January 2006 Archives

The House of Lords, has further defeated the Government by passing a couple of Opposition amendments during the last day of their Report Stage consideration of the Identity Cards Bill 2005.

The role of National Identity Scheme Commissioner will, if these amendments stand, be widened somewhat, and the annual report will go to Parliament rather than to the Home Secretary.

We missed whether or not the amendment setting up a Technical Advisory Board like that set up under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act passed or not.

"Amendment 100 - Leave out Clause 31" was "not moved"

The Cabinet is leaking again

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Do these recent Cabinet level leaks actually tell us anything new ? Are they from genuine whistleblowers, or are they part of the some disinformation campaign ?

Why should we trust the Government with our private data, when emails and memos about meetings between the Home Secretary and the Foreign Secretary, involving correspondence with both the Security Service ("SyS") Mi5, and the Secret Intelligence Service ("SIS") MI6 about alleged terrorist supporters in Britain magically appear in the New Statesman magazine ?

What about today's leak of what the public have the right to expect should be a very limited distribution list, for copies of an "eight-page report, by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC)" ?

JTAC is "a self-standing organisation comprised of representatives from eleven government departments and agencies."

January has been rather busier than we expected, so we have been remiss in not commenting on the news that Sir David Normington has replaced Sir John Gieve as Permanent Secretary at the Home Office.

Sir John Gieve has now taken up his appointment as Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, which seems to be a strange career move from the Home Office, which cannot even seem to provide accurate cost estimates to the nearest £2 billion or so for their Identity Cards Programme which Sir John had significant oversight of, and over which he came into conflict with the London School of Economics.

The Terrorism Bill 2005 finished its Report Stage in the House of Lords this Wednsday 25th January and will get its Third Reading in the House of Lords next Wednesday 1st February 2006.

There was an attempt by backbench Labour peers to amend the controversial 28 days detention without charge provisions, to 60 days, having accepted that the originally proposed 90 days had been defeated in the Commons.

The Government front bench abstained in the vote on this amendment , which, thankfully, was defeated.

Just because the House of Lords sometimes has to do the job of detailed Parliamentary scrutiny which the House of Commons cannot seem to be bothered to do, it does not mean that they scrutinise every clause in a Government Bill:

Former "Old Labour" MP, now Lord Clive Soley of Hammersmith, has called, via his blog, for a public debate on his idea that everyone should be registered on the National DNA Database, a suggestion which he has made in a speech in the House of Lords.

Lord Soley's primary reason for promoting this idea appears to be a "Law and Order" one, rather than any possible medical benefits of mass DNA testing. This seems to be another case of the "nothing to hide, nothing to fear" fallacy so common amongst proponents of centralised Government databases like the proposed National Identity Register.

This is an evil idea, which we hope to persuade him against, once he has been alerted to the privacy and security issues and cost / benefits. At least by being one of the rare British politicians who runs a weblog which accepts comments from the public, he might be amenable to a reasoned argument.

PMOS on the "Wilson Doctrine"

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The Number 10 Downing Street afternoon press briefing from 25 January 2006 has revealed a few crumbs for the kremlinologists regarding the "Wilson Doctrine" administrative exemption for Members of Parliament, which used to shield them from telephone intercepts, but perhaps for not much longer.

"PMOS" is NuSpeak for the Prime Minister's Offical Spokesman, presumbaly usually David Hill, the Director of Communications, who replaced the notorious Alastair Campbell.

Wilson Doctrine

Asked if there was a timetable for the report, the PMOS said no. It would be whenever the Interception Commissioner, Sir Swinton Thomas, had actually had a chance to talk to people. It would go at his pace. Asked if the Prime Minister was open minded and waiting to be persuaded, the PMOS said that first and foremost, there had been erroneous reports that the Prime Minister, following 7/7, had initiated this. That was not the case. This was a result of an initiative taken by Sir Swinton Thomas and therefore it was important that we went at the pace set by Sir Swinton.

Put to him that it was for the PM to make recommendations and to consult colleagues, the PMOS said that was correct but an important part of that was for Sir Swinton to set out his case. We were still in the middle of that process.

We have a few comments:

How can your life be complete without Yet Another Home Office Bill ?

Such is the miserable Police and Justice Bill 2006, which , together with the allegedly Explanatory Notes, makes such dismal reading.

This Bill extends the powers of the Police, mucks around with existing policing structures, creating extra bureaucracy, and contains a portmanteau of ill-thought out miscellanous measures, for which there has been no public consultation, and for which no cost / benefit case has been presented, whatsoever.

The level of complexity, obscurity, ineffectiveness and a total disregard for the costs which it will impose on the rest of society which this Bill displays, now seems to be normal for a Home Office Bill.

Why are these people allowed to continue to produce such shoddy legislation ? Why have their salaries not been docked, and any chance of an Honour blocked ?

The Deputy Prime Minister's department has managed to display astonishing ignorance about a subject which is one of its direct Ministerial responsibilities:

Written answers Monday, 23 January 2006

Deputy Prime Minister
Fire Service (Mobile Communications)

Bob Spink (Castle Point, Con): To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many instances have been recorded of the fire service using mobile phone location data to effect a rescue operation. [43784]

Jim Fitzpatrick (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (London), Office of the Deputy Prime Minister) The information requested is not held centrally. The fire and rescue service is not responsible for tracking criminals.

N.B. this is a Written Answer, not an "off the cuff" oral one.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is the Government department which sets the planning policies which affect the siting of Mobile Phone mast transmitters. The ODPM is also responsible for the planning applications for the TErrestrial Trunked RAdio (TETRA)
masts used for the Airwave encrypted radio service used by the Police, Ambulance, and Fire and Rescue services.

It is the physical locations of these masts, which are used by third party companies to offer Mobile Phone Location Based Services to consumers (which have their own potential privacy and security problems) and which can also be used to provide the approximate locations of 999 / 112 mobile phone calls to the Emergency services.

If the primary use of Location Based Services, so far as the ODPM is concerned, is for for the electronic tagging of criminals or the tracking of criminals via their mobile phones, what chance is there that they will not see the forthcoming eCall the pan-European in-vehicle emergency call system which is due to be fitted to all new vehicles in the European Union from 2009, as just another way of keeping the UK public under control ?

Why has the government not already published the draft regulations which would determine exactly what they intend to put on the ID Cards themselves ?

Baroness Scotland has now revealed, during the House of Lords Report stage of the Identity Cards Bill, that there are likely to be 4 different sorts of ID card, and that they might have, on the Smart Card chip:

  1. The information written on the face of the Card (but no clue yet as to whether or not this includes controversial Address information)
  2. A digitised photograph
  3. 2 fingerprints - whatever happened to the Iris scans ?
  4. The "technical" information e.g. card number and presumbaly digital signature checksums etc.

We will check this with the Hansard transcript tomorrow.

This could all have been decided and made public 2 or 3 years ago, and if necessary, changed in the future.

