December 2006 Archives

Spy Blog 2006 articles

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Thanks to all the readers of Spy Blog in 2006, especially those who took the trouble to agree or disagree with us via the comments or email.

2006 was a depressing year.

There are many unanswered questions, and things which we have not commented on here on Spy Blog.

We tried having lots of Categories on Spy Blog, but the archives got too big and cumbersome, and we have discarded most of them.

We tried "folksonomy" tagging, but that does not really seem to make things easier to find, especially where more than one category or tag is involved. This was complicated by our change of blog hosts and URL in October. We may go back to this later.

Here are some rough categories for most of the Spy Blog 2006 blog articles:

Sam Smith, a volunteer for mySociety , has published a version of the Home Office's :

"Strategic Action Plan for the National Identity Scheme Safeguarding your identity" (.pdf 26 pages)

in web page format which allows for links and comments on each of the paragraphs


Just because the Labour government spin doctors tried to bury this report by publishing it literally just before Parliament rose for the Christmas recess, does not mean that opponents of this particular ID scheme should be idle over the holidays.

This document certainly deserves criticism, and we will probably re-publish some of our comments on this new experimental website, as well as here.

As Sam says on his Disruptive Proactivity blog

One thing about doing the id cards document is the amount of care that had been taken over layout and presentation; and the way that headers were used to break up text, seemingly to hide what was actually being said behind the heading.

The BBC News 24 and Sky News TV channels are reporting that the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein has been executed by hanging, by the Iraqi government.

Who will be the next dictator to be toppled from power and executed ?

Do mass murderers and torturers and looters of entire economies deserve to be executed rapidly and humanely, when the suffering they have caused to millions of people far exceeds that of any "normal" criminal ?

Although we disagree with many of the policies of Tony Blair and George Bush, we also disagree with those people who somehow equate them with evil dictators like Saddam Hussein.

Yet Another Blog Posting about the "Wilson Doctrine", which may be of some relevance to the "loans for peerages" scandal, where according to the The Independent, the Police are now investigating a "Downing Street email trail".

One of the questions we have asked about the "Wilson Doctrine" is whether or not it applies to extends to the House of Lords as well as to the House of Commons.

After a bit of research, is does appear that the Members of the House of Lords are also encompassed by the "Wilson Doctrine".

One of Prime Minister Tony Blair's Written Answers seems to imply that in 2001 the "Wilson Doctrine" applied also to Postal Interecption, but later ones seem to deny this. Has there been a change in policy ?

More North Korean trade sanctions red tape

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How effective do you think that these United Kingdom Government imposed trade sanctions will be in thwarting the evil North Korean dictatorship from its nuclear weapons threats and in undermining the police state which keeps it in power through fear and repression and propaganda ?

Statutory Instrument 2006 No. 3327 The North Korea (United Nations Measures) (Overseas Territories) Order 2006

Ooops! These trade sanctions outlined in this Statutory Instrument do not apply to the mainland United Kingdom, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, the Governments of which are only mentioned as ones to which information about the sanctions etc. may be disclosed.

Despite the Order applying to British Overseas Territories, Gibraltar also seems to have been missed out. Has the UK Government given up sovereignty over Gibraltar with respect to trade sanctions ? If so, why ?

Merry Christmas

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Merry Christmas, Peace on Earth, Goodwill to all, from Spy Blog.

Here is a tip, which may earn you kudos and gratitude from your family, friends or workmates, whose computer keyboards appear to be playing up, following installation of the "must have for Xmas" computer accessory, the USB Hamster Wheel.

If "normal" typing operations appear to be crippled, check your WIndows XP Control Panel / Accessibility Options / FilterKeys.

If the FilterKeys option has been checked to be on by default, it may well be set to deliberately

  • Ignore repeated keystrokes
  • Ignore quick keystrokes and slow the repeat rate

If enabled, the default Keyboard Shortcut to invoke this behaviour is to hold down the Right Shift Key for 8 seconds.

This is not usually something which is likely to happen normally, but it is much more likely to happen when people are playing with the USB Hamster Wheel .

The Guardian has a report from Yet Another Undercover Journalist who has managed to infiltrate the British National Party, as the local organiser in Central London, for 7 months.

The most interesting revelation was the use which the BNP apparently makes of encryption in order to protect their membership lists, although obviously not from authorised insiders.

Nick explained that the lists of local members and former members would be sent to me in encrypted emails. He slid a brown envelope across the table: inside was a CD which held the software which would enable me to decode them. He also asked me to write down the elaborate password I must use with the software: "the KING was born on 31 FEBRUARY."

