March 2008 Archives

The 10 candidates for the Mayor of London election , as well as those representing other groups contesting the Greater London Assembly elections, on May 1st 2008 are now officially listed by London Elects.

Interestingly, the broad political spectrum cross-party NO2ID Campaign has organised a campaign hustings meeting, which will give members of the public and the press and media a chance to see how the candidates stack up against each other, in terms of their policies and promises for London, regarding privacy, security, surveillance, data protection, civil liberties etc. issues

NO2ID is holding hustings among the candidates for Mayor of London to discover their positions on


As well as housing Whitehall, London has many information and identity management systems of its own. How do candidates feel about the civil liberties and privacy implications of, among other things, the Oyster Card, congestion charging, telephone parking? Would they support or oppose national ID schemes as mayor? What is their attitude to the database state?

Invitations are being issued to every party with London representation at Westminster, in Strasbourg or in the GLA. Chair TBC

Prospective candidates Gerard Batten (UKIP), Siân Berry (Green), Lindsey German (Respect / The Left List), Boris Johnson (Conservative), and Brian Paddick (Liberal Democrat) have indicated interest in participating already.

Time: 7pm Tuesday 8th April 2008

Place: Friends House, 173 Euston Road NW1 2BJ (map)

Press enquiries to:

Other London database state issues which are likely to be raised by the public include:

  • The function creep in the extension of use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition Cameras / CCTV Cameras from their original purpose e.g. systems which were installed on the promise that they would make the streets safer from street robberies and violence, but which are being used instead, by Local Authorities like the London Boroughs of Camden or Richmond, to collect hundreds of thousands of pounds in fixed penalty notices, even from car drivers who have only stopped for a few seconds to let an emergency services vehicle etc. pass them safely.

  • The Home Secretary has crippled the Data Protection Act enforcement powers of the Information Commissioner regarding the handing over of all the Camera data, in bulk, in real time, in secret, from Transport for London to the Metropolitan Police Service, including the Central and the Westward Expansion Congestion Charge zones, and the larger Low Emission Zone and TfL traffic CCTV cameras in general.

    What extra safeguards and protections for innocent London travellers, would each of the candidates implement or demand ?

    Why should London taxpayers or Congestion Charge or LEZ charge payers pay for this secret data snooping scheme, rather than it being funded from the Central Government "single security budget" ?

  • "Kiddy Printing" use of fingerprint scanners in schools, and at Heathrow Airport,

  • "see through your clothes or your children's clothes" scanner trials and actual deployment at Canary Wharf, but also being threatened for use in schools or on the Tube.

  • All the mad / "snake oil" schemes for mass surveillance which are likely to be touted by vendors and suppliers of equipment and services, ahead of the multi billion pound (in)security budget spend for the London 2012 Olympic Games e.g. "aggressive audio behaviour" snooping linked to (even more) CCTV cameras, or the, extremely hazardous in a heavily built up urban area, "pilotless surveillance camera drones".

  • Will the candidates promise to force the removal of any extra mass surveillance and snooping systems, which may be justified temporarily for only the Olympic Games period ? Or is the permanent "legacy" of the Olympic Games going to include even more of the infrastructure of a repressive police state ?

It will be interesting to see how many of these five candidates, or the other five candidates, turn up to this hustings event.

The other five Mayoral candidates are:

We were going to comment initially on the

Draft Governance of Britain - Constitutional Renewal Bill (.pdf 98 pages)

regarding the welcome plan to repeal sections 132 to 138 of the Serious Organised Crime Act 2005, which has chilled free speech and freedom of assembly in the over large Designated Area around Parliament Square and Millbank and Whitehall etc. - see the Parliament Protest blog

This repeal appears prominently as Part 1 Clause 1 of the draft Bill, however, any joy at this proposed return to the status quo ante, is marred by Part 6 of the Bill,

It looks as if we will have to again go through all the fuss and lobbying that we saw over the wretched Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006, the previous attempt by this Labour Government to neuter Parliament by Order of a Minister.

See the Save Parliament website as a reminder of the dangers to our Parliamentary democracy from the executive branch of Government, which seem to be looming, yet again.

Part 6
43 Power to make consequential provision

(1) A Minister o the Crown, or two or more Ministers of the Crown acting jointly, may by order make such provision as the Minister or Ministers consider appropriate in consequence of this Act.

