July 2005 Archives

The Sunday Times reports the the disheartening news that the disgraced ex Home Secretary David Blunkett, is now back in charge of the Home Office, at least temporarily whilst Charles Clarke is on holiday.

Why can't Hazel Blears, the junior Home Office Minister take charge during this period, as she seems, logically enough to have been given the role of supervising the day to day running of the department ?

David Blunkett should not have been returned as a Cabinet Minister in charge of the Department for Work and Pensions.

He proved himself unfit for any Cabinet Ministerial job back last December, it is a disgrace that he should be back in power tat the Home Office, even for a single day.

To have him back rubber stamping detention without trial Control Orders, electronic intercepts, deciding on extradition requests, and, presumably, again with the power to meddle in asylum and immigration affairs, is an insult, and is not acceptable.

Surely Charles Clarke should resign as Home Secretary, how is is position tenable ?

Who is in charge of the Department for Work and Pensions, whilst David Blunket goes back to meddling with our civil liberties, whilst failing to prevent terrorist attacks ?

UPDATE 1st August:

The Scotsman and The Daily Telegraph are now reporting a Home Office denial of this Sunday Times story.

"Beleaguered Home Secretary resumes holiday"

"The Home Office angrily denied reports that David Blunkett, now the Work and Pensions Secretary, has temporarily returned to his old job by covering for Mr Clarke."

These newspaper reports also make the obvious statement that UK Government Ministers are provided with "secure communications" back to London, wherever they happen to be in the world, whether on holiday or on Government business.

Is this incompetent or malicous spin ?

What is the truth ? Who is in charge of the Home Office today ?

The BBC and other mainstream media are running stories with lots of details about how "Hussain Osman"/ "Isaac Hamdi", the alleged suicide bomb attacker at the Shepherds Bush Tube station, was arrested in Rome.

All of this shows how useful mobile phone communications and location based data can be in tracking down a fugitive who is either ignorant of the technology, or who is desparate enough to risk using it.

However, this also shows that the "hot pursuit" of terrorist suspect does not require the UK and EU government controversial proposals for manadatory Data Retention of phone and internet log files for years, not just those of actual suspects (or to be more precise, suspect phones and computers) but of the vast majority of innocent people's data for years after there is any legal commercial business requirement to do so e.g. to resolve billing disputes.

What will happen to all the mobile phone communications data records belonging to every other innocent mobile phone user who was in the Shepherds Bush area at the time of the attack, which have been trawled through by the authories ? How long will this data be retained for ?

Given the way in which modern database and criminal intelligence visualisation software works, will the reputations , or the police records, of innocent people or even of petty criminals, be smeared through "guilt by association" with a terrorist investigation ?

The British authorities seem to have issued a European Arrest Warrant to extradite the suspect from Italy. We hope that they really do have more than just a mobile phone data to link himm to the scene, e.g. DNA evidence from the failed rucksack bomb, especially as the CCTV images so far released by Scotland Yard do not match particularly well with the photo issued by the Italian authorities.

What is staff morale like inside the Home Office these days ? How compassionate and competent are the management ?

An asian Field Intelligence Officer in the Immigration Service updates us about his shoddy treatment by his employers, the Home Office:

"Further to my correspondence to you in May. I received a letter from the Home Office Human Resources department, informing me that my demotion to the lower grade will be effective on 5 September 2005. They have completely ignored my grievance against them and my request for an explanation of how they justified this penalty.

The Home Office are e**l s**m who treat asian staff unfairly.

Please try to publicise this.

[name]"

Monday's broadcast of the BBC2 tv programme The New Al-Qaeda: jihad.com is worthy of comment.

We were expecting something like the presenter Peter Taylor's award winning documentaries explaining and interviewing various "talking heads" e.g. convicted/reformed terrorists, policemen, secret agents and politicians from all sides of the Northern Ireland conflict. Series such as Brits, is an important historical documentary series.

However, this latest programme, which involves "the internet" and "Al Quaeda" is not in the same league, and appears to support the the "Climate of Fear" agenda.

John Lettice writing in The Register seems to be as unimpressed as we are by this programme, particularly by the amateur "internet agent provocateurs" interviewed in the USA, whose reliance on entrapment, would be illegal in the UK.

The programme editors seem to have gone for tabloid "dumbing down" of the complicated issues, in favour of strong visuals produced by repeatedly re-broadcasting to millions of people, some disturbing web video images of roadside bombs being detonated.

