Domestic Extremism - secretive, unaccountable, therefore untrustworthy Police units, ACPO, TAM, NCDE, NPOIU, NDET, NETCU

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The unaccountable taxpayer subsidised private company, the Association of Chief Police Officers, has now published a "micro-site" about its complicated and even more unaccountable and secretive Domestic Extremism quangos.

The National Coordinator Domestic Extremism was established in 2004, with the aim of reducing, and where possible, removing the threat, criminality and public disorder associated with domestic extremism in the UK, and working with police forces to ensure the facilitation of peaceful, lawful protest.

What is domestic extremism?

Unlike terrorism, which is defined in the UK by the Terrorism Act 2000, there is no equivalent legal definition for domestic extremism. This is because the crimes committed by those considered a domestic extremist already exist in common law or statute.

Exactly the same is true of terrorists - murder is murder regardless of any "terrorism" offences.

The term is generally used to describe the activity of individuals or groups carrying out criminal acts of direct action to further their protest campaign. These people and activities usually seek to prevent something from happening or to change legislation or domestic policy, but attempt to do so outside the normal democratic process.

Domestic extremists are generally associated with a single-issue campaign, and for policing purposes, have been categorised into five themes:

* Animal rights
* Extreme right wing
* Extreme left wing
* Environmental
* Emerging trends

Who or what are "Emerging trends" domestic extremists ?

We are extremely worried that the Police seem to conflate every "single-issue campaign" which has public demonstrations or protests, with "domestic extremists"

The alphabet soup of acronyms and the secrecy which surrounds them, are mechanisms for deliberately confusing the public and for passing the blame when things go wrong.

About NCDE

NCDE is the national lead on domestic extremism, on behalf of ACPO Terrorism and Allied Matters (TAM), for the UK.

NCDE is made up of three units who work collaboratively to coordinate the police response to domestic extremism:


Intelligence - NPOIU (National Public Order Intelligence Unit)


Investigation - NDET (National Domestic Extremism Team)


Prevention - NETCU (National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit)

Missing from this list is

WECTU - Welsh Extremism and Counter-Terrorism Unit

CIU -Confidential Intelligence Unit (part of NPOIU)

Are there any "Domestic Extremism" police intelligence and surveillance units in Scotland under the Association of Chief Scottish Police Officers (APCor is this all simply handled by the Strathclyde (Glasgow etc.) and / or Borders and Lothian (Edinburgh etc.) Police forces ?

Are there any "Domestic Extremism" police intelligence and surveillance units in Northern Ireland, or is everyone there treated as a potential terrorist ?

Note that none of these units is directly accountable to any individual Police Authority or even to an elected Government Minister.

ACPO have published a list of "Frequently Asked Questions" (you need to click on each question for the javascript to reveal the "answer":

Which groups have been identified as domestic extremist campaigns or threats?

The police will always have a duty to prevent crime and disorder, or where it does occur, to investigate the perpetrators. However, the police do not publicly announce the identity of individuals or groups they regard as a threat or an operational priority unless it is necessary and prudent to do so; a disclosure of that nature would be likely to compromise police operations and investigations.

The police and NCDE would always encourage campaign groups to liaise with the local police force wherever possible, to ensure public protest and associated campaign activities remain peaceful and lawful.

This is a stupid policy.

How are the public meant to know which groups are considered to be "domestic extremists" and therefore to shun them, not give them any support or money etc., if the list is kept secret ?

The Home Office even publishes a list of Proscribed Terrorist groups (although neither the Taliban nor any Chechen terrorist groups are listed).

Who is considered a domestic extremist?

Single issue protest campaigns are regularly facilitated by police and local authorities who each have a duty to uphold the rights of individuals and groups to protest in public.

However, in recent years, a small number of groups and individuals have pursued a determined course of criminal activity designed to disrupt the public peace and lawful business, and at worst, repeatedly victimise selected individuals.

This activity has ranged from blackmail and serious intimidation in the name of animal rights; bombing campaigns by violent and racist individuals associated with far right wing groups; violent disorder from left wing or anarchist individuals, to large scale criminal damage against scientific GM crops studies and mass aggravated trespass or unlawful obstruction of lawful businesses associated with the national infrastructure of our country, such as power stations and airports by those who's stated aim is to stop any business perceived to harm the environment.

How does NCDE deal with peaceful protest?

The National Domestic Extremism Unit is mainly concerned with those who choose to commit criminal offences in the name of protest.

