March 2006 Archives

Three controversial Bills which we have been commenting on have now gained their Royal Assent and are now the law of the land. Will any of the Opposition parties make manifesto commitments to repeal these Acts in part, or entirely ?

It is utterly depressing that the Terrorism Act 2006 and the Identity Cards Act 2006 have now passed into law when they are such bad written pieces of legislation which will criminalise innocent people, but will fail to catch many of the serious criminals and terrorists which the Labour Government pretends to itself that they are aimed at.

They are another "rod for our own backs" in the hands of a future, even more repressive Government than this Labour one, which seems to be proving that "the road to hell is paved with good intentions"..

Why are they letting the terrorists and other enemies of this country win a propaganda victory, by destroying the freedoms and liberties which used to differentiate us from authortarian police states ?

ROYAL ASSENT

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Alan Haselhurst): I have to notify the House, in accordance with the Royal Assent Act 1967, that the Queen has signified her Royal Assent to the following Acts:

Appropriation Act 2006

Council Tax (New Valuation Lists for England) Act 2006

Merchant Shipping (Pollution) Act 2006

Criminal Defence Service Act 2006

National Insurance Contributions Act 2006

Terrorism Act 2006

London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006

Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006

Consumer Credit Act 2006

Identity Cards Act 2006

Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006


30 Mar 2006 : Column 1062

Kudos to Unity at Talk Politics and the Liberty Central website for bringing some small measure of sense to the attention of the Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Lynne Feathersone, who tabled an Amendment during the Commons Committee stage consideration of the controversial Clause 35 of the Police and Justice Bill, which seeks to amend the obsolete, pre-internet Computer Misuse Act 1990.

This Amendment in turn prompted a very late Government Amendenent by Hazel Blears, the Home Office Minister, which has improved the "catch all" nature of the orginal wording, which threatened to criminilise almost every competent IT systems adminsitrator, penetration tester and security or network utilty software programmer in the UK, and, given the global reach of the Computer Misuse Act 1990, the rest of the world as well.

We hope that our blog posts such as this and this on the subject have also contributed to the debate.

The relevant Standing Committee D 7th session proceedings from 28th March 2006 are now online..

Michael Fabricant: My hon. Friend makes an interesting point. Government amendment No. 148 refers to

“believing that it is likely to be so used.”

That creates a duty of care. The Minister will probably strengthen or endorse the amendment by stating that there is a duty of care to ensure that the software does not fall into the hands of those who might use it unlawfully.

The issue is important, and it is right that magazines have identified it. I assume that it was Computer Weekly—[Interruption.] It is in fact the Liberty Central website, with which I am not familiar. Nevertheless, we welcome the fact that Liberty Central has identified the issue. Given the constant liaisons, night and day, and at weekends, between the chairman of the all-party internet group and the Minister, and the fact that the Home Office is so dependant on the hon. Member for Sittingbourne and Sheppey for the very workings of government, I am shocked that it has taken so long for the Government amendment to arrive. Nevertheless, despite its belated appearance, I welcome it.

Column Number: 265

Unfortunately, as we predicted earlier the other inadequate amendments to the Computer Misuse Act went through "on the nod" with no debate. There should be a whole Bill devoted to Computer and Telecomms security, not just these three amendments tagged on to the much larger Police and Justice Bill.

There was an utterly cringeworthy self-congratulatory speech by the Chairman of the All Party Internet Group (APIG), who had failed to spot the overbroad, "catch all" nature of Clause 35 as ariginally worded, and whose Clause 34 supposedly dealing with Denial of Service attacks is also flawed, despite about 3 years of "consultations":

The Prime Minister Tony Blair has, apparently, made a Wriiten Statement on the "Wilson Doctrine", from the safe distance of Jakarta in Indonesia.

We await the official text to be The text of the statement has now published online (see below), but the "PMOS" the Prime Minister's Official Spokeperson was questioned about it during today's morning press briefing.

Our original questions, and the various Parliamentary Questions tabled by MPs, do not appear to have been answered. e.g. who exactly does the "Wilson Doctrine" now appliy to, given that there are several more Parliaments and Assemblies which are directly elected by the British people, than there were back in 1966, when the then Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson made his promise to the House of Coomons that Member's of Parliament would never have their telephones tapped.

The PMOS statement and the media reports do not make it clear if mobile phones or the internet, neither of which existed in 1966, are, or are not, covered by the renewed "Wilson Doctrine".

