April 2008 Archives

The Home Office has given some vague details about the number of Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 Part III - Investigation of Electronic Data Protected by Encryption etc. Section 49 Notices which have been issued since October 2007:

29 Apr 2008 : Column 361W

Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many people have been (a) proceeded against for and (b) convicted of failing to disclose information in encrypted form under section 53 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000; [200550]

(2) how many prosecutions and convictions there have been under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 for withholding passwords and encryption keys to hard drives since that provision entered into force. [200588]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 23 April 2008]: These provisions came into force on 1 October 2007 and to date eight section 49 notices have been served, four of which were in terrorism related cases. In these four cases two people have been charged with the offence of failing to comply with a section 49 notice, and the appropriate investigating authorities are also considering what action to take in regard to the other two terrorist related cases. These cases have yet to come before the courts.

Remember that even before this legislation was brought into force, after seven years or so of delay, it had been amended so that the penalty in a vaguely worded, undefined "national security" investigation could be up to 5 years in prison, instead of up to 2 years in "normal" cases.

In two of the remaining (non-terrorism related cases) the encryption keys have been disclosed.

What about the other two non-terrorism related cases then ?

See the URL links in the previous Spy Blog entry - "All Your Encryption Keys Are Belong To Us" - RIPA Part III to come into force on 1st October 2007

We are still not impressed with the alleged safeguards in contained in the Statutory Code of Practice, which fails to insist that disclosed Cryptographic Keys or the sensitive data which they are protecting, is always encrypted by the Police or or Intelligence Agencies themselves during transit and storage.

How long before there is a missing laptop computer / CDROM disk / USB flash memory device etc. scandal involving such RIPA Part III section 49 seized cryptographic data ?

We suggested this during the Public Consultation on the Draft Code of Practice, back in 2006, but we were ignored.

Is there any evidence that the still unresolved HMRC Child Benefit Database CDROM and the Ministry of Defence Recruitment laptop scandals have had any effect on the Home Office at all ?

On Thursday, the High Court made a Judgment in the case of 5 anonymous people who have been subjected to the Treasury's bureaucratic nightmare of financial asset freezing.

Read the text of the Judgment on the British and Irish Legal Information Institute website:

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2008/869.html

Neutral Citation Number: [2008] EWHC 869 (Admin)
Case No: PTA 13, 14, 15, 17 & 19/2007

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE
QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
ADMINISTRATIVE COURT

Royal Courts of Justice
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
24 April 2008

B e f o r e :

Mr Justice Collins

____________________
Between:
A, K, M, Q & G
Applicants
- and -

H.M. Treasury
Respondent

________________

Essentially the Judge has ruled that the two Asset Freezing financial sanctions Orders in Council should be quashed, but leaving room for such sanctions to be properly imposed via an Act of Parliament.

Presumably there will be some new clauses added to the Counter-terrorism Bill 2007-2008, currently oozing its way through Parliament at the moment.

The graffiti stencil artwork,"One Nation Under CCTV", presumably by "Banksy", which recently appeared in Newman Street in London, is definitely now a tourist attraction :

One_Nation_Under_CCTV_Newman_Street_22nd_April_2008.jpg

Here are some more Spy Blog photos and social observations:

Just in case you thought that Spy Blog has not tried the available, alleged "checks and balances" which are supposed to prevent the disproportionate abuse of our privacy and freedoms, you might be interested in our brief correspondence with the Office of the Surveillance Commissioners, regarding the function creep of what were supposed to have been "save the environment" schemes: the London Congestion Charge and the London Low Emission Zone, but which have now mutated into a secretive, unaccountable, mass surveillance snooping scheme.

Rt. Hon. Sir Christopher Rose
Chief Surveillance Commissioner
Office of Surveillance Commissioners
PO Box 29105,
London, SW1V 1ZU

Copy via email: oscmailbox@osc.gsi.gov.uk

20th September 2007

Dear Sir Christopher,

I am writing to you in respect of the current Automatic Number Plate Recognition mass surveillance scheme, which was announced by Home Office Minister Tony McNulty on 17th July 2007, involving "real time" "bulk data transfers" between the London Congestion Charge system run by Transport for London and the Metropolitan Police Service.

