Danger ! Draft Constitutional Renewal Bill Part 6 tries to remove even the limited constitutional safeguards of the "destroy Parliament" Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006

| | Comments (16)

We were going to comment initially on the

Draft Governance of Britain - Constitutional Renewal Bill (.pdf 98 pages)

regarding the welcome plan to repeal sections 132 to 138 of the Serious Organised Crime Act 2005, which has chilled free speech and freedom of assembly in the over large Designated Area around Parliament Square and Millbank and Whitehall etc. - see the Parliament Protest blog

This repeal appears prominently as Part 1 Clause 1 of the draft Bill, however, any joy at this proposed return to the status quo ante, is marred by Part 6 of the Bill,

It looks as if we will have to again go through all the fuss and lobbying that we saw over the wretched Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006, the previous attempt by this Labour Government to neuter Parliament by Order of a Minister.

See the Save Parliament website as a reminder of the dangers to our Parliamentary democracy from the executive branch of Government, which seem to be looming, yet again.

Part 6
FINAL PROVISION
43 Power to make consequential provision

(1) A Minister o the Crown, or two or more Ministers of the Crown acting jointly, may by order make such provision as the Minister or Ministers consider appropriate in consequence of this Act.

(2) An order under subsection (1) may --

    (a) amend, repeal or revoke any provision made by or under an Act;

    (b) include transitional or saving provision.

(3) An order under subsection (1) is to be made by statutory instrument.

(4) A statutory instrument containing an order under subsection (1) which amends or repeals a provision of an Act may not be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before and approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.

(5) A statutory instrument containing an order under subsection (1) which does not amend or repeal a provision of an Act is subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.

N.B our original posting missed out the word under from 2 (a) , which appears in the current online version of the .pdf file. We are trying to see if we can recover the previous version of the .pdf file from which we were working, and which struck us as so peculiar and noteworthy at the time.

"under" makes the wording of 2 (a) less awkward, but it does not limit Clause 43 to just this Constitutional Renewal Bill, it still applies to every Act of Parliament.

  • Repealing any Sections of any Acts of Parliament i.e. Primary Legislation, will only require the "affirmative resolution procedure".

  • Revoking any Sections of any Acts of Parliament i.e. Primary Legislation, will only require the "negative resolution procedure".

  • Amending any Sections of any Acts of Parliament i.e. Primary Legislation, seems to require both the "affirmative resolution procedure" and the "negative resolution procedure".

What happened to the supposed "super-affirmative procedure" and the whole of the debate in Parliament and in the UK political blogosphere over the wretched and controversial Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006 then ?

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

The abuse of the catch all, excessively broad wording "amend, repeal or revoke any provision made by or an Act" means that even the Constitutional Acts like Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights 1689, Habeas Corpus, the European Communities Act, the Human Rights Act, the Civil Contingencies Act etc. can all be repealed or amended without the need for a full debate, or for new Primary Legislation, simply by Order of a Minister.

Such an Order could be passed, after a "debate" of about 40 minutes with 15 or 20 minutes for the actual voting through the lobbies, by a quorum of MPs as small as 40 i.e. only 21 Government MPs needed to rubber stamp an Order by a single Secretary of State, if the Order is even debated on the floor of the House of Commons.

It could also be rubber stamped by an even smaller committee of MPs, without any members of the public or the media present.

Such Orders are on a "take it or leave it " basis, with no opportunity to amend them

There is nothing to prevent such an Order by a Minister amending the powers in this Constitutional Reform Bill itself, in a completely arbitrary manner.

There is no requirement, like in other countries of say, a two thirds majority rather than a simple one vote over 50 percent majority, to muck around with Constitutional Acts, something which is appalling for a draft Constitutional Renewal Bill.

As usual, the Explanatory Notes add hardly anything at all to the clarity of the wording of the main text in the clauses, simply repeating them word for word , mostly. There is nothing which states exactly why this particular Clause is actually needed:

Part 6 FINAL PROVISIONS

Clause 43: power to make consequential provision

203. Clause 43 contains a power to make changes to primary or secondary legislation in consequence of the Bill by order. Subsection (1) provides that the power can be exercised by a Minister of the Crown, or two or more Ministers acting jointly.

204. Subsection (2) provides that an order may amend, repeal or revoke provision in primary or secondary legislation and may include transitional, transitory or saving provisions.

An order under this clause must be made by statutory instrument (subsection (3)). If it amends primary legislation, an order will be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure (subsection (4)). Any other order will be subject to negative resolution procedure (subsection (5)).

