October 2003 Archives

Biometrics 2003 exhibition

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Visited the Biometrics 2003 and IDSmart and Compsec exhibition at the QE2 Conference centre near Parliament in London.

There was a comprehensive display of Biometric Fingerprint scanning , Iris scanning and Facial Recognition systems, as well as Smart Cards and RFID chips, from some of the world's leading vendors of these technologies.

Tried out various fingerprint scanners, which only confirmed that the US Government plans for grabbing fingerprint scans of both index fingers of every tourist and business visitor to the USA is going to lead to massive extra queues and delays.

Systems which are ok for low volume use e.g. providing an extra layer of protection for accessing your laptop or desktop computer (one or two people), or for door entry systems (dozens or hundreds of people) have no hope of coping with Jumbo jets full of passengers every hour.

It is not the high tech neural network recognition software which is the problem so much as the physical build up of grime and oil from hundreds of fingerprints on a particular reader. Many of the capacitative plate readers were displaying the previous person's latent fingerprint. Even the superior line scanning device gave errors in 3 out of 5 attempts.

There is no way that the claim that "it will only take a few seconds" per tourist will stand up in real life, even setting aside deliberate attempts at forgery or replay of other people's fingerprints.

The Iris Scanning machines and Facial Recognition Cameras on display which are being tested at a few airports are all very well, but they all have a limited field of view vertically. This means that one Iris Scanner or Camera set at one height cannot hope to cope with all the people on an average Jumbo jet without causing pain and discomfort to a large number of people. Adjusting the height of the equipment invetiably leads to slower throughput and must lead to queues. Will cash strapped authorities really fork out extra money for Iris Scanners or Facial Recognition cameras set at two or 3 different ergonomic heights ?

Although not primarily an RFID tag/Smart Label show, there were a couple of exhibitors showing RFID tags and the more established (and expensive) contactless Smart Card technology.

Also on view was one of the first Digital Tachograph Smart Cards which are due to be introduced into every new Heavy Goods Vehicle or Bus in the European Union from August 2004. The personal data stored on this card makes it yet another European Union Passport/Driving Licence digital ID card project, but one which seems to be planned to be introduced into the UK first.

Naturally, there are already problems with getting all the equipment to be interoperable, and it may be 2005 before this Digital Tachograph Smart Card is introduced.

US Biometric passports and visas

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The US Department of Homeland Security is now pushing ahead with its "War on Tourism" by starting to implement Biometric Passport and Visa delays at airports and ports.

US-VISIT Fact Sheet

The plan seems to be to take scans of both your index fingers and a digital photograph of your face i.e. the two least reliable Biometric identifiers currently under consideration for ID Cards and Passport use (iris scanning is orders of magnitude more accurate).

Remember that Biometric Identifiers are not unforgable despite the hype, as they are based on essentially digtal scans or photos which are trivially copied and cloned. The proposals to use Digital Signatures to ensure the authenticity of these stored Biometric Identifiers are also not foolproof.

Even an optimistic extra 10 seconds delay per passenger, on top of the existing queues at US passport and immigration control desks, equates to an extra hour and half to two hours per 747 Jumbo jet fill of tourists.

They do not seem to have any plans to reduce the existing bureaucratic red tape, so these Biometric scanning induced delays will be in addition to the existing ones.

US citizens (and those from Canada) are exempt from these Biometric checks, so, presumably, if they actually work, the criminals and terrorists who have access to false passports and visas will use USA or Canadian documents instead.

Why is the UK government not demanding to check the Biometrics of US visitors to the UK ? Why is this non-tarriff trade barrier to free movement allowed in one direction , but not the other ?

Most innocent people (not even US citizens) do not willingly trust their own governments with personal data such as their fingerprints. Why should anybody trust the US Government with this, given their appalling record on computer security and corruption of petty officials with access to sensitive data systems ?

Auto-ID Center mutates away from MIT

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From 1st November 2003, the controversial Auto-ID Center is moving from a collaborative multi-university research project, to a commercial standards and intellectual property licensing organisation called EPCGlobal Inc.

MIT winds down radio tag activity

"The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is ending a four-year collaboration with dozens of blue-chip companies that set out to advance a new frontier of information technology known as radio frequency identification.

