November 2009 Archives

"JFL" has emailed us with some more details about this worrying Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) section 49 case - see the article on The Register by Chris Williams - see UK jails schizophrenic for refusal to decrypt files)

Having been contacted by "JFL", Spy Blog asked a few Questions - here are some edited and annotated quotations, omitting, for now, the names of the people mentioned by "JFL" , apart from the Judge, who is named in The Register article.

I served my nine months imprisoned and am now basically free, within the UK and on probation.

> Did you have access to a lawyer when you plead guilty ?

An extremely incompetent solicitor. Even _after_ sentencing he told me that I'd be eligible for HDC tag, which would have meant release in a fortnight.

HDC tag = Home Detention Curfew - enforced by private sector subcontractors with electronic ankle tags

Had I stood mute, taken as Not Guilty (Innocent) then I would have definitely been returned to HMP Winch for another three months+ awaiting trial, for RIPA. He also promised me 'as long as I needed' on 02 Jun to consult with my barrister yet on the day arranged *_none_*. My barrister, Mr [name 1], predicted a high end sentence of 12mns.

> Did the police take any reference samples from each other when they tested you for
> explosives, to eliminate cross contamination ?

Ms. [name 2] at the DSTL tested:
The cell at Paddington Green: walls, bench, floor, frame (?!),
St. Pancras interview room: table top, chair, floor by chair.

They did not test the officers, the _hand_cuffs, the initial detention area inc seat, strip search room, water cup, urine bottle, tape recorder machine that I helped fix while waiting, Eurostar train, dirty cash used etc..

i.e. plenty of scope for cross contamination at the levels of a few nanograms i.e. a few billionths of a gram (10-12 Kilograms)

DSTL= Defence Science and Technology Laboratory the bit of the UK Government Defence Research Agency labs not sold off to Qinetiq.

> Do your bail conditions permit or forbid you from using encryption ?

The UK dis-possessed me of TBs of US business data, but no ban on computing longer than 6.5mns (not while in prison).

TB = TeraByte - one thousand GigaBytes of data.


I am a computer scientist with a small business in [name of a famous town in Silicon Valley] (with Editors Reviews).

"JFL" now provides some more details:

My story is at its best since this started, it isn't a tragedy and pity is wasted. The tragedy, the pity and the shame (big word) is that this is the state of the UK today; this reflects badly on the human species as the UK is one of the five core members of the UN Security Council not just a fallen imperial force on a small, wet island. A scoop for you is that my sentence was ten concurrent doses of nine months for the RIPA s53, and simultaneously nine months for the fictitious CJA 1925 s36 (IPS) crimes and also *one year* for the second count of this offence (see The Offence starring Sean Connery), plus one month for the missed appointment.

CJA 125 s36 = Criminal Justice Act 1925 section 36 Forgery of a passport - remember that "JFL" did not "forge" a passport, he only applied for another one in his own name.

The Offence is a 1972 film directed by Sidney Lumet : "It stars Sean Connery as a frustrated, obsessively aggressive police detective who snaps and kills a suspect (Ian Bannen) for personal reasons which are explored over the course of the film yet not fully revealed until the end."

The RIPA pt III is very much a terrible piece of legislation for our macro culture. Yet it's CTC's position in our culture that is the danger in this Emperor's New Clothes War on Terrorism, (note to Jack Herer's book on the earlier? War on Drugs with its Russian tzar reference).

The Emperor Wears No Clothes: The Authoritative Historical Record of Cannabis and the Conspiracy Against Marijuana by Jack Herer

CTC framed me, they set me up all because I believe in one's right to be silent. DC [name 3] told me, in company, that I'd
never get my passport back because it was invalid, claiming this was due to my change of name via deedpoll in 2007 (and with no receipt until near the Crown Court date I'd no evidence that they ever had possession of it. I hadn't used it since Paris). I informed him then that I'd therefore be applying for a replacement. He did absolutely nothing to deter me from this, unknowingly to me, criminal course. CTC then waited until they could then charged me with these additional offences.

