Trying to opt out of the National Health Service medical records centralised database

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We were hoping to publish shorter blog postings, in an effort to boost the readability and popularity of Spy Blog, however...

An email correspondent "Dave" has sent us a copy of an email from Michael Walker, Director of Digital Information & Health Policy NHS Connecting for Health which tries, but fails, to re-assure him (and us) about the confidentiality of the new, massively expensive National Health Care Records Service (NCRS) centralised medical records system which relies on the controversial new and expensive NHS "Data Spine", the National Programme for IT

"Dave" writes:

"I am already having severe problems preventing people accessing my medical records without my consent or knowlege, I have had my records photocopied without my consent (there was no 'public interest' in doing so), had my information accessed by people I was told would not be allowed access and when I asked for a list of all those that have accessed it, I was refused. My PCT (Primary Care Trust) also refuses to say if they hold identifiable medical data about me outside my current/previous practices."

Despite the promises by the NHS bureaucrats, "Dave" claims that he is being denied access to healthcare, unless he gives up his privacy and is forced to trust the new system:

"I am already not being allowed access to health care unless I let people other than my GP to have access to my identifiable medical information (even though the GMC, BMA, PIAG and NHS say I can prevent this and not be denied access to health care). It seems like there are far worse things to come (its not just GPs that will have access, it will be their admin staff, managers and several thousand others including NHS direct and social services).

Michael Walker caused some controversy by appearing to renage on confidentilaity promises given to the British Medical Association etc., in a letter to Dr. Paul Thornton as reported by the BBC in March 2005.

The email to "Dave":

From: Mike.Walker@dh.gsi.gov.uk To: "[Dave]" <[email address]> Subject: Recent Correspondence Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2006 12:17:06 +0100

Dear Mr [Dave]

I promised to contact you again when I had completed my enquiries. I am now responding to the e-mail that you sent to Richard Granger and Sir Ian Carruthers on 28 June 2006. I have also taken the opportunity to respond to the notes dated 17 June, 22 June, 27 June and 10 July 2006 that you sent, or which were copied to my colleague Phil Walker and your most recent note to Richard Granger.

In your correspondence you raised a number of specific issues which I have summarised and listed below:

  • NHS confidentiality standards
  • NHS staff behaviour
  • Patient rights in respect of data processing
  • NHS Care Records Service and other national databases
  • Section 10, Data Protection Act 1998

I will deal with each in turn.

NHS Confidentiality Standards

I understand that you are unhappy with aspects of how the NHS has shared information about you and with you in the past. I am unable to comment on your particular case, but I think that it is important to say that the NHS recognises that confidentiality and privacy are fundamentally important to individuals and strives to provide a good service. The standards that are required to be followed in the NHS are set out in the Department of Health publication 'Confidentiality: NHS Code of Practice' which can be found at:

http://www.dh.gov.uk/assetRoot/04/06/92/54/04069254.pdf .

and again more succinctly in the NHS Care Record Guarantee published by Ministers in April 2005 and updated in July 2006, which can be found at:

http://www.connectingforhealth.nhs.uk/crdb/ .

The responsibility for complying with those aspects of the law that underpin these guidelines rests with local organisations and complaints about any failure to meet the standards must be addressed to local NHS organisations through the established complaints procedures. Information about the NHS complaints procedures can be found on the Department of Health web-site at

When the new NHS Care Records Service systems are fully deployed, there will be a range of new controls in place. Staff will only be able to access systems and records if they have a current secure smartcard and valid pass code - these are issued to staff by newly created Registration Authorities that verify the identity of staff and control the issue of smartcards. No one will be able to access your clinical records unless they are working in a team that is providing you with care. If there is information in your records that you do not want to be shared even within this controlled environment, you will be able to place extra restrictions on who can see it. There will be exceptional arrangements for overriding your restrictions in case you are unconscious or if a Court requires disclosure of the records, but in these exceptional circumstances the system will generate an alert to ensure that an appropriately senior member of staff is informed and can properly investigate the occurrence. You will be able to specify whether or not you want your identifiable clinical information to be shared between different organisations and your specification will be held within the system. A record will be kept of everyone who accesses information about you.