Gary McKinnon faced an extradition hearing at Bow Street Magistrates' Court today, which has been adjourned until October 18th.

Beyond the specifics of this highly unusual "computer hacking" case, involving criminally negligent US military computer security management procedures, even after the supposed extremely high state of alert and vigilance after the attacks of September 11th 2001, and the UFO and anti-gravity device claims, there are serious issues to do with the unequal status of extradition procedures between the UK and the USA under the Extradition Act 2003.

These have attracted the cross party support of the 98 Members of Parliament who have so far signed Early Day Motion 241

Together with the whole question of what should be the primacy of UK law over US law in cases where the accused are British citizens, whose alleged crimes took place whilst they were physically in the UK.

Gary McKinnon or Babar Ahmad or the NatWest/Enron 3 bankers David Bermingham, Giles Darby and Gary Mulgrew could all be tried under UK law, in UK courts, and if found guilty pay UK fines or serve time in UK prisons, instead of facing the expensive, and unfair US legal system.

In the cases of Babar Ahmad and Gary McKinnon, they might possibly face not just the US civil courts, but, a Military Commission, just like the Guantanamo Bay detainees, authorised by President Bush's Military Order with no access to lawyers, to secret evidence which cannot be challenged, and , theoretically, the death penalty.

Another NO2ID Campaign sponsored Pledge has been launched. This one is aimed at the even larger number of supporters who oppose the Government's ID card and database plans, but who, due to personal circumstances, feel that they will reluctantly have to succumb to the Government's coercion e,g, the unfair linking of new or renewed Passports to the central Biometric National Identity Register database, even during the so called "voluntary phase" of the scheme.

"I will actively support those people who, on behalf of all of us, refuse to register for an ID card, and I pledge to pay at least £20 into a fighting fund for them but only if 50000 other people will too."

http://www.pledgebank.com/resist

or send a standard rate mobile phone text message "pledge resist" to 60022

Yesterday the Prime Minister and Home Secretary met with police and security agency chiefs to see what new powers if any were necessary in the light of the recent terrorist attacks in London.

The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) who represnt most of the the police forces in the UK (except for Scotland), have published a long shopping list of extra new legal powers, many of which are extremely controversial and probably counterproductive.

The "consensus in principle" by the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat politicians must not grant all this shopping list of powers to the police and security agencies - if they do so, the terrorists will have won another victory.

Even repressive laws planned ?

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The satirist Armando Iannucci's opinion piece in The Daily Telegraph pokes fun at various possible new draconian legislation that the Home Office will be trying to force on us e.g.

"The Anti Anti-Terrorism Bill Bill"

"Raised Eyebrow and Verbal Quibbling Police Enforcement Order"

"The Anti-failure Involvement Procedural Motion"

"The Two-Minute Cynicism Freezure Act"

"The Incitement to Connect Terrorism with Iraq Bill"

Last but by no means least is:

"The Whatever Bill - This gives the Home Secretary emergency powers to do any other things that haven't already been defined by the previous Acts."

Unfortunately the this is already law under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004: Part 2 Emergency Powers

Compare this list with the new powers which the Association of Chief Police Officers seem to be demanding from the Government (see our comments in the next posting).

The controversial Identity Cards Bill completed its House of Commons Committee Stage yesterday, just before Parliament broke for the 80 day Summer Recess until October 6th.

Yet again, due too the programming motion / "guillotine", debate was limited, and all the Opposition amendments failed.

After today's apparent attempted repeat of the 7th July attacks, we still need to ask the same unanswered questions as before e.g.

We do not think that either Mandatory Data Retention of Communications Data will be practical, or cost effective, in preventing future attacks, and neither will Qinetiq Passive Millimetre Wave imagers for the Tube

Obviously the proposed Biometric ID Catds and the National Identity Register would also have been useless in preventing attacks like todays in the future.

There are plenty of conspiracy theories and media speculation about today's events, which we do not want to waste our time with.

Home Secretary Charles Clarke has met with his Opposition counterparts the Conservative David Davis and Liberal Democrat Mark Oaten.

They seem to have "agreed in principle" to bring forward slightly the "Counter Terrorism Bill" in October, to be law by December.

There are, of course, lots of questions to be asked about such legislation, most of which, according to the media, seems to cover things which are already illegal under existing laws. e.g.

