X-ray imaging "under the clothes" of children

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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.

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The Sunday Telegraph reports: "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,... Read More

The Sunday Times has a report about the shocked reaction of adult passengers going through the new low intensity X-ray scanner at Heathrow Airport Terminal 4. '“I was quite shocked by what I saw,” said Gary Cook, 40, a graphic... Read More

The so called Violent Crime Reduction Bill has been published, without, as one has now come to expect from NuLabour, an accompanying Regulatory Impact Assessment. This seems to be another NuLabour "we must spin the media into reporting that we... Read More

27 Comments

I'm amazed at this marvellous technology. These machines produce x-rays which can penetrate a thick leather jacket but just 'bounce off' your skin causing no ill effects whatsoever. It's fantastic!! Let's get them installed everywhere. I trust Sir John Stevens and David Blunkett absolutely.

I suspect you are wrong about a voyeurism offense being made out. Quite apart from the doubt about whether being searched by scanner amounts to a private act, the offense requires a motive of sexual gratification. (Call this the News of the World defense...)

Having a sick sense of humour, I'm amused by the collision of two moral panics. Hard to know which way to bet.

The SOA did not come into force until the beginning of May, so it this has not yet been tested in court.

There are two aspects to the Voyeurism offence - the sexual one and the "expectation of privacy" one (specifically including use of a Lavatory or Bathroom). It is under the latter that I think these "see under the clothes" imaging systems fall foul.

Surely it is to be "reasonably expected" that a child entering a school building should not have to be strip searched ?

It is not necessary or "proportionate" to produce a digital image, in order to use passive or active Millimetre Wave radar, Terahertz rays, or "Low intensity x-rays" to detect the presence of metal or explosives or drugs. An audible bleep which means that a "characteristic signature" has been detected (just like the different Gold or Iron type settings on a hand held treasure hunting electro-magnetic metal detector), is sufficient to screen people for a further "empty your pockets or bag please" airport style search.

It is the digital imaging aspect of these technologies and the "security theatre" mindset which treats human beings just as if they were pieces of luggage, which is so intrusive.

What an interesting read. While much of this is important to discuss, I think "authorities" miss the point. If people (and in this case kids), want to committ an act of violence, they will easily get around most surveillance/scanning systems - perhaps next time it will be a knife fashioned of plastic or clay?

A school is inherently open (as are most educational institutions), and bringing inappropriate materials into the school (even with 20 scanners), would seem a simple exercise for most of these kids today.

Who are the US manufacturers that are referred to ... I would like to assess their claims? Please forward details to (garth.jagles@blueyonder.co.uk) should you know?

The scanners seem to be RapiScan Secure 1000 devices, for which the manufacturers claim
"Emission per Scan: Less than 10 microREM per scan"

http://www.rapiscan.com/secure1000.html

Who knows if this claim is actually true, and what the health effect of this would be on children being subjected to this dose of ionizing radiation every single day throughout the school year, rather than the odd holiday trip through an airport scanner ?

If the scanners are not used every single day at a school, then what is the point ?

They can hardly be introduced in secret to catch children carrying knives on a particular day at random, given that it will be obvious that a police van has turned up at a school and that so many children have mobile phones to tip each other off with.

I don't care how "little" radiation this device is supposed to emit, I hate the idea of being irradiated, since when does ionising radiation stop at the skin?! Come on anything with enough power to tear apart an atom HAS to do some damage.

I would accept something that uses ONLY background radiation to form an image, something that you would be exposed to anyway. Secondly who will be responsible for the maintenance of these contraptions i would bet a poorly configured one of these would release a hell of a lot more.

I also resent the whole concept of under the clothes bullshit. Surely conventional metal detectors are fine for the job and are relatively unobtrusive.

You all miss the point;
metal detectors do not pickup explosives, plastic knives or plastic guns (glock 17 etc), making them essentially useless.
However the systems discussed here produce a "naked" image of the subject to highlight outlines of concealed weaponry, hardly a new concept. And if you ask me I would much rather have these systems in schools than not.
After all, it is speculation that ionising radiation like this is actually harmful however I can bet my bottom dollar that know one will argue with me on the harm caused by guns and knives.
On the privacy issues, I would rather this than some unkown man "patting" down me or my children.

