November 2006 Archives

It looks like our friends in the Netherlands are trying to catch up with the United Kingdom in terms of the slide towards a Police State, according to Radio Netherlands:

Reporters held for refusing to name source

by Marina Brouwer*


Reporters behind bars - not an everyday occurrence in the Netherlands, yet that's exactly where two journalists from De Telegraaf, the country's biggest selling morning newspaper, have been since Monday this week.

The two men are refusing to disclose who was responsible for supplying them with confidential information from the Dutch AIVD national intelligence and security, and the fact that a court has ordered them to be held in custody until they do, has been labelled as unacceptable by the Dutch journalist community as well as one of the country's European Parliament representatives.

The two journalists are called Joost de Haas and Bart Mos.

The Guardian reports on the Royal voicemail interception scandal.

This case is one of the very rare prosecutions under the Regulation of investigatory Powers Act 2000.

Do any of the UK Mobile Phone Networks still allow your voicemailbox to be accessed, from an arbitrary landline or mobile phone, without forcing you to first change the default Personal Information Number (PIN) ?

Goodman pleads guilty Jemima Kiss

The Guardian
Wednesday November 29, 2006


Clive Goodman, the royal editor of the News of the World, has pleaded guilty and could face jail for plotting to intercept private phone messages involving the royal family.

Goodman, 48, from Putney, south-west London, was arrested on August 8 after a police investigation into allegations of phone tapping at Clarence House. Members of the Prince of Wales's household claimed there had been security breaches in its telephone network.

In the dock at the Old Bailey with Goodman was former AFC Wimbledon footballer Glenn Mulcaire, 35, also from south-west London, who admitted the same charge.

Mr Mulcaire further admitted five charges of unlawfully intercepting voicemail messages left by a number of people, including publicist Max Clifford and Elle Macpherson.

The charges, under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, date to interceptions between February 16 2006 and June 16.

The conspiracy charge, under the Criminal Law Act, relates to conspiring to intercept voicemail messages between November 1 2005 and August 9 2006.:


Re-reading the BBC article pointed out in the comments to our previous blog posting, CCTV with audio snooping to detect "aggressive behaviour" hype, we were struck by this nonsense:

Mr Blunkett said the idea echoed the fictional authoritarian Brave New World of Aldous Huxley's novel.

Surely he meant to say George Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty-Four" ?

Listening to the actual online version of the BBC Radio5 Live Weekend News interview with David Blunkett, broadcast on Sunday 26th November 2006 presented by John Pienaar and Lesley Ashmall, is a depressing experience:

Another Sunday Times story about some alleged technology which is being hyped to the surveillance state snoopers, and about which some critical questions need to be answered.

The Sunday Times November 26, 2006

Word on the street ... they're listening

POLICE and councils are considering monitoring conversations in the street using high-powered microphones attached to CCTV cameras, write Steven Swinford and Nicola Smith.

The microphones can detect conversations 100 yards away and record aggressive exchanges before they become violent.

The devices are used at 300 sites in Holland and police, councils and transport officials in London have shown an interest in installing them before the 2012 Olympics.

Is the United Kingdom really becoming a Police State ? Which countries are better at safeguarding freedoms and liberties than the United Kingdom ?

We have taken the Privacy International / EPIC surveillance societies- ranked by Least Surveilled Countries, which concentrates on the European Union and other major economies.

There is also a comprehensive report from which these Surveillance Society scores and rankings have been derived

We thought it would be interesting to compare the countries on this list, with their scores and rankings produced by two other groups, according to different criteria:

Economist Intelligence Unit - Democracy Index (.pdf) - ranked by most Democratic country..

and also the

Tranparency International - Corruption Perception Index - ranked by lowest Corruption Perception.

Each of these Indices ranks countries by an aggregate score, which in turn depends of the scores of opinions by experts, across half a dozen or more different variables.

Obviously the accuracy of any individual score is open to interpretation, but this approach does produce ranking lists of countries, which can be used to see if the United Kingdom really is sliding into a Police Surveillance State, etc.

You can read the background detail to these Indices by following the hyperlink URLs.

Why is the United Kingdom not equal first across all three indices ?

See the table below, or if your screen and/or browser settings, make this hard to read, open this link to display the table in a new window.

The BBC has a reasonably detailed report on the start of the Project Lantern trials of mobile fingerprint scanner units by roadside Police patrols.

The claim is that, currently, these are only used to save trips back to the Police station for fingerprint identification purposes, and that the fingerprints are not stored to be used as evidence.

