March 2013 Archives

The Justice and Security Bill 2013 is now awaiting Royal Assent and the Pariament website has not yet published the consolidated final text of the Act online.

However it is possible to see amendments which have been passed:

"secret courts" Closed Material Procedure

The controversial "secret courts" Closed Material Procedure stuff has been passed and has successfully distracted the opposition from properly scrutinising the other bits of the Bill in any great detail.

Reading some of the coverage of the "secrets courts" controversy, one might have been led to believe that the existing system is somehow open and accessible to all, especially online,

The truth is that there is a vast amount of deliberate secrecy and sheer incompetence (espcially online) which effectively hides much of the supposedly "open" justice system from the public, only giving the (rich) privileged few access to some, but not all of it.

Try using the HM Courts & Tribunal Service website to try to work out which cases are actually being heard next week or next month and in exactly which Court room - impossible.

Try (in vain) to find any Court Transcripts of cases officially online

Spy Blog does not think that Closed Material Procedure will make much difference on its own - it is in addition to Public Interest Immunity certificates and in camera court proceedings, it does not replace them.

Nobbling of Norwich Pharmacal orders

2) Of much more interest to the Whitehall securocrats is the nobbling of Norwich Pharmacal orders, which is what gave the legal team in the case of
Binyam Mohamed such leverage and embarassed various MI6 managers and officials in Court (with their identities etc. being kept secret, under exisiting legislation and procedures)

Given what could be revealed in the torture complicity cases from Libya, Iraq, Afganistan etc. or if it ever gets re-started the currently suppressed Detainee Inquiry, the new section 14 Disclosure proceedings and section and section 15 Review of certification are likely to be used to cover up historical political enbarassment rather than to protect actual, up to date tactical operational information.

There has been barely any mention of this in the media or in Parliament.

Freedom of Information Act to apply to the Intelligence and Security Committee

One welcome amendment is the one to Schedule 2 one which amends the Freedom of Informationm Act 2000, to allow Freedom of Information Act requests to the Intelligence and Security Committee itself, but don't get too excited about this, no real secrets are likely to be disclosed.

Obviusly they will bat away any request for material supplied by the Intelligence Agencies themsleves, under the standard FOIA exemptions, but, it will be interesting to get some figures about the workings of the Committee itself and about the number of complaints, or investigations and any delays etc.

There will also be FOIA requests about the how much public money the ISC spends and on what.

However, there seems to be another control freak power within this legislation which extends the power of the ISC to refuse FOIA requests.

ISC: Publication of information received in private

Inserted into Schedule 1:

"Publication of information received in private


(1) This paragraph applies to information received by the ISC in private in
connection with the exercise of its functions.

(2) The ISC--
(a) may only publish the information by way of a report under
section 3, and
(b) must not otherwise disclose the information to any person if the
ISC considers that there is a risk that the person will publish it.


if the ISC considers that there is a risk that the person will publish it. is puzzling and appears to set up a conflict with spirit of the Freedom of Information Act, since every FOIA disclosure is at "risk" of being published

This could be used to refuse any FOIA requests, no matter how innocuous, because of the FOIA exemption section 44 (a) Prohibition of disclosure because this would be "prohibited by or under any enactment," i.e. this Act itself

This could be applied even to historical information with no current tactical operational value e.g. correspondence with dead dictators which has not been supplied directly by the intelligence agencies themselves etc.

It would also allow the ISC to simply refuse to give any meaningful statements to the press or media - i.e. Leveson Inquiry media censorship enacted !

ISC: some legal protection for Witnesses, but not proper Whistleblower protection

Also inserted at the end of Schedule 1 is:

"Protection for witnesses


(1) Evidence given by a person who is a witness before the ISC may not be used in any civil or disciplinary proceedings, unless the evidence was given in bad faith.

(2) Evidence given by a person who is a witness before the ISC may not be used against the person in any criminal proceedings, unless the evidence was given in bad faith."

All well and good, so far as it goes.

This would prevent evidence from say the former head of MI6 who was in charge when
an allegation of torture complicity was made, from being used in court from now being sued or prosecuted, on the basis of what he says to the ISC.

