August 2004 Archives

The Home Office is attempting to censor or to use possible legal injunctions against the whistleblower Steve Moxon, and Imprint Academic the publishers of his forthcoming book, "The Great Immigration Scandal". according to the Sunday Times

It is possible that an injunction will also be served against the Sunday Times, which was the newspaper which first published Steve Moxon's story. as it seems to be planning to publish extracts from the book.

One would have thought that a politician as cunning and experienced as the Home Secretary David Blunkett would obey the political maxim "when you are in a hole, you should stop digging it even deeper".

Neither of the whistleblowers Steve Moxon nor James Cameron, the former British Consul in Bucharest, should have been penalised, for what have turned out to be truthful allegations,

There are no issues of national security involved in these whistleblower revelations, only policy muddles and mismanagement, revelations about which which are clearly in the public interest, a fact confirmed by the resignation of the Home Office Minister Beverly Hughes.

If both whistleblowers had been dealt with fairly after the resignation of the Minister, then, in all probability this book would never have been written, and the whole matter would have been forgotten by now.

Why is the Treasury allowing such a waste of public money on frivolous and vindictive legal threats ? The taxpayer is already facing the prospect of having to pay out substantial compensation and damages when these cases come before an employment tribunal.

This is exactly the reason why Parliament passed the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 in the first place.

Even the Tory party leadership must surely support these whistleblowers, and condemn the attempts to censor the book,

It is ironical that the Tory Leader of the Opposition Michael Howard and Shadow Home Secretary David Davis chose to attack the alleged legal "compensation culture" and the Human Rights Act last week.

This week they should be seen to be supporting Steve Moxon in his case for compensation , under the Public Interest Disclosure Act, and his Fundamental Human Right to free speech under the Human Rights Act section 12 Freedom of Expression, which also deals with publications in the public interest.

Both of these seem to be under attack by the Labour Government.

How likely is it that David Blunkett or any other Ministers will swear never to publish an autobiography or diary revealing details of their time in office, or will these be exclusively full of "kiss and tell" scandals ?

Ok, just for those nice people from a particular public sector organisation, who keep regularly searching Google for "Serious Organised Crime Agency" links, here is a slightly belated comment on the Home Office press release which announced the appointment of Sir Stephen Lander as the new Chair and of Bill Hughes (formerly Director General of the National Crime Squad) as the new Director General, effective from September 2004, even though SOCA will not be operational until 1st April 2006.

Sir Stephen, who retired as the Director General of the Security Service MI5 in 2002, has been a non-executive director of Northgate Information Solutions and a strategic advisor to the "internet security product" startup being set up by the IT consultancy Detica. Both of these companies have substantial IT consultancy and outsourcing contracts with the secret bits of the UK Government.

So who runs the National Crime Squad etc. for the next 18 months ? Will all the experienced officers and technical support staff from the National Crime Squad, from the National Criminal Intelligence Service and from the Her Majesty's Customs and Excise investigations departments etc. end up having to effectively re-apply for their old jobs, with all that implies for loss of morale and reduced operational efficiency, which is so common in large organisational mergers ?

Is the Home Office really capable of the change management and "business process re-engineering" needed, to do this smoothly, or will this be farmed out to the usual suspects amongst the Big Consultancies, a process which inevitably seems to add months to the decision making process about who will still have a job in the new Agency, and to a brain drain of the best people ?

Presumably the "serious organised criminals" will continue to operate in the meantime.

Nowhere have we seen any mention of any independent oversight and complaints procedure which can investigate worries and complaints about the new agency from members of the public.

GPS satellite train door failures

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The BBC reports "Satellite fault shuts train doors"

Thanks to qwghlmBlog for alerting us to this astonishing bit of ineptitude in a safety critical system. More details are available in the Brighton Argus report "Satellite system traps passengers on trains"

"They have a selective door opening system on board which takes a combination of GPS satellite signals to tell the train exactly which station it is located at and then ensure only the number of doors that are accommodated on the platform are opened."

"In some locations the GPS signal being received is of a much higher strength than the system it was designed for. This is being addressed by changes to the aerial on each train.

"Sometimes we have had problems with the train not locating itself and thus not opening the doors at all. In this instance the driver has to override the system by telling the train where it is and then giving a manual door release."

So what happens when, in the future, the US government encrypts the GPS signals in a trade dispute with the competing European Union Galileo system or as part of some other econoomic sanctions package ?

What happens when cheap GPS jamming and spoofing equipment hits the market as a result of attempts by vehicle drivers to evade the Transport Secretary Alistair Darling's ill conceived satellite road pricing schemes ?

There must be a dozen existing ways of reliably determining when a train is in a station and the length of the available platform. Why have the designers of this safety critical system aboard railway trains, made them dependent on an external system over which they have no control like GPS, whose weak radio signals can be so easily jammed or spoofed ?

The controversial radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al Masri was arrested on Thursday under the Terrorism Act 2000, under the "catch all" section 40 and 41.

"Mr Abu Hamza is currently being held on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.

Police said a 47-year-old man was held under the Terrorism Act on Thursday.

The offences Mr Abu Hamza is being held over are alleged to have taken place in the UK.

He was already in Belmarsh high security prison awaiting extradition to the USA, for alleged activities in Yemen - why is he not being extradited to Yemen ?

Since he has already been arrested and set free without charge under the Terrorism Act regarding his alleged activities in Yemen, and since he has, presumably been under constant surveillance (by tabloid newspapers as well as, presumably, MI5) since then, until May this year since when he has been in locked up in Belmarsh, when exactly did he have the chance to get involved in terrorist activities in the UK ?

Presumably, given his notoriety, every other terrorist suspect being held under the Terrorism Act is being repeatedly asked "have you ever been in contact with Abu Hamza or the Finsbury Park Mosque ?". Given the prejudicial statements from the Home Secretaryu and the tabloid press hysteria, how is it now possible to conduct a fair trial of Abu Hamza in the UK ?

Perhaps things will be clearer once some actual charges and evidence are brought before a British court, which will take precedence over any extradition proceedings.

The shocking murder of a young French woman Amelie Delagrange in Twickenham in South West London, after she had got off a bus at night, bears some similarities to the murder in February last year of Marsha McDonnell, barely 3 miles away.