Some food for thought.

How about someone develope an inexpensive MRI type machine instead too scan people like this? (ie: would use MF/EMF (Magnetic Fields and/or Electrical Fields) instead of X-Rays)

No radiation danger there. People are already exposed to MF/EMF several times every day...

To the chap who mentions the plastic knives/guns, and explosives.

Whilst this might react to high density plastics - it certainly won't pick up low density plastics, as if it did then clothing with a nylon or polyester element would not be transparent. I wouldn't expect it to pick up the average plastic knife, and since plastic guns and explosives are probably overkill (pardon the pun) in most schools - certainly for the kids - then there isn't really a lot of use in these scanners. And as for 'the harm from ionising radiation is only speculated', well so it was for gamma radiation, mercury poisoning, opium, nicotine, pesticides, thalidomide - need I go on? Manufacturers should prove non harm - not have non harm assumed until proven otherwise.

Children probably have access to at least as many potential stabbing weapons as prison inmates who make lethal "shivs". Years ago , when I was at school, it was noticed that you could hone a very sharp edge to a perspex set square or protractor used in mathematics lessons, and then there is canteen cutlery etc. all of which resides within the alleged "safe zone" beyond whatever security scanners are being deployed.

At airports, sniffing for drugs or explosives can be done with trained dogs, but these can only "play" for about 20 minutes or so until they get bored, or with $750,000 portal machines which blow air at you and then analyse the results. Since these take about 15 to 30 seconds, that could mean an extra long queue in all but the very richest airports with multiples of these machines or scanners installed.

15 seconds delay of any kind per passenger equates to over 1 hour 40 minutes extra delay for those unlucky enough to be the last people off a Jumbo jet, unless multople queues are serviced in parrallel, which means employing more staff, negating any cost savings which the scanning machines are supposed to produce.

US scanner manufacturers are sheltering behind the astonishing SAFETY Act (Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act) of 2002, which, if they get on the approved list, shelters them from public liability court actions if either their technology simply does not work, and bombs or weapons are let through by their equipment, or if they accidently damage the health of members of the general public or of security operational staff as a result of any design or manufacturing defects or negligence.

There is no need for, and no excuse for "see under your clothes" imaging , no matter what the technology being used , backscatter X-rays or Passive (or Active) Millimetre Wave or the forthcoming UltraWideband imaging etc.

In response to the question of developing an MRI type machine to do this rather than using "X-Rays" (and speaking from 3 years of Nuclear Engineering trainging at a University), the idea that an MRI does not emit radiation is all fallacy. In the non-medical fields, these machines are actually referred to as NMR machines, rather than MRI, but they are one in the same. NMRI stands for Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging, In medical, they dropped the "Nuclear" because of the connotations that are associated with it. An MRI machin does essentially the same thing as an "X-Ray" detector, they bombard you with particles and have detectors to create an image. The only difference between the two is the type of particle you are bombarded with.

As for dosage, 10microREM per scan is really nothing compared to what you're exposed to daily by everything else around you. If you note http://healthandenergy.com/rad_chart.htm , you will notice a standard x-ray image in a hospital is 40milliREM, average dosage from the AIR is 200, and so on and so forth.

Don't schools teach woodwork, metalwork or chemistry any more? There are a large number of sharp, corrosive or otherwise dangerous objects inside schools, or is it assumed that the idiots carrying guns and knives are too dumb to realise this.

"10microREM per scan" is what the US manufacturer claim in their sales literature.

How exactly is this calculated ? Are they averaging the intensity of the ionising radiation over the whole nominal volume of the scanner cubicle ? Does the scanning beam follow the usual pattern of distribution with an orders of magnitude higher intensity in the central spot compared with the outer edges of the beam ? Are there other hotspots produced by the shielding configuration of the machine ? What about the dosage that an operator gets from being nearby, day in, day out ?