The topic of a "web portal" through which an individual could somehow securely check his or her ID Register or ID Card details came up again. Remember that you cannot send your biometrics securely over the public internet, and the Government scheme does not include a client side Digital Certificate on the ID Card itself, which could be used for reasonably secure SSL/TLS web sessions.

Apparently there will be "6 or 12 months" of verification transactions available online. Fuller details or older audit trail transactions will require a £10 Data Protection Act Subject Data Access Request.

How is such a system meant to entirely eliminates or even reduces the instances of "Identity theft" or "identity fraud" ?

How on earth will a "web portal" be secure against computer viruses, trojan horses, spyware, compromised Internet Service Providers , WiFi Wirelesss LAN man-in-the-middlle attacks, Bluetooth mobile phone insecurities, email "phishing" attacks etc., even if the centaral webservers and database servers are resonably secure (which is not usually the case ) ??

The culture of unecessary secrecy in the Home Office, is doing them no favours in trying to convince anyone that they are competent to take such far reaching decisions on our behalf.

The Lords have passed Amendment 46 to strike section 6 (Power of Secretary of State to require registration) from the Identity Cards Bill bill:

Content 198, Not content 140

Amendment 52 passed unopposed as a consequence of this vote, thereby also removing Clause 7 from the Bill.

This means, that quite rightly, a full debate on Primary Legislation (i.e. a new ID Card Compulsion Bill, or a section of the numerous Home Office Bills which are always going through Parliament) will be required, if the Government do not overturn this amendment, for the controversial move from a volintary, experimental ID card scheme, to compulsary biometric registration for everyone.

The House of Lords has voted by 186 votes to 142, a majority of 44, to make the so called "voluntary" phase of the ID card scheme proposed through the Identity Cards Bill 2005 actually voluntary and not the backdoor compulsion of having to give up your biometric and other privacy to the centralised National Identity Register when you apply for a new or renewed Passport etc.

As we have pointed out, and as the Opposition Lords said, the data needed even for the new ICAO standard biometric passports, is far, far less than what is demanded by the biometric National Identity Register.

If, as the Government claims, the benefits of their ID Card scheme to the individual will be so obvious, then most people will choose to be so registered and choose to pay the extra fees. We doubt that most people would be convinced.

Junior Home Office Minister Andy Burnham has a letter in The Guardian which attempts to defend his wretched ID Card database scheme.

How can such a short letter be so full of so many misleading claims ?

Mark Oaten scandal and the Wilson Doctrine

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The resignation of Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesman Mark Oaten, due to revelations published in the News of the World tabloid should give people who are thinking about amending the "Wilson Doctrine" administrative ban on the interception of the phone calls of Members of Parliament , plenty to consider.

"I advertise on a website and Oaten called out of the blue."

[...]

"Over the next few months he kept ringing "

[...]

"Before one session he rang several times"

[...]

"He was such a secretive man, but I knew it WAS Oaten. Whenever he rang he never withheld his number and I have it to this day."

[...]

How can the public be sure that if Members of Parliament (and therefore also their Constituents) are put under electronic surveillance for "security" purposes, that information on scandalous, though not illegal activities such as this, which would have been gleaned in the this case, could not have been used for political purposes by those in power ?

Will the Liberal Democrats still be united in their opposition to the Identity Cards Bill and the Terrorism Bill etc. after the resignations of Charles Kennedy and Mark Oaten ?

We have had a reply from The Assistant Private Secretary to the Interception of Communications Commissioner regarding our Freedom of Information Act request regarding the "Wilson Doctrine" administrative exemption of Members of Parliament to telephone interception.

The letter claims that "your request cannot be acted on" since the Interception of Communications Commissioner is not a "public authority" under the Freedom of Information Act.

If not, then why not ?

According to the Department for Constitutional Affairs, the conditions for a Public Body to be added to the Schedule 1 list under the Freedom of Information Act are:

a. That the body or office was established by any enactment, the Crown prerogative, a government department or a Minister acting in any other way; and

b. That all or any appointments to the body or office are made by the Crown, a Minister or a government department.

There can be no question that both of the criteria for the addition of a Public Body are clearly fulfilled by Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 section 57 Interception of Communications Commissioner

57. - (1) The Prime Minister shall appoint a Commissioner to be known as the Interception of Communications Commissioner.

We will be writing to the Department for Constitutional Affairs to have all the Commissioners established by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act added to the Schedule 1 list of Public Bodies.

On Tuesday 17th January 2006 the House of Lords finally saw a couple of Opposition amendments during the Report stage of the controversial Terrorism Bill 2005 being passed.

Report Stage will continue on Wednesday 25th January 2006.

Home Office Minister Paul Goggins answered a Parliamentary Question about Automatic Number Plate Recognition databases recently.

Note how the Answer gives the misleading impression that the data belonging to innocent drivers will only be retained for 2 years.

In fact if you actually read the Association of Chief Police Officers' guidance, which the Answer quotes from, but which it does not provide a reference to the title ("E.C.H.R., Data Protection & RIPA Guidance Relating to the Police use of A.N.P.R (Excluding speed enforcement devices") or, the URL to this document on the ACPO website, (Microsoft Word format), you see that the limit is actually 6 years or even longer.

Today's Prime Minister's Questions saw several Questions on topics which this blog has commented on - at last !

There was quite a long exchange with subsidiary questions, between David Cameron and Tony Blair on ID Cards.

The LSE Identity Project report came up again. The work of dozens of academic and industry experts was, yet again misleadingly characterised, by Tony Blair himself this time, as the work of a single man "the leading civil rights campaigner against ID Cards". Yes Simon Davies is involved, but not on his own !

Tony Blair fell back on the fallacious NuLabour "identity fraud" justification and on the alleged inevitability of the international biometric passport schemes, which are vastly different from what this Government is actually proposing,

Tony Blair managed to tar the Chancellor Gordon Brown with the brush of collective Cabinet responsibility for his ID Card scheme, by claiming that Gordon had "supplied the figures" for the still secret detailed cost estimates.

The political TV commentators / kremlinologists noted that, unusually, Gordon Brown was actually smiling during the ID Card and other questions.

Another Tory MP also asked about ID Cards and failed Government computer projects and Tony Blair claimed that fears about "civil liberties are completely misplaced".

The interim leader of the Liberal Democrats asked, as we commented on back in November, why the Information Management, Prioritisation, Analysis, Co-ordination and Tasking (IMPACT) computer system, recommended 18 months ago by the Bichard Inquiry for the sharing of "intelligence on sex offender" (actually far more than just this) amongst Police Forces, is now scheduled to be at least 3 years late.The Prime Minister did not have an answer, "off the cuff", and which he had to promise to write to Sir Menzies Campbell about it.

Labour MP David Winnick asked about the "leaked report" (?) about the tapping of MPs phones i.e. the review of "Wilson Doctrine" and very reasonably asked that there should be a debate about it.