Given that this is meant to be a "safe" middle class suburb of London, and that the victims of these murders (and of a couple of similar serious assaults in the area) are young white females, there is intense media coverage and a high profile police investigation.

Interestingly, the murder over the wekend of a young male BBC employee Tom Brown on his way home in North London, is not getting anything close to the same media coverage.

The police have already released a still CCTV photo of Amelie Delagrange, taken boarding a London bus, an increasing number of which are fitted with up to half a dozen CCTV cameras onboard.

Since the victim was attacked some time after she had left the bus, nobody aboard that bus should be a suspect, exactly as in the case of Marsha McDonnell.

However, back in 2003, the police were obviously grasping at straws, and they then subsequently released CCTV stills from the bus which showed several youths, some of them Asian in appearance who had not come forward to be interviewed by the police as witnesses.

They had been on the top deck of the bus, whilst Marsha had been on the bottom one throughout her last journey. One of them was even on a completely different bus going in the opposite direction. None of these people should have been treated as if they were suspects in a murder case, yet that is exactly what the media coverage of these CCTV still photos conveyed.

Presumably the police were hoping that one of them might have seen something or someone through the grimy windows of a late night bus, brightly lit inside, when they were half asleep. It is just about impossible to see any details of people well away from the bus route at night.

Nevertheless, the police issued press releases with these youths' pictures under the headline of "wanted in connection with murder".

CCTV surveillance cameras did not prevent the murders of either of these two women, but, in the case of Marsha McDonnell, they were used to try to hunt down 4 of the innocent people who the system should have been providing an alibi for.

We will be watching closely to see if CCTV surveillance cameras on buses are yet again abused in this way, to hunt down the innocent passengers on the bus, and if this equipment continues to be touted as somehow making your journey home any safer.

So the Conservative party is planning to review, amend or repeal the Human Rights Act 1998 if they get elected.

This pre-election policy spin was hinted at by their leader Michael Howard and more recently by the otherwise sensible sounding David Davis, the Shadow Home Secretary his article published in the peculiar low circulation (around 60,000) right wing magazine The Spectator (this reprint of the article is available on the Tory party website)

The Spectator is a peculiar right wing magazine, with a readership of only about 60,000, which, under its editor Boris Johnson Tory MP for Henley (infamous for his buffoonery on TV programmes such as "Have I Got News For You"), and whose publisher is alleged to be literally in bed with the Labour Home Secretary David Blunkett, seems to have forgotten the journalistic standards it used to have in its long historical past, and now seems content to publish stuff full of annoying and intellectually offensive inaccuracies e.g. the recent article "Its time to move on - Britain has no reason to apologise to Poland" by Simon Heffer (who also writes for the Daily Mail) which claimed that the British government could not possibly have sent any aid to the Warsaw Uprising in 1944 because it was too far away, when in fact there were (too few) airdrops from Italy by the RAF and the US airforces.

The David Davis article is also full of such half truths and political spin.

How does the amount of compensation paid by local councils for injuries caused by broken pavements, which they have a statutory duty to maintain, have anything at all to do with the Human Rights Act ?

The "compensation litigation culture" which David Davis is complaining about is a direct result of the "no win, no fee" change to the legal aid rules and previous Tory government's botched privatisations, and the current Labour government's bloated bureaucracies, quangos, non-departmental agencies etc., which are happy to settle financial claims in the public sector with taxpayer's money, whilst denying any personal, corporate, organisational or political responsibility.

Even so, the amount of litigation is still nowhere near the level of the "ambulance chasing" sue and counter sue culture in the USA.

If the Tories are planning to reduce financial compensation claims as a result of Health and Safety violations and negligence, will they actually put the directors of companies or the civil servants responsible for the lax implementation of health, safety or security policies on trial for criminal negligence or corporate manslaughter etc ? Will they actually jail a few "pour encourager les autres" ?

It is completely unacceptable that there should be higher standards of health and safety in other countries than in the United Kingdom, so blaming EU red tape from Brussels etc. is also wrong.

One almost might suspect that this policy is the result of lobbying by people who have a direct financial interest in not paying out compensation or insurance claims - surely there are none of these amongst the Tory party supporters ?

"Overall, we need to nurture a culture of responsibility and common sense. To my mind the worst emanation "cause and effect" of the compensation culture is the Human Rights Act, which incorporated the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law. Once, we had inherited English liberties; now, we have incorporated European rights. The English idea "evolved through Magna Carta (1215), the Petition of Right (1628) and the Bill of Rights (1689) " was of freedoms held back from the state. The new idea "invented with the Code Napoleon" is of bounties handed out by the state. Once, the law limited the state and enlarged the sphere in which the citizen could be free; now, it imposes obligations on the state and limits the freedom of the citizen. British judges once "discovered" the law with reference to statute and precedent; now they must "divine" the law by appeal to the declarations of politicians."

When did we suddenly get too many Human Rights ? Who believes that they should meekly accept the granting or denial of rights merely because of any politician's manifesto or arbitrary legal declaration ? Surely an individual has these fundamental human rights, no matter whether the Government chooses to honour them or not ?

What does the alleged and heavily disputed assertion that we live in a "compensation culture" have anything to do with the Human Rights Act ?

All that the Human Rights Act did was to make the final appeals process slightly easier (but no less expensive) by allowing a case to be heard in UK courts, without having to go through UK courts and then also finally to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg (one could never apply directly to this court in the first instance).

The United Kingdom was not only a signatory of the European Convention on Human Rights , and the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, but it was British lawyers who essentially draughted both of these just after Worlds War 2.

This is not Code Napoleon legal tradition enforced by Europe on Britain, it is in fact, vice versa.

It is simply not true to claim that Britain has "a long history of civil rights", from the Magna Carta etc. onwards.

It would be truer to say that Britain has a long history of tampering with and revoking Human Rights legislation to suit the powerful.

The Magna Carta, sealed by King John at Runnymede on the 15th of June 1215 AD had nothing to do with any rights or privileges for ordinary people, but only for some of the rebel barons and nobility. Within two months, i.e. as fast as it was possible to make a return journey from London to Rome at that time, by August 1215, the Magna Carta had been reneged on and repealed and those who had signed it as beneficiaries were excommunicated by Pope Innocent III.

