Recently in Espionage Category

Mata Hari and WW1 era invisible ink


Not all methods of communication used by spies and (increasingly in these times of mass surveillance by powerful Government agencies or corporations) political activists, investigative journalists or whistleblowers, involve electronic communication and / or encryption.

On their own, these methods have never been sufficient to ensure the anonymity of secret contacts or sources or the confidentiality of the contents of communications

Follow @thegrugq on Twitter for hints about OPSEC - "operational security"

One of the other ancient methods of secret communications is the use of Secret Writing, sometimes involving Invisible Ink

The best public references for the use of ancient and modern Invisble Ink are by @KristieMacrakis

Prisoners, Lovers, and Spies: The Story of Invisible Ink from Herodotus to al-Qaeda
by Kristie Macrakis

Hardcover: 392 pages
Publisher: Yale University Press (March 3, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0300179251
ISBN-13: 978-0300179255

N.B. this book is not available in UK via until end of May 2014, but is currently available via

also her earlier book on East German Stasi espionage technology and techniques

Seduced by Secrets: Inside the Stasi's Spy-Tech World
by Kristie Macrakis

Hardcover: 392 pages
Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (March 21, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 052188747X
ISBN-13: 978-0521887472

The National Archives have, at last, recently released some de-classified documents relating to some First World War era spy cases, including some details about the most (in)famous female spy, Mata Hari.

"Mata Hari" alias MCLEOD Margaretha Geertruida (Marguerite Gertrude): executed by the French in 1917 for accusations of spying for Germany. Includes newspaper cuttings dated 1918-1952 - free digital download, (36MB .zip .pdf)


There is a clue about the Invisible Ink supplied to Mata Hari by her Imperial German spymasters:


22 May 1917,

To: Colonel GOUBET


She was given 3 phials containing

1st & 3rd phials - a white liquid

2nd phial - absinthe coloured liquid

The first was for moistening paper

The second " " writing on

The third " " obliterating all signs of

On this paper she was then to write in ordinary
ink the innocent letter.

Unlike other WW1 and WW2 German spies, the Counter Intelligence investigators do not seem to have detected Mata Hari's Secret Writing communications. It appears from this document that they knew nothing about it until after she was arrested and confessed everything.

Perhaps Professor Macrakis or other historians will discover more about this Invisible Ink formula (and the developer) from the as yet still secret French archives.

The arrest and declaration as persona non grata i.e. the expulsion of the Ryan Fogle a third secretary in the political section of the United States Embassy in Moscow. for allegedly trying to suborn a Russian counter terrorism agent with experience in the North Caucases (i.e. perhaps Dagestan which is of interest to the US authorities after the Boston marathon murders) .

The FSB Russian Federal Security Service, seem to be saying that Fogle phoned his contact at about 11pm on Monday night and asked to meet with him., When the contact declined Fogle insisted and did arrange to meet. Was Fogle under pressure from his superiors ?

This has been heavily spun by the Russian FSB media outlet and quoted verbatim by western media organisations.

Cloak, dagger and a blond wig? FSB says CIA agent nabbed in Moscow (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Google Translated "FSB press announcement of the expulsion of Ryan Christopher Fogle.

N.B. a intelligence officer working under diplomatic cover in the US Embassy in Moscow is very likely to work for the CIA, but the people actually interested in making contact with the supposed recruitment target could be from the vast number of other US intelligence agencies.

Unfortunately some of the "evidence", especially the incriminitating letter displayed and translated into English by is being cited by various journalists and pundits as if it contained "gold standard" espionage tradecraft tips, which could / should also then be used by USA and UK etc. investigative journalists and whistleblowers, who are also now under heavy surveillance by their supposedly benign democratic governments.
e.g. Hear Ye, Future Deep Throats: This Is How to Leak to the Press English translation of the alleged incriminating letter.


Dear friend

This is a down-payment from someone who is very impressed with your professionalism and who would greatly appreciate your cooperation in the future. Your security means a lot to us. This is why we chose this way of contacting you. We will continue to make sure our correspondence remains safe and secret.

