Recently in Passive Millimetre Wave Radar or other "see under your clothes" imaging Category

One of the threats to our privacy and security, which has become evident in the press and broadcast media coverage of the "underwear bomb", Detroit bound airliner attack attempt over Christmas, is the inherent sensationalistic voyeurism of the mainstream press and broadcast media themselves.

The unpopular Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown has responded, presumably only because President Obama has been on television, with a rambling, turgid and repetitive article on the Number 10 Dowing Street website, which hops about thematically as if it had been stitched together from some SMS text messages via Twitter by Gordon Brown's spin doctors:: Vigilance key to tackling terrorist threat - PM

However, to be fair, if you actually read what the inept Gordon Brown or his henchmen have actually written, there is only one single mention of "full body scanners".

We need, therefore, to continually explore the most sophisticated devices capable of identifying explosives, guns, knives and other such items anywhere on the body.

So - in cooperation with President Obama and the Americans - we will examine a range of new techniques to enhance airport security systems beyond the traditional measures, such as pat-down searches and sniffer dogs.

These could include advancing our use of explosive trace technology, full body scanners and advanced x-ray technology.

As you can see from this Wordle analysis of the text of his article, it is mostly not about "full body scanners" at all:


Is this the start of the cynical "Climate of Fear" propaganda and media spin, which we can expect from the Labour government in the run up to the forthcoming General Election , exactly as they did in the 2005 election ? Hopefully the British public will not tolerate a repeat of manipulative political tactic again.

However, Gordon Brown's vague promise to perhaps further examine full body scanners" is what the BBC and other broadcast media such as Sky News have seized upon, as if this is the only, inevitable solution, without bothering to question or analyse it in any detail.

Such reports are also "livened up" visually with images of, or taken from, privacy intrusive / illegal child porn capable full body image scanners, which are falsely being held out as being the only possible technology which might have magically prevented the attack.

So desperate is the BBC TV News for some suitably "action packed", or "visually interesting" images to illustrate this story with, that they have even broadcast footage of chemical analysis sniffer portals, which are even more expensive and even slower than "see through your clothes" scanners, thereby causing even longer queues at airports, without bothering to explain that this is an entirely different technology.

The media voyeurism, appears to be pushing Government and Opposition politicians in the direction of the military security equipment lobby, who stand to profit from selling these expensive, intrusive, repressive devices, at public expense.

Will none of these politicians display any leadership, and tell the media voyeurs and corporate profiteers and the failed extremists, that we will not be terrorised by them ?

See also the previous Spy Blog article -

If Somalia can detect "underwear bombs" without them, why waste money on intrusive "child porn" / "see through your clothes" image scanners at airports ?

for an example of a less "visually interesting", but potentially more effective device, which uses the same physics as the "see through your clothes" passive millimetre wave imagers, without the same intrusive privacy problems, but with a higher likelihood of being used on you illegally or sneakily, without your knowledge or consent.

The "security theater" of pretending that We Must Be Seen To Be Doing Something seems to have afflicted the Netherlands government, which is obviously embarrassed by the recent security failure at Schipol airport.

The Daily Telegraph appears to be hyping up "see through your clothes" / perv scans, as if they were some sort of magical solution to the perceived problem, even though there is no guarantee that the presence of such equipment would actually have prevented the attempted attack.

Detroit terror attack: hesitation over x-ray scanners risking lives

Ministers have been accused of putting lives at risk by failing to order X-ray style body scanners at British airports despite fears that al-Qaeda is planning a wave of syringe bomb attacks on planes.

By Gordon Rayner and David Millward
Published: 10:00PM GMT 30 Dec 2009

The scanners, which could have thwarted the attack by the Detroit bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, are already in use in countries including America and Germany, and yesterday the Netherlands and Nigeria announced they would follow suit.

But the Government said it had "no immediate plans" to deploy them, leading to accusations that ministers had been "caught napping".

Note the weasel words "leading to accusations that..." - accusations by which authoritative source, exactly ? Only this Daily Telegraph article and / or briefings by people who stand to make a lot of money out of the debacle.

The Daily Telegraph has learned that four of the £100,000 full body scanners are in storage at Heathrow Airport, following a previous trial, but airport staff are not authorised to use them.

Good !

That is because they do not work anywhere nearly fast enough - it takes over 10 seconds per person, per scan, to be used at airports without creating massive, vulnerable, queues or crowds of passengers

The United Kingdom's stupidly inflexible and catch-all without exceptions laws on Child Pornography also apply to such imaging scanners, when they are used on your children - defined as anyone under Eighteen years of age.