The CT Division of the CPS believed all the lies of CTC. The Judge believed the lies and simply fell for the _evil_spirit_ of CTC. They managed to convince him without any evidence that I had manufactured the *legal* RDX. The misbelieved actions may "have been entirely innocent experimentation, it may not have been, but you must now pay the consequences [for your crimes]...," Judge Hetherington said. CTC's investigation was named Operation Fontine and run by DI [name 4], promoted during this time. My case has been uptaken by DI [name 5] of the PSD.
Regards, JFL.

CPS = Crown Prosecution Service/ - whose lawyers seem to be easily bamboozled by weak scientific evidence when presented by the Police or intelligence agencies - remember the fictitious "Red Mercury" / New of the World "fake sheikh" sting prosecution fiasco ?

CT = Counter Terrorism

CTC = Counter Terrorism Command - which has now subsumed Special Branch and the Anti-Terrorist Branch, of the Metropolitan Police Service. Sometimes they seem to act nationally, not just in London. They have also been involved in non-terrorist related controversies such as the arrest and searching of Members of Parliament and / or their offices and homes. Hundreds of these officers have been investigated for abusing their corporate American Express credit cards, and several of these are facing prosecution.

RDX = chemical name Cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine is a military military / commercial high explosive, not the sort of thing which can be made at home. Modern equipment can detect minute traces of this and other common explosives and illegal drugs, but, at very low concentrations i.e. at nanogram levels, there is a huge problem of cross contamination from other suspects or reference samples etc.

DI = Detective Inspector

PSD = Professional Standards Division which supposedly investigates complaints against the police internally within a particular Police force.

This is not the same as a complaint to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC)

The UK based online IT industry publication, The Register reports on a story which shows that not only has this Labour government taken George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four as surveillance state policy plan, rather than as a dystopian warning, but they have also allowed a Kafkaesque securocacy and (in)justice system to use the full panoply of "anti-terrorism" national security powers against vulnerable members of society, without making us all any safer.

UK jails schizophrenic for refusal to decrypt files

Terror squad arrest over model rocket

By Chris Williams

Posted in Law, 24th November 2009 11:36 GMT

Exclusive The first person jailed under draconian UK police powers that Ministers said were vital to battle terrorism and serious crime has been identified by The Register as a schizophrenic science hobbyist with no previous criminal record.

His crime was a persistent refusal to give counter-terrorism police the keys to decrypt his computer files.

The 33-year-old man, originally from London, is currently held at a secure mental health unit after being sectioned while serving his sentence at Winchester Prison.

In June the man, JFL, who spoke on condition we do not publish his full name, was sentenced to nine months imprisonment under Part III of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA). The powers came into force at the beginning of October 2007.

JFL told The Register he had scrambled the data on several devices as part of security measures for his business, a small software company


His disappearance led to a raid on 7 March this year. Officers bearing sub-machine guns broke down the door of JFL's flat. He rang local police before realising CTC had come for him.

At the local Fareham police station he was served with the section 49 notice. Signed by CTC's Superintendent Bell, it said: "I hereby require you to disclose a key or any supporting evidence to make the information intelligible."

JFL maintained his silence throughout the one hour time limit imposed by the notice. He was charged with ten offences under section 53 of RIPA Part III, reflecting the multiple passphrases needed to decrypt his various implementations of PGP Whole Disk Encryption and PGP containers.


After three months on remand JFL faced trial on 2 June. He pleaded guilty to all the charges, wrongly believing he would be released that day with an electronic tag thanks to time served. Instead, taking into account the passport offences and missed bail, he received a total of 13 months.

Before finishing what would have been a six-and-a-half-month prison term during September, JFL was sectioned under the Mental Health Act. He now does not know when he will be released from hospital.


During sentencing, the judge seemingly confirmed that NTAC staff had been unsuccessful in their attempts to crack the encrypted files - or had not bothered trying. "To this day no one really has any idea as to what is contained in that equipment," he said. One file encrypted using software from the German firm Steganos was cracked, but investigators found only another PGP container.


