Metropolitan Police terrorism fear Propaganda Poster lies about bombs, reconnaissance and CCTV cameras - updated 25th March 2009

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The contract of advertising agency Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy with the Metropolitan Police Service expires at the end of March.

They are being replaced by Gordon Brown's favourite ad agency Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, who gave him "Design services" during his Labour party leadership non-election "coronation" campaign.

ABV BBDO have also been awarded the lucrative Home Office ID Cards propaganda account.

Presumably Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy are at least partly to blame for the current Metropolitan Police Service anti-terrorism advertising campaign launched today.

This campaign includes this false and misleading poster, which claims a non existent link between public CCTV and protection against terrorist bombs:

"A bomb won't go off here because weeks before a shopper reported someone studying the CCTV cameras"

street_chemicals_cctv_450.jpg

There is no evidence that any Islamic extremist or Irish terrorists or Animal Rights extremists or neo-Nazi extremists, who have exploded, or tried to explode bombs, or set off incendiary devices, have been deterred from doing so by the presence of CCTV cameras. Some may have been tracked down partially through the help of CCTV footage, after their attacks or attempted attacks, but that is not what this poster is implying.

There is no evidence that any of them who have actually had access to any explosives, have ever been caught in the act of "terrorist reconnaissance" of CCTV cameras, neither by members of the public (which is what this poster misleadingly claims), nor by regular Police street patrols, nor even by any covert surveillance of known suspects.

Since you do not need any equipment to check out where public CCTV cameras are, just your eyes and your memory, it is unlikely that any real terrorism or criminal reconnaissance of CCTV camera systems will ever be detected in the way that this poster implies.

This poster is just Climate of Fear propaganda, and it will no doubt be used to justify the harassment of photographers taking photos, perfectly legally in public places, which have been infested with CCTV spy cameras, something for which there is plenty of evidence for.

See Matt Wardman's Official Harassment of Photographers in the UK: I have a Little List

We are reporting this misleading poster to the Advertising Standards Authority, and urge you all to do the same.

UPDATE:

David Mery rightly points out that this re-run of previous Climate of Fear campaigns is likely to lead to lots of False Positive denunciations of innocent people

Police calls for a climate of fear

Considering how bad trained police officers are at spotting terrorists, asking untrained people to attempt to do the same will end up creating more suspicion of anyone behaving a bit differently. This will obviously target those who have different customs and those who are afflicted by some illness, fuelling further discrimination. These campaigns also focus on common objects, recently photographers have been particularly targeted. Looking at our environment, be it buildings or CCTV surrounding us, - hostile reconnaissance as it is called by the police - is a cause for arrest but so far has not been a cause for any conviction.

UPDATE: 25th March 2009

The Advertising Standards Authority has decided to pass on the complaint about this poster to the Independent Advertising Standards Council for their consideration,

20 Comments

"See, look. We do so too need CCTV. Your street would have exploded long since otherwise."

Leave your bin in that state round our way and it won't be emptied and you'll be fined. Thick terrists.
I'm also surprised that the cctv cameras didn't spot the dodgy fellow looking at them. Are they actually real functioning cameras with IR and supa zoom keeping us safe from all manner of nasties, or are they cheap plastic decoys like those ducks that hunters use.

@ Paul - surely it is just as likely that people with wheelie bins overflowing with rubbish will be falsely denounced as "terrorists", by some officious jobsworth, as a result of this Climate of Fear campaign ?

@ Paul - surely it is just as likely that people with overflowing rubbish wheelie bins will be denounced as "terrorists" by some officious jobsworth, as a result of this Climate of Fear campaign ?

Or "nothing to hide, nothing to fear". If they allow the whole street to see the contents of their bin, ipso facto they cannot be terrorists.

I have no problem about them [who ever is out there] reading my mail or my comments. SIS are up their own backsides ladies and gentlemen? You have nothing to fear as their bloody useless at the real stuff? Just like all New Labour establishments all charts and targets? Wouldn't know a terrorist from a cleaner and as for organised crime its all around them in the City? Just lift the crapheads directors in all these failed banks? Laundering money would almost dissapear. TS

Is this type of official ad covered by the Advertising Standards Authority?

@ Will - the Metropolitan Police Service has "form" for misleading advertising, which has been dealt with by the Advertising Standards Authority e.g.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/crime/article4265475.ece

From The Times
July 4, 2008

Metropolitan Police's proud boast sets off police alarm in Glasgow

Home Staff

The Metropolitan Police has been ordered to withdraw its claim to be "the oldest police service in the world" after the advertising watchdog ruled that the Glasgow force had been around longer.

A complaint was made to the Advertising Standards Authority after the Met advertised for royal protection police in newspapers last month, stating: "We're not just the oldest police service in the world. We're also the most modern."

[...]