It emerged yesterday that a Somali man was arrested in Mogadishu last month as he tried to board an aircraft bound for Dubai carrying powdered chemicals and a syringe, in what appears to be an almost identical method to the one used by Abdulmutallab.


The Dutch government announced yesterday that full body scanners, which are already being trialled there with EU approval, will be introduced on US-bound flights within three weeks at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, where Abdulmutallab caught his connecting flight to Detroit on Christmas Day.

Even Nigeria, where Abdulmutallab began his journey, is to introduce them within weeks.

The company which makes the scanners told The Daily Telegraph that it could have 50 scanners installed at UK airports within three months.

The mainstream media really should examine the claims of companies with a large financial interest in selling such expensive and imperfect equipment to Governments and transport monopolies, at the taxpayer and general public's expense, with more than a pinch of salt.

Remember that US companies such as Rapiscan Systems which make Back Scatter X-Ray imagers, or US subsidiaries of UK companies like Qinetiq plc or the Smiths Detection division of Smiths Industries plc, which make Passive Milimetre Wave imagers etc., are immune from criminal or civil prosecution in the USA, if they are registered with the Department of Homeland Security, and their "security products" or "qualified anti-terrorism technologies" fail to detect a bomb, or if their devices actually harm the health of passengers or security staff, under the "Subtitle G" part of the misleadingly, Orwellian newspeak named "PATRIOT Act law, called the Support Anti-terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act of 2002 (SAFETY Act)

Within Whitehall, officials believe that the Nigerian and Dutch authorities have announced the use of scanners in an attempt to mask security failings which enabled the syringe-bomber to board two aircraft without the device being detected.

Since even these imaging scanners are only a sop to the US media and authorities, and will not be used on every flight or on every passenger on a selected flight, this is more, expensive "security theatre".

Guns and explosives and illegal drugs are far more easily available in the USA, than anywhere in the European Union, so what measures are in place to protect the United Kingdom from United States originated flights ?

At the very least , the security measures should be reciprocal and identical at both ends of the transatlantic route.

The Times has more details on this November 13th incident.

Passengers to be scanned after details emerge about Somali bomb plot

The Times
December 31, 2009

Sean O'Neill, Rory Watson, Michael Evans, Philip Pank

A man was arrested last month when he attempted to board an aircraft in Somalia carrying powdered chemicals, liquid and a syringe, in a potential forerunner of the Christmas Day bomb plot.

Somali police said yesterday that they were still holding the man who was arrested by African Union troops at Mogadishu airport on November 13. He was trying to board a Daallo Airlines flight that was bound for the northern Somali city of Hargeisa, then Djibouti before landing in Dubai, which is a hub for international travel.

He tried to bribe his way on to the aircraft after being stopped.

Abdulahi Hassan Barise, a police spokesman in Mogadishu, said: "We don't know whether he's linked with al-Qaeda or other foreign organisations but his actions were the acts of a terrorist. We caught him red-handed."

If even Mogadishu airport security can catch someone "red handed" like this, obviously without access to any expensive "see through your clothes" image scanners, then what additional safety margin does such an imaging scanner actually provide, at vast expense and unnecessary privacy intrusion ? None.

The technology actually exists to exploit the "see through your clothes" parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, but without the "child porn" / adult privacy intrusion aspects of image scanners e.g. the QInetiq SPO-7 Standoff Passive Object Detector.


The Daily Mail and the BBC report on another Rapidscan back scatter X-Ray machine "trial" deployment at a British airport.

Why is Manchester Airport inflicting another "see through your children's clothes" scanner on the public ?

As noted by Dr.David Murakami-Wood, on his notes from the ubiquitous surveillance society blog:

You would think after 4 years of trials at Heathrow, that British airports would now be able to work out whether or not they could and more importantly, should, use the various varieties of body scanners that are now available

What has changed since 2004 ? See the articles by John Lettice of the The Register articles from that time.

There is still no "safe dose" for even low levels of ionizing radiation, in this case X-Rays

The fact that the operator of the machine will (aping the trials in the USA) sit in a room away from the actual machine, and be hidden from the members of the public who are being processed, may reduce the number of lawsuits for cancer etc. from machine operators and security guards, who will inevitably get a larger cumulative dose of X rays through day to day proximity to the machine.

Hiding the operator from view is a two edged sword - it may reduce the number of complaints about abusive or lewd comments made by the operators to the passengers, or between security staff, (as noted by Dr. Murakami Wood) but it will also make it impossible to tell if you aae being snooped on by a man or a woman, something which will embarrass or offend many, many people, not just various religious sects.

The law on Child Pornography has actually changed since 2004.