Just as with the National Identity Register audit trail, the audit trail implied by "A record will be kept of everyone who accesses information about you." is itself a huge potential source of privacy and security problems.

Who exactly has access to this audit trail ?

If your record is legitimately accessed by a clinician whose NHS identity can be cross referenced with other databases which show that they are specialists in say AIDS or cancer or obstetrics etc. then the audit trail itself is enough to betray confidential medical information to third parties , who may jump to the conclusion that you are likely to be suffering from a sexually transmitted disease or are pregnant etc.

There is also the question of your own access to the audit trail of your own National Health Care records.

Do you get to see this at all, and if so, are bits of it censored ?

Will all Police and Intelligence Agency accesses of your records be hidden from you, even if there is no criminal or intelligence investigation which might be still active ?

NHS Staff Behaviour

Local NHS organisations are responsible for the actions of their staff and there are local complaints procedures in place to investigate issues and concerns raised by patients. The Department of Health cannot intervene in these locally managed processes, but does provide guidelines on how they should operate. If local procedures fail to resolve a complaint, there is also the possibility of taking matters further, for example, to the:

Healthcare Commission at http://www.healthcarecommission.org.uk
General Medical Council at http://www.gmc-uk.org/
Health Ombudsman at http://www.ombudsman.org.uk/
Information Commissioner at http://www.ico.gov.uk
or through civil action in the Courts.

As staff are registered to use the new NHS Care Records Service systems they are required to sign a form binding them into explicit terms and conditions relating to patient confidentiality. Any abuse of systems or the data they contain is taken very seriously. The Department of Health has provided guidance to the NHS to the effect that any breach of confidentiality should be subject to disciplinary action and fully supports the Information Commissioner's proposals to seek increased penalties for unlawful use of data about individuals.

In other words, there are currently no criminal penalties which can be used against deliberate or negligent abuse of your NHS Care Records i.e. the biggest risk that an NHS data privacy abuser faces is possible internal disciplinary action.

That is not our idea of a "robust framework for protecting the rights of individuals" as quoted below.

Patient Rights in Respect of Data Processing

The instructions that you provided as an attachment to your e-mail of 17 June 2006 are both specific and clear, but are based erroneously on a presumption that as a patient you are able to instruct the NHS on what are essentially matters of general health service management or administration. No one will be denied access to healthcare, regardless of the decisions that they make in respect of how their information can be shared. However, I must make it clear that everyone receiving NHS care will need to have a record in the new IT systems. This is necessary to satisfy legal requirements, but is also important for patient safety and efficient management of services. These are explained in more detail below.

Our correspondent "Dave" finds the words

"However, I must make it clear that everyone receiving NHS care will need to have a record in the new IT systems."

worrying as this "seems to imply that patients must consent to having a NCR and having their data stored on a national database."

Your rights in respect of information that can identify you are provided by common law obligations of confidentiality, and by Data Protection and Human Rights legislation. Taken together, these provide a robust framework for protecting the rights of individuals but they do not prevent processing of information in all circumstances nor do they provide any general right for individuals to instruct or direct those who process information.

Doctors are required to keep records and the organisation that they work for, be it a GP Practice or a hospital Trust, is required to ensure that information is held securely and that confidential information is not shared inappropriately. However, patients do not have the right to determine the media on which the records are kept, eg on paper or in computer systems, the physical location of the information or who manages those systems. Your GP, therefore, does not have to seek your approval if he/she decides to keep records about you on a system supported by the local Primary Care Trust, or indeed a system supported by any other part of the health service. You can, however complain if your confidentiality is compromised.

How will you know if your confidentiality has been compromised ?

There is no legal duty to inform you of breaches in data security and privacy which may have affected your personal records e.g. a lost or stolen laptop computer or computer backup tape, or an insider caught selling NHS data to unauthorised third parties etc

In certain circumstances, it may be possible to persuade a clinician to record items of information on paper or on stand-alone systems, but many types of care will in future depend upon information being shared through these systems and for these it will never be possible to agree alternatives.

NHS Care Records Service and other National Databases

You have asked that no information about you should be kept on the NHS Care Record Service, but it will be necessary for some information to be held about everyone who is a patient of the NHS. In particular, contact details must be held to:

  • satisfy legal requirements for registers of which patients are under the care of each GP Practice
  • to ensure that each individual presenting for care is ordinarily resident in this country and therefore eligible for free care
  • to ensure that information about one patient does not become confused with that of another patient, and
  • to contact patients when they need to attend check-ups etc.

