May 2005 Archives

We would like to appeal for some information. We have been contacted by a Home Office Civil Servant, working within the Immigration Service no less, who seems to be the victim of some Rough Justice, having been arrested and charged with a bogus marriage to a non-UK national, and then having the charges dropped, and various internal appeals against his treatment lost, and who then has been demoted for "serious misconduct", which he claims merely involved checking his own and his wife's computerised record details.

As a a Field Intelligence Officer in the Immigration Service, one would expect this to be an entirely authorised and legitimate activity, but it has led to his demotion.

All this happened in about the same time frame as the Steve Moxon and James Cameron whistleblower scandals, and the disgraceful behavior of ex-Home Secretary David Blunkett.


  • Does anyone out there know much about the London Command Crime Group (LCCG) who seem to one of several bodies involved in investigating various human trafficking and illegal immigration scams.They seem to have the power of entry to your home, to arrest you in a "dawn raid", without a warrant.

  • Who exactly are the LCCG answererable to, and what form of oversight is there over their activities ?

  • Are there any other Home Office Civil Servants who have been treated as roughly by the bureacracy as this ?

Snooping on sexually active under 18s


The Soham murders and the dismal record of teenage pregnancies have no doubt contibuted to what The Guardian has reported, that Teenagers face 'intrusive' questioning on sex lives

Presumably due to the delays by the Home Office and the and the other Big Nanny Departments of State, who have still failed to issue official guidance and procedures regarding "soft intelligence" and children at risk, following the Bichard Inquiry, various lower level bureaucratic alliances are starting to develop their own systems to address the very real social problems surrounding sexually active teenagers.

Why are they poking their noses into the lives of 16 and 17 year olds, when the age of consent is 16 ?

Why do these procedures have to be so secretive, bureaucratic, complicated, unnaccountable and probably illegal ?

Various bloggers have commented on this article in the The Independent. Unfortunately the comments mostly seem to be a bit confused or to miss the point. The article itself blurs the distinction between international standard Biometric Passports and with the centralised biometric database ID card system being proposed in the UK Identity Cards Bill

"US wants to be able to access Britons' ID cards

By Kim Sengupta

27 May 2005

The United States wants Britain's proposed identity cards to have the same microchip and technology as the ones used on American documents.

The aim of getting the same microchip is to ensure compatability in screening terrorist suspects. But it will also mean that information contained in the British cards can be accessed across the Atlantic."

The article is confusing Biometric Passports with "e-border" systems, with UK ID cards - they are not the same thing.

No doubt there are plans to simply hand over access to the UK databases to the US government, but that is a different issue.

UK Passport Service Biometric Trial


Along with the publication of the new version of the controversial Identity Cards Bill yesterday, the Home Office also revealed some details of the UK Passport Office Biometric Trial.

The Home Office now seem to have censored their Press Release, which now no longer states right at the top:

"Please Note: There are currently no plans for further biometric trials."

Surely they should have issued a separate press release or statement about this, rather than just altering the original online version ?

The Press Release points vaguely to the UK Passport Service website for the Report and Management Summary documents about the Biometric Trial, which can now be found through links on this page.

Upon reading the reports, it swiftly becomes clear why the results of this UK Passport Office/Service Biometric Trial project, which after months of delay and massive initial technical problems finished in December 2004, seem to have been supressed during the debates on the Identity Cards Bill earlier this year, and during the General Election - Biometrics simply does not work swiftly or accurately enough for a massive National ID scheme involving a population of 60 million people.

How can an average Verification delay of between 40 seconds, for the best group and 80 seconds, for the worst performing group, even under ideal lighting conditions, be anywhere near to acceptable performance for a system which is intended for queues of hundreds of passengers at airport Passport Control ?

There were cases of Verification taking on average 10 minutes per person.

Anything that adds this amount of extra delay to the existing Passport Control procedures of forming a queue, fumbling with documents, having them examined etc. will bankrupt British Airports Authority and the airline and travel industries.

If Biometric checks are mostly not performed on British citizens and residents as they enter the UK, then what is the point of claiming that Biometric Passports are needed in the first place ?