The statement only talks of "consultations" about the advice from the outgoing Intercepttom of Communications Commissioner Rt. Hon. Sir Swinton Thomas, who is succeeded by Rt. Hon. Sir Paul Kennedy in April.

UPDATE: Here is the text of the Prime Minister's statementt which fails to answer any of the questions about the current scope and applicability of the 40 year old "Wilson Doctrine"., which could have been answered without putting any national security investigations or methods and procedures at risk.

This statement does rather give the impression that Tony Blair must have something to hidee, along the the lines of the Francois Mitterand or Richard Nixon bugging of political allies and opponents scandals.

House of Commons Hansard Written Ministerial Statements for 30 Mar 2006 (pt 7)


PRIME MINISTER
Wilson Doctrine

The Prime Minister (Mr. Tony Blair): In answer to questions in the House of Commons on 17 November 1966, the then Prime Minister, the right hon. Harold Wilson MP, said that he had given instructions that there was to be no tapping of the telephones of Members of Parliament and that if there were a development which required a change of policy he would at such a

30 Mar 2006 : Column 96WS

moment as was compatible with the security of the country make a statement in the House about it. This approach, known as the Wilson Doctrine, has been maintained under successive administrations.

The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 updated existing laws and set in place new legal procedures governing the interception of communications carried on both public and private telecommunications systems. I advised the House in a Written Ministerial Statement on 15 December 2005, Official Report, column 173WS, that I had received advice from the Interception of Communications Commissioner, the right hon. Sir Swinton Thomas, on his view of the implications for the Wilson Doctrine of the regulatory framework established under that Act.

It was Sir Swinton's advice, taking into account the new and robust regulatory framework governing interception and the changed circumstances since 1966, that the Wilson Doctrine should not be sustained.

I have considered Sir Swinton's advice very seriously, together with concerns expressed in this House in response to my written ministerial statement on 15 December. I have decided that the Wilson Doctrine should be maintained.

Oliver Heald the Conservative Member of Parliament for North East Hertfordshire, has written to Spy Blog asking for his article on the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill to be published.

We are happy to do so, and also welcome comments or articles from any other political parties on this topic or others which we try to mention at Spy Blog.

Oliver Heald has also contributed letters and articles to the Campaign Against the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill blog.

Does this mean that British political weblogs are now starting to be noticed within the "Westminster village" ?

Although web server statistics visitor anlaysis is not an exact science, what with RSS and XML syndication and aggregation, and caching proxy servers and spam attacks etc. with around 4000 unique visits a day, Spy Blog appears to have a wider readership than many local newspapers, or specialist magazines.

Oliver Heald's article:

Incredibly, both Houses of Parliament have voted for an amendment which means that you will still have to pay £30 and have your biometric details recorded on the centralised National Identity Register, even if you do not choose to be issued with an actual ID Card when you apply for a Passport (and pay the separate Passport fee).

This phony "compromise opt out" from having to get an ID card with a passport only applies until 1st January 2010 i.e. probably before the next General Election in May 2010.

It does not apply to anything except Passports, so foreigners applying for residence permits will be caught much earlier.

If the Government decides to sneakily Designate other documents like Driving Licences or Criminal Records Bureau checks (despite currently claiming to have no plans to do so), they will also not be exempt.

The politicians appear to be spinning the line that if you do not have a physical ID Card, but you are registered on the NIR, that you will not be generating the tracking audit trail transactions.

This is, of course, hopelessly wrong, since any use of the National Identity Register Number or any "one to many" Biometric Verifdications against the central database (targether than the technologically easier "one to one" verifications of your Biometric Identifiers against what is stored on the ID SmartCard) will hopefully be recorded on the audit trail logfiles.

It seems unlikely that, for example, the e-borders programme, which is similar in concept to the US VISIT system, will eschew the chance to check your fingerprints or iris scans or facial biometrics against the central National Identity Register, even if you have an old style Passport or a new one but no ID Card per se.

The police and intelligence agencies, and the vast number of other Government departments will still be able to access the data on the NIR, even if you have not been issued with an ID Card, or if you never use it in a Biometric Reader device.

The only advantage to not having an ID Card if you apply for a Passport, between now and 2010, is that the provisions in the Bill which relate to notification of change of name or address details or changes to other data on the Register, only apply to people to whom an ID card has been issued (voluntarily or by compulsion) .