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmhansrd/cm070717/wmstext/70717m0002.htm#07071769000274

" The Minister of State, Home Department (Mr. Tony McNulty): I would like to inform the House that my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has signed a certificate to exempt Transport for London (TfL) and the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) from certain provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 to facilitate the bulk transfer of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) data from TfL to the MPS. The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police believes that it is necessary due to the enduring, vehicle-borne terrorist threat to London. The MPS requires bulk ANPR data from TfL's camera network in London specifically for terrorism intelligence purposes and to prevent and investigate such offences. The infrastructure will allow the realtime flow of data between TfL and the MPS.

As one of the conditions of this certificate, the MPS will provide an annual report to the Information Commissioner so that he can satisfy himself that the personal data processed under the certificate is required for the purposes of safeguarding national security, and that any processing that is undertaken other than under an exemption set out in the certificate is carried out in compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998.

My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary will review the operation of the certificate in three months time when the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police provides her with a separate, interim report so that she can be personally satisfied that the certificate is being operated in accordance with the agreement and that the privacy of individuals is protected. In the coming months, proposals will be developed and discussed across Government to ensure that bulk ANPR data-sharing with the police is subject to a robust regulatory regime which ensures reasonable transparency and scrutiny."

This is obviously far more than a simple Data Protection Act section 29 Notice request for details about a particular suspect vehicle. The use of Ministerial Certificates must mean Mass Surveillance, presumably on a 24/7 basis, outside of the normal Congestion Charge enforcement period i.e. also at night, at weekends and on public holidays, to cover what would otherwise be "excessive data processing" for a purpose other than which the data was originally collected, without explicit personal consent, thereby flouting the fundamental Principles of Data Protection.

I note that there is no mention in the Ministerial Statement of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, which surely must also apply to this Mass Surveillance project, especially in the light of your comments on Automatic Number Plate Recognition in your first Annual Report,

"11.3 Improvements in technology continue to enhance the capability of those charged with the responsibility of tackling crime. But, as indicated in last year's report, the speed of change often surpasses the limitations of current legislation. With regard to Automatic Number Plate Recognition, my position is the same as that of my predecessor and I adhere to the view that legislation is necessary to resolve some issues arising from enhanced technological capability."

Were any of the Surveillance Commissioners consulted about this project before it was announced ?

Have you given your permission for this Mass Surveillance scheme to go ahead, which must catch vast numbers of innocent people and vehicle movements, contrary to the principle of narrowly targeted, proportionate, lawful surveillance under RIPA ?


Yours Sincerely,

[name]
[address]

The short reply was frustrating and depressing - we are obviously "little people", whose concerns and worries, are simply ignored by the bureaucracy and the politicians:

Office of Surveillance Commissioners

[name] [address]

1 October 2007

Dear [name]

Thank you for your letter of 20 September about the Automatic Number Plate Recognition mass surveillance scheme.

The Chief Surveillance Commissioner has seen your letter and asked me to reply on his behalf. He notes your interest in these matters but does not think it appropriate to answer your questions.

I am sorry I cannot be more helpful.

Yours sincerely

[name of secretary]
Secretary to the Office of the Surveillance Commissioners

Office of the Surveillance Commissioners
PO Box 29105
London, SW1V 1ZU
Telephone: 020 7828 3421
Facsimile: 020 7952 1788
Web: www.surveillancecommissioners.gov.uk
email: oscmailbox@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

How is this supposed to represent adequate or proper "independent scrutiny" of the vast powers, and function creep of secret state surveillance snooping, which is increasingly and wastefully being directed at millions of innocent people, rather than being targeted proportionately and narrowly at actual terrorist suspects or serious organised criminals ?

Is it any wonder that people are frustrated by, and resentful of, the people and systems which purport to "protect" the public, whilst maintaining their freedoms and liberties, but which do not do so in practice ?

The Daily Telegraph has a story which confirms our suspicions and fears about the controversial secret mass surveillance snooping scheme, which the London Congestion Charge, the London Low Emissions Zone and other linked Transport for London CCTV and ANPR systems have become, with not even a whimper of opposition from the incumbent Labour control freak Mayor of London.

Remember this is not about tracking any known terrorist suspects or their vehicles, or protecting us "in real time" from vehicle bombs, for which the normal law enforcement exemptions under Section 29 of the Data Protection Act were perfectly adequate. This is about snooping and spying on everyone, all of the time through a mass surveillance infrastructure.

