March 2007 Archives

[via ParliamentProtest.org.uk]

It seems that, as of the 1st June 2007, the Palace of Westminster and Portcullis House now Designated under SOCPA Section 128 - even the previously public areas !

Home Office Minister Tony "not fit for purpose" McNulty has signed Statutory Instrument 2007 No. 930 - The Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (Designated Sites under Section 128) Order 2007 which comes into force on 1st June 2007.

This "designates" some more sites, under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 Section 128

Most controversially this now "designates" the entire Palace of Westminster and Portcullis House office buildings, crucially, even the formerly public access areas such the Central Lobby or the Committee Rooms.

It is intolerable for any Police officer and / or the Attorney General to have the power of arrest and prosecution on a charge which could lead to up to 51 weeks in prison in these particular areas, threatneing and chilling the democratic right of constituents. to meet and lobby their Members of Parliament, or to listen to the proceedings of Select Committees etc.

Designating the exterior of the building and the private office spaces and the Chambers of Parliament seems fair enough, but not the public areas. There are plenty of other existing laws to deal with "disturbing the peace" or any threats of actual violence etc which apply to these areas, it is typical of the Labour Government control freaks like Tony McNulty and his boss John Reid, to ineptly further restrict our democratic freedoms to assemble and protest and lobby democratically and peacefully.


Palace_of_Westminster_and_Portcullis_House_300.gif
Members of Parliament seemed to have not understood that these public areas of Parliament itself are already curtailed, under Section 132 of the same Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005, since the Palace of Westminster is within the Designated Area around Parliament Square, which includes:

Section 132 (7)

(b) "public place" means any highway or any place to which at the material time the public or any section of the public has access, on payment or otherwise, as of right or by virtue of express or implied permission,

It now appears that, as of 1st June, you can be arrested, on the whim of a Police officer, inside Parliament, when engaged in peaceful democratic lobbying of MPs, or watching Select Committee sessions etc., both under Section 128 and Section 132 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act Act 2005.

Bearing in mind our experience of being ignored in previous Home Affairs committee inquiries e.g.into the then "Entitlement Cards" and the Draft ID card legislation, is it worth making a formal submission to this Home Affairs Committee inquiry ?

Note the very short deadline for submission of any evidence - it is less than a month until Monday 23 April 2007 !

What exactly is the rush ? This is even less time than for a 12 week Public Consultation on a specific set of proposals.

Will the Government cherry pick any words of encouragement written by the Labour dominated Committee, and ignore any criticisms or damning evidence, as they have done with previous reports ?

FROM: HOME AFFAIRS COMMITTEE, HOUSE OF COMMONS

Press Notice No. 18 (Session 2006-07), 27 March 2007, for immediate
release

COMMITTEE ANNOUNCES INQUIRY INTO 'A SURVEILLANCE SOCIETY?'

The Home Affairs Committee today launched an inquiry entitled "A
Surveillance Society?"

The inquiry will consider the growth of numerous public and private databases and forms of surveillance with a direct relevance to the work of the Home Office. They either derive directly from the work of the Home Office and its related public functions or are controversial because whilst they offer the potential to play a part in the fight against crime their use may impinge on individual liberty.

The inquiry will be wide-ranging, considering the following issues:

  • Access by public agencies to private databases
  • Data-sharing between government departments and agencies
  • Existing safeguards for data use and whether they are strong enough
  • The monitoring of abuses
  • Potential abuse of private databases by criminals
  • The case for introducing privacy impact assessments
  • Privacy-sharing technologies
  • Profiling.

The inquiry will focus on Home Office responsibilities such as identity cards, the National DNA Database and CCTV, but where relevant will look also at other departments' responsibilities in this area, for instance the implications of databases being developed by the Department of Health and the DfES for use in the fight against crime.

The Committee's aim is not to carry out a comprehensive detailed review of the subject of the kind recently carried out by the Surveillance Studies Network on behalf of the Information Commissioner (and published in his report on The Surveillance Society in October 2006); but to build on the Information Commission's work in exploring the large strategic issues of concern to the general public, with a view to proposing ground rules for Government and its agencies.

UK Information Commissioner Richard Thomas's report: "A Report on the Surveillance Society" (.pdf 109 pages)

The Committee is seeking written submissions of no more than 2,500 words from interested parties, before it takes oral evidence on this inquiry. Organisations and individuals interested in making written submissions are invited to do so by Monday 23 April 2007. Further advice on making a submission can be found below.