"Incitement to violence is already a crime, as is "weapons training" as is possessing "any item" which might be used for "terrorist purposes", as is "financing" or "directing" a terrorist organisation, as is even the "collecting of information" which might be useful to a terrorist"

"There is talk of it being an offence to "visit" a so called "terrorist website" for "bomb making" or other instructions.

Will the Government be publishing a list of evil terrorist websites, and continuously updating it, in real time ? They cannot even seem to keep their list of proscribed terrorist organisations up to date.

Will any website which mentions words like "bomb" or "Al Quaeda" etc be classed as a "terrorist website" e.g. the BBC or any major online newspaper, or any of the major web search engines ?"

"Will the new legislation further seek to lower the burden of proof for any of these offences from the criminal standard of "beyond reasonable doubt" to the civil standard of "on the balance of probabilities" or even lower ?"

The politicians seem to have agreed to treat the planned review and possible renewal (the "sunset clause") of the controversial Control Orders under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 so as not to delay this further legislation.

David Davis seems to have failed to persuade Charles Clarke to review his previous decisions not to consider Electronic Intercept Evidence

Is this proposed new legislation really needed, and will it be enforceable if it is passed ?

Are the politicians, of all the major parties, simply going through the motions, so as to be "seen to be doing something" ?

The NO2ID online pledge only needs another 50 pledges to meet its target of 10,000.

"I will refuse to register for an ID card and will donate £10 to a legal defence fund but only if 10000 other people will also make this same pledge"

http://www.pledgebank.com/refuse


or send a mobile phone SMS text message "pledge refuse to 60022 (standard text charges)

The long running (yet supposedly "fast track") extradition to the USA case of the Muslim British IT worker Babar Ahmad was due to have been decided yesterday by the Home Secretary Charles Clarke.
This case has legal ramifications for all of the rest of us in the UK, since it involves extradition to the USA, without the presentation of any prima facie evidence to a UK court, for alleged crimes committed by someone physically located in the uK, and for which there are more than adequate UK laws under which they could be tried.

At least 73 Members of Parliament have signed Early Day Motion 241 calling for equal extradition arrangements betwen the UK and the USA - they do not have to supply prima facie evidence against someone in the UK, but we have to do so against someone in the USA.

It is of particular interest to the alleged "hacker" Gary McKinnon and to the three Enron/NatWest bankers David Bermingham, Giles Darby and Gary Mulgrew

However, it appears that:

"The Home Secretary had 60 days to make his decision, which would have expired on 16th July 2005. The Home Office has stated that they would like more time in order to find a new Lawyer to give them advice on American Law, especially in relation to the Death Penalty."

Surely the Home Office obtained top United States legal opinions before they draughted the controversial Extradition Act 2003 legislation ?


More information and comment on the Free Gary Mcinnon blog

The Associated Press reports that Dr. Zaki Badawi, a prominent moderate Islamic cleric in Britain, was refused entry to the USA on Wednesday, on the basis of some terrorist watch list database or other.

"On Sunday, Badawi joined other British religious leaders in condemning the bus and subway bombings. He appeared with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, Free Churches Moderator David Coffey and Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks."

"Badawi was given an honorary knighthood and in 2003 he was among the guests of Queen Elizabeth II at a state banquet for U.S. President George W. Bush."

What a propaganda coup for extremist Islamic agitators !

How can anyone have confidence in a so called border control system if it throws up false positives like Dr Badawi or Yusuf Islam / Cat Stevens or Senatator Edward Kennedy ? How many false negatives are there where real terrorist suspects are not detected by the anglicised misspelled foreign name based watchlist databases ?

Why is the reaction of the US authorities to a suspected terrorist actually arriving on US soil, to simply allow them to get on a flight away from the USA ? If these people are a real security risk, then they should be allowed into the country but placed under intensive surveillance to see who they are contacting.

Will the British Government demand a public apology, or will they ignore the incident and press on with their own bureaucratic "e-borders" system ?

Any United Kingdom "e-borders" system must have a mechanism for innocent travellers to challenge and to have corrected any libellous false accusations levelled against them.

The Home Secretary Charles Clarke, like his other NuLabour ministerial collegue Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, is busy trying to "be seen to be doing something", no matter how expensive or ineffective, at the European Union level, in response to the terrorist bombings in London on the 7th of July.

Apart from trying to impose mandatory fingerprinting on other European Union countries, even before he has done so to the United Kingdom, Charles Clarke is yet again policy laundering the long running Data Retention of communications data proposals.