It was, even back in 2004, it was a criminal offence to create or copy (even for a fraction of second) an indecent Image or Pseudo-image of a Child. Since 2004, the definition of a Child for this purpose has changed - it now includes anybody under 18 years of age (previously 16 years).

See the wikipedia article on the draconian, inflexible and often bureaucratically misinterpreted Protection of Children Act 1978

There is no legal dispensation for "see through your clothes" imaging scanners or their operators or the companies or government organisations or law enforcement officials, who inflict them on the public.

As the picture from the Daily Mail show article shows,

Rapiscan_Manchester_Airport_450.jpg - original photo Dave Thompson / PA Wire
(original photo credit: Dave Thompson / PA Wire)

It does not matter if the Manchester Airport's Head of Customer Experience Sarah Barrett thinks that the images are not illegal, her personal opinion has no legal standing.

Ms Barrett said the black-and-white image would only be seen by one officer in a remote location before it was deleted.

"The images are not erotic or pornographic and they cannot be stored or captured in any way," she said.

It is completely false to claim that the images "cannot be stored or captured in any way".

The Daily Mail article is actually illustrated with digital camera screen grabs from the display monitor !

The system uses a computer, therefore images are processed and stored. Who has maintenance access to these systems ? How, if at all, are the temporary image processing results actually securely erased ?

Putting an operator in an private room to view the screen, means that they can use their mobile phone cameras to snap "unclothed" images of celebrities etc. - or will there be a CCTV camera watching the "see through your children's clothes" scanner operator as well ?

Just as in 2004, there is still no justification for imaging rather than any other sort of metal or explosives or illegal drugs detection used on live people.

National CCTV Strategy - worryingly incomplete

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We are still trying to understand the implications of the National CCTV Strategy document published by the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Home Office last week:- National CCTV Strategy October 2007 (.pdf 373Kb)

Unfortunately, whilst quite interesting, this document is incomplete in many areas, and must not be taken as the final word on the subject.

Some initial thoughts:

The Daily Telegraph reports about the concerns of some of the organisations who helped to promote the 1.8 million signature petition to the Prime Minister on the No. !0 Downing Street website against the vague national road pricing and surveillance plans, about remarks (probably taken out of context) from someone who works from one of the companies involved in the National Roads Telecommunications Services project run by the Highways Agency, under the Department for Transport..

There is probably not much "mileage" in this aspect of the Daily Telegraph story - you might as well criticise the mobile phone network companies for also providing part of the telecommunications infrastructure which could be used for future road snooping plans.

The National Roads Telecommunications Services project is the plan to create a high speed wireless data communications backbone, between hundreds of thousands of lampposts. This is primarily for the road management purposes i.e. updating motorway warning signs, gathering fog sensor and pollution sensor data etc, and of course congestion monitoring, and eventually road charging.

No doubt even more CCTV surveillance cameras and Automatic Number Plate Recognition systems will be linked to this telecomms backbone as well.

The idea is also to then to sell spare internet bandwidth to local WiFi hotspot providers or mobile phone companies etc. to link otherwise remote locations.

However, as we have noted, nearly two years ago, in "Lampposts in the 21st Century" there are other, possibly unintended, privacy intrusive side effects of this project, which have not been properly debated in public.

The influential tabloid newspaper The Sun, had an interesting report yesterday, with the front page headline


We have been commenting on the implications these sort of "see through your Children's clothes" imaging systems for some time- see our archive Passive Millimetre Wave Radar or other "see under your clothes" imaging

See also, specifically, Lampposts in the 21st Century

The Sun has an article on Page 9, illustrated with "naked" pseudo images of adult volunteers from the US manufacturers of one model of this sort of equipment, which are about 4 years old (according to the EXIF meta data copyright info in the online images) . Today's and future versions of this equipment could provide even more detailed images, at longer range.

You are undie surveillance

Political Editor
January 29, 2007

OFFICIALS are bracing themselves for a storm of public outrage over their controversial X-ray cameras scheme.

As part of the most shocking extension of Big Brother powers ever planned here, lenses in lampposts would snap “naked” pictures of passers-by to trap terror suspects.

The proposal is contained in leaked documents drawn up by the Home Office and presented to PM Tony Blair’s working group on Security, Crime and Justice.

The Sunday Times has yet another "see under your clothes" scanner story, in which they have failed to ask the obvious privacy and security questions of the sort we have asked before:

The Sunday Times November 05, 2006

‘Superman’ scanner to spot bombers

David Leppard

David Leppard often seems to get access to leaked Government documents. Is this because he is a good investigative journalist, or because he is used as a conduit for "Climate of Fear" security theatre hype ?

