Recently in RIPA by @terrorwatchdog Category

RIPA / DRIPA review evidence to @terrorwatchdog






Evidence for Investigatory Powers Review

Via email to:



"Evidence for Investigatory Powers Review". 1

This Review needs access to all the RIPA Commissioners' Annual Report Confidential Annexes. 3

Technology used for snooping has changed since 2000.. 3

DRIP Act - flawed Regulations could actually reduce amount of useful Mobile Phone Location Data which can be legally retained.. 4

Stingray IMSI catcher interception is not covered by RIPA.. 5

Confusion and buck passing between the RIPA Commissioners' Offices. 6

SS7 Mobile Phone Location.. 7

SMS silent pings. 8

Global Positioning Satellite data. 9

Accelerometer data. 9

SmartPhone tracking without involving Communications Service Providers. 10

Biometric tracking. 11

Google Glass and Augmented Reality heads up displays, FR & ANPR.. 11

Different types of Communications Data, especially Location Data, should be restricted to different Public Bodies  12

Why are there no Criminal Penalties for abuse of Communications Data ?. 13

IoCC inspection of Prisons has no statutory basis under RIPA or DRIPA.. 13

Why are the RIPA Commissioners still not designated as Public Bodies in Schedule 1 of the Freedom of information Act 2000 ?. 13

Amended RIPA should repeal non-RIPA statutory powers. 14

RIPA Part III access to Cryptographic Keys. 15

Financial Regulators and Cryptographic keys. 15

Tipping Off Secrecy and Warrant Canaries. 16




This Review must be given access to all of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Commissioners' Annual Reports, including their Confidential Annexes, if it is to have any public credibility.



GCHQ Tempora - mass surveillance tapping of undersea fibre optic communications cables 

- "full take" 3 days

- MetaData  / Communications Data 30 days


Mobile Phones have become SmartPhones i.e. also powerful hand held computers connected to the internet and other non-telephony related radio networks like WiFi, BlueTooth, NFC and (listen only) GPS. They can also include physical sensors such as accelerometers and fingerprint readers, which may generate personal data.









You may have read the Spy Blog post with this title.


In the stupid, rush to pass the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act, without proper scrutiny, the Home Office and Parliament appear to have legally crippled the Retention of Mobile Phone Location Data, by only including the Start Cell ID and not any Intermediate or End Cell IDs  in in the "strict" Schedule of Relevant Communications:


Mobile Phone Call Detail Records / Charging Detail Records both the Cell ID at the Start of a communication and the Cell ID at the End of the mobile phone communication.

Some systems actually record the Start and End Cell IDs of both the Recipient of a voice call or SMS text message and that of the Sender if they are also using a mobile phone.

We think therefore, that these new Regulations make it illegal for Mobile Phone Network Operators to hand over the "Cell ID at the End of a communication", or any of the potentially dozens of Intermediate Cell ID locations which a mobile phone on the move is likely to generate between the Start and the End of the communication.

If Spy Blog worked for the Police or the Intelligence Agencies, we would be furious with the Home Office for such legislative bungling, which actually reduces the useful Communications Location data from Mobile Phones, which they have access to at present.

It is also unclear if this error applies to not only 12 month old Retained Communications Data (which the Home Office have never been able to cite a single criminal case where this led to the investigative breakthrough in identifying the criminals c.f. the previous Spy Blog article) but to any demand for Communications Location Data. even narrowly targeted, very recent or real time Location Data demands.

Perhaps the Home Office sophists will try to claim that this is all still somehow covered by the broader 2009 Regulations definitions, but these are repealed by the 2014 Regulations and the new more restricted Schedule in the Provisional Regulations (if passed) must be what "Parliament intended".


N.B. If these "fake mobile phone base stations" are used for "man-in-the-middle" interception attacks, they can and do interfere not just with telephony Voice calls, but also with Data e.g.


