June 2007 Archives

In the aftermath of the inept self-immolation attack by the occupants of a Jeep Cherokee which rammed Glasgow Airport Terminal Building, who were then subdued by airport workers, Gordon Brown grabbed the TV cameras and personally has announced that the Terrorism Threat Level has been raised to Critical from Severe.

Where is the new Home Secretary Jacqui Smith ? She seems to have been kept away from the mainstream media.

Here is the Home Office's press release on their website:

Threat level raised to critical

30 June 2007

The threat level in the UK has been raised to the highest level.

In a statement, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said:

'I can confirm that the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) has raised the national threat level to CRITICAL. This is in response to the events of the last 48 hours. Critical is the highest level of threat, and the threat level will be closely reviewed on a regular basis. Appropriate security measures have been put in place.'

A threat level of critical means that an attack is expected imminently.

We did get our "MI5 Security Service threat level change alert email, sent just after 9pm (British summer time) - about 3 hours after the alert level was changed to Critical, and about 6 hours after the Glasgow incident.

Their current website front page (re-designed in the last couple of months with a new style, if not content, since the new Director General Jonathan Evans took over in April) is still showing the previous alert status of Severe:

h_threatlevel_severe.gif

Here is the as yet still secret Critical graphic:

h_threatlevel_critical.gif

The MI5 Security Service and Home Office and Cabinet Office Intelligence.gov.uk website changes might take until Monday morning.

So, we will ask the same question as we did the last time, back in August 2006:

Threat Level CRITICAL - now what are we meant do ?

According to the full list of Ministerial appointments

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Vernon Coaker MP

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Admiral Sir Alan West GCB DSC

According to the full list of Ministerial appointments

Disappointingly, both Tony "not fit for purpose" McNulty and Liam "android" Bryne have survived as Ministers of State in the Home Office.

Liam Byrne has, in addition been appointed Minister for the West Midlands. Presumably he is still still in charge, for now, of Immigration and the controversial and unpopular National Identity Register database and ID Cards scheme..

What any of these "regional Ministers" is meant to do, is, unclear. Will they be perhaps the nominated Labour Party gauleiters, with the power of life and death etc. if a Regional Emergency is declared (perhaps even orally by themselves) under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 Part 2 Emergency Powers, since "Resilience" or (Civil Defence, as it used to be known as) used to be part of the brief of, say, the former position of Minister for London.


According to the full list of Ministerial appointments

[Meg Hillier MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch replaces Joan Ryan as the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Home Office.

Did Joan Ryan's feeble attempts to argue her case for the National Identity Register and ID Cards contribute to her removal from the Home Office ?

We had noticed some of this, but Ian Brown highlights 3 examples from Hansard,where Labour politicians have been trying to smear Ross Anderson, the Professor of Security Engineering at Cambridge University, a prominent independent critic of the massive National Health Service computerisation system:

How is govt accessing private FIPR e-mail?

Interestingly, Ian Brown says that these emails are to the Advisory Council of the the Foundation for Information Policy Research, of which he is a member.

Have these emails been illegally intercepted ?

Former health minister Lord Warner and Andrew Miller MP may need to be reminded that unlawful interception of emails is illegal under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, an offence which carries a penalty of up to 2 years in prison, and is not covered by Parliamentary privilege, which protects Members of Parliament from libel actions for what they say in debates in Parliament.

Presumably these Labour politicians are trying to dismiss technically informed criticism of their hugely expensive "big nanny" IT scheme in the same way that their former Home Office colleagues tried to do with Simon Davies, of Privacy International, who is also on this Advisory Council ? Is it a coincidence that Andy Burnham was one of the chief culprits at the Home Office, and is now a Health Minister ?

Will our emails also be abused by Labour politicians ?

What with all the media spin by the UK Government and the European Union and the shallow analysis and reporting by the mainstream media, we are puzzled as to what exactly has been agreed at the European Union summit in Brussels this weekend.

We are still especially worried about what exactly Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have agreed to with regard to the European Union Reform Treaty and especially, the legally binding Charter of Fundamental Rights (.pdf) These sort of follow the European Convention on Human Rights and the UK's Human Rights Act 2000:

Article 7 Respect for private and family life

Everyone has the right to respect for his or her private and family life, home and communications.