The Commons Today version of Hansard (which will be has been replaced by the full version of Hansard at 8.30am) has the list of MPs who voted in this final vote on the Identity Cards Bill 2005:

Ayes: 301 Noes: 84

UPDATE: The Public Whip site now has the full breakdown of the vote. Neither Tony Blair (why exactly is he away on some foreign trip funded by the taxpayer ?), nor Gordon Brown bothered to attend, and neither did the disgraced David Blunkett, who started all this malarky back in January 2002.

Most Conservatives abstained, but 24 of them including their Home Affairs front bench spokesmen David Davis, Edward Garnier and Patrick Mercer voted with the Labour Government. Only 8 Conservatives voted against the motion with the Liberal Democrats. David Cameron was absent..

It seems that David Cameron's NuTories cannot be trusted on civil liberties issues any more than Michael Howard's Tories could be.

Why are they collaborating with NuLabour ?

What does this mean for other vital votes such as the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill ?

The list of MPs who voted:

What sort of a "compromise" on the Identity Cards Bill is it which the Conservatives have helped to vote through in the House of Lords today ?

Our objections to the "compulsion by stealth" through the automatic linking of Designated Documents (initially , but not exclusively Passports) has been to the compulsory National identity Register centralised biometric database, not to an ID card per se.

The sense of betrayal by party politicians is a feeling we share with NO2ID Campaign activists.

There seems little chance that the House of Commons will see sense at the last minute and block this wretched legislation.

A Delegated Legislation Standing Committee of House of Commons is due to debate the Draft The Information Sharing Index (England) Regulations 2006 today.

When the controversial Children Act 2004 was passed, with its powers to create another massive national database, on all the children and their parents or guardians in England and Wales, there were vague promises that the Government would publish "regulations" which would safeguard such sensitive data.

This database is initially costed at £224 million, over 3 years, but camapaign groups such as Action on Rights for Children share our fears about the cost, both in terms of money and in privacy. There is the very real danger that children will suffer because of the destruction of professional advisor / client confidentiality.

UPDATE: The full Statutory Instrument 2006 No. 983 - The Information Sharing Index (England) Regulations 2006 is now online which appears to be identical to the dradt discussed below:

Reading the Draft Information Sharing Index (England) Regulations 2006, the only "safeguard" appears to be a 3 year Data Retention period.

The Draft Statutory Instrument even re-emphasises that this enabling power can be used to disclose this information, to whoever the Government wants to, and such disclosures

may be made notwithstanding any rule of common law which prohibits or restricts the disclosure of information.

i.e. it deliberately overrides the Common Law duty of confidentiality

(3) Information disclosed under these Regulations, or information provided by a Secretary of State under section 12(9) of the Act, in respect of any person to whom arrangements specified in section 12(1) of the Act relate, may not be processed—

(a) to support measures or decisions with respect to that person; or

If the data is not being collected to "support measures or decisions with respect to that person", then why is it being collected centrally in the first place ?

(b) in such a way that substantial damage or substantial distress is, or is likely to be, caused to that person.

If the "damage or distress" is less than "substantial", then, according to this Draft Statutory Instrument, is it going to be permitted ?

In whose opinion is the "damage or distress" going to be judged as being "substantial" ?

The data which they are initially going to demand for this Children Index:

The Association of Chief Police Officers website has now published the

"The National DNA Database Annual Report 2004/5" (.pdf)

There is little in this report which addresses the privacy and security worries which we have about the unprecedented growth of this National DNA Database.

This report actually lists the main recommendations of the various independent reviews of DNA database policy over the years. It then goes on to reject all the most important privacy safeguards that Parliamentary Committees and others have recommended.

Bully Watch London is another, no doubt worthy scheme, which is using CCTV surveillance metaphors in its creepy advertising campaign with posters at London Underground stations etc.

Bully Watch London's  creepy CCTV surveillance poster

Why is the crowd of bystanders with their heads replaced by CCTV cameras just passively and voyeuristically snooping on the presumed bullying incident in the middle of the school playground ?

What sort of NuLabour Orwellian newspeak is the word "Bullywatch" anyway ? Even their logo uses an amended CCTV camera warning sign image:

BWLogoBlack.gif

However, there is no evidence whatsoever that CCTV surveillance cameras have any positive impact on bullying at all. If the Police do not have the resources to look through CCTV footage for minor incidents, then who else does ?

The House of Lords has now finally voted to accept the Government's "glorification" clauses in the Terrorism Bill 2005

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 60; Not-Contents, 172.

