Recently in Anonymous intelligence briefings Category

This Mail on Sunday article seems suspiciously like Whitehall securocrats trying to manipulate the Press and public opinion, to spin the way for another stab at the reviled Communications Data Bill power grab.

They do not seem to have learnt anything from their previous failures to convince Parliament or the public. Why can't they cite some actual, relevant recent cases, to justify their "we must grab everything (for free, in secret), even from millions of innocent people" policies ?

This article is so full of half truths and spin, that it has provoked Spy Blog to comment on almost every section:

Spy chiefs warn PM: Internet giants including Google and Facebook are shielding terrorists and paedophiles

Cameron told internet giants have withdrawn cooperation with MI5
Some are obstructing requests for help tracking terrorists and criminals
Follows Edward Snowden's claims firms are used to snoop on Brits

By Robert Verkaik

Published: 01:01, 27 April 2014 | Updated: 01:01, 27 April 2014

David Cameron has been warned by the country's top spy chiefs that internet companies including Facebook and Google are undermining national security.

The Prime Minister was told internet giants have 'withdrawn' their cooperation and are obstructing MI5 requests for help tracking terrorists and major criminals, including paedophiles.

What evidence is there of any actual obstruction ? There is none whatsoever in this article.

It follows fugitive Edward Snowden's claims that the firms are used to snoop on British citizens, which is disputed by spy chiefs.

Before the US whistleblower's disclosures, they willingly responded to lawful requests for details of phone calls, emails, text messages and other private information.

Now the companies are said to be concerned about being seen to acquiesce too easily.

It is clear from the Oral evidence to the Joint Committee on the Draft Communications Data Bill (.pdf) back in the summer of 2012, i.e. before the Snowden revelations that big US based companies Google, Facebook and Yahoo even then insisted on a clear Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty request from UK Police via US law enforcement partners, typically the FBI.

They also have 24 hour rapid response teams in place to expedite urgent requests e.g. kidnap situations where lives are immediately at risk.

So what, exactly has changed ? There is now proof via the Snowden revealed documents, that the years of goodwill and voluntary cooperation with say the UK Police, have been completely undermined by the out of control mass surveillance and actual attacks on their infrastructure by NSA and GCHQ and their 5 Eyes partners intelligence agencies.

One of the fears is that intelligence officers will lose the ability to monitor the safety threat posed by British jihadists travelling to Syria, for example Londoner Mohammed El Araj, 23, who is said to have died while fighting for militants with links to Al Qaeda.

What threat from returning fighters, exactly ?

What safety threat to the UK can someone who has died in Syria pose ? Where are the examples of any such UK fighters in Syria who have returned to the UK ? How many are there ?

How many of them are totally disenchanted by the realities of civil war ideologies like e.g. George Orwell after fighting in the Spanish Civil War ?

What about UK fighters who have actually been trying to liberate the country from the evil Assad regime ? What if they have received direct or indirect support, money or training or weapons from UK or other allied agencies ?

What about non-combatants who "only" help with food or medical relief etc. for refugees ? A few of these may actually become radicalised towards violence after what they have witnessed in Syria, but most will not.

If there really is such a threat, why have there been no arrests or convictions of returning fighters from Syria (or Afghanistan or Pakistan or Somalia or Oman etc.) ?

The intelligence agencies have access to credit card, bank account, passport, visa and travel booking data systems, none of which has anything to do with Google etc. Why does this does not reveal any travel plans of jihadists going to, or returning from Syria ?

Any wannabe terrorists stupid enough to put their travel plans on Facebook, should be trivial to track down.

How exactly are such "returning fighters" going to magically smuggle in the AK-47s and RPGs that they have been using in Syria, back into the UK ?

A security source told The Mail on Sunday: 'One of the impacts of the Snowden disclosures is that internet companies have withdrawn their willing co-operation and that has affected some operations.'

Why can't these "security source" briefings be from named, official spokesmen, on the record ? This might add some credibility and public trust in the Government's message, which is totally lacking in these sneaky "anonymous" briefings.

The fact that NSA and GCHQ were / still are, snooping on vast amounts of innocent customers data flowing between the datacentre communications links of companies like Google and Yahoo, regardless of how well they were cooperating with informal requests and formal legal demands for data, is hugely significant.

This counterproductive and easily avoidable betrayal of the companies' trust in the authorities is entirely the fault of the US and UK securocrats and politicians..

The source added that a key bone of contention was the internet service providers' unwillingness to hand over encryption keys that unlock data being sought by law enforcement agencies.

Why are law enforcement agencies seeking encryption keys from Google, Facebook, Yahoo or from "internet service providers" ?

Which "encryption keys" is this anonymous "security source" moaning about ?

Are Whitehall securocrats seriously expecting Google to hand over the private de-cryption keys of their search engine or web mail etc. web servers ?

Given the millions of innocent people who use these web servers every day, it would be completely disproportionate, even to try to decipher tens of thousands of terrorist suspects TLS encrypted web sessions and even if they could legally serve a US based company with a RIPA Part III section 49 notice.

Have any such encryption keys ever been handed over to UK law enforcement agencies in the past (no RIPA section 49 notices have been reported as such in the handful of individual cases referenced by the various RIPA Commissioners' Annual reports)

Such section 49 notices are supposed to be narrowly targeted and have the provision to demand de-ciphered plaintext, where this is available, without putting millions of other customers and users data at risk.

It would be a horrible legal precedent if Google or Facebook or Yahoo ever handed over their web servers' private keys to anyone, especially a foreign Law Enforcement Organisation like the UK police..

What then would stop repressive regimes like Iran or China or governments which are nominally democratic, but which are sliding towards authoritarianism like Turkey or Venezuela from legally demanding the same, in order to repress their political dissidents ?

Note also the careful avoidance of any mention of intelligence agencies by the anonymous Whitehall briefer - the Snowden revelations show that GCHQ and NSA have been attacking internet encryption systems, regardless of the damage to internet e-commerce etc. i.e. working against National Security (one definition of which is "the economic well being of the United Kingdom)

N.B. encrypted web or email traffic protocols currently do not hide the Communications Data / metadata of a web or email session, which gives law Enforcement a lot of intelligence to work with, even without being able to read the contents of a web session or an email in transit.

None of this helps if the suspects or political activists use an extra layer of end to end encryption e.g. by GPG encrypting the contents of their Google gmail message.

