Consultation on the future EU-US international agreement on personal data protection and information sharing for law enforcement purposes - tell them what to do by 12th March 2010

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[via The Register] If you have half an hour to spare, and you care about your own personal data privacy and security, and that of your family, you might be able to influence the European Commission, before they get out negotiated by the US Government, or get lobbied too hard by the vested securocrat interests.

Europe moves to curtail US data snooping rights

Free access to financial data may end

By John Oates

Posted in Government, 5th February 2010 15:56 GMT

The European Commission has opened a public consultation on whether the US government should continue to get free access to European bank and financial data under the SWIFT agreement.

The US claims it needs access to our bank accounts in order to fight terrorism - it has had free access since shortly after 11 September 2001. But the Civil Liberties Committee of European MPs yesterday recommended the Parliament reject renewal of the treaty; MEPs only recently got powers over external treaties.

This may sound like just hot air from Brussels, but the treaty is up for a vote next Thursday. MEPs want the data protected in the same way as it would be in Europe.


So when a US firm brings data out of Europe it must still follow EU law. This is now extended so that the data is passed on to an outsourcer, that company must also follow EU law.

The consultation documents are here. You have until 12 March to have your say.

Actually, that European Commission Consultation document is much wider and more general and applies to any data transfers involving Governments / national security / transnational border crime investigations etc:

Consultation on the future EU-US international agreement on personal data protection and information sharing for law enforcement purposes PDF File [69 KB .pdf]

Consultation on the future EU-US international agreement on personal data protection and information sharing for law enforcement purposes DOC File [25 KB .doc]

  • If you are answering this consultation as a citizen, please click here to submit your contribution.
  • If you are answering this consultation on behalf of an organisation, please click here to submit your contribution.
  • If you are answering this consultation on behalf of a public authority, please click here to submit your contribution.


Responsible service:

Directorate-General for Justice, Freedom and Security
Unit A2 - External relations and enlargement


Postal address :

European Commission
Directorate-General for Justice, Freedom and Security
Unit A2 - External relations and enlargement
B - 1049 Brussels

From the metadata of these documents, the author is listed as our old friend Jonathan Faull (.pdf), Director General of the European Commission's Justice, Freedom and Security department since 15 March 2003, with whom we have corresponded in the past


See our blog category archive EU Plans for internet censorship

The Questions which are asked in this short consultation document, are all well and good, provided that they are actually Answered and Implemented properly.

However, there are a few important Questions which are missing - notably in the areas of:

  • mandatory Data Security Breach Notification and Public Reporting,
  • mandatory use of strong Encryption to protect such data transfers in transit and storage,
  • the principle of Data Minimisation,
  • Data Retention and Destruction policies,
  • applying the same principles and protections for transfers between countries within the European Union as between any EU state and the USA,
  • the publication annually of how much public money is being spent on such data transfers, so that we can gauge whether they are cost effective or not.

See our comments below:

This paper non-exhaustively lists questions on which the Commission wishes to seek the opinions of stakeholders with a view to a future EU-US agreement on personal data protection and information sharing for law enforcement purposes.

1. Purpose

What should be the purpose(s) of the agreement? Should the agreement only establish data protection standards for EU-US law enforcement cooperation? Or should it address also wider issues related to the processing and transfer of personal data in the context of transatlantic law enforcement cooperation, e.g. reciprocal information transfer or impact on relations with other third countries?

It would be a professional failure of the experts and legislators on both sides, if this opportunity to sort out the wider issues were to be missed.

2. Scope of the agreement

2.1. Material scope

  • Should the agreement cover personal data protection when information is transferred that pertains to police cooperation in the area of freedom, security and justice (Title V chapter 5 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU)?

See the Consolidated versions of the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union

Yes - but it must be absolutely reciprocal in both directions across the Atlantic. Anything demanded of EU citizens by the US authorities, must also apply to EU member state requests for data about US citizens, no more, no less.

  • Should it also cover personal data protection when information is transferred in the course of judicial cooperation in criminal matters (Title V chapter 4 TFEU)?

See again the Consolidated versions of the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union

Yes - but again, it must be absolutely reciprocal in both directions across the Atlantic. Anything demanded of EU citizens by the US authorities, must also apply to EU member state requests for data about US citizens, no more, no less.