No matter what you think of their odious politics, and whether or not you believe that their current leadership is genuinely trying to move away from their thuggish past, the use of encryption to protect the BNP membership lists is something to be applauded.

Does your political party or campaign group, or local church or other place of religious worship, or local school parents/teachers association etc. protect your personal details with strong encryption, or not ?

If not, then why not ?

Download some free strong encryption software from Pretty Good Privacy or TrueCrypt

If, like us, you are worried about the Government's planned restrictions on the Freedom of Information Act, as outlined in this Consultation:

Draft Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2007

you might want to sign this Pledge on PledgeBank:

"I will visit my MP in person to explain why I'm concerned about the possible changes to FOI rules but only if 2 other people in my constituency will come with me."

Deadline to sign up by: 1st March 2007

Since we admit to being slightly obsessed with the "Wilson Doctrine" and phone tapping surveillance of politicians and of the rest of us, we have tracked down a paper copy of Hansard, for 17th November 1966.

The current Prime Minister Tony Blair, like all his predecessors from both ruling parties since 1966, has vaguely re-affirmed that the "Wilson Doctrine" is still current Government policy, in a Ministerial Statement on 30th March 2006.

This still does not really answer the questions about all the new technologies like mobile phones, faxes, email, internet etc.which the word "telephone" implies today. Neither does it clarify the status of the "Wilson Doctrine" vis a vis the members of democratically elected devolved and supra national Parliaments and Assemblies which have come into existence since 1966, like the Scottish Parliament or the European Parliament etc.

This 1966 Oral Answers session is not available in the online version of Hansard, so, in the interests of setting the background for the forthcoming political row which is likely to ensue in the New Year, when there could be amendments to the Regulation of investigatory Powers Act, or at least to the Code of Practice, we will try to transcribe the relevant text here, for the benefit of search engine queries, from political researchers and journalists.

It is interesting how they style of Hansard, and of Parliamentary jargon, has changed in the last 40 years, e.g. the use of "my right hon. Friend", which is not quite the way they do it now:

People mentioned in the debate who were consulted by the Prime Minister Harold Wilson in formulating his "Wilson Doctrine":

  • Home Secretary: Roy Jenkins in November 1966, previously this was Sir Frank Soskice when Harold Wilson's Labour Government first came into power in 1964.

  • Paymaster-General: George Wigg - seen as a political fixer for Harold Wilson and his liaison with the secret intelligence agencies.

  • Postmaster-General - the UK telephone system was, in 1966 run by the state monopoly the General Post Office.
    This position was held by Anthony Wedgewood Benn (Tony Benn) between 1964 and July 1966. At the time of this debate the position was held by Edward Short, who clamped down on "pirate radio stations" in 1967.

    Remember that, 40 years ago MPs were not using the internet, email, mobile phones SMS text messages, or even facsimile machines. They were mostly not even using touch tone land line phones or direct dialing for long distance or overseas calls, like they do now. There was no computerised "itemised phone bill" Communications Traffic Data available either.

Other people in the debate:

Mr. Speaker: The Speaker of the House of Commons at this time, was Dr. Horace King

The MPs who tabled the Questions which Harold Wilson was answering:

  • Russell Kerr - Labour MP for Feltham, Middlesex

  • Desmond Donnelly - Labour MP for Pembrokeshire.

  • Peter M. Jackson - Labour MP for The High Peak, Derbyshire

  • Sir Tufton Beamish - Conservative MP for Lewes in Sussex - an archetypical "Tory Knight of the Shire" - hence the form of address "the hon. and gallant Member". Private Eye magazine seem to have been inspired to call one of their satirical stereotypes "Sir Bufton Tufton".

Other significant contributions:

  • Tom Driberg - Labour MP for Barking in London - with a scandalous private life, and later allegations that he was a Soviet Spy, asked the question to which Harold Wilson responded with a promise that any change to the "Wilson Doctrine" policy would require a statement by the Prime Minister to the House of Commons.

  • Gordon Walker Labour MP for Leyton in Essex - his question brought the clarification from Harold Wilson that not just MP's "official Parliamentary business" telephone conversations but their private ones were also covered by the "Wilson Doctrine".