Yes the Human Rights Act should be reviewed, not to weaken it further like the Conservative and Labour parties seem to want to do, but to strengthen it and modernise it for the 21st century.

As it is based on the European Declaration of Human Rights, it does not explicitly cover the fundamental rights which we all should have with respect to the hugely important scientific and technology advances in genetic engineering and information technology.

It is inconceivable that if the the ECHR were being written today, that it could ignore these powerful technologies, which have such a potential for good, but which also have a massive potential for evil, against which Human Rights legislation should protect individuals, families and ethnic groups from abuse by government and corporate interests.

The BBC story "My week as a terror suspect." highlights the case of an innocent Muslim held for 7 days under the Terrorism Act and then released without charge, and without even being told why he had been arrested in the first place, leading to social stigma in his community etc.

Some people are now starting to question this policy not just those people who are unimpressed with the Home Secretary. Even the Home Affairs Committee of Parliament is taking evidence for its Inquiry into Terrorism and Community Relations (written submissions by 14th September 2004)

"The Home Affairs Committee announced today that it will inquire into terrorism and community relations. It will consider evidence on the impact the threat of terrorism is having on community relations and social cohesion, including public concerns about the terrorist threat, the impact on relations between different sections of the community, any rise in and exploitation of racial tension, and the consequences of anti-terrorist measures.

Particular topics to be considered will include:

  • the stigmatisation of minority groups publicly ?associated? with terrorism

  • the incidence of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and other forms of prejudice

  • media coverage of these issues

  • civil liberties/policing issues."

It is a bit surprising that none of the Muslim organisations etc. have yet clubbed together to finance the legal costs of prosecuting the Police and/or David Blunkett for false arrest and/or libel in some of these cases.

There is nothing in the Terrorism Act 2000 which provides immunity from such a prosecution.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission also has new powers to investigate such instances of false arrest and any allegations of mistreatment whilst in custody.

Being arrested or even "stopped and searched" under the Terrorism Act is a traumatic experience which puts your life and that of your family in danger, given the number of firearms etc. which are normally used.

Being falsely arrested this way must be at least as traumatic an experience as a street mugging or crime of violence.

If, as is likely, genuine mistakes are made by the Police, then there should be public apologies and financial compensation to the victims.

It is possible for a police offcial or a politician to officially apologise to the victims of a false arrest, which include the person arrested and their family, friends and community, without compromising any other ongoing investigations.

The Home Office should fund this compensation, as part of the cost of anti-terrorism security measures, and in the interests of their aims and motto of "Building a Safe, Just and Tolerant Society".

Babar Ahmad and PGP encryption

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The full text of the US Government indictment against Babar Ahmad (.pdf), the British IT support person at Imperial College in London, who is in the process of being extradited to the USA, rather than being put on trial here in the UK, makes interesting reading.

It seems to show that Babar Ahmad paid for and administered the "Azzam Publications" website, hosted in the USA, which ran a bulletiin board discussion forum, in which alleged Islamic fundamentalists discussed support for the Taleban in Afghanistan and the groups fighting for the independence of Chechnya from Russia.

It is hard to see how any of this was illegal in the UK, or even the USA, back in the late 1990's, before September 11th 2001.

Neither the Taleban nor the particular group of Chechen rebels were proscribed terrorist organisations at the time. Even today, for some unfathomable reason or other, they are not on the list of proscribed terrorist groups published by the Home Office i.e. it is not illegal to support them with money for "humanitarian relief" or "charitable" purposes etc.

There is nothing in the indictment which alleges that the Azzam Publications website actually collected any money online through credit cards, PayPal etc. or that any that Babar Ahmad was actually sending any money to Chechnya or Afghanistan himself.

There may well have been illegal activities by the people who used the Azzam Publications website and email accounts e.g. someone actually in the USA (not Babar Ahmad himself) sending money to Afghanistan, which was under economic sanctions put in place by President Clinton in 1999.

It is clear from the indictment, that despite Babar Ahmad working in IT support, he did not hack in to US Navy systems to obtain a classified US Navy document, as some of the media hype has given the impression.

The "accurate", but rapidly out of date information, circa April 2001, in his possession about the composition of a "US Navy battle group" patrolling the Persian Gulf, and its continued vulnerability to attacks like that on the USS Cole, came, apparently, from some emails from an "enlisted serviceman" on a US Navy warship, the USS Benfold. The fate of this individual, is deliberately not made clear in the indictment. Is he now being held in Guantanamo Bay without trial or is he facing a proper court martial ? Was this all a false "intelligence" entrapment operation, or an amateur attempt to try to contact Islamic fundamentalists by a bored US Navy serviceman ?

If this "US Navy enlisted serviceman" is not available to be questioned in person as a witness in court, then any charges against Babar Ahmad regarding this alleged "Naval intelligence" must be unfair, since an email can be so easily faked, even one in which was allegedly sent from the actual USS Benfold itself, hardly the action of a trained spy or terrorist.

Why did the UK and USA authorities not simply continue to monitor the website and email traffic rather than arrest Babar Ahmad ? After all, this had already uncovered a security risk on active service aboard a US warship.

The interesting part of the indictment, from the point of view of those people like ourselves who value our privacy is the use of Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) encryption by Babar Ahmad.

It seems that a PGP private signing keyring and a public encryption keyring were recovered from Babar Ahmad's computers seized in his office at Imperial College.

The indictment tries to paint the use of a PGP keyring and digital signature with respect to the domain registration details for the Azzam Publications website as something sinister, when in fact it is a standard security feature used to prevent the hijacking of .com domain names by people who forge faxes , letterheads and emails, purporting to come from the true owners of a domain name.

There is no mention in the indictment of any actual PGP encrypted emails to and from Babar Ahmad.

There is mention of a PGP Disk volume, which seems to have been decrypted and deleted directories and files recovered, which were postings and pages which had been published on the Azzam Publications website using the website design and upload tool Dreamweaver i.e. they had already been made public to the whole internet.

There is no mention of whether or not Babar Ahmad supplied the PGP passphrase to decrypt the PGP Disk volume or if brute force or dictionary attack or other methods were used.