The suspicion of terrorism was dropped long before trial and JFL was sentenced under RIPA Part III as a general criminal rather than a threat to national security. Although he admitted guilt, JFL argues he did nobody any harm and the offences were all related to not cooperating fully with police.

Despite referencing his solitary existence, Judge Hetherington appeared not to know about JFL's mental health problems and criticised him for not speaking to authorities.

Abandoning normal court procedures, he said: "It was because I was satisfied you would not tell the Probation Service anything significant further that I saw no purpose in obtaining a pre-sentence report which is normally a prerequisite for someone of no previous convictions who has not previously received a prison sentence," he said.

Sticking to normal procedure might have helped explain much of JFL's behaviour in interviews and while on bail. Pre-sentence reports include mental health records and JFL himself sought psychiatric treatment once before, while a computer science student.


Regular readers of Spy Blog (and all of our PGP encrypted communications correspondents) should read the full article carefully.

We read it with a mixture of pity for plight of the the mentally afflicted "JFL", and an increasing sense of fury at this Labour government's Soviet style system of nameless accusations and the presumption of guilt for potential thought crimes, none of which were actually backed up by any physical evidence or other witnesses etc.

Why should we tolerate such Kafkaesque injustice here in the UK ?

How has it made us any safer from real terrorists ?

It does not appear that "JFL" was given any proper legal advice when he was arrested.

Is he legally represented now ? If so, then by whom ?

Is there any way that good people who are worried by this story can send "JFL" some things whilst he is in the Prison / Secure Hospital Ward ?


  • letters,
  • magazines,
  • money for toiletries, cigarettes etc. (regardless of whether he smokes or not)
  • or postage stamps (convicted prisoners only get the postage paid for one letter a week, but they can send many more at their own expense) and
  • Prison PIN Phone credits (which have now replaced the former Prison Phone Card system) etc.


Prisoner [number ?]
c/o Her Majesty's Prison Winchester
Romsey Road
SO22 5DF

Another bit of proposed legislation, which will hopefully be lost due to the forthcoming General Election, is the flawed Bribery Bill 2009

For some reason it has been introduced by Jack Straw's Ministry of (In)Justice in the House of Lords.

Note that there are no provisions to strengthen the legislation against corrupt lobbying by Members of the House of Commons or of the House of Lords or of senior Whitehall Sir Humphreys.
Incredibly, it appears that this Labour Government still intends to make it illegal for, say the Secret Intelligence Service MI6 to bribe a Foreign Government official for information or influence, even where this serves the United Kingdom's national security interests.

Conversely, they are giving any "law enforcement agency", an unfathomable exemption from bribery offences, "for the prevention or detection" of Serious Crime. This includes Local Authority Trading Standards or Environmental Health departments, who are notorious for their lack of expertise and training, when it comes to "simple" Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act use of Covert Human Intelligence Sources.

What conceivable excuse have these "law enforcement agencies", including the Police or HM Revenue and Customs, got for bribing anyone whatsoever ?

The junior Home Office Minister Meg Hillier, who is at least as out of her depth about ID Cards and databases as her predecessors, has now signed the Statutory Instrument which kicks off a dubious small scale version of the National Identity Register, coming into force on the 30th November 2009, several years late.

Statutory Instruments 2009 No. 3032 (C. 132) - Identity Cards - The Identity Cards Act 2006 (Commencement No. 5) Order 2009

Instead of limiting this test area scheme to just Manchester, as promised, the Home Office have sneaked in the whole of Greater Manchester and some of the surrounding Post Codes as well:

They have also broadened the potential catchment area, by including not just permanent residents, but anyone who works at premises within the designated Post Codes as well.

However you will already have to have a Passport in order to apply for an ID Card, so what exactly is the incentive for doing so ?

Remember also, that once you have been registered on the National Identity Register , your biometrics and other personal data will never be removed, for the rest of your life (and beyond), even if you decide not to renew your ID Card.