However this is insufficient on its own, to encourage any serving intelligence officers from reporting potential or actual malpractice or illegality, from contacting the ISC for them to investigate.

What use is this "witness protection" if there are no actual criminal or civil or disciplinary proceedings, but a whistleblower is identified to the intelligence services and they revoke his or her security clearance or change his or her duties to a less trusted role, not because of what the whistleblower said but because of the fact that they said anything at all to an external body i.e. they they broke the culture of omertà

There may or may not be a resultant Employment Tribunal case, but the whistleblower's career within the intelligence agency would effectively be over.

What is true for actual whistleblowers, also applies to potential whistleblowers who have not actually provided any evidence to the ISC yet, but who have tried to contact them "anonymously".

What is really required is protection by the Intelligence and Security Committee of the identities of any internal whistleblowers

c.f. Spy Blog letter to the Detainee Inquiry re: lack of whistleblower anonymity protection and immunity from prosecution

As there should have been with the now defunct Detainee Inquiry, there should also be an explicit prohibition against Communications Data snooping or other Directed Surveillance ("stakeouts, following people and vehicles, photographing meetings) or Property Interference (planting electonic audio / video "probes" or bugs or GPS tracking devices) techniques or the use of Covert Human Intelligence Source informers or undercover operativess, aimed at the members of the Intelligence and Security Committee, their staff and familes, or, more likely their mobile phones, telephon lines, internet connections, email accounts or their physical offices.

Actual Interception of communications, in theory requires a Secretary of State to authorise the RIPA warrant, but snooping on Communications Data or other surveillance techniques for "national security" or to "prevent leaks of sensitive information" does not. The temptation for an intelligence agency as a whole or for powerful officials within such an agency, with something to hide which might affect their own careers, is enormous.

The Attorney General, the Cabinet Secretary and the heads of each of the intelligence agencies should issue binding orders or "guidance" on their subordinates along the lines of what was actually produuced for the Detainee Inquiry, which should also apply to any actual or potential witnesses or whistleblowers in contact with the Intelligence and Security Committee

c.f. Witness but not whistleblower protection for the Detainee Inquiry into torture complicity of MI5, SIS, GCHQ

The strange House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, which has a wide remit regarding government expenditure, but which is routinely ignored or sidestepped by the spendthrifts in Whitehall took some oral evidence on various "cyber threats" last Wednesday 13th March 2013

This gave the public a chance to see the faces of a few of the people with some power and influence in producing the strategies which are supposed to fend of those evil foreign cyber attackers (the usual suspects Chinese or Russians or perhaps really the Americans etc. ?)

We will link to the transcript of the oral evidence when it becomes available online , but, especially for the web search engines, here are a few screen grabs from Parliament TV with some images of some of those involved:



Mark Hughes, BT Managing Director of Security - has recruited another 400 "cyber" staff ib the last year or so


Ken McCallum, Oliver Robbins, James Quinault



Ken McCallum, Head of Cyber Security, Department for Business, Innovation & Skills



Oliver Robbins, Deputy National Security Adviser, Cabinet Office



James Quinault, Director Office of Cyber Security and Information Assurance, Cabinet Office

These civil servants did not give much of an idea of how well they will have spent the £650 million alolocated to "cyber" by 2015

Carl Gardner @carlgardner has published a blog post Abu Qatada's bail conditions imposed by the secretive Special Immigration Appeals Commission

The conditions of his bail are extraordinary - and I thought you'd like to see what they are. Here's a copy of the "bail order" made by Mr. Justice Mitting on 13 November 2012, following Qatada's successful appeal to SIAC.

This links to a (.pdf) image scan of a fax on DocumentCloud (why are UK Courts still in the 20th Century ?)

With the help of Google Drive, Spy Blog has converted this into a more search engine friendly format:

Remember that Abu Qatada has not been charged, let alone convicted of any criminal offences in the UK.

If the following bail conditions had been applied, which exceed the conditions which a non- ECHR derogating Control Order or a current Terrorism prevention and Investigative Measure order could impose.




