May 2010 Archives

The text of the Identity Documents Bill text has been published online:

Repeal of Identity Cards Act 2006

1 Repeal of Identity Cards Act 2006

(1) The Identity Cards Act 2006 is repealed.

(2) But--

(a) sections 25 and 26 of that Act (possession of false identity documents etc), and

(b) section 38 of that Act (verifying information provided with passport applications etc),

are re-enacted (with consequential amendments) by this Act.

Excellent, the sooner the better - realistically some time before the end of July, when Parliament takes a long summer recess.

3 Destruction of information recorded in National Identity Register

The Secretary of State must ensure that all the information recorded in the
National Identity Register is destroyed before the end of the period of two
months beginning with the day on which this Act is passed.

Excellent, however this needs to be strengthened to include all the copies of this data which have already been shared with police and intelligence agencies in the UK and abroad.

What is there to prevent copies of such National Identity Register data being retained by individual sub-contractors or consultants etc ?

What is there to prevent such NIR data from being lost or stolen via email, CD/DVD or USB memory device or mobile phone or portable computer etc. like has happened so often in the recent past ?

There should be criminal penalties for anyone who retains copies of some or all of the National Identity Register databases, both the "biographical" 52 categories of Registrable Facts and the separate created Biometric (fingerprint) database.

The financial data e.g. bank account or credit card details etc. which the few thousand people who were foolish enough to pay for their Identity Cards must also be destroyed or anonymised.

The fingerprint biometric data must not be shared, copied or sold to other countries or private sector companies.

N.B. there is no explicit mention of biometrics in this Bill - is this a deliberate loophole which the control freaks will try to exploit ?

There is only

8 Meaning of "personal information"

(1) For the purposes of sections 4 and 5 "personal information", in relation to an individual ("A"), means--


(e) external characteristics of A that are capable of being used for identifying A,

This section only applies to the ongoing re-legislation applicable to Passports and, controversially to Driving Licences.

Driving Licences should not be used as general Identity Documents, they should only be allowed to be used for Driving / Motoring reasons.

The Labour Government did not dare to get around to making Driving Licences into Designated Documents under the identity Cards Act 2006, but the Conservative - Liberal Democrat coalition may be bamboozled into doing so with this Identity Documents Bill.

The Home Office cannot be trusted not to abuse Statutory Instruments, which cannot be amended, only accepted in full or rejected.

This Bill would grant the current or future Home Secretaries, the power to amend, simply by Order

7 (6)

The Secretary of State may by order amend the definition of "identity

and also

10 Verifying information provided with passport applications etc

(1) The Secretary of State may require a person within subsection (4) to provide the
Secretary of State with specified relevant information by a specified date if the
Secretary of State considers that the person may have that information.


(4) The persons referred to in subsection (1) are--

(a) a Minister of the Crown,

(b) a government department,

(c) a Northern Ireland department,

(d) the Welsh Ministers,

(e) the Registrar General for England and Wales,

(f) the Registrar General of Births, Deaths and Marriages for Scotland,

(g) the Registrar General of Births and Deaths in Northern Ireland,

(h) a qualifying credit reference agency, and

(i) any other person specified for the purposes of this section by an order made by the Secretary of State.

Note that no law enforcement or intelligence agencies or executive agencies like the UK Borders Agency are specifically mentioned in this list.

The judicial system, including Courts and Prisons are not mentioned in this list.

The Armed Forces i.e Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, the Army etc. are not specifically mentioned in this list either..

Note also that the list of items (a) to (h) cannot be amended or removed by Order, only those additional "Persons" added by Statutory Instrument / Order.

Each of the ""Persons" should be explicitly named in the text of this Bill and any amendments should require full debate and scrutiny through Primary Legislation.

Where are the criminal sanctions to punish petty bureaucrats at the Identity and Passport Service, who seek to abuse this power to demand personal information from the list of "Persons" ?

The Data Protection Act does not apply, since it would be trumped by this Identity Documents Act 2010 if it is passed as it stands.

Even though the text has not yet been published, the Identity Documents Bill, to hopefully repeal the Identity Cards Act, scrap the National Identity Register and stop fingerprint or other biometrics from being shoe horned unnecessarily into passports, was given its formal First Reading in the House of Commons on Wednesday 26th May 2010.

12.18 pm


26 May 2010 : Column 170



Identity Documents Bill

Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

Secretary Theresa May, supported by the Prime Minister, Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, Secretary Hague, Secretary Kenneth Clarke and Damian Green, presented a Bill to make provision for and in connection with the repeal of the Identity Cards Act 2006.

Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time tomorrow, and to be printed (Bill 1) with explanatory notes (Bill 1-EN).


12.21 pm

This is the first Bill presented by the Conservative - Liberal Democrat coalition government.

Just after this First Reading, the allocation of Chairs of the Select Committees of the House of Commons was announced.

The new scheme is that all backbenchers, from all parties, will be allowed to vote on the election of these Chairs, although only for candidates from the allocated parties.

We do rather wonder why the Home Affairs Committee, which will supposedly scrutinise the Government on Policing, Immigration and "National Security" etc. has been allocated to the Labour Party.