The source added: 'It is not simply about terrorism; it's about serious crime, including paedophiles and gangland crime bosses.'

Intelligence agencies are interested in paedophiles only for blackmail, not chiid protection

This same anonymous Whitehall "security source" seems to be trying to drag GCHQ & MI5 into the specialised world of online paedophile investigations (is it Charles Farr or someone else at the Home Office's Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism ?)

This is something which is not in their intelligence remit. Intelligence agencies are peripherally interested in paedophiles, but only so as to blackmail and recruit them if they are of intelligence value. According to the Snowden documents there have also been controversial amateurish attempts to "disrupt" through smearing via social media, some non-terrorist political or religious alleged supporters of terrorists' causes, against whom they have no actual evidence. None of this is for actually for child protection, unlike Police investigations..

Intelligence agency staff conducting non-criminal i.e. intelligence investigations, do not have any legal immunity from the draconian UK child porn laws which criminalise possession or copying of child porn images, They have no powers of arrest, so they might as well leave such investigations to the Police, anyway. There is a limited immunity from the Child Porn laws for Police officers who are investigating actual crimes.

if the specialised Child Porn Police units cannot cope with the cumulative psychological damage of having to view lots of such evil material, or cannot establish working relationships with their foreign counterparts, then wasting intelligence services resources in trying to duplicate this will not help

Now Mr Cameron has been briefed by Sir Iain Lobban, head of the Government's intelligence gathering operation GCHQ, and Andrew Parker, director general of MI5.

According to a report, more than 500,000 Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) requests for data were made to communication service companies last year.

c.f. 2013 Annual Report of the Interception of Communications
(.pdf) by Rt. Hon. Sir Anthony May

Facebook rejects a third of requests made by UK law enforcement authorities and other agencies, while Yahoo turns down a quarter.

No ! These figures are not for UK Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 interception warrants or Communications Data "requests" as outlined in deliberately obscured statistics in the report above. They are from their own, USA based voluntary Mutual Legal Aid Treaty transparency statistics.

Neither Facebook nor Yahoo are UK based major telecommunications, Internet Service or Postal companies i.e. they are not Communications Service Providers, which fall under RIPA.

That is what the controversial Draft Communications Data Bill / "Snoopers Charter" was trying to wangle, before it was shelved for now.

And despite pressure from Home Secretary Theresa May, Yahoo is moving its entire operation to Dublin, beyond the scrutiny of British surveillance laws. If others follow, it is feared the country will be left even more dangerously exposed.

Most of Yahoo'e infrastructure is in the USA. The move to Dublin of their European subsidiary is as much to do with corporation tax as with the UK surveillance laws.

The fact that millions of innocent Yahoo customers had their private webcam video chats snooped on in bulk by GCHQ is also significant and should have been avoided.

Ministers have already been told that the thousands of top-secret files stolen by Snowden and published in the Guardian, have caused massive damage to Britain's intelligence capability.

Note the weasel words ! The Guardian have not published "thousands of top-secret files", they have only published a handful of pages from a few files, all (with one minor exception) having first been vetted by the UK government.

There is no evidence of "massive damage" - top terrorists and criminals and spies were already avoiding email and mobile phones etc. The US Government did more damage by publicising the names of participants in an intercepted supposed Al Quaeda online chat conference than any of the published Snowden documents have done. Remember that Osama bin Laden did not use either mobile phones or the internet and evaded the hunt for him for years.

The source said that it is vital that internet companies help police and security services to stay one step ahead of their targets in a rapidly changing digital world.

Under existing arrangements, police and intelligence agencies use RIPA to request crucial data and wiretaps.

But requests are being rejected or sent back for further consideration, even in the case of Home Secretary-approved warrants.

So why was there no mention of these rejected "Home Secretary-approved warrants" in Rt.Hon. Sir Anthony May's report, published just before Easter this year, which specifically discusses the Snowden revelations ?

Access to data has proved essential in thwarting terrorist atrocities and organised crime.

In 2007 police and MI5 foiled an Al Qaeda plot to kidnap, torture and behead a British Muslim soldier. Telephone taps and internet surveillance played a crucial role in jailing five men.

UK telephone taps (or Communications Data / Traffic Analysis / Metadata) are important, but they have got nothing to do with Google, Facebook or Yahoo.

Even the Daily Mail reports at the time contradict that requests / demands to the "internet giants" were crucial to this case:

Al Qaeda was behind 'plot' to behead soldier

It is understood that a tip-off from a trusted informant last summer sparked the dramatic events in Birmingham when nine men suspected of being members of the terror cell were arrested in a series of raids across the city.

During a six-month, £10million surveillance operation involving 250 police officers and MI5, cameras, telephone taps and surveillance teams had been used to monitor the group's movements.

And in 2012 paedophile John Maber, 47, who shared online footage of his rape of a child, was jailed after police intercepted an internet offer he made to abuse a child over a webcam.

The article is dominated by the large image of this convicted child rapist.

Why does the Mail on Sunday deliberately choose not to mention that:

John Maber: Paedophile prison officer jailed for life

Maber, a senior prison officer,


Maber, who worked at London's Pentonville Jail, was caught after police in New Zealand intercepted an offer from him to abuse a child online.

Why couldn't the Whitehall briefers or the Mail on Sunday find a more relevant example of an online child rapist caught through voluntary or legally enforced cooperation by Google, Facebook or Yahoo ?

MP Rob Wilson said: 'It's right that internet companies take great care in how they handle their users' personal information and who has access to it

But people will clearly expect them to co-operate with the police and others when it comes to tackling matters like serious crime or the dreadful scourge of online paedophilia.

'And they will be rightly concerned if the police and intelligence agencies are facing unnecessary difficulties and delays.'

In its most recent government requests report Facebook stated: 'We respond to valid requests relating to criminal cases. Each and every request we receive is checked for legal sufficiency and we reject or require greater specificity on requests that are overly broad or vague.'

Yahoo said: 'We carefully review Government Data Requests for legal sufficiency and interpret them narrowly in an effort to produce the least amount of data necessary to comply with the request.'

Google declined to comment directly on the claims but it is understood to follow a policy of fully scrutinising every incoming request.

Rejecting overly broad or vague or illegal requests from foreign i.e. UK police agencies
is not "shielding terrorists and paedophiles"

The Internet Service Providers Association said its members were 'understandably cautious' about handing over data but that none of the companies wanted to break the law.

