April 2006 Archives

Junior Home Office Minister Andy Burnham is, yet again, hiding behind Parliamentary privilege to repeat his false accusations about the alleged authorship of the widely quoted London School of Economics Identity Project Report, and by implication, against the academic integrity of both Simon Davies and the 60 or so distinguished academics who have contributed to the report and to its collective peer review.

House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 24 Apr 2006 (pt 12):

Identity Cards

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to his statement of 18 January 2006, Official Report, column 833, what the evidential basis was for the assertion that the London School of Economics Report was written by the leading campaigner against identity cards. [62611]

Andy Burnham: My right hon. Friend the Prime Minster stated that he thought he was right in saying that the Identity Project Report, published by the London School of Economics' Department of Information Systems, had been written by a leading campaigner against identity cards. This is a reasonable conclusion given the close correlation between the contents of the report and the publicly expressed opinions of the individual who acted as project mentor/co-ordinator and of the organisation he is a director of.

[...]

24 Apr 2006 : Column 854W

Nobody believes that Tony Blair has actually read this report, but, as Prime Minister he should not have to. He should have been competently and dispassionately briefed by the Home Office.

Nothing of similar depth and detail to the Identity Project report has been revealed about the Home Office's vague plans for their National Identity Register / ID card scheme. These ongoing attempts to dismiss this work as somehow being inaccurate, because of the public opinions of one of the large team of acknowledged experts involved in its production and academic scrutiny, is pure political propaganda, and dishonours the institution of the Home Office, which is supposed to be impartial and honest and competent.

Burnham is clearly referring to Simon Davies of Privacy international, who has had to threaten legal action for defamation, if Andy Burnham or other NuLabour Ministers and apologists repeat such remarks outside of the protection of Parliamentary privilege.

More proof that it is the writings of Franz Kafka ("The Trial") and Jaroslav Hasek ("The Good Soldier Schweik") which throw as much light on the insane "Climate of Fear" police state "jobsworth" bureaucracy in the United Kingdom as do the writings of George Orwell.

It is astonishing that the agent provocateur activities of the News of the World's "fake sheikh" Mazher Mahmood can lead to people facing trial at the Old Bailey for an alleged plot to buy a mythical substance called "Red Mercury" !

The BBC reports

Terror accused 'in mercury sting'

Three men tried to procure a dangerous chemical which could have been used by terrorists without realising they were being set up, the Old Bailey has heard.

They did not know the man they were negotiating with over the red mercury was a News of the World journalist.

Jurors heard Mazher Mahmood, alias the "fake sheikh", was working with police.

Mazher Mahmood employers were the cause of recent controversy in the UK blogosphere for the failed attempts to censor an alleged photo of him.

Dominic Martins, Roque Fernandes and Abdurahman Kanyare deny conspiring to possess the chemical and conspiracy to provide funds for terrorism.

These people (two of them are originally from Goa in India, but with with Portuguese nationality) , have been held in Belmarsh high security prison since their arrest in

Why has this case taken so long to come to court ?

Prosecutor Mark Ellison went into detail about the red mercury which he said was believed to be a material which could cause a large explosion, possibly even a nuclear reaction.

He told the court there were different descriptions of the substance described as red mercury. But he added: "The Crown's position is that whether red mercury does or does not exist is irrelevant."

This is utterly preposterous !

Mazher Mahmood and whoever sanctioned the undercover Police operation should be prosecuted under the draconian "thought crime " Anti-terrorism , Crime and Security Act 2001 Section 114 Hoaxes involving noxious substances or things:

2) A person is guilty of an offence if he communicates any information which he knows or believes to be false with the intention of inducing in a person anywhere in the world a belief that a noxious substance or other noxious thing is likely to be present (whether at the time the information is communicated or later) in any place and thereby endanger human life or create a serious risk to human health.

and should be facing up to 7 years in prison !

What does it take for a Home Office Minister to resign ?

The BBC reports that

Foreign criminals escape removal

[...]

In a ministerial statement, Mr Clarke said: "To the best of my knowledge, between February 1999 and March 2006, 1,023 foreign national criminals who should have been considered for deportation or removal, completed their prison sentences and were released without any consideration of deportation or removal action.

[...]