The legal situation regarding the seizure of encryption keys in the UK is still unsatisfactory, because, even though this area is addressed in Part III "Investigation of electronic data protected by encryption etc." of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, this part of the Act has still not yet been brought into force, nearly 4 years after it was passed into law.

Given that Babar Ahmad was arrested in December 2003 under the Terrorism Act, and was released without charge, is this extradition to the USA simply an exercise in "jurisdiction shopping" in order to convict a British citizen of activities which are not actually illegal in the United Kingdom ?

We do not support either the Taleban or Chechen rebels, but they do not really represent a military or terrorist threat to the United Kingdom, a view which seems to be borne out by the Home Office, which does not bother to list them as proscribed terrorist organisations.

When we asked the question "Is Heathrow really under more terrorist threat than usual ?" we were not convinced by the media spin, leaks and disinformation about the recent arrests of Al Quaeda suspects in Pakistan which lead to the poltically expedient "orange alert" in the financial districts of New York and Washington, and to the arrest of 14 suspects in the UK.

After being held without charge for 2 weeks under the draconian Terrorism Act 2000, there remained only 9 of the original 14 arrested. One of the 14 had been released without charge on the day of arrest, another was released without charge in the first week, and two others had been "de-arrested" and then re-arrested on alleged possesion of false identity documents (of unspecified type and nationality - were these actually forged British documents ?).

According to the BBC,

"A ninth man, Matthew Monks, 32, of Sudbury, London, is charged with possession of a prohibited weapon"

This could be anything from a flick knife to an electric stun gun, but is presumably not a firearm of any kind, so even though he has been held for 2 weeks without charge, is he really a terrorist suspect ?

The remaining 8 should therefore all be hardcore Al Quaeda terrorists, who present an immediate threat to the United Kingdom.

Except, that is, when one reads the PA reports of what they have actually been charged with, then some doubts appear:

"The eight men have been charged as follows:

1. Conspiracy to murder.

Dhiren Barot, Mohammed Naveed Bhatti, Abdul Aziz Jalil, Omar Abdul Rehman, Junade Feroze, Zia Ul Haq, Qaisar Shaffi and Nadeem Tarmohammed, on diverse days between the 1st day of January 2000 and the 4th day of August 2004, conspired together and with other persons unknown to murder other persons contrary to section 1 (1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977."

Are they being charged with conspiracy to commit murder in the United Kingdom or somewhere else ?

"2. Conspiracy to commit public nuisance.

Dhiren Barot, Mohammed Naveed Bhatti, Abdul Aziz Jalil, Omar Abdul Rehman, Junade Feroze, Zia Ul Haq, Qaisar Shaffi and Nadeem Tarmohammed, on diverse days between the 1st day of January 2000 and the 4th day of August 2004, conspired together and with other persons unknown to commit public nuisance by the use of radioactive materials, toxic gases, chemicals and/or explosives to cause disruption, fear or injury contrary to Section 1 (1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977.

i.e. The police cannot have found any "radioactive materials, toxic gases, chemicals and or explosives" whatsoever, or else the suspects would have been charged with possession, under a variety of laws dealing with dangerous materials, including Section 57 of the Terrorism Act. "Possession for terrorist purposes".

They were not charged with "endangering public health" or "disrupting the economy of the United Kingdom" but a conspiracy to commit a "public nuisance"

3. Possessing a document or record of information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.

Dhiren Barot and Nadeem Tarmohammed, on a day or days between 19th day of February 2001 and 4th day of August 2004, had in their possession a document or record, namely a reconnaissance plan concerning the Prudential Building in New Jersey, containing information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism contrary to Section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

4. Possessing a document or record of information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.

Dhiren Barot, on a day or days between 19th day of February 2001 and 4th day of August 2004 had in his possession documents or records, namely a reconnaissance plan concerning the Stock Exchange in New York, a reconnaissance plan concerning the IMF in Washington DC, a reconnaissance plan concerning Citigroup in New York and two notebooks containing information on explosives, poisons, chemicals and related matters containing information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism contrary to Section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

5. Possessing a document or record of information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.

Qaisar Shaffi, on a day or days between 19th day of February 2001 and 4th day of August 2004 had in his possession documents or records, namely an extract of the Terrorist?s Handbook containing information on the preparation of chemicals, explosive recipes and other information about explosives, containing information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism contrary to Section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000."

The Terrorist's Handbook available on the internet ? Nothing in this document is
sufficient to be a threat to large financial institution buildings in the USA, and it does not cover the more sophisticated techniques already demonstrated by Al Quaeda bomb makers.

There seems to be something very wrong here.

As is usual with anything to do with reports about terrorism in the UK, a few questions which the media have either not bothered to ask, or which have not been answered by the authorities, spring to mind:

  • Where is threat to Heathrow Airport or indeed to anybody within the United Kingdom which the government and media hype has been trying to threaten us with over the last couple of weeks ?

  • Why were these people arrested at what would seem to be only the "thought crime" stage of their plans, before they had any access to weapons or explosives or biological or chemical toxins or radioactive material ?

  • Is it really possible to commit a "public nuisance" in a foreign country yet fall under the jurisdiction of the UK courts ?

  • Why are none of them being charged under the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 Part 6 Weapons of Mass Destruction if they really had access to "radioactive materials, toxic gases, chemicals and/or explosives" ?

  • If their targets were those mentioned in the USA, then surely their arrest in the UK was premature ? Could they not have been kept under surveillance and the USA authorities tipped off when they eventually travelled to the USA ?

  • If these are really key Al Quaeda terrorists, then it should have been possible to charge at least one of them under the Terrorism Act with "directing terrorism" or "financing terrorism" ?

  • Why are none of these people being charged with "membership of a proscribed terrorist organisation" under the Terrorism Act ?

  • Which one of those charged is the alleged "Bilal"/"Abu Musa al-Hindi," the supposedly Hindu born key Al Quaeda operative in contact with the allegedly compromised double agent Mohammed Naeem Noor Khan in Pakistan ? Is it meant to be Dhiren Barot ?

  • If this really is the gang of Al Quaeda terrorists who were plotting to attack the financial buildings in the USA, then why is the "orange alert" still in effect, when the "reconnaissance plan" documents have been in the possesion of the authorities for two weeks ?