Unfortunately, this also means that the last opportunity to amend the other repressive powers in this Bill has now been lost.

The Bill will now get the Royal Assent and become another of Nulabour's repressive Acts of Parliament on the Statute Book, which will be of little use in protecting us against real attacks, but which will scoop up innocent people into the Kafkaesque bureaucratic "anti-terrorism" system, and will also have a chilling effect on free speech.

It does not matter if the current NuLabour Government and the current police and security bureaucracy does not intend to abuse these powers. They have made now made a further legislative "rod for our own backs" for the future.

The terrorists have won another propaganda victory, by tricking the Government into removing more of our fundamental freedoms, which is exactly what our terrorist enemies are trying to achieve.

The House of Lords is preparing itself for the next round of Parliamentary ping pong over the controversial Identity Cards Bill 2005

22 Mar 2006 : Column 137

Identity Cards Bill

The Bill was returned from the Commons with certain Commons amendments to which the Lords have disagreed not insisted on and with the Lords amendments disagreed to; the Commons reasons were ordered to be printed.

There is now an Amendment by Lord Armstrong of Ilminster, who sits on the Cross Benches. He is the former "Sir Humphrey Appleby" Cabinet Secretary and former head of the Civil Service, who coined the phrase "economical with the truth" during the Peter Wright "Spycatcher" book publication affair. This book contained allegations about the illegal activities of "rogue" MI5 agents and plots against the Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson, the publication of which , the then Conservative government tried to supress.

His amendment would create an individual "Opt Out" from Compulsion to be Registered on the centralised biometric database, via an application for a Designated Document, i.e. a Passport.

This is better from a civil liberties point of view. than the previously rejected Lords' amendment, which conceded the principle about compulsion, albeit after a delay until after the next General Election. Lord Armstrong's Amendment if passed, would be a permanent Opt Out, without any time limit during the so called "voluntary phase" of the scheme.

Presumably the Government will oppose this amendment, sometime next week after the Budget debates.

UPDATE: It seems that this coming Tuesday 28th March 2006 is the date set for

Identity Cards Bill—Consideration of Commons Reasons [The Baroness Scotland of Asthal]

The Lords' Amendments:

Cabinet Minister Jim Murphy has yet again failed to provide any firm proposals for constitutional safeguards to primary legislation or "constititional" Acts of Parliament when questioned on Tuesday by several MPs about the controversial Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill 2006.

See Hansard 21 Mar 2006 : Column 152

Of slight interest to those of us campaigning against this aspect of the Bill is:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Cabinet Office (Mr. Jim Murphy): Since the introduction of the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill to Parliament on 11 January, I have received about 50 representations from the private and public sectors as well as from individuals.

How many of those 50 "representations" fully support the current wording of the Bill ?

Send the Minister your views about this wretched Bill:-

Another "Wilson Doctrine" non-Answer

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Parliament and the general public have been given another non-answer by the Prime Minister, regarding the "Wilson Doctrine" which has failed to clarify the supposed immunity from telephone interecption historically enjoyed by Members of Parliament.

The many unanswered questions about this issue will not simply be forgotten.

What is so difficult about being open and transparent about whom the current policy applies to and which modern communications technologies are included ? What have the Government got to hide ?

When will the outgoing Interception of Communications Commissioner Sir Swinton Thomas publish his report for last year ? WIll it mention the "Wilson Doctrine" ? It is a scandal that the 2004 annual report was not made public until November 2005.

Will the newly appointed Sir Paul Kennedy be more open and accountable to the public ?

21 Mar 2006 : Column 250W

[...]

PRIME MINISTER

Wilson Doctrine

Norman Baker: To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to his written statement of 15 December 2005, Official Report, column 173WS, on the Wilson Doctrine, when he expects to make a further statement. [60533]

The Prime Minister: I have nothing further to add to my written ministerial statement, 15 December 2005, Official Report, column 173WS and my answers at Prime Minister's Questions on 18 and 25 January.

The House of Commons has voted on a Motion to Disagree with the Lords Message and Amendments to the Identity Cards Bill 2005, in the latest round of Parliamentary Ping Pong:

Ayes 284 Noes 241

The Bill is now heading back to the Lords again, presumably for another vote tonight.

Will the Lords change their Amendments, or will they re-present the current "compromise" which, unfortunately, concedes the principle of "compulsion by stealth" via the linkage between the Passports and the National Identity Register centralised biometric database, but after 2012 i.e. after the next General Election ?