This may well be true, and it is to be welcomed in terms of providing more Police resources on the street, instead of back at the Police station or in transit.

However, we want to be reassured about what happens to the digital fingerprint minutiae i.e. the encoded pattern of characteristic ridges, whorls etc. which are derived from the digitised fingerprint image.

These are what the database searches actually use, not the raw images of finger prints. How can we be sure that these fingerprint minutiae, many of which will inevitably be taken from innocent motorists, with no criminal record, who are not arrested or charged with any crime, are actually destroyed ?

Who independently audits the destruction of these fingerprint images and of their derived digital fingerprint minutiae ?

Is the Government about to get around to regulating the use and abuse of CCTV surveillance cameras and add on technologies, as we have been advocating for the last 10 years ?

The Register reports Home Office to grab for more CCTV power

We tried to post a comment to a .blogspot hosted blog which uses the third party blog Comments and Trackback system Haloscan.

However, despite allowing us to Preview the comment, once we tried to Publish it, then we got:

"Sorry, Tor users are not allowed to post due to abuse"

We were not actually using Tor at the time !

Surely Haloscan cannot be so stupid as to be censoring and blocking Tor exit nodes by IP address allocation block, thereby affecting all the other "innocent" users of an Internet Service Provider, can they ?

If you want to check to see if Haloscan is blocking your ISP, with or without Tor, feel free to try to post comments to

Gordon Brown is responsible for the mess of red tape regulations which he has inflicted on businesses and their customers here in the United Kingdom.

He seems to have vaguely promised some City of London financiers, to yet again "cut red tape by a quarter".

We do not trust or believe him.

What is the difference between:

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

Made 10th October 2006
Laid before Parliament 11th October 2006
Coming into force 12th October 2006


Statutory Instrument 2006 No. 2952
The Al-Qaida and Taliban (United Nations Measures) Order 2006

Made 14th November 2006
Laid before Parliament 15th November 2006
Coming into force 16th November 2006

and the

Statutory Instrument 2006 No. 2958
The North Korea (United Nations Measures) Order 2006

Made 14th November 2006
Laid before Parliament 15th November 2006
Coming into force 16th November 2006

These three sets of lengthy, immensely powerful financial snooping regulations, introduced without any public consultation, without any independent safeguards, and without detailed Parliamentary scrutiny, seem to largely overlap and add to the burden of complicated bureaucratic red tape being inflicted on us by the "control freak" Chancellor and possible future Prime Minister Gordon Brown

Digital TV channel More4 are showing a documentary "Suspect Nation" tonight at 9pm:

Henry Porter (the Observer journalist famous for his recent email clash with Tony Blair over the paring down of civil liberties) reveals in this unsettling film, our movements are being watched, and recorded, more than ever before.

Today Monday 20 November 2006 9pm
repeat Wednesday 29th November 10pm

We will be interested to see how many of the linked privacy and security issues which we suggested to the programme makers actually make it into this one hour documentary - there are enough for a long series of documentaries.

Will our modest assistance to the contribution of Professor Clive Norris, the criminologist expert on the actual effectiveness of CCTV surveillance systems, make it in to the final cut of the programme ?

We are still trying to understand the new, unlimited financial records snooping powers which Chancellor Gordon Brown has granted himself, following his Chatham House speech in October.

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

which was published on the 10th October, and came into force on the 12th October 2006, says, in the Explanatory Notes:

A partial regulatory impact assessment of the effect that this instrument will have on the costs of business may be attained [sic] from the Asset Freezing Unit of the Financial Crime Team, HM Treasury, 1 Horse Guards Road, London SW1A 2HQ and is also available on HM Treasury's website ( A copy of the regulatory impact assessment has been placed in the libraries of both Houses of Parliament.

Unfortunately, we can find no reference to this United Nations Measures 2006 Order Partial Regulatory Impact Assessment on the HM Treasury website, and, despite emailing and phoning the Treasury , they have not been forthcoming.

Does the Partial RIA actually exist, or is it still being revised and there was an error in the Explanatory Notes to the Statutory Instrument ?

Why the secrecy ?

Is it to do with the Gordon Brown's evasive answers to questions about SWIFT financial network snooping scandal ?