Note the peculiar use of italics in this section of the Explanatory Notes.- was this a last minute rushed job ?

Ideally the whole of Part 6 of the Bill should be removed.

If not, then the supposed safeguards on the abuse of power by Ministers should be explicitly stated on the face of the Bill to be the same as, or stronger than those in the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006 which are laid out in much more detail, and which involve the intervention of a "committee of either House" to sanity check any such Orders.

Is the fact that this controversial Part 6 is buried away at the end of the Bill, which will have the mainstream media and politicians concentrating on the Ratification of Treaties and the replacement of the Attorney General by the Director of Public Prosecutions in many instances etc., a sneaky attempt to make sure that any debate on these proposed limitless Order making powers by Ministers, is curtailed by lack of Parliamentary time and by guillotine Programming Motions ?

Ideally, if Gordon Brown and Jack Straw are serious about "Constitutional renewal", they would be using this Section of this Bill to exempt the core Constitutional Acts of Parliament from being amended or repealed by the Civil Contingencies Act or the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act, or by this proposed Constitutional Renewal Bill, something which was attempted by the Opposition, but crushed by the Government majority, when the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act was passed.

However, with the current short, vague, catch all wording, Part 6 of this Bill appears to be an attempt to circumvent even the limited constitutional protections in the wretched Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006.

16 Comments

According to Jack Straw, the bill only has five parts.

@ Ian - that is interesting - was the whole of Part 6 slipped in at the last minute ?

It seems that the Conservative Shadow Minister for Disabled People Mark Harper the Member of Parliament for the Forest of Dean, has

"raised the issue of the bill in business questions today"

so hopefully this will not just slip through Parliament unnoticed.

It is good to know that some MPs, or their political advisors and researchers, do take notice of issues raised first in the UK political blog space.

Had another look and while its actually nothing like as bad as L&R - they can't get at things like habeas corpus this time around because the scope is limited to things consequential to this bill, it does mean that they can reinstate or introduce a variation on the SOCPA provisions using secondary legislation and make amendments to the functions of the Attorney General and heads of various prosecuting authorities, tinker with the management of the Civil Service and make alterations to the process by which judges are appointed more or less by order.

Save Parliament has picked up on this and we're looking into it. It may be time to grease up the gears of grassroots campaigning again!

No doubt it is a last-minute rush job - almost all legislation is! But I think you're getting this out of proportion.

This power isn't like the wide amending power in the Legs. and Regs. Bill of a couple of years ago. It's simply a power to make amendments ministers reasonably believe follow as a consequence of the provisions of the Constitutional Renewal Bill. It wouldn't allow repeal of the Human Rights Act, say, unless that really is a "knock-on effect" of the Bill. If knock-on amendments affect an Act, then the affirmative resolution procedure has to be followed; if they only affect secondary legislation, the negative resolution procedure will do. And if anyone thinks ministers have gone too far in their judgment as to what's "consequential", well, the making of the amendment can be judicially reviewed, and the amendments quashed if the courts agree they're ulra vires.

This is a fairly common type of clause in Bills: there are several examples in this session's Bills, including in the Health and Social Care Bill, the Pensions Bill, the Child Maintenance and other Payments Bill and the Climate Change Bill, among others.

I've blogged about this earlier today.

I do sincerely hope that some sort of last minute draughting error has been made, and that Clause 43 should really only apply to Secondary Legislation as a direct consequence of this Bill.

If that is the case then the Government should willingly amend it themselves.

The inelegant phrase "any provision made by or an Act;" seems to be non-standard - it does not appear exactly like that in any web search engine queries, which index the vast majority of UK legislation published online.

Why is there any pressing need whatsoever, to amend or repeal any further Primary Legislation, which is not already explicitly being repealed or amended in the other parts of the Bill e.g. SOCPA ss 132 - 138 ?

Given that the Bill is entitled "Constitutional Renewal", there is every danger that a current, or future, Minister might decide that, say, the Habeas Corpus Act needs to be "renewed" for the 21st Century, by claiming that Ministers or Civil Servants, rather than Judges should decide any application for Habeas Corpus for which the "national security" flag has been waved.

Such a fundamental change to our Constitution could be achieved through this Bill, without the full debate and proper scrutiny required for Primary Legislation, because various bits of it already mention "national security", civil servants and Judges.

Just because the Government has used in the past, or is currently trying to use, similar but not identical language in other Bills, that does not make it right.

The current online version of the .pdf file seems to have been updated to include the word under , which makes a bit more sense, but which would still give Minsters power over any Act of Parliament by Order.

