October 2006 Archives

Following on from our updated Home Office whistleblowers hints and tips, here is an example of the use being made by the attempted "web bug" tracking of emails, apparently using the same Australian ReadNotify email tracking service which was used unsuccessfully by Hewlett Packard to try to spy on journalists and its own executives and insiders.

[ via Martin Ingram, Welcome To The Dark Side. ]
(N.B. the original blog post "The IPCC leak and the Sunday Times story." seems to have been unpublished, but it is still out there in the Bloglines syndication feed cache)

However, we are not convinced that the supposed screenshots from the ReadNotify service do actually reveal any hidden relationship between a Sunday Times journalist and someone in the Independent Police Complaints Commission, in regard to "leaks" etc. about the investigation into the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes, at Stockwell Tube station in the panic after the bomb attacks and attempted bomb attacks in London in July 2005.

See the Smoke & Mirrors blog:

"The connection between the IPCC & Mr Clarke."

The recent Daily Mail furore over the recent BBC Newsnight tv interview with Taleban (or Taliban) leaders in Afghanistan appears to have missed a whole dimension of to the story.

Yesterday, the very lucky to still be in a job Home Office Minister of State for Policing and Security, Tony McNulty, provided Written Answers to several Parliamentary Questions about Proscribed Terrorist Groups. He managed to gloss over the fact that neither the Taleban in Afghanistan nor any Chechen terrorist groups have ever been, or are now, on the official list of Proscribed Terrorist Groups under the Terrorism Act 2000 section 3 Proscription

This means that it is still perfectly legal to belong to, or to claim to belong to or support, to arrange meetings of, or to wear distinctive clothing or uniforms associated with, the Taleban in the United Kingdom.

By virtue of the extra-territorial jurisdiction powers added to the Terrorism Act 2000, by the The Crime (International Co-operation) Act 2003 Part 2 Terrorist Acts and Threats: Jurisdiction which was brought into force in April 2004, and the pointless repetition of these same extra-territorial powers in the Terrorism Act 2006 section 17 Commission of offences abroad this also applies to any British citizens or residents overseas e.g. in Pakistan or Afghanistan.

Electronic Signatures for Birth and Death Certificates


The Treasury have now invoked the little used Electronic Communications Act 2000, to make "Electronic Signatures" legally valid so far as the Registration of Births and Deaths is concerned.

Statutory Instrument 2006 No. 2809
The Registration of Births and Deaths (Electronic Communications and Electronic Storage) Order 2006

Coming into force 13th November 2006

Although there is no guarantee that they will actually employ a cryptographic Digital Signatures, this is a step forward into the 20th, if not actually into the the 21st Century, which is to be welcomed.

"Electronic Signatures" are not quite the same as cryptographic Digital Signatures, a distinction which is relevant to our discussions about the forthcoming Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 Part III Code of Practice.

We will, of course, be keeping a watch to see if the "population register" plans, which were to be part of the now shelved Citizen Information Project, get revived and linked to the centralised biometric database, the National Identity Register and ID Card scheme.

Who is going to take the fingerprints and iris scans of dead people, so that they do not remain on the Register, to provide "Day of the Jackal" style false identities for criminals etc. ?

What safeguards are there to ensure that there cannot be cases of the "living dead" - zombies - people who are still alive, but who have been fraudulently or through error, declared to be officially dead ?

The Government have not dared to answer such questionsin any detail, in over 4 years of our asking them.

The venue of the 28th International Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners' Conference has been changed recently, and will be held next week in London, United Kingdom, on the 2nd and 3rd of November 2006.

The United Kingdom's Information Commissioner, Richard Thomas, welcomes his colleagues and counterparts from around the world, to the conference whose theme is "A Surveillance Society?', with these words:

Whilst I cannot promise the sunshine of Buenos Aires, I can promise that by coming to the United Kingdom you will be visiting a country with over 4 million CCTV cameras. Visiting London, you will be staying in a city able to monitor its citizens as they travel around the capital by car or on the Underground system. But London is also a city that has witnessed the kind of terrorist atrocities that spark calls for governments to do more and more to protect its citizens.