He said the failure was "deeply regrettable" and conceded that people will be angered by the oversight.

Anger ? After such an admission of utter incompetence ?

The Secretary of State for the Home Department Charles Clarke should resign

If he manages to weasel his way out of resignation, then Tony McNulty Minster of State for Immigration and Citizenship or Hazel Blears Minister of State for Crime, Security and Communities should resign, as they should be directly accountable for this massive failure in the systems which they are in charge of.

How can anyone have any confidence or trust in these people ?

Why are Tony Blair and Charles Clarke "politically attacking" the left wing media commentators e.g. Henry Porter in the Guardian or Simon Carr in the Independent ? Who exactly are they trying to influence ? Surely not the general public ahead of the Local Council Elections ?

Why is the Home Secretary allowed to use the Home Office Website, and presumably make use of Home Office Civil Servant public relations personnel, in order to publish and disseminate his attempted political rebuttal of some of the points made by Simon Carr in the Independent ?

Why was this "letter" to Simon Carr not published on the Labour Party website, at Labour Party expense, instead ?

The fact that Clarke is cherry picking Simon Carr's original article (subscription required for the full article) for strawmen which he tries to rebutt is obvious.

Astonishingly for a cherry picked rebuttal, Charles Clarke's spin doctors comment on 34 points, of which even they have to say that 13 of them are Correct or True, and 5 of them are partially correct !.

As with all propaganda, there needs to be some semblance of the truth to distort, so Clarke gleefully picks up on stupid errors which the Independent's sub-editors should have checked before publication e.g. references to the non-existant "Anti-Terrorism Act 2005" and or to the "Prevention of Terrorism Act" when what was meant was the Terrorism Act 2000 which replaced previous temporary Prevention of Terrorism Acts which used to be renewed every six months during the Northern Ireland "Troubles" and which is different to the "Control Orders" Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005.

However even the Bedforshire Police Special Branch at Luton Airport, and South Wales Police in Swansea and the BBC, have been confused by this plethora of similarly named anti-terrorism legislation and have incorrectly used the term "Prevention of Terrorism Act" in official press releases very recently.

Chris Lightfoot dissects some of the lies and distortion in this alleged rebuttal, notably on GM crops.

Here is our own small counter-rebuttal of

6. “A minister can declare a state of emergency and suspend all legal proceedings, including Parliament”.

The National Identity Register function creep seems to be gathering pace.

Is the NuLabour spin machine in the person of Andy Burnham, so desparate to find reasons which may appear to make the National Identity Register more popular, that they are willing to ignore the advice from the medical profession and privacy and security experts not to mix up the NIR with the NHS medical records or to include out of date or incomplete "medical data" ?

The Sunday Times April 23, 2006

Labour U-turn over ID card medical details

Isabel Oakeshott, Deputy Political Editor

IDENTITY cards are to carry medical details, despite repeated government assurances that concerns about privacy meant it would not happen.

A minister at the Home Office disclosed it wants people to put personal health information on the cards to give doctors information for emergencies.

[...]

Health information about individuals would be kept on the central identity card database, and would not be visible on the cards themselves.

However, Burnham denied the government was now performing a U-turn: “There is an argument to say that if people want to put personal information on the card, they should. It is something we are looking at.

“You could argue that blood group, allergies, donor status, that sort of information could be potentially helpful, for example, when a patient arrives in accident and emergency. People could also put their next of kin on the cards if they wanted.”

[...]

The main spurious reason that people think that tthey might want to put , say blood group onto the ID Card is "for emergencies".

The Home Affairs Committee was told in evidence that in modern day 21st century Britain, ambulance crews have access to rapid blood type analysis kits, and they do not rely on any alleged documentation found on an unconscious accident victim - they test it for themselves.

Select Committee on Home Affairs - Oral Evidence - 15th June 2004:

Secretary of State for Defence Dr. John Reid (how can a former card carrying member of the Communist party be trusted in this position ?) has officially announced:

Written Ministerial Statements Thursday 20 April 2006

[...]

DEFENCE
Special Forces Support Unit

The Secretary of State for Defence (John Reid): On 16 December 2004, Official Report, column 1798, as part of the wider programme to modernise the UK's defence capabilities, the then Secretary of State for Defence announced to the House the Government's intention to create two new units that would significantly improve the specialist support to the Special Forces and enhance our global capacity to fight terrorism.