The Auto-ID Center, the radio frequency identification (RFID) research group that MIT and its industry partners formed in 1999, is disbanding its current form at the end of the month, MIT said. The center was given the task of developing and field testing a new breed of computer network that can track the location of everyday objects, such as razors and shoes, through an elaborate system of radio frequency-emitting microchips and readers.

Auto-ID Center sponsors, including Coca-Cola, Gillette, Target, Home Depot and Wal-Mart, have poured about $20 million into the project since its start, said Kevin Ashton, executive director of the Auto-ID Center.

The university will continue to do RFID research through a new organization, called Auto-ID Labs, Ashton said. The former Procter & Gamble executive is leaving MIT at the end of the month as part of the transition.

The reason for the change is that RFID technology has advanced to the point that the next steps of its development, namely the coordination of technical standards and specifications, go beyond MIT's mission as a research university, Ashton said. MIT handed off the administration of RFID standards and other duties in September to EPCglobal, a joint venture of the Uniform Code Council and EAN International, which oversee global bar code standards. Auto-ID Labs has licensed its RFID technology to EPCglobal (formerly AutoID Inc.), and the fees from that agreement will fund its research, Ashton said. "

Pictures of a Marks & Spencer RFID tag

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Here are some pictures of a Marks & Spencer RFID tagged Intelligent Label TM being tested on men's suits, shirts and ties at their High Wycombe store

M&S have produced some leaflets explaining something about the RFID tags to their customers, for which one has to hunt around for in the High Wycombe store. This is only a slight improvement over Tesco who try to keep their customers in ignorance.

The paper label RFID tags are removable i.e. a separate label on the ties and suits, or on the shirt wrapping, rather than the Texas Instruments type RFID tags designed to be embedded in clothing and capable of withstanding laundry processes.

Marks & Spencer RFID tag printed side

Note the "Please retain this label for refund and exchange" printed on the label

Marks & Spencer RFID tag Intelligent Label side

shadow of the RFID chip and antenna

Shadow of the RFID chip and antenna when held close to a lamp.

There are, in fact no RFID readers in evidence in the High Wycombe store men's clothing department, which is relatively small, with probably only a couple of hundred tagged shirts, suits and ties.

It therefore does seem that M&S have been influenced by consumer privacy group pressure to modify their original RFID clothing tag deployment plans.

It also means, presumably, that these RFID tag labels cannot be "killed" or disabled at the checkout.

Marks & Spencer RFID tags

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There are now some reports about Marks & Spencer's RFID tagging trial:

Marks & Spencer starts tracking tag trials"

U.K. Retailer Tests Smart Tags on Clothing

Marks & Spencer begins the UK's largest in-store trial of RFID tagging technology


Marks & Spencer seem to have tentatively launched their promised RFID tagging trial at their High Wycombe store.

Unlike, Tesco, they do seem to be planning to at least give their customers a leaflet about the trial. The tags will not be embedded into the clothing (suits, ties and shirts) but will either be on a paper label (separate from the barcoded price tag) attached to the suit or tie, or stuck to the plastic packaging of the shirts.

However, these RFID tags are still not in accordance with the supposed Auto-ID EPC tags which are meant to have the ability to be "killed" or disabled at the point of sale, which these do not.

The effective normal working range of these M&S RFID tags will be much greater than those used (without any privacy problems) on reusable plastic food product delivery trays, as they will be working in the Ultra High Frequency range (somewhere above 868Mhz).

Given the public relations silence on the topic so far, it must be assumed that this latest M&S RFID tag trial still does not seem to comply with the Auto-ID Center's idea of a tag that can be "killed" or disabled electronically at the checkout, and that there is no strong authentication handshake which would allow only M&S RFID readers to interrogate them.

As the unit price of RFID tags falls towards the target of under a penny each,
unless automatic systems for "killing" tags at the checkout are developed and tested at the outset, some accountant or manager will award themselves a bonus when they calculate that it will cost more in checkout staff time or customer queues at peak times, to "kill" a tag than to buy a new one. They will then try not to bother with tags that can be "killed" or will "save" on the equipment needed to do so, to the detriment of consumer privacy.

Therefore, even though this M&S trial is no real threat in itself at the moment, our RFID tag privacy concerns (similar to those over "third party cookie tracking" profiles compiled from internet web site surfing) still remain.

Worries about ChildLocate

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UPDATE: Some of our concerns have been answered, and ChildLocate is now one of the best protected of the Location Data Services in the UK.