The reported error rates are also astonishingly bad, ranging from 4% for iris scans to around 30% failure for facial recognition.

For a workable biometric system suitable for use by millions of people, the error rates have got to be orders of magnitude better than this i.e. fractions of a percent, otherwise there is no hope of ever catching any significant number of wanted terrorists or illegal immigrants, which is what the Government claims their complicated and costly ID cards/ Centralised Biometric Database / "e-borders" plans are meant to do.

Neither of these biometrics are mandated for by the ICAO machine readable travel document standard, which simply states that a digitised photo stored in the passport, which can be manually compared on screen with your face by a human passport control official, with the option of an as yet undetermined number of fingerprints,

This Passport Office Biometric trial was originally inteded to test Biometrics with a view to creating a passport ID card acceptable for travel within the European Union. The terms of reference of this trial were only to test business processes and procedures during enrolment and registration onto such a system. It specifically was not budgeted to test any of the large scale infrastructure preformance problems or to conduct any kind of security penetration testing to see how vulnerable the system is to various Biometric Identifier snarfing, interception, cloning , replay, network infrastructure compromise, database compromise and Denial of Service etc attacks which both a Passport and an National ID system have to be able to withstand with ease.

It is true, therefore that the results from the particular hardware and software used in this trial are not necessarily a reflection of the performance that may be achievable in the future.

However, there is no question that this snapshot of the current state of the biometric techhnology art is simply not up to the job being asked of it.

Unless the Home Office repeats this Biometric Trial, every few months, into the future , until acceptable levels of accuracy and speed of throughput are regularly achievable with commercial off the shelf equipment, then Yet Another Government IT Disaster looms
for Biometric Passports, let alone for the wider use of such technology, under more adverse and varied conditions, for a National ID card scheme.

However, it would appear that the NuLabour governnment plans to press on regardless, and that the politicians and spin doctors still cling to the absurd notion that somehow biometric technology is an unforgeable magic fix to the ever changing list of social problems (this week it seems to "Identity theft", during the General Election campaign less than a month ago it was "terrorism") that the ID cards scheme is alleged to be a cost effective soltion to.

The new Identity Cards Bill is available on the Parliament website.

Our first impression is that it is almost the same as the previous version, still with some of the same stupid clauses as before:

e.g. 31 Tampering with the Register etc will still, despite the verbal assurances given in the House of Lords, criminalise many Civil Servant Trades Unionists and IT contract staff who either through legal industrial action, or through technical failures

"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."
threatening them with up to 10 years in jail !

This is a stupid clause that even supporters of the scheme should denounce.

Why have the Home Office and NuLabour not bothered to listen ?

Where are the promised detailed costs of the scheme ?

It is rumoured that an Identity Cards Bill will be published tomorrow Wednesday 25th May 2005 at 12:30, despite this not having been announced during last Thursday's Order of Business.

Presumably the other rumours that it might be delayed are part of the NuLabour spin, and this is an attempt to sow some discord within the Opposition Conservative party, who have still not yet come off the fence, and said that they would definately oppose the Bill, even though their front running leadership candidate seems to be opposed.

Does it also mean that the NuLabour Government is going to try to rush it through Parliament again, without proper debate or even the amendment of the stupid errors which the previous version contained ?

We welcome its early publication (if the rumour is true), and remind everyone that Charles Clarke also promised yesterday that the costs of the scheme would be published with the Bill, so that they could be analysed - hopefully these are detailed cost estimates referring to a Detailed Statement of Technical Requirements.

It is also rumoured that the results of the inadequately small scale Passport Office "biometric trial" will be published tomorrow as well.

Remember that this trial did not test either the relative merits of various biometric technologies or of various actual commercial off the shelf products or even touch on any of the massive infrastrucure issues of scale and resilience.. It certainly did not even try to test the security of the system against even amateur, let alone professional attack.

Still, there might be something of interest in the results of this trial.

It would be insane if the Government tried to justify a multi billion pound ID card / Database project of such cricial significance to the raltionship between the Individual and the State, on the basis of such a limited trial.

