October 2005 Archives

BBC "Spooks" and MI5 recruitment

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The blurring between fact and fiction regarding the activities of MI5 the Security Service continues in the pages of The Times

The Times October 31, 2005

BBC drama spooks women spies from coming into the fold
By Michael Evans
The violent death of two female characters is blamed for a slump in MI5 recruitment

THE violent death of two female characters in the BBC’s Spooks drama series is putting young women off joining MI5, spymasters say.

To try to beat the this blurring of fact and fiction, and encourage more women to join MI5, the Security Service has taken out advertisements in She and Cosmopolitan

So what about the violent deaths of male characters in this fictional TV drama series ?

Why have they apparently only placed adverts with a single magazine publishing company i.e. The National Magazine Company ?

'A security source said: "We want to attract more females but the Spooks programme may be having a bad effect because of the way some of the female characters have been killed off."'

We hope that this level of "analysis" is not indicative of the way in which intelligence "facts" are interpreted by MI5 into intelligence threat assessments !

Normally we complain about politicians and journalists, about their shallowness and their lack of proper technical analysis of the implications of current political policies and legislation. However, there is another section of society which is also failing to do this either, namely the British "political blogosphere".

Some people bemoan the lack of influence which British political blogs seem to have, compared with those in the USA. Perhaps they are just not bothering to analyse or discuss the relevant political issues ?

Why is this modest Spy Blog, according to Google or Technorati etc. searches for the terms "Terrorism Bill 2005" or "UK Terrorism Bill 2005", one of the very few United Kingdom blogs trying to discuss or analyse this astonishing "catch all" legislation, which is due for its Committee Stage, on the floor of the House of Commons this Wednesday ?

There are more blogs discussing the details of the Australian Anti-terrorism Bill 2005 (which has not yet even been officially published) than there are taking an interest the United Kingdom Terrorism Bill 2005.

Neither the mainstream media, nor even the main political parties offer any discussion of the details, not just the headline soundbites, of current legislation going through Parliament.

Where is the exposé of the logical inconsistencies, of the excessive use of "catch all" language, of vested commercial interests, of possible hidden agenda, of glaring omissions, of the lack of cost / benefit estimates, of the lack of assessment of the impact of proposed legislation on other parts of society or even on other Government policies and exisiting overly complex,laws and regulations ?

One would have hoped and expected the political blogosphere to fill this gap, but apparently it does not.

Libraries under threat from the Terrorism Bill


The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (Cilip) is trying to raise awareness amongst politicians and the media about the threat to Libraries posed by the controversial Terrorism Bill 2005

Another NO2ID Pledge - you too should become a refusnik if you have not previously signed up before:

"I will refuse to register for an ID card and will donate £10 to a legal defence fund but only if 15,000 other people will also make this same pledge."

— Simon Davies, Chairman, NO2ID

Say NO to ID cards and the database state!

It looks as if the Liberal Democrats are planning to vote against the controversial Terrorism Bill 2005 on its Second Reading in the House of Commons.

The Conservatives are planning to support the Labour Government, with a vague promise to seek some amendments during the Committee and Report stages.

All the debate so far has concentrated on the 90 days detention without charge and the "glorification" of terrorism offences.

Just as we predicted earlier, the other controversial bits of the legislation have hardly been mentioned e.g. the bits that will cause problems for a University or College or even the British Military, with regard to "terrorist training", and the "catch all" life sentence for Preparation of terroristt acts, even if those same acts, if actually carried out, would attract a much lower penalty, the chilling effect on Internet publishing etc.

Why are the Opposition making it so easy for Labour Government to pass unecessary and repressive legislation ?




The Guardian has an article by Ian Mayes today which reveals some more details about why the newspaper pulled Duncan Campbell's article on the "The ricin ring that never was" story from their online archive, back in April, about the Kamel Bourgass case, the reporting of which which formed part of the "Climate of Fear" media disinformation campaign before the General Election.

It is suspicious that The Guardian chose not to explain properly or to re-publish the redacted article until after the General Election.

The Home Office have started giving a few details of what they are planning to waste billions of pounds of taxpayers money on, through their Identity Card and National Identity Register scheme.

