Jacqui Smith and National Identity Register spin, trying to hide the Crosby Report

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Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has now followed her dismal NuLabour / Old Labour extremist predecessors, by delivering a torrent of weasel words and nonsense in support of the wretched National Identity Scheme.

Her speech and the associated National Identity Scheme Delivery Plan 2008 both seem to be designed by the Home Office spin doctors to try to deflect the attention of the media and the wider public from the Crosby Report, publication of which appears to have been suppressed for about a year by Gordon Brown.

This report, Challenges and opportunities in identity assurance< Crosby Report (.pdf), is by Sir James Crosby, the former head of the HBOS bank, and deputy chairman of the Financial Services Authority. He has outlined some common sense approaches to the issues of Identity Assurance, based on what consumers , citizens and the business world want and accept, rather than the Police State centric plans of the current National Identity Scheme.

At an early stage, we recognised that consumers constitute the common ground between the public and private sectors. And our focus switched from "ID management" to "ID assurance". The expression "ID management" suggests data sharing and database consolidation, concepts which principally serve the interests of the owner of the database, for example the Government or the banks. Whereas we think of “ID assurance” as a consumer-led concept, a process that meets an important consumer need without necessarily providing any spin-off benefits to the owner of any database. This distinction is fundamental. An ID system built primarily to deliver high levels of assurance for consumers and to command their trust has little in common with one inspired mainly by the ambitions of its owner. In the case of the former, consumers will extend use both across the population and in terms of applications such as travel and banking. While almost inevitably the opposite is true for systems principally designed to save costs and to transfer or share data.

Obviously such common sense, is an anathema to the out of touch control freak politicians and bureaucrats in the Home Office and Downing Street, whose National Identity Scheme bears very little resemblance to what Sir James Crosby has identified as being necessary or feasible.

The BBC reports the full transcript of Jacqui Smith's speech given at the NuLabour political think tank Demos, which contains spin and nonsense almost worthy of Blunkett or Clarke.

It is too full of waffle to go through every line, but here are the slimiest bits which oozed off the screen at us:

It is only right, of course, that the politics of personal information should be subject to intense scrutiny and robust argument.

This is not a debate confined to government alone, but one which now affects almost every aspect of our daily lives as citizens and consumers.

This Labour Government tries to ignore all the opposition and criticism of their pet scheme.

We all need to be able to prove who we are - quickly, easily and securely.

That is not true for most situations in modern life. We may have to prove our rights or entitlements to goods or services, but that does not mean that we always have to betray our personal details to untrustworthy strangers, bureaucrats or criminals, through the ~one size does not fit all~ centralised biometric database scheme which the Government is wasting our money on.

And it will provide us with the reassurance we need that others who occupy positions of trust in our society are who they say they are as well.

How exactly do you encode "trustworthiness" into a plastic ID Card or a centralised national database ?

That concern should make us question closely those who are charged with managing our personal information on our behalf.

And it should make us think carefully about the responsibilities they have to live up to.

Some claim that recent cases highlight the difficulty of entrusting sensitive information to anyone, let alone the state.

I will argue today that it is precisely because of public's interest in secure identity that we need more effective mechanisms for protecting identity and safeguarding personal information.

The National Identity Scheme will help deliver this.

Neither the HMRC Child Benefit Award database scandal, nor the Ministry of Defence recruitment laptop disaster would have been prevented, or ameliorated by the National Identity Scheme.

Neither of these scandals has yet been fully investigated, and no heads have rolled, except for one senior civil servant at HMRC who was immediately employed by another Government Quango for a six figure sum. Neither HMRC nor the MoD have reestablished public trust in their management and systems.

Because your name will be linked by your fingerprints to a unique entry on the National Identity Register, you will have much greater protection from identity theft - no-one will be able to impersonate you, like they can now, just by finding our your name and address and personal details.

Most so called identity theft happens online or over the phone, for which this particular ID card scheme is worse than useless.

We have listened to people's concerns.

They have listened to them, and then carried on regardless, despite the severe warnings from the world's IT Security and technical Identity Management experts.

