Privy Council Intercept as Evidence Advisory Group interim progress report 9th February 2009

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The House of Commons Library now has a copy of the Privy Council Intercept as Evidence Advisory Group interim progress report 9th February 2009 (.pdf image scan only)

As predicted in our previous blog article, Chilcot Advisory Group on Intercept Evidence (lack of) Progress Report, there has been little tangible progress in the last year..

Note the emphasis on

Preventing successful defence "fishing expeditions"

bur there are no effective safeguards against prosecution "fishing expeditions", are there ?

Key stakeholders, such as Communications Service Providers (CSPs) have been engaged, in order to ensure that their legitimate concerns are identified and reflected at an appropriately early stage.

"Communications Service Providers" i.e. telecommunications and internet service provider companies have their own commercial agenda, which do not usually coincide with the privacy and security interests of their business and individual customers, neither of which seem to be represented as "stakeholders" in this Intercept as Evidence review.

If there had been anybody with some internet and telecommunications industry Consumer Privacy and Digital Rights experience on the Advisory Group, they might have been able to highlight the entirely negative consumer experience and collateral damage, where the commercial interests of CSPs conflict with those of their customers. Why shouldn't members of the public or businesses, who have suffered as a result of Phorm style deep packet inspection and interception, be able to call for Intercept Evidence in Court in civil cases ?

This Advisory Group does not appear to be considering an important aspect of current, let alone future technology and practice, which has already been misused in foreign terrorism trials involving mobile phone intercept evidence, such as those in Spain, namely the black art of supposedly expert "Voice Matching" technology. This is especially important where no clearly incriminating words have been uttered in the intercepted phone call.

See our Questions about the case of the first person to be served with a European Arrest Warrant in the UK, Farid Hilali, who was extradited to Spain, where he is facing

The whole European Union and other Mutual Legal Assistance legal aspects of United Kingdom "Intercept as Evidence" do not appear to be under consideration by this Advisory Group.

In order to help Spy Blog readers and future students of this creepy Surveillance Society / Police State, we have OCR / copy edited this image scan into a more web search engine friendly text based format below:


The Right Honourable Gordon Brown MP
10 Downing Street
LONDON

INTERCEPT AS EVIDENCE

The Home Secretary's letter of 18 February 2008 invited Lord Archer of Sandwell, Alan Beith, Michael Howard and myself to form the Advisory Group of Privy Counsellors, tasked with advising the officials implementing the recommendations of the Privy Council Review which I led on the use of intercept as evidence. A copy of our Terms of Reference is attached.

I enclose a report, endorsed by all four members of the Advisory Group, on progress at it stands at the end of the first of the three phases of work-"designing" a model for the use of intercept as evidence (IAE).

The Privy Council Review recognised that the work programme would be both complex and demanding. So it is proving. But enough progress has been made for us to support the project's move into its second phase, "building" the model, before the final phase of "testing" it. Indeed these stages are essential to test in practice the findings from the theoretical work; and then to inform the decision on whether it is possible to set up a regime for the use of intercept as evidence which respects both the operational safeguards identified in the Privy Council review, and the public's basic legal rights.

The work so far has not altered our aspiration for a regime for the use of intercept of evidence that delivers better justice and protection for the public. Our aim remains to be in a position for the Government to bring forward legislation in the 2009-10 session of Parliament. But it would be wrong not to sound a clear note of caution. There remain key issues to resolve, in' particular in terms of reconciling legal and operational requirements in complex counter-terrorism and serious organised crime cases.

We envisage a further interim report on progress in the spring, at the conclusion of the "build" Phase, prior to a final report in the summer.

My colleagues on the Advisory Group and I have been greatly encouraged by the commitment and thoroughness with which the Interception community has sought to address the issues raised by implementation and our progress report highlights further particular areas which we believe that should be explored.

Finally, we wish to register our concern that proposals for closed hearings in the present Coroners and Justice Bill should demonstrably secure the same or equivalent safeguards for use of intercept material as those set out in the original Privy Council Review.
A copy of this letter goes to the Home Secretary.

