April 2007 Archives

Are some of our Parliamentarians starting to get the message, that the current slide towards a society which is indistinguishable in practice from a totalitarian police state, might not be the best way forward ?

Not only is the the House of Commons Select Committee on Home Affairs now in the process of conducting an Inquiry into "A Surveillance Society ?", but the House of Lords Constitution Committee is also conducting an overlapping Inquiry.

Call For Evidence (Microsoft Word .doc):

UPDATE: Our initial puzzlement as to why the controversial Private Member's Bill was not debated today has now turned to anger and disgust at the shenanigans of the Conservative MP David Maclean and his Labour Government supporters.

It seem that further debate on this "zombie" Bill which refuses to be killed off when it should have been, has been deferred until May 18th, according to this BBC report.

The obvious conclusion that public will draw is that there must be a further scandal involving MPs expenses or political party finances etc. which some MPs are desperate to keep hidden.

Our original article:

It seems that the negative publicity about the resurrection of the zombie" Bill, the Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill and the lists of Amendments tabled against it on Tuesday and Wednesday, has mysteriously resulted in today's Order of Business which now no longer mentions this Bill, which attempted to remove the House of Commons and the house of Lords from the provisions of th e Freedom of Information Act 2000 which currently does apply to them, as it should.

Suddenly the half a dozen Private Members' Bills which were not deemed to be ready for debate, are in fact being debated. There has even been a vote on the Health and Safety (Offences) Bill, which accepted the 2nd reading by 20 votes to 3.

The Streetscape and Highway Design Bil similarly had a debate and a vote, this toime with 10 ayes and 10 noes, which could have led to a casting vote from the Speaker's Chair. l

However these debates and votes, whilst using up Parliamentary time, did not involve a Quorum of MPs i.e. at least 40 MPs, so they were was a waste of time.

According to the Standing Orders:


Quorum

41.—(1) If it should appear that fewer than forty Members (including the occupant of the chair and the tellers) have taken part in a division, the business under consideration shall stand over until the next sitting of the House and the next business shall be taken.

N.B. this section of the Standing Orders also includes a devious and sneaky practice which runs counter to the spirit of public accountability i.e.

(2) The House shall not be counted at any time.

It is obvious on television, and from the number of people voting, that only a small minority of MPs actually bother to listen to debates or to speak in them. There is often a huge disparity in numbers between those MPs that do actually take part in debates, and those who only bother to turn up to vote as they have been told to do so by their party whips.

The House of Commons collectively tries to hide this from the public.

See Read The Bills Act - an idea from the USA which we should also implement in the UK Parliament



The BBC reports that Farid Hilali has been granted a writ of Habeas Corpus, overturning his detention without trial currently in Whitemoor prison, as the first person in the UK to have been served with a supposedly "fast track" European Arrest Warrant, for extradition to Spain.

Lady Justice Smith and Mr Justice Irwin ruled that his incarceration under a European arrest warrant was arbitrary and unjustified.

Under the notorious Extradition Act 2003 extraditions to Category 1 countries i.e. the European Union, such cases no longer even involve the Home Secretary making a decision or hearing appeals.

We have been following the proceedings of this case since 2004 (i.e. hardly "fast track" extradition) , since it has huge ramifications for everyone in the UK, who might be arrested and extradited to other European Union countries, without any actual evidence being heard and tested by the defence in a UK court. e.g.

The flimsy "evidence" against him appears to be some intercepted mobile phone conversations by the Spanish authorities (which would be inadmissible in a UK court if done by the UK authorities under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 Section 17 Exclusion of matters from legal proceedings.).

This alleged identification as the a "mystery voice" via dubious voiceprint analysis (how exactly did the Spanish authorities get hold of reference recordings of his voice, when he was in prison in the UK on immigration charges ?) with the chief activist of the Al-Quaeda cell in Spain, in August 2001.

Mobile phone location records apparently place the "mystery voice" mobile phones in South East London, but these phobnes do not seem to actually have been seized or to have been shown to have been used by Farid Hilali.