Once this trial has been completed, it was promised that the Chief Scientific Advisor Sir David King KB ScD FRS would review the state of biometric and other technology that the scheme plans to use. We look forward to an announcement about this as well.

Anyone who had hoped that the new Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Home Office, Andy Burnham would be an improvement over re-shuffled ex Home Office Ministers like Des Browne or Caroline Flint must now be dissapointed, after he answered a couple of questions in Parliament yesterday.

Bear in mind that he is responsible for:

  • ID cards and passports
  • Forensic Science Service
  • Refugee integration
  • E borders
  • Extradition and judicial co-operation
  • Criminal Records Bureau
  • Home Office research and science
  • Better regulation (hah !)
  • Design and Green Minister. (??)

We are still looking to see if we can spare some resources to comment meaningfully on an obscure part of the world, to try to be a bit more international in this blog.

In the meantime, here is an idea from the USA which is also very badly needed in the United Kingdom Parliament, the proposal for a Read The Bills Act

Given the appalling record of the last Parliament, when it was clear that so many Members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords had not actually read, let alone understood the implications of, the laws which they were voting on, and given the mammoth programme of legislation of at least 50 Bills (including Draft Bills) that the NuLabour Government has embarked on, the attractions of a United Kingdom version of the Read The Bills Act should be obvious.

Exactly why has the NuLabour Government deliberately failed to sign the Council of Europe Convention on action against trafficking in human beings, this week in Warsaw ?

See NuLabour Home Office claims that the COE anti-sex slave trade convention will somehow encourage human trafficing and harm the victims !

This extraordinary claim (via the usual anonymous briefing spin) must be clarified in detail by a public statement from a Minister.

NuLabour seems to be set to re-introduce a Bill to for a compulsory centralised biometric database National Identity Register and associated (but secondary) ID Card. The hints are that it will be substantially the same as the badly draughted, impractical, hugely expensive and repressive Identity Cards Bill which only just failed to be passed in the last Parliament. It is expected that the Second Reading of this Bill will be on June 3rd, just after the Whitsun recess.

Please contact your local Member of Parliament, especially if they were not in the previous Parliament, and tell them to vote against such a Bill (WriteToThem provides a convenient way of finding and contacting your local MP).

If you have already signed the NO2ID online Petition, then you cannot sign it again, but you can get all your friends and and associates to sign it.

The NuLabour legislative assault of our freedoms and liberties has strted with the misnamed Equality Bill, which replaces the Equal Opportunities Commission, the Commission for Racial Equality, and the Disability Rights Commission quangos (Quasi-Autonomous Non-Governmental Organisations) a bigger, more bureaucratic Non-Departmental Public Body called the Commission for Equality and Human Rights.

There are huge exemptions for the Government, specially with regards to National Security or the Criminal Justice system etc,, preciselty the areas where one would expect the most serious complaints from minority groups.

Babar Ahmad seems to have lost his extradition hearing at Bow Street Magistrates Court. The Home Secretary Charles Clarke will no doubt dither a bit before making the final decision in this case.

The case is controversial becusae Ahmad is a British citizen, who is the first person being extradited to the USA under the unequal new extradition rules. The US Government does not need to present prima facie evidence before a UK court, but it does not tolerate the same unconstitutional procedure for US citizens, who the British Government might want to exradite to the UK. The US Congress has not ratified the new extradition treaty between the UK and the USA.

Since Babar Ahmad is accused of dubious terrorist fundraising activities, on the basis of what seems to be flimsy, purely electronic evidence, about alleged activities not actually in the USA , but in Afghanistan and Chechnya, one wonders why he cannot be tried here in the UK under our draconian Terrorism Act.

Babar Ahmad's lawyers have not been able to challenge any of the "evidence" against him, because it simply has not been presented in a Brirish court.

Perhaps the fact that the Home Office has still not bothered to declare either the Taleban in Afghanistan or any Chechen separatist groups as proscribed terrorist groups may have something to do with why there seems to be this "jurisdiction shopping" going on.