The Daily Telegraph reports:

New anti-terrorism rules 'allow US to spy on British motorists'

By Toby Helm and Christopher Hope
Last Updated: 3:06am BST 21/04/2008

Routine journeys carried out by millions of British motorists can be monitored by authorities in the United States and other enforcement agencies across the world under anti-terrorism rules introduced discreetly by Jacqui Smith.

The discovery that images of cars captured on road-side cameras, and "personal data" derived from them, including number plates, can be sent overseas, has angered MPs and civil liberties groups concerned by the increasing use of "Big Brother" surveillance tactics.

Yesterday, politicians and civil liberties groups accused the Home Secretary of keeping the plans to export pictures secret from Parliament when she announced last year that British anti-terrorism police could access "real time" images from cameras used in the running of London's congestion charge.

A statement by Miss Smith to Parliament on July 17, 2007, detailing the exemptions for police from the 1998 Data Protection Act, did not mention other changes that would permit material to be sent outside the European Economic Area (EEA) to the authorities in the US and elsewhere.

See our October 2007 blog posting
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith cripples the Data Protection Act regarding the London Congestion Charge ANPR Mass Surveillance scheme

Her permission to do so was hidden away in an earlier "special certificate" signed by the Home Secretary on July 4.

The certificate specifically sets out the level of data that can be sent to enforcement authorities outside the European Economic Area (the EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) by anti-terrorist officers from the Metropolitan Police. It says:

"The certificate relates to the processing of the images taken by the camera, personal data derived from the images, including vehicle registration mark, date, time and camera location."

A spokesman for Richard Thomas, the information commissioner, confirmed that the certificate had been worded so that the images of private cars, as well as registration numbers, could be sent outside to countries such as the USA.

Officers from the Metropolitan Police have been given the right to view in "real time" any CCTV images from cameras that are meant to be enforcing the congestion charge.

Sources said that officers would access the cameras on behalf of overseas authorities if they were informed about a terrorism threat in the UK or elsewhere. They would then share the images, which can be held for five years before being destroyed, if necessary.

On what basis was a data retention period of 5 years, for the data of innocent people justified ?

Why should anyone believe that this data is ever destroyed and is not simply copied to another secret system ?

Who believes that any policeman or civil servant be sent to prison if such data is not destroyed after 5 years ?

[...]

However, the Home Office defended the powers in the certificate, which was signed specifically for the purposes of counter terrorism and national security.

A spokesman declined to say how many times images had been sent from London to other countries.

However, he added: "We would like to reassure the public that robust controls have been put in place to control and safeguard access to, and use of, the information."

Who was this "Home Office spokesman" ? If it was a civil servant, he has just broken the Civil Service Code of Conduct by lying to the media and the general public.

How does destroying the safeguards of the Data Protection Act, such as they are, via such Ministerial Certificates, constitute "robust controls" ?

How can the UK authorities possibly control what a foreign Government does with the copies of the data which they hand over ?

When, not if, a private investigator, in the UK or in the USA etc., bribes or coerces his corrupt law enforcement insider contacts, for access to this data, for private commercial snooping purposes, not for "national security", then there is nothing anymore that the UK Information Commissioner do about it, now that his Data Protection Act Enforcement Powers with regard to this data have been stripped from him by these Ministerial Certificates.

He cannot now even prosecute the dodgy private investigators, and they will never be brought to trial under the Official Secrets Act etc, for fear that details of the the secret data mining experiments come to light in court.

When can we rid ourselves of these Labour party control freaks and their "diverse evill Councellors, Judges and Ministers" who "endeavour to subvert and extirpate ... the Lawes and Liberties of this Kingdome" (using the wording of the Bill of Rights 1689) ?

Former street graffiti artist "Banksy", whose often witty stencil graffiti artworks, now fetch hundreds of thousands of pounds in art galleries, is being credited with a new wall painting in London, which appeared over the weekend.

The location is an "end of terrace" blank wall, on Newman Street, at the junction with Eastcastle Street. overlooking the rear entrance to the Rathbone Place Post Office sorting centre

See this map

Newman_Street_Banksy_DM1_300.jpg

The Daily Mail spins the story from the angle that this is supposed to be a secure parking area for Post Office vans, with a big fence and at least one CCTV camera (circled), supposedly guarded around the clock.