Rt Hon Sir John Chilcot [9 FEBRUARY 2009]
(on behalf of the Advisory Group of Privy Counsellors)


ANNEX: PRIVY COUNCIL ADVISORY GROUP TERMS OF REFERENCE

"In his statement to the House on 6 February 2008, the Prime Minister accepted the recommendation of the Chilcot Review that it should be possible to find a way of using some intercept material as evidence, providing certain key operational requirements can be met. He committed the Government to taking forward the necessary work to address how these operational requirements can best be met, and how to take into account the impact of new technology.

The Chilcot report sets out the operational requirements which any legal regime for intercept evidence would need to meet, in order to ensure that the UK's strategic intelligence capability was safeguarded and the ability of intelligence and law enforcement agencies to protect the public was not harmed (Chilcot, para 208). It also addresses the impact of new technology on interception and on legal models (chapter VI).

The role of the Chilcot Advisory Group is to provide advice to the Government's Implementation Team as they carry out this work, to ensure that the key objectives of safeguarding intelligence capability and protecting the public are not harmed as a scheme is developed.

The implementation team will consult the advisory group on its work programme and emerging findings on a regular basis, and at least three times during the course of the work - at the outset, as the plan is devised; part-way through the work to demonstrate progress; and towards the end of the work, before final advice is prepared for Ministers.
The advisory group will do their work on Privy Counsellor terms. They will be offered information in confidence, including information that may have a bearing on national security, in order that they can advise on the basis of good information; and they will respect that confidence and will not share or divulge the information to which they have been party.

FEB 2008"

INTERCEPT AS EVIDENCE - FIRST INTERIM PROGRESS REPORT OF THE ADVISORY GROUP OF PRIVY COUNSELLORS

This interim Report summarises the views of the Advisory Group of Privy Counsellors, on progress in implementing the use of Intercept as Evidence (IAE).

2. The Privy Council Review, published in January 2008, concluded that it would be desirable and should be possible to introduce the use of intercept as evidence subject to this "at one and the same time safeguard[ing] national security, facilitate[ing] bringing cases to trial and allow[ing] the effective use as intercept as intelligence to continue" (para 205). Reflecting this it also concluded that "before legislation could be introduced for the use of intercept as evidence, further extensive work would be required to develop a detailed regime by:


  • completing the development of an ECHR1 compatible legal model, based in statute, starting from the PIl Plus model2;

  • in advance of any repeal of RIPA s173, ensuring that such a regime met the operational requirements set out above; and

  • creating confidence amongst the relevant interests (including communicatio service providers and international partners) that the introduction of such a regime would enhance justice and public protection in the UK, whilst safeguarding national security and partners' legitimate needs" (para 214).


1 European Convention on Human Rights. Articles 6 (right to a fair trial) and Article 8 (right to respect

2 A legal model for use of intercept as evidence based on Public Immunity Interest, under which material can be withheld from the defence if the judge considers that the public interest in withholding it outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

3 Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, Part 1 Chapter 1 Section 17 currently prohibits the use

APPROACH TAKEN

3. The central challenge is to protect the key operational requirements identified by the Privy Council Review while also protecting fairness of trials and privacy. There is an intrinsic tension between these goals -- particularly in terms of how intercept material is currently examined, retained and transcribed. The Review made clear that for implementation to be successful neither could be sacrificed. The issues are necessarily complex and challenging. So the work programme, which the Advisory Group approved, addresses both operational and legal issues together:


  • "Model design" (Phase 1): centred on the development of an IAE model best reflecting operational, fairness of trial and right to privacy requirements, this is now largely complete.

  • "Model build" (Phase 2): preparing the draft "legislative principles" and "operational guidance" required to "case-test" IAE, ongoing policy development and undertaking preparatory "desk-top" scenarios.

  • "Model test" (Phase 3): undertaking the live and case-testing required to give us confidence that IAE would in practice facilitate prosecutions while ensuring fairness and protecting operational requirements.