We may well pop down to the conference venue to see if we can chat to some of these privacy and data protection experts, and to warn the rest of the world not to repeat the surveillance sociiety mistakes which the current Government is inflicting on us.

Is it just a coincidence that the conference venue location, the Riverbank Park Plaza hotel is literally within line of sight of the Security Service (MI5) building, the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) building and one of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) offices formerly occupied by the now merged NCIS (National Criminal Intelligence Service) ?

Sir Stephen Lander, the ex-Director General of MI5 and now Chair of SOCA, is scheduled to be one of the speakers at the conference.

Who will be keeping the privacy and data protection commissioners under surveillance ?

Archrights are naturally frustrated by the lack of regulation of child (or vulnerable adult) mobile phone Location Based Services in the Protecting Vulnerable Groups Bill.

DfES Under-Secretary, Parmjit Dhanda is far too smugly complacent in claiming that

it is a new sector and we would need to consult on and assess the risk presented by individuals working in those services before looking to amend the definition of regulated activity

Just what has the Government been doing for the last 3 years, since we first asked questions about services like ChildLocate, aimed specifically at tracking children ?

What has the Mobile Phone Industry Regulator i.e. Ofcom, who are supposed to look after the best interests of consumers, done about this ?

The answer, to both questions appears to be - nothing.

Given the millions of other people who will be subjected to the Independent Barring Board centralised database bureaucracy, what justification can there be for not including the staff working at Mobile Phone Location Based Services companies, with access to the locations of many children away from home, and with the ability to send them messages pretending to be from their parents i.e. ideal jobs for kidnappers and child molesters ?

The Guardian reports:

G6 leaders to discuss anti-terror measures

Mark Oliver
Wednesday October 25, 2006
Guardian Unlimited

The home secretary, John Reid, is to chair a two-day meeting of European interior ministers at which anti-terror measures will top the agenda.

The talks, which begin today, are taking place at Ettingham Park, near Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire. They involve ministers from the G6 countries - France, Spain, Italy, Poland, Germany and the UK.

So, apart from sightseeing and causing traffic chaos in Stratford and Warwick due to the VIP security cordons, what are these Ministers and their officials actually going to discuss ?

A Home Office spokesman said the discussions would mostly centre around terrorism, but would also consider other home affairs issues including how to shut off illegal immigration routes and better target cross-border organised crime.

Which the most importsant of them discussed back at the similar EU Informal Meeting meeting on Counter-Terrorism held on 16th August 2006 at the Home Office in London, during the "no liquid explosives on airliners" hysteria. This involved Ministers from UK, Finland, Germany, Portugal, Slovenia, France and the Vice-President of the European Commission.

Will any of the accredited journalists at this secretive meeting, actually bother to ask about progress on these issues since then ?

Will they ask about the lack of any progress on exactly these same issues which were promised after the Madrid 2004 and London 2005 terrorist bomb attacks ?

The G6 is not a decision-making body, but a "forum for frank discussion on home affairs matters", the spokesman said.

He said the talks would "focus particularly on how another terror attack could be pre-empted and challenging radical extremist ideas".

"Germany has been looking at making the internet a more hostile environment for terrorism and its supporters," he added. "The group allows us to exchange ideas like that."

Will any of the accredited journalists bother to ask exactly what the German Government is proposing with regard to " making the internet a more hostile environment for terrorism and its supporters" ?

How does this differ from the utter lack of any firm policy ideas which the European Commission has come up with since the August meeting ?

See the 17 Questions we asked of the European Commission to censor "terrorist websites", and the dangers of "collateral damage" to innocent European Union internet users and companies.

The House of Commons has rejected the Lords' Amendments on the Extradition Act 2003 in the Police and Justice Bill in two votes today.

They rejected Lords' Amendment 36 by 320 Ayes to 263 Noes.