We shall be closely watching future developments regarding the commercial exploitation of Location Services, especially those aimed at monitoring children or vulnerable adults.

Read our original concerns which still apply to some of the rival services and about the developments with ChildLocate since the service was originally launched:

It seems that Tracking Vulnerable People e.g. children or the elderly is grabbing the imagination of the marketdroids, but when dealing with Children, there should be extraordinary safeguards in place.

A service called ChildLocate seems to have been launched by a company called

MobileLocate Ltd.
6 Pound Street
Newbury Berkshire
RG14 6AA

which aims, for a hefty subscription, to get their partnering Mobile Phone Operators to hand over GSM mobile phone Cell Location Data of registered phones.

The worrying feature of the service is the ability to use a website to find the location of the Child, and to send "authenticated" SMS messages.

The consequences of a breach in security of such a website could be literally life threatening. One would expect the security features of such a website to exceed those used on say, internet banking, but this is not the case.

The ChildLocate website employs Flash pop-up forms for purchasing the service, sending Credit Card and other personal details, and for logging on to the system to Locate a Child and to send "trusted" SMS messages (a perfect tool for evildoers if this system is insecure)

How can the public be assured that the web interface and forms are not vulnerable to, for example, SQL injection attacks ?

The web server which handles these Flash forms is actually run by a different company, called TrackWell based in Iceland (i.e. outside of the European Union for Data Protection purposes) which does not make use of the standard SSL/TLS encryption such as is normally used for credit card purchases or banking over the Internet, and sends everything in cleartext , at risk of being "sniffed" over the internet.

Even using the alternate method of authentication, i.e. SMS messages is by no means secure, as the "From" header on the SMS can be easily forged.

Despite publishing a Privacy Policy, and claiming to have consulted the Information Commissioner back in April 2003, there do not seem to be any entries on the Data Protection Register for either MobileLocate, ChildLocate, or for any other similarly named company within their Post Code.

Data Protection Register search form

Nowadays it is the law that anybody with a job which has potential access to Children e.g. a teacher or school caretaker etc has to have a background check via the notorious Criminal Records Bureau.

Have all of the of the MobileLocate employees been through these checks ?

Obviously, none of the TrackWell employees or consultants in Iceland would ever appear on the UK Criminal Records Bureau, despite the certainty of them having full access to the registration and tracking and SMS messaging computers.

You could actually be putting your children at additional risk by subscribing to such a system in its present form.

The Mobile Phone Network partners of MobileLocate i.e. Vodafone, O2, T-Mobile and Orange deserve criticism as well. Instead of just greedily counting the revenue from selling Mobile Phone Cell Location Data, they have a moral duty to make sure that the systems that they are setting up in partnership with third party companies adhere to the normal Data Protection Principles.

In the case of a service so potentially disasterous if it is compromised, as this one one involving Children, then each of these Mobile Phone companies should have conducted their own independent security review of the system before the service was launched.

We are in the process of asking the Oftel (soon to be Ofcom) industry regulator what their policy is regarding such risky Mobile Phone Location Data tracking services.

Why can't the Government conduct an open public debate on the Home Secretary David Blunkett's controversial Compulsory Biometric ID Card poll tax plans ?

Here is yet another apparent leak of letters between Cabinet Ministers to a favoured media organisation:

Cabinet revolt over ID cards by David Cracknell, Political Editor of the Sunday Times October 12, 2003. This front page headline article still manages to repeat the Government spin that the public consultation process "showed strong support", a claim which is simply false.

The Sunday Times has published the alleged text of letters from the Ministers Paul Boateng, Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Jack Straw, Secretary of State at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

Alleged full text of letter from Paul Boateng to David Blunkett

The "further study required" tone of this letter seems to be pure Sir Humphrey Appleby("Yes Minister") e.g.

""There are a number of issues that the analysis must fully cover before your proposals are brought back to DA Committee in order to meet the minimum requirements for bringing policy proposals to Cabinet or its committees""

"it is worth noting that under a fully compulsory option, the charge for the card may be classified as a tax by the Office for National Statistics." - what else is a compulsory ?40 fee or charge paid to the Government, if it is not a poll tax ?

