March 2011 Archives

The propaganda from the Office for National Statistics claims, falsely, that you must fill in your Census Form, so that the Government can "plan" the doling out of taxpayers' money for new hospitals or schools etc. The last 2001 Census and the mismanagement of public finances thereafter by the then Labour government, proves that this is claim is simply untrue.

However, in a time of budget cuts, due to the financial disaster caused by Gordon Brown and his Labour party colleagues, it is more likely that Census Information will be used to "justify" cuts in in budgets and services by the current Conservative / Liberal Democrat coalition government.

Anybody who believes that, for example, answering Question 13 "How is your health in general", will somehow magically lead to an increase in funding for their local National Health Service is utterly wrong.

It is was technically illegal to complete your Census Form and send it by post or via the internet, before Sunday 27th March 2011, despite the Office for National Statistics propaganda.

This year's Census, unlike previous ones, no longer has absolute legal protection from the demands by other Government departments and agencies (including foreign government agencies) for the Sensitive personal Data which the Census Form requires.

See previous Spy Blog articles e.g. Indy Letters page - Glen Watson confirms lack of Census 2011 confidentiality legal powers

It is not that the Office for National Statistics will willingly compromise your individual privacy and security, they no longer have any legal powers to prevent individual or mass database trawling and copying by other Government agencies.

It is actually the British government which is more of a threat to your personal privacy and security, than the involvement of Lockheed Martin, the US defense contractor, a division of which is the prime contractor in this year's Census (they also did the 2001 Census).

Why make it easier for them to put your privacy and security at risk ?

Here are some suggestions for civil disobedience or just traditional British bloody mindedness when faced by bureaucratic red tape, or for pranksterish lulz, short of an outright refusal to comply with filling in the Census Form and returning it, under the threat of a criminal record and a fine of up to £1000.

Whether the extra manual work which these suggestions may cause has already been budgeted for, or whether it will marginally decrease the profits of Lockheed Martin, remains to be seen:

Census Form suggestions:

  1. "Accidentally" cut off the individual page tracking barcodes
  2. Do not use blue or black ink
  3. Use joined up writing
  4. Use "The Occupier" or other pseudonyms
  5. SQL Injection statements
  6. Return the Census Form in a non-windowed envelope
  7. Send some or all of your junk mail to ONS via FREEPOST
  8. Individual Census Forms
  9. Terrorism Act 2000 section 58A Eliciting, publishing or communicating information about members of armed forces etc
  10. Partial Post Codes
  11. Data Protection Act 1998 section 10 Right to prevent processing likely to cause damage or distress.
  12. Tick all of the checkboxes
  13. Do Not Sign the Census Form
  14. Assert your own Copyright - All Rights Reserved, to your own Personal Information
  15. Return the Form as Late As Possible
  16. Do not cooperate with "non-compliance" spies
  17. Complete both a paper and a slightly different online web Census Form

Please feed back any further suggestions, either here in the (anonymous) blog Comments or via email to (PGP encryption key available)

If enough people can cast doubt on the statistical validity of the Census, because of civil disobedience caused by its intrusive, security risking questions and the lack of legal assurance of absolute confidentiality from other government departmental snooping and data trawling, then perhaps then next Census will be radically shorter, simpler and less expensive.

The German Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information.
has published a scathing report about the lack auditing of the SWIFT Terrorist Finance Tracking Program by the European Police Office Europol, which is supposed to be filtering the US Government's secretive demands for our financial data transactions.

Report on the inspection of Europol's implementation of the TFTP agreement, conducted in November 2010 by the Europol Joint Supervisory Body (248 Kb .pdf)

On 28 June 2010, the European Union and the United States of America signed an agreement on the processing and transfer of Financial Messaging Data from the European Union to the United States. This agreement forsees the transfers of financial payments messages referring to financial transfers for use in the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP). The financial payment messages are held by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT).

