What laws would actually apply to a Russian "illegals" spy scandal in the United Kingdom ?

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The arrest of 10 Russian "illegal" suspected SVR spies, in the USA, including the photogenic Anna Chapman, who appears to have spent 5 years or so working in the United Kingdom, and who married and divorced a British citizen, is full of interesting technical tradecraft and legal issues.

The arrest of another 11th suspect, Christopher Metsos, in Cyprus, who then appears to have been allowed to flee the country "whilst awaiting an Extradition warrant" on "money laundering" allegations from the USA", is , in its own way rather worrying, given the obvious use of Entrapment by the US authorities in this affair.

One area in which the US judicial system is better than that of the United Kingdom is in the online publication of Indictments, signed by investigating police or counter- intelligence agents, detailing the alleged activities of the accused.

These are often made available for free by the major US newspapers and provide a check against the wretched culture of "anonymous briefings" which the British media allow themselves to be manipulated by.

The New York Times seems to have been the first to do this, but copies of the two Indictments are now available from the BBC website:

BBC copy of the District Court Indictment against Anna Chapman and Mikhail Semenko(.pdf)

BBC copy of the District Court Indictment against the other 9 illegal spy suspects (.pdf) i.e. Christopher R. Metsos, Richard Murphy, Cynthia Murphy, Donald Howard Heathfield, Tracey Lee Ann Foley, Michael Zottoli, Patricia Mills, Juan Lazaro and Vicky Pelaez.

Both documents make a distinction between spies under diplomatic cover working from Embassies, Consulates and, in this case the Russian Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York and "illegals".

"Illegals" are in two categories - those who operate under totally false names and identities of, in this case, US citizens, or those who operate under their own (Russian) identities.

See the infamous "Hollow Coin" case in the 1950's involving Rudolf Abel / Vilyam Genrikhovich Fisher.

Why arrest this alleged spy ring now, after several years of surveillance ?

It is unclear why the US authorities actually decided to make a propaganda fuss and arrest these alleged "illegals" rather than simply threatening to deport them under immigration laws.

Presumably there is some sort of internal power struggle for scarce budgets and prestige, amongst the various US intelligence agencies.

The case has certainly shifted a lot of mainstream media attention from the BP oil pollution scandal, which probably pleases the White House spin doctors.

No actual Espionage or even Economic Espionage charges

None of the suspects are actually accused of obtaining or passing on any actual classified information.

None are actually accused of Espionage, (up to 20 years in prison) or even Economic Espionage (up to 10 years in prison and half a million dollars fine for stealing certain trade secrets).

There are no charges under the catch all "national security" provisions of the so called PATRIOT Act either.

The likelihood is that the alleged spies were either as yet inactive "sleepers" awaiting orders in the future, or were meant to be "agents of influence", or perhaps low level logistics support team members, without direct contact with any US traitors or personal access to real secrets.

The fact that two of them are accused of undertaking "dead drop" operations of money and of a false passport, at the behest of the FBI agent provocateurs who had gained their trust, implies membership of the logistics tail of the SVR espionage rings in the USA.

Similarly in the United Kingdom, none of the alleged activities set out in the Indictments would have fallen foul of the the UK's Official Secrets Act 1989

Unregistered Agents of a Foreign Government

They are accused of Conspiracy to Act as Unregistered Agents of a Foreign Government which carries a penalty of up to 5 years in prison.

There is no such law in the United Kingdom.

If there was, how many Public Relations and Political Lobbying companies and individuals would be caught by such a law in the UK ?

Given the number of current and former MPs and Lords and Ministers (from across the political spectrum) who have acted for foreign clients and for foreign companies or organisations, which are controlled by foreign governments, it seems unlikely that any such law would be passed in the UK.


The interesting alleged technical details about the secret communications methods employed by this alleged spy ring are not in themselves illegal.

This is presumably why the US authorities went for their usual Entrapment method, using their people who managed to infiltrate or gain the trust of a couple of the suspects, to accept and deliver to a Dead Letter Drop, an envelope of cash or a false passport.

These acts were then videoed to provide evidence of activity as an "Unregistered Agent of a Foreign Government" a crime with a penalty of up to 5 years in prison.

Since US laws and regulations do not allow "Unregistered Agents of a Foreign Government" to make use of the US bank or credit card or other financial systems, anybody who receives or passes on any money "from a Foreign Government" can be accused of "money laundering" or more usually, as in this case, the even more catch all inchoate offence of "conspiracy to commit money laundering", which has a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.