Alleged full text of letter from Jack Straw to David Blunkett

The recap and repetition of previous correspondence by Jack Straw seems to show that David Blunkett is not even responding to his Cabinet colleagues, let alone to public criticism of his vague plans:

"My minutes of 24 July and 9 September covered the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's key interests that I would want resolved prior to a decision in principle. I have not seen evidence that these have been taken into account. You may find it helpful if I go through them below"

One has to double check the dates on these alleged letters - it seems astonishing that the points raised by the Treasury and the FCO have not yet been addressed by the Home Office, despite the fact that David Blunkett started off this ID card debate in January 2002. It appears that the Government still has no clue as to what the precise objectives of the Compulsory ID Card scheme are, let alone the costs.

Given that the Foreign Office letter is apparently Protectively Marked as Confidential, this would appear to be a breach of the Official Secrets Act.

How can the Government be trusted with our personal details if they cannot be trusted to keep Official Secrets at the Cabinet Minister correspondence level ?

Will David Blunkett be launching a full espionage enquiry with all the resources available to him (including phone and email interception etc.) to find the leak, presumably in his own office ? How is this "leak" any less serious than the Dr. David Kelly debacle ?

Astonishingly, perhaps under the influence of the same technological ignorance as their columnist Minette Marrin, despite listing several arguments against ID Cards, the Sunday Times Leading Article: A creditable card nevertheless still somehow manages to claim that the vague plans so far apparently leaked are a good idea.

Thanks to this White Rose blog entry for the link to another story based on a Cabinet level "leak" in the Observer:
Ministers to dump 'useless' identity card

Are these "leaks" indicative of the new post Alastair Campbell official Government media spin machine incompetence ?

Why can't they simply trust the public to a fully informed open debate on a policy which will fundamentally affect every single person in the UK ?

Reluctant Witnesses in Scotland

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The new provisions for the Electronic Tagging of Reluctant Witnesses in the Criminal Procedure (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill have been latched onto by the media and some civil liberties pundits
e.g. the BBC report Witness tagging plan revealed

Criminal Procedure (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill
http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/bills/pdfs/b10s2.pdf

Explanatory Notes
http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/bills/pdfs/b10s2en.pdf

The media and the pundits seem to be asking the wrong questions again.

Electronic tagging is being proposed as an alternative bail condition i.e. an alternative to being locked up in a police cell or prison, for Reluctant Witnesses who have had a warrant issued against them.

Why exactly do people become Reluctant Witnesses ? If they already refuse to turn up at a High Court hearing where thay can already be jailed or fined for contempt of court, why would they appear in court if they have been Electronically Tagged ? How will Electronically Tagging a witness protect them from intimidation or threats or prevent bribery ?

The real question that should be addressed is - where are the safeguards to prevent the arrest and detention of witnesses i.e. people not directly accused of a crime, simply on the say so of the prosecution or even the defence in a court case ?

What is there to prevent the abuses evident in the United States after September 11th 2001, where the families, friends or aquaintances of al-Quaeda suspects were arrested, interrogated and held in secret as "material witnesses" yet were never accused of direct involvement in terrorism ?

Submit your views and evidence on this Bill to the Justice 1 Committee by 28 November 2003 :

Clerk to the Justice 1 Committee,
Room 3.11
Committee Chambers,
George IV Bridge,
Edinburgh EH99 1SP.
Email: justice.committee@scottish.parliament.uk

What is the difference between the secret plans for Compulsory ID Card change of address and re-registration policies and the Sex Offender Register ?

The Home Office has announced an amendment to the Sexual Offences Bill, intended to tighten up the registration, address change and periodic re-registration procedures for the Sexual Offenders Register (there also seem to be plans to add Violent Offenders to this next year).


Home Office Press release Reference: 274/2003 - Date: 6 Oct 2003

Technology to allow the checking of sex offender?s details against those held by other agencies is being developed in conjunction with the Violent and Sexual Offenders Register (VISOR), which is expected to roll out early next year.Notes to editors:

It is envisaged that once the technology is in place, the information notified by sex offenders would be automatically and regularly checked against details held by the UK Passport Agency (UKPA), the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Association (DVLA) and the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). This would identify discrepancies between the notified information, which could be followed up by the police.

The system will be expressly for the purposes of confirming information that sex offenders are required to provide under the notification requirements and not to confirm other intelligence. The police may however use the information for the purposes of investigating and prosecuting criminal offences.