The way in which we are designing the National Identity Register, with separate databases holding personal biographic details physically and technologically separately from biometric fingerprints and photographs, will greatly reduce the risk of unauthorised disclosures of information being used to damaging effect.

So what ? Most of the unauthorised disclosures will be through people who already have full , legal access to the combined systems, but who are stupid, lazy, under pressure or corrupt i.e. normal human beings.

There is nothing particularly more secure about using multiple physical systems to store the data, if they both provide their own sections of the data into a single report or web page.

This very web page you are reading now is composite output from at least two webservers, run by two different companies, physically in two different countries, but you as a authorised user, still have access to all of it, nevertheless.

This is in addition to existing plans for tough penalties for such disclosures - and I should make it clear that none of the databases will be online, so it won't be possible to hack into them.

A National Identity Register / ID Card Quotation to rival those of Blunkett or Clarke, in its utter, provable, stupidity.

Identity fraud costs the UK £1.7bn a year.

The Old Lie - we keep pointing out that this figure is an utter falsehood, as do any of the organisations whose guesstimates have been abused to compile it., but the Labour politicians still keep trotting it out

See Andy Burnham's "£1.7 billon identity fraud" figure is as false as the previous £1.3 billion one

Would Jean Hutchinson have been able to commit her crimes if she had been asked to give a photo and fingerprint as proof of her identity when she registered each new benefit claim? The answer is no.

A simple check against the National Identity Register would have revealed the real person's face and fingerprints.

So how exactly was she caught without any such scheme in place ?

The vast majority of benefit fraud does not involve fake identities, but simply people lying about their actual circumstances, and using their real names and addresses and bank account details.

All major high street banks are now using the IPS Passport Validation Service to carry out check to prevent money laundering.

Given the estimated billions of pounds of money laundering which they fail to detect these checks plainly do not prevent most money laundering., yet they have cost hundreds of millions of pounds to implement, at great inconvenience and expense to innocent customers.

The amount of Terrorist Finance which has been frozen or seized, would not pay for the second or third home of a Member of Parliament, let alone prevent any real terrorist campaign.

All applications are now checked before a visa is issued - and so far more than 11,000 have been identified as people previously fingerprinted in the UK as part of previous immigration cases or asylum applications.

The results of these fingerscan matches are communicated to our visa officers abroad in minutes, so that we can refuse visas.

To roll out this sort of technology on a national scale to 60 million people, would need the system to be capable of accurately checking hundreds of fingerprints per second, not one set every five minutes.

The old-fashioned stickers and paper immigration documents that can be subject to fraud will become a thing of the past.

From November this year, we will start to replace them with compulsory biometric identity cards for foreign nationals who come here to work and study.

Within three years, all new applicants arriving in the UK will be issued with a card.

Why are they assuming that all non-EU immigrants and visitors need Another Smart Card ? Many of them, e.g. from the USA or the Commonwealth, will have their own ICAO standard biometric Passports - will this Home Office system fail to interoperate with them ?

Locking people to one identity will help in our fight against human trafficking, illegal working and benefit fraud.

The first foreign national identity cards will be followed next year by the first identity cards for British citizens.

The first argument for the national identity scheme is that it will offer us better protections - as individuals and as a society.

Why are they trying to conflate and confuse the functions of an international passport belonging to a law abiding foreigner, with an internal UK ID Card scheme ?

One does not require or need to depend on the other.

The first cards will therefore be issued, from 2009, to groups where there is a compelling need for reassurance that someone is who they say they are.

Where is the National Identity Scheme Commissioner, who is supposed to provide some scrutiny of this scheme ? This person needs to be appointed immediately, if he or she is to be capable of effectively monitoring the first victims of the National Identity Register scheme at the end of 2008.

We plan to start with people working in our airports, to support the already impressive action this sector is taking to ensure the integrity of its checks and systems.

[...]

Ruth and I agree that identity cards can help to deliver a strengthened identity assurance regime - making pre-employment and security checks easier for airside workers such as baggage handlers, check-in staff, aircraft engineers, and immigration and customs officials.

By introducing identity cards for up to 200,000 airside workers as a condition of their employment in such sensitive roles, we will see how the National Identity Scheme, offering a national standard for security, can add value over and above the efforts of any one sector.