We are ready to offer you $100,000 to discuss your experience, expertise and cooperation. The reward may be much higher if you are willing to answer specific questions. In addition to that, we can offer up to $1 million a year for long-term cooperation, with extra bonuses if we receive some helpful information.

These are huge sums of money, compared with what people many people, even in the USA have been prepared to betray their country's secrets for.

If this is all a fake FSB set up, perhaps they are trying to drive up the expectations of potential spies to demand more money than even the CIA can afford ?

To get back with us, please go to an internet café, or cofee shop that has Wi-Fi and open a new Gmail account which you will use exclusively to contact us.As you register, do not provide any personal info that can help identify you or your new account. Don't provide any real contacts, e.g. your phone number or other email addresses.

If Gmail asks for personal info, start the registration process again and avois providing such data. Once you register this new account, use it to send a message to In exactly one week, check this mailbox for a response from us. does appear to be a still active Google Gmail account, which may or may not have been set up bythe CIA or other US intelligence agencies (or, possibly even by the Russian FSB)

Anyone in Russia would be stupid to try to contact this by email, except perhaps via a foreign , TLS encrypted web mail account.

The instructions regarding Google are uncessarily cumbersome and prone to error

Why all the complex instructions about evadiing the Google two factor authentication process ? This 2 factor authentication may kick in at any time anyway, if the IP address is deemed to be sufficiently different from what Google thinks is your "usual" location.

Wouldn't it have been more professional to have already set up a Gmail account, with further instructions waiting in the mailbox or drafts folder and then to simply share the email address and the log on credentials (Password and the answers to the Security Questions) in this letter ?

That way there could have been ex CIA Director David Petraeus adulterous affair style use of a shared Gmail mailbox (or even Google Drive shared document upload web space) ?

(If you use a netbook or any other device (e.g., a tablet) to open the account at a coffee shop, please don't use a personal device with personal data on it. if possible, buy a new device (paying in cash) which you will use to contact us. We will reimburse you for this purchase.)

Given the extreme difficulty in running a tablet computer securely or anonymously, it is extraordinary that any intelligence agency would suggest using one.

Thank you for reading this letter. We look forward to working with you in the nearest future.

Your friends

Investigative journalists (or British intelligence officers) should not use this alleged incriminating letter as an example of "Moscow Rules" best practice advice for securing confidential source communications.

To have such a letter in your possession is prima facie evidence of espionage or or "conduct incompatible with diplomatic status."

The wording, if genuine, seems to imply that this is the first attempt to recruit or suborn the recruitment target(s), who might be tempted by lots of money, but without any guarantee of real interest on their part.

Surely it is too early in a spy handler / agent relationship to be handing over thousands of Euros in cash (even though you have pronised US dollars) , before any secure communications method has been agreed and tested ?

Items found or allegedly found on Ryan Fogle when arrested are a mixture of the plausible and the suspicious:


  • 2 Wigs - the video of his arrest (at night) clearly shows him wearing one of the (obvious) wigs. The quality of the wigs may not be critical at night

    Unless the FSB simply plonked a wig on him and staged the arrest footage,then it does look likely that Ryan Fogle was up to something where he did not want to be recognised.

  • 3 pairs of spectacles / sunglasses - good Tradecraft - quick and easy to change your appearance slightly.

  • Map of Moscow

  • A flashlight torch

    This looks as if it might have an Infra Red filter attached. This needs a sutable mobile phone or digital camera sensitive in the near Infra Red, or an even more incriminating and suspicious sniperscope or IR goggles, for you to see anything extra with it at nigh.

    What use that is on the very first face to face meeting with just a potential, not yet actually recruited agent, is a mystery.

  • Orienteering style plastic Magnetic Compass

    Some online commentators have wondered why anyone might use a magnetic compass instead of a separate GPS reciever or one built into a Smart Phone. If seized these could easily have accidently recorded and provided evidence of dead drops or meeting places which the investigators were unaware of.