The police take an interest in protest and also domestic extremism because each can impact on communities and can sometimes lead to disorder and crime. Whilst the police have a duty to facilitate lawful protest, they also have responsibilities to prevent crime and disorder and to reduce disruption to society. We will therefore have an interest in some individuals or groups that are involved with such events; if there is potential for crime or disorder we will always need good quality information and sometimes intelligence to help us to assess potential risks and threats; we will always try to balance what sometimes feels like competing needs of different groups within society. The units do a great deal to assist forces in facilitating peaceful, lawful protest.

The National Domestic Extremism Unit does not usually focus those who choose to protest peacefully and lawfully. The unit is mainly concerned with those who commit criminal offences in furtherance of their campaign.

The words "does not usually focus" could mean that they do actually snoop on lawful, peaceful protestors with up to half their resources.

The units will have less interest in those who choose to sit down in the road or fasten themselves to gates to protest - we are mainly concerned with those who commit more serious offences. However, police forces will always need to deal with such incidents.

More serious offences will include activity that has ranged from blackmail and serious intimidation in the name of animal rights; bombing campaigns by violent and racist individuals associated with far right wing groups; violent disorder from left wing or anarchist individuals, to large scale criminal damage against scientific GM crops studies and mass aggravated trespass or unlawful obstruction of lawful businesses associated with the national infrastructure of our country, such as power stations and airports by those who's stated aim is to stop any business perceived to harm the environment.

Who does NCDE investigate?

The role of the three units in NCDE is to assist police forces with specialist advice and expertise, to promote a coordinated response to domestic extremism.

They support forces dealing with incidents involving animal rights crimes, individuals from the extreme right wing who have made home made bombs and also some aspects of disorder and offending from some individuals within environmental groups.

NDET is responsible for co-ordinating police operations and investigations against domestic campaigns and extremists, as well as identifying possible linked crimes across the country.

What statutory powers does NCDE hold?

NCDE is staffed by a combination of police officers and staff from across the country. The police officers all hold the usual powers of a constable.

All operational work they are involved with has to comply fully with all aspects of legislation and is all carried out jointly with police forces.

Any police unit, including NCDE, comply fully with all legislation, including Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), the Management of Police Information guidelines, the Data Protection Act and the Criminal Procedures and Investigations Act. As such, all powers used are properly authorised and can be disclosed in the criminal justice system. No national police units have any 'special' powers above and beyond those of a police officer in a local force.

That is still a vast amount of legal power, especially when applied by secret police units who are not directly accountable to anyone.

N.B. the Common Law offence of Sedition has been recently repealed by Coroners and Justice Act 2009 section 79 Abolition of common law libel offences etc. with effect from last January 12th 2010 (automatically 2 months after Royal Assent).

Who works for NCDE?

ACC Anton Setchell is the head of NCDE, and the units within NCDE are staffed by around 100 serving police officers and employees of police forces across the country.

Steve Pearl is the public face of NETCU - the prevention unit of NCDE.

We do not proactively release the names of those working for NCDE for security reasons.

What are the names and ranks of the heads of the NPOIU and NDET?

NPOIU and NDET typically provide support to police forces rather than to the public and much of the work that they are engaged in is of an operationally sensitive nature. We therefore do not identify individuals within those two units.

That is not acceptable.

There is a case for hiding the identities of the low level officers and staff, but there is no excuse for the senior managers to hide their ranks or identities or office contact details.

They are paid to be senior leaders and managers, so they should be accountable to the public, who need to know who they are so that complaints and investigations

Where are NPOIU and NDET based?

Both units are based in London. For reasons of operational security we do not disclose the exact location of any of these units.

Why should these intelligence and surveillance units NPOIU and NDET be even more secretive and less contactable than MI5 the Security Service, Mi6 the Secret Intelligence Service or GCHQ ?

Even NETCU has a website, which publishes a postal address:

PO Box 525
PE29 9AL

There is no excuse for not publishing a Post Office Box contact address, a 24/7 (freephone) telephone contact, an email address, a SSL/TLS encrypted web contact form and a PGP Public Encryption / Digital Signing cryptographic key etc.

Do they really not want the public to provide them with intelligence tip offs ?

What is NCDE's budget?

The annual funding is approximately £9m across all three units; this money is provided jointly from the Home Office, police forces and from the CT Grant (Home Office). The £2m that features on the ACPO accounts statement for the DE project is part of this overall funding.