  • Or are even these "reconnaissance plan" documents also over 3 years old, pre-dating the September 11th 2001 attacks, just like the ones allegedly found on laptop/notebook computers in Pakistan ?

  • Are these "reconnaissance plan" documents and "notebooks" paper ones or are they actually portable computer ones ?

So there have only been 3 people charged under the Terrorism Act 2000, despite it being used to arrest 14 people.
However, these charges only use the controversial "catch all" Section 58, the "collection of information" clause, which was originally brought in after the ABC "animal rights" case.

Section 58 is controversial because it "reverses the burden of proof" i.e. the accused is put in the position of having to justify his or her possession of any thing at all, even public domain documents or books or of photos or plans which are available on a public website. Under Section 58 the accused has to prove his or her innocence, rather than the prosecution having to prove malicious intent, which is the normal, centuries old , tried and tested procedure of British justice.

Given the lack of charges under the Terrorism Act or even the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act, pertaining to actual imminent threats to the UK or even to the USA, then it would appear that these suspects have been arrested far too soon, and that no fully formed or concrete terrorist plan has actually been disrupted by these arrests.

We do not feel any safer from terrorism as a result of these high profile arrests, where the authorities seem to be grasping at straws of evidence.

Perhaps some more details will emerge when the accused go before a judge today.

"Nothing to hide, nothing to fear" ?

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The Times interview with Information Commissioner Richard Thomas yesterday, in which he warned that Britain is in danger of "sleepwalking into a surveillance society", seemed to gather a bit of TV coverage during this slack news "silly season" whilst the politicians are on holiday.

His mention of the Government's plans for a Centralised Compulsory Biometric ID Register and ID Card, the Children Bill database on children and their parents, and the Citizen Information Project population name and address register (N.B. "Citizen" i.e. about UK citizens, not "Citizen's" as in "belonging to and under the control of" individual UK citizens) should come as no surprise to readers of the web log, as we have been trying to raise public awareness of the full privacy implications of these and other "creepy function" IT projects such as the Department for Work and Pensions and Inland Revenue Longitudinal Study for some time.

The News of the World allegations about Home Secretary David Blunkett's private life, and their "doorstep" photos of him at his alleged married lover's home, makes one wonder if he will now be more receptive to the idea of a Privacy Bill ? "Nothing to hide, nothing to fear" ?

The Associated Press has a report about the arrest and appearance in court of Babar Ahmad, a 30 year old British citizen, who works in IT support (including PC Applications and webmastering of an internal departmental website) at the Centre for Computing Services at Imperial College of Science and Technology, London, UK, where he was arrested on Thursday.

"LONDON (AP) - A British man wanted on an American extradition warrant used U.S.-based Web sites to recruit fighters and raise support for Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, U.S. government lawyers said in court Friday.

They claim that Babar Ahmad, 30, had links to the e-mail account of a Chechen mujahedeen leader behind the October 2002 Moscow theater siege, and that he had a document on battle group plans for U.S. Navy vessels involved in operations against Taliban and al-Qaida fighters in Afghanistan and enforcing sanctions on Iraq."

"Rosemary Fernandes, representing the United States, said the Navy document, dated April 2001, had been seized by British police in 2003 and verified by U.S. authorities.

The document highlighted the vulnerability of the ships, operating in the Strait of Hormoz in the Gulf, to attacks by small boats and rocket-propelled grenades, she said."

Just because a copy of an April 2001 vintage US Navy document was found, does not mean that it was actually a secret document. It could easily have been downloaded from a public US Military website - some of which were censored to remove some of the vast array of sensitive documents which they publish on the public, worldwide accssible internet, after September 2001.

Babar Ahmad does not seem to have been charged with either espionage or even computer intrusion.

Even today the US military cannot seem to secure its systems from illegal porn spammers and others who seem to have compromised their networks. Back in 2001, the situation was even worse.

"The extradition warrant alleges that between 1998 and Feb. 19, 2001, Ahmad sought through American Web sites and e-mail people in the United States "to give or otherwise make available money and other property" to commit terrorist acts in Chechnya and Afghanistan.

Until the USA redifined various Moslem charities as "terrorist front organisations" after September 2001, this activity could have been perfectly legal in the USA. There were no complaints about such activity during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, when many such organisations were used to send CIA funds to support the warlords and drug smugglers.

"Separate counts accuse Ahmad of soliciting support and funds for terrorism between 2001 and the end of 2003.

The U.S. lawyers gave no further details in court about Ahmad's alleged connection to Chechen separatists, and did not identify the owner of the e-mail account.

Have all emails and internet connections and phone calls to and from Imperial College been intercepted and retained and monitored as a result of this case ?

Fernandes said U.S. officials alleged Ahmad ran Web sites that contained information on how to enter war zones and encouraged military training for jihad.."

Just like all the do it yourself "survivalist", neo-nazi, National Rifle Association etc. websites protected by the "Freedom of Speech" First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States ?

Is "training for jihad" actually a specific crime under any statute in the USA ? The indictment against Abu Hamza also contains such wording, who will no doubt point out that "jihad" does not actually necessarily always mean "armed insurrection against the Government of the USA", but can just mean "religous struggle".

"The warrant also alleges that between the same dates Babar "agreed with U.S. citizens based in the U.S.A. and others" on a plan to raise funds for terrorist purposes.

It goes on to accuse him of soliciting funding for terrorism between Feb. 19, 2001 and the end of 2003."

Did he really actually specify exactly what the money he is alleged to have collected was to be used for ?

There seems to be considerable interest and support for Babar Ahmad amongst the Muslim community, who held a conference today highlighting his case and the allegations of physical mistreatment of him during his first arrest in December 2003, after which no charges were brought under the Terrorism Act, presumably for lack of sufficient evidence to satisfy a UK court.

This is now the third case involving extradition of an alleged terrorist to another country, of people such as Farid Hilali or Abu Hamza. Despite the full resources of the UK Police and Intelligence Agencies, there has been insufficient evidence to even charge, let alone convict these suspects, even under the wide ranging and draconian powers available under the Terrorism Act 2000

As with Abu Hamza, does Babar Ahmad, a British citizen, face the possability of the death penalty if he is sent to the USA ?