The Home Office Identity Cards website does not have a link from the front page to [correction - the link does appear on the left hand menu]


which links to:

These are nowhere nearly detailed enough for a commercial company to try to quote on anything, but then this is, allegedly, not a procurement exercise.

via Craig Murray's website (former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan):

Channel4 TV news seems to somehow been given, and published a facsimilie copy of some of the evidence (.pdf) which Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, the Director General of MI5 the Security Service , which Channel 4 claim was evidence for the Law Lords "torture" appeal currently being heard.

However, given the date of the document, 20th September 2005, perhaps it was actually intended for submission to the British Parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights call for evidence on Counter-Terrorism Policy and Human Rights, at any rate, they should certainly review this statemment in their Inquiry.

Home Secretary Charles Clarke in his Commons Third Reading speech on the Identity Cards Bill, managed to repeat, yet again, some of the discredited arguments which he has used before.

I believe that it will not remove civil liberties but will give an individual greater control over his identity.

Some have alleged that the Bill will create a Big Brother state. I do not believe that. I believe that it will help to control that state.

Readers of this blog should not be surprised if we agree with Charles Clarke that "this Bill will not create a Big Brother state".

It can be argued that NuLabour have already put enough legislation on the Statute Books to create the legal basis for a Police State at the drop of a hat e.g. the Terrorism Act 2000, the Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001, the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005, the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005, the forthcoming Terrorism Bill 2005 etc.

It is just NuLabour's lack of a clear ideological vision of anything except hanging on to power, and their self delusion that they are doing this all for the public good, combined with the silent resistance, or perhaps just inertia, of the judiciary, the civil service, the police and the military which has prevented the worst and most blatant form of a Police State being inflicted on us. The lack of a current major economic or public health disaster has also contributed to preserving the status quo, for now.

We totally disgree that "it will help to control that state."

The alleged safeguards and oversight in this Bill are totally inadequate.

He went on to say:

"Let me reassert the benefits of the scheme. First, ID cards will help to tackle identity fraud, which now costs the UK economy and society more than £1.3 billion a year.

We are fed up with calling this claim "misleading", the constant repetition makes it a downright lie, which has been exposed several times
e.g. Evening Standard: Andrew Gilligan demolishes the £1.3 billion identity fraud hype.

Secondly, a secure identity system will help to prevent terrorist activity, more than a third of which makes use of false identities.

This is yet another often repeated falsehood

Are these false British identities being used by terrorists ? How about the two thirds who presumably use their real identities ?

This is a repetition of disgraced former Home Secretary David Blunkett's misleading spin before the Home Affairs Committee about false or multiple identitiies which has been repeated over and over by Blunkett, Brown, Clarke, McNulty and Burnham ever since.

Thirdly, identity cards will make it far easier to control immigration and illegal working,

The Metropolitan Police's Operation Maxim seized thousands of falsely applied for and fake identity documents used by illegal immigrants, serious criminals like human traffickers etc. The vast majority of these, over 93%, were foreign documents , not British ones. Even a perfect UK ID Card scheme will therefore have almost no effect on terrorists or serious criminals or on illegal immigrants.

and British citizens will be able to use their identity cards instead of a passport to travel in Europe.

What is the supposed advantage to the individual of an ID card over a Passport for this purpose ?

Fourthly, ID cards will secure the more efficient and effective provision of public services"

How ? None of the other Government Departments are willing to dip into their own budgets to pay for this, are they ? Most of the integration needed for "joined up e-government" e.g. sorting out common name and address records, can be done without a mandatory centralised biometric database. See the Treasury's "plan B" Citizen Information Project

The controversial Identity Cards Bill has survived its Third Reading vote in the House of Commons:

Ayes: 309 - Noes: 284 a NuLabour party majority of just 25.

None of the alleged "concessions" amounted to anything that was not already law under say, the Data Protection Act, with all its legal loopholes for the benefit of the State rather than the individual..

We will examine the List of Shame of those who have voted in this repressive fiasco of a scheme, and wonder just what, if anything, any opposition in the house of Lords might achieve.

The Commons Report Stage of the Identity Cards Bill is now complete.

Home Office Minister Tony McNulty
managed to come up with an astonishing comment which should have every IT Security expert in the world spluttering into their coffee:

"We want people to be able to access secure websites, by means of their PIN number, so that they can adjust and change data on the register. "

He actually pronounced each letter of "'P-I-N' number" (Personal Identification Number number)

So "hackers" or "phishers" or terrorists or criiminals or foreign intelligence agencies etc. will be able to steal or muck around with NIR data without any of the security provided by Biometrics at all !!