Spanish prosecutors claimed he telephoned Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas, the alleged head of the Madrid al-Qaida cell, in August 2001 and talked of entering "the field of aviation" and "cutting the bird's throat" - an apparent reference to the American bald eagle.

Except of course, that during the multi-defendant trial in which, Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas was sentenced, the Spanish court dismissed all of the telephone intercept evidence as being "untrustworthy".

"The judges dismissed evidence of recorded telephone calls used by the prosecution, saying they were misleading and often based on misunderstandings of the Arabic language."

So the alleged mastermind he is supposed to have been conspiring with in Spain regarding the September 11th 2001 terrorist plots, has already been found not guilty of those charges.

It remains to be seen whether Home Secretary John Reid will, for example deport Farid Hilali to Morocco, or impose a controversial Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 Control Order on him.

What this means for the rest of us, who could also be arrested and held in prison without trial for months and years, under a European Arrest Warrant, simply on allegations based on easily forged or hard to interpret electronic intercept evidence, which is inadmissible in a UK court, remains to be seen.

Under this Labour Government, our supposed system of justice has become frighteningly Kafkaesque

Has anyone else who is subscribed to the MI5 email alert list still not yet received their MI5 Security Service website What's New alert emails from Friday, when Jonathan Evans formally took over as Director General, and the website was updated ?

MI5 website What's New page

JONATHAN EVANS TAKES OVER AS DIRECTOR GENERAL (21/04/2007)

Jonathan Evans has today taken over from Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller as the new Director General of the Security Service. As the head of the Service, Mr. Evans is responsible for leading and directing its work against threats to the UK's national security. He has been a member of the Service since 1980 and has focused mainly on counter-terrorism, both international and domestic. He served as the Service's Deputy Director General from 2005 to 2007 and has succeeded Dame Eliza following her retirement. For more information on Mr. Evans and the role of the Director General, please click on this item's headline.

The disappearance from view of the "We Are All Doomed - now what are we meant to do exactly ?" web graphic button links such as

threatlevelssmall3.gif

on the relevant pages on the MI5, the Home Office and the Intelligence.gov.uk websites, is a bit puzzling.

Is it just managerial incompetence from the Home Office's new Office for Security and Counter-terrorism, or is there a deliberate attempt to try to forget about the whole "terror alert status" media hype ?

It does make us wonder what is going on, and how these people are ever going to make better use of the web and the internet in terms of brand image, trustworthiness and hearts and minds, than our terrorist and other enemies do.

We were disappointed that last Friday's debate on the Commons Report stage of the Private Member's Bill, the Freedom of Information(Amendment) Bill did not result in a resounding vote of rejection by MPs.

This Bill would, very controversially, exempt the House of Commons and the House of Lords entirely from the Freedom of Information Act 2000, allegedly so as to protect the personal details of MP's constituency correspondents, who are, as the sponsor of the Bill the Conservative Rt. Hon. David Maclean MP (Penrith and The Border) has admitted, already exempted from the Freedom of Information Act.

It does not appear that this is the real reason for the Bill, which, if passed would prevent further FOIA requests for MPs detailed travel expenses etc. such as are routinely published by the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly, the Northern Ireland Assembly, Local Councils and even the European Parliament.

Leaving aside the question of expenses, it would also prevent any request for information about future Parliamentary financial and project planning disasters which seem to happen every time that MPs are allowed to spend public money on the Parliamentary buildings at the Palace of Westminster itself e.g. the £1.2 million per MP spent on the Portcullis House office block or the several millions of pounds wasted on the "security screen" which further isolates MPs in the Commons Chamber from the public, which utterly failed to prevent the "purple flour" incident.

The Bill seemed to run out of Parliamentary time, after 5 hours of opposition from a handful of MPs from across the party divides, and it seemed that it was dead.

However, a junior NuLabour Government Minister, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs Bridget Prentice (MP for Lewisham East) led many Government Ministers through the lobbies to vote against the Amendments which did come to a vote, thereby signalling some level of Government support for this Bill, whilst at the same time claiming it was being neutral.

Labour Government necromancers seem to have managed to revive this "evil living dead zombie" Bill, by giving it another chance to be debated and passed to the Lords, this coming Friday 27th April 2007.