This Order in Council , which is as long and as complicated as many full Acts of Parliament, and which Parliament did not have the opportunity to scrutinise or debate, was published in the middle of a public consultation:

The Regulation of Money Service Business: A Consultation, September 2006 (.pdf 80 pages)

CCTV spying on recycling dump users

| | Comments (10)

[via freedom rules]

According to this local newspaper report from Hertfordshire, in the Royston and Buntingford Mercury :

Big Brother at the dump 10 November 2006

BIG Brother will be watching what residents take to the household waste site in Buntingford, what they throw away and how often.

High-clarity CCTV cameras costing around £12,000 are planned for the household waste recycling centre in Aspenden Road — and they will allow officials to read visitors' number plates.

The conviction of Dhiren Barot, leading to a life sentence with a tariff of 40 years before being eligible for parole, is remarkable. He appears to have been an active terrorist plotter, but just how much of a real threat are his alleged , detailed, professional plots ?

From the media reports, none of these alleged plots, appear to as well researched or as detailed, as those in the books and films by authors such as Tom Clancy - should he and his researchers and co-authors also be serving 40 years or more in prison ?

Given that many of the readers of Spy Blog (or of Tom Clancy novels) have at least as much knowledge of potential targets and techniques as Dhiren Barot appears to have had, we are worried about this "thought crime" conviction with no actual evidence of means and capability to put into action any of the "movie plots", which he appears to have been researching. Just because he pleaded guilty, presumably for the purposes of self martyrdom, this is only evidence of evil intent, not of an actual, realistic, threat.

We are sceptical about the practicality of any of the various "movie plots" which the British media and authorities and legal system seem to have taken for granted would inevitably cause "thousands of casualties".

James Hall, Chief Executive of the Identity and Passport Service, the former Accenture managing partner now in charge of implementing the controversial National Identity Register and ID card plans

This could be interesting, or it could be censored:

For comments and a full transcript, see this NO2ID Campaign discussion forum thread:

"No 10 webchat - James Hall, Identity and Passport Service"

No. 10 Dowing Street Live Webchat - Tuesday 14 November 1600 GMT with

James Hall, Chief Executive of the Identity and Passport Service

Tony Blair has said that the identity card scheme is essential if we are to tackle the problems of the modern world.

Now you have the chance to quiz the boss of the ID card scheme, James Hall, in the latest of our popular series of webchats.

N.B. Accenture have just pulled out of the disastrous £2 billion National Health Service IT contract which James Hall was in charge of.

Will he repeat the same mistakes as before, or will he have learned from them ?

Will he be forced to resign, to protect the careers of Home Office Ministers and civil servants,when, not if. the centralised National Identity Register database suffers from Security and Privacy breaches ?

The Sunday Times has yet another "see under your clothes" scanner story, in which they have failed to ask the obvious privacy and security questions of the sort we have asked before:

The Sunday Times November 05, 2006

‘Superman’ scanner to spot bombers

David Leppard

David Leppard often seems to get access to leaked Government documents. Is this because he is a good investigative journalist, or because he is used as a conduit for "Climate of Fear" security theatre hype ?

SCANNERS designed to detect suicide bombers by looking through clothing are to be deployed at the Canary Wharf complex in London, site of Britain’s tallest skyscraper, this month.

In a world first, the system will detect explosives, liquids and bomb-making components even if they are hidden under clothing or inside rucksacks.

That is a very bold claim, and one which simply shouts "false alarm".

Canary Wharf in the Docklands area of the capital is home to HSBC, Barclays and Bank of America and regarded as a prime target for Al-Qaeda; the IRA bombed a nearby target in 1996.

The system at Canary Wharf - part of a wider anti-suicide-bomber project codenamed Nemesis - uses “superhuman vision” to “see through” people as they enter their offices and shopping areas. Monitors attached to hidden CCTV cameras can scan from long distances for knives, guns and even drugs.

"Nemesis" is a sinister code name, and the public needs to know much more about it, given that is seems more likley to target and kill innocent people rather than actual suicide bombers.

Note the words "long distance" i.e. not the portal type metal detector or "see through your clothes" scanner booths, which have been tested at airports, and trialled at Paddington Station and at Canary Wharf tube station previously.

How many of these devices are going to be deployed ?

Will there be any warning signs "you are entering a 'see through your clothes' imaging zone ?

If not, then why not ?

On Thursday 2nd November 2006, the House of Lordss approved the controversial Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill, afteer accepting the Government's compromises.

Whether these really are enough to remove the"abolotion of Parliament" danger which the original Bill posed, by giving such unlimited power to Ministers and civil servants, remains to be seen
Presumably this Bill will now be rubber stampped by the Commons and wil gain Royal Assent by the end of next week, before the prorogation of Parliament, ahead of theState Opening of Parliament and the Queen's Speech on Wednesday 15th November.