FURTHER INFORMATION:

Written evidence should if possible be in Word or rich text format-not PDF format-and sent by e-mail to homeaffcom@parliament.uk. The use of colour and expensive-to-print material, e.g. photographs, should be avoided. The body of the e-mail must include a contact name, telephone number and postal address. The e-mail should also make clear who the submission is from.

If people are unhappy about giving their personal details to this Committee, on the subject of surveillance and privacy, then email your submissions to us, using our PGP encryption key if you can, and we will pass them as anonymous contributions to the Committee (they know all our personal details already).

Alternatively, we hope that Privacy International, Liberty, FIPR, GeneWatch, ARCHrights, IdealGovernment and the NO2ID Campaign etc. will be making submissions, and ideally so should many other NGOs and Campaign Groups.

You may prefer to get your anonymous views incorporated into their submissions, if you have contact with such groups (look on the right hand column of the Spy Blog home page for some links)

The Royal Academy of Engineering has now published a useful report, which covers many of the areas of concern which Spy Blog has been writing about for several years now.

Dilemmas of Privacy and Surveillance, Challenges of Technological Change (.pdf 60 pages)

Although we agree with most of what is presented in this report, we are not so enthusiastic about the example given in section "8.4.2. Reciprocity and public webcams" of the report: the Shoreditch Digital Bridge project for neighbourhood webcams and CCTV surveillance systems connected as part of a local internet service provider package of entertainment services.

We can see how such a sousveillance system might be tolerable in a happy, peaceful, crime free utopia,

We fail to see how it would not make life worse in, say a council estate plagued by drug addicts and illegal drug dealers, who would certainly take advantage of the extra warning they might get about the approach of police patrols, or use the system to secretly check, from beyond normal visual range, on the movements of nearby householders, to see which properties can be burgled.

There is no practical reciprocity in the Shoreditch Digital Bridge project..

Professor Steve Mann., the wearable computing and camera pioneer, and inventor of "sousveillance" seems to have moved on to the idea of equiveillance, which fits in better with the desirable test of Reciprocity, mentioned in the RAE report's Executive Summary.

The media coverage of this RAE report, such as in The Daily Mail "UK has 1% of world's population but 20% of its CCTV cameras" is also not properly sceptical of the alleged "4.2 million CCTV cameras in the UK" soundbite statistics.

That figure is derived from guesstimates which are already several years out of date - there could actually be many more of these systems in the UK, but nobody knows for sure.

See "monitored on CCTV 300 times a day" etc. soundbites"

Which will have more impact with our politicians and policy makers a 60 page report by respected academics, or an article in the Daily Mail ?

The formerly Canadian, now USA based Entrust Inc. used to be an admirable IT security infrastructure company, deploying advanced Public Key Infrastructure software, in some relatively large scale projects, including ID Card schemes of various kinds.

However, they must be in desperate financial straights to employ the untrustworthy twice disgraced ex-Home Secretary David Blunkett as, according to his Register of MPs Interests entry

"Chair of International Advisory Committee to Entrust Inc. (from 1 March 2007); company providing internet security systems."

The Observer reports that

Blunkett is given job at identity card firm

US company is in the running to run controversial scheme in Britain

Gaby Hinsliff, political editor
Sunday March 25, 2007
The Observer

David Blunkett has taken a job advising a company interested in bidding to run Britain's controversial identity cards programme, a policy he was the architect of and championed in government.

Despite their good technology, we cannot now trust Entrust Inc. as a company, so long as they employ David Blunkett, and we will say so to all our friends and contacts in the IT security industry.

As a public service, and at our own expense, Spy Blog has published a campaign button graphic for the Anti-terrorism hotline phone number 0800 789 321 for several years.

However, we are now seriously considering no longer publicising this "hotline" , due to the official "climate of fear" propaganda which may as well have been designed by terrorist sympathisers, who are trying to spread discord and suspicion:

N.B. despite the spread of mobile phone and internet technology and accessibility, there is still no SMS text message short number or a secure SSL/TLS encrypted web form, or a published PGP encryption key or even an email account, to use instead of the old fashioned voice telephone "hotline". Incredibly, the UK Government, with effectively unlimited funds being placed at the disposal of the anti-terrorism agencies, is not bothering to offer any financial rewards for anti-terrorism tip offs, somehow, the alienated communities in which the terrorists hide, are meant to inform on them, simply out of a sense of public duty and engagement with the wider society.