Appellant v




13 November 2012

BAIL ORDER 13 November 2012

SIAC orders the release of Omar Othman. the Applicant. on bail to appear at SlAC as and when directed by SlAC on his own recognisance (£nil) on the following conditions:

(1) He shall permit himself to be with and shall thereafter at all times wear an electronic monitoring tag ("the tag"). The Applicant shall permit himself to be fitted with the tag in prison or at his home, or elsewhere directed by or on behalf of the SSHD and for those purposes and for the purpose of' conveying him to his home, he shall accept the directions and control of those authorised by the SSHD to convey him there. The Applicant must not damage or tamper with the tag. the tag monitoring equipment. and / or the telephone provided by the monitoring company (including the associated line). The Applicant must charge the tag on a daily basis using the charging equipment provided by the monitoring company. The Applicant must not remove the charging equipment his residence without thc pemtíssion of the Home Office.

(2) He shall reside at [censored] and the Secretary of State ["The Residence"] and shall remain in The Residence at all times, save for one period of eight hours every day of the week. "The Residence" in the case of a house encompasses only the house and does not include any outside space associated with it. "The Residence" in the case of a flat encompasses that flat and. in particular, does not include any communal area either inside or outside to which any person not within the residence would have unrestricted access.

Literally house arrest

(2A) The Applicant shall be permitted outside The Residence 8.00 - 16.00 each day subject to the marked boundary notified to SIAC. The Applicant shall not be permitted to enter any rail station including any London Underground station within the marked boundary.

(3) The Applicant must report to the monitoring company by telephone on the occasion he leaves the residence each individual curfew period has ended and on the last occasion he returns to it before the end of each individual curfew period begins.

(4) He must permit entry to persons identifying themselves as police representatives of the SSHD or of the monitoring company at any time to ven'fy his presence al thc residence and / or to monitor his compliance with the bail conditions imposed by SlAC. Such monitoring may include but is not limited to:

  • (a) a search of the residence or any vehicle owned. of' which he is the registered keeper or used by the Applicant or any member of his family;
  • (b) removal of any item to ensure compliance with the remainder of the conditions as imposed by SIAC;
  • (c) inspectìon/modification or removal for inspection/modification of any article lo ensure that it does not breach the conditions imposed by SIAC;
  • (d) permitting the installation of such equipment as may be considercd necessary to ensure compliance with the conditions imposed by SIAC;
  • (e) the taking of his photograph.

(5) The Applicant shall not apply for or have in his possession any travel ticket which would take him to an arca outside that marked on the attached map unless it be for the purpose of a visit to which the SSHD has consented.

(6) The Applicant shall be prohibited from boarding. entering or riding any motorised vehicle

(7) The Applicant shall not permit any person to enter his residence, save for:

  • (a) the following family members;

    • (i) his wife
    • (ii) his children

  • (b) his nominated legal representative;
  • (c) in an emergency. members of the emergency services or health care or social work professionals;
  • (d) any person aged 14 or under;

Are there really no potential terrorists under the age of 14 ?

  • (e) any person required to be given access under the tenancy agreement for the residence. a copy of which shall be supplied to the SSHD;
  • (f) any person required to be given access further lo paragraph 4 above.

He shall not permit any other individual to enter his residence except with prior approval of the SSHD, ln relation to those other individuals, hc must supply the name. address. date of birth and identity photograph of the individual. The prior approval of the SSHD shall not be required for subsequent visits by an approved individual.

The Applicant shall not permit more than one individual to be present with him in his residence at any time, The individuals at paragraphs 7(11), (b), (c) and (f) above are to be disregarded for the purposes of lhis restriction.

(8) He shall not, outside of the residence

  • (a) meet any person by prior arrangement. other than:

    • (i) a person to in obligation 7(a) (i) above;
    • (ii) for health or welfare purposes at an establishment on a list provided to
      and agreed by the SSHD before
    • (iii) for academic or training purposes establishment notified and agreed by
      the SSHD before his attendance in accordance with paragraphs 17 and 18 below;
    • (iv) emoloyment purposes at a place of employment notiñed and agrcod by the SSHD before: his attendance in accordance with paragraph 19 below;

  • (b) attend any prearranged meetings or gatherings save with the prior agreement of the SSHD.