Presumably this Committee will still have a Government majority on it, as it has always done.

Will Keith Vaz retain his Chairmanship of this Committee ?

The Justice Select Committee, which will supposedly scrutinise Prisons and Freedom of Information policy etc. is to have a Liberal Democrat Chair.

26 May 2010 : Column 171


Select committees appointed under SO No. 152:

Business, Innovation and Skills Labour
Children, Schools and Families Conservative
Communities and Local Government Labour
Culture, Media and Sport Conservative
Defence Conservative
Energy and Climate Change Conservative
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Conservative
Foreign Affairs Conservative
Health Conservative
Home Affairs Labour
International Development Liberal Democrat
Justice Liberal Democrat
Northern Ireland Conservative
Science and Technology Labour
Scottish Affairs Labour
Transport Labour
Treasury Conservative
Welsh Affairs Conservative
Work and Pensions Labour

Other specified select committees:

Environmental Audit Labour
Procedure Conservative
Public Administration Conservative
Public Accounts Labour

We await announcement of the appointment of the Intelligence and Security Committee , which is not a Select Committee, but which is supposedly to be reformed slightly.

Will it manage to escape from the Cabinet Office, like the previous Committee recommended (the Cabinet Office web page for the ISC now gives a 404 not found error)


A welcome move by internet infrastructure giant Google, is their offering of Secure Sockets layer (SSL) / Transport Layer Security (TLS) session encryption, for their core web search service.

See the technical details of this offering: Google Web Search Help - SSL Search

Spy Blog notes that:

  • The URL link for the encrypted web search page is Missing out the "www." takes you (via Google's clever location load balancing DNS) to the unencrypted local version of Google e.g.

  • The Digital Certificate used by is issued by the Thawte Certification Authority under the Verisign top level CA (trusted by default by most web browsers). The level of encryption is "only" 128bit RC4, but that is still currently secure.

  • Although the announcement and documentation correctly says that:

    At this time, search over SSL is supported only on Google web search. We will continue to work to support other products like Images and Maps. All features that are not supported have been removed from the left panel and the row of links at the top. You'll continue to see integrated results like images and maps, and clicking those results will take you out of encrypted search mode.

    it may actually be a bit better than that, for the careful web surfer. The list of "click thru" SSL enabled Google filters in the left already includes Everything, Videos, News, Books, Updates and Discussions.

    Google Cache is also available via SSL session encryption, but not yet by default.

  • As an example, if you search for our "Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers" (or for supposedly still legal "thought crime" documents like ), the top listing will be something like:

    Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers
    Jan 23, 2010 ... Technical Hints and Tips for protecting the anonymity of sources for Whistleblowers, Investigative Journalists, Campaign Activists and ... - Cached - Similar

    Note the URL link for the "Cached" version of the page, something which is very useful for checking out a current or recently modified or deleted web page. In this case it is

    However, if you resist the temptation to click on this link immediately, but instead Right Mouse click and Copy the Link Location , open up a new tab or window and paste it into your new web browser address bar, then change "" to its SSL/TLS protected equivalent using "", then this also offers an encrypted version of the Google Web Cache.

  • The Digital Certificate used by is issued by Google's own Certificate Authority called Google Internet Authority, under the top level Equifax Certificate Authority (trusted by default by most web browsers). Again, the level of encryption is "only" 128bit RC4, but that is still currently secure.

    Will Google soon be selling Digital Certificates, in competition with the other established Certificate Authorities ?

Privacy as a side effect of jealously guarded commercial or government data

Spy Blog has a theory that most of the Privacy which ordinary people enjoy, comes about as a result of private sector companies or government departments investing money in technology and infrastructure, to jealously guard the data of their "customers" from commercial or political rivals.

The side effect of this is to offer a measure of personal privacy from snooping by anybody else other than the company or government department you are dealing with directly.

This is more important in practice, than the fact that this happens to coincide with the internationally established Principles of Data Protection, which are spelled out in law under the very weakly enforced UK Data Protection Act 1998 Schedule 1.

This extension of SSL/TLS encrypted session protection by Google, will help improve your web searching / web browsing privacy, from the prying eyes of your local computer network systems administrators, from your Internet Service Provider and from any "snoopvertising" partners of your ISP like the notorious Phorm. etc.

Advantages for Google

From Google's point of view, it actually enhances their data collection and analysis of your web searching habits, since the SSL / TLS protocol usually gives a more accurate
reading of your Internet connection's true IP address where normal web proxy servers are in use.

The SSL search page does not affect Google's "personalization" cookie tracking technology, if you sign in to your Google account.

This feature may also help protect Google's share of the web search engine market in companies, organisations or countries which censor the unencrypted version of Google search. Simply blocking SSL/TLS port 443 would be commercial suicide for any company or country, since it would also block most types of e-commerce.

Google SSL enabled web search works ok via Tor

If you use the Tor cloud of encrypted anonymous proxy servers, then your IP address will still appear to be that of a random Tor Exit node somewhere around the world (which will change in about 10 minutes or so), even through an SSL connection.