·        SMS text messages


·        Internet IP connectivity which is possible even with "old" tech GSM phones and is certainly so with 3G or 4G SmartPhones or data dongles


i.e. their "legal" use falls foul of the amendments brought in to the Computer Misuse Act 1990 by the Serious Crime Act 2006 which criminalise Denial of Service attacks, even "reckless" ones


Unauthorised acts with intent to impair, or with recklessness as to impairing, operation of computer, etc.


3A.Making, supplying or obtaining articles for use in offence under section 1 or 3


These devices also seem to be radio devices operating without a licence on heavily regulated parts of the radio spectrum reserved for the Mobile Phone Network monopolies i.e. their use is an offence under the Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006


The Metropolitan Police have so far refused FOIA requests on the topic of IMSI catchers using the "Neither Confirm Nor Deny" trick



The refusal by the Police to answer any questions about IMSI catchers gives rise to the suspicion that they are being operated illegally, without a proper Licence in contravention of the


Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006




Incredibly the Interception of Communications Commissioner's office claims that IMSI catchers (which can only work by actively intercepting the communications between a Mobile Phone network Base Station and a mobile phone handset) is somehow the responsibility of the

Office of the Chief Surveillance Commissioner


c.f. the twitter thread:




Spy Blog@spyblog Aug 14

@josephfcox @rj_gallagher the @metpoliceuk could be breaking #RIPA & #CMA (DoS) Where is @iocco_oversight inspection of IMSI catchers ?


Jo Cavan@JoCavan Aug 19

@spyblog @josephfcox @rj_gallagher such equipment (if used) would not be authorised under P1 RIPA - so not IOCCO role to oversee


@spyblog @JoCavan @rj_gallagher @iocco_oversight Jo told me it was the office of surveillance commissioners under RIPA 2



The use and authorisation of such powerful interception and denial of service technologies, which are not operated by the Communications Service Providers but by the Police and others themselves directly, needs to be brought within a revised RIPA.


In the very few, narrowly defined circumstances where these IMSI Catchers need to be used operationally (e.g. in a real time, tactical hunt for suspected Mobile Phone activated explosive devices), then a revised RIPA needs to amend the Computer Misuse Act and the Wireless Telegraphy Act accordingly and there needs to be:


1.   Proper, proportionate authorisation, for the Police, intelligence agencies and the UK Military

2.   A ban on Foreign (allied) Military or (friendly ?) Intelligence Agency or Police IMSI catcher snooping in the UK unless under the control and responsibility of named UK officials.

3.   A Statutory Code of Practice

4.   Auditing of every use of IMSI Catchers by a RIPA Commissioner, ideally before they are used, but with the provision for immediate notification after their emergency tactical deployment and use.

5.   Reporting on any collateral damage effects e.g. disruption of 999 Emergency Service telephony or the Mobile Phone Internet service of people not being specifically targeted

6.   Financial compensation for such disruption


N.B. flying IMSI Catchers in aircraft or drones in secret, like the Metropolitan Police Service appear to do, is not proportionate, even for terrorism investigations.



The SS7 worldwide telecommunications standards allow mobile phone locations to be tracked in secret, from anywhere in the world, with a little cooperation from telecommunications companies.


There are also commercial companies which offer this service.


The RIPA Interception of Communications Commissioners' public Reports do not mention this at all, so the public and Parliament do not know to what extent the Police and Intelligence Agencies and other Public Bodies try to get around or evade the supposed Single Point of Contact (SPoC) system and automated gateways for handling official requests for Communications Data.




The Police in Germany and the Netherlands use the technique of sending "silent SMS pings" to locate target mobile phones, hundreds of thousands of times a year.



It is inconceivable that the UK Police and Intelligence agencies do not do the same.


This is not the same as the RIPA Communications Data record requests for Retained Call Detail Records which are partially audited by the Interception of Communications Commissioner.


The public must assume that this practice is used to evade and circumvent the very narrow RIPA audit criteria used by the Interception of Communications Commissioner, who has never reported on these practices in public.