However what strikes us is the ambiguity of the slogan and the image, which seems to tolerate the idea of fascist / communist style mass surveillance and sloganeering. The figures of the private security guard and the dog (see next image) at the bottom left, are not trying to prevent the figure on the ladder from painting the slogan, they are looking on passively or with approval, whilst taking their own photo of the painter.

What is really annoying about Banksy and this particular piece of grafitti art is that he recently donated an artwork, which raised £195,000 at auction, to support the re-election of the notorious Ken Livingstone as Mayor of London, Hopefully the name of this anonymous purchaser / donor will be revealed in the election expenses returns.

Livingstone is a manipulative Labour politician, and an admirer of the Cuban and Chinese police state dictatorships, and of other terrorist supporting extremists, whose Transport for London and Policing policies have vastly increased the amount of CCTV and other surveillance, which is being inflicted, unaccountably and in secret, on innocent travellers and residents in London.

Ken Livingstone deliberately refused to appear at, or send a deputy, or provide any written answers to the Questions about the Database / Surveillance State issues put to the other main Mayoral candidates at the recent cross political party NO2ID Campaign organised Database State Mayoral Election Hustings on the 8th of April - he ended up appearing as a "Cardboard Cut Out Ken".

In that context, the location and timing of this "Banksy" looks to be supportive of the Labour Party surveillance and control cliques, rather than being in any way on the side of the angels, or of the majority of the unnecessarily snooped on public.

A couple more images:

Today's High Court Judgment regarding our FOIA request, made over 3 years and 4 months ago is totally unacceptable:

High Court upholds OGC appeal against Information Tribunal and suppresses publication of the Home Office ID Cards Gateway Reviews, on grounds of "Parliamentary Privilege"

Bad news for Transparency, Open Government,and Freedom of Information - the OGC has won their appeal in the High Court against the Information Tribunal, over the disclosure of the early Gateway Reviews of the Home Office's Identity Cards Programme.

Having decided that Parliamentary Privilege was engaged, because the Information Tribunal had made a reference to a House of Commons Select Committee Report, referring to the desirability of publishing OGC Gateway Reviews, Mr. Justice Stanley Burnton then actually rejected all the other OGC grounds for appeal.

[...]

It is utterly despicable that Article 9 of the Bill of Rights 1689, which is supposed to protect freedom of speech in Parliament, has, instead, been abused to suppress the disclosure of the early Office of Government Commerce Gateway Reviews of Home Office Identity Cards Programme, requested under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

What use is the whole system of Parliamentary Select Committees, if their publicly published Reports cannot be made use of in this way ? They might as well all be scrapped.

The politicians and civil servants are making fools of themselves over this whole national centralised biometric database scheme, and in their wasteful attempts to keep their failings secret, by delaying and denying Freedom of Information rights.


The Procedure Committee of the House of Commons has now published their Report about the possibility of introducing an e-petitions to the House of Commons, perhaps by 2010, based mostly on the on the experience of the No. 10 Downing Street e-petitions to the Prime Minister and the Scottish Parliament e-petitions systems.

See: Select Committee on Procedure First Report on e-petitions printed 19 March 2008.

The Labour Government's latest terrorism legislation got an unopposed Second Reading in the House of Commons on Tuesday 1st April 2008. The Opposition parties and the media, as we predicted when the Bill was announced, have been distracted by the extremely controversial 42 days internment without charge provisions and have, so far, ignored all the other sneaky and repressive bits of the Bill.

The text of the Counter-Terrorism Bill 2008 and the (not very) Explanatory Notes is available on the Parliament website.

Where is the Business Case and the Regulatory impact Assessment setting out why such further legislation is actually necessary, why the existing vast legal powers available under the large amount of existing Primary and Secondary legislation is somehow inadequate, how much extra this is all going to cost to enforced, and what the expected result will be in terms of the number of terrorists who will be caught, convicted or even slightly deterred. Neither the Explanatory Notes, nor any of the media spin and manipulation so far presented to the public have made any of this clear.

There appears to be a carte blanche for legally covering up any of DNA or fingerprint sample abuses "that are not held subject to existing statutory restrictions."

The Bill also provides for the use of DNA samples and for fingerprinting to be used not just for terrorism cases , not just for serious crime, not just for petty crime, but for general "identification" purposes, whether you are dead or alive.