[via Famous for 15 Megapixels]

We appear to be in the middle of a five-week long anti-terrorism advertising propaganda campaign with the slogan 'Terrorism. If you suspect it, report it.' currently running in London, Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and the West Midlands.

See the Metropolitan Police Trust your instincts: it could disrupt terrorist planning and save lives campaign web page

For example, this poster:

suspicion2_300.jpg
TERRORISTS NEEDINFORMATION
Observation and surveillance help terrorists plan attacks. Have you seen anyone taking pictures of security arrangements?

In what way is simply using a camera, as per the poster, grounds for suspicion of terrorism ?

Given the increase in the capabilities of modern mobile phone cameras, and the miniaturisation of camcorders, are all the customers of Dixons or Curry's or Ccar Phone Warehouse etc. to be considered as terrorist suspects ?

TERRORISTS NEED TO TRAVEL
Meetings, training and planning can take place anywhere. Do you know someone who travels but is vague about where they are going?

So anyone who travels, anywhere is now a terrorist suspect ?

Surely a terrorist could plausibly lie about their travel plans, and not appear vague ?

TERRORISTS USE COMPUTERS
Do you know someone who visits terrorist-related websites?

What exactly does a "terrorist-related website" look like ? Most of the amateur bomb making instructions are published in the USA on, say Yahoo Groups or via Google search engines etc.

Is a "terrorist rellated" website, one which shows interviews and statements with alleged terrorist death cult leaders and video clips of bomb atrocities etc ? Like the BBC or any major news website ?

We are still awaiting some concrete proposals and policies which address our list of Questions to Franco Frattini and the European Commission, regarding "terrorist websites"

See "Response from the European Commission regarding the policy of censoring "terrorist" web sites - part 1"

TERRORISTS NEED TRANSPORT
If you work in commercial vehicle hire or sales, has a sale or rental made you suspicious?

Suspicious of what, exactly ?

The July 7th 2005 suicide bombers used a hire car to pick up and transport their bomb rucksacks and gang members. and then to drive down the M1 motorway to board a train into London.

What exactly was there for the people who hired the vehicle to the driver, to be suspicious of ?

Is every White Van, as per the poster, now suspicious ?

TERRORISTS NEED COMMUNICATION
Anonymous, pay-as-you-go and stolen mobiles are typical. Have you seen someone with large quantities of mobiles? Has it made you suspicious?

Most mobile phones in the UK are "anonymous, pay-as-you-go". Are all the tens of millions of people in the UK who use them now to be considered as "terrorist suspects" ?

What quantity of mobile phones is considered to be "suspicious" ?

The mobile phones used as simple timing devices in the Madrid train bomb attacks, were supplied by a conspirator who owned and ran a mobile phone shop

There is a second, equally alarming poster in this "climate of fear" propaganda campaign:

The BBC reports that Leader of the House of Commons Jack Straw has announced that the House of Commons Select Committee on Home Affairs is due announce an "inquiry into issues of surveillance".

According to the temporary Today in Parliament version of Hansard (the official version should be online tomorrow):

Business of the House
11.33 am

[...]

Mr. David Heath (Somerton and Frome) (LD): May I also thank the Leader of the House for the innovation of announcing statements in advance?

[...]

Lastly, can we have a debate on surveillance? The Leader of the House may have noticed the innovative plans by the Conservative-run Ealing borough council to put spy cameras in tin cans to catch people putting out wheelie bins early. Obviously, for Ealing borough council, beans means fines. May we have a debate on whether Big Brother is getting out of hand?

Mr. Straw: I award the hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House’s prize for a very good line: far better than the ones that we get from the Conservative Front Bench.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Southampton, Itchen (Mr. Denham), the Chairman of the Home Affairs Committee, is about to announce an inquiry into issues of surveillance. I hope that he will ensure that the activities of Conservative-controlled Ealing borough council and its spy cameras in tin cans are given a wider audience in evidence to his Select Committee.

We will be watching this inquiry with interest.

The "why is he still in a job" Home Office Minister Tony McNulty has put his fist to Statutory Instrument 2007 No. 858(C. 35) The Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 (Commencement No. 2) Order 2007

Amongst other things, this commences i.e. brings into force, on 6th April 2007, the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 Section 62

62 Offering or agreeing to re-programme a mobile telephone In section 1(1) of the Mobile Telephones (Re-programming) Act 2002 (c. 31) (offence of re-programming mobile telephone etc.), omit "or" at the end of paragraph (a) and after paragraph (b) insert- "(c) he offers or agrees to change, or interfere with the operation of, a unique device identifier, or

(d) he offers or agrees to arrange for another person to change, or interfere with the operation of, a unique device identifier."