Tony Blair claimed that it was not his idea, and seemed to deny that it was a direct result of the July bombings, and claimed that it was due to the representation made to him by the "Intercept Commissioner", which he is "obliged to consider" and vaguely promised to do so some time in the future.

Does this mean that our concerns over these technological "magic fix" policies are starting to be noticed by the major political parties ?

Home Secretary Charles Clarke has been at it again, when answering an Oral Question on Identity Cards on Monday, He uttered some soundbites which show the NuLabour obsession with grasping at technological "magic fixes" to social and political problems.

Stupidly, in our opinion, he made an absolute promise , to Parliament and to the British public, about the security of the National Identity Register database, and of all other database systems to which it is linked, in all circumstances !

Charles Clarke must resign as Home Secretary, when, not if, the security of any of the databases to which he has alluded to is either breached or put at risk through poor design or day to day management practices.

If all goes well with the editing, some time later tonight, Spy Blog will have joined the ranks of British Bloggers like Tim Worstall and and Guido Fawkes, by appearing on a segment of BBC Radio 5 Live's late night blogs and podcast show

The interview was prompted by our postings and discussions on the current "Wilson Doctrine" immunity of Members of Parliament from having their telephones tapped, and Sir Swinton Thomas, the Interception of Communications Commissioner and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.

Our Freedom of Information Act request regarding the "Wilson Doctrine" might eventually clarify things.

.

The House of Lords have finally started to pass a few Opposition Amendments to the controversial Identity Cards Bill 2005.

Of the 3 amendments so far passed (more details tomorrow wjhen we read the Hansard report), the one which prevents the Commencement of most of the Bill until a full cost / benefit analysis has been produced and voted for is the most significant.

Even proponents of ID cards have been dismayed by the Government's refusal to even estimate the overall costs of the scheme, not to within a few thousand pounds, but even to the nearest £billion !

"Commercial value for money" is not a problem for other multi-billion pound projects e.g. Defence procurement ones, and it has been deeply worrying to watch the Home Office twist and turn and spin on the question of overall costs to the public, including to other parts of Government,

However, it is reportedthat the Home Secretary Charles Clarke is still trotting out his "identity fraud costs the UK £1.3 billion a year" rubbish., a figure which we are fed up with having to de-bunk.

The London School of Economics has published their latest Identity Project Status Report (.pdf), ahead of the commecement of the House of Lords Report Stage consideration of the controversial Identity Cards Bill 2005 starting tomorrow, Monday 16th January 2006.

Will the Government spin machine start rubbishing this latest report, like they have tried to with the previous ones, even before most of their Lordships or MPs will have had a chance to read it ?

The Independent, in a companion article to their frontpage story about bugging MPs phones and emails, mentioned an obscure Ministerial Statement published on 15th December 2005:

Wilson Doctrine

The Prime Minister (Mr. Tony Blair): The Government have received advice from the Interception of Communications Commissioner, Sir. Swinton Thomas, on the possible implications for the Wilson Doctrine of the regulatory framework for the interception of communications, under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.

The Government are considering that advice. I shall inform Parliament of the outcome at the earliest opportunity.

If you want to write to the equally obscure SIr Swinton Thomas, the Interception Commissioner, to see if your phone conversations or emails or faxes with your Member of Parliament in Westminster, or your Member of the Scottish Parliament, are currently being illegally intercepted his address is:

The Right Honourable Sir Swinton Thomas,
The Interception of Communications Commissioner,
c/o The Home Office,
2 Marsham Street,
London,
SW1P 4DF

(no phone,no fax, no email, no website)

The Independent on Sunday's front page story is:

"MI5 will get new powers to bug MPs"

Furious cabinet revolt as Blair gives green light for security services to spy on elected representatives

By Francis Elliott, Whitehall Editor
Published: 15 January 2006

Tony Blair is preparing to scrap a 40-year ban on tapping MPs' telephones, despite fierce Cabinet opposition, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.

He is expected to formally announce to the Commons within weeks that MPs can no longer be sure that the security services and others will not intercept their communications.

Until now, successive administrations have pledged that there should be no tapping "whatsoever" of MPs' phones, and that they would be told if it was necessary to breach the ban.

But that convention - known as the Wilson Doctrine, after Harold Wilson, the prime minister who introduced it - is to be abandoned in an expansion of MI5 powers following the London bombings.

MPs should be treated in the same way as other citizens and will be given the same safeguards against wrongful tapping, the Prime Minister will say.

Is this an outrage against democracy and further evidence of the slide towards an authoritarian NuLabour police state ?

Or is it an attempt to regulate or stop an existing illegal political bugging operation ?

Two Sefton Council CCTV voyeurs jailed

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The BBC reports that two of the Sefton Council (on Merseyside) CCTV operators who abused the cameras under their control to spy on a woman at home in her flat, have been given short prison sentences,. One of them has also been put on the Sex Offenders Register, and another employee has been sentenced to community service.

About time ! This is certainly not the first time which CCTV cameras have been abused like this.

Why is the Highways Agency selling CCTV images from, initially 100 of their CCTV cameras via a mobile phone premium service partner ?

via eGov Monitor:


Highways Agency brings CCTV images to your mobile

Video footage from Highways Agency CCTV cameras will be brought direct to your mobile phone, in a trial agreed by the Highways Agency. For the first time, images previously only shared with road service providers, the police and emergency services, will now be made available to the public.

The trial starts with 100 cameras on the M25, M1, M6, M4, M5, M40 M42, M54, M60, A1M, M61 and will extend to the full Highways Agency CCTV network by the end of the year.

Denise Plumpton, Information Director, said:

"We're carrying out this 12-month trial to see if we can help our road users plan their journeys and avoid any delays on the network.

"You'll be able to check real-time traffic conditions on the busiest parts of our network from the convenience of your mobile phone."

[...]

Our partner in the trial is MX Data, which provides map-based traffic and travel information to the mobile service industry. The service, which supports over 100 handsets and the four networks O2, Orange, VodaFone, Tmobile, already provides local authority, Scottish and Welsh CCTV images.

[...]

To get more details of the service visit http://www.traffictv.co.uk

If the aim is really to inform the public about traffic jams and bad weather conditions, when they are planning a journey, then these images, which have already been paid for by the taxpayer, should be available, for free from the Highways Agency's own traffic information website, but of course, they are not doing this.

How much money is the Highways Agency getting from this deal ?

Which officials granted MX Data a monopoly on these public CCTV images ?

How have these civil servants been lulled into forgetting that using a mobile phone when driving, even for a voice only conversation is dangerous. Even more dangerous is using one with a map or video screen. The current criminal penalty for doing so is a fine of up to £1000.

We have to remind ourselves and our readers that the Home Office is not the sole source of all privacy and security "evil" in the Government - the Department of Health is busy making its own multi-billion pound NPfIT (National Programme for IT in the NHS) contribution, with the controversial National Health Service "data spine", for centralising all NHS medical records ("care records") in the UK, giving hundreds of thousands of authorised healthcare workers access to them at any time.