Article 8 Protection of personal data

1. Everyone has the right to the protection of personal data concerning him or her.

2. Such data must be processed fairly for specified purposes and on the basis of the consent of the person concerned or some other legitimate basis laid down by law. Everyone has the right of access to data which has been collected concerning him or her, and the right to have it rectified.

3. Compliance with these rules shall be subject to control by an independent authority.

However, there are significant differences i,e, there are no explicit exemptions for the Government using vague weasel words like "national security" or "the prevention or detection of crime" or "public health" or "the economic interests of the UK" etc. which so much UK legislation has embedded into it.

Nothing seems to have changed since we commented on this back in 2004: Have the pundits actually bothered to read the EU Constitution ?

See also this confusing BBC background article on Charter of Fundamental Rights

Is there really a workable United Kingdom "opt out" from these clauses ?

If so, then why should we tolerate authoritarian Labour politicians who seek to deny us these human rights, which are enjoyed and legally enforced by the rest of the European Union ?

We demand that these existing human rights are upheld now and ratified by this UK Government and all future ones.


The Open Rights Group has published its very interesting and damning report into the electronic and internet and phone voting pilot trials held in certain areas during the May 2007 Local Elections in England and Wales and the Scottish Parliament Elections

The Open Rights Group (ORG) believes that the problems observed at the English and Scottish elections in May 2007 raise serious concerns regarding the suitability of e-voting and e-counting technologies for statutory elections. E-voting is a ‘black box system’, where the mechanisms for recording and tabulating the vote are hidden from the voter. This makes public scrutiny impossible, and leaves statutory elections open to error and fraud.

The Government has prioritised the introduction of e-voting because of the perceived convenience of new technologies, ignoring other vital considerations such as confidence and trust in the electoral system. ORG considers that the problems observed and difficulties scrutinising results delivered by e-counting systems bring their suitability for statutory elections into question.

We think that the Open Rights Group are being rather too polite and diplomatic about the bungling and incompetence which they witnessed.

Some of this can be attributed to the "very tight timescales" to which these pilot schemes were operating, but there is no excuse for such poor project planning and management, since the dates of these elections have been known for years in advance.

The cross party NO2ID Campaign is advertising in the satirical / investigative Private Eye magazine:

NO2ID_logo_263x101.png

Help win the civil liberties battle of the 21st C.

NO2ID is a campaigning organisation established in 2004. We lobby the establishment and educate the public on the growing dangers of database surveillance, and promote sound privacy principles. We are preparing for a long fight. We need our first paid, full-time:

Development Officer / Fundraiser

(c.London) £24K basic, pro-rata

Congratulations to Shami Chakrabarti CBE

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The BBC reports that Shami Chakrabarti has been awarded the honour of Commander of the British Empire by Her Majesty the Queen in today's Birthday Honours list.

Liberty head Chakrabarti honoured

Shami Chakrabarti, director of human rights group Liberty, has been made a CBE in the Birthday Honours.

The 38-year-old says she regarded the award as an invitation to keep fighting for civil liberties.

[...]

Ms Chakrabarti, is a constant critic of what she describes as the government's constant erosion of personal freedoms.

She has been particularly critical of outgoing Home Secretary, John Reid.

[...]

Ms Chakrabarti, who has been director of Liberty for four years, said: "I'm not exactly the most predictable choice, no-one was more surprised than me.

"I hope it will send a timely signal that democratic dissent is not disloyalty, it is a positive civic duty.

"This is an official Royal invitation to do more, and I will take that invitation on behalf of people punished without trial and barred from protest in Parliament Square.

"This recognition belongs to Liberty, the oldest rights and freedoms campaign in this country."