The TFTP Agreement gives Europol a specific role to check whether requests from the US Treasury Department for SWIFT data comply with the terms of the TFTP Agreement. The requests and the Pursuant to Article 34(1) of the Europol Council Decision, the Europol Joint Supervisory Body (JSB) has the task of reviewing the activities of Europol in order to ensure that the rights of the end, at its meeting of 11 October 2010, JSB mandated an inspection group to carry out an inspection.

The scope of the inspection was to check Europl's implementation of the TFTP Agreement, including all related items.

Astonishingly, for a Financial Crime investigations system, there is no effective audit trail !

At the time of the inspection, Europol had received four requests for SWIFT data. Those four requests are almost identical in nature and request - in abstract terms - broad types of data, also involving EU Member States' data. Due to their abstract nature, proper verification of whether the requests are in line with the conditions of Article 4(2) of the TFTP Agreement - on the basis of the available documentation - is impossible. The JSB considers it likely that the information in the requests could be more specific.

Information provided orally - to certain Europol staff by the US Treasury Department, with the stipulation that no written notes are made - has had an impact upon each of Europol's decisions; however, the JSB does not know the content of that information. Therefore, where the requests lack the necessary written information to allow proper verification of compliance with Article 4(2) of the TFTP Agreement, it is impossible to check whether this deficiency is rectified by the orally provided information.

The significant involvement of oral information renders proper internal and external audit, by Europol's Data Protection Office and the JSB respectively, impossible.

"oral information" ? "no written notes made" ?

How can the public be reassured that this financial data snooping is not, in fact, being abused for insider trading or other forms of corruption or fraud, when there is no audit trail of SWIFT data demands by the US government ?

All such SWIFT data transfers to the US Treasury or other US agencies must stop immediately until this data sharing is properly checked and audited.

The bureaucrats responsible at the European Commission, at Europol and in the USA, should be publicly named and shamed and questioned by the European Parliament.

Write to your Member(s) of the European Parliament via

The Royal Academy of Engineering's press release
Academy report warns of over-reliance on global satellite navigation systems

The report is available online: Global Navigation
Space Systems:reliance and vulnerabilities

Exactly as we predicted when Labour politicians grasped greedily at GPS technology for their national scale people or vehicle tracking fantasies, there are plenty of people jamming or spoofing GPS signals already:

Jamming can be split into 4 broad areas: Accidental, Criminal, Red Team Deliberate and Blue Team Deliberate (where Red Team is a generic term for 'enemy/criminal' and Blue Team for 'friendly forces').

Accidental Jamming is most likely to be caused by harmonics from other RF signals which sit on the weak GPS signal-from-space. This will typically be localised and potentially manageable once identified. This may be mitigated by moving the GPS antenna to screen out the problem and is less likely to be an issue for a GPS timing system.

Criminal Jamming is caused by people who are looking to defeat GPS tracking systems. They may be car thieves, road toll evaders, tracker evaders, drivers seeking to avoid commercial mileage limits or to avoid their bosses' knowledge of their movements, etc. This will typically be indiscriminate and both moving and stationary. It may be fairly low power just to defeat the localised vehicle location system but the car thief is unlikely to be concerned with managing power levels to minimise impact on additional nearby GPS reception. This is unlikely to be a problem for most GPS applications if the jamming event is of short duration and localised.

Red Team Jamming (e.g. Terrorist) is deliberate and may be targeted at some specific aspect of critical infrastructure, possibly but not necessarily timing systems. It will be indiscriminate, more likely to be high power and may occur at a number of locations simultaneously. This is more likely to be a problem and the impact will be dependent on the back-end filtering and antenna design.

Blue Team Jamming is deliberate - generally to defeat a perceived threat of covert tracking. It will probably be low power and have a similar impact to criminal jamming. However there would be an impact if they parked for long periods near critical infrastructure which used GPS timing - for example a TETRA** base station.

** Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) is a digital trunked mobile radio standard developed by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). The
purpose of the TETRA standard was to meet the needs of traditional Professional Mobile Radio (PMR) user organisations such as Public Safety, Transportation,
Utilities, Government, Military, and Oil & Gas companies.

See Spy Blog from 2007

Road pricing GPS signal jammers ? What about cheap GPS position spoofing devices ?

or even from 2003

Can GPS based tagging of offenders actually work ?

L1 1575.42 MHz L1 1602.00 MHz E1 1575.42 MHz
L2 1227.6 MHz L2 1246.00 MHz E5A 1176.45 MHz
L5 1176.45 MHz   E5 1191.795 MHz
    E5B 1207.14 MHz
    E6 1278.75 MHz

Table 1: GNSS RF Carrier Frequencies


Commercially available (legal to purchase and own, but not to use, GPS jammer powered off a car cigarette lighter socket)

The results of the Trinity House GPS jamming trial involving multiple failures of several navigation and control systems on the bridge of a ship, are very worrying.


When Pole Star entered the jamming zone, numerous alarms sounded on the bridge over a period of approximately 10 minutes. These alarms were all linked to the failure of diferent functions to acquire and calculate their GPS position, which included: the vessel's DGPS receivers, the AIS transponder, the dynamic positioning system, the ship's gyro calibration system and the digital selective calling system. The crew of the Pole Star was able to recognise each alarm and silence them but they were expecting the alarms to sound. In the situation where a crew was not expecting this level of system failure then the distraction caused by so many alarms sounding at once could have had a significant effect. The effect could be made worse depending on the time of day (potentially a vessel's bridge can be single-manned at night, or with one officer and a look-out) or if the vessel is performing a manoeuvre or operation demanding high accuracy and a high degree of human concentration at the time of GPS failure, such as docking in poor visibility.

Some vessels have integrated bridge systems, which enable automatic execution of a passage plan on autopilot. If this system is operating at a time that jamming occurs, then the vessel's course and heading may change without informing the crew, potentially leading to extremely hazardous consequences.

Will the Government act swiftly on the recommendations of this Report ?

We suspect that various Whitehall Departments will simply pass the buck to each other e.g. Home Office ("national security" ) to Transport, to Department of Culture, Media, Olympics and Sport (who regulate illegal radio frequencies) etc.,especially as this topic involves high technology which touches on aspects of every Government department's work. Therefore any policies or projects will not be championed and paid for out of their own budgets by any of them, if they can help it.

The Online Census website is now online via

When you get your Census Form, it will have an Internet Access Code which will authorise your access to the system and which will be used in the Questionnaire Tracking Database to see if you have completed the Census Form or not.

To be fair to the ONS, they do appear to have at least set up reasonably secure SSL / TLS encrypted web forms. Which do seem to have "A rated" Digital Certificates and webserver configurations. These are not the best in the world, but comparable with most online banking systems.

Compare the results you get via the SSL Labs testing page:

These Online Census Form webservers get an [A 88] rating :
[] [] [] []
However the Census Media Centre extranet web page []

only gets a [B 76] rating, because it still allows weak 56 bit single DES encryption as a choice of cipher.

More importantly all of these Census webservers are still vulnerable to Man in the Middle Attacks because they still support unpatched SSL Renegotiation

Therefore nobody should use a public WiFi Access Point e.g. in a cyber café etc to fill in their Online Census Form, especially if they do not fill in all of the form in one session, and leave it partially completed online to come back to later.

There does seem to be a minor spelling mistake: "Forth" instead of "Fourth" in a label in the HTML source code to the first page where you enter this Internet Access Code.

Did they really check this system properly ?

Whether this website will fail to stand up to the strain of millions of simultaneous request, just like so many other previous Government websites have failed, remains to be seen.

Compared with the paper Census Form, there will be no ability to deliberately leave any of the Questions blank (apart from the voluntary one on Religion).

