Evening Standard: Andrew Gilligan demolishes the £1.3 billion identity fraud hype

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Andrew Gilligan's "Gilligan on Monday" column in the Evening Standard seems to take weeks or months to appear in their online archives e.g. his article back in March about the saga documented by the Yorkshire Ranter blog regarding Viktor Bout, the illegal gun running airline operator, is now online, but was not for at least a couple of weeks after publication.

Today's two page article is illustrated by a large burning ID Card colour photo from the NO2ID demonstration outside the David Blunkett / IPPR event last November,

[captioned: "Burning issue: to try to stifle protests over their plans for identity cards, Tony Blair and Charles Clarke (pictured below) have relied on statistics that seem to bear little relation to reality],

another colour photo of Charles Clarke looking mean and shifty, and a black and white still from the Alistair McGowan Capital One credit card "identity theft" scaremongering ad campaign. Capital One have been spamming potential customers with junk mail for years, so one has to be sceptical about their attitude to data privacy and security.

Debunking the "£1.3 billion a year identity theft figure " has been done before, by the Law Society and even by Spy Blog:

"Identity Fraud" does NOT "cost the UK £1.3 billion a year"

However, Andrew Gilligan has the resources to get quotes and comments from most of the industries or departments which contributed guesstimates to the Cabinet Office document " Identity Fraud - a study" published in July 2002 (241kb .pdf file) which the Home Office has been shamelessly hyping ever since, without commissioning any updated guesses or actual quantitative research themselves in the intervening period.

It is important that this article is more widely read outside of London, before the Second Reading of the Identity cards Bill on the 28th of this month i.e. in just over a week:

"Evening Standard, Monday 20th June 2005, page 16 & 17
Gilligan on Monday

Revealed: how Blair is playing the fear card

Thanks to a Government campaign and an over-the-top TV advert, we are being led to believe that we are all at the mercy of identity-theft fraudsters. But the £1.3 billion figures for Britain's 'fastest-growing crime' just don't add up.

In times past, the character we loved to hate from the TV adverts was no more sinister than Captain Birds Eye. Now, in a more fearful Britain, it's the Identity Thief. For the past four months, thanks to the credit-card company Capital One, this sinister, black clad figure has taken up seemingly permanent residency in the ad-breaks.

There he is in the back of a taxi, explaining how he's set up a mobile phone account in your name, used it to do some deals with the Russian mafia, and got you into trouble with Special Branch. That's him in a Vegas hotel suite. Hoovering up the champers and smirking that he's managed to travel the world as you.

There's only one problem with these spine-chilling depictions of what Capital One calls "the UK's fastest growing crime". As the company admitted to the Standard, they are "not based on reality". You don't need to hijack someone else's name to ring up the Mob: you can buy a pay-as-you-go phone without giving any name at all. And to travel the world, you need something called a passport, which is issued only after quite stringent checks.

"Identity Theft", mainly involving credit fraudulently taken out in your name, is indisputably real, and thousands of real people do fall victim to it every year. Some suffer serious inconvenience, and a tiny minority suffer actual financial loss. (The vast majority of losses are fully refunded to the victim - not something the adverts bother to tell you). But the problem is currently being played up wildly out of proportion to its seriousness. Identity theft is not, in fact, the UK's fastest growing crime. But it is one of the UK's fastest-growing areas of hype.

"We cannot stand still in the knowledge of the threats we all face from identity fraud," said the Home Office minister Baroness Scotland.

"Estimates show that it takes the average victim of identity theft 300 hours to put their records straight," said her former colleague, Beverly Hughes. The Home Secretary Charles Clarke, has said many times in recent months that ID fraud "now costs the UK more than £1.3 billion every year"

Last month, that well-known master of understatement, the Prime Minister, casually upped the figure by a billion or two, telling MPs that "abuse of identity costs this country billions of pounds a year".

It is not difficult to understand why ministers have seized on this alleged epeidemic with such relish. Exactly like Capital One, they've got a piece of plastic which they badly want to flog us. The Identity Cards Bill is about to start its journey through Parliament. the terrorism and illegal immigration justifications for this hugely controversial scheme have started to unravel (the cards will not cover visitors or new entrants to the country, nor will they pick up terrorists already resident here).

But at least identity fraud might seem like a cast-iron problem that the cards could actually tackle. According to press reports, ministers are preparing to make it their principal justification.