  • Should it also be applicable to the transfer of personal data in the context of other Union policies within the area of freedom, justice and security, i.e. the security elements of immigration, visa, asylum and civil law cooperation?

Yes - but yet again, it must be absolutely reciprocal in both directions across the Atlantic. Anything demanded of EU citizens by the US authorities, must also apply to EU member state requests for data about US citizens, no more, no less.

N.B. this must not end up like the European Arrest Warrant, or the proposed European Evidence Warrant, or the United Kingdom / USA Extradition treaty and legislation, whereby a "sanity" check on the proportionality and reasonableness of the request cannot be challenged in, say, a local United Kingdom court, because of the legal pretence that foreign legal systems are somehow entirely equivalent to each other. This adds hugely to the difficulty and expense of trying to challenge such data transfers and sharing, for ordinary private citizens.

2.2. Personal scope

  • Should the agreement only cover government-to-government transfers of information?


  • Or should it also be applicable to transatlantic transfers of personal data from private entities to law enforcement authorities? If so, should the conditions on private - public data transfers be in any way different from the government-to-government transfers?


The Data Protection Principle of prior, informed, individual consent should apply to every kind of data transfer.

3. Nature of the agreement:

Should the agreement include a provision to the effect that EU and US law enforcement
authorities may request from each other the same types/categories of information and personal data (reciprocity)?

There must be true reciprocity, in both directions across the Atlantic, no more, no less.

4. Data Protection Principles

4.1 Accountability

Should the agreement provide for modalities and consequences of "accountability", e.g. internal and external review procedures? Should the agreement notably provide for a joint review mechanism?

Yes, there should be a joint review procedure, which reports prior to the invocation of a Sunset Clause, which automatically terminates this Agreement in say 5 years, unless it can be re-justified in the future, by which time there will be lots of new technological factors to consider.

4.2. Individual Access

  • Should the agreement spell out the conditions for the right to access one's own personal data?

Yes - this fundamental right should remain the default.

There must be no extra costs imposed by this agreement over and above normal, national data protection laws i.e. in the UK no more than £10 for a Data Subject Access request.

  • If there is no possibility to directly access one's own personal data for justified reasons, should the agreement provide for the possibility of indirect verification through an independent authority responsible for the oversight of the processing in the sending or recipient country?

There should be a statutory complaints mechanism, whereby if a US or EU Government department or agency refuses to deal properly with a legitimate request about what personal data of yours it holds or has transferred and shared elsewhere, then the local Data Protection authority can take up the case on the citizen's behalf.

Such cases should be analysed annually, and any errant agencies, department or officials should be named and shamed in public.

4.3. Single contact points

  • Should the agreement provide for a single contact point in the US in case of data protection concerns related to data transferred from the EU?

Yes - this should merely act a Single Point of Contact with properly trained, experienced staff, available 24/7 securely via the internet and the phone system, in contact with the appropriate people in the Federal Government department and agency and also in each State.

  • Should the agreement provide for a single contact point in the EU in case of data protection concerns related to data transferred from the US?

Yes - this should merely act a Single Point of Contact with properly trained, experienced staff, available 24/7 securely via the internet and the phone system, in contact with the appropriate people in each national European Union country, and if necessary, each European Union agency e.g. FRONTEX, Eurojust, Europol or the Schengen Information System etc.

  • Should the modalities for transparency and assistance to data subjects by US and EU data protection supervisory authorities be spelled out in the agreement?


Both sides, and the general public, should be absolutely clear about exactly what has been agreed, in detail.

4.4. Judicial redress

  • Should the agreement lay down provisions for effective access to courts for data subjects that believe that their data protection rights have not been respected? How could this be achieved?

Yes, but in order for this to be effective individual private citizens must not be put at any financial disadvantage when taking legal action against Government bureaucracies, with access to unlimited legal funds, paid for by the taxpayer.

The national Data Protection authorities should be given adequate funding and manpower resources to take on national, foreign and international Government departments, law enforcement and intelligence agencies though the Courts, on behalf of an individual private citizen.

  • Should laws which discriminate in respect of access to the courts on grounds of nationality or residence be amended?

This is desirable, but it should not be the immediate priority.