The very real danger is that in the current hysteria involving Islamic fundamentalist terrorists, the US government could, once they have got him in custody, declare Babar Ahmad an "enemy combatant" and pack him off to the Guantanamo Bay concentration camp, outside of the normal US judicial system, where he could face a military tribunal and the death penalty, altough he is obviously not any sort of key Al Quaeda lynchpin.

We have no sympathy for terrorists, but this case is setting entirely the wrong legal precedents, which affect the liberty of all the rest of us.

NO2ID are currently protesting near Parliament, against the re-introduction of the Idnetity cards Bill in the Queen's Speech, during today's State Opening of Parliamnt.

You can join in the photo opportunity fun, (watch out for the strange "surveillance eyeball" costumes) near the statue of Queen Boadicea on the corner of Westminster Bridge and the Embankment, opposite Portcullis House (see map)

The Metropolitan Police still seem to have had no directions from the Home Office, with regard to the new powers to restrict protests and demonstrations in a Designated Area around Parliament Square under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005.

John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister who had to face the diplomatic snubs and resentment caused by Tony Blair's failure to attend the VE Day ceremonies in Moscow last week, was again representing the United Kingdom Government at the important 46 nation Council of Europe Summit in Warsaw.

As predicted earlier,(thanks to Blairwatch for bringing this to our attention) the United Kingdom Government failed to sign the "Council of Europe Convention on action against trafficking in human beings"

It is a mystery the NuLabour government did not also sign the "Council of Europe Convention on laundering, search, seizure and confiscation of the proceeds from crime and on the financing of terrorism". We already have the draconian powers of the Asset Recovery Agency which can confiscate money and assets from you, even if you have not been convicted of any crime. Did the money launderers in the City of London succeed in killing off this measure ?

However John Prescott did sign the "Council of Europe Convention on the prevention of terrorism"

So it looks as if even more repressive "anti-terrorism" laws are part of the NuLabour agenda, but, shamefully, extending a few meagre rights to the women and children who are victims of the sex slave trade here in the United Kingdom is not a priority for them.

The Office for National Statistics has published a so called "consultation" about the forthcoming 2011 Census in England and Wales.

This is a classic example of Government bureaucrats always wanting more data of an ever more intrusive nature and on the population.

You can send in your objections until 5th August 2005, when, no doubt they will ignore you, and carry on regardless.

How can they justify asking about:

Thanks to Blairwatch, we have been alerted to the Channel 4 News report
about the apparent decision of the NuLabour Government not to ratify the new Council of Europe Convention on action against Trafficing of Human Beings

It is a national disgrace and shame to treat Sex Slave victims who are suffering here in the United Kingdom as non-persons with no rights, whilst conflating "Immigration" and "Asylum" issues, like both NuLabour and the Tories did during the General Election campaign.

The complicated Kafkaesque NuLabour government bureaucracy treats these Victims, mostly Women and Children, as criminals and illegal immigrants first, whilst taking virtually no action against the slave traders and pimps in the UK or abroad. Exactly how many of these pimps and slave traders have been caught and convicted in the last year ? How many have been extradited from abroad to face justice for their crimes here in the UK ? Zero ?

Our first thoughts on this issue were posted on our associated NuLabour blog,

Is there some sort of Belgian style conspiracy, with links to the Sex Slave Trade, with tentacles in the unnaccountable secret shadows of NuLabour policy advisors, donors and lobbyists, which is frustrating what should be the "no-brainer" decision to ratify this Convention ?

No doubt NuLabour will try to spin their wretched ID Cards / Database plans, as if they would have any impact whatsoever on this "illegal working" , when, in fact, their only effect will be to tighten the grip of fear of the pimp over his victim, when he steals her documents and uses the threat of "no ID = big trouble with the UK Police" to keep her from escaping.

Those of our readers who do actually correspond with their Members of Parliamnet, might wish to write to them and ask them what they are doing about the Sex Slave Trade here in the UK, and to get them to ask who exactly is blocking the ratification of the Convention, and why.

The London Evening Standard seems to have been partially briefed by NuLabour Government insiders or spin doctors, as to the content of the Queen's Speech next Tuesday, setting out the Government's legislative programme for the next session of Parliament.