This would have taken the United States of America out of Schedule 2 of the Extradition Act, thereby reverting the US-UK extradition arrangements back to the 1973 Treaty, which is still in force, since the 2003 Treaty has still not yet been ratified, it is awaiting signature by President Bush, which we guess he will not do until after the mid-term Congressional elections in early November.

They rejected Lords' Amendment 81 by 313 Ayes to 272 Noes.

This would have provided for a UK Court to hearsome actual evidence (which does not mean the full evidence which would be presented at a trial) to determine the legal forum where a case is to be heard, in transnaional border cases. This would have rectified most of the problems about accusations without the chance to refute evidence before extradition proceeds e.g. in Gary McKinnon's case, the spurious amount of alleged financial damage which he is alleged to have committed, which we do not believe will stand up in court.

The Commons also voted on the amalgamation of the 5 independent Inspectorates of Prisons, etc. into one super-bureaucracy, which will be under the control of the Home Secretary.

We no longer understand the complexity of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Bill which got its Third Reading in the Commons yesterday.

Tim Loughton (East Worthing and Shoreham) (Con) made the point that:

"207 amendments and 23 new clauses have been tabled by the Government, and nearly all were tabled during the past few days, despite the fact that the Bill completed its Committee stage some months ago"

These have all been rubber-stamped by the Commons in a single afternoon and evening, of so called debate.

To say that these add bureaucratic complexity to an already complicated Bill, is an understatement. We doubt that any employers or employees, who will be subjected to the new National Centralised Database by the Independent Barring Board can actulaly understand what they will be criminally liable for, once the Bill becomes law.

However, it appears, that there is still no clear definition of "harm" on the face of the Bill. None of our other initial worries about the Bill appear to have been addressed either.

We will try to puzzle out exactly what the new, heavily amended Bill now actually says, but the full text may take a few days to appear online due to the huge number of last minute changes.

This is not proper Parliamentary scrutiny of legislation.

Why is SpyBlog being censored by WebSense ?

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We have had an email report that SpyBlog appears to be being blacklisted at the easyInternetcafé internet café franchise within the McDonald's fast food restaurant in Earl's Court in London.

Apparently, the WebSense censorware software has been configured to blacklist SpyBlog under the category of:

Illegal or Questionable
Sites that provide instruction in or promote nonviolent crime or unethical or dishonest behavior or the avoidance of prosecution therefore. [sic]

We consider this false accusation presumably being published to lots of WebSense's customers worldwide, to be tantamount to libel !

It is interesting that WebSense's marketing claims that using their product helps in "decreasing the risk of legal liability", but neglects to the mention the increased risk of being held legally liable for promulgating a libel.

We would appreciate some help from our readers (many of whom will have multiple ways of accessing the internet) to see if this is, as we suspect due to an error in WebSense's master blacklist database, or whether SpyBlog is being specifically censored by either McDonald's Restaurants Ltd, or easyInternetcafé Ltd, or their franchisee Internet Access Ltd.

Please let us know if you are blocked from accessing either


or our current web hosting space


by WebSense or any other censorware software.

It is ironic that we wrote recently about the collateral damage which censorware invariably causes to innocent third parties:

See: Response from the European Commission regarding the policy of censoring "terrorist" web sites - part 1 and the following 3 blog articles.

A couple of good opinion pieces in media

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It is worth reading a couple of opinion pieces in the national media this week, which examine Britain's slide towards a surveillance police state under this Labour Government:

David Drew MP for Stroud (Labour) has asked the Department for Constitutional Affairs a Parliamentary Question about private CCTV surveillance

Parliamentary Written Answer 18th October 2006:


Mr. Drew: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what status privately-owned closed circuit television systems have in relation to data protection; and what rights individuals filmed on public footpaths have to ask (a) to see and (b) to destroy video tape of themselves. [94795]

18 Oct 2006 : Column 1214W

Unfortunately, the Government's Written Answer gives a misleading impression, by neglecting to mention the role of the under resourced Office of the Information Commissioner:

The Order in Council which Gordon Brown promised in his Chatham House speech, regarding "terrorist finance" has now been published online:

Statutory Instrument 2006 No. 2657
The Terrorism (United Nations Measures) Order 2006

N.B. this Secondary Legislation is as long and as complicated as many a Primary Act of Parliament, and it also includes criminal penalties of up to 7 years in prison, which should surely have been properly debated and amended in Parliament.