Freedom of Information and Parliament

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It seems that the controversial "zombie Bill", the Freedom of Information Act (Amendment) Bill, which refus3ed to die, may perhaps have been smothered by the lack of a sponsor in the House of Lords:

See this UK Freedom of Information Blog article: Maclean Bill fails to progress in Lords

For an example of the sort of FOIA request which would have been banned by this Bill, see the interesting disclosure of Home Office correspondence and emails disclosed by the House of Lords authorities:

House of Lords discloses a couple of Home Office SOCPA Section 128 Designated / Protected Sites signage documents

This is a matter of public policy which affects innocent members of the public visiting the formerly public areas of the Houses of Parliament and Portcullis House and Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle etc.

This FOIA disclosure is relevant to the case of Obadiah Marius and Victoria Smith, who are, incredibly, with the consent of the Attorney General Lord Goldsmith, being prosecuted under SOCPA Section 128, for criminally trespassing into the Downing Street / Cabinet Office Protected Site.

The 70 Whitehall Cabinet Office building, through which they somehow managed to wander through the front door security, and make their way aimlessly to the back of the Downing Street offices, displayed no warning signs that it is a Protected Site. Therefore the fears of officials that a prosecution would fail, for lack of adequate signage, according to the statutory defence in section 128(4), seems very likely.

The Home Office view is that this would "bring the offence into disrepute" and , according to a Senior Civil Servant:

"I know the policy is not a welcome one but it is one to which the Government has committed us and it will be difficult for us all if it is called into disrepute"

A similar FOIA request to the House of Commons authorities is currently awaiting a public interest test:

These FOIA requests have nothing to do with either MPs' detailed expense claim data or with their constituency correspondence, but they would have been banned by the FOIA (Amendment) Bill, which sought to remove the House of Commons and the House of Lords from the schedule of public bodies subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Is it any wonder that we are sceptical of the mainstream media, especially the so called "serious" Sunday newspapers, when they publish "Climate of Fear" stories like this one in The Observer today ?

Note the lack of any direct sources or any detail even as to which countries are involved.

MI6 probes UK link to nuclear trade with Iran

Mark Townsend, crime correspondent
Sunday June 10, 2007
The Observer

A British company has been closed down after being caught in an apparent attempt to sell black-market weapons-grade uranium to Iran and Sudan, The Observer can reveal.

Note that this story claims to involve weapons grade uranium

Spy Blog articles tend to be overlong, so here is a short one, for a change:

Why did the Attorney General Lord Goldsmith "consent" to the prosecution of wandering drug addict Obadiah Marius, under the controversial Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 Section 128, for his haphazard incursion into the back of Downing Street office complex via the Cabinet Office via the 70 Whitehall entrance and manned security doors ?

If the Attorney General simply "rubber stamps" every minor and accidental breach of the obscure and complicated regulations, rather than providing a sanity check and failsafe against vindictive and embarrassed bureaucrat managers, who should be investigated and perhaps prosecuted for incompetence, then he should resign.

See this Parliament Protest blog article and comments for the relevant links to the legislation and the Sunday Express articles which the rest of the mainstream media are copying, without asking any critical questions.

Spy Blog has set up a sub-Blog: Counter Terrorism Bill blog to encourage people to analyse and comment on the Labour Government's latest plans for even more repressive "Must Pretend To Be Seen To Be Doing Something" legislation.

John Reid, who, thankfully, is in his last month as Home Secretary, made an Oral Statement to Parliament on Thursday 8th June 2007.

The text of this 4 page ("Government Discussion Document Ahead of Proposed Counter Terror Bill 2007" ( .pdf ) is reproduced section by section, in the new blog

Spy Blog will comment on some or all of these sections, and we encourage others to do so as well.

If you fear direct contact with the Government, as well you might, you do not have to sign your real name to these comments, and you can take the appropriate steps to hide your true IP address data from our logfiles (and those of the the people monitoring this website)

We will summarise the comments in our response to the Home Office.

If we wait until the publication of the Draft Bill etc, it will be too late to influence the new Home Secretary, and his or her civil servants and political advisers.