How long before a compuer virus brute force attacks your, by definition short PIN, and either compromises your information, and that of millions of other people, or causes you to have your NIR view/edit/update account to be locked or disabled - a Denial of Service ?

No doubt you will then be accused of tampering with the Register and sent to prison for 10 years, since it will be impossible for most people to prove that their IP address was hijacked or faked.

The European Civil Liberties Network launches this Wednesday 19th October 2005.

Will this new organisation or grouping be more effective than previous ones at defending our fundamental rights from the repressive onslaught by Governments prompted by extremists ?

Launch statement:

Tuesday 18th will see the Report and Third Reading stages of in the House of Commons of the highly controversial and deeply flawed Identity Cards Bill 2005.

We urge everyone who has not yet done so to contact their Member of Parliament and beg them to vote against this awful Bill.

Terrorism Bill 2005 - comments part 3


Our third set of comments on the evil Terrorism Bill 2005:

Our second set of comments on the evil Terrorism Bill 2005

We will have to move this weblog overseas and possibly go "underground" like other dissidents, if this Bill becomes law

The Terrorism Bill 2005 published on 11th October 2005, differs substantially from the previous Draft version of only a few weeks ago.

This Bill seems to follow the now standard template for a Home Office Bill under the guiding fist of NuLabour. It used to be a fundamental principle of English Law that that which is not specifically prohibited by Staute is allowed.

However, NuLabour have continued the process started by the Tories, of producing "catch all" legislation which abuses words like "any" or "anything" which then grant the State infinite powers, thereby limiting the scope of any subsequent Judicial review or Court precedent on the details of the law.

This Terrorism Bill 2005 is yet another prime example of this despicable practice.

It is no comfort to claim that , in practice the Home Office and the Police will never actually use the full extent of the legal powers which they are seeking in order to repressthe vast majority normal decent hard working people - in prtactice, only lip service is paid to the concept of "proportionality, as is obvious from the abuse of the"stop and search without reasonable cause" powers of Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000..

They simply cannot be trusted not to do so, and they are creating the legilslative framework for a future even more extremist Government to do so with impunity.

Since there is so much much that is wrong with this Bill from a civil liberties viewpoint and even from a practical security viewpoint, we have had to split our comments across several blog postings, simply for readability. Comments are welcome.

We endorse a lot of what Helen Brooke writes about in her opinion piece in The Independent newspaper on Thursday 13th October 2005.

Given the planned censorship of the internet under the Terrorism Bill 2005 (more on this later), we will quote the article in full, as published on Heather's Freedom of Information blog Your Right To Know, just in case:

"Has anybody in Britain actually read '1984' ?

The Independent, 13 October 2005

By Heather Brooke

"There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time." George Orwell, 1984

It seems appropriate that the author of '1984' was a British citizen. George Orwell must have seen how easily the great British public's lamb-like disposition toward its leaders could be exploited to create a police state."

The Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) have launched a recruitment website.

Their colleagues and rivals (certainly for foreign language speaking staff) at MI5 the Security Service appear to have a more sensible website which at least offers SSL/TLS encrypted web contact forms.

SIS only offer a couple of snail mail PO Boxes:

"Members of the public who wish to contact SIS from the UK may do so via PO Box 1300, London SE1 1BD.

SIS has opened a special PO Box for job applications to the Service - PO Box 1301, London SE1 5UD."

which are pretty much an automatic betrayal of any people in foreign countries (British or foreign nationals) who might wish to offer their services to the UK Government.

The SIS website offers English, Spanish, Russian, French, Arabic and Chinese language versions of their website. The MI5 website only has English and Arabic versions.

Home Secretary Charles Clarke has started off the new session of Parliament by publishing a list of another 15 organisations which are proscribed under the Terrorism Act 2000. (don't bother looking for this Press Release on either the newly re-designed Home Office main website or even their Press website, you need to use their search engine to unearth it).

Membership or fundraising for such organisations is illegal, and would cover most of any likely cases which would fall under the controversial and unworkable "indirect incitement or glorification" proposals which are being introduced as part of the NuLabour government's "we must be seen to be doing something, no matter how stupid or ineffectual" policy after the July attacks in London.

We have asked this question before, and it it still has not been answered by the latest additions to the list of proscribed terrorist organisations - why is there still no mention of the Taleban in Afghanistan, nor of any Chechen groups (not even those responsible for the Beslan atrocity) ?