SCANNERS designed to detect suicide bombers by looking through clothing are to be deployed at the Canary Wharf complex in London, site of Britain’s tallest skyscraper, this month.

In a world first, the system will detect explosives, liquids and bomb-making components even if they are hidden under clothing or inside rucksacks.

That is a very bold claim, and one which simply shouts "false alarm".

Canary Wharf in the Docklands area of the capital is home to HSBC, Barclays and Bank of America and regarded as a prime target for Al-Qaeda; the IRA bombed a nearby target in 1996.

The system at Canary Wharf - part of a wider anti-suicide-bomber project codenamed Nemesis - uses “superhuman vision” to “see through” people as they enter their offices and shopping areas. Monitors attached to hidden CCTV cameras can scan from long distances for knives, guns and even drugs.

"Nemesis" is a sinister code name, and the public needs to know much more about it, given that is seems more likley to target and kill innocent people rather than actual suicide bombers.

Note the words "long distance" i.e. not the portal type metal detector or "see through your clothes" scanner booths, which have been tested at airports, and trialled at Paddington Station and at Canary Wharf tube station previously.

How many of these devices are going to be deployed ?

Will there be any warning signs "you are entering a 'see through your clothes' imaging zone ?

If not, then why not ?

The Department for Transport and Transport for London are continuing with a second phase of their dubious anti-terrorist bomb technology "trials". A month's trial started today at the Canary Wharf Tube station, with a later trial due at Greenford.

The Government should not be wasting public money on going through the motions of pretending to "vigourously test" explosive detectors of any sort at ticket barriers or platforms. Even they admit the obvious, that the disruption to the rail and tube systems which this would cause, if widely deployed, would be intolerable.

Instead, they should be devoting resources to portable equipment for speeding up the examination of "suspicious" abandoned parcels, packages and bags which lead to so many false alarms. There are literally thousands of disruptions of public transport caused either by a few delibarate "bomb hoaxes" or, mostly, by the idiotic thoughlessness of members of the public.

Perhaps there is a case for trained staff and such equipment, including bomb disposal "robots" etc. to be pre-deployed at every Tube and Railway station, to speed up the response to such incidents, so that they can be dealt with in minutes rather than hours, as at present.

Trying to report a suspicious package at even a supposedly well staffed Station can be a frustrating experience, as the Reverend Rat testifies

Ministerial Statement by Douglas Alexander the Minister for Transport, and, peculiarly, like his predecessor before the re-shuffle, also the Minister for Scotland, on Tuesday 16th May 2006:

Action on Rights for Children have confirmed our suspicions about the uselessness of the "see through your children's clothes" scanner trial at the Heathrow Express platform at Paddington railway station in London.

ARC's correspondence with the Department for Transport regarding the Paddington Heathrow Express scanner trial.

Note that the answer from the Department of transport does not attempt to refute that the concerns about such "see through your children;s clothes" scanners constitute "child pornography", according to the current definitions under UK law.

If, as the Department for Transport claim, that "under 18's" were not scanned, then what possible use is such a system against terrorists or even drug smugglers etc ? They already use children as couriers or even as suicide bombers.

The Independent reports some details about the 4 week trial of the "see through your clothes" passive millimetre wave imaging scanner which has been installed at London's Paddington mainline railway station on the Heathrow Express platform.

Station trial for anti-terror system

By Peter Woodman, PA
Published: 11 January 2006

The workings of new high-tech security systems to detect would-be train terrorists were shown off today at Paddington station in London.

A seven-metre-long steel box has been erected next to Heathrow Express platforms at the west London station.

Inside the box is a millimetre wave scanner which can detect items concealed beneath clothes.

Next to it is a baggage-screening device, and the whole security box is to be tested for four weeks at Paddington starting from tomorrow.

The new systems were first announced last autumn by Transport Secretary Alistair Darling, and there will be further trials on the London Underground and at other mainline stations.

It will take passengers about 80 seconds to pass through the security box. During the trial at Paddington a small number of randomly-selected passengers will be asked to take part.

80 seconds per scan, minimum !!

Since the Heathrow Express service leaves Paddington every 15 minutes, that means that passengers (who will certainly be struggling with suitcases on their way to the airport) will miss the next train on which they have booked their tickets / reserved their seats, if there are as few as 10 or so people in the queue ahead them to be scanned.

On entering the box they will pass into the scanner where they will place their feet on footmarks on the floor and raise their arms in the air. In the far corner of the box is a booth in which a screener sits, and this screener will receive a robot-like body image of the scanned passenger.

At the same time the passenger's bags will pass through an X-ray machine, and if necessary there will also be a body search of the passenger by hand.