4. The Government Implementation Team leading the work programme is based in the Home Office drawing on but distinct from the wider interception community. The intercepting Agencies and relevant legal departments, including the Crown Prosecution Service, have been fully engaged in developing the work programme and in taking it forward. Key stakeholders, such as Communications Service Providers (CSPs) have been engaged, in order to ensure that their legitimate concerns are identified and reflected at an appropriately early stage.

The commercial interests of Communications Service Providers are sometimes in conflict with the rights of their business and individual customers.

Why shouldn't members of the public or businesses, who have suffered as a result of Phorm style deep packet inspection and Interception, be able to call for Intercept Evidence in Court in civil cases?

5. The Advisory Group has taken an active role in monitoring and commenting on the work as it has progressed. Since April it has met on seven occasions, six of these being with the Home Office Senior Responsible Officer and head of the Implementation Team. Consistent with its responsibilities, it has taken a particular interest in ensuring that external stakeholder interests are reflected in the work programme.

OPERATIONAL REQUIREMENTS

6. The Privy Council Report identified (para 208) those operational requirements necessary to protect the UK's strategic intelligence capability and the ability of the law enforcement and intelligence agencies to protect the public. These have formed a central part of the work programme and consist of:


  • An Agency "final say" on the use of intercept material in legal proceedings, in particular to protect sensitive techniques and capabilities: these do not appear to raise any fundamental legal or operational problems. There is, however, considerable further activity required on practicalities, lead-in times and possible

  • Continued Agency discretion over retention, examination and transcription of intercept material: any failure to meet this requirement would have profound impacts on the costs to and effectiveness of intercepting Agencies. So it has been central to the development of the model. But this raises difficult legal issues around fairness of trials and privacy,

  • Maintaining real-time tactical capability, strategic flexibility and close operational engagement between law enforcement and intelligence agencies: the policies necessary to support delivery of these have similarly been embedded in model development. However, as with the retention and transcription requirements above, giving effect to these has significant legal implications, for instance requiring changes to how the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996 would be applied to intercept material.

How come this is not a problem for all the other countries around the world which allow the use of Intercept Evidence in Court ?

  • Preventing successful defence "fishing expeditions" : work on this is less well advanced, but is now in hand. In recent years court procedures have already been tightened up and possible further steps relating specifically to protect intercept material could be considered. However, there remains a broader risk that lifting the statutory bar on use of intercept could result in greater trial complexity and cost, even in cases where the prosecution is not seeking to rely on intercept material itself.

Where are the effective safeguards against prosecution "fishing expeditions", if and when Intercept Evidence is allowed in Court ?

7. The Privy Council Review also identified a number of wider issues concerning; civil proceedings; Scotland and Northern Ireland; and technological sustainability. These are also being addressed by the work programme. The Privy Council Review further recommended that the Government should be prepared, if necessary, to return to the current regime. The preliminary legal view is that "reversion" should, in principle, be possible. However, the legal advice is that reversion is likely to be vulnerable to challenge. We will need to consider further.

LEGAL REQUIREMENTS

8. In addition to meeting the operational requirements, the use of intercept as evidence needs also to be consistent with fair trials and the right to privacy. The work programme has, as recommended by the Privy Council Review, centred on the "PII+" model, which has the advantage over previous approaches of reflecting and building on existing legal and operational practice.

PII = Public Interest Immunity - where a Minister or nameless bureaucratic official rubber stamps a Certificate which prevents some evidence being used in Court. Neither Ministers nor officials ever seem to resign or even aplogise, when it turns out that they have made a mistake in suppressing such evidence.

9. Further legal advice has been obtained reflecting progress to date. There are particular concerns with respect to continued Agency discretion over retention, examination and transcription of intercept material:


  • These fair trial considerations would often result in a "corrective ruling" by the trial judge. This ruling could include the exclusion of intercept material from consideration (in whole or part) or the trial itself being stayed.

