Surveillance threats to bloggers, investigative journalists and political activists
Some of the current threats to the freedoms and liberties of bloggers, investigative journalists and political activists, who really do need to take some of the precautions suggested in this Hints and Tips guide, to protect themselves and their contacts, from state and corporate and criminal snooping:
- See the articles in the left of centre New Statesman magazine, which explain the journalistic fact checking process and legal case background, of the Katherine Gun and Derek Pasquill cases which both involved (eventually) dropped prosecutions under the UK Official Secrets Act 1989:
- Counter-Terrorism Bill Clause 83 - chilling effect on reporting or speculation about military or intelligence service or police personnel ?
This amendment, contained in the Counter-terrorism Act 2009 section 76, has created the new Terrorism Act 2000 section 58A Eliciting, publishing or communicating information about members of armed forces etc, and is now fully in force.
- Remote Searching of Computer Hard Disks - remember that RIPA etc. do not protect business premises from arbitrary intrusive surveillance, property interference etc.
- Even correspondence between Members of Parliament and whistleblowers or Parliamentary Constituents is under threat, as the arrest of Conservative MP Damian Green, and the searches without a warrant of his offices, and, in a separate incident, the office of Conservative MP Daniel Kawczynski show.
- Exactly what correspondence or communications between MPs and their Constituents is protected by Parliamentary Privilege ?
- Wilson Doctrine and Parliamentary emails and the arrest of Damian Green MP
- Conservative MP Daniel Kawczynski - parliamentary office searched and constituency correspondence handed over to the Police, without a warrant - updated
- Serious Crime Act 2007 used to harass Indymedia server colocation administrator - updated
- The Guardian reports that innocent peaceful political demonstrators and activists, and even the mainstream media journalists, tv camera crews and photographers are being snooped on, and having their details stored in and shared in Police criminal and other intelligence databases.
Films and details of campaigners and journalists may breach Human Rights Act
* Paul Lewis and Marc Vallée
* guardian.co.uk, Friday 6 March 2009 19.30 GMT
Shocking footage shot by police, accompanied by their own critical commentary, shows how their officers monitored campaigners and the media - and demanded personal information - at last August's climate camp demonstration in Kent
Police are targeting thousands of political campaigners in surveillance operations and storing their details on a database for at least seven years, an investigation by the Guardian can reveal.
The Guardian has found:
•Activists "seen on a regular basis" as well as those deemed on the "periphery" of demonstrations are included on the police databases, regardless of whether they have been convicted or arrested.
•Names, political associations and photographs of protesters from across the political spectrum - from campaigners against the third runway at Heathrow to anti-war activists - are catalogued.
•Police forces are exchanging information about protesters stored on their intelligence systems, enabling officers from different forces to search which political events an individual has attended.
- The Guardian reveals details of the mechanics of the failed Hotmail plot by the anti-Gordon Brown faction of Labour MPs
Why plot to oust Gordon Brown failed
The rebels switched from email to texts on a disposable mobile but bid to oust PM was doomed
* Allegra Stratton, political correspondent
* guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 10 June 2009 21.48 BST
One rebel said: "We got one email from email@example.com [the email address of the chief whip]. It might be that they were hoping we'd publish a list and not notice his name was in it and then he could show all the names were ridiculous."
Instead, the rebels adopted a tactic favoured by organised criminals and bought an untraceable pay as you go mobile, encouraging sympathetic colleagues to get in touch that way. It became a text message plot.
One cabinet minister due to meet a rebel for dinner had their meeting cancelled - there simply wasn't a restaurant in London discreet enough.
It certainly looks as if the failed "Hotmail plot" anti-Gordon Brown faction of Labour MPs suspected that they might be under political surveillance.
- The revelations in 2013 about undercover Metropolitan Police spies, infiltrating various peacenik, animal right, environmentalist groups, for years on end, even having sex with activists, fathering and abandoning illegitimate children, will no doubt be the subject of several documentaries, books and court cases. See the interim Operation Herne Report , which, so far, only covers the theft of the identities of dead children etc. using the technique described by Frederik Forsyth in his 1971 thriller Day of the Jackalto add credence to their undercover personas