VISOR is a single national IT database which will include information on violent and sex offenders. The database will allow the police and probation services to share the most current information on offenders, including latest risk assessments. It will contribute significantly to work to monitor and manageme potentially dangerous offenders as well as assisting police in their investigations. Pilots are currently on schedule to start in Durham and Wandsworth in November 2003 and in Lancashire and Manchester in January 2004. The national rollout is currently on schedule to begin in late January 2004.The sex offender?s register

Registration is an automatic consequence of a conviction, fining or caution for an offence specified in Schedule 1 of the Sex Offenders Act 1997. Offenders must report to a police station (local authorities have no role to play in registration) prescribed by regulations within three days of the date of the conviction, caution etc. or their release from prison, and notify the police of:

name(s) (and any aliases)
home address
date of birth
They may also be required to submit to having their fingerprints and photograph taken at that time.

Offenders are also required to notify the police of:
any changes to their details (within 14 days)
any address in addition to their home address at which they have stayed for a period of 14 days or for periods amounting to 14 days within a 12 month period (within 14 days)
an intention to travel abroad for eight days or longer (no less than 24 hours before travelling)

The Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 provided that relevant offenders would also be required to notify the police of any intention to travel abroad for a period of eight days or longer. As a minimum they must provide the following details of their travel plans to the police:

name and address
date of departure from the UK
destination country
point of arrival in that country

In addition, if they are aware of any of the following information at any point up to 48 hours before they depart then these details must additionally be notified:

point of arrival in any countries in addition to the first destination
carrier(s) to be used to leave and return from the or any other points of arrival while outside the UK
accommodation arrangements for the first night outside the UK
date of re-entry to the UK
point of re-entry to the UK

The Government introduced the Sexual Offences Bill to parliament on 28 January 2003. Among other things the Bill will amend and re-enact the Sex Offenders Act 1997 including the following changes in order to strengthen its provisions:

Requiring annual re-registration by all offenders.
Requiring all notifications to be made in person and enabling the police to take photographs / finger prints of offenders.
Requiring offenders to notify their National Insurance number.
Changing the time period for notification of change of name or change of address from 14 days to 3 days.
Changing the time period for a qualifying address (i.e. a temporary change of address that must be registered) from 14 days to 7 days.
Power to amend offences and thresholds that trigger registration
New sexual offences to trigger registration - some with disposal thresholds
A conditional discharge will now trigger registration.


All well and good, but if the Home Secretary David Blunkett persists with his plans for Compulsory Biometric ID Cards, in order to catch suspected terrorists or illegal immigrants, then the whole population of the UK will be subjected to almost the same level of monitoring as Sex Offenders are, and will have to pay ?40 or more each into the bargain.

The Government already has the powers and soon the technology to link the Department for Work and Pensions, Driver Vehicle Licencing Agency and the Passport Office databases as above.

How often will you have to physically present yourself in person (from the age of 16 until you die), to re-register and update whatever Biometric Identifiers they plan to use ?

What will the change of address and re-registration requirements be for the vague ID Card plan ?

If they are less draconian than those listed above to keep an eye on Violent or Sexual Offenders, then what use will the system possibly be when trying to track down terrorists or illegal immigrants, who move around much more sneakily than Registered Sex Offenders do ?

Will you be charged with a crime if the addresses that appear on these datatbases do not match that on your ID Card ? What are the error correction procedures, given the notorious unreliability of say the DVLA database ?

If the draconian Government access to airline and ferry company databases is included, then for practical purposes, the Compulsory ID card will mean that everyone in the UK will be monitored just as if they were convicted Violent or Sex Offenders.

Global Smart Sensor Web - no privacy !

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A link to an article about plans underway to create a Global Smart Sensor Web caught our attention on Howard Rheingold's SmartMobs blog, quoting Roland Piquepaille's Technology Trends

The idea of a global Smart Sensor Web is an ambitious plan, much like the Auto-ID Center's plans for "an internet of things" using RFID tags and an Internet style backend system for scalability and communications.

They similarly concentrate on getting their new technology working with Internet and Internet style tools and protocols, but only pay lip service to the huge potential Security problems, mostly by considering it to be Someone Else's Problem.

Why is there no mention of personal privacy in the various Vision and Mission statements ?