(2) An order under subsection (1) may --

    (a) amend, repeal or revoke any provision made by or under an Act;

    (b) include transitional or saving provision.

(3) An order under subsection (1) is to be made by statutory instrument.

(4) A statutory instrument containing an order under subsection (1) which amends or repeals a provision of an Act may not be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before and approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.

(5) A statutory instrument containing an order under subsection (1) which does not amend or repeal a provision of an Act is subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.

N.B our original posting missed out the word under from 2 (a) , which appears in the current online version of the .pdf file. We are trying to see if we can recover the previous version of the .pdf file from which we were working, and which struck us as so peculiar and noteworthy at the time.

"under" makes the wording of 2 (a) less awkward, but it does not limit Clause 43 to just this Constitutional Renewal Bill, it still applies to every Act of Parliament.

  • Repealing any Sections of any Acts of Parliament i.e. Primary Legislation, will only require the "affirmative resolution procedure".

  • Revoking any Sections of any Acts of Parliament i.e. Primary Legislation, will only require the "negative resolution procedure".

  • Amending any Sections of any Acts of Parliament i.e. Primary Legislation, seems to require both the "affirmative resolution procedure" and the "negative resolution procedure".

What happened to the supposed "super-affirmative procedure" and the whole of the debate in Parliament and in the UK political blogosphere over the wretched and controversial Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006 then ?

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

The abuse of the catch all, excessively broad wording "amend, repeal or revoke any provision made by or an Act" means that even the Constitutional Acts like Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights 1689, Habeas Corpus, the European Communities Act, the Human Rights Act, the Civil Contingencies Act etc. can all be repealed or amended without the need for a full debate, or for new Primary Legislation, simply by Order of a Minister.

It seems that British Airports Authority BAA has temporarily backed regarding Heathrow Terminal 5 mandatory fingerprinting of both domestic and international passengers,


A previous article in The Register ICO queries Heathrow T5's huge fingerprint scam scan points to the fact that the fingerprint scanners are being supplied bythe German firm of Dermalog, who, no doubt produce excellent finger printing equipment regarding the optics, and scanning compression algorithms etc.

However we can see no data or even any claims on their website regarding any bio-safety mechanisms for cleaning or sterilising their equipment in a mass transit application, to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

The press reports that Heathrow Terminal 5 will be using "4 fingerprints" implies that the Dermalog product must be based on their eBorder Kiosk

Unfortunately, this does not give us any confidence that system is in any way properly tamperproof because:

System requirements:
  • MS Windows 2000, XP and Vista
  • Pentium III processor or faster
  • Min. 256 MB RAM
  • USB 2.0 and FireWire interface and CD-ROM drive

USB 2.0 may be a possible vulnerability, but Firewire is definitely a huge security risk.

It is welcome news that the Information Commissioner's Office is asking British Airports Authority to justify, under the Data Protection Act, the plan to force all passengers at the new Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport to submit to intrusive fingerprint scanning and photography.

As the Mail on Sunday article, with some nice photos of the new building, points out, other airports manage the "let's be greedy and mix the international transit passengers with domestic ones in our airside shopping mall" situation, which could have been prevented in the architectural design of a brand new airport terminal, and enforced simply with photography and an adequate number of staff.

See Terminal Five chaos threat over fingerprint plan: Commissioner tells passengers to protest at security measures

The Commissioner's office says passengers ordered to give their prints should do so "under protest" and that such a scheme would normally be considered "intrusive".

It has launched an investigation into whether BAA "took account of the data protection implications of its proposal".

Unless Heathrow provides evidence that the move is necessary, the Commissioner has the power to order it to stop fingerprinting passengers or face legal action.

BAA claim that the Government has forced them to do it, presumably to try to pretend that mass fingerprint scanning is somehow a normal part of life for innocent people, and to try to soften up public opposition to the wretched Identity Cards / National Identity Register centralised database scheme.

Even if you believe that the "fingerprint data will be encrypted", why does it need to be stored for as long as 24 hours ? Why is not immediately deleted once someone has been checked at the departure gate ? What legitimate use it at any time thereafter ?