If your Address is on the specially compiled, up to date Address Register for delivery of the Census Form, and the Barcode / Internet Access Code is used to monitor which Census Forms have not been completed, and you believe the promises that only anonymised data will be released to other Government Departments or Agencies etc. then there should , technically, be no need for you to fill in your Name on this Census Form

The UK media reporting about the now convicted terrorist Rajib Karim, a British Airways trainee software engineer based in Newcastle, has been devoid of most of the interesting details which were made public in the courtroom.

Is this because of UK journalistic technical incompetence ?

The Wall Street Journal did publish rather more details about the Encryption etc.

This article certainly does not even fall under standing DA Notice 3 Ciphers and Secure Communications, which applies to UK government secrets, not terrorist ones,
so why do the UK media reports about this case look as if they have been censored ?

This is yet another terrorism case involving emails or other messages stored on a seized computer, which are almost the only evidence used to prosecute and convict, even though such emails are inadmissible as evidence, by either the prosecution or the defence, in a UK Court (Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 section 17 Exclusion of matters from legal proceedings) if they were, instead, intercepted in transit in the UK.

U.K. Case Reveals Terror Tactics


FEBRUARY 7, 2011


The methods that terror suspects use to conceal their communications are "a real problem" for police and intelligence authorities, says Lord Alan West, who was security adviser to former Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Other experts say such problems have been made worse by off-the-shelf software.

The previous government had even looked into whether they should make it a criminal offense for suspects to not hand over decryption codes, Lord West said.

How could Admiral Lord West of Spithead not know that his Labour government did not simply "look into" the question of "whether they should make it a criminal offense for suspects to not hand over decryption codes" ?

It is astonishing that the former Labour Security Minister at the Home Office, a former head of Defence Intelligence and former First Sea Lord, appears to be ignorant of the enactment and enforcement of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 Part III Investigation of electronic data protected by encryption etc.

This was amended by the Terrorism Act 2006 to increase the criminal penalty for refusing to hand over the plaintext or cryptographic keys in response to a Section 49 notice, if the magic words "national security case " or, as amended by the Policing and Crime Act 2009 the other magic phrase "child indecency case" are uttered. i.e. a criminal penalty of up to 5 years imprisonment, rather than the penalty of up to 2 years in prison in any other case.

The time needed to break such codes was one reason the previous British government under Mr. Brown argued for holding terror suspects for as long as 28 days without charge, Lord West added.

The decryption of these email messages in this case took far longer than even 90 days which the Labour government securocrats and apparatchiks were trying to impose.

According to this BBC report "experts from the Metropolitan Police Service Counter Terrorism Command spent nine months decrypting 300 coded messages found on his computer hard drive."

Rajib Karim was arrested on 25th February 2010 and charged on 11th March 2010 and has now been convicted on 28th February 2011.

On what basis was he charged and remanded in custody, if the gathering of actual evidence from the de-cryption of his computer took another 9 months ?

Remember that he had no weapons or explosives or co-conspirators in the UK. Neither had he actually attempted to sabotage any British Airways computer systems.

The current government of Prime Minister David Cameron recently reduced this to 14 days.

The Protection of Freedoms Bill clause 57 Permanent reduction of maximum detention period to 14 days, only reached its Second Reading in the Commons yesterday, it is not yet law.

Upon raiding Mr. Karim's apartment police recovered, among other things, a laptop and an external hard drive able to store some 320 gigabytes of data, according to prosecutors. The hard drive held some 35,000 files including messages with Mr. Karim's brother, with Mr. Awlaki--a leader of terror group al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula--and with other colleagues, prosecutors say.

What exactly led them to suspect Karim in the first place ? Perhaps surveillance of his brother's communications traffic data.

Mr. Karim allegedly hid the messages and other data stored on the drive by changing the suffix at the end of the name of key files, which would typically tell a computer what program would be needed to open them up. That included four files labeled "Quran DVD Collection," which appeared to be compressed files because they took the suffix ".rar," which relates to a type of software that reduces the size of a file, according to prosecutors.