Wasn't all this meant to have been sorted out by the leaders of the European Union after the Madrid bombs in March 2004 ?

Atlantic Blue media spin

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Atlantic Blue was the codename for an internatioanl civil defence / terrorist attack response exercise held in April in USA, Canada and the UK.

The Observer has published a misleading article about it, neglecting to mention that whilst in the USA and Canada there were real simulated exercises involving tens of thousands of emergency workers, hospital staff etc. none of this actually happened in the UK, it was all downgraded to a "command post exercise" run by the Metropolitan Police.

"United Kingdom Participation: ATLANTIC BLUE

The United Kingdom will be involved in TOPOFF 3 through exercise 'ATLANTIC BLUE', which will be played at command post exercise (CPX) level only. This will allow the United Kingdom to focus specifically on communication across international borders at a strategic level and test simultaneous responses to linked terrorist incidents in the United Kingdom, United States, and Canada."

When the biannual exercise was planned, no doubt the UK was going to actually participate fully, but the timing coincided with the week of the General Election announcemnet just before Prince Charles' Royal Wedding and the Pope's Funeral, so it seems to have been downgraded to a token gesture.

The biological warfare scenarios played out in New Jersey in the USA were, presumably what led Sir Ian Blair, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, to witter on about the threats of "bubonic plague" during his controversial interview with Sir David Frost during the election campaign.

eGov Monitor reports that

"Panning from MPs results only in promise to 'go steady'

The Government is to press ahead with plans for a national network of 'child indexes' despite serious warnings from MPs.

However ministers are now pledging to take a "steady, phased approach" to the project after the Commons' Education and Skills Select Committee urged them to proceed only "with upmost caution".

Back in April MPs on the Parliamentary committee vigorously criticised the Government's proposals to set up an electronic file on every child in England. The move forms part of reforms to child welfare services."

The Government's Response to the Education and Skills Select Committee's Report on Every Child Matters

With over 700 people having been injured inlst week's bomb attacks on the London Tube trains and Bus, and the politicians and the policemen promising that they are "not ruling anything out" in this top priority investigation.

Therefore, we have some privacy and civil rights concerns regarding the retention of DNA evidence

Why does The Sunday Times keep on publishing "climate of fear" disinformation articles like this one ?

Is this an informed article by Michael Smith who broke the "Downing Street memos" story, or is it deliberate disinformation and distortion ?

"Michael Smith served for nine years in the British Army's Intelligence Corps as a latter-day codebreaker before going to work for the BBC Monitoring Service. He has written for a number of newspapers, including the Financial Times, the Sunday Times, and most recently the Daily Telegraph, where he is Defense Correspondent."

or is this a script for an episode of the popular fictional BBC MI5 spy drama series "Spooks" ?

"The Sunday Times July 10, 2005

Focus: Terror in London

The secret war on terror
Michael Smith

The MI5 surveillance team picks up its suspect as he leaves his parents’ house in an Asian-dominated area of one of Britain’s major cities. The watchers keep their distance unobtrusively as the target — we will call him Jamal — stops to speak to another young Asian.

The body language makes it clear that Jamal is in charge. The conversation is not aggressive, but nor are they merely chatting. It is clearly not a chance encounter, and it is taking place on a well chosen patch of waste ground where they cannot be overheard. The MI5 team holds off.

Jamal has no record of extremism. He has never been seen publicly to side with the angry young men who after Friday prayers rage against Britain’s involvement in the war in Iraq.

Jamal's family has been here for several generations. He is regarded by those who know him as fully assimilated into British society. He has what his mother rightly regards as "a respectable job" working in computers.

On the face of it his frequent trips to Pakistan are innocent visits to see his aunts and uncles. But intelligence obtained by MI6 from a *liaison service*, in this case the CIA, shows that Jamal spends most of his "holidays" in Pakistan in guesthouses in the tribal homelands, talking to known members of Al-Qaeda.

Jamal does not exist, but his profile and the way the intelligence services deal with him exemplify the war on terror."

Is the allegedly fictional "Jamal" meant to be the very real Babar Ahmad a British citizen, who worked in IT support at Imperial College in London, whose father is a retired Foreign Office civil servant and who is facing extraditon to the USA, accused of "terrorist fundraising" by running Islamic fundamentalist websites (free speech ?) with discussion forums, according to the USA, but not according to UK law ?

The Home Office, especially under NuLabour, is always scrabbling about with new legislation, and toying with unproven technological magic fixes to social problems.