Relying on Tor via SSL and then supplying account username and password credentials to a website (e.g. a web email account or your internet bank account etc.) is not recommended, but for encrypted Google web searching, this is fine.

So far, we have not yet seen a "Google Captcha" when using SSL Google web search via Tor, but this may only be because the abusers of Tor are not yet exploiting this via scripts and malware.

Communications Data Retention

The UK Home Office under the former Home Secretary Charles Clarke, who thankfully lost his Parliamentary seat in the recent General Election "policy laundered" mandatory Data Retention through Brussels and inflicted it on 450 million innocent European Union citizens.

Nobody who has actually read and analysed web log files is fooled into believing that staff at ISPs and Police or Intelligence agencies will magically always avert their eyes and only read the "Communications Data" part (i.e. the subdomain and domain name e.g. of a web server or proxy server or load balancer or firewall or anti-virus scanner etc. log file and ignore the "Content" part of the record i.e. the Google keyword search terms

Using SSL/TLS, these keyword search terms are encrypted.and therefore hidden from casual snooping.

Obviously Google will continue to comply with legitimate, US Court ordered requests for such information in specific police or intelligence agency investigations, either from the United States of America or from foreign countries via Mutual Legal Assistance treaties, but this introduction of SSL/TLS encrypted Google web searching, may reduce some of the secret (probably illegal but how do you prove it ?) "data trawling" which now goes on.

Remember that SSL/TLS encryption whilst hiding the content of a web session from interception en route, still allows a snooper to see the time, date and IP addresses of both ends of the session and the amount of data which has been downloaded or uploaded.

This may well be enough to strongly suggest or even to prove beyond reasonable doubt that a particular computer connected to a particular web page at a certain time and date.

Google extends the use of SSL encryption, but no longer uses it.

It is ironic that in the same week that Google have extended their use of SSL/TLS encrypted web sessions, the partially re-launched "Whistleblower leaks" website no longer offers SSL/TLS encrypted sessions for downloads or for their onsite web search form, at all . i.e. the fact that you have searched for the keyword "injunction" on the website is visible, in the clear, in various log file available to to your local systems administrators, Internet Service providers , Government agencies and private sector lawyers armed with Court Orders or injunctions. e.g.

Trying this using fails, as you get sent to the "secure" document submission system instead.

Since no longer allow the public to submit or edit comments on the Discussion pages related to each "whistleblower leak" document, the fact that this standard wiki functionality does not use SSL either, is moot. still offer SSL encryption for their "whistleblower leak" submission pages, but this uses a deprecated RapidSSL Digital Certificate using the weak MD5 digital signature, which potentially allows their SSL sessions to be snooped on via an undetectable "man in the middle" attack using a forged Digital Certificate. Such an attack was demonstrated back in 2008.

Most potential attackers do not have the technical resources and the will to exploit this MD5 vulnerability, but the US Military and Intelligence agencies, who spend too much of their time annoying for political reasons, certainly do.

What are playing at with this slap dash attitude to Encryption ? They have also dropped the use of PGP Encryption and of encrypted Tor Hidden Services.

See the blog for more details

The Conservative - Liberal Democrat coalition government has published a new website with a few more details of their plans:

However, when we clicked on the Civil Liberties link,

we got a rather ironic "Error establishing a database connection":


Is this simply because too many people were trying to access this link, or
are the Government website people trying to hint at something ?

A document is also available to download: The Coalition: a Programme for Government [PDF 476Kb, 36 pages] from the Cabinet Office website.

Spy Blog started out from concerns about the abuse of the rapidly improving technology of CCTV surveillance cameras, especially those encroaching on public spaces.

This started out under John Major's Conservative government, but the "We Must Be Seen To Be Doing Something, So Let's Throw Public Money At A Possible Technological Magic Fix" attitude really festered, when the arrogantly self-deluded, yet technologically incompetent, Labour politicians got control of the Home Office under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

Investigative journalist and author Heather Brooke, whose Freedom of Information Act requests led to the revelations of the MPs expenses scandals, has written a meticulously researched article for Wired magazine, Investigation: A sharp focus on CCTV which she has re-published on her own blog Article: The Truth about CCTV

Please read it in full.

It is very noticeable that no Chief Constable has ever decided that it is a better use of public money, to give up the funding of Police computers, forensics laboratories, vehicles radios or the salaries of Police Constables or civilian staff etc. in order to fund public CCTV surveillance schemes, out of their own policing budgets.

The Conservative - Liberal Democrat coalition government has promised

Further regulation of CCTV.

We will await any such proposals with interest.

The BBC reported that

Prime Minister David Cameron shuns police outrider use - new window">BBC - Prime Minister David Cameron shuns police outrider use


But Andy Hayman, the former head of anti-terrorism at Scotland Yard, said the decision is misguided.

He told BBC Radio 4: "I can completely understand why the new prime minister wants to have no fuss - that's consistent with his style."

'Listens to advice'

However, Mr Hayman said Mr Cameron was "missing the point" because "the outriders are not just about making a clear passage for the prime minister" but ensure that Mr Cameron, his entourage and members of the public do not inadvertently get caught up in an attack.