So who independently scrutinises this budget ? Nobody.

How do we know whether or not these secretive units are not wasting public money ? How do we know that they have not suffered from financial scandals, like the abuse of American Express corporate credit cards by the Metropolitan Police specialist units ?
e.g. this BBC report Credit inquiry into 300 officers

Why do these secret Police intelligence and surveillance units not come under even the weak scrutiny of the Parliamentary Intelligence Services Committee ?

How many people work for NCDE?

The level of staffing across the three units is about 100, of which two thirds are police officers and one third are police staff.

How is NCDE linked to the Home Office?

NCDE is independent of the Home Office, but works with Home Office and other government departments such as BIS, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Why was the unelected and disgraced Lord Mandelson allowed power or privileged access to such Police intelligence and surveillance units ?

Has BIS passed on such intelligence information to private sector vested interests ?

What links does NCDE have to the security services?

These are policing units working to assist police forces. The units will work wherever it is relevant or necessary with a wide range of other agencies and organisations both in the UK and abroad, just as police forces do. We do not comment on specific organisations or the work we do with them.

By not clearly spelling out the rules of engagement or demarcation with the intelligence agencies, many innocent people will naturally fear the worst.

Is NCDE spying on us and contravening our human rights?

No. The police take an interest in protest and also domestic extremism because each can impact on communities and can sometimes lead to disorder and crime. Whilst the police have a duty to facilitate lawful protest, they also have responsibilities to prevent crime and disorder and to reduce disruption to society. We will therefore have an interest in some individuals or groups that are involved with such events; if there is potential for crime or disorder we will always need good quality information and sometimes intelligence to help us to assess potential risks and threats; we will always try to balance what sometimes feels like competing needs of different groups within society. The units do a great deal to assist forces in facilitating peaceful, lawful protest.

Police forces do much to ensure that campaign groups can exercise their domestic freedoms of speech, but at the same time ensure communities can continue to enjoy their freedoms to go about their business or travel with minimum disruption and without being subjected to disorder or intimidation.

It is a small number who believe breaking the law is justifiable and will help further their campaign aims. NCDE is there to support forces in facilitating peaceful, lawful protest and preventing that which is unlawful.

So NCDE are in fact spying on us, but they claim that this is not "contravening our human rights"

Does NCDE hold personal information on individuals?

Intelligence held by NCDE is owned by the police force that collected it.

NPOIU is responsible for coordinating intelligence from across the country in order to advise each force of the bigger picture. However, the ownership of each piece of intelligence lies with the force it came from.

This is a deliberate technique for avoiding Data Protection Act and Freedom of Information Act requests, by making it too easy for individual Police units to claim that someone else is in charge of the personal data which they hold and amend copies of.

If you set up a database , from multiple other data sources, you should be made responsible for any use or abuse of that collated intelligence resource and people should be able to contact you directly about it.

How many people are on the NPOIU database?

At the most recent count, there are only 1,822 photos held by the NPOIU. Considering this is a national police intelligence database and there are many hundreds of protest events every year, some attracting tens or hundreds of thousands of people, this very small number should provide context for anyone who has any concerns about the scale of photograph retention. Many are only retained for a very short period, some we need to retain for several years; each one is individually assessed and reviewed regularly.

Before a photo or any information or intelligence can be entered onto the database, it has to be individually assessed against a set of MOPI and ECHR compliant criteria and be given a review date; the system automatically prompts this review when it is due.

In addition to having a duty to facilitate lawful protest, the police service has a responsibility to secure public safety and needs good quality, relevant information and intelligence to do all of this. Good intelligence protects not only the public and democracy, but suspects and offenders too.

What action did the unit take following the ruling of Wood v Commissioner of the Metropolis 2009?

The outcome of the Wood vs. Commissioner of the Metropolis case was welcomed by NCDE, in particular NPOIU as it brought clarity to an area that had not previously been tested in the courts.

The three national Domestic Extremism (DE) units work hard to ensure that all they do is necessary, justified and proportionate and this applies to the management of any information or intelligence, including any photographs. In this respect, the Wood judgement did not change anything for NPOIU and the photos it holds - it cemented existing practice.

Presumably they mean Judgment (the spelling now used for High Court or UK Supreme Court Judgments) rather than "judgement"

The judgement fully reflected our views about the retention of photographs taken by police Forward Intelligence Teams (FIT) teams and in following the Statutory Code of Practice for the Management of Police Information (MOPI) since its introduction, our practice has been compliant with the judgement findings.