The first of these new units, the Special Reconnaissance Regiment, became operational in April 2005 and is already delivering a globally deployable special reconnaissance capability to the UK Special Forces.

The second new unit is the "Special Forces Support Group". SFSG is an enhanced capability that will directly support UK Special Forces intervention operations around the world and will provide the UK with an additional counter-terrorist capability.

I am pleased to be able to inform the House today that the SFSG has now stood up in St. Athan, near Cardiff, and achieved Initial Operating Capability as planned on 3 April.

Personnel for the new unit have been drawn from the Parachute Regiment, the Royal Marines, and the Royal Air Force Regiment. The unit will be part of the UK Special Forces Group.

The principal role of the SFSG is to provide direct support to UKSF intervention operations, as well as reinforcing UKSF in other key capability areas such as provision of specialist training and support to domestic CT operations. It will have a specific specialist infantry role and personnel will be equipped and trained accordingly.

Just what sort of Domestic Counter Terrorist situations will require this sort of military firepower to be deployed in the United Kingdom ?

The story had been briefed / leaked / spun to earlier to last weekend's Sunday Times:

Interestingly, the Citizens Information Project website has today been updated with some of the project documentation such as the Final Report and 15 Annexes, which should be of interest to students of the "Big Brother" database state and anyone involved in e-government projects.

We will be commenting on these documents when we have read them all.

It is astonishing that the directly equivalent feasability study and other project documents for the National Identity Register ID Card scheme have been kept secret from the public and even from Parliament in closed session !

All documents are unfortunately published in .pdf format:

  • CIP Final Report The key CIP report, about better sharing of citizen identity data across the public sector.
  • Annex 1: overview of the citizen information project.
  • Annex 2A: current stakeholder processes, systems and data overview.
  • Annex 2B: data quality framework.
  • Annex 2C: stakeholder profiles.
  • Annex 2D: data trial comparative results.
  • Annex 2E: data trial comparative results - appendices.
  • Annex 2F: contact data sharing.
  • Annex 2G: other data quality initiatives.
  • Annex 3: technical options and solutions.
  • Annex 4: technical standards and recommendations.
  • Annex 5: benefits realisation.
  • Annex 6: population registers overseas - current.
  • Annex 7: making better use of personal reference numbers.
  • Annex 8: legal issues.
  • Annex 9: public opinion and communications strategy.
  • Annex 10: responsibilities for implementing CIP recommendations.

The cross party NO2ID Campaign has launched the www.renewforfreedom.org website and campaign for supporters to renew their Passports next month in May 2006, in order to publicise the evils of the National Identity Register.

renew for freedom - MAY 2006 - renew your passport

More graphical campaign buttons and Frequently Asked Questions factsheets are available at the campaign website

Bear in mind that renewing your Passport next month, whilst sending a signal to the Government, does not guarantee that you will not be forced onto the as yet non-existant National Identity Register in the next ten years.

There are plenty of indications that the lifetime of the ID Cards will be less than 10 years and the Government has the power to recall existing Passports at any time, and to Designate other documents e.g. Driving Licences etc. at any time, which would force Registration much sooner.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown's dubious Citizen Information Project plans for a "cradle to grave" national population register appear to have been shelved, according to this report in The Guardian

'Big Brother' scheme axed

Alan Travis, home affairs editor
Wednesday April 19, 2006
The Guardian

A £400m scheme put forward by the chancellor, Gordon Brown, to create a new national population database dubbed a building block of the "surveillance society" was finally killed off yesterday.

The initial plans for the citizen information project won the Office of National Statistics the 2004 Big Brother award for the "most heinous government organisation" from the campaigning organisation, Privacy International.

The aim of the project, which was to go live in 2008, was to create a "master list" of everybody's name, address, date of birth, sex and a personal identifying number which could be shared across the public sector.

But Des Browne, chief secretary to the Treasury, yesterday said this should be done through the national identity card scheme instead, "on the basis that the scheme eventually becomes compulsory". The decision is expected to add £200m to the cost of the ID card scheme.

How do they know that this will add only £200 million to the cost of the National Identity Register scheme ?

Where are the detailed cost estimates of this Citizen Information Project scheme and of the expanded National Identity Register ?