Suspiciously, some has decided that, incredibly, there are no other Private Member's Bills ready for debate on Friday, and that this Bill will go to the top of the list and be debated again.

According to the Forthcoming Business of the House of Commons:

Regular readers of Spy Blog may have noticed the link we have on the left hand side of the main page which leads to the Cabinet Office's portal web page, which links to the various UK's Intelligence Services and explains about the Government committees etc. who receive their input or are supposed to keep an eye on their activities and budgets.

Some of the people in the Cabinet Office and the Foreign Office "national intelligence machinery" are now meant to report to the Home Secretary John Reid, as of last month.

See Where exactly is the "step change" in the UK's anti-terrorism defences in the new "Ministry of Injustice" Home Office ?

It appears that the ham fist of the Home Office with regard to official websites is already showing itself:

The www.intelligence.gov.uk web site no longer carries the "We Are All Doomed" graphic about the severity of the alleged terrorist threat to the UK - has the threat magically disappeared ?

www_intelligence_gov_uk_300.jpg

This web page is branded as Intelligence.gov.uk, as our web button on the Spy Blog web page shows.

intelligence_gov_uk_150.gif

However, currently, this link (without the preceding "www.") takes you to another virtual site on the Cabinet Office run web server which belongs to the House of Lords Appointment's Commission !

intelligence)_gov_uk_url._low.jpg

intelligence_gov_uk_300.jpg

Is this due to the customary lack of proper management and quality assurance controls regarding anything vaguely technological, on the part of the Home Office, or is it down to a demoralised Cabinet Office ?

Which senior civil servant or political advisor is responsible for checking any changes to this official UK Government branded website, before publishing them to the world ?

Aren't all UK central Government websites now supposed to be under the aegis of a centralised "joined up e-government" team ?

Will it take an enquiry from the mainstream media to get this mistake corrected, or will the UK Government's "national intelligence machinery" notice it on their own ?

There is still time to send in a formal submission to the House of Commons Select Committee on Home Affairs inquiry into “A Surveillance Society?” before the deadline tomorrow Monday 23rd April 2007.

Since they are obviously not going to go into detail, with any of the large number of topics which fall under these wide ranging terms of reference, perhaps a short 1 page letter with half a dozen or so points might be as influential with the Committee as a 2500 word submission.

Last week they took announced an Oral Evidence session with the Information Commissioner, the uncorrected transcript of which may be available online next week.{CORRECTION: this Oral Evidence session is scheduled for the 1st May]

Terms of reference of the inquiry:

Where is the Identity Cards Act Section 37 report into latest 10 year cost estimates for the National Identity Register / ID Card Scheme ?

This "Frank Dobson amendment" - a weak compromise which replaced the call for a fully detailed cost benefit analysis, is laid down in the Identity Cards Act 2006 Section 37 Report to Parliament about likely costs of ID cards scheme

(2) Before the end of every six months beginning with the laying of a report under this section, the Secretary of State must prepare and lay before Parliament a further report setting out his estimate of the public expenditure likely to be incurred on the ID cards scheme during the ten years beginning with the end of those six months.

The first such 6 monthly report was published last October (.pdf) - this was published late because of the Summer Recess and the decision not to have Parliament sit in Septembe.

As the Liberal Democrat Home Office Watch blog points out:

It’s a year and twenty days since the bill got royal assent (30 March), six months and 11 days since the last report. Given they are required by law to publish this report six-monthly, should we be calling the police…?

Artists and Surveillance technologies

| | Comments (3)

[hat tip: David Mery - calm, almost too calm via Bill Thompson - the billblog]

Respected technology writer Bill Thompson is to chair a panel - Control Technology: Knowing Me, Knowing You – Ah ha! on Friday 27th April at the Enter_ Unknown Territories international festival and conference for new technology art, in Cambridge.

One of the panellists, Manu Luksch, made a film "Faceless"

Faceless was produced under the rules of the 'Manifesto for CCTV Filmmakers'. The manifesto states, amongst other things, that additional cameras are not permitted at filming locations, as the omnipresent existing video surveillance (CCTV) is already in operation.