The Applicant must supply such infomation as is considered necessary by the SSHD for her to consider any request for such agreement. If the agreement is made subject to conditions. the Applicant must comply with the conditions. For the avoidance of doubt. a meeting shall be deemed to take place outside of the residence if one or more parties to it are outside the residence and a meeting comprises the Applicant meeting with one or more other individuals.

ln the event that the Applicant finds himself in a genuinely chance situation whereby he encounters an acquaintance in the street without pre-arrangements. or he is approached by any individual outside his residence (except in the course of the trade or profession such as shopkeeper or bus driver) the Applicant must, after any initial greetingn disengage from the situation (whether by explaining the terms of his bail order or by making an excuse). If the Applicant wants to spend further time with the acquaintance he has just encountered, he should instruct his legal team to make an application for him to meet with the person at a later date in accordance with the conditions of his bail.
Any person who the Applicant has been given permission by the SSHD to meet outside his residence shall be on the list of cleared visitors and a list of cleared visitors will be exchanged between the parties for the avoidance of any doubt.

(9) He shall not. directly or indirectly, at any time or in any way, associate with or have any communications from or with the following individuals or groups of individuals:

  • (a) Those contained within the conñdential annex supplied to SIAC. SASO and the Applicant.
  • (b) Any individual who has been notified to him by the SSHD and / or who is, at the relevant time, subject to a TPIM imposed under the TPIM Act 2011 or SIAC imposed bail.
  • (c) Any person currently in prison, whether on remand or following conviction;
  • (d) Any person who has previously been convicted of a TACT offence (1)
  • (e) Any person not physically present in the United Kingdom.

(1) A criminal offence under the Terrorism Act 2000 or, the Terrorism Act 2006.

(10) He shall not :

  • (a) Bring or permit into the residence, or
  • (b) Use or keep (whether in or outside the residence, whether directly or indirectly)
    • i. any mobile telephone. whether or not it is capable of connecting to the internet; or
    • ii. any computer whether or not it is capable of connecting to the ìnternet; or
    • iii. any communications equipment or equipment capable of connecting to the lnternet or components thereof (including but not limited to mobile telephones, fax machines, pagers, computers. public telephone and / or intemet facilities) or electronic storage devices (including but not limited to zip writable DVD or CDs and / or USB pen drives) other than one telephone line in the residence (other than the dedicated line maintained by the monitoring company). The telephone must on request be delivered up to a person authorised by thc SSHD for inspection and approval prior to it being permitted into or to remain in the residence.

What is the point of the restrictions on " electronic storage devices (including but not limited to zip writable DVD or CDs and / or USB pen drives)" ? Without a computer what use are they ?

There is no restriction on CD or DVD or USB pen drive reading devices e.g. a moderne televeision

  • (c) It shall not be a breach of this condition to permit any person to bring into the residence a mobile telephone provided that any such mobile remains switched off at all times whilst the Applicant is also in the residence

(11) For the avoidance of doubt:

  • (a) He may not use any mobile communication device including mobile phone;
  • (b) He may not use any landline phone, whether private or public, outside the residence;
  • (c) He may not permit while he is in the residence any other person to use a mobile phone in the residence;
  • (d) He may not use any computer or connect to or use by any means, directly or indirectly, the internet at any time:
  • (e) He may not permit any person to bring any computer into the residence; and
  • (f) He must not possess or use, whether inside or outside the residence. whether directly or indirectly, any computer or component thereof whether or not it is capable of connecting to the internet

If Abu Qatada really is still such a lynchpin of Al Qaeda, then why are the authorities not actively encouraging him to communicate by mobile phone and by the internet ?

Surely they will then either gather enough evidence to convict him of a terrorism offence or they will harvest a treasure trove of intelligence about his contacts and co-conspirators ?
Trying to ban him from communicating only gives himthe moral authority of a political and religious dissident.