We should get the system working properly for the 450million EU citizens and the 300 million US citizens first.

5. Any other comment

You may introduce here any other comment you would like to make on the future European Union (EU) - United States of America (US) international agreement on personal data protection and information sharing for law enforcement purposes.

What is missing from this list of Questions ?

  1. Data Security Breach Notification - here some parts of the USA are ahead of the EU in terms of Data Protection and Security of their citizens' data. When, not if, government agencies or their sub-contractors misplace, lose or allow to be stolen your personal data (and often that of thousands or millions of others) this fact must not be allowed to be kept secret. Everybody who might be affected by such a data security /privacy breach must be notified, and there should be criminal sanctions involving prison and / or fines to enforce this.

    Any Government Department, Police or intelligence Agency which fails to publish its annual Data Security Breach notification report, should be suspended from being allowed to receive any data under this EU-US agreement.

    The parallels with the filing of annual financial accounts by such public entities to help ensure that public money is not being wasted or stolen, is exact. We expect the same level of Data Protection probity and diligence as we do with Public Finances.

  2. Reciprocity within the European Union - the Data Protection laws and the laws which supposedly regulate law enforcement or intelligence agency access to people's private data are not yet equal and reciprocal throughout the European Union.

  3. Mandatory use of strong Encryption - most financial data is encrypted these days>There must never be any excuse for Government, law enforcement or intelligence agencies or their private sector sub-contractors, to allow such intercepted or transferred data to be transmitted or stored as unencrypted plaintext.

    This will not protect such data from corrupt insiders, but it will vastly reduce the risks of opportunistic or targeted "identity theft", fraud, insider trading, blackmail, harassment etc. made possible by misplaced, lost or stolen portable computers, removable data storage devices and media and electronic communications etc.

    Even if the financial or other data handed over to the Government , law enforcement or intelligence agencies is not encrypted, they should only have strongly encrypted data storage and transmission systems available to them, regardless, so as to reassure the general public and to promote trust and cooperation.

    Any Government Department, Police or intelligence Agency which fails to protect our data with which it has been temporarily entrusted, should remain liable for any financial losses or inconvenience or business disruption, which their negligence has helped to cause.

  4. Data Minimisation - this principle should be explicitly written into the Agreement. If what is really wanted is , for example, proof that someone is an adult rather than a child, there is no justification to request or transfer or share their actual date of birth, place of birth social security number etc.,only the simple credit card transaction style Yes / No blind oracle answer to the question is needed, and that is all that should be permitted.

    See the Data Sharing Review commissioned by the United Kingdom Government undertaken by Richard Thomas, the then Information Commissioner, and Dr Mark Walport, the Director of the Wellcome Trust.

  5. Data Retention and Destruction - this EU -US agreement should explicitly spell out the Data retention and Data Destruction policies which apply. Handing over private data, from millions of innocent EU or US citizens should never be "for ever" or "for the foreseeable future". There must be a time limit, of say a year, after which the requesting agency or department must review the necessity and proportionality of their data request, and then provably destroy all copies of the data which can no longer be justified.

    This process will increase the effectiveness of the myriad of law enforcement and intelligence agency databases, by weeding out lots of no longer accurate data.

    Extra special care and precautions must be taken for biometric data, since, unlike, say financial account data, this cannot be easily changed, if at all, when, not if its security is compromised through negligence, accident or deliberate attack.

  6. Value for money. - each Government Department, law enforcement or intelligence agency should publish their annual budget spent on EU-US data transfers, and approximately how much data, and how many data requests this was spent on.

    Hand in hand with the Data Security Breach Notifications, this should then be analysed to provide a Cost / Benefit analysis, to see if the policy of data transfers and sharing is actually still cost effective, or if there needs to be personnel changes of senior management and politicians.


Jonathan Faull is in the process of being confirmed as Director General for the Internal Market, and it is unclear who is set to replace him as Director General of "Justice, Freedom and Security"

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.

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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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For those of you who find it convenient, there is now a Twitter feed to alert you to new Spy Blog postings.

Please bear in mind the many recent, serious security vulnerabilities which have compromised the Twitter infrastructure and many user accounts, and Twitter's inevitable plans to make money out of you somehow, probably by selling your Communications Traffic Data to commercial and government interests. (same window)

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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