Are we seriously meant to believe that there are actually 200,000 airside workers who have not already passed far more stringent tests than the NIR and ID Card will provide ?
If not, then why not ?

How many illegal immigrants, terrorists, drug smugglers or human slave traders are currently working for the Home Office as "immigration and customs officials" ?

Will Jacqui Smith resign as Home Secretary if one such person is found to have infiltrated her own Department ?

There is a desperate need for interoperability between all the different airline and airport ID card schemes, contactless smart cards for door entry etc. but adding Yet Another Card, based on different technologies, will only make the problems of systems integration and cross certification much, much worse ! The access security problems at airports do not require a National Identity Register to solve them, only a small fraction of the money which will be wasted on duplicating the checks which are already routine.

And I am keen to take forward discussions with other groups who operate in positions of trust in our society, which could include Olympics security employees and those involved in protecting our national infrastructure, such as power stations.

Our test with each of these groups should be whether their participation in the scheme makes arrangements for checking their identity more secure - thus offering greater public reassurance - and whether it makes life easier, not just for employers, but for employees as well.

How will losing a day of productive work to be registered on the NIR, make things easier or cheaper either for employees or employers ?

Remember, the National Identity Register and/or ID Card will be in addition to all the other identity and physical access control tokens and computer logon or encryption devices which these employees will still have to use - it will add to the complexities, risks and costs,

As we move towards wider participation in the scheme, IPS will also offer a tailored service for those who work in positions of trust, who choose to have an identity card, and who wish to use that to fast-track checks on their status as part of their job.

Working with the Criminal Records Bureau, a trial conducted by IPS shows that the time taken to perform a criminal records check could be cut from 4 weeks to as little as 4 days, with extremely high levels of user satisfaction.

Requiring fingerprints to help perform Criminal records Bureau checks is an entirely separate matter from an ID register / Card scheme. Again, one does not depend on the other.

This ID Card is of no use for postal or online application, which is how the vast majority of CRB checks are done, and where the biometrics on the card or on the central register cannot be checked against the live person.

Alongside these groups, we will start to make identity cards available to young people on a purely voluntary basis in 2010.

It will be up to each young person to decide if they want one.

I believe there are clear attractions in the scheme.

It will make it easier to enrol on a course, apply for a student loan, open a bank account, or prove your age - especially as we get tougher on sales of alcohol to those under-age.

All the ID cards aimed at Yoofs for precisely these purposes, like the Connexions Card, have been utter failures. Why exactly will the vastly more expensive National ID Card be of any use to this age group either ?

The important thing for everyone on the National Identity Register is that their unique identity details are locked to one person - themselves.

No-one else can pretend to be them, and they can't pretend to be anyone else.

Provided that you are not intending to deceive people for financial or oter gain, it is still not yet ilegal to use multiple names e.g. Cherie Booth QC is also Cherie Blair, the wife of the former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

How exactly is Jacqui Smith 's scheme going to preserve this ancient right ?

And let me be clear on the Government's position on compulsion.

We have always said that there will be no requirement to carry and present a card.

That has not changed, and will not change.

And there will be no compulsion, either, in having to apply for a dedicated identity card for the purposes of proving your identity.

Your passport could also be used.

As more and more people participate and register, and as more and more people realise the benefits of participation, I want to see the scheme become universal.

At least 20% of the population is, even according to the Government's own opinion polls, completely opposed to this scheme. Tens of thousands of supporters of the cross political party NO2ID Campaign have pledged not to be forced into such a compulsory scheme. Some of them are willing to face fines or even prison, on this matter of principle.

A Universal scheme, therefore, does mean Compulsion, no matter what weasel words a Labour politicians tries to use to spin it.

We have always made clear that requiring everyone to be on the Register is a decision for the future that would need primary legislation.

The way we are now approaching the scheme will lead to a significantly quicker take-up of its benefits.

Quicker than what, and by how much ? The original milestones in the project have already been missed.

And one of the strengths of this choice is that now people will be able to get a card when they want, rather than wait until they renew their passport.

What people actually want is a cheaper Passport, and no registration on the National identity register and no ID Card.