Two new RIPA Commissioners appointed

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The Prime Minister appears to have appointed two new Commissioners under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000:

We are puzzled why the UK IT technical press, let alone the mainstream media is not taking more notice of the impending amendments to the Computer Misuse Act 1990, via the Police and Justice Bill 2006. Yet again, only a few blogs such as ourselves, TalkPolitics, Blogscript and, of course, our friends at The Register seem to have taken any notice of this impending legislative disaster.

How long would you consider to be a reasonable time, for Members of Parliament to debate the first substantial attempt to amend the obsolete Computer Misuse Act 1990, to bring it into the Internet age in the 21st Century ?

How long do you think that the House of Commons will spend debating such a vital part of our armoury to defend the Economy and our National Security ? A month ? A week ? A day ?

During today's vote on the controversial Identity Cards Bill 2005, the Opposition in the House of Lords offered a dubious compromise to the Government over the question of "compulsion by stealth" via Designated Documents such as the Passsport.

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 211; Not-Contents, 175

The idea seems to have been to delay the "compulsion by stealth" proposal until 2012, i.e. after the next General Election, so that it could be an election issue.

All well and good, but the amendment did concede "compulsion" after 1st January 2012, which is totally unacceptable to us, and would have been a betrayal of principle, if the Government had accepted the Motion, and the Bill had gained Royal Assent by tomorrow evening.

However, it seems that the Government does not want to be seen to compromise at all, so there will be another vote in the Commons tomorrow to reject this latest round of ping pong.

If the cost / benefits and privacy protections and security of the Identity Cards scheme were so obviously overwhelming, then the Government should have no fear of a truely voluntary scheme, as people would be clamouring to sign up to it. This is obviously not the case and therefore the Government is having to force its wretched plan onto us, by hook or by crook.

Public CCTV surveillance has been shown not to be particularly effective in preventing violent, or drunken street crime or terrorism. Studies have generally accepted that there can be a reduction or displacement of crimes against property, which is why many local shopkeepers tend to support such schemes.

However:

Richmond Informer Friday March 17th 2006

A case of Can't Cope TV

Cops Say they havn't got time to analyse video of burgalry

By Natalie Arsalane

A Teddington shopkeeper who was burgled has criticised the police after they refused to check CCTV footage - because they did not have enough man-power

Nigel Dawes' shop - Teddington Station Garden Centre - was burgled on February 26.

Thieves stole £400 worth of plants from the store, in Station Road, despite a council-run CCTV camera being yards from the shop.

When Mr Dawes contacted the police, he was told that because he did not know the specific time the theft took place, they could not check the film.

He then asked if he could check the tape himself, but Richmond Council would not allow him.

What is the point of such a public CCTV surveillance system if does not deter criminals and if nobody checks the footage ?

The Identity Cards Bill was not the only bit of Parliamentary ping pong today.

The controversial Terrorism Bill 2005 has also now been voted back to the Lords, for the second time , by the Commons

Ayes: 296 Noes: 237

This vote reintroduces the unfair and vague "glorification of terrorism" prower which would be certain to create misacarriages of justice and, fear of which will have a chilling effect on some free speech, all for no actual effect on real terrorists.

Incredibly, referring to the recent protests and alleged incitements to violence outside of the Danish Embassy in London, regarding the cartoons supposedly depicting Mohammed:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Andy Burnham): ID cards might have been quite useful.

Which implies that political repression of public protests is one of the reasons for the particular ID card biometric database scheme. The Danish Embassy protests may have been distasteful , and some people may have been inciting violence and murder, but they were not actually violent in themselves.

The Metropolitan Police have been able, under existing Public Order laws, to belatedly make several arrests regarding these protests, without any ID Card scheme in place.

Why is Andy Burnham still a Home Office Minister ?

There was an earlier vote which the Opposition lost, wherby they attempted to define indirect incitement to terrorism

Ayes: 230 Noes: 298.

Presumably this Bill will also now be considered again by the House of Lords on Monday.

The Parliamentary ping pong over the Identity Cards Bill continues.

The Commons voted Ayes 292 Noes 241

The Lords get their 4th chance to vote on this "compulsion by stealth" motion again on Monday 20th March.

A Press Association report quotes junior Home Office Minister Andy Burnham on the idea of "Chip and PIN" and the proposed National Identity Card scheme, ahead of today's vote in the House of Commons on the Identity Cards Bill 2005.