See the FIT Watch blog which chronicles the efforts of protestors to conduct Sousveillance of the Forward Intelligence Team photographers.

The judgement also recognised the Metropolitan Police would not have retained the photos beyond a few weeks, not indefinitely as some misreporting would have it.

The Metropolitan Police tend to retain stuff for at least 6 or 7 years.

The ACPO guidance on data retention does effectively mean "indefinitely" for so long as a criminal investigation is considered to be active.

If there has been even a minor conviction, then the data will be retained until your One Hundredth Birthday (by which time the rules will probably have been extended)

It is also important to remind those who have expressed concerns about FIT teams that the Law Lords recognised there was a legitimate aim by the police in the taking and retaining of the photographs at least for a short time - this was described by them as being for the prevention of disorder or crime, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. To report on only one aspect of the outcome of the case is misleading.

There is a framework of legislation in place to safeguard the rights and freedoms of society which the police must comply with; for the gathering of intelligence these laws include RIPA, MOPI and the Data Protection Act, which are all underpinned by the European Convention on Human Rights.

In addition to the strict requirement for legal compliance, we simply do not have the capacity or staff to process and store irrelevant photos,

With modern digital storage media capacities even for home computers, now being measured in TeraBytes, the claim to have no capacity to store irrelevant photos is untrue.

they are of no value to us and we do not want them. It has been practice since long before the Wood judgement that FIT officers could attend a protest or public order event and either take no photos at all, or where they have taken photos, to recognise there is no need to process them afterwards because they were of no value. Officers will always need to exercise this judgement.

We have little faith in the

We simply do not believe that the only information held or used by the NOPIU involves a few copies of photographs of protestors.

What about the Police National Computer ANPR tag 7 REASON - Protest used and abused by Automatic Number Plate Recognition systems ?

See the Spy Blog post

ACPO policy on ANPR: The Management and Use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition

What is the mechanism, if any for deleting such information on the NPOIU database if the local Police force decides to do so ?

What about the reverse process, if the NPOIU decide that your photo or vehicle number plate etc. is not relevant to an investigation into "Domestic Extremism", then does this data get removed from the local Police force's criminal intelligence databases ?

We doubt that this happens at all - the tendency of the Police is to hold on to every bit of data or information for as long as possible, regardless of its accuracy or proper context.

What information is collected by NCDE?

There are two types of information collected by NCDE.

Because domestic extremists don't work within police force boundaries, each force submits their intelligence to NPOIU, who then feed it into a database and analyse the information to identify common incidents, tactics and people committing offences across the country.

This information is then fed back to the police forces concerned, to allow them to see the bigger, national picture and join up their investigations, if appropriate.

NETCU, on the other had, collects 'open source' information - that is information gathered from websites and the mainstream media. They also collect post-event information from police forces, such as where a protest happened, how many people attended and how long it lasted.

This information is used to provide tactical advice and guidance to police forces across the country to promote a coordinated and consistent approach to tackling domestic extremism. It also allows NETCU, in their capacity as a crime prevention unit, to support industry, academia and other organisations that have been or could be targeted by extremists. NETCU also provides the Government and partners in the police service and the Crown Prosecution Service with collated public information about domestic extremism trends, as well as post-event incidents and crimes.

Does NCDE carry out surveillance?

All operational work NCDE is involved with is done together with police forces. Any force carrying out surveillance does so under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) and must meet the test of proportionality under that legislation.

We do not believe that they never conduct intrusive surveillance including "interference with property" under the Police Act 1997 Part III Authorisation of Action in Respect of Property

Does NCDE share intelligence or information with industry?

NCDE deals with two types of information, or intelligence. The first is police intelligence, supplied by police forces, which is analysed by NPOIU to identify common incidents, tactics and people committing offences across the country.

This information is then fed back to the police forces concerned, to allow them to see the bigger, national picture and join up their investigations, if appropriate.

The second type of information is 'open source' information, gathered from public websites and the mainstream media.

We do sometimes wonder if the visitors to this website using Police National Network or Metropolitan Police or or West Midlands Police etc. IP addresses are (ineptly) doing this sort of "open source" intelligence gathering, or if they have subcontracted this out to commercial internet "business intelligence" companies.

This is collated by NETCU and has two purposes.