The system uses the sneaky "implied consent" model so beloved of centralised bureaucracies, rather than the explcit, informed, individual, consent which the principles of data protection, and the Data Protection Act require.

via Informaticopia:

Possible legal challenge over privacy of electronic health records

Dr Paul Thornton has written a paper entitled "Why might National NHS Database proposals be unlawful?"(.pdf) in which he makes a strong case that "carry grave & imminent risks for both civil liberties and public health", and that "the legal justifications used to substantiate their proposals are untested in the courts and require independent judicial clarification".

He argues very convincingly that the NHS Care Records Guarantee(.pdf) doesn't provide sufficient safeguards. The acceptance of implied consent to the placing of patient records in a national database, rather than requiring individual and explicit patient opt-in to the sharing of their information is seen as contravening both the Data Protection Act and Human Rights legislation.

The plans outlined by NHS Connecting for Health for a "sealed envelope" to hold sensitive information which the patient feels needs be have restricted, are now beginning to look less secure. The fact that the sealed envelope will not be available for the very first release of the NHS Care Record Service and upload of data to the national database, as previously reported on this blog, is complicating matters!

We also have privacy and security worries about the audit trails of who accesses someone's medical record and from which specialised clinic or medical role

The Independent reports some details about the 4 week trial of the "see through your clothes" passive millimetre wave imaging scanner which has been installed at London's Paddington mainline railway station on the Heathrow Express platform.

Station trial for anti-terror system

By Peter Woodman, PA
Published: 11 January 2006

The workings of new high-tech security systems to detect would-be train terrorists were shown off today at Paddington station in London.

A seven-metre-long steel box has been erected next to Heathrow Express platforms at the west London station.

Inside the box is a millimetre wave scanner which can detect items concealed beneath clothes.

Next to it is a baggage-screening device, and the whole security box is to be tested for four weeks at Paddington starting from tomorrow.

The new systems were first announced last autumn by Transport Secretary Alistair Darling, and there will be further trials on the London Underground and at other mainline stations.

It will take passengers about 80 seconds to pass through the security box. During the trial at Paddington a small number of randomly-selected passengers will be asked to take part.

80 seconds per scan, minimum !!

Since the Heathrow Express service leaves Paddington every 15 minutes, that means that passengers (who will certainly be struggling with suitcases on their way to the airport) will miss the next train on which they have booked their tickets / reserved their seats, if there are as few as 10 or so people in the queue ahead them to be scanned.

On entering the box they will pass into the scanner where they will place their feet on footmarks on the floor and raise their arms in the air. In the far corner of the box is a booth in which a screener sits, and this screener will receive a robot-like body image of the scanned passenger.

At the same time the passenger's bags will pass through an X-ray machine, and if necessary there will also be a body search of the passenger by hand.

A person cannot be identified from the image and the image is deleted when the next person enters the scanner. Male staff will work only with male passengers' images and female staff only with female passengers' images.

That is irrelevant if the "randomly selected" passengers are Children. The operators will be guilty of "creating or distributing" Child Pornography, a term which includes synthetic digital images. If children are automatically excluded, then the whole system is useless against smugglers or terrorists.

The trial tomorrow is being seen merely as a test of the equipment and not as a security measure as such, although it could lead to the use of the equipment as an anti-terrorist measure eventually.

So what aspect of the "technology" is being tested on the public ?

What does this prove that a group of paid experimental test subjects could not ?

The ability to see people naked throough various types of clothing ? The ability to detect various deliberately concealed items ?

How can this be a scientific test, if the data is really destroyed after each scan ?

Where is the proof that this system is safe for, say, pregnant women ?

Will people who refuse to be scanned be treated as "terrirst suspects" and stopped and searched under the Terrorism Act 2000 section 44 anyway ?

When we read and responded to a posting on William Heath's Ideal Government blog - "Why we think the EU data retention measures are necessary and proportionate", we were sceptical that it had actually been posted by or on behalf of the Rt. Hon. Hazel Blears MP , the motorbike riding Minister of State for Policing, Security and Community Safety at the Home Office.

It does seem to be a genuine (if indirect) blog posting by a Home Office Minister !

See John Lettice's commentary on this published in The Register.

We made a couple of obvious points about the examples which she trotted out to supposedly justify the retention of communications traffic data, belonging to over 450 million innocent people, for two years or even longer.

Now it is your chance to comment on Data Retention, either at Ideal Government or at the Open Rights Group or here on Spy Blog.:

At least someone in the Home Office media spin kremlin will have to read your contributions to the debate.

We have already commented at great length on how the vast number of CCTV surveillance spy cameras in the United Kingdom do not actually make us any safer e.g. "Insecure Beneath the Lidless Eye of Sauron ? - it is now time to license CCTV surveillance camera operators"

An email correspondent has drawn our attention to this Sunday's News of the World , who have published on their website, some CCTV footage (stills and Windows Media and RealVideo formats), allegedly of "Miss Dynamite", a pop star, apparently misbehaving drunkenly at a nightclub.

If you did not "know" that "Miss Dynamite" was involved, it would be very difficult to positively identify her from this CCTV "evidence".

Note how virtually impossible it would be to positively identify the bystander / witness outside the entrance, mooching about in a light coloured tracksuit , baseball cap and and hooded top with his hands in his pockets.

There are better quality CCTV images available, but much of it is of this sort of quality, useful for showing the time and date of an incident, but not as useful as most of the public imagines, from an identification point of view.

The World Weary Detective, a Metropolitan Police blogger, seems to support this view: "Watching You, Catching You, Locking You Up?"

Our correspondent asked: "Surely this is a violation of data protection act, for her and for others" pictured in the video stills and clips.?

The Defence Advisory Notice website, which has been offline for over a week, seems to have returned, with no explanation.

Given that during its absence, there has been the "MI6 station chief in Athens named by a Greek magazine" story , and the Craig Murray / FCO torture memos being published online, resulting in a lot of hype and spin about "UK Government D Notices" and censorship and the Official Secrets Act etc., this website should really have been available as a resource to the media and the public.

Given that the main Ministry of Defence website (192.5.30.131) appears to be on the same subnet as the DA Notice website (192.5.30.130), one has to assume that the same people are responsible for looking after both of them.

This episode does not fill us with any confidence in them, and could even be seen as a small propaganda victory for our enemies.

Perhaps there will be a bit of a public debate about the National DNA Database which we commented on yesterday, now that the The Guardian reports:

DNA of 37% of black men held by police

Home Office denies racial bias

James Randerson, science correspondent
Thursday January 5, 2006
The Guardian

The DNA profiles of nearly four in 10 black men in the UK are on the police's national database - compared with fewer than one in 10 white men, according to figures compiled by the Guardian.

Civil liberties groups and representatives of the black community said this offered evidence that the database reinforced racial biases in the criminal justice system. The Home Office denied this, saying most of the DNA came from people who had been charged and convicted of crimes. Only about 113,000 people who had been arrested but not charged were on the database, a spokeswoman said.