(a) amend, repeal or revoke any provision made by or under an Act;

You need to calm down. Part 6 is a fairly standard power to allow tidying up the statute book - to make consequential amendments necessary because the new Act is in force. If it wasn't there and something was later spotted, a whole new Act of Parliament would be required, which would be a waste of Parliament's time.

There are countless examples, but there's section 259 of the Civil Partnership Act:

Power to make further provision in connection with civil partnership

(1) A Minister of the Crown may by order make such further provision (including supplementary, incidental, consequential, transitory, transitional or saving provision) as he considers appropriate—

(a) for the general purposes, or any particular purpose, of this Act,

(b) in consequence of any provision made by or under this Act, or

(c) for giving full effect to this Act or any provision of it.

(2) The power conferred by subsection (1) is also exercisable—

(a) by the Scottish Ministers, in relation to a relevant Scottish provision;

(b) by a Northern Ireland department, in relation to a provision which deals with a transferred matter;

(c) by the National Assembly for Wales, in relation to a provision which is made otherwise than by virtue of subsection (3) and deals with matters with respect to which functions are exercisable by the Assembly.

(3) An order under subsection (1) may—

(a) amend or repeal any enactment contained in an Act passed on or before the last day of the Session in which this Act is passed, including an enactment conferring power to make subordinate legislation where the power is limited by reference to persons who are or have been parties to a marriage;

(b) amend, repeal or (as the case may be) revoke any provision contained in Northern Ireland legislation passed or made on or before the last day of the Session in which this Act is passed, including a provision conferring power to make subordinate legislation where the power is limited by reference to persons who are or have been parties to a marriage;

(c) amend, repeal or (as the case may be) revoke any Church legislation.

(4) An order under subsection (1) may—

(a) provide for any provision of this Act which comes into force before another such provision has come into force to have effect, until that other provision has come into force, with such modifications as are specified in the order;

(b) amend or revoke any subordinate legislation.

(5) The power to make an order under subsection (1) is not restricted by any other provision of this Act.

These are common, and a scrutinised by the Delegated Powers Committee in Parliament. The fact that it's the affirmative procedure (requiring a vote in Parliament) should provide even more comfort.

I really suggest you scale back the call to arms, because this is just silly.

Mark Harper MP's exchange with Harriet Harman, the Leader of the House, from the temporary Today in the Chamber version of Hansard:

House of Commons Hansard 27 Mar 2008 : Column 338

Mr. Mark Harper(Forest of Dean) (Con): Is the Leader of the House aware that in the draft Constitutional Renewal Bill, part 6—the ominously named "Final Provision"—resurrects a clause that was in the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill to give Ministers the power to revoke Acts of Parliament by order? One of the well-known political websites says that, like a vampire, the "Destroy Parliament" clause has returned. Will she take the opportunity today to drive a stake through its heart?

Ms Harman: No, I certainly will not. If it is agreed, as I propose, that the Bill should be handled in this way, the Joint Committee, which will have 11 Members of this House and 11 Members of the House of Lords, will have time to scrutinise it in great depth.

Hopefully this Joint Committee will do a proper job of detailed scrutiny., but even then, as we have seen so many times before, the Government can simply ignore their report.

[Comment UPDATED 28 March]

@ Recce - if it was limited to only Secondary Legislation, I might agree that that is a common practice, but this is the potential repeal or amendment of any other Primary Legislation Acts of Parliament, including the supposedly core Constitutional Acts, by Order of a Minister.

None of the "negative" or "affirmative" or even the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act's "super affirmative" procedures are much better than a rubber stamp in practice, as they are all on a "take it or leave it" basis, without a chance for any amendments to the Order, which may contain several useful or necessary other sections.

Each of the renewals by Order of the extremely controversial when it was passed Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005, which introduced Control Orders, have been "debated" by only a couple of dozen MPs for less than an hour each time.

It is not true that a brand new Act of Parliament would be needed to correct any mistakes or oversights in this Bill, there are plenty of multi part portmanteau Bills presented each year which could contain the appropriate correction, but which would get a chance of being properly debated and scrutinised.

The Statute Law (Repeals) Bill currently in the Lords repeals or amends some 300 out of date Statutes, but that is Primary Legislation, which will get the full debate and scrutiny.


It's common, wtwu, to have a clause like this permitting consequential amendment of primary legislation. I give further examples on my blog. In this parliamentary session alone, the Child Maintenance and other Payments Bill, the Health and Social Care Bill, the Pensions Bill, the Education and Skills Bill and the Housing and Regeneration Bill all have clauses like this.