Over the past six months, all the Government's statistics and claims - the £1.3 billion cost, the 300 hours to fix your records, the fastest-growing crime - have been repeated in good faith, dozens of times by newspapers and broadcasters throughout the country. Unfortunately every single one of them can be shown to be false.

The £1.3 billion figure comes from a Cabinet Office study in 2002, still the most recent and current research on the problem. Annex B of the study, towards the back, shows how the numbers were totted up.

According to the report, £370 million of the total is shown as reported by APACS, the bank clearing service for plastic cards and cheques. APACS says its real figure for identity fraud on plastic cards in 2002 was actually only £20.6 million - little more than a twentieth of the amount claimed by the Government. Even last year, it says, the figure was only £36.9 million.

"Their definition of identity theft clearly differs from our definition," said Mark Bowerman, spokesman for APACS. "Our interpretation is that ID theft must mean actual theft of an identity, and not just theft of, for example, a card."

A further £250 million of the ID fraud is shown as occurring in the insurance industry - an astonishing quarter of total losses.

"I'm not sure where that figure comes from. It's not from us. I'm not sure where they make that connection," says a puzzled Malcolm Tarling, spokesman for the Association of British Insurers. "Insurance fraud tends to be people claiming in their real names for false losses. ID fraud is not a particularly big problem in the insurance sector."

Then, £215 million is shown as due to a complicated scam called "missing trader intra-community" (MITC) fraud". This involved goods being shifted between various EU countries to avoid paying VAT. But Paul Matthews, a spokesman for Customs and Excise, which polices the VAT system says: "We wouldn't normally describe MITC fraud as ID fraud."

Another figure, £395 million, is shown as due to money-laundering. Again, says Mr Matthews: "Not all money-laundering is ID fraud. It can be as straightforward as somebody investing the money in a business, or a property, or whatever. I haven't found anything to source that particular figure in that report. It's difficult to see where they've got it from."

Yet another sum, £62.5 million is shown as reported by CIFAS, the main fraud policeman for the credit industry. CIFAS say this figure does seem about right, but says there is likely to be "some double counting" with the APACS figure.

A further £36 million is shown as the cost to the immigration service of processing immigrants arriving in the country with false documents - something which is, of course, not a fraud at all.

Stripping out all the mis-directions, exaggerations and distortions, we are left with a few genuine items - £35 million of identity-related benefit fraud (one per cent of the total of all benefit fraud) and less than £1 million due to "NHS tourism", foreigners claiming free treatment they're not entitled to. Both of these will be underestimates, but not vastly so. And thus the Government's supposed £1.3 billion tally of identity fraud falls to no more than £150 million, just over a tenth of the claimed figure.

Even if identity cards were able to end all those frauds - something that even the Government does not claim - the cost of setting up the cards is estimated by the Home Office itself at a minimum of £5.8 billion and the annual running cost at £85 million a year. The sums, in short, do not add up.

But, of course, the Cabinet Office report is three years old and ID fraud is the "fastest-growing crime in Britain" - isn't it ?

It's certainly true that it soared in the early years of this decade, and those are the numbers that tend to get quoted. But the latest figures from CIFAS, covering credit and credit-card fraud show that cases of classic ID theft - where someone is a victim of impersonation - are now actually falling. And the rise in the other type of ID fraud, where a false identity is created, has levelled off dramatically.

"As a proportion of plastic-card fraud, it's quite a small problem," says Beverly Young, head of training and compliance at CIFAS. (About 7 per cent of the total, in fact.) "There are indications of progress. We shouldn't be complacent, but it's pretty encouraging. Consumers are getting more aware of the problem and that has had an impact."

And what of the Home Office minister's extraordinary claims that it will take the "average victim" of ID theft 300 hours - an astonishing eight-and-a-half full-time working weeks to sort out his credit rating ?

What CIFAS actually says is that this applies only to a tiny minority of "the most severe cases", where there has been a total identity hijack involving perhaps 20 or 30 lenders. The Home Office has since quietly amended its claim, but the original mis-statement is still being quoted by newspapers and companies, including Capital One, to this day.

Perhaps influenced by these distortions, CIFAS, once a leading supporter of ID cards, now seem to have turned rather lukewarm about the Government's grand design. "It's very hard to say that ID cards will prevent identity theft," says Young. "It could have some benefits - that's as far as we'll go."