The figures, compiled using Home Office statistics and census data, show that 37% of black men have their DNA profile on the database compared with 13% of Asian men and 9% of white men.

[...]

The "ethnic appearance" of each person placed on the database is recorded - 82% of male profiles are white and 7% black, according to the Home Office. The number of men in different racial categories can then be compared with the number in the country as recorded in the 2001 national census.

A Home Office spokeswoman accepted that black men were disproportionately represented, but said figures on race were recorded differently in each case. DNA database figures were "based on the operational judgment of the arresting officer", whereas census figures on race were self-recorded.

[...]

So presumably the Home Office will be researching "ethnic marker" alleles to "scientifically" pigeon hole people racially instead..

See Paul Nutteing's articles for for an idea of how this is already being used, and the inaccuracies which can result.

The National DNA Database Expansion Programme figures have been published by the Home Office. The report is available online: DNA Expansion Programme 2000-2005: Reporting Achievement (.pdf)

It has been analysed somewhat by the BBC

Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 January 2006, 11:21 GMT

DNA database continues to swell

More than 3 million samples are in the DNA database
The number of samples held on the DNA database will rise to 4.25 million within two years, the Home Office says.

There are three million samples held at the moment, with some of the expansion due to law changes in 2001 and 2004.

[...]

Police can now track down offenders by matching samples with other family members who may be on the database.

The report does not provide any analysis of how many children's DNA samples are held on the NDNAD,

There are a couple of recent Parliamentary Answers on the subject, which reveal that 685,748 of the DNA records on the National DNA Database have been collected from children between the ages of 10 and 17 i.e. about 23 percent of the total, and are set to be retained for the rest of their lives (assuming that the table of figures given is not cumulative)

However, the controversial changes in the law which allow for the retention of DNA tissue samples, anaysed DNA "fingerprints" profiles and conventional fingerprints, even from the

139,463 people who have a DNA profile on the national DNA database (NDNAD) who have not been charged or cautioned with an offence.

do not seem to have yielded very impressive results so far according to the report:

Prescott's pie in the sky ?

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Yesterday, the Mail on Sunday (Council tax spy in the sky) and the Independent on Sunday (Prescott satellite to spy on your home)
both carried claims that Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott's bureaucratic empire was planning to use "spy satellites" in order to help with the increased taxation of private property.

Coming on top of NuLabour's other intrusive mass surveillance plans, it is right that people like Longrider should be furious.

However, why have none of the mainstream journalists bothered to ask how exactly commercially available satellite imagery , with a resolution of about 1 metre, could possibly be of any real use in determining if your kitchen extension etc. is breaking any planning permission rules or not ? Are we meant to believe that there are thousands of unplanned, shanty town buildings in the UK ?

If such extensions are not breaking the planning rules, then all the data for taxation purposes, unpopular as this will be, is already available to the local council planning departments, down to detailed architects drawings and plans.

Where is the evidence of such widespread failures of the planning inspectors, which casts sufficient doubt on the accuracy of these records, so as to make any remote sensing cost effective ?

Both Satellite and Aerial photography is mentioned, but the headlines and
today's denial in The Times only concentrate on Satellite imagery:

About this blog

This United Kingdom based blog attempts to draw public attention to, and comments on, some of the current trends in ever cheaper and more widespread surveillance technology being deployed to satisfy the rapacious demand by state and corporate bureaucracies and criminals for your private details, and the technological ignorance of our politicians and civil servants who frame our legal systems.

The hope is that you the readers, will help to insist that strong safeguards for the privacy of the individual are implemented, especially in these times of increased alert over possible terrorist or criminal activity. If the systems which should help to protect us can be easily abused to supress our freedoms, then the terrorists will have won.

We know that there are decent, honest, trustworthy individual politicians, civil servants, law enforcement, intelligence agency personnel and broadcast, print and internet journalists etc., who often feel powerless or trapped in the system. They need the assistance of external, detailed, informed, public scrutiny to help them to resist deliberate or unthinking policies, which erode our freedoms and liberties.

Email & PGP Contact

Please feel free to email your views about this blog, or news about the issues it tries to comment on.

blog@spy[dot]org[dot]uk

Our PGP public encryption key is available for those correspondents who wish to send us news or information in confidence, and also for those of you who value your privacy, even if you have got nothing to hide.

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

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You can download a free copy of the PGP encryption software from www.pgpi.org
(available for most of the common computer operating systems, and also in various Open Source versions like GPG)

We look forward to the day when UK Government Legislation, Press Releases and Emails etc. are Digitally Signed so that we can be assured that they are not fakes. Trusting that the digitally signed content makes any sense, is another matter entirely.

Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers and Political Dissidents

Please take the appropriate precautions if you are planning to blow the whistle on shadowy and powerful people in Government or commerce, and their dubious policies. The mainstream media and bloggers also need to take simple precautions to help preserve the anonymity of their sources e.g. see Spy Blog's Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers - or use this easier to remember link: http://ht4w.co.uk

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

Digital Security & Privacy for Human Rights Defenders manual, by Irish NGO Frontline Defenders.

Everyone’s Guide to By-Passing Internet Censorship for Citizens Worldwide (.pdf - 31 pages), by the Citizenlab at the University of Toronto.

Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents - March 2008 version - (2.2 Mb - 80 pages .pdf) by Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Guide to Covering the Beijing Olympics by Human Rights Watch.

A Practical Security Handbook for Activists and Campaigns (v 2.6) (.doc - 62 pages), by experienced UK direct action political activists

Anonymous Blogging with Wordpress & Tor - useful step by step guide with software configuration screenshots by Ethan Zuckerman at Global Voices Advocacy. (updated March 10th 2009 with the latest Tor / Vidalia bundle details)

Links

Watching Them, Watching Us

London 2600

Our UK Freedom of Information Act request tracking blog

WikiLeak.org - ethical and technical discussion about the WikiLeaks.org project for anonymous mass leaking of documents etc.

Privacy and Security

Privacy International
United Kingdom Privacy Profile (2011)

Cryptome - censored or leaked government documents etc.

Identity Project report by the London School of Economics
Surveillance & Society the fully peer-reviewed transdisciplinary online surveillance studies journal

Statewatch - monitoring the state and civil liberties in the European Union

The Policy Laundering Project - attempts by Governments to pretend their repressive surveillance systems, have to be introduced to comply with international agreements, which they themselves have pushed for in the first place

International Campaign Against Mass Surveillance

ARCH Action Rights for Children in Education - worried about the planned Children's Bill Database, Connexions Card, fingerprinting of children, CCTV spy cameras in schools etc.

Foundation for Information Policy Research
UK Crypto - UK Cryptography Policy Discussion Group email list

Technical Advisory Board on internet and telecomms interception under RIPA

European Digital Rights

Open Rights Group - a UK version of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a clearinghouse to raise digital rights and civil liberties issues with the media and to influence Governments.