The Manifesto for CCTV Filmmakers (UK Version 2005) cunningly quotes sections of the Data Protection Act 1998

However, given that prosecutions under the Data Protection Act can only be done by the deliberately under-resourced Information Commissioner's Office this has never been a substitute for a proper (as yet non-existent) Personal Privacy Law in the UK. The potential application of the DPA to CCTV has been weakened even further by the Information Commissioner's interpretation (.pdf) of the Durant versus Financial Services Authority legal precedent,

We are reminded of our vintage 1998 "performance art / activism" T-shirt (no longer available), which used Copyright "small print" to make a similar point that there were (and still are) no effective legal regulations which prevent people stealing images of your face in public, but there are draconian intellectual property monopoly legal powers which protect our T-shirt design:

tshirt200.jpg

The sneaky Private Member's Bill, introduced by David Maclean MP (Conservative, Pentrith and The Border), the Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill is due for its Report stage in the Commons this Friday 20th April 2007.

This deceptively short Bill seeks to exempt the House of Commons and the House of Lords from the Freedom of Information Act, to which there are already far too many exemptions.

The only reason for this Bill appears to be in order to hide the details of the expenses paid to Members of Parliament from being revealed through FOIA requests, something which the Parliamentary authorities wasted public money to fight against unsuccessfully recently.

It would also prevent the Freedom of Information Act being used to probe future Parliamentary (rather than Government) disasters, like the massive, unnecessary cost overruns incurred during the building of Portcullis House office accommodation.- £238 million for only 200 MPs offices i.e. nearly £1.2 million per MP, or the millions spent on the useless "chemical and gas proof security screen" in the Public Gallery of the Commons, which did not stop the "purple flour" protesters.

Please lobby your Member of Parliament e.g. through WriteToThem.com, or better still, in person, to ensure that this Bill does not sneak through on the quiet.

There is also a Petition on the Prime Minister's website against this Bill

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to oppose the Private Members Bill exempting Westminster from the FoI Act 2000

We have written about various dubious Extradition cases e.g. computer hacker Gary McKinnon, the NatWest 3 bankers - David Bermingham, Giles Darby and Gary Mulgrew , British Islamic IT technician Babar Ahmad, who the US authorities have extradited or are in the process of extraditing , and Farid Hilali, the first person in the UK served with a European Arrest Warrant for extradition to Spain.

Since it appears that any of us could fall foul of foreign laws and be arrested and extradited, like the people mentioned above, simply on the basis of accusations, unsupported by any actual prima facie evidence which could be challenged by the defence in a UK extradition court hearing, no matter how exaggerated, no matter if the allegations are as a result of "evidence" obtained by torture, or through the use of electronic intercepts which are not allowed to be presented as evidence in a UK court, etc. we were interested in whether or not the Secretary of State to whom it is possible, in some circumstances to appeal to, or at least to make representations to under the notorious Extradition Act 2003 would remain as the Home Secretary at the Home Office, or whether these legal functions would pass to the new Ministry of Justice, which comes into effect on the 9th of May when the Department for Constitutional Affairs is abolished.

We enquired of both the Home Office and of the Department for Constitutional Affairs, and it seems that

When the Ministry of Justice is created, responsibility for extradition matters will remain with the Home Secretary

i.e. Extradition remains the plaything of the Home Office - the "Ministry of Injustice", despite the obvious logic of removing this essentially judicial legalistic procedural function from the Home Secretary.

Email from the Home Office:

We have waited in vain for other blogs or the media to pick up on the implications of Home Secretary John Reid's Parliamentary Written Answer to his Liberal Democrat front bench opponent Nicholas Clegg, regarding the current status of the Project Lantern mobile fingerprints (allegedly only for identification purposes) trials being conducted by the Police and some other Government agencies.

See our unanswered questions Project Lantern mobile fingerprint scanners used by the Police - what happens to the digital fingerprint minutiae afterwards ?

Written answers Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Home Department
Fingerprints: Pilot Schemes

Nicholas Clegg (Sheffield, Hallam, Liberal Democrat)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the results of the pilot project codenamed Lantern on the use of mobile fingerprint scanners.