This means that we can now aim to achieve full roll-out by 2017 - two years ahead of previous plans.

More weasel words - by 2017 the original plans were for rather more than just a roll out of ID Cards which are of no use to anyone except when dealing with Home Office monopoly "services".

What exactly, in this rapidly de-scoping project, is now classified as "full roll-out" ?

The drive for a more consumer- and market-led delivery of the scheme, and the use of passports as well as cards to roll it out more widely, will among other things, have powerful implications for the cost of the overall scheme.

Unlike any other programme I can think of in Government, we are required by law to give the latest estimate of costs to Parliament every six months.

Incredibly, the Government have proved themselves to be incapable of actally delivering even their own secretive and heavily censored Section 37 Cost Reports on time at the 6 monthly intervals which they are bound legally to do, by their own wretched Identity Cards Act 2006.

By far and away the most accurate estimate of the cost of the scheme is the one produced by IPS, which is currently negotiating the contracts and managing the procurement.

Last November's Cost Report estimated the current and projected costs of issuing passports and identity cards over the next 10 years at £5.4 billion.

When we publish our next Cost Report in May, I expect to see almost £1bn removed from the headline costs.

That is a genuine reduction in the costs of the scheme - and means that we can maintain our commitment that identity cards will cost no more that £30 when they are introduced.

How is anyone seriously meant to believe these deliberately vague 6 monthly Cost Reports ?

If Jacqui Smith really wants to convince the sceptical public that the project is running smoothly, she should publish the the OGC Gateway Reviews of the scheme, something which her Government has wasted public money on fighting against our right to see such documents, under the Freedom of Information Act.

The Government were in the High Court only earlier this week, still trying to suppress our Freedom of Information Act request, for the earl Stage Zero and pre-stage Zero Gateway Reviews of the Entitlement / ID Cards Programme, as it was known 6 years ago, under the notorious David Blunkett, the then Home Secretary.

We are also determined to realise the full benefits to national security from the national identity scheme.

In particular, the Identity Cards Act allows information to be shared with law enforcement agencies where this is necessary for national security or to counter serious crime.

This is the only area in which information will be shared.

Shared with whom, precisely ?

Is Jacqui Smith promising to amend the Identity Cards Act 2006 Section 1, or has she simply not bothered to actually read what it says ?

    4) For the purposes of this Act something is necessary in the public interest if, and only if, it is--
    (a) in the interests of national security;
    (b) for the purposes of the prevention or detection of crime;
    (c) for the purposes of the enforcement of immigration controls;
    (d) for the purposes of the enforcement of prohibitions on unauthorised working or employment; or
    (e) for the purpose of securing the efficient and effective provision of public services.

So is she really claiming that there will be no data sharing for the prevention or detection of non - serious crime, the enforcement of immigration controls, illegal working, or for the vague catch all "for the purpose of securing the efficient and effective provision of public services." ?

Given the propensity for function creep by bureaucrats with access to databases, we simply do not believe her.

All other organisations - whether government or business - will only be able to use the scheme to verify someone's identity if they have their prior permission.

Verification services used by large scale private sector companies, e.g. airlines or banks etc. will create their own shadow, parallel versions of National Identity Register data of their customers, simply due to the economic logic of saving whatever money the Government plans to charge them for each use of the Verification Service.

These subsets of the NIR, with their own copies of your biometric details, once verified the first time, will be stored and traded on corporate systems, outside of the control of the UK Government, probably around the world, especially for global companies like airlines or credit card companies.

It is our clear and firm intention to hold only the minimum number of details required to identify an individual.

As I have set out today, the duty of public protection and the impetus for greater citizen convenience are the two drivers for our plans for the National Identity Scheme.

It is inconceivable, indeed, that in today's world people should not have a single, simple, safe way of securing and verifying their identity.

What is inconceivable is that the Government is creating another tempting Terrorist or Foreign Intelligence Agency target, part of the Critical National Infrastructure i.e. all the eggs in one Single Point of Failure basket (multiple physical database servers notwithstanding)

The debate on identity cards evokes strong feelings - and that is only to be expected in an area of public policy which rests on the interaction of the individual and the state, and the clinching role of shared personal information in that relationship.