  • Gerry Fitt Republican Labour Party MP for Belfast West (later founder of the Social Democratic and Labour Party) - asked about Northern Ireland - Harold Wilson seemed to assure him that tapping authorised by the Home Secretary against Northern Ireland Parliament MPs was also included in the "Wilson Doctrine", but not necessarily that authorised by the then local Northern Ireland Government. What about the other Parliaments and Assemblies which have been created since 1966, each with a democratically elected mandate from the UK electorate - surely the "Wilson Doctrine" should also apply to their Members as well ?

Commons Hansard

Official Report
Ffith Series
Tenth Volume of Session 1966 -67
Parliamentary Debates

National Archives reference: ZHC 2 1244

[via ArchRights blog]

The Digital Switchover (Disclosure of Information) Bill is more evidence of the NuLabour bureaucratic Nanny State, pandering to some vested commercial interests, at the cost of personal privacy and reduced data security.

This seems Bill is supposed to "help" a small minority of people during the forthcoming switch-over from analogue to digital television broadcasts.

However it is specifically designed to destroy the safeguards for everyone, not just this minority, under the Data Protection Act, i.e. that data collected for one purpose shall not be used for another one, without your explicit, informed consent. It is also designed to circumvent the Social Security Act data protection provisions as well.

Why is any of this necessary at all ?

The switch-over from Radio 4 Long Wave to FM and the the stupid (or perhaps the result of corruption on behalf of existing vested interests) need to re-tune TVs and video recorders to receive Channel 5, was achieved nationally, to all old age pensioners and people with disabilities etc. without the need for this sort of snooping and data shariing without explicit prior informed consent.

As suspected, the NuLabour Government has chosen to publish the promised Identity Register scheme Strategic Action Plan, just hours before the Christmas recess, thereby hoping that Members of Parliament will not notice it.

Strategic Action Plan for the National Identity Scheme (32 pages .pdf)

This is apparently, the "sensible plan" which was promised by the Arthur Andersen Android James Hall, now in charge of the Identity and Passport Service, in his web chat on the Number 10 Downing Street website on the 14th November 2006.


This is still not a properly detailed business plan of what the scheme is actually meant to achieve in detail, nor is it a detailed specification suitable for putting out to commercial tender.

Where does one begin with this still far too vague and handwaving a document ?

How about the Identity Cards Act 2006 Section 27 Unauthorised disclosure of information

5) A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable, on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to a fine, or to both

However, on Page 14:

Making sure only authorised people and organisations can use NIR information

41. Security-cleared IPS staff will be responsible for the running of the NIR and the authorised provision of information from it. It will be a criminal offence to tamper with the NIR, with a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment for an unauthorised disclosure of information. We will enforce these powers.

Have they not actually bothered to read the text of the Identity Cards Act ?

The 10 years imprisonment maximum penalty is under Section 29 Tampering with the Register etc.

This is so badly written, that it criminalises any Civil Servants or private sector IT consultants or sub-contractors, or anyone working for any of the 40,000 or so accredited organisations, if through no fault of their own, e.g.due to software or hardware error, they take any action or any inaction by omission,

where it makes it more difficult or impossible for such information to be retrieved in a legible form from a computer on which it is stored by the Secretary of State, or contributes to making that more difficult or impossible.

That includes otherwise legal working to rule or industrial strike action

Since these are criminal penalties, which claim worldwide scope, encompassing both UK and non-UK citizens, both in the UK and overseas, they cannot be "risk managed" by small print in commercial contracts or Software End User License Agreements etc.

This appalling Section 29 which was never debated in Parliament, due to the Government guillotines in Committee and during every other stage of the passage of the identity Cards Act, was, presumably intended as some sort of vague sanction against Denial of Service attacks, but this is irrelevant now that the Police an Justice Act has amended the Computer Misuse Act 1990, to attempt to deal with Denial of Service, again with a 10 year prison sentence.

The possible effect of this wording on Trades Union disputes etc. , was admitted by the Home Office Minister Baroness Scotland, during the Lords Report stage of the previous Identity Cards Bill 2005, but no changes to the wording of this section were made subsequently !

More on this dubious Strategic Action Plan in future blog postings.

The Times report about the possible investigation into a cover-up and "perversion of the course of justice" in the "loans for peerages" scandal, mentions possible "missing" emails and faxes.

The Times December 18, 2006

No 10 investigated for perversion of justice

Rajeev Syal


Downing Street aides and Labour officials involved in the cash-for-honours inquiry are being investigated on suspicion of perverting the course of justice, The Times has learnt.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has advised detectives to look into suspected attempts to hamper the nine-month investigation. Some e-mails and documents have yet to be handed over to the police while others have apparently “disappeared”. Some individuals are suspected of colluding over evidence.