Google, Facebook and Yahoo also have to comply with privacy and data protection laws, at both US Federal and State level, not just with UK laws which have triggered a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty request.

A Home Office spokesman said: 'The Government is committed to ensuring that law enforcement and intelligence agencies have the powers they need to investigate crime, protect the public and safeguard national security.'

That is not sufficient. One of the deliberately vague definitions of National Security is "the economic well being of the United Kingdom".

The Home Office pretends to be ignorant of the UK internet economy, but they really must not be allowed to continue to put it at risk, i.e. to put "the economic well being of the United Kingdom" at risk through their existing overbroad, disproportionate, weakly regulated, non-transparent snooping powers and definitely not by simply calling for even more mass snooping and politically expedient but impossible to enforce restrictions.

The whole complicated bureaucratic mess of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act and the interplay with the Intelligence Services Act needs urgent reform to make it fit for the the modern internet age.

The anonymous media briefings ahead of next month's Queen's Speech are continuing today, lead by the Sunday Times and followed by the Press Association, with broadcasters like the BBC joining in, second hand.

The Sunday Times has published a rather meagre front page article on the Coalition government's revival of Labour's All Your Internet Are Belong To Us snooping plans:

Instead of just passively waiting for another NuLabour style fait accompli, please contact your local MP and / or join or support cross party groups like NO2ID Campaign or the Open Rights Group

Sunday Times
Sunday 1st April 2012

Government to snoop on all emails
David Cracknell

David Cracknell used to have several "anonymous" sources within Government and was briefed "off the record" by Whitehall spin doctors

Is the poor quality of this article the result of the anti-Murdoch press "cover your own backsides" attitude which now prevails in Whitehall , following the "phone hacking" / corruption scandals which closed the News of the World and which are tainting even the Sunday Times ?

The government is to expand hugely its powers to monitor email exchanges and website visits of every person in Britain.

Under plans expected to be announced in the Queen's speech next month, internet companies will be told to install thousands of pieces of hardware to allow GCHQ, the government's eavesdropping centre, to scrutinise "on demand" every phone call made, text message and email sent and website accessed in real time.

They already have this legal power which does not require any sort of judicial warrant, under the notorious Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. All that GCHQ needs is a "catch all" Warrant or Certificate signed by a Secretary of State i.e. normally, in their case, the Foreign Secretary William Hague.

This introduced the legal power to install "black box" snooping hardware at the major Telecommunications companies and Internet Service Providers, overseen by the Technical Advisory Board.

The amount of money the the Labour government was willing to pay for this snooping infrastructure was a paltry sum, which is why it took so long for any agreement with the ISPs. N.B. the interests and priorities of ISPs and Telecomms companies are not the same as those of their customers.

The volume of internet data flowing today is orders of magnitude more than that envisaged back in 2000, so If the new plan is to really going to install "thousands of pieces of hardware", then this plan will cost billions of pounds.

An effort by Labour to introduce a similar law was shelved in 2006 after fierce opposition from the Tories, Liberal Democrats and pri­vacy campaigners.

The useless Jacqui Smith threatened us with a Communications Data Bill, but that was in 2009, not 2006

While the new law would not allow GCHQ to monitor the content of communica­tions without obtaining a warrant, it would permit the intelligence agency to trace whom a person or group had contacted, when, for how long and how often.

That is no different from the existing RIPA law then

Members of the Internet Service Providers' Associa­tion, which represents more than 200 businesses including BT, Virgin Media and Google, were given some details of the proposals last month and were alarmed by what they were told.

So why does this Sunday Times article not mention the Communications Capabilities Development Programme (CCDP), which is what the ISPs were briefing other journalists on last month ?

See Spy Blog: Whitehall risks public and internet industry revolt against their secretive Communications Capabilities Development Programme (CCDP) internet and phone snooping plans

A senior industry official said: "It's mass surveillance.
The idea is that the network operator should effectively intercept the
communications between, say, Google and some third party

"the network operators are going to be asked to put probes in the network and they are upset about the idea ... It's expensive, it's intru­sive to your own customers, it's very difficult to see it's going to work properly and it's going to be a nightmare to run legally."

The association said: "It is important that proposals to update government's capabili­ties to intercept and retain communications data... are proportionate, respect freedom of expression and the privacy of users."

Why doesn't the Sunday Times name the "senior industry official" or even the "Internet Service Providers' Associa­tion" spokesman ?

Under the current law, companies must keep records for some traditional types of phone and electronic commu­nication for a year.

Hold on, the European Union Data Retention regulations e.g.

The Data Retention (EC Directive) Regulations 2009

are about forcing ISPs and Landline and Mobile Phone companies to keep Communications Data unnecessarily, which they would otherwise have been obliged to delete under the Data Protection Act, since they themselves no longer have any legitimate use for it, especially if the internet or mobile phone bills have been pre-paid. Data Retention is not about access to such retained data.

The new legislation would extend this provision to cover a much wider field, including social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter and online video games.

Perhaps the Sunday Times is actually writing about CCDP then.

N.B. CCDP is not not just a GCHQ project (which has its own "Mastering the Internet" investment programme) but is being "coordinated" by the technologically inept Home Office.

It is not physically possible to get Communications Traffic Data form foreign based social media websites like FaceBook or Twitter without actually using techniques such as Deep Packet Inspection and perhaps even Man-In-The-Middle Attack SSL / proxies i.e. it requires actual Interception of the Content of these websites to do this.

The only countries which attempt to do this at the moment are repressive regimes like Iran, China, Saudi Arabia etc.

Dominic Raab, a Tory MP who has campaigned for civil liberties, said: "If over-zealous officials are trying to resuscitate Labour's flawed paln for 'big brother' monitoring, ministers need to nip this in the bud."

MI5 and GCHQ have been lobbying hard for the wider powers which, they believe, are a crucial tool to combat terrorism and serious crime.

Serious Crime is not within the remit of either GCHQ or MI5

The Police cannot cope properly with the vast amount of data they already gather, so why will "searching for a needle in a haystack, by throwing in several more haystacks", be cost effective ?

There is no evidence that holding 6 month or 1 year old Communications Data of hundreds of millions of innocent people in the European Union, has been of any use in catching criminals or terrorists. Where it has been of use, e.g. in the recent Toulouse serial killer / extremist case, the Communications Data has been very recent and the searches have been narrowly targeted to a suspects known phones or email addresses or to a victim's web advert etc.