Writers have always found fertile ground in setting the individual and the state at odds with each other in the battleground of ideas, and the battleground of ID.

On this subject, it's apparently compulsory to mention Orwell and Huxley.

The works of these and other dystopian novelists, have not been taken as a dire warning, but as a blue print for this Government's policies.

And as anyone who has caught an episode of the current BBC1 political thriller 'The Last Enemy' will know, if there are not cock-ups to point to, then there are always plenty of conspiracies to fall back on.

The fictional cock-ups pale into insignificance compared with the real life IT disasters and Data Privacy Breaches, involving billions of pounds of public money and the personal details of tens of millions of people, which this Labour Government is directly responsible for.

'The Last Enemy' transports us to a Britain of the not-too-distant future, where personal information has become the weapon of a surveillance state against its own citizens, and where a super-database called 'TIA - Total Information Awareness' appears to fuse state of the art technology with a rather draconian reinterpretation of the art of the state.

It all makes for a good drama.

But - to turn an old adage on its head - we should never allow a good story to get in the way of the facts.

When we return to the real world after an hour or two in front of the telly, how useful are these fictions for our daily interactions as citizens with government? How much of ourselves do we recognise in these champions of individual liberty, as we pursue our own personal missions with bureaucracy to pay our tax bill or register a change of address? Very little, in all honesty - because the role that we as citizens and as consumers of government services are looking to the state to perform - and to perform quickly, securely, and at our convenience - is one of protection, verification, facilitation.

All Police Surveillance Nanny States claim that they are repressing people's freedoms for their own good.

Jacqui Smith and her Labour colleagues have broken the relationship of trust between the Government and the people, which, to be fair, had been damaged by the previous Conservative Government, but not to the same extent.

Rather than thinking of the state as an opponent of our liberties, set on thwarting our personal ambitions, in this context the role of government agencies is to defend our interests, to offer reassurance and trust, and to working in the most effective way possible to ease and to enable our lives.

That is what the role of Government agencies and the civil service used to be, before they were politicised by NuLabour apparatchiki and spin doctors at the top, and crippled with bureaucratic ineptitude and budget cuts at the lower end.

As we have said before, "Come back Sir Humphrey Appleby - you may have been a devious manipulative civil service mandarin, but at least you were a competent one", something which cannot be said of the current crop of real life politicians and apparatchiki who have destroyed the old civil service ethos.

When will this National Identity Register scheme be killed off for good, and replaced with a more humane and useful system for the real benefit of individuals, rather than for the bureaucrats and control freak politicians ?


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Jacqui Smith went to the Demos think-tank based near London Bridge to set out her timetable for introducing an ID scheme to Britain.

Jacqui Smith is still backing ID cards, despite public concerns

Her speech was received with polite interest – but the group’s official line is against the project.

Demos published a report a few weeks ago in which it called for a "belated" public debate over ID cards or for the scheme to be scrapped.

Its report, which took nine months to complete, recommended: "The Government must urgently develop a more coherent strategy around the way personal information is held and used.’’

It is unlikely the think-tank will be any happier after hearing the Home Secretary.

Her speech was interpreted variously as a climb-down, an acceleration of the ID card scheme and even its total abandonment.

In fact, the ID scheme is still moving forward but ministers want to give the impression that they have been listening to concerns.

But how much has changed since David Blunkett first unveiled the project in 2001?

Not a lot, if truth be told, apart from timing.

Blunkett proposed a universal scheme, under which everyone over 16 would be issued with a personal number and registered on a national "citizen database".

That is still the case.

He suggested most people would be on the database by 2015. The timetable has slipped to 2017.

Blunkett said people applying for a new passport would be automatically enrolled from 2009. That is still holds – only it won’t start until 2011/12.

It was suggested then that a card combined with a passport would cost £70. This has gone up to around £100.

Blunkett envisaged a clean database built from scratch, but this has been abandoned and existing Whitehall systems will be used to carry the ID information.

He also indicated that an iris biometric would be taken but this has been dropped because it is too expensive, though it is more secure than a fingerprint, which will be included.