Instead of grinding on with NuLabour's expensive, intrusive and ineffective against terrorists, centralised compulsory biometric identity database and ID card plans, and instead of hinting at a new "acts preparatory to terrorism" offence, rather than using the existing draconian Terrorism Act legislation, there is an area of legislation which the Government could be more usefully pursuing.

Now is the time for the licensing of public CCTV surveillance camera systems and operators.

It is self evident that the thousands of CCTV surveillance and spy cameras on the London Tube, on the Buses and in streets and buildings along the number 30 Bus route, were of no use whatsover in acting as a deterrent against this weeks's bomb attacks in London.

This is despite years of public taxpayers subsidies and endless propaganda campaigns such as the creepy "Secure Beneath the Watchful Eyes" campaign.

Secure_Beneath_The_Watchful_Eyes.jpg - or Insecure Beneath the Lidless Eye of Sauron ?

It is now two days since the bomb attacks. We doubt if the CCTV footage available to authorities has been analysed properely yet.

We doubt if all the available CCTV footage has even been identified yet.

Presumably the investigators are concentrating on what they already control in the Tube and Bus systems, and the large commercial systems that they are aware of, but eventually, every passenger on the Bus route 30 will also be considered to be a suspect until they are "eliminated" from the investigation.

It is at this point that the current lack of a regulated license scheme for CCTV camera surveillance systems is harming the hunt for the bombers.

The Times has a story by their Transport Correspondent, who seems to be quoting a Qinetiq salesman who is hyping up the possabilities of Passive Millimetre Wave "see through your clothes" scanners on the London Underground.

However, the BBC have a report claiming that Qinetiq and Transport for London are denying any such plans.


"Meanwhile, QinetiQ, the privatised former Defence Evaluation and Research Agency, and London Underground have rejected claims made in the Times newspaper that body scanners are to be used on the Tube.

The two organisations say the report is "inaccurate" and there are no plans to use the scanners. QinetiQ is providing some equipment but cannot discuss it."

The Times report:

"Body scan machines to be used on Tube passengers By Ben Webster, Transport Correspondent

TUBE passengers are to have their bodies scanned by machines that see through clothing in an attempt to prevent further terrorist attacks. The millimetre wave imagers will be used to carry out random checks as people enter stations after services resume today.

Police and transport officials are also considering installing the equipment permanently at stations across the network. The technology is already used to catch illegal immigrants who hide in lorries at Channel ports but has not previously been used on the Underground because of the high cost and concerns about privacy.

The Identity Cards Bill is crawling through its Committee Stage in the House of Commons.


During the first 4 sittings of debate this week, the Members of Parliament have only debated the amendments to the first 3 Clauses, none of which were passed.

There are another 43 Clauses and a big fat Schedule to debate, and over 150 amendments still to consider.

There are only 3 sittings of debate left due to the Programme Motion which limits the time for debate:

"(1) during proceedings on the Identity Cards Bill the Standing Committee shall (in addition to its first meeting at 10.30 a.m. on Tuesday 5th July) meet—

(a) at 4.30 p.m. on Wednesday 6th July;

(b) at 9.15 a.m. and 1.00 p.m. on Thursday 7th July;

(c) at 10.30 a.m. and 4.00 p.m. on Tuesday 12th July;

(d) at 9.15 a.m. and 1.00 p.m. on Thursday 14th July;

(e) at 10.30 a.m. and 4.00 p.m. on Tuesday 19th July;

(2) the proceedings shall be taken in the following order, namely, Clauses 1 to 3, Schedule 1, Clauses 4 to 45, Schedule 2, new Clauses, new Schedules, remaining proceedings on the Bill;

(3) the proceedings shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion at 7.00 p.m. on Tuesday 19th July."

Just as with the previous version of the Identity Cards Bill, they seem to be just going through the motions, again, and by the looks of it, will again, fail to consider the implications of all of the Clauses of the Bill.

So much for the fiction, that Parliament actually scrutnises legislation in any detail. You can almost hear the sound of the legislative rubber stamp.

For complicated legislation which will affect everyone in the United Kingdom, this level of Parliamentary scrutiny is an utter disgrace.

The BBC have a useful timeline about the terrorist bombs in London on Thursdsay 7th July 2005.

The first impression is that it could have been a lot worse:
4 confirmed explosions, rumours of a couple of unexploded devices, but still only 38 people dead so far.