"Actually, they're there [so that] if there is an attack against the car they can get that principal out there very quickly and protect members of the public," he said.

A Downing Street spokesman said: "At the moment, the Prime Minister has decided to put up with the traffic like everybody else.

"That is not to say he will never use police outriders. He gets advice in terms of security and he obviously listens to advice."

See this previous Spy Blog article A couple of photos of some Police officers and VIP vehicles - whilst we still can



Spy Blog has witnessed the air turn blue with swear words and curses, as frustrated motorists and pedestrians express their resentment against the "VIPs", including junior Ministers in the previous Labour government, who had such motorcycle outrider escorts through London and other less congested towns.

These motorcycle escort police officers may be armed with handguns, but they would be of little use in a proper ambush, especially when they are dismounted on traffic control at a corner like in the photos above, or when they are using both hands to steer their motorcycles i.e. most of the time.

Even police motorcycle outriders cannot guarantee that a "VIP" armoured limousine and armed police escort vehicle will not get stuck in London traffic.

Will other Ministers in the Conservative - Liberal Democrat coalition government also eschew the use of such symbols of "us and them" power and status ?

What about the Olympic Road Network - communist style Zil lanes and corporate advertising monopoly zones ?

We note that The Sun tabloid newspaper managed to publish a photo displaying the number plate of the police Range Rover which was escorting David Cameron's Jaguar limousine, with the misleading headline PM cancels his car cop guards


The BBC reports: Full Text: Conservative-Lib Dem deal, which looks promising:

Here is the full text of the coalition agreement reached by the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats:

This document sets out agreements reached between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats on a range of issues. These are the issues that needed to be resolved between us in order for us to work together as a strong and stable government. It will be followed in due course by a final Coalition Agreement, covering the full range of policy and including foreign, defence and domestic policy issues not covered in this document.


10. Civil liberties

The parties agree to implement a full programme of measures to reverse the substantial erosion of civil liberties under the Labour Government and roll back state intrusion.

This will include:

  • A Freedom or Great Repeal Bill.

  • The scrapping of ID card scheme, the National Identity register, the next generation of biometric passports and the Contact Point Database.

  • Outlawing the finger-printing of children at school without parental permission.

  • The extension of the scope of the Freedom of Information Act to provide greater transparency.

  • Adopting the protections of the Scottish model for the DNA database.

  • The protection of historic freedoms through the defence of trial by jury.

  • The restoration of rights to non-violent protest.

  • The review of libel laws to protect freedom of speech.

  • Safeguards against the misuse of anti-terrorism legislation.

  • Further regulation of CCTV.

  • Ending of storage of internet and email records without good reason.

  • A new mechanism to prevent the proliferation of unnecessary new criminal offences.

If Parliament had done its job of proper of detailed legislative scrutiny and the previous Labour politicians and their apparatchiki had not been so Orwellian in thought, yet so incompetent with anything to do with technology, none of this section on Civil Liberties would be needed.

Obviously Spy Blog will analyse the specific details and the actual implementation of these plans, when they emerge, but this section of the coalition agreement, seems to be very good news for the normal, innocent, law abiding people of the United Kingdom.

To ensure that the political pressure is kept up on these Conservative and Liberal Democrat politicians, for whom coalition is a new concept and is one which may not last until 2015, we urge readers of Spy Blog to continue to support cross party campaigns and organisations such as

with your voluntary time and with financial donations.

All of these organisations and campaigns are still needed, given the technological developments and political challenges of the 21st Century.

Some indirect feedback from someone who was introduced to Spy Blog by a friend:

I don't read Spy Blog anymore, it frightens me too much !

The prospect of Gordon Brown and his Labour careerist henchmen still clinging on to power and inflicting their authoritarian Kafkaesque bureaucracy, Orwellian doublethink and technological incompetence on us, is terrifying and must be resisted.

If the Liberal Democrats make a coalition or pact with Gordon Brown, then they too must be condemned to electoral hell, when, not if, the inevitably unstable Labour / Liberal Democrat plus other minor parties cabal breaks down.

It is noticeable that topics such as the abolition of the National Identity Scheme, and other Database State threats which the cross party NO2ID Campaign has highlighted, which should be non-negotiable point of principle for the Liberal Democrats, have hardly been mentioned by the self absorbed Westminster village of broadcast and newspaper political pundits.

These media pundits have tried to dominate the pre and post Election news agenda, but they really have no more clue as to what is likely to happen, than any political blogger.

About this blog

This United Kingdom based blog attempts to draw public attention to, and comments on, some of the current trends in ever cheaper and more widespread surveillance technology being deployed to satisfy the rapacious demand by state and corporate bureaucracies and criminals for your private details, and the technological ignorance of our politicians and civil servants who frame our legal systems.

The hope is that you the readers, will help to insist that strong safeguards for the privacy of the individual are implemented, especially in these times of increased alert over possible terrorist or criminal activity. If the systems which should help to protect us can be easily abused to supress our freedoms, then the terrorists will have won.