Apaprently, NuLabour, even with a reduced majority, are going to try to force through 40 Bills, including, as top priority, their controversial Identity Cards Bill, and some more repressive, allegedly anti-terrorist, legislation.

More thoughts on the partial revelations about these 40 Bills in the Evening Standard are published on the NuLabour blog. (obviously not anything to do with the Labour Party)

"40 Bills ! This implies the usual NuLabour tactic of rushing through legislation, which even their own supporters have to concedem is usually full of badly draughted clauses, which do not get debated or amended properley by Parliament. Presumably they will continue with their usual contempt for Parliament, by withholding letters, reports and documents, relevant to the heavily curtailed debates, from Members of Parliament, until the very last minute, perhaps even only releasing them during the debates themselves, as was done with the Mental Capacity, the Identity Cards and the Prevention of Terrorism Bills."

The second rank of Junior Cabinet Ministers now announced has some dubious appointments

The disgraced ex-Home Office Minister Beverly Hughes is back in power - are we simply meant to forget about the Romanian and Bulgarian immigration visa scandal exposed by exposed whistleblowers Steve Moxon and James Cameron which led to her disgrace and resignation at the Home Office ? She replaces Margaret "Big Nanny Database" Hodge as Minister for Children. The latter takes her disregard for Data Protection and Privacy issues to the Department for Work and Pensions, as Minister of State (Work) under the even more notorious David Blunkett.

Tony McNulty MP for Harrow East is now Minister of State for Citizenship, Immigration, and Nationality, at the Home Office, replacing Des Browne, (who had himself replaced the disgraced Beverely Hughes).

Will McNulty really be spearheading the re-introduction of the controversial Identity Cards Bill ?

The replacement for Caroline Flint (who moves to Health) seems to be Andy Burnham MP for Leigh was Parliamentary Private Secretary to disgraced ex-Home Secretary David Blunkett and is now aParliamentary Under Secretary of State.

He seems to be a hard line creature of Blunkett, when it comes to Identity Cards, calling for the compulsory carrying of them. He has uttered authoritarian fantasies indistinguishable from those of Blunkett himself.

Link to the current list of Home Office Ministers.

The PowderJect smallpox vaccine contract scandal (£32 nillion contract awarded without a competitive tender, chairman of the company gets a Peerage, and also happens to donate over half a million pounds to the NuLabour Party) is also worthy of comment again, with Lord Drayson being appointed Parliamentary Secretary (unpaid) to the Ministry of Defence.

More international coverage needed ?

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Martin Stabe posts another thoughful piece on the strengths and weaknesses of bloggers and journalists, rightly decrying the lack of coverage of international issues. His comments on the self interest and ethics of bloggers and journalists are also worth reading.

It is for others to judge how accurate or ethical Spy Blog is, but we do try.

Unfortunately, Spy Blog does not have the resources to comment on much that is going on abroad, despite the many readers from overseas, there is just so much happening here in the UK.

Since we have been reluctantly drawn into commenting on topics such as the implications of court cases involving obscure Islamic terrorist suspects, whoses causes we do not really sympathise with, but which could set precedents for all the rest of us, we might as well make room for some more "lost causes" on this blog.

One possible experiment might be for us to try to keep an eye on developments in one obscure corner of the world that never gets much reporting in the UK media.

Any suggestions ?

Sunday Times hypes - "radioactive rockets"


Another Sunday, another "Climate of Fear" treatment of a story in the Sunday Times:

"Radiation rockets on sale to 'terrorists'

Brian Johnson Thomas and Mark Franchetti, Moldovan frontier

THREE radioactive rockets capable of contaminating a city centre were offered for sale last week to a Sunday Times reporter posing as a middleman for Islamic terrorists."

The "undercover" journalists may well have been facing real dangers, bribing alleged "secret police chiefs" of ex-Soviet republics and being put in contact with arms dealers.