John Reid John Reid (Home Secretary)

The Lantern pilot is still in its early stages and the initial results and feedback received to date indicate that Lantern is delivering the expected business benefits and that officers are finding it easy to operate and a useful tool that they would not want to be withdrawn. Currently results are being returned to the device in less than two minutes with an accuracy rate of approximately 97 per cent. and a hit rate of 40 per cent. (i.e. 40 per cent. of people checked are recorded on IDENT1). This high hit rate reflects the environment in which the devices are being used—proactive, intelligence led policing.

[...]

Results indicate that Lantern is showing time savings beyond expectations and hence allowing officers to spend more time on the streets and providing a visible deterrent. Establishing a person's identity at the roadside avoids the need to arrest a person and take them to a custody suite to do this—a process which typically takes about three hours. Early results show that in encounters where officers have reported a time saving using Lantern, the average time saved has been about 90 minutes.

All well and good. However, where was the public debate and consultation on the implications of this bit of "function creep" in Project Lantern ?

There have also been a number of cases where Lantern has provided early identification of deceased persons carrying no ID and hence saved a considerable amount of police and coroners time and also enabled next of kin to be informed sooner. Cases have included fatal road traffic collisions, sudden deaths and suicide victims on railway lines.

There is nothing in the legislation (Serious Organised Crime and Police ACt 2005 Section 117 Fingerprints which amends Section 61 (fingerprinting) of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act ) which allows a Police Constable to do these roadside fingerprint checks using the Project Lantern equipment, which mentions fingerprinting innocent dead people, for any purpose at all, or even allowing a Coroner to do so.

What saving in time is there going to be at all, since, presumably, the dead body is going to be dealt with in the usual way, and there will still have to be a journey back to a morgue and a formal identification process, which may involve full sets of fingerprints etc. regardless .

What is the rush to provide such identifications ? Surely grieving family members are not going to be dealt with sympathetically or be expected to provide formal identifications of the deceased at the roadside ?

Does nobody else find that the default assumption, even before the National Identity Register has been set up , that someone who is innocent but has died suddenly, may have a criminal record on the Police National Computer, or be otherwise known to a Police intelligence database, which is what the Project Lantern scheme accesses, is creepy and repressive ?

[Hat tip to Charlie Stross]
The Guardian reports that the flagship "Shouting CCTV" scheme in Middlesbrough is having to apologise for the false accusation and public humiliation of a young mother.

Ms Brewster said yesterday: "We were in the town centre and I'd got some chips at McDonald's for my daughter Ellie, but they were hot so I tipped them into a box and crumpled the packet up."

"I put it on the bottom of Ellie's pram to take home but then heard this voice say: 'Please place the rubbish in the bin provided'."

She said she had no idea the incident had appeared on TV until her mother-in-law phoned.

How exactly did this incident end up on the local TV without the knowledge and permission of the victim ?

Presumably someone from the Council must have provided the video footage.

"I still think the cameras are a good idea, but I have to say when you haven't done anything wrong it's annoying to appear like this."

With the current media attention on the Middlesbrough scheme, the faceless bureaucrats and have spun a statement to the press that they intend to apologise for the incident i.e. that they have not yet done so.

Barry Coppinger, Middlesbrough's executive member for community safety, said: "I'm sorry if there has been a misunderstanding and I'll be writing to Ms Brewster to apologise."

So now the Council bureaucrats are going to hunt down her name and address to apologise for their mistake, and presumably add her name and address to their files under the category of "complainants".

What incentive is there for such petty officials to bother to apologise for their own Anti-Social Behaviour, once these schemes become more widespread, and the mainstream media's limited attention span has been exceeded ?

The Daily Telegraph reports about the concerns of some of the organisations who helped to promote the 1.8 million signature petition to the Prime Minister on the No. !0 Downing Street website against the vague national road pricing and surveillance plans, about remarks (probably taken out of context) from someone who works from one of the companies involved in the National Roads Telecommunications Services project run by the Highways Agency, under the Department for Transport..