However, if you are worried about identity theft, there are rather more effective and cheaper safeguards than an ID card. For £11.75 you can ask CIFAS for "protective registration", which means they will carry out tough extra checks on any new application in your name. For £45, you can sign up for monitoring with a credit reference agency such as Experian, so you'll be alerted the moment anyone tries to apply for credit as you.

Identity fraud, it seems clear, has become yet another part of the Government's now time-honoured practice of the stoking of fear. Just as with weapons of mass destruction or ricin plots, we have seen the same lethal combination of a genuine (but exaggerated) threat, dodgy data, credulous journalists and a sinister new buzzword to describe things that have been going on for years.

ID fraud most certainly exists. But political fraud also comes into it."

4 TrackBacks

Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Evening Standard: Andrew Gilligan demolishes the £1.3 billion identity fraud hype.

TrackBack URL for this entry: http://spyblog.org.uk/mt5211/mt-tb.cgi/507

TITLE: Gilligan in the Evening Standard on identity fraud nonsense URL: http://tim.hicks.me.uk/blog/archive/2005/06/21/gilligan-in-the-evening-standard-on-identity-fraud-nonsense IP: 217.172.33.58 BLOG NAME: Blog: The (e)State of Tim DATE: 06/21/2005 12:16:32 PM TITLE: Gilligan in the Evening Standard on identity fraud nonsense URL: http://tim.hicks.me.uk/blog/archive/2005/06/21/gilligan-in-the-evening-standard-on-identity-fraud-nonsense IP: 217.172.33.58 BLOG NAME: Blog: The (e)State of Tim DATE: 06/21/2005 12:16:32 PM Read More

Home Office Minister Andy Burnham has been on BBC News 24 breakfast tv, saying that the Home Office will be publishing new figures on "identity fraud" later today, which we will look at with interest. "The trend is upwards", apparently.... Read More

Using a cross cut shredder to obfuscate the personal details sent to you on junk mail and on utility bills, credit card statements etc. before you throw them away. is excellent advice. However to conflate such common sense advice against... Read More

We expect another onslaught of Government spin and disinformation over theiir new "soundbite" figure of "£1.7 billion for identity fraud" , which is being falsely spun as some sort of justification for the billions to be spent on the National... Read More

9 Comments

"Estimates show that it takes the average victim of identity theft 300 hours to put their records straight," said her former collegue, Beverly Hughes. The Home Secretary Charles Clarke, has said many times in recent months that ID fraud "now costs the UK more than £1.3 billion every year"

----------------

I've been a victim where someone registered a van to my address, and went around running up speeding, parking and congestion charge fines galour.

The major problem with fixing it all wasn't the DVLC, it was local councils, and the congestion charge. None of these organisations have telephone lines where you can ring up and report the problem by talking to a person. Instead you get recorded messages, several minutes long, probably on premium phone lines. None of the options fit.

The Government's proposed ID Card would have been of no help at all in such a case, nor with "cloned number plate" congestion charge frauds..

good work mark...are you going to do anything on the arrested 'flatmate' of an alleged suicide bomber???

love cw

Hopefully not ! Who knows at this stage ?

It is all a big secret, hidden by spin , hype and false reporting, as usual - there must be people who on hearing the initial reports, still think that a "suicide bomber" has actually been arrested in Manchester.

If there is real evidence against this person that he was involved in "directing" or "training" or "fund raising" for terrorist purposes, then he should be tried in a UK court.

If this all a prelude to another dubious extradition request or if the person arrested is only peripherally involved by association with the alleged suicide bomber in Iraq back in February, then that might be a different matter.

Back to tthe Evening Standard article, it will be interesting to see if it is mentioned in the forthcoming Second Reading debate on th eidentity Cards Bill, or if the publication of the ful London School of Economics report the day before will have more influence with MPs.

It is not identity theft that is the problem, but simple fraudulent online use of credits cards. We run a small company trading both from shopping centres and from our website http://zolushka.co.uk
We find that the credit card fraud is virtually non existent at out physical shops and stalls, but about 5% of our websites orders are basically fraudulent or part of a scam. It wastes so much of our time and profits!