However the hype ("blame the sub-editors" the journalists will cry) about the alleged terrorist threat, of one or maybe three Alazan rockets seems to be exaggerated. These rockets were designed originally for Soviet era weather control experiments i.e. the seeding of cumulo-nimbus clouds to induce hail storms away from agricultural crops that would otherwise be ruined, something which has been going on in various forms around the world, with silver iodide crystal particle sprays or pyrotechnic flares etc. for decades.

The allegation is that some of these rockets were left behind in the Transdnieper region of Moldova, and could be smuggled into the Ukraine for transport to alleged terrorists in Algeria.

All very well and good, especially as 10 seconds with a web search engine shows that this sort of report has been circulating since 2003

Instead of hyping up the alleged capabilities of the rockets, where is there any evidence that the arms dealer had access to any actual radioactive isotopes, even enough to fill the very limited payload of these small rockets i.e. up to 720 grammes maximum ?

NuLabour Cabinet Ministers - Blunkett returns


Tony Blair's new NuLabour Cabinet has the usual suspects, Gordon Brown still as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jack Straw still as Foreign Secretary and Charles Clarke still as Home Secretary, and Alastair Darling still remains as Transport Secretary i.e. all the senior people responsible for destroying some of our civil liberties and freedoms through "Climate of Fear" inspired repressive legislation and policies, remain in place.

Des Browne, who shoved the Identity Cards Bill through the House of Commons with such undue haste, has moved to become Chief Secretary to the Treasury. His replacement as Home Office Minister of State for Citizenship, Immigration, and Nationality has not yet been announced.

ID card policy apologist Peter Hain is now Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (and still Secretary of State for Wales), and John Reid moves to Defence, replacing Geoff Hoon who takes up Hain's former position of Leader of the House, which is pivotal for the guillotining of debates on controversial legislation.

The most controversial appointment is that of the disgraced ex-Home Secretary David Blunkett to the Department for Work and Pensions, which is remarkable for someone who should have faced criminal charges for misuse of public office.

Lampposts in the 21st Century

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Lampposts are a familiar part of the "street furniture" in the mostly urban environment of the United Kingdom. However, in the 21st century, there seem to be a few technological changes afoot. In other countries, notably on Scandanavia, there is a move towards lampposts which are designed to buckle and absorb the impact energy of any vehicles which hit them, reducing deaths and injuries. Various suppliers are now starting to offer Light Emitting Diode streetlighting which is as energy efficient as conventional incandescent or fluorescent or sodium vapour lightbulbs, but which lasts many times longer, thereby reducing the maintenance costs, and therefore the overall annual running costs.

However, in the United Kingdom, public sector technology innovations for the humble lamppost eschew vehicle safety or energy conservation, they seeem to be far more interested in extending the matrix of mass surveillance systems.

The depressing General Election campaign seems to be heading for the awful prospect of another NuLabour Government, and a feeble Opposition.

To add further insult, it seems that the disgraced former Home Secretary David Blunkett is set to return to power in the Cabinet, rather than face criminal charges for misuse of public office.

Is it really worth bothering to continue to try to save freedom and democracy for an electorate that seems set to reject it, and slide towards an elected dictatorship ?

About this blog

This United Kingdom based blog attempts to draw public attention to, and comments on, some of the current trends in ever cheaper and more widespread surveillance technology being deployed to satisfy the rapacious demand by state and corporate bureaucracies and criminals for your private details, and the technological ignorance of our politicians and civil servants who frame our legal systems.

The hope is that you the readers, will help to insist that strong safeguards for the privacy of the individual are implemented, especially in these times of increased alert over possible terrorist or criminal activity. If the systems which should help to protect us can be easily abused to supress our freedoms, then the terrorists will have won.

We know that there are decent, honest, trustworthy individual politicians, civil servants, law enforcement, intelligence agency personnel and broadcast, print and internet journalists etc., who often feel powerless or trapped in the system. They need the assistance of external, detailed, informed, public scrutiny to help them to resist deliberate or unthinking policies, which erode our freedoms and liberties.

Email & PGP Contact

Please feel free to email your views about this blog, or news about the issues it tries to comment on.


Our PGP public encryption key is available for those correspondents who wish to send us news or information in confidence, and also for those of you who value your privacy, even if you have got nothing to hide.