One of the top threats to National Security, even according to Gordon Brown is an influenza or other transmissible infectious disease pandemic, spread worldwide by airline travellers,

This scheme actually runs counter to the UK Government's

single overarching national security objective of protecting the United Kingdom and its interests, enabling its people to go about their daily lives freely and with confidence, in a more secure, stable, just and prosperous world.

See National Security Strategy - bias, omissions and weasel words

How exactly does the increased risk of spreading infectious diseases, from having to physically touch the biohazardous scum, full of bacteria, fungal spores and viruses, which certainly will accumulate on the surfaces of the heavily used fingerprint scanning equipment , actually enhance our individual or national security ?

If doctors, nurses, dentists, tattooists etc. have to sterlise their hands before touching another person, then why should public mass transit fingerprint scanners somehow be magically immune from being sources of infection ?

If fingerprint scanning is to be used, then there needs to be an expensive human operator in attendance at each checkpoint to ensure that it is far more difficult for fake fingerprints to be used by criminals and to clean and sterlise the surfaces of the equipment to preserve public health and national and international biosecurity, however, it appears that the Terminal 5 setup is to try to use cheapskate unattended, unsterilsed fingerprint equipment.

The much hyped The National Security Strategy of the United Kingdom - Security in an interdependent world (.pdf 64 pages) is now available online on the Cabinet Office website.

Is anyone really clear about exactly how the current plans and policies of the Government actually fit with this National Security Strategy, except in the vague, generalised, non-specific, hand waving political management consultant speak terms ?

A flavour of the various biases and omissions in this National Security Strategy document can be gleaned from a simple word count of some keywords and phrases:

  • 2 mentions of "liberty"
  • 4 mentions of "freedom"
  • 5 mentions of "surveillance"
  • 6 mentions of "horizon scanning"
  • 15 mentions of "police"
  • 86 mentions of "national security"
  • 41 mentions of "risks"
  • 34 mentions of "risk"
  • 8 mentions of the "internet"
  • 5 mentions of "cyber attack"
  • 2 mentions of "cyber crime"
  • 2 mentions of "money laundering"
  • 24 mentions of "organised crime"
  • 9 mention of "crime"
  • 51 mentions of "terrorist"
  • 53 mentions of "terrorism"
  • 4 mentions of "flood"
  • 11 mentions of "flooding"
  • 11 mentions of "pandemic"
  • 36 mentions of "climate"
  • 4 mentions of "biological weapons"
  • 37 mentions of "nuclear"
  • 19 mentions of "proliferation"
  • 32 mentions of "energy"
  • 14 mentions of "Middle East"
  • 14 mentions of "Iraq"
  • 14 mentions of "Iraq"
  • 26 mentions of "Afghanistan"
  • 4 mentions of "Pakistan"
  • 4 mentions of "Iran"
  • 5 mentions of "India"
  • 10 mentions of "China"
  • 7 mentions of "Russia"
  • 10 mentions of "United States"
  • 1 mention of "Lebanon"
  • 1 mention of "Irish"
  • 1 mention of "Islam"
  • 1 mention of "Islamic"
The omissions are just as revealing:
  • Zero mentions of "genetics"
  • Zero mentions of "genetic engineering"
  • Zero mentions of "biotechnology"
  • Zero mentions of "Israel"
  • Zero mentions of "Palestine"
  • Zero mentions of "Ireland"

These are serious omissions, given the potential and actual threats which they pose.

The document is full of the usual NuLabour weasel words
See Political Lexicon 2008 - list of mostly NuLabour Orwellian Newspeak:

  • 10 mentions of "serious" (apart from SOCA)
  • 20 mentions of "tackle"
  • 19 mentions of "engagement"
  • 14 mentions of "public"
  • 19 mentions of "strengthen"
  • 19 mentions of "strengthening"
  • 22 mentions of "early"

The idea of a US style National Security Council seems to have been watered down:

Today should see the publication of Gordon Brown's alleged "National Security Strategy", which he signaled last summer and autumn, you know, the one which was supposed to have been published by Christmas.

See previous Spy Blog articles:

Since we, along with the rest of the public, are never actually consulted about such things, we have little expectation that this document will actually do anything to make us any more secure, or that the the resources available to the Government will actually be directed into the proper areas.