  • Indeed, in the majority of cases of any real complexity there is very real danger that fair trial considerations could cause judges to exclude prosecution intercept product. There would also be a real risk that in some cases trial judges would accede to abuse of process challenges and stay proceedings in their entirety.

  • Indeed, in the majority of cases of any real complexity there is very real danger that fair trial considerations could cause judges to exclude prosecution intercept product. There would also be a real risk that in some cases trial judges would accede to abuse of process challenges and stay proceedings in their entirety.

If there has been an abuse of process, sufficient to satisfy a Judge so that he throws a shoddy case out of Court, then that is not a "risk", that is Justice !

  • There is an estimated core risk of some 40-50% that the regime would be found incompatible with the right to privacy.

UPDATE:

David Leppard and Chris Williams in The Sunday Times highlight this as the main point of the report Privacy law threat to Gordon Brown's phone tap plan

  • Even in trials where the prosecution is permitted to rely on intercept product, defence challenges to admissibility would be likely to make proceedings more time consuming, complex and costly. There is also some risk of this, even in cases where the prosecution did not itself wish to adduce intercept in evidence.
  • And although fairness of trial and right to privacy risks could be mitigated by the enhanced judicial oversight arrangements envisaged, the impact of this depends on how far in practice this can take place without significantly impacting on operational capability
.

10. This suggests the need for considerable further work before we can be confident of achieving the goals set by the Privy Council Review. In particular, the legal advice makes clear that:


  • Further analysis is required of the practical consequences of the model in a set of scenarios representative set of real-life interception operations.

  • There is a need to assess how far enhanced oversight arrangements could operate to reduce risk.

  • The approach taken to intercept material in individual cases by individual trial judges will also be critical.

  • Further work is needed to assess whether the authenticity and accuracy of an intercepted communication can be sufficiently established to make it admissible in a criminal trial for use by the prosecution"

CONCLUSIONS AND NEXT STEPS

11. As identified in the Privy Council and previous reviews, the issues surrounding intercept as evidence are intrinsically complex. At this stage we can only make preliminary judgements about progress - it is not possible to prejudge the likelihood of meeting all the goals set out in the Privy Council Review. That said, at this stage it seems likely that most and possibly all of the key operational requirements set out can be met. But the concomitant of this - because of the intrinsic tension between operational and legal issues - is that securing the intended increase in successful prosecutions while ensuring fairness of trial remains difficult and in may not prove possible in most complex cases.

12. These issues cannot be addressed in the abstract. They need to be tested in practice. So we believe that the programme should progress to the next "Build" and "Test" Phases. We are content that the PII+ model, as subsequently developed, remains the best prospect for IAE implementation. This work should in particular focus on the key issues underpinning operational and legal requirements and:

  • Draw out the likely impacts in practice on the operations of the intercepting Agencies and on Counter Terrorist and serious organised crime trials,
    • How far potentially exculpatory material could in fact be identified and retained, as necessary.
    • The implications of advisory and discretionary judicial oversight and the scope to engage this meaningfully, consistent with the key operational requirements.
  • Reflect the views of operational and legal practitioners, in particular on the:
    • Potential implications for complexity of trial and how the risk of successful defence "fishing" might be addressed. Admissibility of intercept material and how this might be best secured given the particular features of the regime necessary for it,
    • Be clearly sustainable (e.g. in the light of technology change)
13. Finally, the Advisory Group believes that there will need to be continued and sustained engagement by the Implementation Team alongside the interception community, in building the confidence of stakeholders in the implementation work programme and emerging conclusions.

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.

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

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

Foreign Spies / Intelliegence Agencies in the UK

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

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

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

Campaign Button Links

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Open Rights Group

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

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

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

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Amnesty International's irrepressible.info campaign

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BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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

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

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

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

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

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No CCTV - The Campaign Against CCTV

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I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist !

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Power 2010 cross party, political reform campaign

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

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

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WhistleblowersUK.org - Fighting for justice for whistleblowers