The justification for the Order, is compliance with United Nations Security Council resolutions, as implied in the title.

However, the previous Orders referring to such resolutions specifically against the Taliban and Al Qaida, have been revoked by this Order, so this is, in fact a new, infinite General Power, which the NuLabour Government has grabbed for itself, without any debate about the details in Parliament.

Are they also intending to use it to "freeze the financial assets" of Northern Irish terrorists or so called animal rights extremists, since there is nothing whatsoever in this Order to prevent them from doing so ?

A worrying aspect of this Order is that according to Schedule 1 Evidence and Information the Treasury is only obliged to "take such steps as they consider appropriate"

The Treasury can "designate" anybody, and they are theonly judges of what they consider to be terrorist activity or association, for which they do not have to show any actual hard evidence.

By invoking this Order, the Treasury can demand any document or record from any British citzen or corporate person i.e. banks and financial institutions with subsidiaries in the UK, under a criminal penalty of up to 2 years in prison.

The Treasury can also hand this data over to any foreign Government.

There is also a secrecy provision, if they choose to only tell certain people or financial institutions, and not the general public about the freezing of assets, backed up by a criminal penalty of up to 2 years in prison.

There is a penalty of up to 7 years in prison for people who delliberately continue to allow funds transfers etc. in contravention of the Designation orders by the Treasury.

There also seems to be an extraordinary carte blanche:

7. An action done under this Schedule is not to be treated as a breach of any restriction imposed by statute or otherwise.

So kiss goodbye to the Common Law Duty of Confidentiality, the whole of the Data Protection Act, all of the Financial Services Authority rules on Confidentiality and Insider Trading, and any European Union Directive etc.

How can this be right ?

There also appears to a complete circumvention of the still as yet not in force, but likely to be so early next year, Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 Part III dealing with Encrypted data.

"document" includes information recorded in any form and, in relation to information recorded otherwise than in legible form, references to its production include references to producing a copy of the information in legible form;

i.e. you will be forced to hand over the plaintext to encrypted financial data, without even any of the weak safeguards provided by RIPA Part III and the Code of Practice, to which we contributed to the public consultation on, this summer.

Effectively this is equivalent to a RIPA Section 49 Disclosure Notice, but without any of the safeguards and independent oversight which is supposed to be provided by the various RIPA Commissioners and the Chairman of the Financial Services Authority.

Any bank or financial institution or individual who is served with both a RIPA section 49 Disclosure Notice and has some or all of the same information demanded of them by someone using the this Treasury Order, will be in an impossible position with regard to the RIPA Tipping Off criminal offence and this Treasury Order Confidentiality criminal offence.

There is also a "Get Out of Jail Free Card" for the Treasury, namely:

Section 18 The Crown

(2) No contravention by the Crown of a provision of this Order makes the Crown criminally liable;


What possible justification is there for the Treasury to exempt itself from criminal liability, if they do not intend to get up to sneaky and illegal activities ?

Is the real purpose of this Order to provide a firmer legal basis on which to continue to snoop on and data mine the SWIFT international financial network etc., rather than to actually freeze alleged terrorist financial assets ?

How else is the Chancellor's pipedream of a "Bletchley Park" style "forensic accounting" team meant to work ?

Control Orders scandal - will McNulty resign ?

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We have made no secret about our abhorrence of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 Control Orders scheme.

It people are suspected of terrorism, they should be kept under surveillance until enough evidence can be amassed and so that they can be be arrested, charged and tried fairly.

If there is no such evidence, and these people do not have ready access to lots of money, to weapons, explosives, chemical toxins, biological agents or radioactive material, then they are not a terrorist threat to us here in the UK.