This further broadens the scope of one of the most badly written bits of New Labour legislation dealing with technology and crime, which criminalises the new sector of WiFi enabled mobile phones, with a penalty of up to 5 years in prison.

Like most of New Labour's "must be seen to be doing something" legislation, it has not actually done anything about the social problem it was meant to fix- see our previous blog article "Stolen mobile phone blocking hype - this was all allegedly in place back in 2002"

The Guardian / Press Association version of the "terrorist with false UK passport" story includes a more significant item:

Instead of "47 registrable facts" as per Schedule 1 of the Identity Cards Act 2006, the Government bureaucrats are going to start off the new Passport / National Identity Register database with at least 200 for "face to face interview" applicants !

Al-Qaida terrorist among fraudulent passport applicants

James Sturcke and agencies
Tuesday March 20, 2007
Guardian Unlimited

[...]

Earlier, the Home Office minister, Joan Ryan, admitted that an estimated 10,000 British passports were granted after false applications were made over the 12-month period.

Ms Ryan said the IPS had received 16,500 fraudulent applications between October 2005 and September 2006. In a written ministerial statement, she said "almost half" the applications were stopped by existing safeguards, but the remainder had gone undetected.

"Our current estimate is, therefore, that the level of undetected fraud is about 0.5%, equivalent to 10,000 applications against the planned 6.6m passports issued per year," she said.

Note that these Home Offices guesstimates do not give any figures for Fake or Forged Passports, as opposed to genuine UK Passports which have been issued on the basis of False Applications or False or Fake supporting documentation.

[...]

The IPS executive director, Bernard Herdan, said applicants would be expected to know answers from a pool of around 200 questions about their ancestry, financial history and previous addresses.

"We will not ask questions to which we don't know the answers," he said. "Before the interview takes place, we will have cross-checked that individual against various databases in order to uncover information about them."

The questions are intended to ensure that applicants are the people they claim to be and uncover any cases of identity fraud, he added.

Applicants will be asked who lives with them, whether they have a mortgage, where and when their parents were born and which bank accounts they hold, and will also face questions about the counter-signatory to their passport application.

Even if the Answers to these 200 Questions are not all statically stored in your individual Passport / National Identity Register data record, the implication is that there will be a real time, or near to real time ability to send queries to other databases and search engines for any of the particular questions / answers to be checked against. so the effective loss of privacy and security for an individual, is the same.

There is no estimate from the Government about just how effective they expect these new measures to be in reducing the number of False Applications, so there can be no proper judgement about value for money.

Have they deluded themselves that they can somehow eliminate False Applications for Passports entirely ?

Those of us who were hoping that the review of the legal definition of terrorism might produce a simpler, clearer, more effective and practical definition, are disappointed:

The definition of terrorism: a report by Lord Carlile of Berriew Q.C. Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation (.pdf - 194Kb - 48 pages)

6. There is no universally accepted definition of terrorism. It remains the subject of continuing debate in international bodies.

[...]

Hard as I have striven, and as many definitions as I have read, I have failed to conclude that there is one that I could regard as the paradigm.

The report has a table of comparative views of how broad the terrorism laws are in most of the countries throughout the world, which is of some interest. Many countries do not have separate terrorist offences distinct from the usual criminal offences such as murder or causing explosions etc. or they restrict the definition of terrorism to organisations rather than individuals, or to attacks on national or international state organisations.

Others, such as the UK seem to have extremely broad definitions of terrorism, e.g. USA. China , India, Ireland, Belgium etc.

Some, like Greece, have a "Statutory defence for acts aimed at establishing or
restoring democratic regimes or in the exercise of fundamental civil or political
rights", which we do not.

Starting today, the Information Tribunal is due to hear the Appeal by the Office for Government Commerce against the Information Commissioner's Decision Notice which ruled in our favour, which ordered them to fully disclose the early (and now out of date) Gateway Reviews of the Home Office's Identity Cards Programme.

More details on our Freedom of Information Act requests sub-blog category archive for the Information Tribunal

Gordon Brown's Treasury, which the OGC is part of, are wasting our tax payer's money to pay tens of thousands of pounds for expensive lawyers to argue to preserve the unnecessary and excessive secrecy which surrounds so called Gateway Reviews, which casts a slur on the professional competence and ethics of civil servants and of private sector consultants and experts.