If Babar Ahmad really is a major funds raiser for terrorist causes, then why was he not kept under intensive surveillance ? Surely following the money flows to and from him must uncover the terrorist organisation ?

How many thousands or millions of pounds of terrorist finances under Babar Ahmad's control have the authorities frozen or seized using their draconian powers ? Presumably, zero, otherwise the Home Secretary David Blunkett would have been giving press interviews trying to claim a political success.

We have got no sympathy with real terrorists, but when people against whom there is not enough evidence to try them in a UK court, on offences that they are alleged to have committed whilst actually on UK soil, for which there are ammple Police powers and draconian UK laws to deal with, are being extradited to foreign countries on little or no evidence, some of which could be the result of allegations produced under torture, something is very wrong.

We end up having to reluctantly campaign against the present UK Government, which seems to be throwing away our civil liberties and national sovereignty, thereby actually letting the terrorists win by destroying the core values which we are supposed to be defending.

The Observer has an interview with Sir Alec Jeffreys warning about the current and future privacy abuses of Government and Private sector DNA databases from the inventor of "Genetic Fingerprinting":
"Inventor warns over abuse of DNA data"

This highlights some of the problems associated with the law and ethics of DNA analysis and other techniques such as RNA analysis, protein sequencing, chromosome analysis etc. which can also yield genetic information about a person directly, or by inference about their family group or ethnicity.

The dangers of racial stereotyping and the abuse of private medical data about inherited diseases or conditions is also evident, which is, unfortunately not being protected against sufficiently under the Human Tissue Bill, and is already so evident in the catch all "everybody is a criminal suspect from birth" attitude displayed by so much current and proposed Home Office legislation involving Biometric Identifiers.

We cannot agree with Sir Alec Jeffrey's proposal of a massive DNA database for every person on the planet - we simply do not trust the competence or honesty of the Governments who would be in charge of it.

This is much more than a question of Data Protection laws (which are inadequate in any case), it is a far more fundamental human rights issue.

Surely it is now time to add the right of copyright ownership and the right to privacy regarding one's own genetic material and any genetic fingerprint database information to the list of Fundamental Human Rights, at both the national UK ,European Union and United Nations levels.

Existing declarations of Human Rights pre-date the rapid advances in genetic technology. There are are already huge ethical and privacy questions, and actual abuses of personal genetic information, which are getting sidelined somewhat in the debates about human cloning and over the commercial interests of the bio-genetics industry etc.

The weekend media have been adding to the detailed leaks, spin and hype surrounding the arrest in Pakistan of the alleged Al Queda "computer communications expert" Mohammed Naeem Noor Khan.

Unanswered questions:

Was Khan tortured into cooperating with the Pakistani authorities, bearing in mind that Pakistan is a military dictatorship ?

Was Khan in fact a double agent prior to his arrest ?

Will the UK be trying to extradite Khan from Pakistan ?

How can the Pakistani authorities be sure that by "persuading" Khan to continue to send emails to his alleged AL-Quaeda contacts, he was not in fact transmitting or omitting to transmit a duress code tipping them off that he was under arrest ?

Why were the details of Khan's arrest and apparent cooperation leaked to the media ? All that this has done, especially in relation to the alleged plot against Heathrow Airport, is to spread terror and fear. There does not seem to be any evidence of any attempts to procure actual weapons, explosives, airside security passes etc.

Why is an alleged "linchpin" of the Al Queda communications network actually involved in the physical reconnaissance of potential targets ? Is Al Queda really so short staffed ?

This all obviously seems to have panicked the UK authorities into a series of arrests of terrorist suspects, during the daytime, rather than at dawn. Allegedly 5 suspects have escaped the dragnet.

Perhaps the Pakistanic "intelligence leaks" were actually by Al Quaeda sympathisers, intending to tip off the rest of the organisation about the arrests?

Perhaps some bright spark thought that leaking this news would somehow magically "disrupt" current terrorist operations ?

Astonishingly, the Sunday Times is also claiming that the house which was raided in Willseden where the alleged key Al Queda operative in the UK was arrested, still contained two briefcases full of relevant documents, after the Police raided it.

"Suicide bomber files found in flat"

"Documents found inside a flat that was raided last week by police looking for terrorists show that two of the occupants had been trained by extremist Palestinian groups. They included a would-be suicide bomber who had fled to Britain.
The documents were found by Sunday Times reporters in two briefcases that had been left by police forensic teams which searched the house in Willesden Green, northwest London. Among the papers was a picture of a man dressed in military fatigues cradling an AK-47 assault rifle and letters written on notepaper headed ?Al Quds Brigade?, a Middle East terror group.

They included a copy of a statement sent to the Home Office by a failed asylum seeker claiming he had trained as a suicide bomber with the radical group Hamas"

Perhaps the importance of Khan is being deliberatly exaggerated, this is an election year in the USA and in the UK, after all.

The impression that the leaked reports to the media gives, is that the current Al Queda suspects in custody, actually seem to be quite inept when it comes to mobile phone communications and internet communications security, but will they always remain so in the future ?

Why is Heathrow allegedly under more of a terrorist threat than usual, according to the media spin and hype ?

How are 3 or 4 year old photographs of Heathrow and/or unnamed underpasses in London allegedly found on a computer (or was it on CDROM or floppy disk) in the possession of Mohammed Naeem Noor Khan the alleged Al Quaeda "computer communications expert" actually a threat ? Or were these actually on Ahmad Khalfan Ghailani's computer, the other recent suspect arrested in Pakistan ?

If Khan was such an "expert" charged with sending encrypted emails of handwritten notes smuggled from Osama bin Laden etc. on through the Al Quaeda network, then how come any unencrypted photos were found on his computer ?

Perhaps these photos were not considered to be sufficiently important to bother to encrypt them.

Perhaps, like many terrorists before him, a whole list of possible names and targets were discovered, none of which were in the current plans, but were either rejected targets or disinformation designed to spread panic and to waste security resources in protecting them, thereby removing those resources from the real targets.

If Mohammed Naeem Noor Khan is supposed to have "visited the UK" at least 6 times, then when was the most recent visit ?