RAR is a very commonly used compressed file format used by RapidShare and other encrypted "cyber locker" web based file sharing services worldwide.

Will the Rajib Karim case be used by the UK government to try to suppress or ban these web services ?

Mr. Ball said he noted these files were unusually large, and discovered that they were actually created in a different program, Pretty Good Privacy, which enabled each file to run as a separate, encryption-protected "virtual hard drive." Without the correct password, the files were completely unintelligible.

It's the equivalent of "a safe with a combination," Mr. Ball said in court. He sent the files to British intelligence services, which returned them decrypted, or unlocked. Once able to open the files, Mr. Ball testified, he still wasn't able to read most of the messages contained with them: Mr. Karim had enciphered the text, leaving it scrambled and unreadable.

This is the most interesting part of this article: Just how vulnerable are PGP encrypted container files to the "British intelligence services" ?

Was this a dictionary attack on the pass phrase or some other vulnerability ?

Can religious fanatics stop themselves from using Koranic or Biblical etc. passphrases ? ]

Mr. Karim left police a clue, however. On the external hard drive was a disguised file that looked like it was meant for viewing thumbnail-size photographs--but that actually consisted of text with instructions for using a spreadsheet containing a purpose-built formula to decipher the message, according to Mr. Ball. The spreadsheet also worked in reverse, enciphering messages before sending to another member of the group, Mr. Ball said.

So why didn't Karim use PGP or GPG for email or file encryption ?

Those instructions helped Mr. Ball decrypt the messages and see that--according to prosecutors' account--Mr. Karim was passing to Mr. Awlaki information about British Airways' computer and security systems that could be vitally important for those wishing to conduct a terrorist attack.

Still, it took many more months for the messages to fully come into focus. There were many spreadsheets on the hard drive, and sometimes numerous versions of each one. Even once unscrambled, prosecutors allege the messages contained false names and other coded words, further obscuring their contents. The names of countries and people, as well as their sex, were changed, and their movements and activity were discussed as if involved in business transactions, prosecutors allege.

As an additional layer of protection, prosecutors say, Mr. Karim and his colleagues didn't exchange their messages as emails, which can be intercepted. They instead uploaded them to public websites that host files, where another member of the group could then download them to his or her own machine.

Presumably Lord West and the Home Office will pretend that they could not have possibly guessed (despite the warnings from regular Spy Blog readers and every civil liberties and digital data rights organisation in the UK) that the mandatory Data Retention of UK or EU based email log files, provided by Communications Services Providers would have been so easily circumvented by terrorists. N.B. this scheme was "policy laundered" by the Labour government, i.e. they suggested it in the first place and used the UK's turn at the temporary chairmanship of the European Union Council of Ministers, to force it through as a European Directive and then claimed that it was all Europe's fault that this had happened.

This by no means the first terrorism case in the UK where the suspects did not send emails in the usual manner - there have been some where the Drafts folder on say a US based web mail system, has been accessed by two or more people who have pre-shared the logon credentials, never sending any incriminating emails at all.

In a further safeguard, prosecutors allege, Mr. Karim used software to erase other electronic fingerprints from his laptop, including a program called "Windows Washer" that effectively deletes traces of Internet browsing history from the machine.

Something which is certainly not illegal. What about the built in Privacy modes of the leading web browsers then ?

Write to Alistair MacDonald at and Cassell Bryan-Low at

They seem to have a better job of reporting the details of this case, as revealed in open Court, than the British media have bothered, or perhaps have dared, to do.

About this blog

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

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

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

Email & PGP Contact

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


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

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

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

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

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

Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers and Political Dissidents

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

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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

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

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

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

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

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


Watching Them, Watching Us

London 2600

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

Privacy and Security

Privacy International
United Kingdom Privacy Profile (2011)

Cryptome - censored or leaked government documents etc.