Blunkett said it would not be compulsory to carry an ID card.

This remains the case.

He said setting up the scheme would cost the Home Office £3.1bn; the Government now says the cost will be around £4.5bn.

The biggest difference is that Blunkett tried to get away with calling it an ‘’entitlement card’’ but that was dropped when it was apparent nobody bought into the concept.

AN UNPRINCIPLED SCHEME

The Home Secretary has announced the government's 2008 'Delivery Plan' for the ID scheme, a plan that NO2ID showed - with leaked documents [PDF] - in January to be little more than a marketing exercise. Nothing has changed.

On the same day, almost a year late, the Treasury published the review that Gordon Brown commissioned from Sir James Crosby in 2006. No wonder it's been kept under wraps for so long. The government's own advisor lays out ten broad principles for the design of a "consumer-driven universal ID assurance system" scheme - and the Home Office ID scheme breaks them all.

1. Any scheme should be restricted to enabling citizens to assert their identity ... BROKEN

2. Governance should inspire trust. It should be independent of Government ... BROKEN

3. The amount of data stored should be minimised. Full biometric images (other than photographs) should not be kept ... BROKEN

4. Citizens should "own" their entry. It should not be possible, except for national security, for any data to be shared without informed consent ... BROKEN

5. Enrolment should minimise costs and give citizens a hassle-free experience ... BROKEN

6. To respond to consumers and give benefits, it should be capable of being rolled out quickly ... BROKEN

7. Citizens who lose cards or whose identity is compromised should be able to get it fixed quickly and efficiently ... BROKEN

8. The scheme's systems should work with existing, efficient, bank systems to reduce risks ... BROKEN

9. To engage consumers enrolment and cards should be provided free of charge ... BROKEN

10. The market should play a role in creating standards, to ensure ease of use and minimise costs ... BROKEN

And finally - unless we've overlooked something - the Home Office published the results of its latest survey [PDF]. The Home Secretary bluffs and blusters that the benefits of ID cards are "undoubted", but her own department's research shows that while three-quarters of people consider the claimed benefits to be "very important", only just over one quarter consider them to be "very believable".

Unprincipled. Unchanged. Unbelievable.

[For an explanation of how each principle has been broken, see NO2ID's press release on the Crosby Review .]

Labour - you can trust us on ID cards - just like with the EU referendum!

Last night Labour’s Home Secretary Jaqui Smith, having stood for public office on her party’s manifesto promise of giving the British people a referendum on the EU, brazenly filed into the lobbies to deny the British people this very thing! This morning, we learn, she has unveiled the first details of the timetable for introducing the national identity card – thereby laying the foundations of the coming EU federalist police state here in Britain.

First of all, as one would expect, comes the “soft soap” – the non-controversial step of making all foreign nationals provide their biometric details. Then, from next year, we learn that the scheme is to be extended to British people working in high-risk areas such as airports. Then, in 2010, students and young people will be encouraged to provide their details voluntarily – why they should want to do so remains unclear. This thought must also be preying on Labour’s policestate minds as well, for we also learn – that from 2011 – everyone applying for a passport will be added to the national identity register! Clearly there can be no escape from Labour’s Gulag Britain!

Having established Jacqui Smith’s integrity we are somewhat bemused when she is reported as claiming: “Increasingly, we need to be able to prove our identity in a whole range of ways: when we’re travelling, when we’re opening a bank account or accessing government services. We’re all better protected if we can be confident that other people are who they say they are.”

Who’s “better protected” Jacqui – apart from Labour ministers?

Of course Britons can rest assured that absolutely no abuse of this potentially dangerous proposal will occur – indeed, we have the Government’s collective word on that – the very same corrupt government, of course, whose members gave their word that we would have a referendum on the EU!

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

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

Foreign Spies / Intelliegence Agencies in the UK

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

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

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

Campaign Button Links

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Open Rights Group

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

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

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

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Amnesty International's irrepressible.info campaign

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BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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

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

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

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

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

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No CCTV - The Campaign Against CCTV

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I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist !

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Power 2010 cross party, political reform campaign

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

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

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WhistleblowersUK.org - Fighting for justice for whistleblowers