(12) He shall not maintain or use more than one account ("account" including amounts in which he has an interest or over which he has any element of control). Such account must be held with a bank or other approved financial institution within the UK. The following information must be provided to a person authorised by the SSHD;

  • (a) details of a permitted account opened or closed subsequent to the release on bail. within 2 days of its opening or closing;
  • (b) statements of the permitted account on a monthly basis, to be provided within 7 days of their receipt.

(13) He shall not have in his possession at any time any credit, debit or switch card not issued to him by the issuing bank or store in the name in which he is hereby bailed.

(14) He shall not transfer. or arrange for others to transfer, any money, or send any documents or goods to a destination outside the UK (whether by himself or through an intermediary) without the prior consent of the SSHD.

(15) He shall not buy. sell or in any way procure, provide to others, or assist in procuńng or providing to others, any form of communications equipment or computer equipment.

(16) He must surrender his passport, identity card or any other travel document to a police officer or other persons authorised by the SSHD as soon as reasonably practicable and in any event no later than 24 hours after release on bail. He shall not apply for or have in his possession or available for his use any passport, identity card, travel document(s) or travel ticket which would enable him to travel outside the United Kingdom.

(17) He shall not commence any training course or academic study course provided by a third party unless and until:

  • (a) he has provided thc SSHD with the following information at least 7 days prior to the commencement of the training course or academic study course:

    • (i) the name and address of his training course provider or academic study course provider;
    • (ii) the nature and location of his training course or academic study course;
    • (iii) if known, the date on which he expects the training course or academic study course to commence and the timing of the training course or academic study course: and

  • (b) he has received approval in writing from the SSHD for his attendance at the training course or academic study course.

(18) Where he is already undertaking a training course or academic study course, he must provide the SSHD within 7 days of notification of the imposition of this obligation with the details required under obligation 17(a). He must immediately cease his involvement in the training course or academic study course if he receives notification in writing the SSHD to do so.

(19) He must not take up any new employment unless and until;

  • (a) he has provided the SSHD with thc following information:

    • (i) the name and address of his intended employer
    • (ii) the nature and location of his work; and
    • (iii) if known. the date on which he expects the new employment to commence, and

  • (b) he has received approval in writing from the SSHD for the new employment

(20) The Applicant is not permitted to lead prayers, give lectures. preach or provide religious instruction or advice, other than to his wife and children at his residence.

Either his religious preaching is a danger to national security, or it isn't.

Why are his wife and children still being put at risk of brainwashing ?

(21) The Applicant is not permitted to publish or permit to be published any document or statement without the prior approval of the SSHD and shall not make any statement that he has reason to believe is likely to be published.

This is Prior restraint by the executive on freedom of speech on any topic whatsover, no matter how irrelevant to "national security"

(22) The Applicant is not permitted to attend any mosque.

He could still attend a Church or a Synagogue or Temple though.

If Abu Qatada was a Christian or a Jew or a Hindu or a Sikh etc., would such a bail condition have been applied to any place of their places of worship ?

Surely this bail condition is a propaganda victory for those who claim that Abu Qatada is somehow fighting to defend Islam.

(23) His contact number for the Immigration Service is [censored]

This number can be reached seven days a week from 7am to 8pm.


l have read. understood and undertake to abide by the above terms.

SIGNED ......................

There do not seem to be any restrictions on film cameras, tape recorders, video tape recorders and cameras, solid state audio recorders or video cameras etc. which do not use removable CD / DVD or USB flash memory either by Abu Qatada or his visitors.

In theory Abu Qatada could have recorded hate sermons and had them distributed overseas by confederates.

There do not seem to be restrictions on his use of photocopiers, printing presses, or on mechanical or electric typewriters.

There do not seem to be any restrictions on the use of postal or courier services. No doubt any letters or packages are likely to be intercepted under RIPA, but there is ban on using them.

In theory, Abu Qata could have published samizdat publications.

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 wiil use this verifiable public key (the ID is available on several keyservers, twitter etc.) to establish initial contact with whistleblowers and other confidential sources, but will then try to establish other secure, anonymous communications channels, as appropriate.

Current PGP Key ID: 0x4C7F2E878638F21F which will expire on 29th August 2019.

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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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