Our blog posting on 9th December Where are the missing RIPA Commissioners' annual reports for 2005 ? speculated

If, for example, T/Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service, John Yates , who is investigating the "cash / loans for peerages" scandal, had requested some Communications Traffic Data for the phones and emails, of Members of Parliament, would that or would that not come under the "Wilson Doctrine", which was raised by the then Interception of Communications Commissioner Rt. Hon. Sir Swinton Thomas, just over a year ago ?

FOIA Decision Notice about the "Wilson Doctrine"


We managed to miss, until now, this Freedom of Information Act Decision Notice, regarding a request to the Cabinet Office about the "Wilson Doctrine", published in July.

Since we seem to have published more about the "Wilson Doctrine" on the world wide web, than anybody else this year, it would be remiss of us not to comment on this.

See the Information Commissioner's Office FOIA Decision Notice search

The Sunday Times has a disheartening report, also by David Leppard :

The Sunday Times
December 17, 2006

Reid ‘buries’ news that police hold DNA of 1m innocent people

David Leppard

POLICE are holding the DNA records of more than 1m innocent people — eight times more than ministers have previously admitted.

Official figures slipped out by the Home Office last week show that almost one in three of the 3.4m individuals whose details are kept on the database do not have a criminal record or a police caution. The government has now been accused of trying to bury “the bad news” among last week’s police announcements over the murders of five prostitutes in Ipswich.

Earlier this year, the Home Office reported that the figure was just 139,463. But in a parliamentary answer last week, ministers said that of the 3,457,000 individuals on the database, just 2,317,555 had a criminal conviction or caution recorded on the Police National Computer. That means that 1,139,445 people have their personal details stored without having been found guilty of any crime.

We must admit that we missed the significance of this Parliamentary Written Answer, to the Bob Spink MP (Conservative), which was cunningly grouped with several others about the DNA database, on Monday 11th December 2006.

The Sunday Times has yet another story by David Leppard, which relies on secret briefings by some Whitehall sources or other, regarding Jonathan Evans, the alleged favourite candidate to take over as the new Director General of MI5 the Security Service, when Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller retires in April 2007.

The Sunday Times
December 17, 2006

New MI5 boss is top expert on Al-Qaeda

David Leppard

A SPYMASTER who has tracked Al-Qaeda’s activities in Britain since the organisation first emerged as a threat to this country is frontrunner to be the next head of MI5.

Sources said Jonathan Evans, senior deputy director-general of the security service, was a “racing certainty” to take over from Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, who surprised Whitehall last week by announcing that she would be stepping down early from the top job.

Sources said she had decided to quit in anticipation that she might be asked to resign over blunders concerning last year’s July 7 bombings.

Surely Jonathan Evans must also share any blame, and could even be directly responsible, for any MI5 mistakes in failing to track the July 2005 terrorists attackers ?

This last week has seen several news stories, the timing of which have been entirely under the control of the Labour Government's spin doctors and media manipulators. The suspicion must be, that with the front pages of the newspapers and the TV news ghoulishly obsessed with the serial murders near Ipswich, that "bad news" is hidden before the Christmas Parliamentary recess. This does appear to be true, with the Police questioning of Prime Minister Tony Blair over the "Labour loans for peerages" scandal, the dropping of the corruption enquiry into BAE systems and the Saudi Arabian regime, the Operation Paget report into the death of Princess Diana etc. One story, although the timing of which is suspect, has attracted peculiar commentary from the mainstream media, namely the announcement of the resignation of Dame Eliza Mannigham-Buller, as Director General of the Security Service MI5.

There seems to be lots of unfounded media speculation, from across the newspaper political spectrum e.g.

This seems like lazy journalism to us.

Dame Eliza is not retiring until April next year, i.e. 4 and half years after taking up the role of Director General, which she started in October 2002. She will then have served 33 years in the Security Service, and will have spent 10 years at the top of MI5, as Deputy and then as Director General. She will be 59 years old in July 2007.

Why is this length of time as Director General considered to be significant ? According to the historical list of previous Directors General on the official MI5 Security Service website, this is neither an unusual amount of time to have held this post, nor an unusual age at which to retire - see our table below (birth and death dates from Wikipedia):

The full Operation Paget report (.pdf 833 pages) into the death of Princess Diana, is now downloadable from the Home Office website. We will comment on a couple of aspects of this long, and entirely predictable report into the accidental death of Princess Diana etc.