He really does not have a grasp of the technology, and appears to have wasted £30 million of public money spent on consultants, who one would have expected by now to have produced a clear specification of the scheme, suitable for invitations to tender, something which is impossible if no firm decisions have yet been made on the systems architecture.

The Parliamentary ping pong continues, between the two Houses of Parliament, regarding the Identity Cards Bill 2005 , over the important issue of "compulsion by stealth" (linking Passports, unecessarily, to the National identity Register) during the allegedly voluntary initial phase of the ID Cards scheme.

The Lords have voted by 218 to 183, a majority of 35 to insist on their decoupling of Passports from the NIR amendment.

The House of Commons will vote again on this tomorrow, Thursday 16th March 2006.

This is a reduced majority from the previous votes, mostly due to a drop in support from the Cross Bench peers, rather than from any of the political parties. See this NO2ID web forum thread for analysis of this.

This debate was noticably more intemperate than previous ones, especially when Lord Gould of Brookwood (Why does he remind us of the Science Fiction Stargate SG-1 villains the Goa'uld ?) and Lord Foulkes of Cumnock , made purely "NuLabour were elected, therefore obey us" political points.

Strangely the Bishop of Chester chose this late stage to make a "Second Reading speech" in support of the principle of ID Cards (something which is, by tradition, mildly frowned on when a Bill has got to this stage of its Parliamentary progress), apparently on the the basis of historical fatalism.
He, together with 3 other Bishops, voted with the Government.

Why is the Church of England now supporting "compulsion by stealth" ?

.

The contentious Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Bill 2006 plans to lower the criterion which currently allows a politician, the Home Secretary, to revoke someone's British Citizenship (if they have dual nationality), has not been amended by the House of Lords.

Yet again, the House of Lords brings up the correct arguments, and to outside observers like us, wins the intellectual debate over an amendment, and then just chickens out, and lets the Government off the hook, by withdrawing the amendment.

This is not proper democratic scrutiny of legislation any more than the failure of Members of Parliament in the Commons even to address the detailed arguments in the first place is.

Is the Junior Cabinet Office Minister Jim Murphy really going to concede some constitutional safeguards, at the Report stage of the controversial Legsilative and Regulatory Reform Bill 2006 ?

Yesterday his office gave this Written Answer:

10 Mar 2006 : Column 1839W—continued

Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Peter Bottomley: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster for what reason the Government have not accepted requests to limit by legislation the power to deliver by the scope of Part 1 of the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill highly political measures. [56154]

Mr. Jim Murphy: The Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (the Bill) has just completed its Committee stage where this issue was discussed. I have told the Standing Committee that the Government will consider the addition of further safeguards to the order making power in Part 1 of the Bill at Report stage.

Will these be genuine safeguards, written into the text of the Bill, or will they just be another layer of obscure "tests" or vetoes by Government appointed or dominated Quangos, NDPBs or Select Committees ?

Presumably the Report stage of this Bill will eventually be announced some time after the week endiing 24th March, which will be mostly taken up by the Budget debates.

Keep writing to your Members of Parliament e.g. through WriteToThem.com

Unlike , for example the dreadful Civil Contingencies Act 2004, or even the current Terrorism Bill 2005, UK political bloggers, some of the media and the Opposition do actually seem to be concerned with the controversial Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill 2006

SaveParliament.org.uk gives a cleanly designed, simple guide to the Legislatative and Regulatory Reform Bill issues.

Similarly useful is the Campaign against the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Murky is working collaboratively on a response to a letter he got from the Cabinet Office's Bill team on the subject.

The cross party Liberty Central seems to be a useful resource, inspired directly by this Bill, but also covering other issues which worry us here at Spy Blog.

There is also our own Legislatative and Regulatory Reform Bill 2006 category on this blog.

The House of Commons voted on the motion to disagree with the Lords' amendments to the Identity Cards Bill, This would have broken the Government's sneaky automatic link between Passport applications or renewals and being forced to register on the National Identity Register, in the initial, so called voluntary phase of the Identity Cards scheme:

After having to get the Serjeant at Arms to "investigate the delay in the Ayes lobby" , the Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons announced:

Ayes: 310 Noes: 277 i.e. a majority of 33

This means that the House of Lords will now consider this rejection of their one remaining amendment again this Wednesday 15th March.