Where is the published report of the Office of National Statistics ?

Where are the Gateway Reviews of this project ?

What will now happen to Children under the age of 16 ?

How do you take meaningful biometric indentifiers such as facial photographs or fingerprints from rapidly growing newborn babies children and infants ?

The Scotsman reports:

But Phil Booth, of the No2ID pressure group, said the statement heralded a future of "cradle-to-grave surveillance".

Although this CIP scheme, the NuLabour Government's "Plan B", which they no doubt wouild have pressed ahead with had their Identity Cards Act 2006 been defeated in Parliament, appears to have been shelved for now, their bureaucratic and authoritarian "all eggs in one basket" surveillance state plans seem set to continue, unless the public resists them.

The Times has a report about yet Another Home Office and Police Computer Project Disaster

How can these people be trusted with even larger and more complicated IT systems like the National Identity Register ?.

The Times April 18, 2006

Police stay mired in paper war
By Richard Ford, Home Correspondent.

A £228m computer system should free more bobbies for the beat, but funding has been blocked

A MULTIMILLION-POUND project to cut police paperwork and free officers for fighting crime is threatened with collapse because the Treasury is refusing to fund its full development.

The Treasury’s failure to hand over resources for the full introduction of the

£228 million computer system in police stations has resulted in no equipment being bought or ordered for the past three months.

Des Browne, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, refused to provide further funds for the custody and case preparation project because he was unconvinced of the benefits to taxpayers.

Things must be really bad with this project, if even Des Browne, who, as the ex-Home Office Minister in charge of the Identity Cards scheme, has a record of being easily bamboozled by the the IT technology hype, has decided that this IT project is a waste of public money.

The BBC and other media are reporting that the controversial Terrorism Act 2006 powers have come into force today.

Why have they missed not taken more notice of the that one of the most controversial parts of the Act has not commenced today, i.e. Section 23 Extension of period of detention of terrorist suspects to Section 25
which extends the period of "pre-charge detention" from 14 days to 28 days has not been commenced i.e. has not yet been brought into law ?

The Statutory Instrument 2006 No. 1013 (C.32) - The Terrorism Act 2006 (Commencement No. 1) Order 2006 actually commences everything except for Sections 23 to Section 25 and the consequential amendments to the Terrorism Act 2000 and the Criminal Justice Act 2003.

Has Home Secretary Charles Clarke done this deliberately, or have his officials simply given him an Order to sign which he has not read properly ?

UPDATE: The BBC report now says:

Plans to double the amount of time suspects can be held without charge to 28 days will come into force later after consultation with police chiefs.

If there really was such a pressing National Security need for 90 days or 60 days or even 28 days detention without charge, then why is there any delay for "consultation" ? Surely the Police and the Home Office should have had their plans and procedures and budgets sorted out before the Act got Royal Assent ?

If this Financial Times report about a promised backdown by the Government over the controversial Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill is true, then there is cause for a litt bit of a celebration.

Financial Times

"Blair backs down over regulatory reform bill"

By Jean Eaglesham, Chief Political Correspondent
Published: April 12 2006 22:33

Sweeping ministerial powers in a proposed bill designed to cut red tape are to be curtailed following a row over their constitutionality, the minister responsible said on Wednesday.

Jim Murphy, the cabinet office minister, said the government would back down from the highly contentious plans to cut the bureaucracy burden on business and amend the proposed law, which has been dubbed a shortcut to dictatorship.

Mr Murphy told the Financial Times that the bill, which as currently framed would allow virtually any law to be introduced, amended or axed without full parliamentary scrutiny, will be amended. He said he would amend the legislative and regulatory reform bill “so that it can no longer be misconstrued as an attempt by government to take a wider constitutional power”.

We look forward to reading the exact text of these promised amendments. Will they at all resemble, say, the list of Excepted Constitutional Acts which was rejected ny the Government during the Committee Stage in the House of Commons ?

Will the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act be prohibited from being used to amend itself ?

“At the moment, in clause one, the bill deliberately seeks to take a wide power,” Mr Murphy said. “We’re going to focus that power more on regulatory outcomes, such things as productivity and competitiveness and reducing bureaucracy, rather than replacing legislation.