Digital Rights Ireland - legal case against mandatory EU Comms Data Retention etc.

Blindside - "What’s going to go wrong in our e-enabled world? " blog and wiki and Quarterly Report will supposedly be read by the Cabinet Office Central Sponsor for Information Assurance. Whether the rest of the Government bureaucracy and the Politicians actually listen to the CSIA, is another matter.

Biometrics in schools - 'A concerned parent who doesn't want her children to live in "1984" type society.'

Human Rights

Liberty Human Rights campaigners

British Institute of Human Rights
Amnesty International
Justice

Prevent Genocide International

asboconcern - campaign for reform of Anti-Social Behavior Orders

Front Line Defenders - Irish charity - Defenders of Human Rights Defenders

Internet Censorship

OpenNet Initiative - researches and measures the extent of actual state level censorship of the internet. Features a blocked web URL checker and censorship map.

Committee to Protect Bloggers - "devoted to the protection of bloggers worldwide with a focus on highlighting the plight of bloggers threatened and imprisoned by their government."

Reporters without Borders internet section - news of internet related censorship and repression of journalists, bloggers and dissidents etc.

Judicial Links

British and Irish Legal Information Institute - publishes the full text of major case Judgments

Her Majesty's Courts Service - publishes forthcoming High Court etc. cases (but only in the next few days !)

House of Lords - The Law Lords are currently the supreme court in the UK - will be moved to the new Supreme Court in October 2009.

Information Tribunal - deals with appeals under FOIA, DPA both for and against the Information Commissioner

Investigatory Powers Tribunal - deals with complaints about interception and snooping under RIPA - has almost never ruled in favour of a complainant.

Parliamentary Opposition

The incompetent yet authoritarian Labour party have not apologised for their time in Government. They are still not providing any proper Opposition to the current Conservative - Liberal Democrat coalition government, on any freedom or civil liberties or privacy or surveillance issues.

UK Government

Home Office - "Not fit for purpose. It is inadequate in terms of its scope, it is inadequate in terms of its information technology, leadership, management systems and processes" - Home Secretary John Reid. 23rd May 2006. Not quite the fount of all evil legislation in the UK, but close.

No. 10 Downing Street Prime Minister's Official Spindoctors

Public Bills before Parliament

United Kingdom Parliament
Home Affairs Committee of the House of Commons.

House of Commons "Question Book"

UK Statute Law Database - is the official revised edition of the primary legislation of the United Kingdom made available online, but it is not yet up to date.

FaxYourMP - identify and then fax your Member of Parliament
WriteToThem - identify and then contact your Local Councillors, members of devolved assemblies, Member of Parliament, Members of the European Parliament etc.
They Work For You - House of Commons Hansard made more accessible ? UK Members of the European Parliament

Read The Bills Act - USA proposal to force politicians to actually read the legislation that they are voting for, something which is badly needed in the UK Parliament.

Bichard Inquiry delving into criminal records and "soft intelligence" policies highlighted by the Soham murders. (taken offline by the Home Office)

ACPO - Association of Chief Police Officers - England, Wales and Northern Ireland
ACPOS Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland

Online Media

Boing Boing

Need To Know [now defunct]

The Register

NewsNow Encryption and Security aggregate news feed
KableNet - UK Government IT project news
PublicTechnology.net - UK eGovernment and public sector IT news
eGov Monitor

Ideal Government - debate about UK eGovernment

NIR and ID cards

Stand - email and fax campaign on ID Cards etc. [Now defunct]. The people who supported stand.org.uk have gone on to set up other online tools like WriteToThem.com. The Government's contemptuous dismissal of over 5,000 individual responses via the stand.org website to the Home Office public consultation on Entitlement Cards is one of the factors which later led directly to the formation of the the NO2ID Campaign who have been marshalling cross party opposition to Labour's dreadful National Identity Register compulsory centralised national biometric database and ID Card plans, at the expense of simpler, cheaper, less repressive, more effective, nore secure and more privacy friendly alternative identity schemes.

NO2ID - opposition to the Home Office's Compulsory Biometric ID Card
NO2ID bulletin board discussion forum

Home Office Identity Cards website
No compulsory national Identity Cards (ID Cards) BBC iCan campaign site
UK ID Cards blog
NO2ID press clippings blog
CASNIC - Campaign to STOP the National Identity Card.
Defy-ID active meetings and protests in Glasgow
www.idcards-uk.info - New Alliance's ID Cards page
irefuse.org - total rejection of any UK ID Card

International Civil Aviation Organisation - Machine Readable Travel Documents standards for Biometric Passports etc.
Anti National ID Japan - controversial and insecure Jukinet National ID registry in Japan
UK Biometrics Working Group run by CESG/GCHQ experts etc. the UK Government on Biometrics issues feasability
Citizen Information Project feasability study population register plans by the Treasury and Office of National Statistics

CommentOnThis.com - comments and links to each paragraph of the Home Office's "Strategic Action Plan for the National Identity Scheme".

De-Materialised ID - "The voluntary alternative to material ID cards, A Proposal by David Moss of Business Consultancy Services Ltd (BCSL)" - well researched analysis of the current Home Office scheme, and a potentially viable alternative.

Surveillance Infrastructures

National Roads Telecommunications Services project - infrastruture for various mass surveillance systems, CCTV, ANPR, PMMR imaging etc.

CameraWatch - independent UK CCTV industry lobby group - like us, they also want more regulation of CCTV surveillance systems.

Every Step You Take a documentary about CCTV surveillance in the Uk by Austrian film maker Nino Leitner.

Transport for London an attempt at a technological panopticon - London Congestion Charge, London Low-Emission Zone, Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras, tens of thousands of CCTV cameras on buses, thousands of CCTV cameras on London Underground, realtime road traffic CCTV, Iyster smart cards - all handed over to the Metropolitan Police for "national security" purposes, in real time, in bulk, without any public accountibility, for secret data mining, exempt from even the usual weak protections of the Data Protection Act 1998.

RFID Links

RFID tag privacy concerns - our own original article updated with photos

NoTags - campaign against individual item RFID tags
Position Statement on the Use of RFID on Consumer Products has been endorsed by a large number of privacy and human rights organisations.
RFID Privacy Happenings at MIT
Surpriv: RFID Surveillance and Privacy
RFID Scanner blog
RFID Gazette
The Sorting Door Project

RFIDBuzz.com blog - where we sometimes crosspost RFID articles

Genetic Links

DNA Profiles - analysis by Paul Nutteing
GeneWatch UK monitors genetic privacy and other issues
Postnote February 2006 Number 258 - National DNA Database (.pdf) - Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology

The National DNA Database Annual Report 2004/5 (.pdf) - published by the NDNAD Board and ACPO.

Eeclaim Your DNA from Britain's National DNA Database - model letters and advice on how to have your DNA samples and profiles removed from the National DNA Database,in spite of all of the nureacratic obstacles which try to prevent this, even if you are innocent.