There have been several terrorism trials recently where some or all of the accused have been allegedly linked with fund raising or arms smuggling offences, supposedly in support of either the Taleban or the Chechens.

We were hoping to read the exact wording of the Home Secretary Charles Clarke's revised wording of "glorification" and "indirect incitement", hoping it might be found on the newly re-designed Home Office website. (why does this "new design" still persist in using a web bug to track visitors to the Home Office website via a commercial third party web advertisong statstics company ? Surely the UK Government should have developed the expertise by now, to analyse their own web server statistics)

Annoyingly, but unsurprisingly, the Home Office spin machine has, yet again, just not bothered to inform the public directly of their "news" via the world wide web.

We were also hoping to read the justification for extending the period of detention without trial under the Terrorism Act from 14 days maximum to 3 months.

These Scotland Yard statistics, according to the media reports, allegedly show that 14 days detention without trial has been used rarely, and has always resulted in charges being brought. How then, is this any kind of justification for extending this period to 3 months ?

The Metropolitan Police study was apparently handed out to the usual media suspects today, but, of course, it is not available on the Home Office's website either.

However, according to the Associated Press:

"'Clarke papers 'put trials in doubt'

Home Secretary Charles Clarke has committed a serious gaffe which could endanger some of the most high-profile terrorist prosecutions yet seen in Britain.

In a bid to win backing for new terror powers he distributed a seven-page Scotland Yard document which contained details of three terrorist cases which are currently sub-judice.

If any terrorist trials have to be abandoned because of this cock up, the Home Secretary Charles Clarke should resign.

Why is Parveen Sharif on trial again ?

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Why does it take such a long time for "terrorist related" cases to come before the UK Courts ? Why are people being tried twice for the same alleged offences ?

An example of this bizarre and Kafkaesque "grasping at straws" approach to "terrorist" prosecutions of people who are not actually terrorists, is, according to Reuters, the current trial of Parveen Sharif, the sister of the allegedly failed British suicide bomber Omar Khan Sharif

"Sister encouraged UK suicide bomber, court told
06 Oct 2005 14:40:46 GMT
Source: Reuters

LONDON, Oct 6 (Reuters) - A teacher encouraged her brother to become one of Britain's first suicide bombers by taking part in an attack that killed three people in an Israeli nightclub, a London court was told on Thursday.

Parveen Sharif, 37, is accused of encouraging her brother Omar Sharif to blow himself up with another Briton, Asif Hanif, in a Hamas-sponsored attack at Mike's Place club in Tel Aviv in April, 2003."

Astonishingly this seems to be the second trial on these same charges:

The Daily Telegraph reported last year that:

"Bomber's widow cleared of failing to inform police

By Sue Clough and Chris Boffey
(Filed: 09/07/2004)

"His wife, Tahira Tabassum, 28, had been accused of knowing of his plan to become a suicide bomber and failing to inform the authorities. She was cleared by an Old Bailey jury of seven women and five men after a nine-week trial.

After deliberating for five days, the jury failed to reach verdicts on Sharif's brother, Zahid, 37, a Derby businessman, and his sister, Parveen, 38, a teacher. They too had denied charges under the Terrorism Act of failing to disclose information about his mission."

We were astonished over a year ago by this case, and our questions remain:
Are you your Brother's Keeper ? DNA and email guilt by association

The UK blogosphere has been universal in its condemnation of the Cillit Spam attack on Tom Coates weblog.

Is the Advertising Standards Association the right body to deal with UK generated Blog Spam ?

Can anyone explain how the Advertising Standards Association, which has, since last year, been sub-contracted by Ofcom to also deal with complaints about Broadcast adverts as well as print or poster adverts, can have such an awful Online Complaints Form ?

It uses a font size of "9 px" - not 9 point text, but 9 pixels !

Normal sized text

This is a 9 pixel font size !

Normal sized text

The form also crams a "1500 characters" text entry field where the substance of the complaint is meant to be typed, into a display of only lines high !

The complainant is given no opportunity to preview and correct or amend an entry before the form details are sent.

Surely this is a case of a Public Body which is not complying with the website accessibility provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 which came into force last year ?

Is this a deliberate attempt to make it as difficult as possible for anybody to actually complain online about an Advertisement ?

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