We expect the Strategy, to appoint a National Security Council, as Yet Another Talking Shop, loosely based on the system which the USA has had since 1948, to advise their President on general National Security Strategy policies, and for it to develop its own bureaucratic empire of Special Advisors and Committees etc, all of whom will need to travel in secret luxury to "consult", with their counterparts in foreign countries.

Just as worrying is the media spin and briefing ahead of this official announcement which seems to show that vaguely unnamed "security agencies", are attempting to make an even greater mockery of the Data Protection Act and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, by doing away with the need for them to proportionately target their quests for data from mass surveillance systems like the London Oyster Card travel smartcard scheme or for "CCTV" in general.

The Observer MI5 seeks powers to trawl records in new terror hunt

Daily Telegraph 'Free CCTV film access for security services'

This is sort of speculative data trawling fundamentally wrong and technologically a waste of money. Such generalised, secret, unaccountable mass data trawling, which puts the privacy and potentially the security of individual innocent members of the public at risk, from lazy, incompetent or corrupt insiders who have access to such snooping systems must not be allowed to happen

There is no scientific evidence that effective "future horizon scanning for threats" is even vaguely technically possible, given the vast amount of data which is currently being generated.

The officials and politicians and lobbyists who are pressing for such a further extension of the UK mass surveillance society should have the courage to put forward their case, backed by evidence, openly in public. If they cannot do that, then there is every chance that they are deluded or are deliberately lying about how effective such snooping will be, and the risks that their new systems pose to the liberty, freedom and security of innocent individuals.

We await the publication of this Strategy with fear and foreboding.

What is the the Association of Chief Police Officers of England Wales and Northern Ireland playing at ?

Either they have incompetent internal management systems for developing a consensus view on "policing policy areas", and then for communicating these to the wider public and the mainstream media, or they are guilty of NuLabour style media manipulation and spin, in support of a particular political or commercial agenda, despite claiming that the Police service is apolitical.

How did Gary Pugh get to become the ACPO spokesman on DNA ?

His quotations in The Observer, confirmed by the BBC as being accurate, seem to show that he is a proponent of Nazi / Soviet style discredited pseudo-science of Eugenics

'If we have a primary means of identifying people before they offend, then in the long-term the benefits of targeting younger people are extremely large,' said Pugh. 'You could argue the younger the better. Criminologists say some people will grow out of crime; others won't. We have to find who are possibly going to be the biggest threat to society.'

There is no scientific evidence that anybody can predict the future behaviour of 5 year olds with any degree of accuracy. You would have thought that Gary Pugh with a degree in Chemistry, who is meant to be familiar with the science behind DNA profile fingerprinting, would be familiar with the statistical concepts of false positives and false negatives.

The Reporters Without Borders: new updated version of the "Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents" inspired us to get around to revamping what had become a rather too long, but important blog article, which gave Hints and Tips for, initially, Home Office whistleblowers, investigative journalists and bloggers. This was published originally in May 2006, during the height of the media frenzy surrounding the buck passing and musical chairs when the "not fit for purpose" Home Office blob spawned the Ministry of (in)Justice.

The original blog post and comments remain:

Home Office whistleblowers - hints and tips

but the actual Hints and Tips "below the fold" section, has been moved and broken up into more manageable pieces, to form a new mini-blog:

Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers mini-blog - "Technical Hints and Tips for the anonymity of sources for Whistleblowers, Investigative Journalists, Campaign Activists and Political Bloggers from Spy Blog"

Please feel free to comment and correct any errors.

There is a section which needs some help from the readers of Spy Blog, namely, to compile a list of public contact details of reasonably trustworthy journalists, bloggers, independent regulators, politicians etc., and their specialist fields of interest, who might be interested receiving story tips and whistleblower leaks from UK Government Departments or public or private sector organisations.

They need to have some reasonable track record of protecting the identities of their journalistic, or blogger, or complainant contacts and sources.

This list is intended to help a potential whistleblower sound out people, to see if they are likely to take up their cause, and to avoid a scattergun approach of random emails or phone calls or letters etc, which might tip off the scoundrels who the whistleblower is trying to expose, in the public interest.