Miscellanous Links

Michael Field - Pacific Island news - no longer a paradise
freetotravel.org - John Gilmore versus USA internal flight passports and passenger profiling etc.

The BUPA Seven - whistleblowers badly let down by the system.

Tax Credit Overpayment - the near suicidal despair inflicted on poor, vulnerable people by the then Chancellor Gordon Brown's disasterous Inland Revenue IT system.

Fassit UK - resources and help for those abused by the Social Services Childrens Care bureaucracy

Former Spies

MI6 v Tomlinson - Richard Tomlinson - still being harassed by his former employer MI6

Martin Ingram, Welcome To The Dark Side - former British Army Intelligence operative in Northern Ireland.

Operation Billiards - Mitrokhin or Oshchenko ? Michael John Smith - seeking to overturn his Official Secrets Act conviction in the GEC case.

The Dirty Secrets of MI5 & MI6 - Tony Holland, Michael John Smith and John Symond - stories and chronologies.

Naked Spygirl - Olivia Frank

Blog Links

e-nsecure.net blog - Comments on IT security and Privacy or the lack thereof.
Rat's Blog -The Reverend Rat writes about London street life and technology
Duncan Drury - wired adventures in Tanzania & London
Dr. K's blog - Hacker, Author, Musician, Philosopher

David Mery - falsely arrested on the London Tube - you could be next.

James Hammerton
White Rose - a thorn in the side of Big Brother
Big Blunkett
Into The Machine - formerly "David Blunkett is an Arse" by Charlie Williams and Scribe
infinite ideas machine - Phil Booth
Louise Ferguson - City of Bits
Chris Lightfoot
Oblomovka - Danny O'Brien

Liberty Central

dropsafe - Alec Muffett
The Identity Corner - Stefan Brands
Kim Cameron - Microsoft's Identity Architect
Schneier on Security - Bruce Schneier
Politics of Privacy Blog - Andreas Busch
solarider blog

Richard Allan - former Liberal Democrat MP for Sheffield Hallam
Boris Johnson Conservative MP for Henley
Craig Murray - former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan, "outsourced torture" whistleblower

Howard Rheingold - SmartMobs
Global Guerrillas - John Robb
Roland Piquepaille's Technology Trends

Vmyths - debunking computer security hype

Nick Leaton - Random Ramblings
The Periscope - Companion weblog to Euro-correspondent.com journalist network.
The Practical Nomad Blog Edward Hasbrouck on Privacy and Travel
Policeman's Blog
World Weary Detective

Martin Stabe
Longrider
B2fxxx - Ray Corrigan
Matt Sellers
Grits for Breakfast - Scott Henson in Texas
The Green Ribbon - Tom Griffin
Guido Fawkes blog - Parliamentary plots, rumours and conspiracy.
The Last Ditch - Tom Paine
Murky.org
The (e)State of Tim - Tim Hicks
Ilkley Against CCTV
Tim Worstall
Bill's Comment Page - Bill Cameron
The Society of Qualified Archivists
The Streeb-Greebling Diaries - Bob Mottram

Your Right To Know - Heather Brooke - Freedom off Information campaigning journalist

Ministry of Truth _ Unity's V for Vendetta styled blog.

Bloggerheads - Tim Ireland

W. David Stephenson blogs on homeland security et al.
EUrophobia - Nosemonkey

Blogzilla - Ian Brown

BlairWatch - Chronicling the demise of the New Labour Project

dreamfish - Robert Longstaff

Informaticopia - Rod Ward

War-on-Freedom

The Musings of Harry

Chicken Yoghurt - Justin McKeating

The Red Tape Chronicles - Bob Sullivan MSNBC

Campaign Against the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Stop the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Rob Wilton's esoterica

panGloss - Innovation, Technology and the Law

Arch Rights - Action on Rights for Children blog

Database Masterclass - frequently asked questions and answers about the several centralised national databases of children in the UK.

Shaphan

Moving On

Steve Moxon blog - former Home Office whistleblower and author.

Al-Muhajabah's Sundries - anglophile blog

Architectures of Control in Design - Dan Lockton

rabenhorst - Kai Billen (mostly in German)

Nearly Perfect Privacy - Tiffany and Morpheus

Iain Dale's Diary - a popular Conservative political blog

Brit Watch - Public Surveillance in the UK - Web - Email - Databases - CCTV - Telephony - RFID - Banking - DNA

BLOGDIAL

MySecured.com - smart mobile phone forensics, information security, computer security and digital forensics by a couple of Australian researchers

Ralph Bendrath

Financial Cryptography - Ian Grigg et al.

UK Liberty - A blog on issues relating to liberty in the UK

Big Brother State - "a small act of resistance" to the "sustained and systematic attack on our personal freedom, privacy and legal system"

HosReport - "Crisis. Conspiraciones. Enigmas. Conflictos. Espionaje." - Carlos Eduardo Hos (in Spanish)

"Give 'em hell Pike!" - Frank Fisher

Corruption-free Anguilla - Good Governance and Corruption in Public Office Issues in the British Overseas Territory of Anguilla in the West Indies - Don Mitchell CBE QC

geeklawyer - intellectual property, civil liberties and the legal system

PJC Journal - I am not a number, I am a free Man - The Prisoner

Charlie's Diary - Charlie Stross

The Caucus House - blog of the Chicago International Model United Nations

Famous for 15 Megapixels

Postman Patel

The 4th Bomb: Tavistock Sq Daniel's 7:7 Revelations - Daniel Obachike

OurKingdom - part of OpenDemocracy - " will discuss Britain’s nations, institutions, constitution, administration, liberties, justice, peoples and media and their principles, identity and character"

Beau Bo D'Or blog by an increasingly famous digital political cartoonist.

Between Both Worlds - "Thoughts & Ideas that Reflect the Concerns of Our Conscious Evolution" - Kingsley Dennis

Bloggerheads: The Alisher Usmanov Affair - the rich Uzbek businessman and his shyster lawyers Schillings really made a huge counterproductive error in trying to censor the blogs of Tim Ireland, of all people.

Matt Wardman political blog analysis

Henry Porter on Liberty - a leading mainstream media commentator and opinion former who is doing more than most to help preserve our freedom and liberty.

HMRC is shite - "dedicated to the taxpayers of Britain, and the employees of the HMRC, who have to endure the monumental shambles that is Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC)."

Head of Legal - Carl Gardner a former legal advisor to the Government

The Landed Underclass - Voice of the Banana Republic of Great Britain

Henrik Alexandersson - Swedish blogger threatened with censorship by the Försvarets Radioanstalt (FRA), the Swedish National Defence Radio Establishement, their equivalent of the UK GCHQ or the US NSA.

World's First Fascist Democracy - blog with link to a Google map - "This map is an attempt to take a UK wide, geographical view, of both the public and the personal effect of State sponsored fear and distrust as seen through the twisted technological lens of petty officials and would be bureaucrats nationwide."

Blogoir - Charles Crawford - former UK Ambassodor to Poland etc.