  • Another torch or perhaps a laser pointer on a keyring together with a Swiss Army penknife

    One online commentator has suggested that this might be a Kubotan

  • Lots of cash in 500 Euro notes

    Why Euros rather than the promised US dollars, apart from the fact that 500 Euro notes are of higher value than $100 bills and so are more compact. Why not simply offer Euros in the "incriminating letter" ?

    N.B. these banknotes look to be new ones, which is suspicious. Don't spies or organised criminals bother to use or demand payments in used, non-consecutively numbered banknotes any more ?

    Why don't they use secret bank accounts in offshore tax havens ? Lots of Russians have access to foreign bank accounts e.g. in Cyprus or Dubai or even London etc.

  • Pepper Spray (top right on the table) & a lethal looking knife

    if you look at the YouTube version of the video released by FSB / in High Definition quality, you can just about make out the words "Pepper Shield" and the nozzle of what is presumably a Pepper Spray canister.

    If you are wandering around Moscow (or any big city) at night, looking like a foreigner in an obvious wig (if seen up close), then perhaps you do need some sort of weapons to ward off muggers etc.

  • Peaked baseball style cap - a good bit of Tradecraft , as most CCTV cameras only get glimpses of your face since they usually point downwards from above you. A cap which keeps the sun out of your eyes also helps to hide your full face from such CCTV cameras.

    Задержание американского шпиона в Москве (оперативная съемка)

    It is strange that the Russian & US & UK media reports do not bother to list either the Pepper Spray or the potentially lethal knife which is clearly visible in the photo / video.

  • Unsophisticated looking Nokia (?) mobile phone

    There is a wire with a handsfree earpiece / microphone attached to the phone handset..

    N.B. the lack of any Radio Frequency Shielded Mobile Phone Evidence Bag, which is standard practice for, say, UK police forces.

    They do this to avoid switiching off the power to a mobile phone, before having a chance to forensically examine its memory and to prevent it sending "I have been stolen or seized" alerts via SMS or to stop incomung "Remote Wipe" commands.

    If they arrested Fogle on Tuesday night, it does not seem likley that they could have properly examined even a standard Nolkia mobile phone for DNA, fingerprint and other forensic trace evidence techniques, to see who else might have been handling the device e.g. other intelligence officers or other potential or actual spies..

    If you suspect that the simple looking Nokia mobile phone might really contain sophisticated CIA / NSA electronics with other hidden functions, then this analysis cannot possibly have been done all on the same night.

    It is significant and supsicious that the FSB do not seem to have bothered to do this. Either they are being unprofessional investigators or perhaps this was all a set up.

  • Evidence of two mobile phone SIM cards

    One plastic card with the charateristic hole in it left by the removal of a mobile phone SIM card (greenish design) can be seen just above the Euro banknotes to the right of the dark wig at the top left of the "evidence" table.

    This seems to be a Megafon pre-paid SIM card, with the Sochi Winter Olympics 2014 sponsorship logos.

    Another SIM card can be seen unused in its credit card sozed carrier card in a plastic bag with two AAA Duracell batteries and what is probably a mobile phone battery

    If the simple mobile phone is a "burner" phone to be disposed of immediately, then why is their evidence of two SIM cards ?

    Surely the CIA know that merely swapping a SIM in the same handset (without also illegally re-programming the handset IMEI) does not change the tracability of the mobile phone ?

    Both the phone number from the SIM card and the IMEI from the handset are recorded inn every Call Detail Record, whether for voice, SMS text or internet data.

  • Bic style disposable butane gas cigarette lighter

  • RFID Shield (bottom right)

    i.e, metallised plastic film intended to act as a flexible Faraday cage to stop radio waves.

    What use is this to an intelligence officer on his way to / from a dead drop or face to face meeting with an human intelligence asset ?

    Was it used or intended to be used to shield the Nokia mobile phone or perhaps a different one not seized or not on display ?

    Or was it to protect his US Embassy Pass from being tracked (if it contains an RFID chip like a passport etc.)?