The minister also pledged to give a statutory veto to the regulatory reform select committees in the Commons and Lords, allowing them to block proposals to fast-track legislative changes under the new law..

Remember that Select Committees in the Commons are invariably dominated by a majority of Government appointed MPs. The Chairmen of such Committees are also appointed by the Government which pays them an extra Parliamentary allowance. Who knows what the forthcoming reforms of the House of Lords will do to the Lords Committee.Hhaving a veto and no power of amendment, on a "take it or leave it" basis would not be acceptable if the Government sneaks through complicated , multi-part Orders or Regulations, which are mostly uncontroversial, but which contain one or two contentious issues.

We are therefore sceptical about how much of a "safeguard" this is.

The controversial Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 Control Order applied to a British citizen has been ruled to be incompatible with the Human Rights Act, which incorporates some of the fundamental human rights outlined in the European Convention on Human Rights into British law.

icWales reports:

Terror suspect wins rights battle

Apr 12 2006

The first British citizen to have a control order imposed on him as a terror suspect by the Home Secretary has won a High Court declaration that the Government's anti-terror laws are "incompatible" with human rights laws because they have denied him a right to a fair hearing.

The terror suspect, referred to as MB, was made subject to the order, which involves a form of house arrest, by the Home Secretary in September 2005.

The BBC report identifies a different anonymous Contol Order suspect "S" !

His lawyers argued the order could not stand because aspects of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) breached his human rights.

But Mr Justice Sullivan allowed their legal challenge. It was the first of 12 orders which are coming up for review by the High Court.

Mr Justice Sullivan said the control order system was "conspicuously unfair". He said: "To say that the Act does not give the respondent in this case ... 'a fair hearing' in the determination of his rights under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights would be an understatement.

That should be Article 6 The Right to a Fair Trial rather than Article 8.

"The court would be failing in its duty under the Human Rights Act, a duty imposed upon the court by Parliament, if it did not say, loud and clear that the procedure under the Act whereby the court merely reviews the lawfulness of the Secretary of State's decision to make the order upon the basis of the material available to him at that early stage are conspicuously unfair."

[...]

The Control Orders remain in place whilst the NuLabour Home Office wastes more of our public money by appealing against this decision.

If Charles Clarke had any honour, he would resign as Home Secretary.

The Association of Chief Police Officers has published

"Retention Guidelines for Nominal Records on the Police National Computer, incorporating the Step Down Model" (.pdf) version 1.3, 16th March 2006.

1.3 The Retention Guidelines are based on a format of restricting access to PNC data, rather than the deletion of that data. The restriction of access is achieved by setting strict time periods after which the releveant event histories will 'step down' and only be open to inspection by the police. Following the 'step down' other users of PNC will be unaware of the existance of such records, save for those occaisions where the individual is the subject of an Enhanced Check under the Criminal Records Bureau vetting process. In those cases the data should be dealt with as intelligence and only disclosed where the relevance test has been applied, on the authority of the Chief Officer

This "step down procedure" really means that once your data has been sucked into the Police National Computer, it will never actually be deleted, except under the most exceptional circumstances. Given the need for disaster recovery and backup systems for this bit of the Critical National Infrastructure, the data may never be truly deleted even if it is so ordered to be done.

How can this be deemed to be "proportionate and necessary" under the Principles of Data Protection ?

Why are the records of people who have been Acquitted of an alleged offence to be retained until such innocent people become 100 years old ?

DNS problems

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Some of our loyal readers may be experiencing problems in accessing this weblog, probably because of some DNS problems at our webhost.

If you use Tor for a bit of imperfect privacy from snooping, you may still be directed to systems where the DNS cache is still correct. You may still catch the RSS / XML feeds from a blog aggregator service.

Otherwise, if you add 84.22.161.11 (ns.iomart.co.uk) to your list of Domain Name Service servers, you should still find that IP address 84.22.161.223 points to the server on which www.spy.org.uk is hosted in London Docklands, rather than apparently to a NTL Cable Modem allocation in Leeds, which is what you get from many large UK ISPs at the moment, including BT, Pipex and others in the USA.