We made the mistake of assuming that the few people who are currently under Control Orders would actually be kept under round the clock surveillance.

According to the BBC, it appears that at least two of the 16 people who are currently under these Control Orders are on the run.

One of them, appears to have been "missing" for "some months" !

Section 14 of the Act provides that, every 3 months, the Secretary of State must

(a) prepare a report about his exercise of the control order powers during that period; and

(b) lay a copy of that report before Parliament.

Such a report was made by Tony McNulty, the Minister for Policing, Security and Community Safety on the 11th September 2006 i.e. when the Home Office must have known that one of the, supposedly most dangerous people, in the UK was missing.

Surely Tony McNulty should resign for misleading Parliament if he did know, or for utter incompetence if he did not ?

Written Ministerial Statement on Control Order Powers 11th September 2006:

As light relief a change from our inevitably lengthy recent blog postings (hey - we could have published the commentary on Gordon Brown's Chatham House speech and the European Commission's internet and media censorship policy development plan as single posts) , so here is something a bit shorter:

An item from The Times caught our eye today via their syndication feed via Bloglines.

Sellafield operator fined £500,000 for leak

The operator of the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant in Scotland has been hit with a second fine following an 80,000 tonnes radioactive leak....

A couple of questions sprang to mind:

  1. Since when was Sellafield in Scotland ?

  2. How much radioactive nitric acid really leaked from the THORP nuclear re-processing plant in Sellafield ?

This inaccurate story has already been propagated via the internet e.g. to the Google news service search for "Sellafield Scotland"

Clicking on the link pulls up a version of the story where Sellafield is now correctly located in Cumbria.

However 80,000 of nitric acid is an awful lot, even for a leak which went unnoticed for months.

What is the density of nitric acid ? a few seconds with the Google search engine gives the answer - pure fuming nitric acid, as used as a rocket fuel oxidiser has a density of about 1.5 ×10 3 kg/m 3 i.e. 1.5 tonnes per cubic metre.

Concentrated nitric acid is usually around 70% pure, the rest being water with a density of 1 tonne per cubic metre i.e. the density of 70% nitric acid is 1.42 x 10 3 kg/m 3 i.e 1.42 tonnes per cubic metre

Density is mass divided by volume, so 80,000 tonnes of nitric acid, with a negligible mass of dissolved uranium and plutonium - obviously not negligible in respect to its radioactivity) would have a volume of 56,388 cubic metres.

This is equivalent to the displacement of water of an ocean going ship, the size of a large oil tanker or an aircraft carrier

The BBC has a much more reasonable report

Sellafield firm fined over leak

The leak occurred at the Thorp complex at Sellafield
The operator of the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant has been fined £500,000 following a radioactive leak.

About 83,000 litres of acid containing 20 tonnes of uranium and 160kg of plutonium escaped from a broken pipe into a sealed concrete holding site.

i.e. about 120 tonnes of nitric acid

Therefore 20 tonnes of dissolved uranium (less than 5 % of which would actually have been radioactive, because this comes from are re-processed fuel rods), and 160Kg of plutonium (all of which is radioactive) is a significant figure in this case.

Another BBC report gives the dimensions of the concrete containment tank as

The cells, which are 60 metres long and 20 metres high, are not accessible to staff and no-one was exposed to radioactive material.
i.e, even if had been full to the brim with nitric acid, there could only have been about 1700 tonnes,

83,000 litres would be equivalent to a couple of petrol tanker vehicles, which typically have a volume capacity of between 40 to 60 cubic metres i.e. 40,000 to 60,000 litres. The fuel capacity of a family car is around 40 to 60 litres.

Is the supposed pressure to pump out "news" stories reducing the amount of fact and sanity checking which mainstream media companies are doing these days ?

You do not have to be an engineer or a scientist, or even especially numerate, to be able to sanity check the details of a story for the difference between the volume of a couple of road haulage tankers, and that of a very large ocean going ship, especially when the story concerns something as important as leaks of radioactivity.