At present GCHQ can use probes to monitor the content of calls and emails sent by specific individuals who are the subject of police or security service investigation, provided it has ministerial approval.

For "ministerial approval" read "ministerial or senior official rubber stamp"

There should actually be independent Judicial warrants for such intrusive interception surveillance, not rubber stamping by politicians.

The Home Office said it would introduce new legislation "as soon as parliamentary time allow" but stressed that the data to be monitored would not include content.

Why does the Sunday Times not name this anonymous Home Office spokesman ?

Which part of the phrase "Deep Packet Inspection = Interception of Content" does the Home Office not understand ?

Have all the civil servants and SPADs who embarrassed themselves and the Home Office over the BT / Phorm scandal now been promoted to other jobs, leaving their inexperienced "generalist" replacements to magically formulate "policy" without any technical experience or knowledge ?

Incredibly this article does not really mention Mobile Phones and especially Mobile Phone Location Data.

This, like other forms of Communications Data is available via automated gateway computer systems to authorised Police and Intelligence Agency investigators, but it is meant to be narrowly targeted and proportionate, under a combination of the Regulation of Investgatory Powers Act 2000 (which permits such agencies to make such requests) and the Data Protection Act 1998 (which exempts the Telcos and Mobile Phone Networks and ISPs from prosecution for handing such data over to them)

Is this Sunday Times article, a high quality briefing / leak by Whitehall mandarins ?

Is it safe to interpret the omissions like Soviet era Kremlinologists, and read between the lines that some of the previously evil plans which have been touted, have been watered down ?

Our opinion is that no, this is a flawed article, which has either had many important details removed by the editors for front page space reasons, or which is being deliberately deceitful by omission.

Unfortunately, as is so often the case with today's "news" industry, this article has been re-published by , for example, the Press Association, with even fewer important technical and legal details:

The Independent
Sunday 01 April 2012

Expansion of GCHQ internet monitoring proposed

Gavin Cordon


The Home Office confirmed that ministers were intending to legislate "as soon as parliamentary time allows".

"It is vital that police and security services are able to obtain communications data in certain circumstances to investigate serious crime and terrorism and to protect the public. We need to take action to maintain the continued availability of communications data as technology changes," a spokesman said.

Why does the Independent not name this anonymous "spokesman" ?

"Communications data includes time, duration and dialling numbers of a phone call, or an email address. It does not include the content of any phone call or email and it is not the intention of Government to make changes to the existing legal basis for the interception of communications."


Note the (deliberate ?) omission of Mobile Phone Location Data in this alleged definition of Communications Data. This does not include Tweets or Facebook "likes" , which do require interception of the content of a web browsing session (also deliberately not mentioned ?)

David Davis, one of the few Conservative MPs who stood up for civil liberties when in opposition to Labour, has rightly criticised this plan in this BBC video clip, in which he does mention some of the things omitted by the Sunday Times:

Email and web use 'to be monitored' under new laws

However, we are not sure where the "retention for 2 years" comes from and despite the mention of "magistrates and courts", none of that has applied since 2000 - the only "warrants" are those rubber stamped by politicians or officials for Interception, and "self authorised" requests by the Police and Intelligence Agencies. There is no involvement of independent Judges or Magistrates at all in the UK, with either electronic (or postal) communications Interception or with Communications Data or with Intrusive Surveillance (planting of bugging or tracking devices, use of Confidential Human Intelligence Source informants etc.)

Elizabeth Filkin, the former Parliamentary Standards Commissioner (who proved to be too competent for the sleazy MPs) has produced an interesting report into the cosy relationship between the top managment of the Metroplitan Police Service and the print media, specifically, but not exclusively News International.

The Ethical Issues Arising from the Relationship Between Police and Media (302 Kb .pdf)

When reading this report, you could and should mentally replace the words "MPS" or "Metroplitan Police Service", with "Downing Street" or "Whitehall Department" and especially with "Home Office", "Cabinet Office", "Ministry of Defence MoD", "Security Service MI5", "Secret Intelligence Service MI6" or "GCHQ".

Almost all of Elizabeth Filkin's conclusions and reccomendations for improving the Metropolitan Police's duties of transparency and accountability to the public, whilst protecting the operational security of ongoing investigations and also protecting the personal details of innocent members of the public and junior staff etc., could and should be applied to these other powerful, privilged, yet increasingly untrusted, supposedly public institutions.

The Metroplitan Police Service has been practicing the black arts of media spin and manipulation and their public reputation has suffered as a result.

Favoured access:

3.2.1 Inequality of access

It is felt both internally and externally that the MPS has not given equal access to all parts of the media for a number of years and that certain special relationships have developed selectively.

The kind of off the record nature of it all is actually counter-productive, and if we really want to hold public institutions to account we have to do it in an open, transparent and proper way. But the way they operate is they have the kind of closed press briefings, drinks at the pub - it's a club. Journalists get too close to senior police officers, because you get far more stories if you're nice to them than if you're not. And the result is I think we are quite generally in this industry, too reluctant to write critical pieces, than we were previously.

A Journalist

Trading information and even betraying details about innocent members of the public, in order to about to divert media attention away from embarrasing stories about the MPS themselves:

3.1.2 Trading

I have also been given examples where inappropriate information has been provided to the media, to dilute or prevent the publication of other information which could be damaging to the MPS or senior individuals within it. Of course there can be proper and ethical negotiations with the media to prevent the obstruction of an investigation, harm to
members of the public or the MPS, or to ensure accuracy in reporting. However some negotiations have included unethical placing of material, or offering exclusive stories to the media to bury other information.

"So that if you get the Press Officer who says, well, if I give Reporter 'A' a particular story exclusively, then next week Reporter 'A' will do me a favour. And you've got a direct conflict now between what the public needs and what the Press Officer wants."

Nick Davies, Freelance Journalist

Lack of Transparency, even when there is no justifiable operational need for it:


According to some, MPS contact with the media has in the past been characterised by back door briefings through informal and unofficial channels. This view was also reached when MPS communications were the subject of some informal advice from the private sector in 2010. I understand that this offer of help from an outside expert on improving communications with the public was undermined by the threat of negative press coverage.