Later on today, Monday 13th March 2006, the Government will try to overturn the one remaining current point of disagreement between it and the House of Lords, over the controversial Identity Cards Bill 2005.

On Consideration of Lords Reasons for insisting on Amendments

Lords Amendments Nos. 16 and 22

Mr Secretary Clarke
To move, That this House insists on its disagreement with the Lords in their Amendments 16 and 22 but proposes the following Amendment in lieu:—

(a)
Page 4, line 45, after 'include', insert ', or be accompanied by'.

This clearly sets out to reverse the Lords insistance on decuipling the Passport applications or renewals from registration on the National Identity Register, during the allegedly voluntary phase of the scheme, thereby actually fulfilling the wording of the Labour party manifesto at the last General Election., which promised an initially voluntary scheme, rather, than the "compulsion by stealth" scheme which the Government wants to introduce.

What the "Page 4, line 45" Amendment in lieu, actually means is obscure, as it appears to be nonsense according to the online version of the text of the Bill, where Page 4 line 45 reads as:

e) any other person who carries out functions conferred by or under any enactment that fall to be carried out on behalf of the Crown.

Presumably it refers to a different printed versuoion somewhere.

According to ePolitix:

"But in a Commons vote today MPs are expected to reintroduce the clause - sending the amended legislation back to the House of Lords on Wednesday.

Delay

As tensions grow between both Houses, ministers are letting it be known that a failure to agree on the legislation could seriously delay the introduction of the ID cards system.

But opinion in the upper house appears to be stiffening against the measures, with a possible constitutional clash looming.

Home Secretary Charles Clarke has signalled to colleagues that he is prepared to engage in parliamentary ping pong until the early hours of Thursday morning should the Lords continue to oppose the measures.

Peers, however, insist the measure amounts to "compulsion by stealth" and appear set to dig in against the government."

Has the cross party NO2ID Campaign been able to influence enough Members of Parliament and Lords to stand up to the Government bullying over this still badly draughted, and in parts, unworkable Bill ?

Sir Ian Blair , the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police is reported by The Scotsman as having secretly recorded phone conversations with The Independent Police Complaints Commission over the Jean Charles de Menezes shooting, and with Lord Goldsmith, the Attorney General

Ironically this "confidential" conversation with the Attorney General:

"concerned the admissibility of wire tap evidence in court, but did not involve any particular case."

Given the spin and media leaks which the disgraced Home Secretary David Blunkett inflicted on Sir John Stevens, the predecessor of Sir Ian Blair, it is quite understandable that this most politically correct of NuLabour apparatchiki would, in classic police state style, feel the need to have an independent record of exactly what was, or was not said to his NuLabour political contacts.

Obviously there are several questions which spring to mind, but which we doubt that the journalists reporting the story will bother to ask:

The controversial Clause 53 of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Bill has been renumbered to Clause 56

This seeks to weaken the protection, such as it is, against the arbitrary power of the Home Secretary to

replace an existing criterion for deprivation of British nationality that the person concerned had done something which was "seriously prejudicial to the vital interests of the United Kingdom or a British overseas territory" with the criterion that it is conducive to the public good to deprive a person of his or her British nationality

N.B. you do not have to have been convicted of any crime whatsoever, for your British Citizenship to be revoked by Order of a politician, the Home Secretary, and not by a British Judge and Jury. The Home Office have not provided any justification as to why this change is so vital now, or even why the exiting status quo is at all justified.

Thie Report Stage and Third Reading in the House of Lords are set for this coming Tuesday 14th March 2006..

Liberty Human Rights have a briefing paper (.pdf).which supports our anlaysis of this Clause 56.

On current form, the House of Lords will probably chicken out and not even bother to press the Government to a vote on thie Opposition Amendment which seeks to retain the status quo:

Unless privacy or security or constitutional safeguards are explicitly written into an "enabling Bill", such as the dreadful Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill 2006, they are worthless. Judges and Courts can only make Common Law precedent within the constraints made by the Primary Legislation. If, as in this case, there are infinite "Henry VIII" powers, then our democracy is at risk, due to the unconstrained power of incompetent or corrupt or fanatical politicians.

This Bill has been going through the rubber stamp process which is laughingly referred to as Standing Committee A of the House of Commons.

The Conservative and Liberal Democrat Opposition front benches have tried to highlight some of the immense constitutional dangers inherent in this Bill, but they have been as totally ineffective as when the Government had a much larger majority. All opposition amendments have been withdrawn or have been lost when it came to a vote.