Maybe all these questions have been asked and answered, but these machines have not been investigated or approved by competent United Kingdom radiological health authorities.

As noted before, the US manufacturers are shielded from public liability lawsuits by the SAFETY Act 2002 in the USA.

The fear and worry surrounding any use of ionising or non-ionising radiation has a noticable placebo health effect, which has been recognised in the controversy regarding the siting of mobile phone masts near schools or homes.

The major problem with both the active backscatter x-ray or the passive millimetre wave imaging is the totally unecessary imaging of the naked human body. If the system can distinguish metal, plastic , explosives or drugs from human flesh, there is no need to display that human flesh at all.

For a portal scanner of whatever kind, where individuals are checked one at a time, if the machine detects something suspicious in your left hand trouser pocket, and you are then subjected to a pat down search by a security guard, how much time has been saved by knowing that the object is in the left pocket as opposed to the right ?

In real life the security guard will check *both* pockets and the extra spatial resolution of the scan compared with a simple "something suspicious has been detected" signal, counts for nothing in the overall time and motion of the security checking procedure.

The temptation is to use this back scatter x-ray technology as a "drive by scanner" using much higher intensities and longer ranges, to check whole queues or crowds of people without their knowledge, just like the systems which are used to scan commercial vehicles and freight, as described in John Lettice's article in The Register

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/11/08/heathrow_scanner_pilot/

Argh. I can't believe how often I see this sort of thing mixed up whenever the word "nuclear" enters a conversation. There is a reason NMR (nuclear magnetic RESONANCE) was renamed, and it is because of this sort of stupidity. They don't bombard someone with particles or radiation. Instead, the thing to be examined (we use it all the time in chemistry research to identify compounds) is placed within an extremely powerful magnetic field. This causes the nuclei of atoms to vibrate (hence the nuclear in NMR), which can be picked up (the resonance part of NMR). The resonance is affected by what other nuclei are around and chemically bonded, and thus can be used to figure out what molecules are are and where. To see how it is used in chemical research, look up 'proton nmr' or 'carbon-13 nmr'. In the future, if you don't know about something, you might at least try google.

As an aside the Glock 17 (and indeed G19 G18C G34 and so on) will quite happily show up with a metal detector. They are about as plastic as an M16! The lower reciever is indeed a polymer, but the rounds, magazine, slide, barrel, chamber and so on are all the usual metal. The 'plastic' reputation of the Glock was a result of the usual journalistic sensationalism reading 'polymer' in the description and running with it instead of actually reading all the specs.

Plastic guns are availible in very limited numbers to special agencies but tend to be two shot two barrel jobs with ceramic workings and very expensive and limited to government sales.

Not saying you couldn't get one if you tried, but I doubt most kids would have the money or contacts to do so.

You can throw all the technology you like at a problem but if the underlying systems aren't changed first it jsut tends to burn money.

This is either political correctness gone mad or technology for technologies sake. Either way its stupid.

... this is: ineffective (ways around it), inefficient (very costly), potentially dangerous to health (truely independant research on these company facts), sends out the wrong message (welcome to prison), impedes on privacy, illegal as voyeurism, potential for pictures to be used to blackmail the child ....

... but besides all that we don't have a major problem with children killing eachother anyway. Why not have these on entrance to pubs? there you might at least catch a few dangerously dumb fanatics.

NMR/MRI is not what is being used for these scanners and detectors. How does one build a portal scanner through which one can walk vertically, rather than be passed through horizontally like on a medical imaging NMR scanner ?

Extremely high strength magnetic fields are not without their health effects either, but there is also the likelyhood of human flesh being trapped between a metal object strongly attracted by the powerful magnets needed for NMR. There is also the effect on nearby electronic equipment, aeroplane navigation systems etc. (if such technology was to be used at airports)

Once again, technology is presented as the answer to a human problem. Technology will not prevent murder and mayhem. It is entirely possible to kill or maim with everyday objects, IF THERE IS A WILL TO DO SO. We should be seeking means to create a more civilised society in which people are less motivated to harm each other.