Looks like wtwu is right. Good spot, I'll forward it on to my MP and a few others.

wtwu is not right. A power to make consequential amendments is not at all unusual, nor is it improper. They are common in Bills and are subject to proper Parliamentary scrutiny. For example, see this from the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments:

The Committee agrees with the view expressed in Craies on Legislation (8th Edition), Chapter 3.4.10 that "As a general rule it can be expected that anything at all significant, and certainly anything involving significant intrusion on the liberty of the subject, will not reliably be effected in reliance on a mere power to make incidental or supplemental provision". In the Committee's view, that principle applies equally to a general power to make transitional or consequential provision and
applies all the more where the power is to modify an Act.

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/jt200708/jtselect/jtstatin/47/4704.htm

A court would strike down in a second an instrument which was not really “consequential” on what the Act does. For example, the Act repeals SOCPA ss 132 – 138. No order could be made restoring them or adding any other restriction on protesting outside Parliament because that could not conceivably be said to be consequential on the repeal of those sections.

Comparing this to the Legs and Regs Act is ludicrous. None of us benefit from the spread of mis-information, but on this occasion that is what you are doing.

Some of the comments above may have appeared out of sequence as they were trapped by the spam filters.

It may well be that provisions for consequential amendments are common - however in relation to constitutional renewal (a euphemism surely) this extends just a bit beyond some tweaks and a logo-change.

I'd suggest that this particular bit of the Bill keeps the "dangerous" tag until such time as someone has gone through the whole thing and confirmed that every single one of the possible consequentials is harmless, alone or in conjunction with others.

Ministerial assertions - not being worth the hot air they are printed on - are no substitute for proper wording.

To say that it is harmless on the grounds that similar things have been done is unwise, given the difference in context and potential.

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.

We wiil use this verifiable public key (the ID is available on several keyservers, twitter etc.) to establish initial contact with whistleblowers and other confidential sources, but will then try to establish other secure, anonymous communications channels, as appropriate.

Current PGP Key ID: 0x122B3C4FD0BD0FB3 which will expire on 1st October 2018.

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

Syndicate this site (XML):

Follow Spy Blog on Twitter

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

https://twitter.com/SpyBlog

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

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

Recent Comments

  • DW: It may well be that provisions for consequential amendments are read more
  • wtwu: Some of the comments above may have appeared out of read more
  • Recce: wtwu is not right. A power to make consequential amendments read more
  • Dave Gould: Looks like wtwu is right. Good spot, I'll forward it read more
  • Head of Legal: It's common, wtwu, to have a clause like this permitting read more
  • wtwu: @ Recce - if it was limited to only Secondary read more
  • wtwu: Mark Harper MP's exchange with Harriet Harman, the Leader of read more
  • Recce: You need to calm down. Part 6 is a fairly read more
  • wtwu: The current online version of the .pdf file seems to read more
  • wtwu: I do sincerely hope that some sort of last minute read more

Categories

Monthly Archives

October 2016

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
            1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31          

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

syf_logo_120.gif Secure Your Ferliliser logo
Secure Your Fertiliser - advice on ammonium nitrate and urea fertiliser security

cpni_logo_150.gif Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure
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."

SIS MI6 careers_logo_sis.gif
Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) recruitment.

gchq_logo.gif
Government Communications Headquarters GCHQ

logo-nca.gif
National Crime Agency - the replacement for the Serious Organised Crime Agency

da_notice_system_150.gif
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.

FreeFarid_150.jpg
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)

Open_Rights_Group.png
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).

irrepressible_banner_03.gif
Amnesty International's irrepressible.info campaign

anoniblog_150.png
BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

ngoiab_150.png
NGO in a box - Security Edition privacy and security software tools

homeofficewatch_150.jpg
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."

rsf_logo_150.gif
Reporters Without Borders - Reporters Sans Frontières - campaign for journalists 'and bloggers' freedom in repressive countries and war zones.

committee_to_protect_bloggers_150.gif
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."

Icelanders_are_NOT_Terrorists_logo_150.jpg
Icelanders are NOT terrorists ! - despite Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling's use of anti-terrorism legislation to seize the assets of Icelandic banks.

nocctv.gif
No CCTV - The Campaign Against CCTV

phnat-logo-black-on-white_150.jpg

I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist !

power2010_132.png

Power 2010 cross party, political reform campaign

Cracking_the_Black_Box_black_150.jpg

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."

surveillance_72.jpg

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

wblogocrop_150.jpg

WhistleblowersUK.org - Fighting for justice for whistleblowers