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

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

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

International Campaign Against Mass Surveillance

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

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

Technical Advisory Board on internet and telecomms interception under RIPA

European Digital Rights

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

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

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

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

Human Rights

Liberty Human Rights campaigners

British Institute of Human Rights
Amnesty International

Prevent Genocide International

asboconcern - campaign for reform of Anti-Social Behavior Orders

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

Internet Censorship

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

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

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

Judicial Links

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

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

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

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

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

Parliamentary Opposition

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

UK Government

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

No. 10 Downing Street Prime Minister's Official Spindoctors

Public Bills before Parliament

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

House of Commons "Question Book"

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

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

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

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

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

Online Media

Boing Boing

Need To Know [now defunct]

The Register

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

Ideal Government - debate about UK eGovernment

NIR and ID cards

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

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

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

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

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

Surveillance Infrastructures

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

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

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

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

RFID Links

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

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

Genetic Links

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

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

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

Miscellanous Links

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

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

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

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

Former Spies

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

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

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

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

Naked Spygirl - Olivia Frank

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

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

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

Liberty Central

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

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

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

Vmyths - debunking computer security hype

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

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

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

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

Bloggerheads - Tim Ireland

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

Blogzilla - Ian Brown

BlairWatch - Chronicling the demise of the New Labour Project

dreamfish - Robert Longstaff

Informaticopia - Rod Ward


The Musings of Harry

Chicken Yoghurt - Justin McKeating

The Red Tape Chronicles - Bob Sullivan MSNBC

Campaign Against the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Stop the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Rob Wilton's esoterica

panGloss - Innovation, Technology and the Law

Arch Rights - Action on Rights for Children blog

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


Moving On

Steve Moxon blog - former Home Office whistleblower and author.

Al-Muhajabah's Sundries - anglophile blog

Architectures of Control in Design - Dan Lockton

rabenhorst - Kai Billen (mostly in German)

Nearly Perfect Privacy - Tiffany and Morpheus

Iain Dale's Diary - a popular Conservative political blog

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

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

Ralph Bendrath

Financial Cryptography - Ian Grigg et al.

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

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

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

"Give 'em hell Pike!" - Frank Fisher

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

geeklawyer - intellectual property, civil liberties and the legal system

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

Charlie's Diary - Charlie Stross

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

Famous for 15 Megapixels

Postman Patel

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

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

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

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

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

Matt Wardman political blog analysis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No CCTV - The Campaign against CCTV

Barcode Nation - keeping two eyes on the database state.

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

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

Justin Wylie's political blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Links

Spam Huntress - The Norwegian Spam Huntress - Ann Elisabeth

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

Cool Britannia


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

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

Brian Burnell's British / US nuclear weapons history at

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

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UK Legislation

The United Kingdom suffers from tens of thousands of pages of complicated criminal laws, and thousands of new, often unenforceable criminal offences, which have been created as a "Pretend to be Seen to Be Doing Something" response to tabloid media hype and hysteria, and political social engineering dogmas. These overbroad, catch-all laws, which remove the scope for any judicial appeals process, have been rubber stamped, often without being read, let alone properly understood, by Members of Parliament.

The text of many of these Acts of Parliament are now online, but it is still too difficult for most people, including the police and criminal justice system, to work out the cumulative effect of all the amendments, even for the most serious offences involving national security or terrorism or serious crime.

Many MPs do not seem to bother to even to actually read the details of the legislation which they vote to inflict on us.

UK Legislation Links

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

UK Commissioners

UK Commissioners some of whom are meant to protect your privacy and investigate abuses by the bureaucrats.

UK Intelligence Agencies

Intelligence and Security Committee - the supposedly independent Parliamentary watchdog which issues an annual, heavily censored Report every year or so. Currently chaired by the Conservative Sir Malcolm Rifkind. Why should either the intelligence agencies or the public trust this committee, when the untrustworthy ex-Labour Minister Hazel Blears is a member ?