We know that there are decent, honest, trustworthy individual politicians, civil servants, law enforcement, intelligence agency personnel and broadcast, print and internet journalists etc., who often feel powerless or trapped in the system. They need the assistance of external, detailed, informed, public scrutiny to help them to resist deliberate or unthinking policies, which erode our freedoms and liberties.

Email & PGP Contact

Please feel free to email your views about this blog, or news about the issues it tries to comment on.


Our PGP public encryption key is available for those correspondents who wish to send us news or information in confidence, and also for those of you who value your privacy, even if you have got nothing to hide.

We offer this verifiable GPG / PGP public key (the ID is available on several keyservers, twitter etc.) as one possible method to establish initial contact with whistleblowers and other confidential sources, if it suits their Threat Model or Risk Appetite, but will then try to establish other secure, anonymous communications channels e.g. encrypted Signal Messenger via burner devices,or face to face meetings, postal mail or dead drops etc. as appropriate.

Current PGP Key ID: 0x1DBD6A9F0FACAD30 which will expire on 29th August 2021.

You can download a free copy of the PGP encryption software from
(available for most of the common computer operating systems, and also in various Open Source versions like GPG)

We look forward to the day when UK Government Legislation, Press Releases and Emails etc. are Digitally Signed so that we can be assured that they are not fakes. Trusting that the digitally signed content makes any sense, is another matter entirely.

Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers and Political Dissidents

Please take the appropriate precautions if you are planning to blow the whistle on shadowy and powerful people in Government or commerce, and their dubious policies. The mainstream media and bloggers also need to take simple precautions to help preserve the anonymity of their sources e.g. see Spy Blog's Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers - or use this easier to remember link:

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

Digital Security & Privacy for Human Rights Defenders manual, by Irish NGO Frontline Defenders.

Everyone’s Guide to By-Passing Internet Censorship for Citizens Worldwide (.pdf - 31 pages), by the Citizenlab at the University of Toronto.

Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents - March 2008 version - (2.2 Mb - 80 pages .pdf) by Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Guide to Covering the Beijing Olympics by Human Rights Watch.

A Practical Security Handbook for Activists and Campaigns (v 2.6) (.doc - 62 pages), by experienced UK direct action political activists

Anonymous Blogging with Wordpress & Tor - useful step by step guide with software configuration screenshots by Ethan Zuckerman at Global Voices Advocacy. (updated March 10th 2009 with the latest Tor / Vidalia bundle details)


Watching Them, Watching Us

London 2600

Our UK Freedom of Information Act request tracking blog - ethical and technical discussion about the project for anonymous mass leaking of documents etc.

Privacy and Security

Privacy International
United Kingdom Privacy Profile (2011)

Cryptome - censored or leaked government documents etc.

Identity Project report by the London School of Economics
Surveillance & Society the fully peer-reviewed transdisciplinary online surveillance studies journal

Statewatch - monitoring the state and civil liberties in the European Union

The Policy Laundering Project - attempts by Governments to pretend their repressive surveillance systems, have to be introduced to comply with international agreements, which they themselves have pushed for in the first place

International Campaign Against Mass Surveillance

ARCH Action Rights for Children in Education - worried about the planned Children's Bill Database, Connexions Card, fingerprinting of children, CCTV spy cameras in schools etc.

Foundation for Information Policy Research
UK Crypto - UK Cryptography Policy Discussion Group email list

Technical Advisory Board on internet and telecomms interception under RIPA

European Digital Rights

Open Rights Group - a UK version of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a clearinghouse to raise digital rights and civil liberties issues with the media and to influence Governments.

Digital Rights Ireland - legal case against mandatory EU Comms Data Retention etc.

Blindside - "What’s going to go wrong in our e-enabled world? " blog and wiki and Quarterly Report will supposedly be read by the Cabinet Office Central Sponsor for Information Assurance. Whether the rest of the Government bureaucracy and the Politicians actually listen to the CSIA, is another matter.

Biometrics in schools - 'A concerned parent who doesn't want her children to live in "1984" type society.'

Human Rights

Liberty Human Rights campaigners

British Institute of Human Rights
Amnesty International

Prevent Genocide International

asboconcern - campaign for reform of Anti-Social Behavior Orders

Front Line Defenders - Irish charity - Defenders of Human Rights Defenders

Internet Censorship

OpenNet Initiative - researches and measures the extent of actual state level censorship of the internet. Features a blocked web URL checker and censorship map.

Committee to Protect Bloggers - "devoted to the protection of bloggers worldwide with a focus on highlighting the plight of bloggers threatened and imprisoned by their government."

Reporters without Borders internet section - news of internet related censorship and repression of journalists, bloggers and dissidents etc.

Judicial Links

British and Irish Legal Information Institute - publishes the full text of major case Judgments

Her Majesty's Courts Service - publishes forthcoming High Court etc. cases (but only in the next few days !)

House of Lords - The Law Lords are currently the supreme court in the UK - will be moved to the new Supreme Court in October 2009.

Information Tribunal - deals with appeals under FOIA, DPA both for and against the Information Commissioner

Investigatory Powers Tribunal - deals with complaints about interception and snooping under RIPA - has almost never ruled in favour of a complainant.