A person cannot be identified from the image and the image is deleted when the next person enters the scanner. Male staff will work only with male passengers' images and female staff only with female passengers' images.

That is irrelevant if the "randomly selected" passengers are Children. The operators will be guilty of "creating or distributing" Child Pornography, a term which includes synthetic digital images. If children are automatically excluded, then the whole system is useless against smugglers or terrorists.

The trial tomorrow is being seen merely as a test of the equipment and not as a security measure as such, although it could lead to the use of the equipment as an anti-terrorist measure eventually.

So what aspect of the "technology" is being tested on the public ?

What does this prove that a group of paid experimental test subjects could not ?

The ability to see people naked throough various types of clothing ? The ability to detect various deliberately concealed items ?

How can this be a scientific test, if the data is really destroyed after each scan ?

Where is the proof that this system is safe for, say, pregnant women ?

Will people who refuse to be scanned be treated as "terrirst suspects" and stopped and searched under the Terrorism Act 2000 section 44 anyway ?

About this blog

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

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

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

Email & PGP Contact

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


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

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

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

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

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

Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers and Political Dissidents

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

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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

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

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

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

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

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


Watching Them, Watching Us

London 2600

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

Privacy and Security

Privacy International
United Kingdom Privacy Profile (2011)

Cryptome - censored or leaked government documents etc.

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

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

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

International Campaign Against Mass Surveillance

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

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

Technical Advisory Board on internet and telecomms interception under RIPA

European Digital Rights

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

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

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

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

Human Rights

Liberty Human Rights campaigners

British Institute of Human Rights
Amnesty International

Prevent Genocide International

asboconcern - campaign for reform of Anti-Social Behavior Orders

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

Internet Censorship

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

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

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

Judicial Links

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

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

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

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

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

Parliamentary Opposition

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

UK Government

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

No. 10 Downing Street Prime Minister's Official Spindoctors

Public Bills before Parliament

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

House of Commons "Question Book"

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

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

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

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

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

Online Media

Boing Boing

Need To Know [now defunct]

The Register

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

Ideal Government - debate about UK eGovernment

NIR and ID cards

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

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

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

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

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

Surveillance Infrastructures

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

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

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

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

RFID Links

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

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

Genetic Links

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

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

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

Miscellanous Links

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

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

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

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

Former Spies

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

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

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

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

Naked Spygirl - Olivia Frank

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

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

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

Liberty Central

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

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

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

Vmyths - debunking computer security hype

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

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

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

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

Bloggerheads - Tim Ireland

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

Blogzilla - Ian Brown

BlairWatch - Chronicling the demise of the New Labour Project

dreamfish - Robert Longstaff

Informaticopia - Rod Ward


The Musings of Harry

Chicken Yoghurt - Justin McKeating

The Red Tape Chronicles - Bob Sullivan MSNBC

Campaign Against the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Stop the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Rob Wilton's esoterica

panGloss - Innovation, Technology and the Law

Arch Rights - Action on Rights for Children blog

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


Moving On

Steve Moxon blog - former Home Office whistleblower and author.

Al-Muhajabah's Sundries - anglophile blog

Architectures of Control in Design - Dan Lockton

rabenhorst - Kai Billen (mostly in German)

Nearly Perfect Privacy - Tiffany and Morpheus

Iain Dale's Diary - a popular Conservative political blog

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

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

Ralph Bendrath

Financial Cryptography - Ian Grigg et al.

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

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

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

"Give 'em hell Pike!" - Frank Fisher

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

geeklawyer - intellectual property, civil liberties and the legal system

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

Charlie's Diary - Charlie Stross

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

Famous for 15 Megapixels

Postman Patel

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

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

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

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

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

Matt Wardman political blog analysis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No CCTV - The Campaign against CCTV

Barcode Nation - keeping two eyes on the database state.

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

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

Justin Wylie's political blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Links

Spam Huntress - The Norwegian Spam Huntress - Ann Elisabeth

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

Cool Britannia


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

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

Brian Burnell's British / US nuclear weapons history at

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UK Legislation

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

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

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

UK Legislation Links

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

UK Commissioners

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

UK Intelligence Agencies

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

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

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

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

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

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

Government Communications Headquarters GCHQ

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

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

Foreign Spies / Intelliegence Agencies in the UK

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

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

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

Campaign Button Links

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Open Rights Group

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

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

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

Amnesty International's campaign

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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

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

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

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

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

No CCTV - The Campaign Against CCTV


I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist !


Power 2010 cross party, political reform campaign


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


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

wblogocrop_150.jpg - Fighting for justice for whistleblowers