They are also runnin this ad on Local Radio. I heard it on HEARt and nearly puked

Has anyone else see the large posters in London that exlaim: 'Anything you do say may be given in evidence' .... for no apparent reason. As if we are all criminals just walking around. Turned my stomach this morning.

K

@ Kiershen - it is called "The Policing Pledge"

http://campaigns.direct.gov.uk/policingpledge/

Yes, the style is deliberately that of authoritarian WW2 / George Orwell era propaganda posters.

Some advertising "creative" has ripped off the idea from the recent revival of the vintage Keep Calm and Carry On poster,

How about a return to Sir Robert Peel's Policing Principles instead ?

The Advertising Standards Authority has decided to pass on the complaint about this poster to the Independent Advertising Standards Council for their consideration,

@ James - perhaps you were lucky.

"At the weekend, I was participating in the OpenStreetMap project, which meant I was methodically walking the streets in my neighbourhood carrying a GPS. Of course, to the general public, it wasn’t immediately obvious what I was doing, and although nobody challenged me (indeed on what grounds could they), I got a few odd looks."

The "Crowded Places" terrorist advice brochures published by the National Counter Terrorism Security Office

http://www.nactso.gov.uk/crowdedplaces.php

define "Hostile Reconnaissance to include:

  • people taking pictures - filming - making notes - sketching of the security measures at attractions. Tourists should not necessarily be taken as such and should be treated sensitively, but with caution.

  • overt/covert photography, video cameras, possession of photographs, maps, blueprints etc, of critical infrastructures, electricity transformers, gas pipelines, telephone cables etc
  • possession of maps, global positioning systems, (GPS), photographic equipment, (cameras, zoom lenses, camcorders). GPS will assist in the positioning and correct guidance of weapons such as mortars and Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs). This should be considered a possibility up to one kilometre from any target

However, if you run around with all that sort of equipment , whilst wearing a fluorescent yellow or orange high visibility vest or jacket, then you will probably become "invisible".

Cory Doctorow has collected quite a few mash ups of these wretched posters at boingboing.net

Remixes of the paranoid London police "anti-terror"/suspect your neighbours posters

Today I am giving serious thought to ringing the anti terror hotline to dob in a tool which circumvents the publics ability to act upon this excellent posters guidelines, and represents a real threat to the guilty (until proven innocent) law abiding folk.

The tool in question is arguably useful, yet invasive.

It could be easily used to "elicit information likely to be of use to a person in preparation for an act of terrorism" and thus should be removed from the privileged useage of the masses, because of a tiny minority that may abuse the freedom (which they wish to destroy)that it provides. I hope the minority government will remove the said freedom this tool allows, in order to offer us the security blanket that no-one but ourselves can infact provide. We can always fight for the right to be once again bestowed with a taken for granted, previously existing freedom afterall.

The tool is the internet software "Google Street View", which allows private scrutiny of CCTV, or even yourself at a Starbucks if you've been extraordinarily rendered into being with no morals.

No CCTV position information was actually elicited in the making of this suggestion, nor any coffee consumed. The freedom to have indulged in both is simply too much to handle and like a hot depleted uranium potato, I wish to juggle it back, to the hands that first cast it, as I declare that I shall conduct myself responsibly and thus don't require their nanny nurturing, or their suggestion I adopt a Stasi like attitude to my fellow man.

You could fine the poster boy, for the overflowing bin contents though, but then only after a court conviction by a jury of peers, as all fines prior to, are in contravention of our already very well written and not in need of replacing constitution. Not that the government seem to be aware of that, which they swore to uphold, to take office, which renders them...hmmm.... reportable rubbish!

I was wondering when Bin Laden would show up!

I have complained to the ASA and The Press Bureau at New Scotland Yard about these disgusting adverts. I also spoke to the Home Office who say it is nothing to do with them. It was New Scotland Yard who instigated it.

@ Andy - so much for a nationally coordinated anti-terrorism propaganda campaign

Are we to believe that neither of the relevant Home Office ministers (Vernon Coaker and Lord West of Spithead), nor any of their counter terrorism / communities civil servants bothered to liaise with ACPO and the Metropolitan Police Service and the other Police forces currently running this propaganda campaign up and down the country ?

If not, then why not ?

It hardly seems credible that nobody in the Home Office was informed about this campaign, or was not shown a preview of these posters beforehand.

It makes me sick! I am so sick and tired of being watched at every turn! A few decades ago I thought they might help but clearly they have not. So they increase the amount and we pay for it. So we pay to spy on ourselves and see nothing but fear and paranoia drummed into us by a state who are run and controlled by the real terrorists of our time. Stand up for yourselves. Complain, write your local gov and maybe we might regain some level of democracy again!

Otherwise they'll just disappear anyone who posted on here and carry on churning out their little plastic ploicemen to put a hurt on us all!

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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.

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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

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

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

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Famous for 15 Megapixels

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

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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

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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.

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Recent Comments

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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