In previous cases, the US authorities have even claimed that the salaries paid by the US Government to to Federal employees working for the FBI etc. who turned out to have been recruited to be Russian or Chinese or Cuban or Israeli etc. spies after their initial employment by the US Government, was evidence of "money laundering" since they were obtained under false pretences by "Unregistered Agents of a Foreign Government".

This is not "money laundering" in the the sense that UK laws are framed, aimed at Serious Organised Crime gangs involved in illegal drug or tobacco or alcohol etc. smuggling, human trafficking. Neither does this sort of activity qualify as "terrorism" money laundering.

Entrapment is much more heavily frowned upon in the UK legal system than in the USA.

Communications Traffic Analysis of repeated ad hoc WiFi connections using the same two MAC addresses

The alleged use of ad hoc WiFi connections (i.e. directly peer to peer, between two portable computers, without logging in to a Wireless Access Point) by "Anna Chapman", sitting in a café or a bookshop, whilst a diplomat from the Russian Permanent Mission to the United Nations lurked nearby or drove past in a minivan was interesting.

The fact that the FBI used a "commercially available tool that can detect the presence of wireless networks" and had evidence of the same two Media Access Control (MAC) addresses from the WiFi chips / USB dongles or cards used by the portable computers making ad hoc Wifi connections with each other, on about 10 occasions would be as proper use of directed surveillance both in the USA and in the UK.

Such WiFi connections do not use a public Communications Services Provider like a telecomms or internet company, so the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 self authorisation for access to Communications Data does not apply - there are no log files to be copied or seized from third parties.

Since WiFi exploits the unlicensed Industrial, Scientific and Medical bands of radio frequencies, it is not illegal to intercept these if you have the technology to do so, even if you are a private citizen and not an intelligence agency.

Such activity would not be illegal in either country, especially since the contents of the the communications between the two computers are likely to have been protected with extra encryption or steganography over and above the strong encryption available through the standard WiFi connection

N.B. the only WiFi encryption which cannot be broken these days in real time or near real time is WPA2 using AES encryption, all the other modes i.e. the standard WEP or the more advanced but now broken TKIP can be compromised by free software available over the internet.

it is trivially easy to change the MAC address which a WiFi enabled laptop uses, either through a Windows Registry setting or by using free software available via the internet. e.g. KLC Consulting's SMAC

Writing down a long password on paper

The FBI investigators appear to have found a piece of paper on which was written "alt," "control" and "e" and "a string of 27 characters", which was found to be the key to a steganographic software program, used to hide text messages inside digital images, which were then uploaded and downloaded from various websites (see below)

Such a password would strong against brute force password guessing attacks, but was presumably too random to be easily memorised.

This sort of elementary IT security error is not unique to alleged SVR trained professionals.The April 2010 prosecution of Thomas A.Drake, a senior National Security Agency (NSA) executive and whistleblower, for ongoing leaks to a Boston Sun newspaper reporter, is mostly based on lots of paper copies and unencrypted electronic scans of classified documents found in his home.


It is plausible that the 27 character password unlocked a steganographyprogram on the computer disks which were copied surreptitiously during the New Jersey Search in 2005.

Iit would be strong circumstantial evidence of a link between the New Jersey alleged conspirators and the Boston alleged conspirators, if the Indictment claim that they both used similar steganographic software, which both required a 27 character password.

Does this imply that the Boston password has also been broken ?

What about the third surreptitious search in Seattle in 2006 ?

It is unclear how many of the images which the FBI investigators downloaded from websites which the New Jersey alleged spies had visited actually contain steganographically hidden messages.

They claim to have recovered about 100 messages, but these could be mostly from unencrypted and hidden drafts of messages which analysis of the forensic images of the computer disks revealed, according to the Indictment.

It seems improbable that the same 27 character password would have continued to have been used for 5 years. Since even amateur or open source steganographic software usually also has
the ability to strongly encrypt the messages that are being hidden within digital images (e.g. .jpg( or music or video files (e.g. mp3) etc. it is inconceivable that any SVR supplied or developed "non commercial" steganographic software would not also employ strong encryption.

Surely they would use a with a different password or pass phrase for encryption, from that used to invoke the steganography software ?

Or was the 27 character password really to an encrypted container file, in which resided the steganographic software and the draft messages etc.?

Although they may not always be encrypted, steganographically hidden messages do appear to fall under the United Kingdom's Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 Part III Investigation of electronic data protected by encryption etc section 49 notices, von-compliance with which can result in a 2 year prison sentence, or if the magic words "national security investigation" (whatever that means) are uttered, then the penalty is up to 5 years in prison.