Some contact will involve trusting the media with confidential information. There will also be occasions when negotiation between the MPS and the media will be necessary to ensure accurate reporting. I am concerned that some may use these proper practices to justify a general lack of transparency both in terms of who has contact with the media and what information they provide. Problems like the trading of information or the apparent closeness of some relationships with the media fuel the perception that the business of dealing with the press is by its nature secretive.

"I think if you spend your whole career working on secretive investigations, and concealing information, things like that, which is really, really important, it just goes to your head somehow, sometimes, and you think that you kind of own this information, and you forget that you're there to serve the public."

A Journalist


In most circumstances police officers and staff providing information to the media should expect to be named. In some instances it may be appropriate for only their role or position to be published. It should always be the case that the information is attributed to the MPS.

The culture of secrecy and the use of "Anonymous briefings" attributed to "police sources" are as stupid and counterproductive as those attributed to "Whitehall sources"

"I phoned up and said 'I've got some questions here', it was almost as though you were asking for them to release something which is privileged information somehow, it's absolutely not. So I just try back channels now, trying other contacts in the Met, going round the back within the slightly kind of shadowy stuff that you have to do to get data, because the front door doesn't work."

A Journalist

It is clear both from speaking to journalists and politicians, and from media reports even during the time of my review, that use of the word 'police source' can mislead. Every time this phrase is used it implies a leak. I have been told that it is also used in situations where the information comes from a different but related organisation such as the MPA, or as a generic term to try and protect the real provenance of a source. It is also sometimes used where the information has been legitimately and formally supplied by the MPS press office. This is a damaging practice with the potential to create a perception that leaks from the MPS are more widespread than they are.

BBC Radio 4: Secret Britain

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The BBC Radio 4 documentary series Secret Britain should be of interest to Spy Blog readers.

The first programme in the series was broadcast last Tuesday 16th August 2011, but it still available (for now) online via the BBC iPlayer

One Hundred Years of Secrecy

Presented by veteran investigative journalist Peter Hennessey, with sound bites from
retired heads of intelligence agencies, Whitehall mandarins, politicians and the occasional whistleblower.

The programme "celebrates" the 100th anniversary of the notorious Official Secrets Act 1911, which , amidst mainstream media inspired hysteria and collective Must Be Seen To Be Doing Something panic amongst the politicians, after a foreign security crisis.

The influence of this overbroad "catch all" Act and the way in which it was sneaked through Parliament in a rush, without proper debate or scrutiny set the tone for almost all subsequent "security" legislation to date.

The supposedly more narrowly targeted Official Secrets Act 1989 also commands little public confidence,has led to some dubious prosecutions yet it has not prevented "leaks" from the Whitehall and national security / counter-terrorism bureaucracy. It therefore needs urgent reform

The most interesting quotation in the broadcast was from Sir Stephen Lander, the retired Director General of MI5 the Security Service (who was also later in charge of the Serious Organised Crime Agency).

His comment on the Security Service Act 1989,

SSL: "I think, fundamentally, it was a wonderful thing to have done for the Service. It was the most important thing that happened in my time. MI5 getting legislation for the Service.

Apart from anything else, it made us so much more operationally aggressive, and more confident.

PH: Because you had "cover" ?

SSl: Yep, We were "proper".

And it was a beautiful piece of draughting, at something, you know, "there shall continue to be a Security Service" without having previously acknowledged that it had previously existed in law - hah hah - a beautiful piece of draughting.

Sir John Scarlett, the former Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service MI6 was also complimentary about the Intelligence Services Act 1994, which put MI6 and GCHQ on a statutory legal footing.

However he is utterly wrong to claim that

The 1994 Act, allowed, a very large amount of information, to be made available for public discussion and in the public domain, about, the work, of the Service, the role it plays in Government, the way it's structured, quite a bit, in effect, about its resources, about it's preoccupations, its targets, and that process of releasing information into the public domain, began in 1994.

And now there is a vast amount of information available through, Parliamentary reports, Commission reports, and now, in recent years, through the websites,o the Services, and so on.


For all the ups and downs over the years, it's worked as least as well as we could have expected, and I would say, broadly better.

Regular Spy Blog readers will have noticed just how uninformative and secretive the censored Intelligence and Security Committee and various Commissioners' Reports have been over the years. The websites of the intelligence services are not very informative either - probably the best is that of MI5

Obviously tactical, operational security details of particular ongoing operations and investigations should remain secret. This radio programme illustrates with a couple of examples, the corrosive effect of self authorised "national security" secrecy, with criminal penalties with which to threaten whistleblowers, but without any counterbalancing criminal penalties for use against officials and politicians who abuse the privilege of such secrecy, simply to hide or cover up their political embarrassment or their managerial or technological incompetence or the whiff of corruption or treason,

The next programme in the series is:

D for Discretion: Can the Modern Media Keep a Secret?

This forthcoming programme looks as if it will talk about the increasingly irrelevant DA-Notice System of voluntary self censorship by the mainstream media.

The "Defence Advisory Notice System" - as it is now called - is supposed to be entirely voluntary. In reality, though, it's very rare for any of the mainstream media organisations to ignore the committee's requests. But how does this work in the age of Wikileaks and citizen journalism? This programme looks at the challenges to the system posed by social media websites. What happens if members of the public try to reveal government secrets on Twitter - in a similar way to this year's row about super-injunctions? And how do newspapers like The Guardian square their Wikileaks collaborations with their own editorial guidelines on national security issues?

Broadcast times:

Tue 23 Aug 2011 09:00 BBC Radio 4

Tue 23 Aug 2011 21:30 BBC Radio 4

and then online via iPlayer for a while.

Private bank accounts and money transfers through tax havens by current or former intelligence agency operatives, are major plot themes in several of John le Carré's espionage thriller novels.

Is the media manipulation groundwork being prepared for the revelation of a major UK intelligence scandal, or is this Mail on Sunday story just some "silly season" disinformation ?

Did Russian mafia kill the body-in-a-bag spy? MI6 man found dead in holdall in London, was developing secret technology to track gangsters' laundered cash

By Abul Taher and Robert Verkaik

Last updated at 10:05 PM on 25th June 2011


But now security sources say Williams, who was on secondment to MI6 from the Government's eavesdropping centre GCHQ, was working on equipment that tracked the flow of money from Russia to Europe.