This Bill is not a Labour party manifesto promise, and it should be rejected by the Commons and or the Lords, since the NuLabour Minister in charge of it, Jim Murphy, has not listened to any of the learned criticisims whatsoever.

There is nothing wrong with the idea of removing old, obsolete legislation, after proper consultation and debate, but this Bill goes far beyond that idea, and far beyond the existing legislation which was brought in by this Government to do just that, the existing Regulatory Reform Act 2001. The Regulatory reform Orders under this Act have not been held up by lengthy Parliametary scrutiny which somehow needs to be short circuited, but by the indolence and inertia of Ministers and their Civil Service and Quango / NDPB empires.

If NuLabour is not planning to abuse such infinite powers, then why are they so opposed to writing some simple safeguards into the text of the Bill itself ?

For example, the Government has rejected the Opposition amendment which would have created a Schedule of Excepted Acts:

There are now 4 students facing charges solely under the "Thought Crime" of Section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000 Collection of information

The "catch all" Section 58 now seems to be used much more widely than previously..

The details of these latest 4 cases have obviously not yet emerged, but it is very worrying that the only charges against the 4 students are under this Section 58 i.e. there is obviously not enough evidence of any firearms, explosives, terrorist finance, or even of an actual conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism.

That the media reports below, suggest that the alleged terrorism is "abroad", rather than in the UK is also significant . What exactly is the alleged risk to the UK ?

One of the students is apparently a forensic science student . Once the finger and state machinery of suspicion have been pointed at such a person, is there anything in their textbooks, course material or internet related studies which cannot be construed to be "information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism" ?

How many of the readers of this blog e.g those with a. technical education or journalists or even policemen, also have the same sort of knowledge. which if they write it down or save it on their computer, could also be construed as being "information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism" ?

For the opponents of the particular scheme set out by the Identity Cards Bill 2005, yesterday was another step towards disaster, and another lesson that by the time a bad piece of legislation has reached the Lords, it is too late, as most of their improvements (even from the viewpoint of a supporter of the scheme) tend to be lost in the face of Government arrogance and stupidity.

The House of Lords debated the Commons rejections of the previous Lords amendments to the Bill.

It is true, that the Opposition won the only vote, on a motion about changing the inital compulsion by stealth, to compulsion later after a voluntary period, via the mechanism of forcing everyone who has to apply for or renew a passport to have far more details and biometrics than are needed for a Passport to be stored on the centralised National Identity Register.

Whoopee ! However, the Government will, no doubt seek to overturn this in the next round of Lords / Commons Parliamentary "ping pong".

However, despite putting forward compelling arguments, the Opposition chickened out and accepted, without a vote, all 5 of the other Government rejection motions.

Action on Rights for Children have confirmed our suspicions about the uselessness of the "see through your children's clothes" scanner trial at the Heathrow Express platform at Paddington railway station in London.

ARC's correspondence with the Department for Transport regarding the Paddington Heathrow Express scanner trial.

Note that the answer from the Department of transport does not attempt to refute that the concerns about such "see through your children;s clothes" scanners constitute "child pornography", according to the current definitions under UK law.

If, as the Department for Transport claim, that "under 18's" were not scanned, then what possible use is such a system against terrorists or even drug smugglers etc ? They already use children as couriers or even as suicide bombers.

Lord Adonis, is the unelected special advisor on Education and NuLabour political commissar, who thought up the controversial City Academies scheme (recently criticused for low educational achievements, massive subsidies by the taxpayer to private companies,and the scandal of heavy hints of a "cash for honours" policy for financial backers of scheme), who was ennobled and instantly became a Minister under the patronage of Prime Minister Tony Blair,

Lord Adonis has now introduced, in the House of Lords, Yet Another National Database Scheme, the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Bill 2006, and has signed off the usual Human Rights Act rubber stamp declaration at the start of the text of the Bill.

Some obvious questions should be asked about this Bill:

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: 0x80CFAA4C 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

syf_logo_120.gif Secure Your Ferliliser logo
Secure Your Fertiliser - advice on ammonium nitrate and urea fertiliser security

cpni_logo_150.gif Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure
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."

SIS MI6 careers_logo_sis.gif
Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) recruitment.

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Government Communications Headquarters GCHQ

careers_logo_sis.gif
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.

FreeFarid_150.jpg
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)

Open_Rights_Group.png
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