There is probably not much "mileage" in this aspect of the Daily Telegraph story - you might as well criticise the mobile phone network companies for also providing part of the telecommunications infrastructure which could be used for future road snooping plans.

The National Roads Telecommunications Services project is the plan to create a high speed wireless data communications backbone, between hundreds of thousands of lampposts. This is primarily for the road management purposes i.e. updating motorway warning signs, gathering fog sensor and pollution sensor data etc, and of course congestion monitoring, and eventually road charging.

No doubt even more CCTV surveillance cameras and Automatic Number Plate Recognition systems will be linked to this telecomms backbone as well.

The idea is also to then to sell spare internet bandwidth to local WiFi hotspot providers or mobile phone companies etc. to link otherwise remote locations.

However, as we have noted, nearly two years ago, in "Lampposts in the 21st Century" there are other, possibly unintended, privacy intrusive side effects of this project, which have not been properly debated in public.

[hat tip to Martin Rosenbaum at the BBC Open Secrets blog ]

The Department for Work and Pensions has finally published information it was withholding regarding the Identity Cards Scheme, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by the then LibDem Home Affairs spokesman Mark Oaten MP.

DWP response to Mark Oaten MP:

Essentially the DWP re-iterated their stance that even with a perfect ID card scheme, they could not see it helping out with more than £25 million a year of benefits fraud , out of a couple of billion a year, simply because most of it is people claiming false benefits and entitlements e.g. whilst working, in their real names and addresses and bank accounts.

NOTE: DWP perceive losses to identity fraud to be between £25-50m per annum, due to the nature of our business processes and recording of monetary value of fraud and error the figures are unreliable therefore DWP can only sign up to a maximum saving in this area of 25m per annum.

The Home Office Working Assumptions circa 2004 (now, of course, claimed to be out of date) are interesting.

You can see why they were so scared of publishing these at the time - these assumed process time figures are far too slow. They mean endless queues and delays for the public, which represents actual economic and social damage to the United Kingdom,.

The Identity and Passport Service has issued another "Prior Information Notice" ahead of any actual formal Invitations to Tender for contracts for the procurement of a "National Identity Scheme Framework":

National Identity Scheme Prior Information Notice 2007 (.pdf 4 pages)

This procurement process for the Framework is supposed to start in "the second quarter of 2007" i.e. now, and the list of chosen suppliers and consortia will probably have been put together by this June 2007, but that is not necessarily a firm date

This is not a firm Invitation To Tender, or even a procurement Request For Information - because those would require some actual detailed specifications of what the Labour Government intends for this scheme. These detailed specifications either do not exist or are being kept secret, for political reasons.

The "Prior Information Notice" lists a few(!) of the categories of products and services which companies might be interested in bidding for,

It is anticipated that the framework may include provision of Managed Services and Systems Integration capabilities for services such as (but not limited to) the following: (a) biometric systems, (b) application support and development, (d) design of identity products such as Passports and Identity Cards, (e) production and distribution of identity products and (d) systems, estates and people to support application and enrolment.

There is a long list of vague product or service titles, in which, interestingly, the word biometric is not mentioned, and neither is Privacy, but the term "Super computer" is.

Does the inclusion of the term "Public law and order services." imply that they are planning to create a privatised police force to enforce the Identity Cards Act 2006 ?

Various people have been asking us to comment on Home Secretary John Reid's latest "must be seen to be doing something" technological magic fix scheme for social and political problems i.e. the "shouting" CCTV surveillance camera idea.

Following a short 3 month, unscientific "trial" in Middlesbrough, for which the Home Office has not bothered to publish any verifiable statistics, nor made any comparisons with, say, increasing the number of "this area is under CCTV surveillance" warning signs, John Reid has announced that the scheme is a "success".

It will be rolled out to the boroughs of Southwark, Barking and Dagenham, Reading, Harlow, Norwich, Ipswich, Plymouth, Gloucester, Derby, Northampton, Mansfield, Nottingham, Coventry, Sandwell, Wirral, Blackpool, Salford, South Tyneside and Darlington.