Not e the typical Home Office catch-all abuse of the words "any" and "or other" in this legislation:

"key", in relation to any electronic data, means any key, code, password, algorithm or other data the use of which (with or without other keys)--

(a) allows access to the electronic data, or

(b) facilitates the putting of the data into an intelligible form;


"protected information" means any electronic data which, without the key to the data--

(a) cannot, or cannot readily, be accessed, or

(b) cannot, or cannot readily, be put into an intelligible form;


Challenge / Response Pass Phrases

Somehow the FBI obtained a challenge / response authentication pass phrase, which helped them to convince the accused Mikhail Semenko, that the telephone caller (FBI undercover agent UC-2) purporting to be "an agent of the Russian government" was genuine.

The second Indictment also mentions



In the months after the above-described June 2009 brush-pass at the White Plains Train Station, the New Jersey Conspirators and the SVR communicated on numerous occasions as to precisely where and when MURPHY would meet with "Mike". Among other things , the New Jersey Conspirators were told that MURPHY could definitively recognize "Mike" by having the following exhange with "Mike":

["}~Excuse me, did we meet in Bangkok in April last year?". Reply I don't know about April, but I was in Thailand in May of that year.


66. In another January 2010 message, center explained how RICHARD MURPHY, the defendant, and the SVR's agent would be able to identify each other in Rome,


Password (C's rep[resentative]) - "Excuse me, could we have met in Malts in 1999" (key words: Malt, 1999). A's rep[ly]# - "Yes indeed, I was in La Valetta, but in 2000" (key words: La Valetta, 2000).

A's recognition sign: "Tiime" magazine in A's hands (title to be seen from outside"). Sign of danger: "Time" magazine in A's left hand (title to be seen from outside).

It is hard to believe that this information came from the covert searches of computers conducted back in 2005 or 2006.

How was the FBI getting access to such messages after June 2009 and in January 2010 ?

Surely such challenge response phrases are changed frequently and are tailored to a specific secret agent in the field ?

Perhaps the FBI has another source of intelligence which has infiltrated this alleged spy ring ?

At the beginning of the conversation UC-2 asked SEMENKO, "could we have met in Beijing in 2004 ?" SEMENKO responded, "Yes we might have, but I believe it was in Harbin."

Dead Drops and Tip Offs

As part of their Entrapment process, the FBI undercover agents / agents provocateurs, ordered two members of the alleged spy ring to place illegal items (supplied by the FBI) at Dead Letter Drops in a public park

According to the Indictment, UC-2 gave Mikhail Semenko a folded newspaper and an envelope with $5000 in cash, and instructions and a map to memorise, for the dead Drop Location under a bridge in a public park in Arlington, Virginia (effectively a suburb of Washington DC, near to the Pentagon and various military and intelligence agency headquarters. Semenko was then videoed at this location the next day and , surprise, surprise, the FBI found the newspaper and envelope and money placed where they had ordered.

The other FBI undercover agent / agent provocateur UC-1 did not , according to the Indictment, need to employ a challenge / response pass phrase. with Anna Chapman, who agreed to meet with him. Incredibly she handed over her laptop computer to him to be repaired or replaced and accepted a Fraudulent Passport in a false name, which she was instructed to give to an alleged illegal agent the next day.

She was provided with a challenge / response pass phrase by the FBI to authenticate this person ("I-1"):

UC-1 then stated that I-1 "will tell you... 'excuse me but haven't we met in California last summer ?' And you will tell her 'no , I think it was in the Hamptons".

Although this was meant to be a face to face meeting, with another alleged "illegal" agent, UC-1 instructed Anna Chapman to leave a signal marker, more appropriate perhaps, for a Dead Drop such as Mikhail Semenko completed.

At their "coffee shop in downtown Manhattan, new York" meeting point, a rather rambling UC-1 instructed Anna Chapman:

UC-1 then stated, "When you are done, I need you to come back here to this location...so that I know everything is okay.... You can't see from here, but when I walk out there is a city map....Go to the map after you are done. Come up to the map, and, I will give you the thing, all you do is[ place a postal]# stamp, all you do is put it on the side of the map like you are looking at the map...Just come to the map and put it on the side and I will check

This all seems very unprofessional.

Why could the alleged illegal agent I-1 not be the one to signal a successful, or a failed or missed, pick up of the Fraudulent Passport ? Why would this delivery have to be Face to Face, rather than a Dead Drop, like the one Semenko completed ?

We assume that a professional SVR spy handler would probably have been more explicit as to exactly where on the city map, the postage stamp should be placed .

Surely an alleged SVR trained spy like Anna Chapman would have been expecting to set up some sort of "I think I am being watched" signal e.g. placing the postal stamp on the wrong side of the city map or placing it upside down etc. ? (see the "Sign of danger" instructions for MURPHY above)

However, unlike Mikahail Semenko, Anna Chapman must have been suspicious, as she did not turn up at the person to person meeting point with the supposed I-1 to hand over the Fraudulent Passport.