Chapter 15 of the report deals with alleged USA intelligence agency involvement

The actual content of this chapter does not support the leaked / briefed / spun story in last Sunday's Observer newspaper claiming USA National Security Agency interception of Princess Diana's telephone calls, without informing the British authorities.

Chapter 16 deals with British intelligence agencies.

It names two alleged MI6 officers attached to the diplomatic staff at the British Embassy in Paris at the time, for no good reason which sheds any light on the matter, apparently against the wishes of the Defence, Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee (DBAC), who run the voluntary Defence Advisory Notice system, even though the "Not Protectively Marked" full report is available for download from the Home Office website.

Remember how NuLabour Chancellor of the Exchequer and Prime Minister in waiting Gordon Brown, is promising to "cut red tape by 25%" ?

We are not convinced - see "More Treasury financial snooping triplicated red tape"

We have, eventually, had a result from our Freedom of information Act request for the

'The Partial Regulatory Impact Assessment mentioned in the Explanatory Notes to Statutory Instrument 2006 No. 2657 The Terrorism (United Nations Measures) Order 2006'

We reluctantly submitted this, after failing to get any information from the Treasury website, and from emails and phone calls to the Treasury itself.

See our FOIA blog entry for more details.

The Partial Regulatory Impact Assessment is on-line at:

This document admits that there has been no actual consultation with anybody, and it makes unsubstantiated claims that there will be no impact on, or cost to, for example, small businesses, despite the wording being so catch-all as to encompass every "person" in the United Kingdom, both individuals and corporate entities.

There is no Code of Practice to regulate the use or abuse of such widespread powers to demand financial information. These powers appear to be a way of circumventing the protections and audit trails, such as they are, envisaged in the forthcoming Code of Practice for the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Part III

These powers, and their criminal penalties, have subsequently been duplicated and then triplicated by the two further, almost identical, overlapping Orders, mentioning the Taliban and Al Qaida, and North Korea.

The Information Commissioner's Office has now published an updated report entitled What Price Privacy Now ? (.pdf). Apart from adducing testimony from various trades bodies about the ICO proposal to increase the penalty under section 55 of the Data Protection Act, to a criminal one of up to 2 years in prison, rather than the paltry fines, levied now, the report also reveals the names of the most active newspapers and magazines involved in the Operation Motorman case:

PublicationNumber of transactionsNumber of journalists / clients positively identified using services
Daily Mail 952 58
Sunday People 802 50
Daily Mirror 681 45
Mail on Sunday 266 33
News of the World 182 19
Sunday Mirror 143 25
Best Magazine 134 20
Evening Standard 130 1
The Observer 103 4
Daily Sport 62 4
Sunday Times 52 7
The People 37 19
Daily Express 36 7
Weekend Magazine (Daily Mail) 30 4
Sunday Express 29 8
The Sun 24 4
Closer Magazine 22 5
Sunday Sport 15 1
Night and Day (Mail on Sunday) 9 2
Sunday Business News 8 1
Daily Record 7 2
Saturday (Express) 7 1
Sunday Mirror Magazine 6 1
Real Magazine 4 1
Woman's Own 4 2
Daily Mirror Magazine 3 2
Mail in Ireland 3 1
Daily Star 2 4
Marie Claire 2 1
Personal Magazine 1 1
Sunday World 1 1

N.B. This table only refers to one firm of private investigators, in the period between 2000 and 2003. Other firms may have been used to different extents by these publications, and by those which do not appear on this list.

Why are the likes of Woman's Own or Marie Claire magazines, employing private investigators to illegally gather personal data ?

It seems that the 4 conspirators in this Operation Motorman case (the ICO's investigation into the Data Protection Act offences) and the related Operation Glade (the Police investigation into the Police National Computer offences) were charged and convicted in April 2005, but they were not even fined, let alone sent to prison, and were instead given a 2 year conditional discharge, according to this not very prominent report in The Guardian:

What would you consider to be a fair punishment for possibly 11,000 breaches of the Data Protection Act, and the circumvention of the security of the Police National Computer ? 10 years in prison perhaps ?

Who ever would have suspected the British tabloid media of abusing people's privacy and breaking the, admittedly weak, Data Protection Act, but not, of course, the UK's non-existent privacy statutes ?

Ian Dale has the story, and, rightly suspects that it will not be splashed as front page news by the mainstream newspapers, so it is the duty of the UK political blogosphere, from all political viewpoints, to comment, analyse and investigate.