These will, eventually, be getting around £500,000 of public money, i.e. about £25,000 each, to waste on "shouting" CCTV camera upgrades to a minority of their surveillance systems.

The BBC has quite a full report including a RealMedia video clip "Big Brother gets a new voice" of the Middlesbrough system in action, and in simulated action staged for the reporter.

The targets seem to be litter louts and other minor "anti-social" behaviour, who will be shouted warnings and instructions from CCTV camera pole mounted loudspeakers. by literally faceless bureaucrat camera operators , who do not actually have any Police enforcement powers at all.

The immediate question which springs to mind is why the existing CCTV surveillance cameras, linked as they must be to a live camera operator in a control room, have not already eliminated such behaviour as promised ? That false promise is one on which hundreds of millions of pounds of Central Government and Local Government funds have already been wasted on such systems.

We suspect, that this is because most people do not realise that CCTV cameras are being used to zoom in on them, from well beyond normal human visual and audible range, and that, for some reason, these supposedly crime deterrent systems almost all still have far more actual cameras "this area is under CCTV surveillance" warning signs.

The vast difference in the optical range of the cameras and the much more limited audible range of loudspeakers is a hugely important factor, which the Home Secretary and the media have glossed over, to the point of misleading the public over how practical these systems actually are.

If you look at these frame grabs from the BBC video clip:

The extraordinary legal case of Gary McKinnon, who is appealing against extradition to the USA, where he faces over 60 years in prison and worse for allegedly hacking into over 90 US Military computer systems, comes to an important stage later on today, without any actual, challengeable prima facie evidence having been presented to a UK Court.

See: Gary McKinnon Appeal Decision - Tuesday 3rd April 2007 - Court 6 Royal Courts of Justice at 9:45am

The European Union's mandatory Communications Traffic Data Retention Directive is creeping towards implementation in the UK - see the Data Retention Is No Solution wiki for a European Union perspective of opposition to this Directive.

Opposition to the the European Commission and European Parliament  vague Data Retention plans

This dubious plan intends to force telecomms and internet companies keep billions of data records from logfiles and itemised billing systems etc., on all 450 million innocent citizens of the European Union for at least 12 months, even when, under the normal principles of Data Protection and good business practice, such records should have been destroyed.

[hat tip to Clive Feather via the UK Crypto email list]:

Consultation on the initial transposition of the European Directive (2006/24/EC) on the retention of communications data

This consultation paper invites views on the draft Regulations that we propose to use for the initial transposition of European Directive 2006/24/EC on the retention of data generated or processed in connection with the provision of publicly available electronic communications services or of public communications networks and amending Directive 2002/58/EC.

We welcome comments on the draft Regulations - which concern only fixed line and mobile telephony - before we prepare the Regulations to be laid before Parliament for approval later this year.

The Consultation ends on 11 June 2007.

Download the consultation document:
Consultation on the initial transposition of the European Directive (2006/24/EC) on the retention of communications data (.pdf 2.4Mb 30 pages)

N.B. this document uses non-standard fonts, so you may have difficulty trying to copy and paste text from it

These proposed Regulations could be the opportunity not to renew the so called Voluntary Scheme of Communications Data Retention under the botched Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 Part 11 Retention of Communications Data, when its "sunset clause" runs out again this December 2007.

1.4 The date for transposition of the Directive is 15 September 2007, however the Government has made a declaration in accordance with Article 15(3) of the Directive that it will postpone its application to the retention of communications data relating to internet access, internet telephony and internet e-mail until no later than 15 March 2009.

Several other EU Governments are also delaying this aspect of the Directive as well., so the Regulations which are being proposed only deal with mobile phone and fixed landline PSTN telephony.


The Prime Minister's Written Statement on the reorganisation of the Home Office was smuggled out on Thursday 29th March 2007, just before Parliament's Easter recess.

Some thoughts about this:

  • Ministry of Justice, therefore a "Ministry of Injustice" ?
  • Lack of Sunday newspaper analysis and comment
  • Two new Committees, and a sub-committee
  • A new propaganda unit ?
  • Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism
  • Sir Richard Mottram and the existing Intelligence Machinery remain in place
  • Security and Resilience Industry Suppliers’ Council - even more lobbying by vested commercial interests
  • Department for Transport TRANSEC
  • HM Treasury Financial Sanctions and Terrorism Finance snooping
  • Has anything really changed for the better ?

