September 2006 Archives

Brendan O'Neill has written a good article in the New Statesman: "Watching you watching me" concentrating on CCTV surveillance cameras and schemes in the UK.

The article gives a glimpse of the sophisticated CCTV system in central London operated by Westminster Council, from the basement of the Trocadero shopping centre by Piccadilly, and a history of the growth of CCTV usage in the UK.

The article rightly draws attention to the links between voyeuristic popular culture and the passive acquiescence of much of the public to being under surveillance, even if this does not actually make them any safer in practice.

The Office of the Information Commissioner has published

Data Protection Technical Guidance Radio Frequency Identification (.pdf - 7 pages)

There is an important reminder in the document:

The Data Protection Act 1998 concerns the processing of personal data. Any electronically held information relating to an identified or identifiable individual is personal data. It is not easy to define exactly when an individual is identified, but identifying someone does not necessarily mean being able to ascribe a name and address to them. If a person is uniquely distinguished from all others within a relevant group, he will be identified.

Without going into much detail, the document mentions "biometric" contactless chip ICAO standard passports, EPC Global RFID tags for the retail goods and warehouse logistics, so called "ubiquitous computing", and travel smartcards like the London Transport Oyster Card.

Tony Blair's farewell speech to the Labour Party Conference mentioned "Identity Cards" in the same deliberately confusing or genuinely ignorant way, in which he has previously pronounced on his Government's compulsory centralised biometric database National Identity Register and ID Cards scheme.

He raised the the spectres of international terrorism and mass migration and organised crime, then happily conflated those horseman of the apocalypse with local anti-social behavior.

He then he implied that the solution to all this was "Identity Cards", which would also magically solve illegal immigration and so called "identity fraud".

In truth, none of these major problems can be solved by the specific scheme which the Labour Government is inflicting on us, and even the various Labour Home Secretary's have admitted as much over the years, as they have kept changing their propaganda justifications for the scheme.

We were also struck by Tony Blair's NuLabour Orwellian doublethink and newspeak, when he talked about Civil Liberties and a Police State and a Big Brother Society.

via ARCH Rights:

The Department for Education has now published


At least there is an online HTML version, instead of just proprietry .pdf and .doc files.

Can anyone spot any effective privacy protection for the Audit Trail logfiles for this massive centralised database system ?

According to the very Partial Regulatory Impact Assessment, there are going to be over half a million people with legitimate access to this system.

Gareth Preston, who has commented on our blog posting about the ACPO Data Retention policy (including the "Step Down Model") for the Police National Computer, lost his job at the Security Industry Authority (which licenses security guards and nightclub bouncers etc.), after he, naturally enough, applied to the
Criminal Records Bureau for a Standard Disclosure for licensing purposes.

"He received his disclosure yesterday and was "horrified" to see what was wrote on it

You say that my real name is not Gareth Preston and instead that it is Gary Paul

You then say that I was arrested in the Isle of Man on the 24 December 2002

This is wrong, I was in Chichester, West Sussex, England on this date and I have bank statements to prove this."

See for the letters from the Independent Police Complaints Commission and the Criminal Records Bureau report, which describes the incredibly bureaucratic process involved in "resolving" a false CRB Disclosure.

The process appears to involve several (about 15 !) types of "Agent" - at least one person per type of Agent, and in some cases, probably several:

  1. Post Room Agent
  2. data entry Agent
  3. Bureau Agents
  4. PNC Agents
  5. Super Users (Senior Agents)
  6. PNC matching Agent
  7. Unsure Agent
  8. Call Centre Agent
  9. Disputes Agent
  10. Customer Correspondence Agent
  11. Customer Correspondence Team Agent
  12. Sampling Agent
  13. Customer Relations Agent
  14. Complaints Agent
  15. Maladministration Team Agent

Surely the word "Agent" is a misnomer ? The Criminal Records Bureau employs Clerks !

We were hoping to publish shorter blog postings, in an effort to boost the readability and popularity of Spy Blog, however...

An email correspondent "Dave" has sent us a copy of an email from Michael Walker, Director of Digital Information & Health Policy NHS Connecting for Health which tries, but fails, to re-assure him (and us) about the confidentiality of the new, massively expensive National Health Care Records Service (NCRS) centralised medical records system which relies on the controversial new and expensive NHS "Data Spine", the National Programme for IT

"Dave" writes:

"I am already having severe problems preventing people accessing my medical records without my consent or knowlege, I have had my records photocopied without my consent (there was no 'public interest' in doing so), had my information accessed by people I was told would not be allowed access and when I asked for a list of all those that have accessed it, I was refused. My PCT (Primary Care Trust) also refuses to say if they hold identifiable medical data about me outside my current/previous practices."