Astonishingly, there appears to be a problem with the domain name registration for the authoritative Domain Name Service (DNS) servers, which advertise the domain name spy.org.uk (and many others) to the rest of the internet

dns0.fastweb.co.uk
dns1.fastweb.co.uk

even though the DNS and web servers themselves are all working fine under other aliases.

We will be "turning on the hairdryer" over the phone in a few hours time when our webhosts tech support line wakes up.

Imagine the difficulties and delays you would be facing if you were trying to report such a problem to your Local Police force, if you suspected that it was a deliberate DNS based Denial of Service attack. Remeber that the National High Tech Crime Unit, has been merged into the secretive Serious Organised Crime Agency who refuse to talk to the general public, and for whom, incredibly, Computer Crime no longer seems to be a priority.

Conservative Party leader David Cameron has made a speech in Manchester today:

Under my leadership, we'll always strive to do the right thing.

That means saving our energy to oppose the government when it's wrong.

Like on ID cards.

Labour can't decide what it's for.

They can't control what it costs.

They can't explain why they're making it compulsory.

Labour's plastic poll tax has no place in modern Britain.

It's an ugly monument to the waste, chaos and vanity of intrusive, over-mighty government.

I promise you this....in office, we will pull it down.

We hope that this means that the abolition of the entire centralised biometric database National Identity Register scheme, and not just the "ID Cards" aspect of it. is to become a firm Conservative Party election manifesto committment.

We will be seeking clarification to see if that really is what the official Tory party policy is currently.

Given the ineffective Tory Opposition to Labour on many civil liberties issues in the past, we will be more likley to believe David Cameron if he affliates his party to support the cross party NO2ID Campaign, which does have the support of several of the smaller Opposition parties.

Some British political blogs have been amusing themselves with the News of the World 's hypocritical attempt to censor websites from publishing an alleged photo, of an alleged journalist, by means of emails apparently from a firm of solicitors, attaching a copy of a temporary High Court injunction.

However, we are more worried about the new "takedown notices" empowered under the recently passed Section 3 of the Terrorism Act 2006

These notices under Section 3 only require the "opinion of a police constable" i.e. any constable, no matter how junior or how technologically or politically ignorant. The verbal promises by Home Office Minister Hazel Blears, that somehow only specially trained police officers would ever be dealing with such "takedown notices" is, of course, utterly worthless, since these assurances are not written into the text of the Act.

They have worldwide scope and penalties up to 7 years in prison (i.e. severe enough for extradition procedures to apply) for not complying quickly enough with a "takedown notice" (2 working days) and thereby being deemed to agree or approve of the internet content in question. This might be deemed to incite or glorify terrorism or be classed as "disseminating a terrorist publication" or providing training material in the use of noxious substances (i.e. all the Health and Safety information which companies and institutions are legally obliged to make available under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health regulationsl), something which carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.

Admittedly the Terrorism Act 2006 says that such notices have to be served "in person" or via "postal delivery", but these days most postal services will happily print out and deliver a letter from an email or fax or SMS text message etc. so there is the prospect of apparently automated Section 3 notices being served.

However, this leads to potential Denial of Service attacks - how can you actually authenticate that such notices are genuine ?

Remember that there is now no easy way for the public to to contact either the former National High Tech Crime Unit or the new Serious Organised Crime Agency, who one might assume would be the people with the expertise and contacts within the Internet Service Provider and Telecommunications industries. Remember also that you only have 2 working days in which to comply.

Our recent experience with the supposedly well equipped and trained Metropolitan Police, where it took 4 days and several phone calls, for them to be able to receive an email with some photo image attachments, is, in this context, extremely worrying.

via B2fxxx there is a Security Focus / The Register article by Mark Rasch about "Lawyerbots" and automated "takedown notices"

The Serious Organised Crime Agency has now officially come into force and has an official website www.soca.gov.uk

Serious Organised Crime Agency

They have also published their SOCA Annual Plan 2006/07 (.pdf)

This lays out the top priorities (Class A drugs and human trafficking), the top level structure and the governance of the new organisation

However, there is now no mention of the word "computer" or even of the National High Tech Crime Unit, which was part of the National Crime Squad which has been subsumed into SOCA either on the SOCA website or in their Plan.

The www.nhtcu.org website now displays a SOCA logo and says:

The National Hi Tech Crime Unit has now become part of the Serious Organised Crime Agency. As a result the NHTCU is no longer providing individual responses to enquiries either via this web site or direct email contacts.