The reliance on Location Services is especially worrying, given the insecurity and privaces abuses which are evident even now with the technologies being cited:

"Having sensors everywhere is of limited value unless the sensory data and information can be accessed and distributed to end users in an easy, timely and low-cost manner. Wireless communication and ubiquitous computing technologies are enabling such connections. Due to wide use of wireless protocols like Bluetooth, 802.11a and 802.11b, and the adoption of 2.5GHz and 3GHz high-bandwidth mobile technology, a globally interconnected wireless communication network is just around the corner.

Location is an essential component of the Sensor Web. When and where sensor data is observed is of equal value to the sensor data itself. There are wide options to integrate positioning technologies (e.g., GPS, A-GPS, Internet GPS, radio-frequency identification, real-time locating system, cellular network positioning, etc.) with sensor networks. There are important research topics in location-based routing of sensors as well as optimized sensor network topology and configuration."

Many of these "sensors" will be either be carried by or will be directly monitoring people. Privacy protection should be built in at the start of this proposed new technology standard.

We already have grave doubts about talk of deploying RFID tags with Biowarefare Sensors in the consumer food chain. The risks of "crying wolf" with false alarms are too great, given that the disruption to business caused by a false alarm is likely to be almost as bad as that from a real attack.

Luckily these Smart Sensor Web plans seem to be at an earlier stage than the Auto-ID Center EPC tag ones, and perhaps there is still a chance for sanity to prevail and to get strong Privacy protocols built into the standards and laws which should regulate this literally Panopticon technology.

Scrambling for Safety 7

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Scrambling for Safety 7

The London School of Economics will host a public meeting on Wednesday 22 October to assess proposed government legislation to retain and snoop on information about the phone and Internet activity of everyone in the UK.

A series of Statutory Instruments currently under consideration by Parliament are intended to create a legal basis for comprehensive surveillance of communications. The LSE meeting, bringing together industry, rights advocates and a range of government agencies, will test the fairness and legality of the proposals. It will also comprehensively assess the implications of the legislation.

The Home Office caused controversy last year when it attempted to allow a long list of public authorities to access records of individuals' telephone and Internet usage. This "communications data" ? phone numbers and e-mail addresses contacted, web sites visited, locations of mobile phones, etc. ? would have been available without any judicial oversight, under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. David Blunkett withdrew the proposals after the outcry, and promised to redraft them in a more sensitive and responsive manner. The updated proposals have now been reintroduced to Parliament.

There has also been ongoing argument about government powers to force telephone companies and Internet Service Providers to keep copies of such communications data. Under the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 the Home Secretary may require companies to store this data for long periods to allow retrospective access by intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

The meeting will also hear details of a new legal Opinion commissioned by Privacy International. The Opinion questions the legality of the government's proposals and suggests they may breach the Human Rights Act.

The meeting will assess a number of key questions:

Has the Home Office addressed any of the concerns expressed by the public last year?

How many problems remain to be fixed? Are the Statutory Instruments a useful way forward? What further legislation might be required?

How will government agencies use their new powers?

Is it appropriate to use emergency powers two years after they were granted by Parliament to impose surveillance requirements on ISPs and phone companies?

Are the government's proposals legal under the Human Rights Act?

Simon Davies, Director of Privacy International, commented: "The government believes it has an automatic right to snoop on a wide spectrum of very sensitive communications information. The proposals raise important questions about the right to privacy and the measures that must be taken to protect the individual".

Ian Brown, Director of the Foundation for Information Policy Research, said: "These proposals will affect every phone and Internet user in the UK. This meeting provides an important opportunity for the public to discuss them with government, industry and human rights groups before they potentially become law."

Entry is free. RSVP to simon@privacy.org

Draft programme
2.15pm ? 5.00pm, Wednesday 22 October 2003

New Theatre, East Building, London School of Economics, Houghton Street, London WC2

Agenda (subject to change)

Chair: Dr Simon Moores, Zen Intelligence

2.15pm Panel: Overview and analysis of the proposals
Richard Clayton (FIPR), Simon Watkin (Home Office) & Bob Lack (Home Office)
Q&A and discussion
2.50pm Panel: Who should be given surveillance powers?
Association of Chief Police Officers; local government (speaker names to be confirmed); Department of Work and Pensions; Department of Constitutional Affairs (invited)
Q&A and discussion
3.30pm Break
3.45pm Legal opinion on data retention
Q&A and discussion
4.15pm Panel: The wider picture
Lord Phillips of Sudbury and other parliamentarians
Q&A and discussion
5.00pm Close

Background
Links and brief summaries of the regulations are available through Stand

The Home Office consultation documents:
Access to communications data
Voluntary retention of communications data

FIPR's Surveillance and security pages.