Despite the promises by the NHS bureaucrats, "Dave" claims that he is being denied access to healthcare, unless he gives up his privacy and is forced to trust the new system:

"I am already not being allowed access to health care unless I let people other than my GP to have access to my identifiable medical information (even though the GMC, BMA, PIAG and NHS say I can prevent this and not be denied access to health care). It seems like there are far worse things to come (its not just GPs that will have access, it will be their admin staff, managers and several thousand others including NHS direct and social services).

Michael Walker caused some controversy by appearing to renage on confidentilaity promises given to the British Medical Association etc., in a letter to Dr. Paul Thornton as reported by the BBC in March 2005.

The email to "Dave":

Repeal or amend Labour's repressive laws ?


The Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesman Nick Clegg, has called for the repeal of several of the Labour Government's ill-conceived and repressive laws, which they have rushed through Parliament without full detailed debate and scrutiny. - See our UK Legislation Links page.

A list of 10 laws which they promise to repeal, out of the seventy thousand or so pages of legislation and thousands of new criminal offences dreamed up by the Labour regime since 1997, is a start, and they are soliciting more suggestions from the public (as well as, presumably, trying to recruit supporters).

The list is packaged under the slogan of the Great Repeal Act.

It is interesting that a major Opposition political party is now coming around to promising to repeal some of the repressive or stupid laws we have been complaining about for ages. Will the Conservatives and the other minor Opposition parties also support such Repeals ?

The Liberal Democrats current Top 10 laws to be repealed, and some which they have missed:

via Steve Wood's Freedom of Information and Open Government Blog and Heather Brookes' Your Right To Know blog (i.e. not via mainstream media sources):

We await the online publication of the Information Commissioner's Decision Notice under the Environmental Information Regulations, regarding the full publication of details from the Ofcom Sitefinder database of Mobile Phone Base Station Transmitter Mast locations, which currently only shows limited details.

According to the press release:

Top UK political blogs

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Top UK political blogger and media pundit Iain Dale has published a list of the top 100 political weblogs in the UK (.pdf)

Spy Blog does not appear on this list, but it does achieve 63rd place in his "Non-Aligned" blogs list.

Since Iain's personal criteria for scoring blogs included "humour" and "writing ability", we are astonished that we rated a mention at all !

However Iain's listings do not give a complete picture, as there are some notable omissions from his lists.

We tend to look at the number of Bloglines syndication feed aggregator website subscriptions to our RSS / XML syndication feeds, to get an idea of how we compare with some of the other UK blogs.

Obviously, counting the subscriptions to a blog syndication feed aggregator like Bloglines, only tells you so much, but it is probably a fair indication of the popularity of a particular blog is with keen bloggers and information junkies, who tend to spread information rapidly within the "blogosphere".

Applying the Bloglines test to Iain's top 100 UK political blogs list has some interesting results:

The NO2ID Campaign have issued a request for help in tracking down the locations of the new outsourced Passport / National Identity Register "personal interview" registration centres:

Digital Rights Ireland have launched a legal court action to try to overturn the controversial European Union directive which mandates Compulsory Communications Traffic Data Retention for all 450 million European Union citizens. This policy has enormous practical difficulties, and poses huge risks to the privacy and security of the vast majority of innocent citizens who are not under criminal investigation.

Digital Rights Ireland obviously need European wide publicity in the media and financial support. They are appealing to bloggers for help.

Interestingly, the Irish Government is challenging the EU plan, but not on the grounds of civil liberties and freedoms.

It now seems that there are 6 British Citizens who have not been charged , let alone convicted of a crime in open court, but who are being subjected to the controversial Control Orders, under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005.

The subjects of these Control Orders do not know what they are accused of (in secret) and have no way of challenging the validity of any (secret) intelligence (not evidence) which could well have been gathered through the use of torture in foreign countries (therefore inherently unreliable), or perhaps electronic communications intercepts (illegal to use in Court under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, for no good reason)

House of Commons Hansard Ministerial Statements for 11 Sep 2006 (pt 0179)":

Terrorist training camp in the New Forest ?


It now appears that the "terrorist training camp" reported after the arrest of 14 people in a halal Chinese restaurant in South London, is not a school in East Sussex, (see "Are Public School Combined Cadet Forces any different from "terrorist training camps" ?" but some woodland in the New Forest in Hampshire, which has not previously attracted any media publicity.

The Register has an OutLaw article about the illegality of the FlexiSPY mobile phone snooping software within the legal jurisdiction of the United Kingdom.