Anti-terrorism hotline - links removed in protest at the Climate of Fear propaganda posters

MI5 Security Service
MI5 Security Service - links to encrypted reporting form removed in protest at the Climate of Fear propaganda posters

syf_logo_120.gif Secure Your Ferliliser logo
Secure Your Fertiliser - advice on ammonium nitrate and urea fertiliser security

cpni_logo_150.gif Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure
Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure - "CPNI provides expert advice to the critical national infrastructure on physical, personnel and information security, to protect against terrorism and other threats."

SIS MI6 careers_logo_sis.gif
Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) recruitment.

Government Communications Headquarters GCHQ

National Crime Agency - the replacement for the Serious Organised Crime Agency

Defence Advisory (DA) Notice system - voluntary self censorship by the established UK press and broadcast media regarding defence and intelligence topics via the Defence, Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee.

Foreign Spies / Intelliegence Agencies in the UK

It is not just the UK government which tries to snoop on British companies, organisations and individuals, the rest of the world is constantly trying to do the same, regardless of the mixed efforts of our own UK Intelligence Agencies who are paid to supposedly protect us from them.

For no good reason, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office only keeps the current version of the London Diplomatic List of accredited Diplomats (including some Foreign Intelligence Agency operatives) online.

Presumably every mainstream media organisation, intelligence agency, serious organised crime or terrorist gang keeps historical copies, so here are some older versions of the London Diplomatic List, for the benefit of web search engine queries, for those people who do not want their visits to appear in the FCO web server logfiles or those whose censored internet feeds block access to UK Government websites.

Campaign Button Links

Watching Them, Watching Us - UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign
UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign

NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card
NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card and National Identity Register centralised database.

Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.
Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.

FreeFarid_150.jpg - Kafkaesque extradition of Farid Hilali under the European Arrest Warrant to Spain

Peaceful resistance to the curtailment of our rights to Free Assembly and Free Speech in the SOCPA Designated Area around Parliament Square and beyond
Parliament Protest blog - resistance to the Designated Area restricting peaceful demonstrations or lobbying in the vicinity of Parliament.

Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans
Data Retention is No Solution - Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans.

Save Parliament: Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)
Save Parliament - Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)

Open Rights Group

The Big Opt Out Campaign - opt out of having your NHS Care Record medical records and personal details stored insecurely on a massive national centralised database.

Tor - the onion routing network
Tor - the onion routing network - "Tor aims to defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal anonymity and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security. Communications are bounced around a distributed network of servers called onion routers, protecting you from websites that build profiles of your interests, local eavesdroppers that read your data or learn what sites you visit, and even the onion routers themselves."

Tor - the onion routing network
Anonymous Blogging with Wordpress and Tor - useful Guide published by Global Voices Advocacy with step by step software configuration screenshots (updated March 10th 2009).

Amnesty International's campaign

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

NGO in a box - Security Edition privacy and security software tools

Home Office Watch blog, "a single repository of all the shambolic errors and mistakes made by the British Home Office compiled from Parliamentary Questions, news reports, and tip-offs by the Liberal Democrat Home Affairs team."

Reporters Without Borders - Reporters Sans Frontières - campaign for journalists 'and bloggers' freedom in repressive countries and war zones.

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

Icelanders are NOT terrorists ! - despite Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling's use of anti-terrorism legislation to seize the assets of Icelandic banks.

No CCTV - The Campaign Against CCTV


I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist !


Power 2010 cross party, political reform campaign


Cracking the Black Box - "aims to expose technology that is being used in inappropriate ways. We hope to bring together the insights of experts and whistleblowers to shine a light into the dark recesses of systems that are responsible for causing many of the privacy problems faced by millions of people."


Open Rights Group - Petition against the renewal of the Interception Modernisation Programme

wblogocrop_150.jpg - Fighting for justice for whistleblowers