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

Current PGP Key ID: 0x1DBD6A9F0FACAD30 which will expire on 29th August 2021.

You can download a free copy of the PGP encryption software from
(available for most of the common computer operating systems, and also in various Open Source versions like GPG)

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

Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers and Political Dissidents

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

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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

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

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

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

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

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


Watching Them, Watching Us

London 2600

Our UK Freedom of Information Act request tracking blog - ethical and technical discussion about the project for anonymous mass leaking of documents etc.

Privacy and Security

Privacy International
United Kingdom Privacy Profile (2011)

Cryptome - censored or leaked government documents etc.

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

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

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

International Campaign Against Mass Surveillance

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

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

Technical Advisory Board on internet and telecomms interception under RIPA

European Digital Rights

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

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

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

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

Human Rights

Liberty Human Rights campaigners

British Institute of Human Rights
Amnesty International

Prevent Genocide International

asboconcern - campaign for reform of Anti-Social Behavior Orders

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

Internet Censorship

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

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

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

Judicial Links

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

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

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

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

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

Parliamentary Opposition

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

UK Government

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

No. 10 Downing Street Prime Minister's Official Spindoctors

Public Bills before Parliament

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

House of Commons "Question Book"

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

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

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

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

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

Online Media

Boing Boing

Need To Know [now defunct]

The Register

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

Ideal Government - debate about UK eGovernment

NIR and ID cards

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

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

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

International Civil Aviation Organisation - Machine Readable Travel Documents standards for Biometric Passports etc.
Anti National ID Japan - controversial and insecure Jukinet National ID registry in Japan
UK Biometrics Working Group run by CESG/GCHQ experts etc. the UK Government on Biometrics issues feasability
Citizen Information Project feasability study population register plans by the Treasury and Office of National Statistics - comments and links to each paragraph of the Home Office's "Strategic Action Plan for the National Identity Scheme".

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

Surveillance Infrastructures

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

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

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

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

RFID Links

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

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

Genetic Links

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

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

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

Miscellanous Links

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

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

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

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

Former Spies

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

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

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

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

Naked Spygirl - Olivia Frank

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

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

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

Liberty Central

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

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

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

Vmyths - debunking computer security hype

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

Martin Stabe
B2fxxx - Ray Corrigan
Matt Sellers
Grits for Breakfast - Scott Henson in Texas
The Green Ribbon - Tom Griffin
Guido Fawkes blog - Parliamentary plots, rumours and conspiracy.
The Last Ditch - Tom Paine
The (e)State of Tim - Tim Hicks
Ilkley Against CCTV
Tim Worstall
Bill's Comment Page - Bill Cameron
The Society of Qualified Archivists
The Streeb-Greebling Diaries - Bob Mottram

Your Right To Know - Heather Brooke - Freedom off Information campaigning journalist

Ministry of Truth _ Unity's V for Vendetta styled blog.

Bloggerheads - Tim Ireland

W. David Stephenson blogs on homeland security et al.
EUrophobia - Nosemonkey

Blogzilla - Ian Brown

BlairWatch - Chronicling the demise of the New Labour Project

dreamfish - Robert Longstaff

Informaticopia - Rod Ward


The Musings of Harry

Chicken Yoghurt - Justin McKeating

The Red Tape Chronicles - Bob Sullivan MSNBC

Campaign Against the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Stop the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Rob Wilton's esoterica

panGloss - Innovation, Technology and the Law

Arch Rights - Action on Rights for Children blog

Database Masterclass - frequently asked questions and answers about the several centralised national databases of children in the UK.


Moving On

Steve Moxon blog - former Home Office whistleblower and author.

Al-Muhajabah's Sundries - anglophile blog

Architectures of Control in Design - Dan Lockton

rabenhorst - Kai Billen (mostly in German)

Nearly Perfect Privacy - Tiffany and Morpheus

Iain Dale's Diary - a popular Conservative political blog

Brit Watch - Public Surveillance in the UK - Web - Email - Databases - CCTV - Telephony - RFID - Banking - DNA

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

Ralph Bendrath

Financial Cryptography - Ian Grigg et al.