The Labour Government seems to be set on its vague plans to try to censor the internet:

Statutory Instrument 2007 No. 1550
The Electronic Commerce Directive (Terrorism Act 2006) Regulations 2007

2007 No. 1550

ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS

PREVENTION AND SUPPRESSION OF TERRORISM

The Electronic Commerce Directive (Terrorism Act 2006) Regulations 2007

Made 23rd May 2007
Laid before Parliament 31st May 2007
Coming into force 21st June 2007

This complicates the Terrorism Act 2006 sections 1 to 4,

PART 1
OFFENCES
Encouragement etc. of terrorism
Section 1 Encouragement of terrorism
2 Dissemination of terrorist publications
3 Application of ss. 1 and 2 to internet activity etc.
4 Giving of notices under s. 3

with the Directive 2000/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8th June 2000 on certain legal aspects of information society services, in particular electronic commerce, in the Internal Market (Directive on electronic commerce).

This latest bureaucratic red tape issues forth, not from the usual suspects in the Home Office or the Treasury, but from

Margaret Hodge
Minister of State for Industry and the Regions Department of Trade and Industry
23rd May 2007

This threatens any provider of "information society services", either within the European Economic Area (i.e. the European Union plus a few neighbouring countries) , or outside of it, with up to 2 years in prison and / or fines.

There are Exceptions for Acting as a Mere Conduit and for Caching and for Hosting. i.e. almost blanket immunity for Internet Service Providers and Telecommunications companies.

However, there are some obvious questions:

We do not really want to comment much on the the latest Airport Terrorist Plot Hype, this time involving the jet fuel storage tanks at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York in the USA.

However the level of media reporting is pretty appalling, with prominence being given to soundbites being uttered by ambitious Prosecutors and New York Joint Terrorism Taskforce and FBI officials in the USA, who have been exaggerating the threat posed by the alleged plotters from Guyana and Trindad.

Why do the official spokesmen and the media persist in reporting the mass causality terrorist fantasies of extremists, who have no proven expertise with or even access to any explosives, as if they somehow had a viable plan and posed a real risk to more than themselves and a few unlucky bystanders ?

However, we fear that this hype will be used by Gordon Brown's NuLabour spin doctors, to try to bolster their next round of even more repressive legislation, which, according to the Prime Minister in Waiting's apparatchiki, who have briefed the Sunday newspapers and broadcast media like the BBC, might be revealed to Parliament later this week.

We will no doubt have more to say about Gordon Brown's new terrors, presumably to be presented by the extreme lame duck Home Secretary John Reid. At the moment we do not trust the still deniable Sunday media spin.

The official Complaint document (.pdf), [hat tip to Cryptome] i.e. the justification for the arrest warrant of the retired airport cargo worker Russell Defreitas, is interesting.

It portrays malevolent, yet bumbling and incompetent amateurism amongst the alleged gang of plotters, who had been infiltrated by a coerced informer referred to as the Source. He should have been languishing in prison having already been convicted in 1996 on federal drug dealing and racketeering charges, and awaiting sentencing for a further federal drug trafficking charge in 2003. He was also being paid by the US Federal authorities, and had been "working with them" since 2004 i.e. for two years before he first met Defreitas. Was he just a "source" or was he also an "agent provocateur" ?

[via Parliament Protest blog]:

With no publicity or public consultation, or any interest from the mainstream media, and no debate or scrutiny from Members of Parliament, the access of members of the General Public to meet with and lobby and observe their elected Members of Parliament and the unelected Lords has been further reduced as of 1st June 2007.

Some perimeter warning signs have now appeared around some of the Designated parts of the Parliamentary Estate. They say:

Trespass on this Site
is a criminal offence.

This is a protected site
under Section 128
of the Serious Organised Crime
and Police Act 2005.

[...]

Victoria_Embankment_2_300.jpg

[...]
The vast array of black painted spiky railings, black painted concrete barriers, black CCTV surveillance camera "death star" mountings and now these "Protected Site" signs, all just show how paranoid and unfriendly and out of touch with the electorate, Parliament has now become. No wonder politicians are held in such increasing contempt by the public.

[...]

Protected against what, exactly ? Not against terrorists, since many other laws would already apply. Presumably the protection is against otherwise peaceful demonstrators, with the collateral damage side effect, of further restricting the rights of the general public, even when they are not demonstrating or protesting peacefully.

[...]

See also Palace of Westminster and Portcullis House now Designated under SOCPA Section 128 - even the previously public areas !

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