Parliamentary Opposition

The incompetent yet authoritarian Labour party have not apologised for their time in Government. They are still not providing any proper Opposition to the current Conservative - Liberal Democrat coalition government, on any freedom or civil liberties or privacy or surveillance issues.

UK Government

Home Office - "Not fit for purpose. It is inadequate in terms of its scope, it is inadequate in terms of its information technology, leadership, management systems and processes" - Home Secretary John Reid. 23rd May 2006. Not quite the fount of all evil legislation in the UK, but close.

No. 10 Downing Street Prime Minister's Official Spindoctors

Public Bills before Parliament

United Kingdom Parliament
Home Affairs Committee of the House of Commons.

House of Commons "Question Book"

UK Statute Law Database - is the official revised edition of the primary legislation of the United Kingdom made available online, but it is not yet up to date.

FaxYourMP - identify and then fax your Member of Parliament
WriteToThem - identify and then contact your Local Councillors, members of devolved assemblies, Member of Parliament, Members of the European Parliament etc.
They Work For You - House of Commons Hansard made more accessible ? UK Members of the European Parliament

Read The Bills Act - USA proposal to force politicians to actually read the legislation that they are voting for, something which is badly needed in the UK Parliament.

Bichard Inquiry delving into criminal records and "soft intelligence" policies highlighted by the Soham murders. (taken offline by the Home Office)

ACPO - Association of Chief Police Officers - England, Wales and Northern Ireland
ACPOS Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland

Online Media

Boing Boing

Need To Know [now defunct]

The Register

NewsNow Encryption and Security aggregate news feed
KableNet - UK Government IT project news - UK eGovernment and public sector IT news
eGov Monitor

Ideal Government - debate about UK eGovernment

NIR and ID cards

Stand - email and fax campaign on ID Cards etc. [Now defunct]. The people who supported have gone on to set up other online tools like The Government's contemptuous dismissal of over 5,000 individual responses via the website to the Home Office public consultation on Entitlement Cards is one of the factors which later led directly to the formation of the the NO2ID Campaign who have been marshalling cross party opposition to Labour's dreadful National Identity Register compulsory centralised national biometric database and ID Card plans, at the expense of simpler, cheaper, less repressive, more effective, nore secure and more privacy friendly alternative identity schemes.

NO2ID - opposition to the Home Office's Compulsory Biometric ID Card
NO2ID bulletin board discussion forum

Home Office Identity Cards website
No compulsory national Identity Cards (ID Cards) BBC iCan campaign site
UK ID Cards blog
NO2ID press clippings blog
CASNIC - Campaign to STOP the National Identity Card.
Defy-ID active meetings and protests in Glasgow - New Alliance's ID Cards page - total rejection of any UK ID Card

International Civil Aviation Organisation - Machine Readable Travel Documents standards for Biometric Passports etc.
Anti National ID Japan - controversial and insecure Jukinet National ID registry in Japan
UK Biometrics Working Group run by CESG/GCHQ experts etc. the UK Government on Biometrics issues feasability
Citizen Information Project feasability study population register plans by the Treasury and Office of National Statistics - comments and links to each paragraph of the Home Office's "Strategic Action Plan for the National Identity Scheme".

De-Materialised ID - "The voluntary alternative to material ID cards, A Proposal by David Moss of Business Consultancy Services Ltd (BCSL)" - well researched analysis of the current Home Office scheme, and a potentially viable alternative.

Surveillance Infrastructures

National Roads Telecommunications Services project - infrastruture for various mass surveillance systems, CCTV, ANPR, PMMR imaging etc.

CameraWatch - independent UK CCTV industry lobby group - like us, they also want more regulation of CCTV surveillance systems.

Every Step You Take a documentary about CCTV surveillance in the Uk by Austrian film maker Nino Leitner.

Transport for London an attempt at a technological panopticon - London Congestion Charge, London Low-Emission Zone, Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras, tens of thousands of CCTV cameras on buses, thousands of CCTV cameras on London Underground, realtime road traffic CCTV, Iyster smart cards - all handed over to the Metropolitan Police for "national security" purposes, in real time, in bulk, without any public accountibility, for secret data mining, exempt from even the usual weak protections of the Data Protection Act 1998.

RFID Links

RFID tag privacy concerns - our own original article updated with photos

NoTags - campaign against individual item RFID tags
Position Statement on the Use of RFID on Consumer Products has been endorsed by a large number of privacy and human rights organisations.
RFID Privacy Happenings at MIT
Surpriv: RFID Surveillance and Privacy
RFID Scanner blog
RFID Gazette
The Sorting Door Project blog - where we sometimes crosspost RFID articles

Genetic Links

DNA Profiles - analysis by Paul Nutteing
GeneWatch UK monitors genetic privacy and other issues
Postnote February 2006 Number 258 - National DNA Database (.pdf) - Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology

The National DNA Database Annual Report 2004/5 (.pdf) - published by the NDNAD Board and ACPO.