More details:

About this blog

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

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

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

Email & PGP Contact

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

blog@spy[dot]org[dot]uk

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

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

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

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

Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers and Political Dissidents

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

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links

Watching Them, Watching Us

London 2600

Our UK Freedom of Information Act request tracking blog

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

Privacy and Security

Privacy International
United Kingdom Privacy Profile (2011)

Cryptome - censored or leaked government documents etc.

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

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

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

International Campaign Against Mass Surveillance

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

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

Technical Advisory Board on internet and telecomms interception under RIPA

European Digital Rights

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

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

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

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

Human Rights

Liberty Human Rights campaigners

British Institute of Human Rights
Amnesty International
Justice

Prevent Genocide International

asboconcern - campaign for reform of Anti-Social Behavior Orders

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

Internet Censorship

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

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

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

Judicial Links

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

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

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

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

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

Parliamentary Opposition

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

UK Government

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

No. 10 Downing Street Prime Minister's Official Spindoctors

Public Bills before Parliament

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

House of Commons "Question Book"

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

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

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

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

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

Online Media

Boing Boing

Need To Know [now defunct]

The Register

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

Ideal Government - debate about UK eGovernment

NIR and ID cards

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

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

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

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

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

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

Surveillance Infrastructures

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

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

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

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

RFID Links

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

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

RFIDBuzz.com blog - where we sometimes crosspost RFID articles

Genetic Links

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

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

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

Miscellanous Links

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

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

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

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

Former Spies

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

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

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

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

Naked Spygirl - Olivia Frank

Blog Links

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

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

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

Liberty Central

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

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

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

Vmyths - debunking computer security hype

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

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

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

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

Bloggerheads - Tim Ireland

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

Blogzilla - Ian Brown

BlairWatch - Chronicling the demise of the New Labour Project

dreamfish - Robert Longstaff

Informaticopia - Rod Ward

War-on-Freedom

The Musings of Harry

Chicken Yoghurt - Justin McKeating

The Red Tape Chronicles - Bob Sullivan MSNBC

Campaign Against the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Stop the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Rob Wilton's esoterica

panGloss - Innovation, Technology and the Law

Arch Rights - Action on Rights for Children blog

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

Shaphan

Moving On

Steve Moxon blog - former Home Office whistleblower and author.

Al-Muhajabah's Sundries - anglophile blog

Architectures of Control in Design - Dan Lockton

rabenhorst - Kai Billen (mostly in German)

Nearly Perfect Privacy - Tiffany and Morpheus

Iain Dale's Diary - a popular Conservative political blog

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

BLOGDIAL

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

Ralph Bendrath

Financial Cryptography - Ian Grigg et al.

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

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

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

"Give 'em hell Pike!" - Frank Fisher

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

geeklawyer - intellectual property, civil liberties and the legal system

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

Charlie's Diary - Charlie Stross

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

Famous for 15 Megapixels

Postman Patel

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

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

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

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

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

Matt Wardman political blog analysis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No CCTV - The Campaign against CCTV

Barcode Nation - keeping two eyes on the database state.

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

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

Justin Wylie's political blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Links

Spam Huntress - The Norwegian Spam Huntress - Ann Elisabeth

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

Cool Britannia

NuLabour

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

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

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

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UK Legislation

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

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

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

UK Legislation Links

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

UK Commissioners

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

UK Intelligence Agencies

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

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

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

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

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

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Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) recruitment.

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Government Communications Headquarters GCHQ

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

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

Foreign Spies / Intelliegence Agencies in the UK

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

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

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

Campaign Button Links

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Open Rights Group

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

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

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

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Amnesty International's irrepressible.info campaign

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BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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

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

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

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

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

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No CCTV - The Campaign Against CCTV

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I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist !

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Power 2010 cross party, political reform campaign

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

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

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WhistleblowersUK.org - Fighting for justice for whistleblowers