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

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

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

"Give 'em hell Pike!" - Frank Fisher

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

geeklawyer - intellectual property, civil liberties and the legal system

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

Charlie's Diary - Charlie Stross

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

Famous for 15 Megapixels

Postman Patel

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

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

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

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

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

Matt Wardman political blog analysis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No CCTV - The Campaign against CCTV

Barcode Nation - keeping two eyes on the database state.

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

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

Justin Wylie's political blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Links

Spam Huntress - The Norwegian Spam Huntress - Ann Elisabeth

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

Cool Britannia


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

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

Brian Burnell's British / US nuclear weapons history at

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UK Legislation

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

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

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

UK Legislation Links

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

UK Commissioners

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

UK Intelligence Agencies

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

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

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

syf_logo_120.gif Secure Your Ferliliser logo
Secure Your Fertiliser - advice on ammonium nitrate and urea fertiliser security

cpni_logo_150.gif Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure
Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure - "CPNI provides expert advice to the critical national infrastructure on physical, personnel and information security, to protect against terrorism and other threats."

SIS MI6 careers_logo_sis.gif
Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) recruitment.

Government Communications Headquarters GCHQ

National Crime Agency - the replacement for the Serious Organised Crime Agency

Defence Advisory (DA) Notice system - voluntary self censorship by the established UK press and broadcast media regarding defence and intelligence topics via the Defence, Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee.

Foreign Spies / Intelliegence Agencies in the UK

It is not just the UK government which tries to snoop on British companies, organisations and individuals, the rest of the world is constantly trying to do the same, regardless of the mixed efforts of our own UK Intelligence Agencies who are paid to supposedly protect us from them.

For no good reason, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office only keeps the current version of the London Diplomatic List of accredited Diplomats (including some Foreign Intelligence Agency operatives) online.

Presumably every mainstream media organisation, intelligence agency, serious organised crime or terrorist gang keeps historical copies, so here are some older versions of the London Diplomatic List, for the benefit of web search engine queries, for those people who do not want their visits to appear in the FCO web server logfiles or those whose censored internet feeds block access to UK Government websites.

Campaign Button Links

Watching Them, Watching Us - UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign
UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign

NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card
NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card and National Identity Register centralised database.

Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.
Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.

FreeFarid_150.jpg - Kafkaesque extradition of Farid Hilali under the European Arrest Warrant to Spain

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

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

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

Open Rights Group

The Big Opt Out Campaign - opt out of having your NHS Care Record medical records and personal details stored insecurely on a massive national centralised database.

Tor - the onion routing network
Tor - the onion routing network - "Tor aims to defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal anonymity and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security. Communications are bounced around a distributed network of servers called onion routers, protecting you from websites that build profiles of your interests, local eavesdroppers that read your data or learn what sites you visit, and even the onion routers themselves."

Tor - the onion routing network
Anonymous Blogging with Wordpress and Tor - useful Guide published by Global Voices Advocacy with step by step software configuration screenshots (updated March 10th 2009).

Amnesty International's campaign

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

NGO in a box - Security Edition privacy and security software tools

Home Office Watch blog, "a single repository of all the shambolic errors and mistakes made by the British Home Office compiled from Parliamentary Questions, news reports, and tip-offs by the Liberal Democrat Home Affairs team."

Reporters Without Borders - Reporters Sans Frontières - campaign for journalists 'and bloggers' freedom in repressive countries and war zones.

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

Icelanders are NOT terrorists ! - despite Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling's use of anti-terrorism legislation to seize the assets of Icelandic banks.

No CCTV - The Campaign Against CCTV


I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist !


Power 2010 cross party, political reform campaign


Cracking the Black Box - "aims to expose technology that is being used in inappropriate ways. We hope to bring together the insights of experts and whistleblowers to shine a light into the dark recesses of systems that are responsible for causing many of the privacy problems faced by millions of people."


Open Rights Group - Petition against the renewal of the Interception Modernisation Programme

wblogocrop_150.jpg - Fighting for justice for whistleblowers