Does this mean that the Save Pparliiament Campaign has won, or that it has only won a partial victory ?

Thanks to everyone who did lobby their MPs and the Lords ,and alert the mainstream media about this issue.

"monitored on CCTV 300 times a day" etc. soundbites


Today's media is full of coverage about Privacy and Surveillance, no doubt as a result of the "A Surveillance society ?" conference of Privacy and Data Protection Commissioners from around the world, being held today tomorrow, together with the publication of the UK Information Commissioner Richard Thomas's report: "A Report on the Surveillance Society" (.pdf 109 pages)

The TV media especially, have jumped on the chance to send broadcast cameras into CCTV surveillance control rooms and to follow reporters around the streets etc.

Some mention has also been made of the National DNA Database, notably the Sky News interview with Guy Herbert the General Secretary of the NO2ID Campaign

The soundbites of choice appear to be "you are monitored on CCTV camera 300 times each day", (is that 300 cameras looking at you once, or one watching you 300 times ?) and there are now "4,2 million CCTV cameras in the UK" i.e. "20% of the world's total".

As usual, such statistics tend to stretch the mathematical skills of the broadcast media to breaking point, as this figure for the number of CCTV cameras has been variously reported as "1 camera for every 12 people" or "1 camera for every 14 people" in the UK.

Of course we welcome the publicity being given to these issues, which we have been trying to raise public awareness about for the last 10 years.

However, we must point out that these soundbite statistics are just that, and are based on guesstimates made by Professor Clive Norris, as reported in an article in The Independent, which we noted back in January 2004 - how come the broadcast media have taken nearly 3 years notice ?


  • "Estimating the extent, sophistication and legality of CCTV in London", by Michael McCahill and Clive Norris, published in CCTV edited by Martin Gill, Perptuity Press 2003 (now distributed by Palgrave Paladin) ISBN: 189928771X

Who knows what the true, up to date, figure for the number of CCTV cameras installed in the UK is ? Certainly not the Home Office, who refuse to regulate or license their use.

Yesterday SpyBlog went along to the "Database State" workshop , organised by Dr. Ian Brown (whose Blogzilla blog is worth subscribing to), at University College London

Present were several Canadian and Australian Privacy amd Data Protection Commissioners, and academics and privacy campaigners, some of whom were in London ahead of the "A Surveillance society ?" conference of Privacy and Data Protection Commissioners from around the world, being held on Thursday and Friday.

Here is a flavour of what was discussed:

Apparently, according to this Ministerial Statement yesterday, the Home Office has lost control of the National Technical Assistance Centre to the Foreign Office:

31 Oct 2006 : Column 11WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
National Technical Assistance Centre

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Margaret Beckett): The National Technical Assistance Centre (NTAC) was formally transferred from the Home Office to Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in April 2006. As the Minister responsible for GCHQ, I now have ministerial oversight of its activities.

There have been no changes to NTAC's remit, mandate or customer base.

NTAC was set up originally in the wake of the introduction of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, and was supposedly "housed securely" under the aegis of the Security Service MI5, which comes under the Home Secretary John Reid's empire.

The idea was that NTAC would be responsible for providing "technical assistance" to law enforcement request under RIPA, to do with data decryption etc. Some £40 million of public money was used initially to set up the scheme, which stated

Why GCHQ could not have done this in the first place, is, of course secret.

There was also talk of "black boxes" to connect Internet Service Providers to NTAC to allow for secret, supposedely lawful interceptions of communications - described at the time as "trying to drink from a fire hose", and nowadays an even more difficult problem due to the massive increase in bandwidth in even the last 6 or so years. The Government offered some paltry some of money to the telcos and ISPs to pay for all this extra interception equipment infrastructure.

Why this was not considered to be a duplication of GCHQ's existing infrastructure, remains secret.

All of the "RIPA section 49 Disclosure Notice" work has been moot, since RIPA Part III is still not in force (perhaps after Christmas even after 6 years.

What exactly has NTAC been doing over the years, and under what legal authority ?

Why was there no mention of the formal transfer in April, of NTAC to GCHQ, in the Intelligence and Security Committee's report published in June 2006, even though they comment on SOCA, which started formal operations on 1st April ?

If GCHQ is now deemed to be able to deal with any legal or technical or institutional problems which might be posed by " NTAC's remit, mandate or customer base", then this begs the question of why was NTAC ever set up as a separate entity in the first place ? Is this all some wasteful bureaucratic empire building fiasco ?