Technology has moved on since 2000 and there are now millions of Global Positioning Satellite devices in the hands of ordinary consumers, be they dedicated GPS devices for hikers or sportsmen, or in car navigation systems or are built in to various models of SmartPhone etc.


There does not seem to be any laws or regulations which cover the use or abuse of GPS devices or data.


Vehicle attached GPS bugs are used by the Police and by Private Investigators and by jealous ex-spouses, stalkers and other criminals to track their targets or victims.


There is no clarity from the Chief Surveillance Commissioners' public Annual Reports as to how often such devices are used, or if their use is audited at all.


There are no criminal penalties for the abuse of GPS tracking data, which there should be.



SmartPhone Apps can make use of the Accelerometers built in to many models of handset , used primarily to flip the display between portrait and landscape, depending how you orientate the phone.


However they are also used by the health conscious in the form of running or cycling Apps often linked to online maps and to GPS.


The potential for intrusion and tracking of innocent people is illustrated by the aggregated data from one of these Apps which was published in the aftermath of the recent earthquake near San Francisco, which showed thousands of subscribers being woken up early in the morning.



The Police or other investigators must not be allowed to exploit such data without a framework of regulation, which RIPA currently does not provide.



·        WiFi MAC addresses tracking

·        WiFi Access Point automatic connection attempts

·        BlueTooth MAC address tracking

·        NFC tracking

·        IMSI tracking via Software Defined Radios


These radio based technologies are built in to many models of SmartPhone and they can all be time, date, location tracked and mapped.


e.g. The City of London had to ban the enterprising scheme by Renew London which tracked and mapped (without their explicit prior permission) the MAC addresses and movements of SmartPhone users passing by  200 or so WiFi enabled rubbish / recycling bins



The tracking of SmartPhone handsets using these technologies should not be a "legal grey area", it should be clearly defined by an amended RIPA




Fingerprints are used on some models of Mobile Phones and Laptop Computers as an extra locking mechanism.


Where such biometrics are used they may sometimes be checked against a central data base via data communications protocols. e.g. the Police's own Project Lantern roadside fingerprint scanners


RIPA & DRIPA must be amended to make it very clear that access to any non-telephonic Communications built in to SmartPhone hardware or downloadable software Apps, should not be treated as Communications Data but as Intercept.



Google Glass demonstrates the power of internet connected wearable computers with built in camera , microphone and other sensor technology.


The public rightly objects to the sneaky use of such Body Worn Video for personal privacy and for commercial copyright reasons.


The technology also has the potential for Facial Recognition and Automatic Number Plate Recognition, but RIPA is incapable of dealing with such multi-use technology , especially if the systems are pointed at crowds of people

- is a Direct or Intrusive Surveillance authorisation needed ?


The RIPA Surveillance Commissioners themselves have raised, in more than one Annual Report, the question of whether Directed Surveillance authorisations are required for CCTV traffic cameras and those fitted with Automatic Number Plate Recognition software


RIPA needs to be amended to provide clarity, backed up by legal penalties for misuse, which the powerless (non-RIPA) Surveillance Camera Commissioner does not provide.




Mobile Phone Location Data is immensely privacy intrusive, it is exactly the technology used by the Home Office in electronic tagging of offenders on bail etc.


Some Public Bodies such as Fire and Rescue Services should be allowed to have instant, real time access to Mobile Phone Location Data to locate genuine 999 emergency callers and to try to filter out or alert themselves to fake 999 calls. Fire engine crews all too often come under physical attack, either from bored "ASBOids" or by criminals especially during riots.


However Fire & Rescue Services should not be allowed to have access to the back history of locations which can be revealed by Mobile Phone Location Data, as used by electronic tags etc.


RIPA is currently all or nothing in this regard: either a Public Body has full access to every kind of Communications Data, including Location Data and Friendship Trees or it is restricted to just Subscriber Details or to no access at all.




Communications Data is at least as intrusive / useful as Intercept and sometimes even more so, especially against real criminal or terrorist or spy targets who use pre-arranged verbal codes or rare foreign dialects.