Why are these old photos more of a threat than the live broadcast tv cameras of the news organisations who are currently camped out at Heathrow which are broadcasting current , up to date details of the airport all over the world ?

Since when is a mere photograph equivalent to an actual terror threat ?

Where is the evidence of access to or attempts to procure firearms, explosives, missiles, toxins etc. which would point to an actual threat ?

Unless these alleged photos are of sensitive restricted areas, which require employee airside security access, then the UK Government should publish them to allay the media speculation about a current ongoing terror plot.

There even seems to be some doubt as to whether or not the Pakistani authorities have actually bothered to pass on these alleged photos to the UK authorities.

Perhaps the "unamed sources in Pakistan" are actually sympathetic to Al Quaeda, because their leaks about what is supposedly on the computers of Khan and Ghailani have been very successful in getting the media and electioneering politicians to strir up panic and terror over Heathrow, and the financial districts of New York, New Jersey Washington and London.

Blog Comment Spam

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Thanks to John Leyden at The Register for taking up the cudgels on behalf of bloggers whose online comments pages are being abused by spammers.

Computer crime either the "old crimes, new technology" or of the "new crimes, new technology" variety does not seem to feature at all in the 5 year strategic plan for which the Prime Minister Tony Blair and Home Secretary David Blunkett announced recently.

If even a small percentage of the current levels of millions of "old crimes, new technology" such as illegal porn, prescription drugs without a prescription, fake prescription drugs, 419 advance fee frauds, bank details phishing frauds, illegal gambling etc. or "new crimes, new technology" such as computer virus and worm attacks, electronic Denial of Service attacks etc. were actually reported to the Police or to the British Crime Survey, then target of a 15% reduction in crime in three years i.e. 825,000 crimes which Home Secretary David Blunkett's promised Chancellor Gordon Brown so as to justify the ?2.8 billion incease in the Home Office budget, might be difficult to achieve, except by fiddling the figures..

The plans to clamp down on the "top 50" (or is it actually only the top 20) criminals in each area do not seem to include any online computer criminals at all.

How likely is it that any of these politicians would resign if they fail to meet this 15% crime reduction target, assuming that they get re-elected at the next General Election ?

Email us if you are interested in more technical details of how we actually found out a little more information than the standard MovableType web log publishing software or standard webserver log files are able to give.

Whistleblower Steve Moxon's new book

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Steve Moxon, is the whistleblower who is being sacked by the Home Office, despite the obvious applicability of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 which should apply to his revelations. The truth of these revelations was confirmed by the resignation of the Minister Beverely Hughes.

Steve Moxon looks set to publish an account of his side of the story in a forthcoming book - will it be published successfully, or will the Government attempt to suppress it ?

"The Great Immigration Scandal"
Steve Moxon
31 August 2004, 256 pages
ISBN 1845400119 (cloth), ?14.95/$29.90

published by Imprint Academic,
PO Box 1,
Thorverton
EX5 5YX,
UK

Tel: +44 1392 841600
Fax: 841478
Email: sandra@imprint.co.uk


"Table of Contents
Introduction: The Abandoned Line
1 Whistle While You Work
2 Scandal and Cover-up: A Whistle-Stop Tour
3 For the Last Time
4 Uneconomics
5 The Story Breaks
6 Extreme Denial
7 The One-Legged Romanian Roof-Tiler
8 Migrant Enclaves
9 In George Orwell?s Dreams
10 Anti-Racism Hysteria
11 Bogus Students, Sham Marriages
12 Scrapping Asylum
13 Minding My PMQs
14 Health Tourism, Settled Disease
15 Bev Gets Knotted
16 Who Feels Aggrieved?
17 U-Turn, Migration Mayday
18 Crowding Stress
Appendix: Whistling in the Wind
Epilogue: When Is a Whistle Not a Whistle?
Further Reading "


A .pdf of the full text of the Introduction is available online.

The Sunday Telegraph reports that "Schools to get scanners to stop children with knives"

"The proposal, from Sir John Stevens, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, follows the conviction last week of Alan Pennell, 16, for the murder of Luke Walmsley, 14, in a school corridor - a knife attack that prompted a public outcry.

The police will allow head teachers concerned about the growing number of children taking weapons to school to use a mobile X-ray device.

The scanners, which cost £100,000 each, are normally used by officers to assess potential criminals, terrorists and drug dealers.

Sir John believes that the equipment could play a vital role in averting other tragedies in schools.

"We would use them in any place the headmaster felt there was a problem with knives," Sir John said in an interview with The Telegraph.

"We would also work with the headmaster in hotspots outside schools . . . places where we know knives are carried."

The Metropolitan Police has two of the American-made Secure 1000 scanners. They are used to identify quickly whether a person is carrying weapons, drugs or bombs.

Officials said that the offer would at first apply to Greater London but could be extended to the rest of Britain.

The 4ft-long machines, similar to an airport luggage scanner, use low-level X-rays to penetrate clothes, but not the body. They produce a digital image on a monitor within seconds, reducing the need for a full body search.

They were first used in April in a drugs and guns crackdown in east London and helped to uncover 15 handguns, a rifle, a pump-action shotgun and various other weapons.

Sir John said that his force was about to acquire more of the machines, including a hand-held version that would be easier to use. "There are more machines in the pipeline," he said"


The production of an image showing children without their clothes is totally unacceptable, not necessary to detect knives and is almost certainly illegal under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 section 68 Interpretation of Voyeurism

"68 Voyeurism: interpretation

(1) For the purposes of section 67, a person is doing a private act if the person is in a place which, in the circumstances, would reasonably be expected to provide privacy, and-

(a) the person's genitals, buttocks or breasts are exposed or covered only with underwear,"

What is wrong with a traditional metal detector portal gateway or hand held wand, as is used in aitrports throughout the world, which simply bleeps but does not create an electronic digital image looking under your or your child's clothes ?

If these images are even temporarily stored electronically, as they must be inherently in the design of such systems, then this constitutes "making, adistributing or possessing" child pornography c.f. Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 section 84 etc.

Passive Millimetre Wave radar imaging suffers from the same "see under your clothes" problems, but so called "low intensity X-Ray" imaging must raise even more health worries.