We will be bearing this story in mind the next time that The Times or any Murdoch owned newspaper reports about "dirty bomb" threats.

The fourth and final part of of Questions to and Answers from the European Commission, regarding the apparent policy announcement by Vice President Franco Frattini in London, following the alleged "liquid explosives on airliners" plot arrests in August.

Questions and Answers 10 to 17 (of 17):

Below is the third part of our our Questions to and Answers from the European Commission regarding the apparent policy of censoring "terrorist" websites, announced by Franco Frattini.

Questions and Answers 5 to 9 (of 17):

Part 2 of our letter and response from the European Commission, regarding the apparent policy of censoring "terrorist" websites.

Questions and Answers 1 to 4 (of 17):

Now that most of last week's website hosting problems have been sorted out, with the new SpyBlog.org.uk domain name pointing to webspace hosted outside of the European Union, we can try to catch up with things we wanted to write about last week.

We received a paper snail mail letter from the European Commission in reply to our letter asking for clarification of comments made by Vice President of the European Commission Franco Frattini, back during the "Critical Alert" hype in August, regarding plans to "ban websites" etc.

EU terrorist intelligence sharing and website censorship soundbites from John Reid and Franco Frattini,

Are there any mainstream media journalists or British politicians following up this story ?

Below is the first part of our letter to Franco Frattini, and the preliminary, general answer, by Jonathan Faull the Director General for Justice, Freedom and Security of the European Commission.

See subsequent blog postings for Questions and Answers numbers 1 to 17 :

Vice President Franco Frattini

copy via email to:
cc: friso.roscam-abbing@ec.europa.eu

24th August 2006

Dear Sir,

I am writing to you to seek clarification of your remarks about "banning websites" at the press conference after the Informal Meeting of some EU Justice Ministers, at the Home Office in London, on the 16th August 2006.

Mention was made (perhaps by United Kingdom Home Secretary John Reid) of an EU policy objective to "make the internet a hostile place for terrorists". You talked of plans to "ban websites" which contain "bomb making instructions" or which "incite terrorism".

What exactly are you proposing ?


Director General

Commission europeane, B-1049-Bruxelles / Europese Commissie, B-1049-Brussel - Belgium. Telephone (32-2) 299 11 11
Office: LX 46 06/105. Telephone direct line (32-2) 298 67 62. Fax: (32-2) 296 76 16

N.B. No email addresses or websites on this letter !

Brussesls, 28 Sep 2006
JLS D/1/CGS/vdb D(2006) 12264


Dear Mr [xxx]

I acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 24 August addressed to Vice-President Frattini.

Given the content of your letter, Vice-President asked me to answer your questions.

Please, find below the answer to your general preliminary as well as to the rest of the questions 1 to 17.

The fifth and final part of our commentary on Gordon Brown's
Speech by the Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, on "Meeting the terrorist challenge" given to Chatham House, 10 October 2006.

What does the Chancellor know about "Cultural action against terrorist extremism" ?

The fourth part of our commentary on Gordon Brown's
Speech by the Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, on "Meeting the terrorist challenge" given to Chatham House, 10 October 2006

More than "28 days detention without charge was mentioned, with no evidence that this is necessary - even the complicated "no binary liquid explosives on traransatlantic flights" plot arrests in August does not provide evidence that even more time is needed to bring charges. If the first charge gets you convicted to life imprisonment, what is the point of further multiple life sentences, for attacks which have not actually been carried out ?

Spy Blog moves to a new web host

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Following the technical problems with our old web hosting service, probably due to the number of visitors, the constant spam attacks, power supply problems, and an unsympathetic attitude to long term customers etc., we have had to move Spy Blog to a new location.


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This is the third part of Gordon Brown's frightful Chatham House speech - "Identity and border controls"

Fulll text: Speech by the Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, on "Meeting the terrorist challenge" given to Chatham House, 10 October 2006

Gordon Brown - Chatham House speech part 2

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Here is the second part of our commentary on Gordon Brown's (long) speech to Chatham House on Tuesday.