The technology enabled MI6 agents to follow the money trails from bank accounts in Russia to criminal European gangs via internet and wire transfers, said the source.

'He was involved in a very sensitive project with the highest security clearance. He was not an agent doing surveillance, but was very much part of the team, working on the technology side, devising stuff like software,' said the source.

He added: 'A knock-on effect of this technology would be that a number of criminal groups in Russia would be disrupted.

'Some of these powerful criminal networks have links with, and employ, former KGB agents who can track down people like Williams.'

If "former KGB agents" can penetrate the operational security of this "very sensitive project with the highest security clearance" then either it was protected incompetently or there has been a massive security betrayal.

Not only was would the existence of this project have to have been revealed to the "Russian mafia", but details of its technological progress and therefore the potential threat it posed and also the personal details of the key personnel involved would have all had to have been betrayed.

If so, then by whom ?

  • Is there Yet Another Traitor within GCHQ or Mi6 like Geoffrey Prime or Kim Philby ?

  • Has the notoriously insecure US Government let the cat out of the bag again, for domestic political reasons, without thought for the consequences to for the United Kingdom, again ?

  • Why is alleged Russian money laundering the target ? Surely vastly more money is laundered through London, by, say US based criminal gangs or Mexican or Colombian drug smugglers ?

    In order to snoop on "Russian" mafia finances (or that any other country), it would require access to all international financial transactions, passing through every financial centre, tax haven or third party country.

  • Is the "Russian" spin on this story being played up to divert media attention from Chinese communist espionage stories, during Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 's visit to the UK this week ?

Bear in mind that it was the Daily Mail which first raised the idea of some sort of "Russian" connection with the case, Did spy's killer steal state secrets? MI6 agents search for 'missing' laptop or MP3 player after body-in-bag murder case.

Quite properly and professionally, they actually did a bit of real investigative journalism, ahead of their rivals, by looking up the Land Registry records for the owners of the top floor flat at 36 Alderney Street, London and interviewing the letting agents

The name of this property company turned out to be "New Rodina". In Russian, and in other slavic languages "Rodina" means "Homeland".

Last year, The Mail on Sunday revealed that Mr Williams, a keen cyclist from Anglesey, North Wales, was involved in another 'secretive' project, developing devices that can steal data from mobile phones and laptops using wireless technology.

Is the anonymous briefing source of that unproven allegation, any more reliable than this one and vice versa ?

A close friend also revealed that Williams was training to take on a new identity when he died.

Tory MP and security expert Patrick Mercer said last night: 'The revelation that Gareth Williams was involved in investigating money- laundering throughout Eastern Europe throws new light on to his death.

'I am sure the police would want to investigate these facts as thoroughly as they have done the details of his private life.'

Neither GCHQ nor the Metropolitan police would discuss the new information.

What "new information" exactly ? Speculation from an anonymous Whitehall briefing ?

"Tory MP and security expert Patrick Mercer" is always ready to give a quote to the media, but some of the people he has been associated with are worse than unreliable - see the saga documented by Bloggerheads.

But now security sources say Williams, who was on secondment to MI6 from the Government's eavesdropping centre GCHQ, was working on equipment that tracked the flow of money from Russia to Europe.

The technology enabled MI6 agents to follow the money trails from bank accounts in Russia to criminal European gangs via internet and wire transfers, said the source.

Either this is utter rubbish, or it implies that there has been a disastrous breach of security surrounding Yet Another Intelligence Agency attempt to snoop on financial transactions e.g. on the SWIFT system of international bank transfers.

The fact is, that even legal access to SWIFT by the US Government, has failed to be used to cut off access to funds to terrorists, serious organised crime gangs or foreign spies.

We must assume that such snooping is more likely to be abused by groups and individuals to allow them to gamble on the the world's financial markets with "insider trading" fore knowledge, so as to either enrich themselves, or to build up secret, unaccountable "slush" or "reptile" funds, for bribery or secret operations, which are not audited by their own governments.

Remember the "patriotic" US military and intelligence people who created such illegal funds in the "Iran - Contra" scandal under President Ronald Reagan.?

The Conservative / Liberal Democrat coalition government politicians should be demonstrating a clear break with their technologically incompetent Labour "control freak" predecessors, who were so in thrall to the tabloid press.

This Mail on Sunday story is yet another example of why there should be named, public spokesmen for each of the UK Intelligence Agencies, who can categorically deny mainstream media and internet spin and rumour.

The old policies of "neither confirm nor deny" or "we do not comment on national security matters" are doing more harm than good, in the 24/7 mainstream media and internet news age.

Has the Wilson Doctrine now been broken or abandoned ?

We find it impossible to believe that there can have been any MI5 Security Service espionage investigation into the activities of the Russian Ekaterina "Katia" Zatuliveter, the former Parliamentary researcher / assistant to Mike Hancock, the Liberal Democrat MP for Portsmouth South, without any demands for telephone or email Interception or for Communications Data Traffic Analysis.

The fact that she had access to the MP's Parliamentary email and telephones, means that there is a grave danger of "collateral damage" snooping on the correspondence between the MP and his Constituents.

Given how little information the Ministry of Defence actually provides to Members of Parliament and the public, there should have been no risk of any secrets being handed over to Russian intelligence services, even in regard to his work as a member of the Commons Defence Select Committee.

This MP's constituency encompasses Portsmouth, so he may well be in supposedly private correspondence with the families of Royal Navy personnel suffering from hardship or Ministry of Defence bureaucracy, or with whistleblowers exposing incompetence within the the Navy or MoD. This is may actually be of more of interest to Russian intelligence agencies than any public, on the record, Parliamentary Questions or Select Committee on Defence questions he may have asked about the UK nuclear deterrent etc.

Prime Minister David Cameron has still not made any statement re-affirming and ideally extending the Wilson Doctrine, against the "tapping of telephones", internet connectivity etc.of Members of the House of Commons and Peers of the House of Lords.

According to this "unwritten constitution" convention, the Prime Minister David Cameron is supposed to inform the House of Commons and the public, if there have been changes to the Wilson Doctrine.