  • Cheap looking spiral bound paper notepad with indistinguishable writing on it

  • Backpack (to the right of the table)

    Any Police or Customs seizure of a back pack would have resulted in all the seams and linings being cut open to search for potentially hidden items e,g, drugs

    Why didn't the FSB agents, who should be familiar with microfilm etc. do the same ?

The video section showing Ryan Fogle putting his wristwatch back on (no forensic examination for secret spy technology ?) also shows on the table he is sitting at:

  • another lighter (black) cigarette lighter

  • a packet of Marlboro cigarettes

  • another (blue) torch

  • a black camera case (presumably with a camera inside) - again there can have been no detailed foresnic examination of these. also displayed photos of his Russian issued Diplomatic Photo ID card and his US Embassy Photo ID. Why was he carrying these on a mission ?

Either Ryan Fogle's tradecraft was flawed (he has, after all been arrested and is to be expelled) or his potential recruit did not bite at the offer and called in the FSB.

Some of the "evidence" looks clumsy and unprofessional, which might mean that the FSB has fabricated some or all of this incident.

It seems extraordinary for any intelligence officer to be caught carrying an unencrypted, unhidden (no microfilm or secret ink) letter which provides prima facie evidence of an espionage recruitment attempt.

It is also noteworthy that the counter-terrorism officer who Fogle was supposedly trying to recruit was also reported as the very person physically arresting him and putting on the hand cuffs / exposing the notorious wig. In the old Soviet Union this person would still be under suspicion, regardless of his involvement in the entrapment / arrest of the US diplomat / intelligence officer.

The Daily Mail (on Sunday) recently reported:

Conflict of interest row as ex-MI5 chief rules on fate of Russian 'spy', accused of using her job in Parliament to snoop on Britain

By Robert Verkaik

Last updated at 1:56 AM on 25th September 2011

A former head of MI5 is at the centre of a row over his role in deciding whether a young Russian woman accused of using her job in Parliament to spy on Britain should be sent back to her home country.

Sir Stephen Lander, the former director-general of the security service, is to sit on a panel of judges who will rule on whether Katia Zatuliveter should be deported.

Miss Zatuliveter, 25, who worked for Liberal Democrat MP Mike Hancock, was arrested last year, reportedly on the orders of MI5.

Sir Stephen was once responsible for combating Russia's spy threat and his appointment to the special immigration panel to hear Miss Zatuliveter's case next month has prompted accusations of bias.

if a British citizen was facing a similar secret tribunal in a foreign country, one of whose members was the former head of their national counter-intelligence service, what would the British government do about it ?

Even if Sir Stephen is actually scrupulously fair in his role in this case, he can never be seen to be an unbiased official of the court.

The SIAC was set up to hear appeals from foreign nationals who the Home Secretary wishes to remove from the UK on grounds of national security. Some of the evidence in Miss Zatuliveter's case is considered so sensitive it can only be given in secret. Sir Stephen's role will be to help the two judges on the panel weigh up this secret evidence.

Miss Zatuliveter, who will not be allowed to know the secret evidence against her, was interviewed by MI5 officers four or five times last year.

Officials were said to have grilled her about her alleged connections to Russia's security service and appeared to know details of her love life, suggesting that she was under surveillance. She is said to have had a meeting at Portcullis House in Westminster with a man MI5 believed to be a Russian agent.

As Mr Hancock's parliamentary aide, Miss Zatuliveter had access to potentially sensitive information given to the Commons Defence Committee, on which the 65-year-old Portsmouth South MP serves.

Since when was the Commons Defence Committee, or any other Commons select committee, ever given access to any real secrets ?

After her arrest in December last year she was held at an immigration detention centre before being bailed. Throughout the case she has protested her innocence and now wants to clear her name by overturning the deportation order at the SIAC hearing, which begins next month.

Sir Stephen was head of MI5 from 1996 to 2002 and then chairman of the Serious Organised Crime Agency from 2006 to 2009. Although he rarely speaks about his former role, last year he warned about the threat posed by Russia's female spies. He told a BBC Radio 4 documentary that the very existence of a ring of Russian 'illegals' (spies operating without diplomatic cover) must be taken seriously.