Obviously only the public contact details will be re-published, as we hope and assume, that all of the people on the list will have multiple email accounts, PGP public encryption keys, web sites, blogs, mobile phones, fax and landline numbers, VoIP etc. i.e. that they are all therefore "suspicious" according to the latest Police / Government Climate of Fear propaganda posters.

The international press and online freedom group Reporters Without Borders has produced an updated version of its Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents

The handbook offers practical advice and techniques on how to create a blog, make entries and get the blog to show up in search engine results. It gives clear explanations about blogging for all those whose online freedom of expression is subject to restrictions, and it shows how to sidestep the censorship measures imposed by certain governments, with a practical example that demonstrates the use of the censorship circumvention software Tor.

Sadly, political bloggers, campaign activists, whistleblowers and investigative journalists, even in supposedly Western "free" societies like the United Kingdom, also need to make use of the techniques described in this document, which aims to help online dissidents and bloggers living under evil repressive police surveillance states:

The content of the document is clearer and more polished than the first 2005 version. There is plenty of good advice to new political or dissident bloggers, and even very experienced veterans will find some useful advice or links.

This handbook is, unfortunately still only available as an 80 page Adobe .pdf file, which may make it difficult to download and to distribute in areas of poor internet connectivity. It also makes it hard for search engines and bloggers to publicise it - see Cory Doctorow's 17 Tips For Getting Bloggers To Write About You.

You can download the Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents 2008 (2.2 Mb - 80 pages .pdf) directly from Reporters Without Borders website

Alternatively, since the Reporters Without Borders website is subjected to Government censorship around the world, here is a mirrored copy of the Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents here on Spy Blog (.pdf) and a much smaller Text Only version: Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents 2008 (.txt 122Kb)


It is still astonishing to us that the UK Government has still done nothing about the insult to our Supreme Court, the Law Lords of the House of Lords, whose Judgment on the extradition to of Farid Hilali to Spain, the first person to be arrested in the UK on a European Arrest Warrant. has been deliberately flouted by the Spanish authorities.

Hilali's former UK solicitors, Arani & Co. have released a couple of documents from the successful application for Habeas Corpus, back last May, which was quashed by the Law Lords on appeal this February, with the proviso that Farid Hilali could not be extradited to Spain to face charges of belonging to a terrorist organisation (Al Quaeda) but that he must face the September 11th 2001 attack linked charges of mass murder and endangering aircraft.

In fact, Hilali is now in solitary confinement, facing only the forbidden "membership of a terrorist organisation" charge, which is an utter insult to our Law Lords and to the sovereignty of the United Kingdom.

See the Free Farid website.


The Statement by Spanish Prosecutor Pedro Rubiro (.pdf) contains a lot of dubious claims (e.g. that Hilali was involved in the Hamburg cell of terrorist with Mohammed Ata and the other September 11th 2001 plotters, something which is refuted by the German Courts, and by the fact that the US authorities have not bothered to attempt to extradite him)

20 It is also noticeable that in the extradition proceedings, despite any representations made by his advocates, the Applicant has never denied in evidence that he is Shakur.

It should be up to the prosecution to prove that Hilali is Shakur, i.e. the presumption of innocence !

The UK Extradition Act 2003 proceedings do not allow the defendant to make any challenges to any evidence whatsoever, they only deal with the matter of whether the application for extradition has been worded correctly etc.. Hilali and his lawyers have made plenty of press statements denying that he is Shakur.

The point which caught our attention was , however:

In fact, that he and Shakur are one and the same has been demonstrated by evidence of voice analysis conducted in the United Kingdom. I mention this purely to demonstrate that there is no foundation to the suggestion that the Applicant is being unlawfully detained at the request of the issuing judicial authority. I am aware, of course, that the time and place for the evaluation of evidence in the context of a trial is when the Applicant is returned to Madrid

Security Service MI5 website survey


The Security Service MI5 website has a new user survey online, asking or feedback on the current, quite well designed, but rather limited. in terms of useful information, website.

The survey does not ask for any personal details, but it does nag a bit, with most of the Questions being Required ones. The survey does promise anonymity and confidentiality, but MI5 are not the only people who might be interested in tracking or tracing the people who choose to fill in this survey.