I was concerned about the possibility of off-shoring the work, and now I am proved right if this is anything to go by:

Population database will move to India

Protests at offshore move for lists of births, marriages and deaths

http://www.guardian.co.uk/guardianpolitics/story/0,,1512374,00.html

How can the proposed National Identity Register ever be secure, if the database of one of the primary "biographical footprint" data sources is outsourced to India or any other country outside the direct legal jurisdiction of the UK ?

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/06/23/indian_call_centre_fraud_probe/

"The Sun exposes UK ID theft racket at Indian call centre
By John Leyden
The Register
Published Thursday 23rd June 2005 10:13 GMT

Update An undercover reporter was able to buy the details thousands of UK
banking accounts, password particulars and credit cards numbers from
crooked call centre workers in India, The Sun reports.

The paper says one of its journalists bought details of 1,000 UK banking
customers from an IT worker in Delhi for £4.25 each. He was also able to
buy the numbers of credit cards and account passwords. An unnamed security
expert hired by the paper verified that the details were genuine. The
information sold could be readily exploited by ID thieves to apply for
credit cards or loans under assumed identities or to simply loot
compromised accounts. The call centre worker bragged that he could sell up
to 200,000 account details each month.

The Sun handed over a dossier on its investigation to the City of London
Police. In a statement, the City of London Police said: "Unfortunately we
have no jurisdiction to prosecute this in the UK. However we have passed
information through Interpol to the Indian authorities and will be working
with them to secure the prosecution of this individual.".

Amicus, the union, said the case highlighted possible data protection risks
about moving financial services overseas. "Companies that have offshore
jobs need to reflect on their decision and the assumption that cost savings
benefiting them and their shareholders outweigh consumer confidentiality
and confidence," Dave Fleming, senior finance officer, told the BBC."

Enjoyed your take on ID theft from the U.K. and the excellent documentation of facts. Thought you might be interested in a concept I have originated and am promoting here in the U.S.

One of the major sources of identity theft in the United States is unsolicited credit card mailings. The ultimate junk mail. Mail Monitor, a junk mail tracking company, reported 5.23 billion credit card offers in 2004. The FTC provided confirmation of the problem in early 2005, reporting ID theft right at the top of consumer complaints.

There is an answer. Pass federal legislation giving consumers 100% control over their name and personal data. Let them opt-in, rather than having to opt-out, of receiving junk mail. While eliminating identity theft, we can also force the junk mailers to share in the sale of our names and private information, amounting to over $4 billion each year.

Bold, original, even outrageous…but a workable plan.

Jack E. Dunning

So when Members of Parliament ask the Home Office about the basis for these "identity fraud" claims, what sort of answer do you think they get ?

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200506/cmhansrd/cm050628/text/50628w20.htm

"28 Jun 2005 : Column 1458W—continued

Identity Fraud/Theft

Sir Paul Beresford: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much of his estimate of the total cost of identity fraud constitutes (a) credit card fraud and (b) identity theft. [5839]

Andy Burnham [holding answer 20 June 2005]: The Cabinet Office study published in 2002 estimated that the minimum cost of identity fraud to the economy is in excess of £1.3 billion per annum. The study estimates that £370 million of the overall figure is attributable to credit card fraud. This includes use of counterfeit cards, cards lost or stolen and card not present fraud. All of the costs estimated in the Cabinet Office study are associated with identity theft. Losses, however, are not generally incurred until a criminal has obtained a victims personal details through identity theft and used them to commit fraud.

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what (a) methodology and (b) sources were used for the calculation of the cost of identity theft in Appendix B of Identity Fraud: A Study, of July 2002. [6916]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Cabinet Office formed a cross-departmental team to estimate the cost of identity fraud to the UK economy. The study involved examination of direct financial losses, such as those incurred when false identities are used to fraudulently obtain credit. It also examined the costs incurred by enforcement and other agencies that encounter individuals who use false identities to obtain services fraudulently. This included costing the resources needed to carry out investigations. The sources that were used for the calculation of the cost of identity fraud were, HM Customs and Excise (now HM Revenue and Customs), Department of Health, Department of Work and Pensions, Immigration Service, Association of Payment Clearing Services, insurance companies and CIFAS, the UK's Fraud Prevention Service."

Read the transcript of the Andrew Gilligan article above, and decide if the Home Office is being evasive.

Where is the Home Office sponsored research into this area ? Andy Burnham is the Home Office Minister in charge of Research, why doesn't he commission some up-to-date, quantitative, studies ?

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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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Recent Comments

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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