Privacy International's Wiretap pages.

Here is another article praising New Labour's vague ID Card plans, written in a major UK newspaper, by a columnist who seems to support the Tories, unlike the New Labour supporting David Aaronovitch's Guardian article

Despite their differing political views, both of them are still so very wrong on ID Cards !

Why is it that the political commentator/journalist/chattering classes are so fundamentally ignorant about the practical limits and feasability of technology and its effects on society ?

It is very annoying to have to disagree with nearly every paragraph in an article !

Our analysis of the current flawed ID card proposals can be found at
http://www.spy.org.uk/cgi-bin/idcards.pl

Sunday Times
October 05, 2003

Comment: Minette Marrin: Identity cards: passport to better public services

Different times, different customs. There was a time when it was entirely reasonable to fear and resist the idea of identity cards.

That time to fear and resist is right now - when did the leopard change its spots ?

The Home Secretary David Blunkett has made a further pronouncement on his controversial, yet vague, compulsory Identity Card proposals:

BBC 2 Newsnight, 30th September 2003

Jeremy Paxman:
"If people came back and said. look, we really do not like this idea of Identity Cards, would that stop the policy ?"

David Blunkett:
"Well, it would have done, if people had done that over the last year. I started this discussion over this, a year last January, its been going on for nearly 2 years now, and, errr, the the decision that the Public came back with was: yes we like the idea, we think it will help, but, errr, we want the technical details, the finance, the human rights element to be sorted out, and that is precisely what I am doing"

This BBC2 Newsnight programme of 30th September 2003 can be viewed online via streamed RealMedia, until it disappears somewhwere into the BBC archives. The Blunkett ID Cards segment is around 12mins:50sec to 13mins:30sec into the programme.

Where is this massive public support for Compulsory, ?40 on top of your passport and driving licence fee, centralised database, easily forged biometric identifier smart Identity Card, which will not catch many terrorists or illegal immigrants ?

Why is David Blunkett still ignoringthe majority of respondents
to his Consultation Document who are opposed to an ID Card ?

Why is he still ignoring the www.stand.org.uk and the Privacy International organised mass telephone voicemail responses to the Consultation ?

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.

blog@spy[dot]org[dot]uk

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.

Current PGP Key ID: 0xA165A29480CFAA4C which will expire on 6th September 2014.

pgp-now.gif
You can download a free copy of the PGP encryption software from www.pgpi.org
(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: http://ht4w.co.uk

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)

Links

Watching Them, Watching Us

London 2600

Our UK Freedom of Information Act request tracking blog

WikiLeak.org - ethical and technical discussion about the WikiLeaks.org 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
Justice

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
PublicTechnology.net - 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 stand.org.uk have gone on to set up other online tools like WriteToThem.com. The Government's contemptuous dismissal of over 5,000 individual responses via the stand.org 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
www.idcards-uk.info - New Alliance's ID Cards page
irefuse.org - 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

CommentOnThis.com - 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

RFIDBuzz.com 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
freetotravel.org - 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

e-nsecure.net 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 Euro-correspondent.com journalist network.
The Practical Nomad Blog Edward Hasbrouck on Privacy and Travel
Policeman's Blog
World Weary Detective

Martin Stabe
Longrider
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
Murky.org
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

War-on-Freedom

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.

Shaphan

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

MySecured.com - 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

NuLabour

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 http://nuclear-weapons.info

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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

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Secure Your Fertiliser - advice on ammonium nitrate and urea fertiliser security

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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."

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Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) recruitment.

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Government Communications Headquarters GCHQ

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Serious Organised Crime Agency - have cut themselves off from direct contact with the public and businesses - no phone - no email

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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.

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FreeFarid.com - 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)

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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).

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Amnesty International's irrepressible.info campaign

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BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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

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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."

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

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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."

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

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No CCTV - The Campaign Against CCTV

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I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist !

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Power 2010 cross party, political reform campaign

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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."

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

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WhistleblowersUK.org - Fighting for justice for whistleblowers