Where are the independent clinical trials, rather than the claims by the manufacturers, as to the long term safety of this procedure ?

The "low intensity X-rays" are going to be routinely administered to children, presumably every day of the school term. What might be a safe X-ray dosage for the occaisional airline flight, needs to be looked at much more critically when it becomes a cumulative daily dose directed at growing children, year in year out.

This has got to be orders of magnitude more of a health risk than those which concern so many parents about the proximity of mobile phone base station transmitters or high vo;ltage power lines near to schools. is the school,

Who will pay the legal court costs and damages when the cases start to be filed in court, in a few years time, claiming that this X-ray scanning is partly or wholly to blame ?

Just how exactly are these two £100,000 machines going cover the hundreds of schools within Greater London ?

If these two machines or the "others in the pipleline" are diverted for use at schools, what about the terrorists and gun carrying drug dealers who they were meant to be detecting ?

It is astonishing, that given the high level of anti-terrorist alert which we are supposed to be on, that these machines are not being used at say the Houses of Parliament or at Railway or Tube stations.

"Lie detectors", but not for politicians.

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The Sunday Times is yet again alleging that it has had sight of supposedly secret correspondence between the Home Secretary David Blunkett and the Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, the chairman of the cabinet?s domestic affairs committee i.e. just like the leaks on the cabinet splits on Identity Cards.

This time, David Blunkett seems to be planning to:

"The home secretary?s legislation would allow probation officers to submit convicted paedophiles to US-style polygraph tests, measuring breathing, heart rate and sweat, to help assess whether they are safe to remain in the community.

In a letter to cabinet colleagues, Blunkett admits that the proposals ?are not without controversy? and is seeking legal clearance from Lord Goldsmith, the attorney-general."

David Blunkett seems to revel in controversy, especially when he keeps proposing unproven technological fixes to social or political problems, with no understanding of the technicalities or any clue about the actual costs and practicalities of such projects..

"His letter has already provoked one cabinet minister, Patricia Hewitt, the trade secretary and former head of the National Council for Civil Liberties, into demanding further evidence before a decision is reached. Government sources believe other civil libertarians in the cabinet, such as Jack Straw, the foreign secretary, and Alistair Darling, the transport secretary, are likely to back Hewitt"

Hold on a second, Jack Straw is a "civil libertarian" ???

This will come as news to those of people who opposed his repressive policies when he was Home Secretary, responsible for overly complicated and unworkable legislation such as the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, part III of which regarding the seizure of private cryptographic keys, has still not been brought into force, and the hugely repressive Terrorism Act 2000 and the massive Government subsidies to install thousands of CCTV surveillance cameras, without providing any privacy regulations.

Since when did Alistair Darling, the transport secretary become a "civil libertarian" either ? He is planning a "GPS satellite technology" and Automatic Number Plate Recognition road pricing scheme for the whole country, which will by definition also be a massive "Big Brother" surveillance system. He is also responsible, together with David Blunkett, for the betrayal of excessively detailed airline passenger name records to foreign governments. His time in charge of the Department for Work and Pensions was hardly characterised by an increase in civil liberties in that vast and complicated bureaucracy.

It is very strange how Patricia Hewitt and Fiona Mactaggart, both of whom have been involved in civil liberties before they became Labour Ministers, seem to have virtually no influence on the surveillance technology mad "soundbite policies" of the Prime Minister, Home Secretary and the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Who still believes their slogan of "tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime" ?

"The new powers will be included in a correctional services bill in the Queen?s speech this autumn"

Some obvious questions:

  • So where is the 12 week statutory Consultation on these measures ?

  • Where is the evidence that this approach would be any better than just locking up a sample of those out on bail at random ?

  • If there is any effect on recidivism in countries which use this technology, how can anyone be sure that it is due to the lie detector tests themselves, rather than the fact that somebody actually cares enough to bother to provide sufficient budget to arrange follow up interviews with the offenders ? In the UK, most of these offenders and mental patients seem to be dumped into the community with little or no follow up.

  • Is the plan to use some sort of sphygnomanometer or even a device like the RigiScan which "measures penile tumescence and rigidity" ?

  • Is this "lie detector" to be used only on "paedophiles" or on the whole range of the 60,000 or so sexual offenders on the ViSOR (Violent and Sexual Offender Register), with different rates of recidivism, ranging from murderers and rapists to those who have been convicted of possesion of internet pornography or sex whilst they were just under the age of consent ?

  • How many "lie detectors" are going to be used, how frequently (weekly ? monthly ? annually ?) and how much will it all cost (including extra staff costs) ?

  • A "lie detector" is not as simple to operate reliably and accurately as a breathalyser test device. Are there actually enough skilled "lie detector" operators available to deal with the expected number of tests ? How are professional training and standards to be supervised ? Who pays for this ? Local government police budgets or central government ?

  • Will the Home Office, in its usual "let's try and grab infinite powers from Parliament" style of legislation word the Bill so that "lie detectors" can be used for other offences, perhaps for every offence ?

  • What is to prevent attempts to use "lie detectors" before convictions are obtained ?

  • Is the real reason for the "lie detector" tests a plan to release even more "convicted paedophiles" into the community rather than to build more prisons, given the Home Office and Treasury's arbitrary plan to "stabilise" the currently overcrowded 75,000 or so prison population at no more than 85,000, regardless of the actual number of convicts ?

  • Is this new plan by David Blunkett actually an admission that his previous brainwave of "satellite electronic tags" on cannot actually enforce "no go zones" accurately enough to protect potential victims from "paedophiles" or violent offenders ?

  • Should "lie detectors" be used on politicians ?

Whistleblower Steve Moxon sacked ?

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According to the Sunday Times, Steve Moxon, the civil servant who exposed the dubious practices in the Home Office Immigration and Nationality Directorate in Sheffield, which led to the further revelations by James Cameron in Bucharest, which all eventually led to the resignation of the Home Office Minister Beverley Hughes has now been sacked.

Is the Government trying for a repeat of the Dr. David Kelly affair ?

Surely an employment tribunal must find in favour of Steve Moxon under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 ?

This must cost the tax payer a substantial sum of money in compensation and legal fees.

What is the public interest in "shooting the messenger" ?

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