If any bloggers or journalists or others do wish to "blow the whistle" and reveal more details of this scandal about "blaggers", then please read our hints and tips and advice about protecting confidential sources or yourselves.

Lord Carlile of Berriew Q.C the Government's Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation has published a special report (.pdf) on the working of the controversial Control Order scheme.

The Home Secretary appears to accept the advice to publish more details about the Control Orders, without compromising the anonymity of those subjected to them.

However, we think that there should be far more openness about exactly what the Conditions imposed by the Control Orders are

Why are these conditions not made public, in general terms, without specific identifying information ?

We want to know, for example, the exact extent to which the 7 British citizens and 9 foreign nationals under Control Orders, and their families who are not subject to such Control Orders, are being denied access to mobile phones and the internet.

13. I have reviewed each alleged breach of control orders, using information from the police and the Home Office. These have been numerous, though in scale most have been minor. They have included lateness in reporting to police stations, minor tampering with tags, unauthorized meetings and visitors. There have been instances of unauthorized possession of SIM cards and, occasionally, mobile telephones.

This is different from having their communications lawfully intercepted by the authorities under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, and it has wider implications than just for the 16 people currently affected.

To what extent do these apparent bans on mobile phones and, perhaps internet access, also apply to other family members sharing the home of a person subjected to a Control Order ?

How can a ban on the possession of SIM cards or mobile phones, be consistent with a non-derogating Control Order ?

What if the mobile phone is being used for browsing the web or for internet email, rather than for voice traffic ?

Are there also bans on the use of the internet ?

Supposing one of the existing, or future, subjects of a Control Order, wants to publish a blog or a website about his experiences, or to try to clear his name of allegations of terrorism ?

Supposing they want to arrange interviews with the press or with their lawyers, or to try to raise money for legal costs ? Why should the State interfere with this non-terrorist activity ?

It appears that the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) has actually ruled in favour of a complainant, for the first time in its history !

Previous annual reports by the Interception of Communications Commissioner and the intelligence Services Commissioner have a section on the activities of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, and none of them have ever reported that any complaint against the authorities had ever been upheld.

It is possible that we have missed news of some obscure IPT ruling in the calendar year 2005, which would presumably have been reported in the still as yet unpublished 2005 annual reports, but there is nothing published on the Investigatory Powers Tribunal website section on Rulings either.

So where are the prison sentences, or fines for those who ordered or conducted the illegal intercepts? Where is the ordering of the destruction of the privacy invading recordings, transcripts and communications traffic data logfiles, and the financial compensation for the victims of the illegal acts ?

The Investigatory Powers Tribunal does not have any power to convict, or fine, or even to recommend the prosecution of anyone found to have ordered or conducted illegal communications interceptions. The IPT does have the power to order the destruction of the intercepted recordings, transcripts and communications data traffic logfiles , and to award financial compensation to the victims, but it does not seem to have done so in this case.

Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 Part IV
and the Statutory Instrument 2000 No. 2665 The Investigatory Powers Tribunal Rules 2000

According to the this article:


The Sunday Times

December 10, 2006

Met chief oversaw illegal bugging of black officers

Michael Gillard and Jonathan Calvert

SIR IAN BLAIR, the Metropolitan police commissioner, oversaw an illegal operation in which the telephone calls of black and Asian officers were bugged.

A panel led by a judge ruled last week that the covert operation by anti-corruption detectives breached surveillance regulations and the right to privacy.

Will the Labour Government manage to publish the missing Annual Reports of the Interception of Communications Commissioner and the Intelligence Services Commissioner for 2005, before then end of 2006, as required by law ?

The Houses of Parliament will rise for the Christmas recess on Tuesday 19th December, coming back on Monday 8th January 2007. Since the House of Commons will not sit on Friday, that leaves only 6 working days for the Prime Minister to make a Ministerial Written Statement announcing the publication of these reports.

Since all of these reports are censored, in so far as there is anything which might reveal operational details, why does it take nearly a whole year for them to be published ?

What is Tony Blair trying to hide ?

Is there something in these reports about the "Wilson Doctrine", or something else which the spin doctors are trying to prevent the media and Parliament from discussing before Christmas ?

If, for example, T/Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Sevice, John Yates , who is investigating the "cash / loans for peerages" scandal, had requested some Communications Traffic Data for the phones and emails, of Members of Parliament, would that or would that not come under the "WIlson Doctrine", which was raised by the then Interception of Communications Commissioner Rt. Hon. Sir Swinton Thomas, just over a year ago ?