They rightly point out that using this software on a UK mobile phone clearly constitutes "electronic interception", and, unless it is done by law enforcement or intelligence agencies under a warrant signed by the Home Secretary, it could attract a penalty of up to 2 years in prison., under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA).

Regular readers of Spy Blog will recall that the jurisdiction claimed by the UK Government , under RIPA section 2 Meaning and location of "interception" etc.. covers the entire universe e.g.

"telecommunication system" means any system (including the apparatus comprised in it) which exists (whether wholly or partly in the United Kingdom or elsewhere) for the purpose of facilitating the transmission of communications by any means involving the use of electrical or electro-magnetic energy.

The quote from the Home Office spokesperson,

The Home Office confirmed that Vervata was not committing an offence under RIPA.

seems to whitewash the role of the the UK / Thailand based software developers Vervata, as it does not give the whole legal background. They do not seem to know even which laws the Home Office is supposed to be in charge of, let alone the rest of Government.

Since the FlexiSPY software secretly sends off its spy reports via the bugged mobile phone itself, using GPRS, it will (as stated by the manufacturers) attract a Data Call Charge as well.

This is better known as telephone fraud.

We therefore think that sections 125 and 126 of the Communications Act 2003 apply to both to the manufacturers of FlexiSPY, namely Verdata , and to any of their customers who purchase their software.

These sections attract a criminal penalty of up to 5 years in prison and / or a fine.

This law has already been used to sucessfully prosecute someone for abusing an "open" WiFi wireless network connected to the internet.


Section 125 Dishonestly obtaining electronic communications services

and Section 126 Possession or supply of apparatus etc. for contravening s. 125:

These sections are written in the usual NuLabour Government "infinite powers" style of legislation, including catch-all words like "anything" and "knows or believes" and "for a purpose connected with".

Note that mere "possession" is illegal, even if the FlexiSPY software is never installed or used.:

According to this Statistics Commission Report No. 30, Crime Statistics: User Perspectives
September 2006
(195 pages .pdf) the "official" Crime Statistics issued by the Home Office, both the number of crimes recorded by the Police, and the British Crime Survey, are still fundamentally "not fit for purpose".

The report shows that the Home Office still cannot be trusted with them, and says that the BCS should be run by the Office for National Statistics instead.

If we consider the different purposes that the public have for crime [statistics] then they are generally not fit for purpose.

If it is deemed that lectures on religion, politics and military history (independent of the National Curriculum, together with facilities for outdoors military training, and perhaps the utterance of words like "kill the enemy", are sufficient for private school premises to be searched, and people to be possibly charged with the "thought crimes" of "glorification" under the Terrorism Act 2006, then where does this leave the Combined Cadet Force contingents which are a feature of so many Public Schools like Eton College etc. ?

The Times reports:

You might think that being arrested under the "thought crime" Terrorism Act 2000 section 58 Collection of information, and being held in Belmarsh prison for over a year 9 months, until you face trial, is a bad enough ordeal.

What then, if you are found not guity on all charges and are released, only to have a Control Order under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 slapped on you instead ?

According to The Times, this is what has been done to Rauf Abdullah Mohammed.

There is no evidence whatsoever that the accused is a terrorist - if there had been, it would have been brought before the Court.

Why does the Home Office have such contempt for the Courts and Justice system ?

Surely the Appeal Court Judges must strike down this Control Order ?

The Government's policies are not merely incompetent, they are inspiring actual personal hatred of the Labour politicians and the jobsworth bureaucrats who implement these policies.

Children's Index and the "rich and famous"

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There has been quite a bit of media attention on the Childrens Index centralised database this week. Ian Brown has a roundup of the media coverage, ahead of the forthcoming report to the Information Commissioner.

We have been warning about this since the Children Act 2004 was first mooted - see
Big Nanny database ?

Surely the revelation in the Daily Telegraph that the children of the rich and famous will somehow be given preferential treatment under this scheme, is proof of the inherent corruption of the NuLabour regime.

Eithert the proposed database is secure for all 12 million children who will be forced onto it, or it is not. If it is not, then why should only the chilfdren of the rich and famous have their details hiden from the 400,000 or so people who will have access to this database ?

We suspect that this is all a bit of political spin, with policy being made up on the hoof, with no proper consultation, simply in response to media pressure, since there is no mention of a sepaarate category for the cjhildren of the rich and famous in the flawed eCAF Security Archtecture doument which was published in June, which is a fundamental part of the Childrens Index set of databases.

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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Please bear in mind the many recent, serious security vulnerabilities which have compromised the Twitter infrastructure and many user accounts, and Twitter's inevitable plans to make money out of you somehow, probably by selling your Communications Traffic Data to commercial and government interests. (same window)

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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