'The fact they're nondescript or don't look serious is part of the charm of the business,' he said. 'That's why the Russians are so successful at some of this stuff. They're able to put people in those positions over time to build up their cover to be useful.'

If there is any actual hard evidence of Katia Zatuliveter engaging in espionage activities, then why was she not arrested and charged under the Official Secrets Act last year ?

About this blog

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

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

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

Email & PGP Contact

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


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

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

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

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

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

Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers and Political Dissidents

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

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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

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

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

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

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

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


Watching Them, Watching Us

London 2600

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

Privacy and Security

Privacy International
United Kingdom Privacy Profile (2011)

Cryptome - censored or leaked government documents etc.

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

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

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

International Campaign Against Mass Surveillance

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

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

Technical Advisory Board on internet and telecomms interception under RIPA

European Digital Rights

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

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

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

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

Human Rights

Liberty Human Rights campaigners

British Institute of Human Rights
Amnesty International

Prevent Genocide International

asboconcern - campaign for reform of Anti-Social Behavior Orders

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

Internet Censorship

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

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

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

Judicial Links

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

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

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

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

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

Parliamentary Opposition

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

UK Government

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

No. 10 Downing Street Prime Minister's Official Spindoctors

Public Bills before Parliament

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

House of Commons "Question Book"

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

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

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

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

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

Online Media

Boing Boing

Need To Know [now defunct]

The Register

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

Ideal Government - debate about UK eGovernment

NIR and ID cards

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

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

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

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

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

Surveillance Infrastructures

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

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

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

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

RFID Links

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

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

Genetic Links

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

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

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

Miscellanous Links

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

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

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

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

Former Spies

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

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

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

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

Naked Spygirl - Olivia Frank

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

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

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

Liberty Central

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

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

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

Vmyths - debunking computer security hype

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

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

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

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

Bloggerheads - Tim Ireland

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

Blogzilla - Ian Brown

BlairWatch - Chronicling the demise of the New Labour Project

dreamfish - Robert Longstaff

Informaticopia - Rod Ward


The Musings of Harry

Chicken Yoghurt - Justin McKeating

The Red Tape Chronicles - Bob Sullivan MSNBC

Campaign Against the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Stop the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Rob Wilton's esoterica

panGloss - Innovation, Technology and the Law

Arch Rights - Action on Rights for Children blog

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


Moving On

Steve Moxon blog - former Home Office whistleblower and author.

Al-Muhajabah's Sundries - anglophile blog

Architectures of Control in Design - Dan Lockton

rabenhorst - Kai Billen (mostly in German)

Nearly Perfect Privacy - Tiffany and Morpheus

Iain Dale's Diary - a popular Conservative political blog

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

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

Ralph Bendrath

Financial Cryptography - Ian Grigg et al.

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

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

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

"Give 'em hell Pike!" - Frank Fisher

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

geeklawyer - intellectual property, civil liberties and the legal system

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

Charlie's Diary - Charlie Stross

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

Famous for 15 Megapixels

Postman Patel

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

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

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

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

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

Matt Wardman political blog analysis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No CCTV - The Campaign against CCTV

Barcode Nation - keeping two eyes on the database state.

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

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

Justin Wylie's political blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Links

Spam Huntress - The Norwegian Spam Huntress - Ann Elisabeth

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

Cool Britannia


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

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

Brian Burnell's British / US nuclear weapons history at

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

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UK Legislation

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

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

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

UK Legislation Links

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

UK Commissioners

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

UK Intelligence Agencies

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

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

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

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

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

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

Government Communications Headquarters GCHQ

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

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

Foreign Spies / Intelliegence Agencies in the UK

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

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

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

Campaign Button Links

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Open Rights Group

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

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

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

Amnesty International's campaign

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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

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

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

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

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

No CCTV - The Campaign Against CCTV


I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist !


Power 2010 cross party, political reform campaign


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


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

wblogocrop_150.jpg - Fighting for justice for whistleblowers