Will any lobby journalists or MPs try to find out ?

Surely it is now time for the UK Government to publish some quantitative estimates of the actual amount of Polonium 210 radionucleide involved in the Alexander Litvinenko murder ?

How many bequerels, (or curies), sieverts, grays or any other actual measures of radioactivity are involved ?

It is understandable that in the early hours and days after the incident was discovered, that such figures were not yet available, but what is the excuse for not doing so now, after the funeral of Alexander Litvinenko ?

Surely an upper limit of the actual amount of Polonium-210 involved can be estimated by now, over a month after the authorities got involved in the case ?

Is Polonium-210 the only radionucleide involved, apart from its transformation products ?

The Government have published information for health professionals about the Polonium-210 radiological incident and they have even granted themselves a legal exemption via Statutory Instrument 2006 No. 3169, The Radioactive Substances (Emergency Exemption) (England and Wales) Order 2006, specifically mentioning Alexander Litvinenko:

We seem to be a bit tardy about mentioning the The Big Opt Out campaign to protect the security and privacy of your NHS medical records.

The Big Opt Out Campaign, supported by our fellow technologically adept privacy and security sceptics at NO2ID and FIPR and even The Guardian newspaper, are offering help and advice and model letters etc. to help you to opt out of having your confidential medical records unnecessarily put at risk on a massive centralised national database (the "NHS Care record"), rather than kept securely, locally, by your General Practitioner's surgery.

The next time someone utters the "nothing to hide, nothing to fear" canard, ask them if they are willing to let hundreds of thousands of faceless bureaucrats and third party UK Government departments and commercial organisations, and even Foreign Governments, to have access to their and their family's intimate medical records and personal name and address, racial or ethnic or religious details etc., automatically, without explicit, prior, informed consent.

The reaction of the Department for Health has been to try to get your local Doctor to report anybody who dares to try to opt of the scheme to the central bureaucracy - see Professor Ross Anderson's blog posting on Light Blue Touchpaper for more details.

There is a need to have secure and efficient, collection, storage and transmission of electronic medical records.

There is no excuse for doing this in the inherently insecure and corruptible way in which the "NHS Data Spine" project is stumbling along.

We have been following, on and off, news of Farid Hilali since 2004.

His case is of general interest, in that Farid Hilali seems to be the first person in the UK to have been arrested and held in prison under the new, allegedly "fast track" extradition under the European Arrest Warrant.

We did think that, despite the case against the alleged ring leader Al Quaeda in Spain, Imad Eddin Barakat, having collapsed, and the Spanish court having decided that all the mobile phone evidence presented was "untrustworthy", that Farid Hilali, should have been released, and, as an illegal immigrant, deported from the UK.

The only evidence against him is an alleged Spanish "voice print analysis" of a mobile phone conversation, i.e. there is no actual physical evidence, like possession of the actual mobile phone, DNA, fingerprints etc which would prove that he was actually the person talking elliptically to the alleged Spanish Al Queada cell leader, Imad Eddin Barakat back in August 2001.

However, it, seems that the Kafkaesque legal system bureaucracy ground on, and Hilali lost his High Court Appeal against extradition to Spain, back in May 2006.

This involved the notorious Extradition Act 2003, but unlike Part 2 Scheduled Countries such as the USA, European Union
countries are dealt with under Part 1 of the Act, and the Home Secretary is not involved in the extradition and appeal process at all (officially).

We had assumed that he would then have been sent to Spain, but, lo and behold, it appears that Farid Hilai is still being held in
Woodhill Prison in the UK 17th November 2006

A little while later a gang of officers assaulted a category A Muslim alleged terror suspect Farid Hilali after he refused to be transferred to another prison stating that he had social and urgent legal visits booked for the week commencing 20th November 2006. Also, that the Governor of Woodhill Prison has been notified by his solicitors of the request not to transfer him. Mr Hilali was assaulted for merely stating to officers to check the position with the Governor. The inmate was heard shouting “Allahu Akbar (God is Great)!” in pain as he was beaten. His solicitors have reported this assault to the police for proceedings to be bought against the officers concerned.

Under the stupid Extradition Act 2003, there is no opportunity for a UK Court and defence lawyers to cross-examine any alleged prima facie evidence, such as the "voice print" analysis. If the mobile phone calls had been intercepted in the UK, then they would be inadmissible as evidence, in a UK Court, either for the prosecution or the defence, under the current Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 section 17 Exclusion of matters from legal proceedings.