The professionally paranoid amongst you may wish to use Tor or other proxy servers, someone else's WiFi access point etc. and to remove your cookies, fake your web browser user_agent string etc.and make sure that you do not use the SSL version of the website, if you want to keep your real IP address and some other details private (unless it is more important to you to hide your browsing details from your local systems administrators or ISPs, than it is from MI5).

There is a Captcha to reduce spam, but how this Government website survey complies with the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 is a mystery - perhaps they need to read the PAS78: 2006 Publicly Available Specification Guide to Good Practice in Commissioning Accessible Websites (.pdf) produced by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

The MI5 website could really do with some Syndication feeds, (RSS 2.0 / Atom) like millions of blogs, including this one have, and like the website has had for several years, especially for the What's New section and the Terrorism Threat Alert Status.

Why is the Speaker of the House of Commons helping the Executive branch of Government, to suppress freedom of speech and transparent open government, in a matter of huge public interest, by trying to abuse the Bill of Rights 1689 ?

See Government and the Speaker of the House of Commons collude to try to abuse the 17th Century Bill of Rights to suppress the FOIA disclosure of OGC Gateway Reviews of the ID Cards Programme

We are astonished and furious, that this Bill of Rights, is being abused in the High Court to try to weasel out of having to disclose the early (and now very out of date) Gateway Reviews of the Home Office's Identity Cards Programme (as it was then, circa 2002 / 2003), by the lawyers for the Government's Office for Government Commerce, supported by, incredibly, lawyers for the Speaker of the House of Commons, in their Appeal against the Decision of the independent Information Tribunal, which ordered full disclosure, in the public interest.


Daily Mail / Mail on Sunday: 319-year-old law used by Speaker Michael Martin to gag ID report

Computer Weekly: Government seeks to bury ID card reviews

Bill of Rights 1688 ( "Act declared to be a Statute by Crown and Parliament Recognition Act 1689 (c. 1)")

That the Freedome of Speech and Debates or Proceedings in Parlyament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any Court or Place out of Parlyament.

See the history of this long running Freedom of Information Act disclosure suppression in our OGC Gateway Reviews of the Identity Cards Programme blog category archive.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has now followed her dismal NuLabour / Old Labour extremist predecessors, by delivering a torrent of weasel words and nonsense in support of the wretched National Identity Scheme.

Her speech and the associated National Identity Scheme Delivery Plan 2008 both seem to be designed by the Home Office spin doctors to try to deflect the attention of the media and the wider public from the Crosby Report, publication of which appears to have been suppressed for about a year by Gordon Brown.

This report, Challenges and opportunities in identity assurance< Crosby Report (.pdf), is by Sir James Crosby, the former head of the HBOS bank, and deputy chairman of the Financial Services Authority. He has outlined some common sense approaches to the issues of Identity Assurance, based on what consumers , citizens and the business world want and accept, rather than the Police State centric plans of the current National Identity Scheme.

At an early stage, we recognised that consumers constitute the common ground between the public and private sectors. And our focus switched from "ID management" to "ID assurance". The expression "ID management" suggests data sharing and database consolidation, concepts which principally serve the interests of the owner of the database, for example the Government or the banks. Whereas we think of “ID assurance” as a consumer-led concept, a process that meets an important consumer need without necessarily providing any spin-off benefits to the owner of any database. This distinction is fundamental. An ID system built primarily to deliver high levels of assurance for consumers and to command their trust has little in common with one inspired mainly by the ambitions of its owner. In the case of the former, consumers will extend use both across the population and in terms of applications such as travel and banking. While almost inevitably the opposite is true for systems principally designed to save costs and to transfer or share data.

Obviously such common sense, is an anathema to the out of touch control freak politicians and bureaucrats in the Home Office and Downing Street, whose National Identity Scheme bears very little resemblance to what Sir James Crosby has identified as being necessary or feasible.

The BBC reports the full transcript of Jacqui Smith's speech given at the NuLabour political think tank Demos, which contains spin and nonsense almost worthy of Blunkett or Clarke.

It is too full of waffle to go through every line, but here are the slimiest bits which oozed off the screen at us:

Another less than transparent response to a Freedom of Information Act request arrived by email on Thursday.

See HMRC response to FOIA request for general details of the Special Categories of tax returns of Celebrities and VIPs etc.

The actual response does address the 11 numbered Questions which were asked, each to a lesser or non-existent degree.