Eeclaim Your DNA from Britain's National DNA Database - model letters and advice on how to have your DNA samples and profiles removed from the National DNA Database,in spite of all of the nureacratic obstacles which try to prevent this, even if you are innocent.

Miscellanous Links

Michael Field - Pacific Island news - no longer a paradise - John Gilmore versus USA internal flight passports and passenger profiling etc.

The BUPA Seven - whistleblowers badly let down by the system.

Tax Credit Overpayment - the near suicidal despair inflicted on poor, vulnerable people by the then Chancellor Gordon Brown's disasterous Inland Revenue IT system.

Fassit UK - resources and help for those abused by the Social Services Childrens Care bureaucracy

Former Spies

MI6 v Tomlinson - Richard Tomlinson - still being harassed by his former employer MI6

Martin Ingram, Welcome To The Dark Side - former British Army Intelligence operative in Northern Ireland.

Operation Billiards - Mitrokhin or Oshchenko ? Michael John Smith - seeking to overturn his Official Secrets Act conviction in the GEC case.

The Dirty Secrets of MI5 & MI6 - Tony Holland, Michael John Smith and John Symond - stories and chronologies.

Naked Spygirl - Olivia Frank

Blog Links blog - Comments on IT security and Privacy or the lack thereof.
Rat's Blog -The Reverend Rat writes about London street life and technology
Duncan Drury - wired adventures in Tanzania & London
Dr. K's blog - Hacker, Author, Musician, Philosopher

David Mery - falsely arrested on the London Tube - you could be next.

James Hammerton
White Rose - a thorn in the side of Big Brother
Big Blunkett
Into The Machine - formerly "David Blunkett is an Arse" by Charlie Williams and Scribe
infinite ideas machine - Phil Booth
Louise Ferguson - City of Bits
Chris Lightfoot
Oblomovka - Danny O'Brien

Liberty Central

dropsafe - Alec Muffett
The Identity Corner - Stefan Brands
Kim Cameron - Microsoft's Identity Architect
Schneier on Security - Bruce Schneier
Politics of Privacy Blog - Andreas Busch
solarider blog

Richard Allan - former Liberal Democrat MP for Sheffield Hallam
Boris Johnson Conservative MP for Henley
Craig Murray - former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan, "outsourced torture" whistleblower

Howard Rheingold - SmartMobs
Global Guerrillas - John Robb
Roland Piquepaille's Technology Trends

Vmyths - debunking computer security hype

Nick Leaton - Random Ramblings
The Periscope - Companion weblog to journalist network.
The Practical Nomad Blog Edward Hasbrouck on Privacy and Travel
Policeman's Blog
World Weary Detective

Martin Stabe
B2fxxx - Ray Corrigan
Matt Sellers
Grits for Breakfast - Scott Henson in Texas
The Green Ribbon - Tom Griffin
Guido Fawkes blog - Parliamentary plots, rumours and conspiracy.
The Last Ditch - Tom Paine
The (e)State of Tim - Tim Hicks
Ilkley Against CCTV
Tim Worstall
Bill's Comment Page - Bill Cameron
The Society of Qualified Archivists
The Streeb-Greebling Diaries - Bob Mottram

Your Right To Know - Heather Brooke - Freedom off Information campaigning journalist

Ministry of Truth _ Unity's V for Vendetta styled blog.

Bloggerheads - Tim Ireland

W. David Stephenson blogs on homeland security et al.
EUrophobia - Nosemonkey

Blogzilla - Ian Brown

BlairWatch - Chronicling the demise of the New Labour Project

dreamfish - Robert Longstaff

Informaticopia - Rod Ward


The Musings of Harry

Chicken Yoghurt - Justin McKeating

The Red Tape Chronicles - Bob Sullivan MSNBC

Campaign Against the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Stop the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Rob Wilton's esoterica

panGloss - Innovation, Technology and the Law

Arch Rights - Action on Rights for Children blog

Database Masterclass - frequently asked questions and answers about the several centralised national databases of children in the UK.


Moving On

Steve Moxon blog - former Home Office whistleblower and author.

Al-Muhajabah's Sundries - anglophile blog

Architectures of Control in Design - Dan Lockton

rabenhorst - Kai Billen (mostly in German)

Nearly Perfect Privacy - Tiffany and Morpheus

Iain Dale's Diary - a popular Conservative political blog

Brit Watch - Public Surveillance in the UK - Web - Email - Databases - CCTV - Telephony - RFID - Banking - DNA

BLOGDIAL - smart mobile phone forensics, information security, computer security and digital forensics by a couple of Australian researchers

Ralph Bendrath

Financial Cryptography - Ian Grigg et al.