As we have said before:

Call us old fashioned, but we think that some actual positive, evidence should be brought before a British court, for a sanity check, before anyone is arrested and extradited from the UK to a foreign country.

For all we know, Farid Hilali could be a peripheral associate of terrorist plotters, but this is not justice, and it does not make us any safer against real terrorists, it just weakens our freedoms and liberties, which is exactly what the terrorist extremists want to achieve.

The Transport Policy Study chaired by Sir Rod Eddington is full of detailed forecasts and analyses, and therefore it is not well suited to the "sound bites" favoured by politicians and the mainstream media.

We note that there does not seem to be a single mention of the word privacy in the entire Eddington Study report, according to the Adobe .pdf search facility.

The recommendations about a National Road Pricing scheme are extremely worrying, from the viewpoint of privacy and the fundamental human right of freedom to travel. and the defence of the Critical National Infrastructure from military, terrorist or organised criminal attacks.

This National Road Pricing Scheme could easily become a multi-billion pound mass surveillance system, which would dwarf the reprehensible centralised National Identity Register scheme.

Tom Watson MP and ANPR

| | Comments (12)

Our comment on a posting on Labour MP Tom Watson's blog might be in the junk or moderation queues, unless, of course, this is another website which is censoring our views. Perhaps he will see the Trackback instead.

We were trying to comment on this posting:

01.12.2006: Watching him illegally watching you?

The information commissoner [sic] believes that the use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition technology may be illegal. This would be very difficult for current police operations. For one, there has been an increasing reliance of ANPR by traffic police in recent years.

Surely you mean the Office of the Surveillance Commissioners, rather than the Information Commissioner ?

I spent a day with the police to examine the use of the technology. Any car identified as not having tax or the correct records using the system was stopped. Frankly, it was like shooting fish in a barrel. The police were pulling out offensive weapons and a stack of drugs from nearly everyone they stopped.

We have no real objection to the use of ANPR lookups to the Police National Computer etc. for roadside patrols and checkpoints, where the information is used directly for stops and searches of suspicious vehicles, which is what was demonstrated to Tom Watson.

However, that is not the main use of ANPR any more - there are only one or two mobile ANPR roadside traffic Police teams per regional Police force..

However, Local Authority run CCTV surveillance cameras, either for traffic or "street protection" are now being converted to use ANPR. Why should Local Authority employees, or their private sector sub-contractors, ever be trusted with what is effectively back-door access to the Police National Computer and the DVLA databases ?

See: "ANPR database retention rules - Parliamentary Answer claims 2 years when it is actually 6 years or longer"

The National ANPR Database has never been the subject of widespread informed debate, either by the public or by Parliament.

What possible excuse is there for the retention of the numberplate, time, date and location log files of millions of innocent, law abiding motorists, either for 90 days or 2 years or 6 years or longer ? This data on innocent people, should be deleted immediately.

ANPR is also being used by supermarkets and petrol station retailers.

Similarly, most of the mad cap schemes proposed for national road pricing, seem to involve ANPR for some or all of the enforcement of the new tax.

In his recent report (pdf), the commissioner says that: "The unanimous view of the commissioners is that the existing legislation is not apt to deal with the fundamental problems to which the deployment of ANPR cameras gives rise..." Translated from mandarin-speak, that means pretty serious. He thinks use of the technology could be classed as unathourised [sic] covert surveillance by the courts.

Do not confuse the Information Commissioner Richard Thomas with the Chief Surveillance Commissioner, who, at the time of this report was Rt. Hon. Sir Andrew Leggatt, and who is now, since 1st July 2006, Rt. Hon. Sir Christopher Rose.

See our UK Commissioners link for contact details.

The Surveillance Commissioners, who are all former High Court or similar Judges, are correct in
saying that mass surveillance ANPR falls foul of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 Part II requirement to get individual permission to use Directed or Covert Surveillance, only for carefully targeted Police or intelligence agency investigations of serious crimes i.e. ones which would attract a prison sentence of 3 or more years for a first time offender if convicted.

I'm going to urgently quiz Police Minister Tony McNulty on this next week.

We do not trust Tony McNulty, and wonder why he is still a Minister, after the Home Office disasters over which he has presided, e.g. the Immigration and Nationality Directorate, the National Identity Register / ID cards project and his failed attempts at re-organisation of the regional Police forces etc.

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