Speech by the Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, on "Meeting the terrorist challenge" given to Chatham House, 10 October 2006

Feel free to add your own comments below:

Gordon Brown's Chatham House speech part 1

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Since we have vaguely promised not to publish very lengthy blog postings, here is the first part of our commentary on Gordon Brown's speech today.

Speech by the Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, on "Meeting the terrorist challenge" given to Chatham House, 10 October 2006

Feel free to add your own comments below:

Gordon Brown's "security" speech - aaargh !


Gordon Brown's speech on security, terrorist finance etc. is scaring us, despite his brief mention of alleged civil liberties protections.

An annual report to Parliament is nowhere near sufficient to reassure us about 90 day detention without charge.

He seems to be planning to further increase state snooping and surveillance and arbitrary powers to freeze financial assets, simply based on unchallengable "secret intelligence", rather than actual evidence.

He has not mentioned the SWIFT scandal, which rather hints that he may be complicit in it.

He has already repeated a few of his previous canards from his RUSI speech in February, and other standard NuLabour spin about "identity theft" and "biometrics" etc.

He seems to be as ignorant about the technology and the practical and civil liberties issues about ID Cards and Biometrics as Tony Blair is.

We will try to analyse this lengthy speech when it is available online.

NIR and ID Card scheme "Dobson" report on cost


We are still awaiting the online publication of the "Dobson amendment" 6 monthly report into the estimated costs of the Government's wretched National Identity Register and ID Card scheme.

The Government News Network Press Release (still not available to the public on the Home Office's tardy press release website, presumably they have faxed their tame journalists a copy already) implies that after 6 months work, by Home Office civil servants and external Consultants, costing the public at least £100,000 a day, the cost estimate of the scheme is still virtually the same as when the dubious, so called, Regulatory Impact Assessment was published i.e. supposedly only £5.4 billion over 10 years.

This figure is only for the Home Office's costs and does include the cost to other Government departments, the private sector, the general public and the cost to our freedoms and liberties.

The Times has a story apparently based on figures from the International Atomic Energy Authority, about attempts to smuggle illegal radioactive materials.

We are very sceptical that the figures presented in the article are evidence of a real threat of a "dirty bomb" :

Seizures of radioactive materials fuel 'dirty bomb' fears By Lewis Smith, Environment Reporter

SEIZURES of smuggled radioactive material capable of making a terrorist “dirty bomb” have doubled in the past four years, according to official figures seen by The Times.


There are figures for hundreds of "foiled plots", but most of these are probably various kinds of undercover "sting" operations, and con tricks by criminals, rather than actual smuggling attempts of real quantities of dangerously radioactive materials.

The important statistics about exactly how much radioactive material was actually physically seized from the smugglers, and exactly how radioactive it was, in terms of Bequerels (Bq) or Curies (Ci) of radioactivity, is, mysteriously not reported by The Times.

Comments and trackbacks are currently disabled for a while whilst we upgrade to MovableType version 3.33

Apologies to recent commentors whose comments have not been appearing, or have disappeared from view - we hope to get them all back soon.

The Police and Justice Bill, which includes huge controversies such as the amalgamation of regional police forces, the abolition of the independent Prisons Inspectorate etc., Opposition attempts to amend the lop sided US-UK Extradition procedures etc., is due for its Report Stage in the House of Lords next week.

If we have found the correct version of the text of the bill on the newly re-designed Parliament website, then, perhaps, at least the badly draughted and controversial clause 42 Making, supplying or obtaining articles for use in computer misuse offences seems to be set to have its worst aspect removed.

The Labour Government seems to have tabled an Amendment:

Database State Workshop @ UCL on 1st November


Another chance to meet with some privacy and security minded experts and activists:

Ian Brown annouces a workshop at Univesity College London on Wednesday 1st November 2006.

The database state?

When: 1400-1730 Wed 1 Nov 2006
Where: University College London (5 minutes from the British Museum)

More details:

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