There also seems to be another statutory attempt to destroy the Common Law Duty of Confidentiality, and probably also to circumvent the "Wilson Doctrine".

Any legislation which claims that "Nothing in that section shall be read as casting doubt on the legality of anything done by any of the intelligence services before that section came into force." only succeeds in raising precisely those sort of doubts in the mind of anyone reading it.

About this blog

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

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

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

Email & PGP Contact

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

blog@spy[dot]org[dot]uk

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

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

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

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

Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers and Political Dissidents

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

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links

Watching Them, Watching Us

London 2600

Our UK Freedom of Information Act request tracking blog

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

Privacy and Security

Privacy International
United Kingdom Privacy Profile (2011)

Cryptome - censored or leaked government documents etc.

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

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

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

International Campaign Against Mass Surveillance

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

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

Technical Advisory Board on internet and telecomms interception under RIPA

European Digital Rights

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

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

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

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

Human Rights

Liberty Human Rights campaigners

British Institute of Human Rights
Amnesty International
Justice

Prevent Genocide International

asboconcern - campaign for reform of Anti-Social Behavior Orders

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

Internet Censorship

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

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

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

Judicial Links

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

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

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

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

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

Parliamentary Opposition

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

UK Government

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

No. 10 Downing Street Prime Minister's Official Spindoctors

Public Bills before Parliament

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

House of Commons "Question Book"

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

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

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

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

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

Online Media

Boing Boing

Need To Know [now defunct]

The Register

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

Ideal Government - debate about UK eGovernment

NIR and ID cards

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

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

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

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

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

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

Surveillance Infrastructures

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

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

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

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

RFID Links

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

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

RFIDBuzz.com blog - where we sometimes crosspost RFID articles

Genetic Links

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

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

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

Miscellanous Links

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

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

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

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

Former Spies

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

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

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

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

Naked Spygirl - Olivia Frank

Blog Links

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

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

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

Liberty Central

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

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

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

Vmyths - debunking computer security hype

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

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

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

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

Bloggerheads - Tim Ireland

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

Blogzilla - Ian Brown

BlairWatch - Chronicling the demise of the New Labour Project

dreamfish - Robert Longstaff

Informaticopia - Rod Ward

War-on-Freedom

The Musings of Harry

Chicken Yoghurt - Justin McKeating

The Red Tape Chronicles - Bob Sullivan MSNBC

Campaign Against the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Stop the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Rob Wilton's esoterica

panGloss - Innovation, Technology and the Law

Arch Rights - Action on Rights for Children blog

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

Shaphan

Moving On

Steve Moxon blog - former Home Office whistleblower and author.

Al-Muhajabah's Sundries - anglophile blog

Architectures of Control in Design - Dan Lockton

rabenhorst - Kai Billen (mostly in German)

Nearly Perfect Privacy - Tiffany and Morpheus

Iain Dale's Diary - a popular Conservative political blog

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

BLOGDIAL

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

Ralph Bendrath

Financial Cryptography - Ian Grigg et al.

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

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

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

"Give 'em hell Pike!" - Frank Fisher

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

geeklawyer - intellectual property, civil liberties and the legal system

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

Charlie's Diary - Charlie Stross

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

Famous for 15 Megapixels

Postman Patel

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

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

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

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

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

Matt Wardman political blog analysis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No CCTV - The Campaign against CCTV

Barcode Nation - keeping two eyes on the database state.

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

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

Justin Wylie's political blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Links

Spam Huntress - The Norwegian Spam Huntress - Ann Elisabeth

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

Cool Britannia

NuLabour

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

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

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

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UK Legislation

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

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

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

UK Legislation Links

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

UK Commissioners

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

UK Intelligence Agencies

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

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

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

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

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

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Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) recruitment.

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Government Communications Headquarters GCHQ

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

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

Foreign Spies / Intelliegence Agencies in the UK

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

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

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

Campaign Button Links

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Open Rights Group

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

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

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

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Amnesty International's irrepressible.info campaign

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BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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

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

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

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

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

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No CCTV - The Campaign Against CCTV

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I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist !

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Power 2010 cross party, political reform campaign

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

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

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WhistleblowersUK.org - Fighting for justice for whistleblowers