The full tribunal hearing is set to start today (.pdf), Monday 12th March, and will go on until Friday 16th March (except for Thursday 15th)

Government Commerce v Information Commissioner
EA/2006/0068
EA/2006/0080

FOI
FS50132936

Government Commerce

Full hearing

12,13,14 and 16th March 2007 at
Procession House,
110 New Bridge Street
London
EC4V 6JL

[via Ralf Bendrath]

The Irish based Front Line Defenders charity has published a very useful free online book, entitled Digital Security & Privacy for Human Rights Defenders (9Mb .pdf 164 pages) with text mostly by Dmitri Vitaliev, but with contributions from the likes of Privacy International, Professor Ross Anderson and Stephen Murdoch from the University of Cambridge Computer Science Laboratory etc.

UPDATE 22/03/2007: There is now a web page version Digital Security & Privacy for Human Rights Defenders manual available online, for easier access and translation.

There is some common sense guidance, spelt out clearly and simply, especially regarding physical security and the establishment of a trustworthy computing base, with an overview of topics such as circumventing web censorship, cryptology, steganography, backing up data or securely erasing it etc.

There is also practical advice on software settings for common software, with the acknowledgement that although Microsoft Windows operating systems and application software is not ideal, it is the de facto world standard, and, with care, it can be configured to provide a high degree of security and privacy, especially with the help of free tools such as those in the NGO in a Box Security Edition toolset.

We have a few minor quibbles, but, overall, this is an excellent guide to general, common sense, computer and internet security aimed at human rights workers around the world, which complements our own more modest modest hints and tips for whistleblowers, journalists and bloggers.

The Information Tribunal has heard an Appeal against a Decision by the Information Commissioner regarding the "Wilson Doctrine":

Appeal Number EA/2006/0045 Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) (.pdf - 30 pages)

Heard on papers at Procession House, London
Date 12th February 2007

Decision Promulgated 28 February 2007

BEFORE
INFORMATION TRIBUNAL
CHAIRMAN John Angel And
LAY MEMBERS John Randall and Marion Saunders

Between

NORMAN BAKER MP Appellant
And
INFORMATION COMMISSIONER Respondent
And
THE CABINET OFFICE
And
NATIONAL COUNCIL OF CIVIL LIBERTIES Additional Parties

Decision The Tribunal upholds the decision notice dated 11th July 2006 and dismisses the appeal.

[...]

Chris Lighfoot - the good die young

| | Comments (0)

The news of the sad death of Chris Lightfoot last month, is now in the public domain: posthumously on his own blog Chris Lightfoot 1978-2007, and with fine tributes from MySociety.org and NO2ID.net

Everyone in the United Kingdom who uses the world wide web or email, to campaign for more publicly accountable Parliamentary democracy or to preserve our hard won freedoms and liberties from bureaucratic function creep and the database surveillance society, using the award winning MySociety website tools such as WriteToThem.com to find and contact their elected representatives, or TheyWorkForYou.com to see what speeches and Parliamentary Questions they have made, owes Chris a great deal of thanks.

Neither PledgeBank.com nor the multi-million signature No. 10 Downing Street website e-petitons to the Prime Minister systems would have been possible without Chris .

Chris Lightfoot was also one of the founding members and technical mainstays of the cross party NO2ID Campaign. He was a formidable opponent, both online and offline, of the particular, nasty yet inept, centralised biometric National Identity Register scheme, which the Home Office and the Labour government is trying to inflict upon us, which he argued against with passion and with forensic, numerate, scientific intellectual rigour.

Rest in peace Chris, the democratic fight goes on, and we will prevail.

The MI5 website email subscription list system seems to have been re-vamped, again, with some considerable improvements.

The Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament have looked into the affair, in so far as it is within their narrow remit, and seem to have been assured that the initially improved system is working ok.

The Information Commissioner's Office is currently investigating the data protection aspects of the original system, which we believe did breach the Data Protection Act.

Which Home Office politician or spin doctor or MI5 Security Service civil servant is willing to admit that they made a mistake with the original launch of this email alert subscription service ?

About this blog

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

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

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

Email & PGP Contact

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

blog@spy[dot]org[dot]uk

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

Current PGP Key ID: 0x80CFAA4C which will expire on 6th September 2014.

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