The FBI Indictment mentions that within an hour of the meeting with UC-1, she was observed by the surveillance team to have bought a mobile phone and a "Tracfone" calling card capable of being used for international phone calls. They observed that she had thrown away the packaging of the phone and the calling card as well as the mobile phone charger, which implied that this phone would only be used for one or two calls and then would be disposed of.

Presumably the FBI included details of this mobile phone purchase to imply that Anna Chapman made an "untraceable" international mobile phone call (voice or SMS text message or data ?), to imply that she was an Unregistered Agent of a Foreign Government.

If true, it would then also appear that the bumbling FBI Under Cover agent / Agent Provocateur UC-1 only succeeded in tipping off Anna Chapman and, presumably her SVR bosses in Moscow, that she, and perhaps several other "illegal" spies were about to be arrested.

Given the media attention on her good looks and the lack of any "smoking gun" evidence (unless it can be gleaned from her laptop computer), of any illegal activity, it is hard to see Anna Chapman being successfully prosecuted.


Was Anna Chapman's SVR handler already aware that their cover was blown, because the FBI were caught by SVR counter-surveillance ?

page 7

Based on my training, experience and participation in this investigation, I belive that on April 7, Russian Government Official #1, set out to communicate covertly with CHAPMAN, who was using a laptop computer that bore MAC ADDRESS A - but he (Russian Government Official #1) aborted his efforts to communicate with CHAPMAN because he detected the FBI's surveillance of him.

So they tipped off the Russian SVR back in April ?

Were the more valuable SVR covert human intelligence sources (spies) with actual access to secrets or to major political influence, protected from contact or contamination by low level "illegals" like Anna Chapman or Mikhail Semenko ?

The Washington Post report seems to confirm that the FBI undercover agent UC-1 made Anna Chapman very suspicious of the attempted entrapment:


At a White House briefing Friday, a senior administration official who was asked about the Chapman and the FBI informant indeclined to comment on "operational activities."

The FBI informant aroused Chapman's concerns for several reasons. In his initial phone call Saturday, June 26, he asked her to come to New York from Connecticut, where she was spending the weekend. Her meetings up to then had been on Wednesdays and were not face to face. They were solely to pass information via encrypted private computer networks.

The FBI informant identified himself in the call as a Russian she knew as a superior, but when she met him, he turned out not to be that person, according to someone familiar with her case. Her concerns deepened when "Roman," the name the informant used, asked her to take on a task that went beyond what she expected from her bosses at Moscow Center -- a face-to-face transfer of a fake passport to another Russian "illegal."

After the meeting, Chapman bought a new cellphone and two calling cards for international calls. She made one call to her father in Moscow and another to a friend in New York. Both told her not to go through with the proposed transfer.

Her father, Vasily Kushchenko, served in Kenya and has a senior position in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, according the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda. He also had KGB experience, U.S. intelligence sources said. He told her to take the fake passport to the New York police.

It's embarassing that I first heard of this when a popular entertainment agency had reported that a spy, who is later identified as Anna Chapman was being offered a lot of money for media coverage and tell all interviews.

There are so many gaping holes in this whole scenario and how it all boiled down to this. It reminds me of a bad spy movie, everything just sounds definitely odd.

About this blog

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

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

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

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We offer this verifiable GPG / PGP public key (the ID is available on several keyservers, twitter etc.) as possible one 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.

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(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.

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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: http://ht4w.co.uk

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

WikiLeak.org - ethical and technical discussion about the WikiLeaks.org project for anonymous mass leaking of documents etc.

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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.'

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asboconcern - campaign for reform of Anti-Social Behavior Orders

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

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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.

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

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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

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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)

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Stand - email and fax campaign on ID Cards etc. [Now defunct]. The people who supported stand.org.uk have gone on to set up other online tools like WriteToThem.com. The Government's contemptuous dismissal of over 5,000 individual responses via the stand.org 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.

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Home Office Identity Cards website
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International Civil Aviation Organisation - Machine Readable Travel Documents standards for Biometric Passports etc.
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CommentOnThis.com - 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.

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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.

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Postnote February 2006 Number 258 - National DNA Database (.pdf) - Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology

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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
freetotravel.org - 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

e-nsecure.net 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
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Big Blunkett
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Liberty Central

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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 Euro-correspondent.com 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


MySecured.com - 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 http://nuclear-weapons.info

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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.com - 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 irrepressible.info 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


WhistleblowersUK.org - Fighting for justice for whistleblowers