You will also be risking fines of up to £2500 if you fail to to keep the National Identity Register updated with all of your addresse.

You will be blamed (not the Home Office or any of their sub-contractors) for any malfunctions in
the card or reader electronics etc.

Only the people working airside at Manchester Airport and at the City of London Airport will have the £30 registration fee waived.

All the Home Office and Identity and Passport Service employees or sub-contractors on Greater London, the City of London and the Inns of Court can also apply for an ID Card, but they will still have to pay for it.

Anybody stupid enough to be working directly or indirectly, on or with the National Identity Scheme computer and telecommunications infrastructure, also risks up to 10 years in prison and / or an unlimited fine, if they decide to go on strike or "work to rule", in pursuit of an an industrial dispute. They also risk these criminal penalties for accidental software or hardware errors or misconfigurations etc. beyond their personal control

See previous Spy Blog articles e.g. 5 more National Identity Scheme Statutory Instruments - do Thales Group and 3M Company employees realise that they face up to 10 years in prison for any mistakes or strikes?

Here are the Manchester area Post Codes where the wretched National Identity Scheme is being first inflicted on:

Although we are slightly relieved that no Communications Data Bill has been sneaked into the Queen's Speech, as originally threatened by the disgraced former Labour Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, this Labour Government simply cannot resist producing some more useless and repetitive legislation, as a public relations diversion to hide their failure to control aspects of modern technology.

From Times Online
November 18, 2009
Queen's Speech: ban on mobile phones in jail

Richard Ford, Home Correspondent

Prisoners who are found with mobile phones while inside jails are to face prosecution under plans outlined in the Queen's Speech today.

The new criminal offence follows growing concern that some prisoners are continuing to run their criminal empires from within jails by using mobile phones.


It is currently against prison rules for inmates to possess mobile phones in prison.

The Prison Discipline Manual rules, under the Prison Service Order 2000 Adjudication procedures (.doc) , which came into force in 2006, already makes punishments available against any prisoner stupid enough to be caught with a mobile phone in their possession.

These can involve loss of visitor privileges etc. and the imposition of up to 42 days extra detention on top of the existing prison sentence, for each breach of the prison rules.

The new measure is to be included in a Crime and Security Bill ...


What for ?

This is ridiculous gesture politics which is presumably intended to allow the Labour government politicans and civil servants to "Pretend That They Are Doing Something", without actually devoting real resources to overcome the fundamental problem.

Have the NuLabour political commissars at the Ministry of Justice already forgotten their own Offender Management Act 2007 section 22. Conveyance of prohibited articles into or out of prison ?

This has been in force for less than 2 years and it amended the list of prohibited articles under the Prisons Act 1952, to specifically make it a criminal offence to "convey" or "leave ... intending it to come into the possession of a prisoner" or "give" a mobile phone to a prisoner without authorisation.

This already has a criminal penalty of up to 2 years in prison and / or a level 3 fine i.e. up to £1000.

SInce mobile phones are almost always found as a result of searches of cells and other areas without the physical presence of the prisoner, it is going to be very hard to prove that they are "In possession" of a particular illegal mobile phone ("it must have been planted").

Illegal Mobile Phones in Prisons is actually an area of public security and crime policy where there should be more state surveillance and control, not less !

This is certainly an area where if mobile phone intercept evidence was allowed to be used in a UK court, then prison gang leaders etc. could be convicted "out of their own mouths", without compromising any "national security" sources or methods.

Instead of wasting at least 2 billion pounds on retaining and snooping on innocent people's mobile phone etc. communications, why can this incompetent Government not spend a fraction of that in implementing proper mobile phone security measures at every prison in the UK ?

N.B. This needs to involve the installation of mobile phone pico-cells in prisons, rather than just crude attempts at "jamming", which would cause collateral damage to the surrounding urban areas in which many British prisons are located, and which would otherwise also affect 999 / 112 calls to the Emergency Services.