It is bad enough that the Home Office has refused to properly consult on and publish an internet aware replacement for the obsolete Computer Misuse Act 1990, and to just rely on unworkable amendments via the Police and Justice Bill,
(see Liberty Central influences the "computer hacking tools" amendment in the the Police and Justice Bill)

This withdrawal of any public point of contact for businesses or individuals to be able to talk to someone who understands the IT technical issues signals that Computer Crime is no longer a priority for UK law enforcement.

Even the NHCTU Confidentiality Charter (.pdf) which tried to assure businesses that they will not be uncessarily disrupted by the seizure of all their production and business critical computer systems if a police investigation of part of them is required, and the advice on how to foresnically preserve computer evidence without ruining the judical chain of custody and therefore legal admissability in court, have been censored from public view.

What is the NuLabour government playing at ?

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.

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

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

Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers and Political Dissidents

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

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links

Watching Them, Watching Us

London 2600

Our UK Freedom of Information Act request tracking blog

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

Privacy and Security

Privacy International
United Kingdom Privacy Profile (2011)

Cryptome - censored or leaked government documents etc.

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

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

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

International Campaign Against Mass Surveillance

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

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

Technical Advisory Board on internet and telecomms interception under RIPA

European Digital Rights

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

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

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

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

Human Rights

Liberty Human Rights campaigners

British Institute of Human Rights
Amnesty International
Justice

Prevent Genocide International

asboconcern - campaign for reform of Anti-Social Behavior Orders

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

Internet Censorship

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

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

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

Judicial Links

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

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

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

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

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

Parliamentary Opposition

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

UK Government

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

No. 10 Downing Street Prime Minister's Official Spindoctors

Public Bills before Parliament

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

House of Commons "Question Book"

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

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

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

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

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

Online Media

Boing Boing

Need To Know [now defunct]

The Register

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

Ideal Government - debate about UK eGovernment

NIR and ID cards

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

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

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

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

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

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

Surveillance Infrastructures

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

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

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

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

RFID Links

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

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

RFIDBuzz.com blog - where we sometimes crosspost RFID articles

Genetic Links

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

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

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

Miscellanous Links

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

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

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

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

Former Spies

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

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

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

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

Naked Spygirl - Olivia Frank

Blog Links

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

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

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

Liberty Central

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

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

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

Vmyths - debunking computer security hype

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

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

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

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

Bloggerheads - Tim Ireland

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

Blogzilla - Ian Brown

BlairWatch - Chronicling the demise of the New Labour Project

dreamfish - Robert Longstaff

Informaticopia - Rod Ward

War-on-Freedom

The Musings of Harry

Chicken Yoghurt - Justin McKeating

The Red Tape Chronicles - Bob Sullivan MSNBC

Campaign Against the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Stop the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Rob Wilton's esoterica

panGloss - Innovation, Technology and the Law

Arch Rights - Action on Rights for Children blog

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

Shaphan

Moving On

Steve Moxon blog - former Home Office whistleblower and author.

Al-Muhajabah's Sundries - anglophile blog

Architectures of Control in Design - Dan Lockton

rabenhorst - Kai Billen (mostly in German)

Nearly Perfect Privacy - Tiffany and Morpheus

Iain Dale's Diary - a popular Conservative political blog

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

BLOGDIAL

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

Ralph Bendrath

Financial Cryptography - Ian Grigg et al.

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

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

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

"Give 'em hell Pike!" - Frank Fisher

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

geeklawyer - intellectual property, civil liberties and the legal system

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

Charlie's Diary - Charlie Stross

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

Famous for 15 Megapixels

Postman Patel

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

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

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

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

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

Matt Wardman political blog analysis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No CCTV - The Campaign against CCTV

Barcode Nation - keeping two eyes on the database state.

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

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

Justin Wylie's political blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Links

Spam Huntress - The Norwegian Spam Huntress - Ann Elisabeth

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

Cool Britannia

NuLabour

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

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

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

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UK Legislation

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

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

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

UK Legislation Links

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

UK Commissioners

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

UK Intelligence Agencies

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

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

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

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

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

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Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) recruitment.

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Government Communications Headquarters GCHQ

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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