Even his control freak Labour predecessors Tony Blair and Gordon Brown reluctantly and with bad grace did so, in response to Parliamentary Questions from the then Opposition. They slowly expanded the original Wilson Doctrine to cover all electronic communications used by MPs (most of which like fax, email or mobile phones had not been invented back in 1966 when the then Labour Prime Minister promulgated the Wilson Doctrine)

It is a measure of the ongoing betrayal of our civil liberties and freedoms by the Labour party, even now that they are out of power and are pretending to have changed the incompetence, control freakery, corruption, spin and lies, which lost them the election, that they have not bothered, or perhaps have not dared, to to ask any Questions about the Wilson Doctrine.

Liberal Democrat MPs did used to ask about the Wilson Doctrine, but the likes of Norman Baker and Vince Cable are now Government Ministers and are avoiding this issue.

The new Intelligence and Security Committee cannot be trusted to investigate this matter, since despite our warnings, it now includes the authoritarian Labour apparatchik, the expenses scandal disgraced Hazel Blears, who has proven that she cannot be trusted with secret information. If a civil servant had been as lax as Hazel Blears,they could have been prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act 1989 section 8 Safeguarding of Information, not just once, but twice.

The House of Commons Standards and Privileges Committee is supposedly investigating the the latest attempts to re-open the old News of the World tabloid mobile phone voicemail "blagging" scandal, in so far as it may have affected some MPs. However, given the fact that the Police and the Crown Prosecution Service are not proceeding with any new charges, this Committee of very obscure backbench MPs, will probably dither and do nothing.

If they had any proper sense of public duty, they would be loudly demanding a re-statement of the Wilson Doctrine from the Prime Minister, in order to ensure the privacy and anonymity of communications between elected Parliamentary representatives and their Constituents, but they have so far failed to do so.

Lack of any espionage charges against Zatuliveter.

It seems unlikely that there is any hard evidence against Ekaterina Zatuliveter, since she was not arrested and held in a high security prison back in August when she was stopped at Gatwick Airport.

As an "agent of influence", she is obviously not in the same league as any number of Russian or former Soviet empire billionaires with links to the Kremlin, who have had socoal and business contacst with British politicians of all parties.

She was arrested only in early December and held for a week in the notorious, but low security, Yarl's Wood Immigration Detention Centre, before being allowed bail.

That sort of administrative detention without charge implies almost no actual hard evidence against her whatsoever

She has not been charged with Espionage or even under the Official Secrets Act or under any of the catch all Terrorism "thought crime " laws.
Tit for tat expulsion of Russian and British diplomats

However, supposedly on an unrelated matter, at almost the same time as Zatuliveter was being arrested, the British Government expelled a Russian diplomat from the Russian Embassy in London on 6th December 2010.

The Russians have taken their time and have also expelled a British diplomat from Moscow on 16th December 2010 in reprisal.

HC Deb, 21 December 2010, c165WS

UK/Russia Embassies
Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Written answers and statements, 21 December 2010

William Hague (Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs; Richmond (Yorks), Conservative)

On 10 December we requested that the Russian embassy in London withdraw a member of their staff from the UK. This was in response to clear evidence of activities by the Russian intelligence services against UK interests.

Russia responded on 16 December by requesting the removal of a member of our embassy staff in Moscow. We reject any basis for this action.

Both staff members have now been withdrawn.

We remain open to a more productive relationship with Russia, as with any other country, on the basis of respect for our laws.

Both sides claim that there is no link with the Ekaterina Zatuliveter, case, but then both sides are professional liars and media spinners, so it it is hard to believe them.

6th December 2010 London Diplomatic List for the Russsian Embassy in London

London Diplomatic List published on 6th December 2010 (.pdf) lists the following Russian diplomats in London:

The Mail on Sunday has a peculiar article about Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones, which seems to contradict itself, even as published.

Why should we believe a story based on quotes from an anonymous "senior security source" ?

MI5 'vetoed Security Minister over links to Ukrainian oligarchs'

By Christopher Leake and Mark Hollingsworth
Last updated at 1:48 AM on 15th August 2010

Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones - the Shadow Security Minister when the Tories were in Opposition - was widely expected to take over the newly created role of National Security Adviser to David Cameron with overall responsibility for British intelligence policy at home and abroad.

Widely expected by whom, exactly ? Not by us.

But the pivotal security post was awarded instead to Whitehall mandarin Sir Peter Ricketts.

The Baroness, 70, was appointed Minister of State at the Home Office in charge of security and counter-terrorism - a more junior position, which restricts her responsibilities to domestic intelligence issues.

As Minister of State at the Home Office in charge of security and counter-terrorism, she has the power to sign or reject warrants by MI5 the Security Service, if the Secretary of State is unavailable. She also sits as a permanent member of the new National Security Council , with access to the same top level intelligence summaries and reports as the Prime Minister and Sir Peter Ricketts etc.

In what way are "domestic intelligence issues" less important than foreign ones ?

Here are some quotes (not whistleblower documentary evidence of any sort) from an anonymous" security source":

A senior security source revealed that the Baroness's appointment was blocked after MI5 produced a report about her links to two controversial Russian oligarchs.

Is this the same source as in the next few paragraphs, or a different one ?

According to a source, MI5 sent the Prime Minister's aides a confidential briefing about her connections to two billionaires with alleged links to organised crime and a Russian mafia leader.

The source said: 'The job of National Security Adviser to the Prime Minister needed a high-security vetting clearance because it involved knowing and handling sensitive state secrets.

The role of Minister of State at the Home Office in charge of security and counter-terrorism also involves "knowing and handling sensitive state secrets." . Unlike the National Security Adviser role, the holder of this Ministerial position also has executive power and can sign Orders for new or amended secondary legislation and can approve or reject warrants and certificates and notices etc. under intelligence, terrorism, serious crime and immigration laws, in lieu of the Secretary of State the Home Secretary.

'As a result, Cameron's private office at No 10 asked MI5 for any relevant information that was needed for the PM to make this appointment.

'MI5 sent a summary of the intelligence on Neville-Jones's financial assoc­iations with the two oligarchs. Based on that submission and on a separate briefing by his political advisers, Cameron decided not to appoint her.'

Mr Cameron then appointed Sir Peter, a former Permanent Secretary at the Foreign Office, who has been credited with persuading the Prime Minister to remove British troops from Afghanistan by 2015.

Will that target date really be achieved ?

Earlier this month it was reported that Sir Peter had agreed to carry out the role for 12 months only before returning to the diplomatic service.

A source said: 'Pauline was absolutely furious that she did not get the top job. She threatened to resign, but took up the ministerial post once she realised that was the most she was going to get. She is still very bitter and prickly about being snubbed in this way.'

