dare to make, for fear of ridicule and lost sales.

Prime Minister's Questions, Wednesday 9th February 2005:

We have had a letter, from the Office for National Statistics, only 13 working days since our FOIA request regarding the Citizen Information Project.

Given the paucity of public information on the Citizen Information Project, who knew that there are over 5000 documents related to it ?

Any suggestions as to how we can narrow down the request would be appreciated.

Here is a transcript of some of the GMTV interview with Sir Ian Blair (SIB), the new Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in London, broadcast on Sunday 6th February 2005. The interviewer is Cathy somebody or other - the ITV and GMTV websites are pathetic compared with, for example the BBC

The evening newspaper in London, the Evening Standard managed to print a peculiar bit of spin about the Government's Identity Card scheme.

This article totally misses what should be obvious - secret agents, spies, special services soldiers, undercover policemen etc. will all have their false identities or noms de guerre compromised because they will have had to surrender their Biometric Identifiers at the age of 16, long before most of them will have been recruited into any of these identity sensitive jobs.

How can you trust foreign border control systems not to preserve your "Biometric Identifier identity" at the age of 16 and to throw up an alarm, years later when you turn up with a different name but the same Biometric Identifiers as a secret agent ?

"Biometrics - the password you can never change, even when the system has been compromised"


A still from a James Bomnd film featuring Pierce Brosnan and Halle Berry.

A faked Passport Office Biometric trial smart card with a photo of Pierce Brosnan
Reference Number: 007
Mr Bond ..... James Bond

"Evening Standard
Friday 4 February 2005

Ban on fake identities is a major handicap for spies, warn secret services.

"Why shake-up on ID cards has Bond stirred"
by Ben Leapman
Home Affairs Correspondent

Spy chiefs are demanding sweeping legal powers to create false identity cards for secret agents, the Evening Standard has learned."

The Joint Committee on Human Rights report on the Identity Cards Bill asks 14 probing questions of Home Secretary Charles Clarke, to which they expect a reply by Monday 7th February.

The Report stage and Third Reading of this Bill are set for Thursday 10th February, and will all be over in less than 4 hours, as explained by Richard Allan MP

Even if you support this Identity Card scheme, there are some serious flaws with this Bill. Why does Parliament allow itself to be used as a "rubber stamp" in this way ?

Will the House of Lords save us from this wretched legislation ?

Probably not, judging by the ultimately futile debates which they conducted over the Civil Contingencies Act and the Children Act 8-(

The Department for Work and Pensions seems to be keeping its promise for greater transparency and dare it be said "open government".

They have replied to our Freedom of Information Act Request regarding the DWP-IR Longitudinal Study, after 18 working days.

The Office of Government Commerce has replied to our request for the Gateway Reviews regarding the Identity Cards scheme, on the 20th working day after having received our FOIA request.

The Home Office have also replied to the same request in very similar terms.

The Government apparently needs another 15 working days "to consider the balance of the public interest" in publishing the requested information, despite claiming a couple of Exemptions under the Freedom of Information Act.

So, having managed not to publish the information requested in time for it to be considered as part of the debate during the House of Commons Committee Stage of the Identity Cards Bill, they are now planning not to publish anything until after the final Report and Third Reading debates in the House of Commons on Thursday 10th February 2005. Is this a mere coincidence, or is this political calculation ?

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