Because domestic extremists don't work within police force boundaries, NETCU collates information about up and coming events and protests, from public websites and gives it to the police force, or forces concerned, so they can plan their resources accordingly. NETCU also provides tactical advice and guidance in order to promote a coordinated and consistent approach to tackling domestic extremism.

Acting as a crime prevention unit, NETCU also supports industry, academia and other organisations that have been or could be targeted by extremists. They collate open source information to provide a bigger picture of the issue, as well as providing security advice, risk assessments and information that can help minimise disruption, disorder and criminality if there is a protest and help them keep their employees safe.

At no time does NCDE pass any police intelligence to anyone other than other police forces. The only information passed to industry, academia and other organisations has come from a public source, that anyone could find.

So they never pass any police intelligence directly or indirectly to MI5 the Security Service or to SOCPA the Serious Organised Crime Agency or to the UK Border Agency or HM Revenue and Customs etc. etc., none of which are "other police forces"

Somehow we do not believe them.

NCDE need to prove this claim about "police intelligence" to the public.

All information is handled by NCDE in accordance with the MoPI regulations, therefore information would only be passed on if it met the criteria for a policing purpose; namely the prevention crime and disorder.

"the MoPI regulations" - ACPO Guidance Management of Police Information second edition (.pdf)

Does NCDE get companies' injunctions?

No. Getting an injunction is the responsibility of the company or organisation and the High Court. The Protection from Harassment Act allows people or organisations to obtain injunctive relief where harassment has occurred or is anticipated to occur.

As a police unit it is our role to remain impartial and as a result we do not have any direct involvement in obtaining injunctions, unless specially asked to provide evidence and information at the court hearing for the injunction application. Anything we say in court is placed on the court record and is available to the general public.

We would only provide evidence or information upon a formal request by a lawyer acting as an Officer of the Court. Requests for such evidence/ information for police held information/evidence would be made under Section 35 (2) of the Date Protection Act 1997; by Court Procedure Rules 37 (7) or by subpoena.

If a lawyer or a company ask us for evidence as part of an injunction application, before the injunction court hearing, we will provide them the details of a force or the names of police officers who may be able to help. The passing of this contact information is a central part of the tactical and coordination remit of our unit.

NETCU also provides generic information to companies and organisations about injunctions and the process involved, in its capacity for preventing domestic extremism.

What is the relationship between former Police constables or civilian staff who have worked in these Domestic Extremism units and the private sector security companies who sell their expertise and experience to large multinational companies whose vested financial interests may be affected by political campaigns and protests ?

What is the official relationship or connection between ACPO and NCDE?

NDCE is a national police unit within ACPO, specifically within TAM (Terrorism and Allied Matters). The unit reports to the ACPO committee and is answerable to all chief police officers across the country.

That is not an acceptable system of accountability and transparency in a democratic society for secret Police units which exercise so much politically based intrusive surveillance snooping on innocent members of the public, no matter how good their "law and order" intentions are.

Why is NCDE not subject to Freedom of Information?

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) applies to public authorities in England and Wales. Under the FOIA, organisations listed in Schedule 1 of the Act - either by name or by a description - have to provide public access to information they hold.

NCDE is not a public authority as defined by Schedule 1 of the FOIA, therefore there are currently no obligations on NCDE to disclose information under the Act.

ACPO and all of its sub-units should be made accountable under the Freedom of Information Act, exactly like each of the regional Police forces is already.

There a plenty of Exemptions under FOIA to prevent the release of anything which might damage ongoing criminal investigations.

However, in the spirit of the Act, NCDE will consider all requests for information and aim to make available as much information it properly can.

Does NCDE/police involvement stifle lawful protest?

No. Thousands of people take part in protests across the country each year, and NCDE, alongside the wider police service, fully supports people's rights to democratically express their views on issues they feel strongly about.

Unfortunately, within some otherwise lawful campaigns, a few individuals resort to criminal activity to further their cause. These individuals sometimes try to hide their illegal activities by associating themselves with otherwise lawful campaigners. It is this minority which police forces, together with units like NCDE, are determined to stop and bring to justice.

It is important to note, however, NCDE does not deal with most protests or public order issue - these are dealt with by the local police force.

They have been controversially present at, say the Kingsnorth coal fired power station or Heathrow airport expansion protest camps.

See NETCU legal arrest procedure booklet at the Climate Camp

Are people not entitled to 'have their say'?