Insiders have pointed out that the Baroness's role is less wide-ranging than that of her predecessor Lord West, Gordon Brown's former security adviser. Although only a Home Office Under Secretary, he enjoyed a brief that spanned the globe.

As a Home Office Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State Lord West had less executive power than Baroness Neville-Jones does as a Home Office Minister of State.

The two men at the centre of the controversy surrounding the Baroness are Ukrainian oligarch Dimitry Firtash and Russian tycoon Mikhail Chernoy.

Is it really acceptable, in the out of touch fantasy world of Whitehall and the Westminster village of politicians and mainstream media journalists, to think that alleged links to foreign billionaires who may or may not have links with organised crime gangs, somehow disqualifies someone from one sensitive advisory post involving national security, but that such allegations are ok for a Ministerial job also involving national security ?

If there was any substance to these allegations, then Baroness Neville-Jones could not be trusted to hold either post, something which is clearly nonsense.

Two years ago, the Baroness revealed in the House of Lords Register of Members' Interests that her office received £20,000 a year from British businessman Robert Shetler-Jones, who oversees the assets of Mr Firtash.

Why were these questions not raised two years ago then ?

Mr Shetler-Jones made the donations to the Baroness plus a further estimated £80,000 to the Conservative Party as a private individual and through his UK-registered company Scythian Ltd. The fact that it was a British-based company made the payments legal under political funding rules


The Baroness said yesterday that she received the money from the Conservative Party.

But Mr Shetler-Jones said last night that he made donations to the people who managed the Baroness's office 'over and above what I gave to the Conservative Party'. He has since stopped supporting the Baroness financially.

The Baroness used the money to pay the salaries of her adviser Mark Phillips, a research associate for the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies, and a part-time secretary.

Is that two salaries out of £20,000 a year or is Mark Phillips acting as both advisor and part time secretary ?

According to the RUSI staff biography of Mark Philips:

    Prior to joining RUSI, Mark was Chief of Staff to Baroness Neville-Jones during her time as Shadow Security Minister and National Security Adviser to the Leader of the Opposition and, after the 2010 general election, Security Minister. In this capacity he managed all security legislation in Parliament, was speechwriter to Baroness Neville-Jones, and had a central role in developing the Conservative Party's national security policies and post-election implementation plan. His remit covered all aspects of national security, including the National Security Strategy, Strategic Defence and Security Review, machinery of government, intelligence, counter terrorism, resilience, Olympic security, stabilisation and conflict prevention, procurement and the role of industry in defence and security. Mark co-authored the Conservative Party's National Security Green Paper, A Resilient Nation (January 2010).

Given that this Green Paper acknowledged the obvious national security risks to the UK of over-reliance on Russian gas supplies and pipelines, there does not appear to be anything which favours Ukrainian gas billionaires there.

Mr Shetler-Jones, a property developer who speaks fluent Russian, is chief executive of Group DF - the holding company for the multi-billion-pound assets of Mr Firtash


Mr Firtash became a billionaire through a lucrative gas trading company RosUkrEnergo (RUE), which until two years ago had a monopoly over supplies from Russia into Ukraine and onwards to EU customers such as Poland and Hungary.

RUE has been the subject of an investigation by the US Department of Justice over its alleged links to Semyon Mogilevich, 64, a Ukrainian-born billionaire who is said to control RUE and is one of the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives.

So there is no proven link between Shetler-Jones, Dimitry Firtash and "the Russian mafia" at all.

Has Dimitry Firtash been banned from the UK or had any of his assets seized by the Serious Organised Crime Agency ? No.

The second oligarch with whom the Baroness has been linked is Mikhail Chernoy, a 58-year-old Uzbekistan-born Israeli indust­rialist, who made billions from the Russian aluminium industry.

He is the main financial sponsor of the Intelligence Summit, a Washington-based Right-wing anti-terrorist think-tank, whose executive council has included the Baroness.

Chernoy has been banned from entering the US because of alleg­ations of money laundering, illegal business deals and claims of connections to the Russian mafia.

The billionaire has denied any wrongdoing or any ties to organised crime and has been cleared in several countries, including Switzerland, of links to the mafia.

Has Mikhail Chernoy been banned from the UK or had any of his assets seized by the Serious Organised Crime Agency ? No.

Speaking at her £2 million Chelsea townhouse in West London yesterday, the Baroness said: 'It was clear a very long way back that David Cameron wanted an official in that position [of National Security Adviser].

'There was not at any stage a commitment on David's part that I should have that position. It was not a position I ever discussed with him or sought. It was always my understanding that should the party win the Election I would have the position I now have.'

The Baroness denied having ever met Dimitry Firtash, Mikhail Cherney or Robert Shetler-Jones.

So, no holidays with or fawning over, foreign billionaires or rich British contributors to party funds, like so many Labour politicians then ?

She said the donations to her office had been 'properly registered' by the Conservative Party and then allocated to her.

Last night neither the Home Office not the security services were prepared to comment officially on the Baroness's appointment.

But senior Home Office officials repeated the Baroness's claim that the National Security Adviser post had always been designed to go to an official.

So, is this anonymous security source lying or exaggerating ? If so then why ?

The intelligence services are forbidden by law from interfering in UK politics, although there are no criminal sanctions against any of their employees from doing so, especially anonymously, with or without the blessing of their colleagues.

The MI5 Security Service website section on Myths and Misunderstandings claims that:

5. MI5 monitors the private lives of Ministers and other public figures

We are sometimes alleged to be responsible for monitoring the private lives of people because they have a high public profile, including members of the Royal Family, Government Ministers and Members of Parliament. This is not the case. We only investigate individuals whose activities fall within our statutory remit under the Security Service Act 1989.

6. We "vet" every government employee

Our role in the vetting of candidates for employment in sensitive government posts is based solely on checks against our records. Decisions on employing staff are the responsibility of the Department concerned and we do not investigate or interview candidates on their behalf.

The Security Service Act 1989 stipulates that we may only disclose information for use in deciding whether someone should be employed in sensitive work if we do so in accordance with arrangements approved by the Home Secretary. If, when we check, we find that we have a significant and relevant security record on an applicant, we may provide a summary assessment of the security information. However, the mere existence of a Security Service record does not necessarily mean that an assessment will be made. There is no "blacklist".

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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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