John Lettice has written an article in The Register about the lack of offical UK testing or advice on possible health risks of these x-ray scanners

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/11/18/blunkett_xray_blank/

A more recent thread on the use of the Rapiscan 1000 equipment at Terminal 4 Hearhrow Airport can be found at:

http://www.spy.org.uk/spyblog/archives/2004/11/heathrow_termin.html

"Extremely high strength magnetic fields are not without their health effects either"
~We arn't magnetic you got false information somewere.

"impedes on privacy, illegal as voyeurism, potential for pictures to be used to blackmail the child ...."
~If you had seen an actual image that these scanners show and still consider them to be a true nude or anything resembling a true nude image then cudos on your imagination.

Who are you referring to waraugh ?
"We arn't magnetic you got false information somewere."

NMR/MRI scanners (which these are not, but which came up as a topic in the comments above) are intensly magnetic.

Be aware that under UK law, even "pseudo images" of naked children are likely to be considered as child porn.

"If you had seen an actual image that these scanners show and still consider them to be a true nude or anything resembling a true nude image then cudos on your imagination."
Try here: http://www.usatoday.com/travel/news/2005-05-15-airport-xray-bottomstrip_x.htm
The photo is cut off near the waist, but what's shown certainly looks like a shirtless man to me. The waistband is somewhat opaque, but below the waistband you can see that it becomes more transparent.

I am absoultely astounded at the suggestion of irradiating children on a daily basis to "look under their clothes". As a student radiographer, I am aware of the risks associated even with the lowest doses of radiation - in fact, low energy doses such as those used by these scanners are more harmful than high energy doses because they can accumulate in body tissues. Even if they cannot penetrate skin, if they can penetrate clothes then they can easily penetrate vitrious fluid in the eyes and reach the particularly radiosensitive lens of the eye. How ridiculous and Draconian.

If none of you can really see how disgusting the idea of putting these spying devices into schools are, then there is something severely wrong.

Hello there!
i write this, mabe someone's capable to help me with some information. few days ago, turning back from a holliday in teneriffe, i had to put my sunglasses into the luggage x ray scanner. unfortunately i had to pick them up by hand from inside the machine. at that point, was nobody to stop me, and when i place my hand inside the machine to grab the sungalsses, i had an unpleasent experience, it was like i put my hand into a bucket full with electricity. after that experience, at first it was just my hand that hurt, but now, all of my arm start to feel week, and i'm very tired, and sleepy. did anyone actualy know how dangerous is, and what should i do in this situation? please e-mail me at raduselen@yahoo.com
thank you very much!

Backscatter-X rays: low intensity, but high energy

What does the above mean?

To understand, let’s go to some basics. According to quantum theory, light consists of small packets of energy, called photons. The energy carried by each photon depends upon the frequency of light. In fact, the energy possessed by a photon (of light or X ray) is directly proportional to energy. Hence, X-ray photon shall, always, carry more energy as compared to visible light. Certain processes, like photoelectric effect and Compton effect depend, critically, on the energy of the photon participating the processes. Hence, light below a certain frequency (above a certain wavelength), shall not produce photoelectric effect in certain metals, no matter how intense is the light (intensity could be visualized as the number of photons striking a surface/passing through a given area in 1 second).

The ‘nature’ of damage depends on the energy of the photons interacting with the surface.

The ‘extent’ of damage depends on the number of photons (intensity) interacting with the surface.

Therefore, it should be very clear to the end-user, what the parent is accepting, when using low-intensity-, but high-energy-X rays (in fact, in the language of nuclear physicists, it is medium energy)

Technical Note:

Cross section for photoelectric effect is high for low-energy photons, drops as energy is increased. The cross-section increases for Compton effect and maximum for intermediate energies, drops off for higher energies. When the energy is more than 1.02 MeV, pair production is possible and the cross section increases for higher energies.

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

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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