The 2 years in prison criminal penalty for illegal Intercept should also apply to abuse of Communications Data. There must be no automatic exemption from this for Police or Intelligence Agency or Military or other Central or Local Government or other Public Body officials.




The Interception of Communications Commissioner spends considerable time and resources inspecting various Prisons, and so he should.


However there is no statutory basis whatsoever for him to do so under RIPA or DRIPA, it is just mission creep which started when Gordon Brown was Prime Minister.


IoCC inspections of Prisons and Detention Centres should also, by law, report on the numbers of illegal Mobile Phones seized in each Prison and on and on the effectiveness of any visitor and staff body scanners and on any phone jamming systems installed. They should also report on any collateral damage to the surrounding areas, especially regarding emergency 999 calls, which such jamming or shielding may cause. 



It is no wonder that there is little or no public confidence in the transparency of the secretive RIPA Commissioners i.e.


Intelligence Services Commissioner

Interception of Communications Commissioner

Chief Surveillance Commissioner

Surveillance Commissioners


when they are exempt from the Freedom of Information Act,  in spite of meeting not just one, but both of the Conditions for listing in Schedule 1 of the FOIA.


There are massive exemptions under FOIA which would allow them to protect any sources and methods which need to remain confidential, but there are plenty of non-sensitive FOIA requests about e.g. their own budget and staff resources etc. and number of complaints dealt with etc. which the public should be allowed to request under FOIA.



The Freedom of Information Act should also apply to the secretive Investigatory Powers Tribunal




Other Government Departments have continued to use or abuse their own Statutory Powers when conducting Investigations.


The most notorious example is the Department for Work and Pensions, which uses the


Social Security Fraud Act 2001 (passed after RIPA)


to gather Communications Data, mostly Subscriber Details, without going through the Single Point of Contact (SpoC) system set up for the Police and other consumers of Communications Data.


They seem to do this out of sheer bureaucratic empire building and to avoid having to pay the small handling fee which the CSPs charge.


It is vital that DWP and others are forced to use RIPA and the hopefully new, better Regulation and Audit scheme which your Review will precipitate.


Amended RIPA should forbid DWP from using the Social Security Fraud Act 2001 and force it to use RIPA instead, as they refuse to do this voluntarily.







Before they were abolished, the Financial Services Authority head was supposed to be "consulted" if a lowly Police Constable threatened the "economic wellbeing of the United Kingdom" (i.e. a threat to National Security) by disproportionately issuing a RIPA section 49 Notice for the secret cryptographic key(s) of say an Internet Bank 's secure web server.


These have thousands or millions of customers whose details would be affected, leading to loss of business confidence, a possible run on the bank and perhaps large scale financial fraud.


This cannot be proportionate, even for a potential mass murder plot terrorism investigation.


The current replacement Financial Regulators, the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority should be formally given a role and a veto in such RIPA Part III section 49 Notices aimed at regulated financial institutions.


Astonishingly, the RIPA Commissioners' Reports, where they do deal with


RIPA Part III Investigation of electronic data protected by encryption etc.



never seem to be able to compile up to date figures for the (rare) use of this power, there is always some delay or the Prosecution or the Court system does not pass on the details in time etc.


This is not the way to instil public trust in the RIPA system.


All the RIPA Commissioners should publish running totals monthly of their statistics, on their public websites, which they can then revise if necessary, just like the Financial Regulators do.



Your Review should take expert evidence about the RIPA section 49 secrecy powers and the section 54 Tipping Off offences


and the implications of the extension of territoriality brought in by the rushed "emergency"  DRIPA legislation, which do not seem to me to be limited to just RIPA Part 1, but also apply to RIPA Part III Encryption keys.


Foreign companies, especially those in the USA , may operate a Warrant Canary


RIPA / DRIPA needs to provide legal clarity as to the legality of this in the UK or else we will suffer economic damage.



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