No CCTV - The Campaign against CCTV

Barcode Nation - keeping two eyes on the database state.

Lords of the Blog - group blog by half a dozen or so Peers sitting in the House of Lords.

notes from the ubiquitous surveillance society - blog by Dr. David Murakami Wood, editor of the online academic journal Surveillance and Society

Justin Wylie's political blog

Panopticon blog - by Timothy Pitt-Payne and Anya Proops. Timothy Pitt-Payne is probably the leading legal expert on the UK's Freedom of Information Act law, often appearing on behlaf of the Information Commissioner's Office at the Information Tribunal.

Armed and Dangerous - Sex, software, politics, and firearms. Life’s simple pleasures… - by Open Source Software advocate Eric S. Raymond.

Georgetown Security Law Brief - group blog by the Georgetown Law Center on National Security and the Law , at Georgtown University, Washington D.C, USA.

Big Brother Watch - well connected with the mainstream media, this is a campaign blog by the TaxPayersAlliance, which thankfully does not seem to have spawned Yet Another Campaign Organisation as many Civil Liberties groups had feared.

Spy on Moseley - "Sparkbrook, Springfield, Washwood Heath and Bordesley Green. An MI5 Intelligence-gathering operation to spy on Muslim communities in Birmingham is taking liberties in every sense" - about 150 ANPR CCTV cameras funded by Home Office via the secretive Terrorism and Allied Matters (TAM) section of ACPO.

FitWatch blog - keeps an eye on the activities of some of the controversial Police Forward Intelligence Teams, who supposedly only target "known troublemakers" for photo and video surveillance, at otherwise legal, peaceful protests and demonstrations.

Other Links

Spam Huntress - The Norwegian Spam Huntress - Ann Elisabeth

Fuel Crisis Blog - Petrol over £1 per litre ! Protest !
Mayor of London Blog
London Olympics 2012 - NO !!!!

Cool Britannia

NuLabour

Free Gary McKinnon - UK citizen facing extradition to the USA for "hacking" over 90 US Military computer systems.

Parliament Protest - information and discussion on peaceful resistance to the arbitrary curtailment of freedom of assembly and freedom of speech, in the excessive Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 Designated Area around Parliament Square in London.

Brian Burnell's British / US nuclear weapons history at http://nuclear-weapons.info

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UK Legislation

The United Kingdom suffers from tens of thousands of pages of complicated criminal laws, and thousands of new, often unenforceable criminal offences, which have been created as a "Pretend to be Seen to Be Doing Something" response to tabloid media hype and hysteria, and political social engineering dogmas. These overbroad, catch-all laws, which remove the scope for any judicial appeals process, have been rubber stamped, often without being read, let alone properly understood, by Members of Parliament.

The text of many of these Acts of Parliament are now online, but it is still too difficult for most people, including the police and criminal justice system, to work out the cumulative effect of all the amendments, even for the most serious offences involving national security or terrorism or serious crime.

Many MPs do not seem to bother to even to actually read the details of the legislation which they vote to inflict on us.

UK Legislation Links

UK Statute Law Database - is the official revised edition of the primary legislation of the United Kingdom made available online, but it is not yet up to date.

UK Commissioners

UK Commissioners some of whom are meant to protect your privacy and investigate abuses by the bureaucrats.

UK Intelligence Agencies

Intelligence and Security Committee - the supposedly independent Parliamentary watchdog which issues an annual, heavily censored Report every year or so. Currently chaired by the Conservative Sir Malcolm Rifkind. Why should either the intelligence agencies or the public trust this committee, when the untrustworthy ex-Labour Minister Hazel Blears is a member ?

Anti-terrorism hotline - links removed in protest at the Climate of Fear propaganda posters

MI5 Security Service
MI5 Security Service - links to encrypted reporting form removed in protest at the Climate of Fear propaganda posters

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

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Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure - "CPNI provides expert advice to the critical national infrastructure on physical, personnel and information security, to protect against terrorism and other threats."

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Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) recruitment.

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Government Communications Headquarters GCHQ

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

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Defence Advisory (DA) Notice system - voluntary self censorship by the established UK press and broadcast media regarding defence and intelligence topics via the Defence, Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee.

Foreign Spies / Intelliegence Agencies in the UK

It is not just the UK government which tries to snoop on British companies, organisations and individuals, the rest of the world is constantly trying to do the same, regardless of the mixed efforts of our own UK Intelligence Agencies who are paid to supposedly protect us from them.

For no good reason, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office only keeps the current version of the London Diplomatic List of accredited Diplomats (including some Foreign Intelligence Agency operatives) online.

Presumably every mainstream media organisation, intelligence agency, serious organised crime or terrorist gang keeps historical copies, so here are some older versions of the London Diplomatic List, for the benefit of web search engine queries, for those people who do not want their visits to appear in the FCO web server logfiles or those whose censored internet feeds block access to UK Government websites.

Campaign Button Links

Watching Them, Watching Us - UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign
UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign

NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card
NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card and National Identity Register centralised database.

Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.
Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.

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FreeFarid.com - Kafkaesque extradition of Farid Hilali under the European Arrest Warrant to Spain

Peaceful resistance to the curtailment of our rights to Free Assembly and Free Speech in the SOCPA Designated Area around Parliament Square and beyond
Parliament Protest blog - resistance to the Designated Area restricting peaceful demonstrations or lobbying in the vicinity of Parliament.

Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans
Data Retention is No Solution - Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans.

Save Parliament: Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)
Save Parliament - Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)

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Open Rights Group

The Big Opt Out Campaign - opt out of having your NHS Care Record medical records and personal details stored insecurely on a massive national centralised database.

Tor - the onion routing network
Tor - the onion routing network - "Tor aims to defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal anonymity and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security. Communications are bounced around a distributed network of servers called onion routers, protecting you from websites that build profiles of your interests, local eavesdroppers that read your data or learn what sites you visit, and even the onion routers themselves."

Tor - the onion routing network
Anonymous Blogging with Wordpress and Tor - useful Guide published by Global Voices Advocacy with step by step software configuration screenshots (updated March 10th 2009).

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Amnesty International's irrepressible.info campaign

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BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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

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Home Office Watch blog, "a single repository of all the shambolic errors and mistakes made by the British Home Office compiled from Parliamentary Questions, news reports, and tip-offs by the Liberal Democrat Home Affairs team."

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

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Committee to Protect Bloggers - "devoted to the protection of bloggers worldwide with a focus on highlighting the plight of bloggers threatened and imprisoned by their government."

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

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No CCTV - The Campaign Against CCTV

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I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist !

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Power 2010 cross party, political reform campaign

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Cracking the Black Box - "aims to expose technology that is being used in inappropriate ways. We hope to bring together the insights of experts and whistleblowers to shine a light into the dark recesses of systems that are responsible for causing many of the privacy problems faced by millions of people."

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

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WhistleblowersUK.org - Fighting for justice for whistleblowers