Similarly, if a patient is admitted into hospital it will be necessary to hold administrative details within local elements of the NHS Care Records Service in order to manage the period spent in hospital, assign the patient to a ward and a bed and to keep track of blood tests etc. Core components of care such as laboratory test and radiology results will only be available within the NHS Care Records Service systems. I am aware that you have indicated that you are not concerned about those treating you having access to information about you,

"Dave" is actually concerned about this as well.

but I must point out that in future this will be through the NHS Care Records Service - there will not be an alternative system available for local clinicians to use when providing NHS care.

Section 10 Request

In your correspondence, you indicated that you wished to request that all processing of data about you should cease. This request was made under the provisions of section 10 of the Data Protection Act 1998.

See
Data Protection Act 1998 section 10 Right to prevent processing likely to cause damage or distress.

It is clear from your correspondence that you are concerned primarily about clinical information that is capable of identifying you from being shared outside of the organisation where you received care. There is currently only one database where such information is held - the NHS Wide Clearing Service - and I know that you have been in direct contact with the managers of that Service. The Department of Health has authorised deletion of all clinical information held within the Clearing Service and has directed that your record be flagged to prevent any further information being fed into this database from local systems.

The means by which information will be fed into the non-local element of the NHS Care Records service is still being developed but you will be provided with more information about this through a letter drop in advance of the systems being introduced in your area and informed who to contact to express your preferences at that time.

While your request to have clinical data removed has been complied with, it is necessary to continue to hold your contact details centrally. This is a requirement for all NHS patients. The Information Commissioner's office have advised that there need to be grounds of significant damage or
distress to provide a basis for requesting that processing of information should cease. I do not think that this has been demonstrated in respect of your contact details, but if you wish to offer evidence on this issue, I will ensure it receives appropriate consideration.

I hope that I have been able to respond to all of the issues and concerns that you have raised. It would help us to ensure that you receive timely responses to any future correspondence if it could be addressed to
nhscfhcomms@cfh.nhs.uk.

Yours sincerely

Michael Walker
Director of Digital Information & Health Policy
NHS Connecting for Health

"Dave" is not the only person concerned with the risky NHS medical records systems.

Dr. Ian Brown, an IT security expert, has also been trying to opt out of the scheme see "Please do not store my medical records in your leaky information systems"

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.

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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)

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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
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Technical Advisory Board on internet and telecomms interception under RIPA

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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.

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

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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

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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
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Online Media

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Need To Know [now defunct]

The Register

NewsNow Encryption and Security aggregate news feed
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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
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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

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RFIDBuzz.com blog - where we sometimes crosspost RFID articles

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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

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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
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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
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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
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World Weary Detective

Martin Stabe
Longrider
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Matt Sellers
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Murky.org
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Ilkley Against CCTV
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Bill's Comment Page - Bill Cameron
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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

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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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Follow Spy Blog on Twitter

For those of you who find it convenient, there is now a Twitter feed to alert you to new Spy Blog postings.

https://twitter.com/SpyBlog

Please bear in mind the many recent, serious security vulnerabilities which have compromised the Twitter infrastructure and many user accounts, and Twitter's inevitable plans to make money out of you somehow, probably by selling your Communications Traffic Data to commercial and government interests.

https://twitter.com/SpyBlog (same window)

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UK Legislation

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

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

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

UK Legislation Links

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

UK Commissioners

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

UK Intelligence Agencies

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

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

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

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

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

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Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) recruitment.

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Government Communications Headquarters GCHQ

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National Crime Agency - the replacement for the Serious Organised Crime Agency

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

Foreign Spies / Intelliegence Agencies in the UK

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

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

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

Campaign Button Links

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Open Rights Group

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

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

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

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Amnesty International's irrepressible.info campaign

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BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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

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

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

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

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

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No CCTV - The Campaign Against CCTV

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I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist !

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Power 2010 cross party, political reform campaign

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

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

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WhistleblowersUK.org - Fighting for justice for whistleblowers