HMRC are pretending that the request was for individually identifiable information, when it was only asked for high level, general categories of supposed VIPs and alleged Celebrities, who are being given special treatment regarding their income and perhaps corporation and value added tax returns. This situation was highlighted by the inability of Members of Parliament to file their tax returns to HMRC over the Government Gateway web page.

See HMRC tax record security only for a minority of the privileged, but not for the rest of us

Almost no information has been disclosed, in response to this request, except

10) Are these special category tax records included in the datasets handed over, through the statutory gateway, to the DWP Longitudinal Study?

Item 10): No, the data is not included in transfers.

Apparently "two Commissioners of HM Revenue and Customs have considered your request "

HMRC does not know neither who authorised the policy on Special categories in the first place, nor how long it has actually been in place, nor how much it costs to handle these Special Categories of tax returns.

How do they know that they are actually complying with the original Policy on Special Categories, ? How can the public be re-assured that this Policy has not deteriorated into wasteful bureaucratic red tape, and function creep, and is now being applied to far more people than it was originally intended ?

This FOIA response is also another example of a Government Department or public body trying to claim an exemption under "Health & Safety", which has got nothing to do with anything which comes under actual Health and Safety laws or regulations, no personal details are being requested.

The latest "Climate of Fear" 5 week "counter-terrorism"advertising campaign in newspapers and on local radio, is being inflicted on the public in London, Manchester. West Midlands and West Yorkshire i.e. all the major urban city areas in England.

See the Metropolitan Police Press Release

Can it really be just a coincidence that this vague, "War on Tourism" / "War on Journalism" and "Snoop on Your Neighbours" propaganda will have peaked, in terms of mass media coverage, just before the votes in the House of Commons on the controversial Counter-Terrorism Bill 2008 ? Why exactly could this counter productive propaganda campaign not wait until after the passage of the legislation through Parliament ?

This latest campaign is even less specific than the previous one, (see "Trust your instincts" anti-terrorism propaganda - who is NOT under suspicion of terrorism ?) but it still targets perfectly innocent activities like taking photographs or video images as a tourist, or just as an amateur or professional photographer.

The Register has published some diagrams of how the appalling Phorm web advertising scheme will work, Major UK broadband Internet Service Providers British Telecom Retail, Virgin Media and Carphone Warehouse TalkTalk, all seem to have signed a "commercial suicide pact" contract, to abuse their customer's data privacy, without first obtaining their prior informed consent.

See - How Phorm plans to tap your internet connection

Think back to all of the well founded privacy fears about DoubleClick cookies, and about Google keyword searching of all the text of yur emails and documents in your "free" gmail account.

Phorm appears to be a combination of these two direct marketing approaches , except this time it is inflicted on all the web traffic of the unlucky customers of the participating ISPs, via man-in-the-middle attack hardware plugged into their core network infrastructure.

Phorm perpetuate the common misconception amongst advertising weasels, that if your web browser software connects with a particular website, at any time, then that somehow means that you as a person, are positively and genuinely interested in receiving direct advertising related to the vague subject category in which they have arbitrarily categorised that website. They never seem to make adequate allowances for accidental visits to websites, or for visits on behalf of other people, whose consumer preferences do not match those of the regular user of a particular computer. To do so accurately, they would have to compile an individual browsing history.

Even if you believe Phorm's weasel worded hand waving marketing-droid promises about "100% Consumer Privacy", these seem to be impossible to deliver with the architecture described in the BT diagrams, which The Register has published.

Phorm's claims that they will somehow provide an anti-phishing service, cannot be reconciled with their promise that they will ignore https:// SSL encrypted traffic - if they do so, then what real use is their "service" against real phishing attacks on internet banking websites, which all use this ?

How, exactly can any of this be legal ?

Since many people use web based email systems, for example, these ISPs and Phorm should be prosecuted for illegal interception of communications without a warrant signed by the Home Secretary under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 section 1 Unlawful interception, and each of the people responsible should be facing up to 2 years in prison, including those who seem to have already conducted full scale pilot trials of this technology on unsuspecting BT customers.

Criminal liability under RIPA cannot be evaded simply by changing the Terms & Conditions of your civil contract with your Internet Service Provider.

Things to do about Phorm:

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