Given the crowded confines of a packed rush hour Tube train in the tunnels between stations, one would have expected more casualties, if the attacks had used similar amounts of high explosive as were available to the Madrid bombers.

Perhaps the devices were relatively small, or were improvised with low grade explosives.

The timing and targetting of the attacks could also have been more precise, which would have caused more casualties.

Perhaps the bomb on the Bus was an "own goal" like the 1996 IRA bomb which blew up the bomber and a Bus in the Aldwych between the Waldorf Hotel and the London School of Economics.

Given the scale and timing of the attacks, it is too early to rule out the possability of a lone madman, rather than a huge international terrorist group conspiracy.

The question has to be asked, why did the mass surveillance of travellers on the London Underground and London Buses, with thousands of CCTV survellance cameras, on the stations, in some of the trains, in at least half of the 5,000 Buses, all fail to deter the bombers ?

We are reminded of the creepy
"Secure Beneath the Watchful Eyes" poster published in 2002.

Perhaps there will be some clues provided by CCTV to the investigators after the incidents, but these systems cannot be said to have made us any more secure from attack.

The Disinformation put out by the British Transport Police in the first hours after the first bomb incident, about firstly a possible electrical failure or a train collision, and then just an electrical failure, did more harm than good. Was it a deliberate attempt to prevent panic or was it just incompetence ?

The Committee Stage of the Identity Cards Bill starts tomorrow Tuesday 5th July.

Chairmen:
Roger Gale - North Thanet - Con
Jimmy Hood - Lanark & Hamilton East - Lab

Vera Baird - Redcar - Lab
Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods - City of Durham - Lab
Mr David S Borrow - South Ribble - Lab
Andy Burnham - Leigh - Lab (Home Office Minister)
Mr David Drew - Stroud - Lab
Mr Tony McNulty - Harrow East - Lab (Home Office Minister)
Kali Mountford - Colne Valley - Lab
Dr Nick Palmer - Broxtowe - Lab
John Robertson - Glasgow North West - Lab
Joan Ryan - Enfield North - Lab (Whip)

Mr Alistair Carmichael - Orkney and Shetland - LibDem
Tim Farron - Westmorland & Lonsdale - LibDem

Mr Tobias Ellwood - Bournemouth East - Con
Mr Edward Garnier - Harborough - Con
Patrick Mercer - Newark - Con
Mr Mark Prisk - Hertford & Stortford - Con
Ben Wallace - Lancaster & Wyre - Con

Around 188 Amendments / new clauses have been tabled so far.

This is slightly more than the previous time around, where MPs were complaining that they spent only 2 or 3 minutes on average per amendment. All the opposition amendments last time were either withdrawn or voted down.

102 Conservative amendments
18 joint Conservative and Liberal Democrat amendments
66 Liberal Democrat amendments
2 new Liberal Democrat clauses

Some of the Opposition amendments are the same as they tabled previously, e.g. reducing fines from £1000 to £50 etc.

Just as before, there is no amendment tabled about the section of Clause 31 which criminalises (up to 10 years in prison and a fine) Civil Servants or IT Contractors if they do anything like go on strike, work to rukle or simply make a software configuration error on the National Identity Register, the wide area network, or on any authorised computer system licsensed to be connected to the NIR e.g. in a Credit Reference Agency:

"31 (3) b) where it makes it more difficult or impossible for such information to be retrieved in a legible form from a computer on which it is stored by the Secretary of State, or contributes to making that more difficult or impossible."

Why are there two Home Office Ministers on the Committee, Tony McNulty and Andy Burnham ?

Des Browne managed to steamroller the Committee Stage through on his own (with his Labour majority) last time.

N.B. If you are thinking of Lobbying your MP at the Palace of Westminster, during this Committee Stage, as several people did during the previous Identity Card Bill's Committee Stage, bear in mind the new Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005

132 Demonstrating without authorisation in designated area

under which you risk up to 51 weeks in prison and/or a fine of up to £2500 if you organise a "Demonstration" without prior written authorisation, and up to a £1000 fine if you participate in such an unauthorised demonstration, or demonstrate on your own, within the Designated Area around Parliament Square, which came into force last Friday the 1st July.

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.

We wiil use this verifiable public key (the ID is available on several keyservers, twitter etc.) to establish initial contact with whistleblowers and other confidential sources, but will then try to establish other secure, anonymous communications channels, as appropriate.

Current PGP Key ID: 0xE08E882B13FC89C which will expire on 30th September 2015.

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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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