Will any Members of Parliament bother to ask what the implications are for the Regulation of Invesigatory Powers Act Part III Code of Practice, which they will be scrutinising, proabbly before Christmas, and this move of NTAC to GCHQ ?

There was no mention of this in the Home Office's Consultation Documents on RIPA Part III Code of Practice this summer. Some of the procedures outlined
in this document for the secure handling of Encryption Keys and disclosed plaintext, would be in conflict with GCHQ's standard security procedures.

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 offer this verifiable GPG / PGP public key (the ID is available on several keyservers, twitter etc.) as one possible method to establish initial contact with whistleblowers and other confidential sources, if it suits their Threat Model or Risk Appetite, but will then try to establish other secure, anonymous communications channels e.g. encrypted Signal Messenger via burner devices,or face to face meetings, postal mail or dead drops etc. as appropriate.

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

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

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

Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers and Political Dissidents

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

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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

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

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

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

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

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


Watching Them, Watching Us

London 2600

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

Privacy and Security

Privacy International
United Kingdom Privacy Profile (2011)

Cryptome - censored or leaked government documents etc.

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

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

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

International Campaign Against Mass Surveillance

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

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

Technical Advisory Board on internet and telecomms interception under RIPA

European Digital Rights

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

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

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

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

Human Rights

Liberty Human Rights campaigners

British Institute of Human Rights
Amnesty International

Prevent Genocide International

asboconcern - campaign for reform of Anti-Social Behavior Orders

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

Internet Censorship

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

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

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

Judicial Links

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

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

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

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

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

Parliamentary Opposition

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

UK Government

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

No. 10 Downing Street Prime Minister's Official Spindoctors

Public Bills before Parliament

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

House of Commons "Question Book"

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

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

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

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

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

Online Media

Boing Boing

Need To Know [now defunct]

The Register

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

Ideal Government - debate about UK eGovernment

NIR and ID cards

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

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

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

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

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

Surveillance Infrastructures

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

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

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

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

RFID Links

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

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

Genetic Links

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

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

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

Miscellanous Links

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

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

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

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

Former Spies

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

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

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

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

Naked Spygirl - Olivia Frank

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

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

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

Liberty Central

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

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

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

Vmyths - debunking computer security hype

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

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

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

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

Bloggerheads - Tim Ireland

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

Blogzilla - Ian Brown

BlairWatch - Chronicling the demise of the New Labour Project

dreamfish - Robert Longstaff

Informaticopia - Rod Ward


The Musings of Harry

Chicken Yoghurt - Justin McKeating

The Red Tape Chronicles - Bob Sullivan MSNBC

Campaign Against the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Stop the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Rob Wilton's esoterica

panGloss - Innovation, Technology and the Law

Arch Rights - Action on Rights for Children blog

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


Moving On

Steve Moxon blog - former Home Office whistleblower and author.

Al-Muhajabah's Sundries - anglophile blog

Architectures of Control in Design - Dan Lockton

rabenhorst - Kai Billen (mostly in German)

Nearly Perfect Privacy - Tiffany and Morpheus

Iain Dale's Diary - a popular Conservative political blog

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

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

Ralph Bendrath

Financial Cryptography - Ian Grigg et al.

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

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

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

"Give 'em hell Pike!" - Frank Fisher

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

geeklawyer - intellectual property, civil liberties and the legal system

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

Charlie's Diary - Charlie Stross

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

Famous for 15 Megapixels

Postman Patel

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

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

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

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

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

Matt Wardman political blog analysis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No CCTV - The Campaign against CCTV

Barcode Nation - keeping two eyes on the database state.

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

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

Justin Wylie's political blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Links

Spam Huntress - The Norwegian Spam Huntress - Ann Elisabeth

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

Cool Britannia


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

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

Brian Burnell's British / US nuclear weapons history at

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UK Legislation

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

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

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

UK Legislation Links

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

UK Commissioners

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

UK Intelligence Agencies

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

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

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

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

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

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

Government Communications Headquarters GCHQ

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

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

Foreign Spies / Intelliegence Agencies in the UK

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

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

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

Campaign Button Links

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Open Rights Group

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

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

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

Amnesty International's campaign

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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

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

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

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

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

No CCTV - The Campaign Against CCTV


I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist !


Power 2010 cross party, political reform campaign


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


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

wblogocrop_150.jpg - Fighting for justice for whistleblowers