UK Liberty - A blog on issues relating to liberty in the UK

Big Brother State - "a small act of resistance" to the "sustained and systematic attack on our personal freedom, privacy and legal system"

HosReport - "Crisis. Conspiraciones. Enigmas. Conflictos. Espionaje." - Carlos Eduardo Hos (in Spanish)

"Give 'em hell Pike!" - Frank Fisher

Corruption-free Anguilla - Good Governance and Corruption in Public Office Issues in the British Overseas Territory of Anguilla in the West Indies - Don Mitchell CBE QC

geeklawyer - intellectual property, civil liberties and the legal system

PJC Journal - I am not a number, I am a free Man - The Prisoner

Charlie's Diary - Charlie Stross

The Caucus House - blog of the Chicago International Model United Nations

Famous for 15 Megapixels

Postman Patel

The 4th Bomb: Tavistock Sq Daniel's 7:7 Revelations - Daniel Obachike

OurKingdom - part of OpenDemocracy - " will discuss Britain’s nations, institutions, constitution, administration, liberties, justice, peoples and media and their principles, identity and character"

Beau Bo D'Or blog by an increasingly famous digital political cartoonist.

Between Both Worlds - "Thoughts & Ideas that Reflect the Concerns of Our Conscious Evolution" - Kingsley Dennis

Bloggerheads: The Alisher Usmanov Affair - the rich Uzbek businessman and his shyster lawyers Schillings really made a huge counterproductive error in trying to censor the blogs of Tim Ireland, of all people.

Matt Wardman political blog analysis

Henry Porter on Liberty - a leading mainstream media commentator and opinion former who is doing more than most to help preserve our freedom and liberty.

HMRC is shite - "dedicated to the taxpayers of Britain, and the employees of the HMRC, who have to endure the monumental shambles that is Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC)."

Head of Legal - Carl Gardner a former legal advisor to the Government

The Landed Underclass - Voice of the Banana Republic of Great Britain

Henrik Alexandersson - Swedish blogger threatened with censorship by the Försvarets Radioanstalt (FRA), the Swedish National Defence Radio Establishement, their equivalent of the UK GCHQ or the US NSA.

World's First Fascist Democracy - blog with link to a Google map - "This map is an attempt to take a UK wide, geographical view, of both the public and the personal effect of State sponsored fear and distrust as seen through the twisted technological lens of petty officials and would be bureaucrats nationwide."

Blogoir - Charles Crawford - former UK Ambassodor to Poland etc.

No CCTV - The Campaign against CCTV

Barcode Nation - keeping two eyes on the database state.

Lords of the Blog - group blog by half a dozen or so Peers sitting in the House of Lords.

notes from the ubiquitous surveillance society - blog by Dr. David Murakami Wood, editor of the online academic journal Surveillance and Society

Justin Wylie's political blog

Panopticon blog - by Timothy Pitt-Payne and Anya Proops. Timothy Pitt-Payne is probably the leading legal expert on the UK's Freedom of Information Act law, often appearing on behlaf of the Information Commissioner's Office at the Information Tribunal.

Armed and Dangerous - Sex, software, politics, and firearms. Life’s simple pleasures… - by Open Source Software advocate Eric S. Raymond.

Georgetown Security Law Brief - group blog by the Georgetown Law Center on National Security and the Law , at Georgtown University, Washington D.C, USA.

Big Brother Watch - well connected with the mainstream media, this is a campaign blog by the TaxPayersAlliance, which thankfully does not seem to have spawned Yet Another Campaign Organisation as many Civil Liberties groups had feared.

Spy on Moseley - "Sparkbrook, Springfield, Washwood Heath and Bordesley Green. An MI5 Intelligence-gathering operation to spy on Muslim communities in Birmingham is taking liberties in every sense" - about 150 ANPR CCTV cameras funded by Home Office via the secretive Terrorism and Allied Matters (TAM) section of ACPO.

FitWatch blog - keeps an eye on the activities of some of the controversial Police Forward Intelligence Teams, who supposedly only target "known troublemakers" for photo and video surveillance, at otherwise legal, peaceful protests and demonstrations.

Other Links

Spam Huntress - The Norwegian Spam Huntress - Ann Elisabeth

Fuel Crisis Blog - Petrol over £1 per litre ! Protest !
Mayor of London Blog
London Olympics 2012 - NO !!!!

Cool Britannia


Free Gary McKinnon - UK citizen facing extradition to the USA for "hacking" over 90 US Military computer systems.

Parliament Protest - information and discussion on peaceful resistance to the arbitrary curtailment of freedom of assembly and freedom of speech, in the excessive Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 Designated Area around Parliament Square in London.

Brian Burnell's British / US nuclear weapons history at

Syndicate this site (XML):

Follow Spy Blog on Twitter

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)

Recent Comments

  • wtwu: NetIDMe seems to be in process of being wound up read more
  • wtwu: The House of Lords have approved the Regulations, without a read more
  • wtwu: Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill Government Note on the read more
  • wtwu: The former Customs Officer and the others involved in dealing read more
  • wtwu: BBC reports the password was $ur4ht4ub4h8 When Hussain was read more
  • wtwu: "only" an extra 4 months in prison for failing to read more
  • wtwu: Although not confirmed as part of the Wilson Doctrine per read more
  • wtwu: For now (just before Christmas 2013) it appears that the read more
  • wtwu: As expected, the ISC did not give the intelligence agency read more
  • wtwu: N.B. the Intelligence & Security Committee is now legally consituted read more


Monthly Archives

August 2020

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31          

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