Yes. The police service and other law enforcement agencies have a vital role to play in ensuring that where protest action takes place, it does so in a peaceful and safe manner and does not cause unnecessary disruption to a community.

We seek to strike an appropriate balance between everyone's rights; the rights of citizens to protest with the rights of a lawful business and its employees to continue working without unlawful disruption or intimidation and the rights of other members of a community to continue their daily lives without excessive disruption.

Are protestors really extremists?

The majority of people who choose to take part in a protest do so legally and peacefully and never are considered 'extremist'. The term only applies to individuals or groups whose activities go outside the normal democratic process and engage in crime and disorder.

Do the police favour one side over another?

No. The police service, including NCDE, maintain a strictly impartial position on protest issues and causes.


I fear we now have a secret police force that will act much like the Gestapo when the economic tsunami comes.
'Fearful of an internal overthrow, the forces of Himmler and the Gestapo were unleashed on the opposition. The first five months of 1943 witnessed thousands of arrests and executions as the Gestapo exercised their powers over the German public. Student opposition leaders were executed in late February, and a major opposition organization, the Oster Circle, was destroyed in April, 1943.'
In the UK the intelligence services and the government within the government have been preparing for the event over the last few years.

@ Ruth - how would you resist such a database surveillance police / nanny state ?

Making sure that Labour are no longer in power on Friday would be a vital first step, given their evil control freakery.

Constant vigilance to preserve our freedoms and liberties will still be necessary under any Conservative or Liberal Democrat governments.


Why will getting NuLabour out bring any benefits? I have to admire Galloway's turn of phrase (2006) in describing NuLabour and BluLabour as "two cheeks of the same arse". The EU is pulling their strings. It has EuroGendFor (the EU wide Gendarmerie) to introduce to Britain.

If the other lot win, the rhetoric might change, the actions won't. And given the talk of voter registration fraud in some areas of the interwibble, the electorate's wishes could be irrelevant in any case.

I believe the election is being manipulated to bring in a government of National Unity. It's quite extraordinary how the Lib Dems have gone up in the opinion polls. Voting for the Lib Dems reduces the votes of the other two parties but balances out the votes.

I expect the Conservatives to win by a small majority and the form a coalition government with the Lib Dems. They'll announce that the economic crisis is dire and then bring in measures designed to lead to violent demonstrations. And then we'll have the totalitarian government of National Unity, which has been planned for over many years. Everything is in place to suppress people - the surveillance, internet censorship, detention of 28 days, trials without juries, a police force that has recently killed during a demostration etc etc.

@ Yokel - Galloway, who should not be trusted with any political power either, is presumably somewhere between those two cheeks.

There is no discernible difference between "NuLabour" and "Old Labour". The few backbench Labour MPs who could have been respected for their opposition to the Orwellian policies of their Party e.g. Andrew Andrew MacKinlay, Bob Marshall-Andrews, David Winnick etc. have retired and are not standing at this election.

If the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats do win outright or share power for a time, they are committed to scrapping the ID Card and National Identity Register and to repeal at least some of the brutal authoritarian laws which Labour gleefully forced through without proper debate or detailed scrutiny.

They might come up with equally stupid schemes themselves, but at least the cancer of the inept Labour plans should be excised.

The postal voting frauds are likely to follow the pattern of previous years - in inner city Labour strongholds, sometimes, but not always involving corrupt "local community" leaders who act as if they were still in South Asia.

It is a scandal that this recent Labour government changed the rules so that postal votes cannot now be counted separately from those from the polling booths. Both sets of ballot papers are now to be mixed before counting, presumably so as to make postal voting frauds harder to detect. What other conceivable reason is there for such a change ?

The re-election of a Labour government, would be be an utter disaster, especially if any of the current Ministers or their disgraced predecessors cling on to power, even in a coalition.

You should be far more worried about unaccountable UK secret political Police units like ACPO, TAM, NCDE, NPOIU, NDET, NETCU and the Serious Organised Crime Agency SOCA, than about any as yet non-existent European Union wide police forces.

You should also worry about the sub-contracting of surveillance and intelligence operations to Private Military Contractor / Mercenary / Security consultancies and Private Detective Agencies, both for "national security" investigations and for "anti-fraud" operations.

@ Ruth - there is little chance of any National Unity which includes all three of main political parties.

Who would benefit from such a mess ?

How long could it possibly last for ?

None of the leaders of the main political parties are popular enough to gain the grudging acceptance of the majority of the public (including those who will not vote) as a dictator.

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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