Her Majesty's Prison Wandsworth Independent Monitoring Board report 2008 - 2009 (.pdf), published in May 2009, which the Ministry of Justice have still not yet bothered (or dared) to reply to:

page 6

For the sixth year running we are asking for the implementation of an effective jamming system for mobile phones in prisons. The lack of a positive response from Government has resulted in an increasing use of mobile phones and a even more rapidly increasing market for drugs in prisons. (9.5)

(our emphasis)

page 39

Mobile phones
• Mobile phones continue to provide the biggest challenge to Security. This year there were 371 occasions when phones were found compared to 307 in 2008. Associated mobile phones
paraphernalia were also found. These included sim cards, hands free kits, chargers, (some home made), battery packs and adapters. The vast majority found in cells but some through Visits.
• Also found during searches were illicit alcohol, DVDs, Digiboxes and a variety of weapons.
• Although the prison was in possession of a BOSS chair (for intimate searching of prisoners) this was hardly used during the reporting period. It is now broken and is under repair.

"HMP Wandsworth is a Victorian Category B Local male prison built in 1851. It is the largest prison in Europe. Certified normal accommodation (CNA) is 1086 and current operational capacity is 1665 ". Surely there should have been at least two Body Orifice Scanning System chairs installed ?

• For the past four years we have asked the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice to implement an effective jamming system to curtail the use of mobile phones. Effective jamming systems are now in place in the USA, Australia and New Zealand. The Government's response has been that they will consider this when funds are available. In the current economic climate this looks high unlikely and the increasing use of mobile phones and the drugs trade in prisons is a certainty

Areas of Concern
• The jamming of the use of mobile phones in the prison needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency


Similarly, the HMP Wormwood Scrubs Independent Monitoring Board report for 2008-2009 (.pdf) says

page 6

8. It is widely recognised that mobile phones are strongly linked to drug activity within prisons. The Board commends the efforts of wing staff and Security staff to search out mobile phones within the prison. However the problem remains. The Board has asked about the provision of mobile phone blockers but has been told that trials of different techniques are being undertaken at other establishments. What are the results of initiatives being trialled to block the use of mobile phones in prisons? What is the current national strategy for combating the mobile phone and drug culture in many prisons?

(bold text as per the original report)

There does not appear to be any viable coherent national strategy against the the "mobile phone and drug culture" in prisons.

Guess where the former Ministry of Justice junior Minister in charge of Prisons, who failed to respond to the pleas of Prison staff and Independent Monitoring Boards, regarding mobile phones in prisons has been promoted to ? Rt. Hon. David Hanson MP, is now the Minister of State for Security, Counter-Terrorism, Crime and Policing at the Home Office - we do not feel any safer as a result of his appointment !

The Home Office has published its summary of the responses to the public consultation Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000: Consolidating orders and codes of practice (1.7Mb .pdf) which ran from April to July.

The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000: consolidating orders and codes of practice - responses to the consultation (269Kb .pdf) says that:

The 222 respondents comprised:

  • 104 local authorities;
  • 9 local authority associations;
  • 10 law enforcement bodies;
  • 9 other public authorities;
  • 6 legal reform or scrutiny bodies;
  • 5 communications service providers;
  • 3 training organisations;
  • 2 housing agencies;
  • 2 oversight commissioners (the Chief Surveillance Commissioner and the Interception of Communications Commissioner);
  • 68 members of the public (of whom 27 had experience of working with RIPA); and
  • 4 other NGOs with interests in the prosecution of offenders, waste management, computing and children's rights.

Spy Blog raised the following issues in response to this public consultation, with little success:

1) Mandatory use of strong Encryption should be explicit in the Regulations and Codes of Practice

2) Automatic Number Plate Recognition data needs to be brought within the RIPA framework

3) Sub-division of "Communications Data" to now include a separate Location Based Services data category

4) All Local Authorities should have their Intrusive Surveillance and Covert Human Intelligence Source powers removed. Access to Subscriber Details should continue, but no LA access to Location Based Services data.

5) The abuse of Children as Covert Human Intelligence Sources

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