October 2009 Archives

The Census is set to be inflicted on us on Census Day / Night - Saturday 27th March 2011

Since it has, unfortunately, become impossible to trust this or any future Government with our Data Protection Act 1998 section 2 Sensitive Personal Data, the forthcoming Census, which appears to be a huge increase in the amount of bureaucratic snooping compared with the previous Census, is going to be very controversial.

SInce the data is being collected by US Defense Contractor Lockheed-Martin to data process, it will inevitably be handed over to the US Government, by hook or by crook, regardless of any legal contract signed with this weak Labour Government.

Why has the Whitehall bureaucracy been allowed to ignore the Principles of Data Minimization recommended by the Thomas and Walport Data Sharing Review?

Will the political Opposition manage to get any of these unnecessarily intrusive questions removed from this Draft Statutory Instrument, or will they just rubber stamp it "on the nod", as usual ?

Draft Statutory Instruments 2009 No. 0000

Census, England And Wales The Census (England and Wales) Order 2009

Most of the potential benefits to members of the public, in terms of planning of future government services, simply needs just the number of people living in a particular area, and does not justify these intrusive Census questions

How many of these Sensitive Personal Data Questions about Names and Addresses, Medical Data, Disabilities, Racial Ethnicity, Religious Beliefs, Recent Job History, Accommodation Details and Familial Relationships. will you try to avoid or deliberately lie about ?

Remember that Census Data is not "anonymised".at the point of collection.

[UPDATED on 30th October to include this section on the removal of the supposedly absolute confidentiality of the census data]:

Remember also that, unlike previous Censuses, the supposedly cast iron guarantee of the Census Act 1920 to prevent the sharing of this supposedly confidential census data with the Police or Intelligence agencies or the Tax authorities etc. has now been abolished by a combination of the general "get out of jail for incompetent bureaucrats" clause introduced in by the amendments sneaked in to the Census Confidentiality Act 1991

1 Unlawful disclosure of information

In section 8 of the [1920 c. 41.] Census Act 1920 (penalties), the following subsections shall be substituted for subsection (2)--

[...]

(4) It shall be a defence for a person charged with an offence under subsection (2) or (3) to prove--

(a) that at the time of the alleged offence he believed--

(i) that he was acting with lawful authority; or

[...]

When this is combined with the

Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 section 39. Confidentiality of personal information

(1) Subject to this section, personal information held by the Board in relation to the exercise of any of its functions must not be disclosed by--

(a) any member or employee of the Board,

(b) a member of any committee of the Board, or

(c) any other person who has received it directly or indirectly from the Board.

[...]

(4) Subsection (1) does not apply to a disclosure which--

(a) is required or permitted by any enactment,

(b) is required by a Community obligation,

(c) is necessary for the purpose of enabling or assisting the Board to exercise any of its functions,

(d) has already lawfully been made available to the public,

(e) is made in pursuance of an order of a court,

(f) is made for the purposes of a criminal investigation or criminal proceedings (whether or not in the United Kingdom),

(g) is made, in the interests of national security, to an Intelligence Service,

(h) is made with the consent of the person to whom it relates, or

(i) is made to an approved researcher.

There is now no legal defence for the Office for National Statistics to stand up to the police, intelligence agencies, tax authorities or even High Court Orders brought by rich clients and their expensive lawyers, or other data snoopers, who want to use the census data for their own data trawling purposes to hunt down a particular individual or their family.

Here are the details of the Intrusive, and No Longer Confidential Questions which are to be demanded from you, under the threat of a fine of up to Level 3 on the Standard Scale i.e. £1000:

20 Oct 2009 : Column 1359W

Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have been convicted of offences under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000; if he will commission research into the efficacy of the legislation; and if he will make a statement. [293656]

Mr. Hanson: Information showing the number of persons found guilty at all courts for offences under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 ('RIPA') in England and Wales from 2000 to 2007 is shown as follows:

20 Oct 2009 : Column 1359W

20 Oct 2009 : Column 1360W

Persons found guilty at all courts of offences under RIPA in England and Wales

Persons found guilty at all courts of offences under RIPA in England and Wales
Offence Statute 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007

Unlawful interception of a postal, public or private telecommunications system

Sections 1(1), (2), (7)

--

--

1

3

4


1



--



--



Failure to give effect to an interception warrant



Sections 11(4), (7)



--



--


--



--



1



--



--



--



Unlawful disclosure of details of interception warrant


Sections 19(4)

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

1

Failure to disclose key to protected information

Section 53

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

Disclose details of a S49 notice

Section 54

--

--


--



--



--



--



--



1



Total


--

--

1

3

5

1

--


2



These are from the official Ministry of Justice statistics. Figures for 2008 are due to be published at the end of January 2010. The encryption provisions of RIPA came into force on 1 October 2007 and these figures are therefore not yet reflected in the table. Some information is available in the Chief Surveillance Commissioner's report for 2008-09 which shows there were two s53 convictions for failing to disclose the key to protected information.

The Government are satisfied that offences set in RIPA are appropriate and that the legislation is being used effectively.

Why is the conviction of News of the World's "Royal Gossip Editor" Clive Goodman and his henchman Glen Mulcaire, and those criminals uncovered via Operation Brabatus Barbatus e.g. former Policemen turned private investigators Jeremy Young and Scott Gelsthorpe, not recorded in the 2007 convictions column ?

Is this because they were convicted of conspiracy to intercept communications unlawfully ?

What was the 2004 "Failure to give effect to an interception warrant" case ?

What was the 2007 "Disclose details of a S49 notice" i.e. the "tipping off" about a notice to hand over a cryptographic key or the plaintext de-crypted data ?

Only this weak yet repressive Labour government, could make the spurious claim that the RIPA legislation "is being used effectively."

Here is a reminder reminder that not all Communications Data or Communications Traffic Data is purely about electronic.communications like email or web page surfing or phone calls etc..

According to Reuters:

UBS registered mail warns U.S. clients on tax: report

Sun Oct 18, 2009 10:40am EDT
(Reporting by Jonathan Lynn, editing by Will Waterman)

GENEVA (Reuters) - Swiss bank UBS AG warned U.S. customers by registered mail their account details may be given to U.S. tax authorities, a method that could itself breach secrecy laws, a Swiss paper said on Sunday.

The use of registered mail and envelopes showing the sender was UBS could enable the U.S. authorities to trace customers wanted for tax evasion well before their details are handed over under a U.S.-Swiss double taxation agreement, Sonntag weekly paper said.

[...]

Switzerland and the United States settled a row over evasion of U.S. taxes in August when Switzerland agreed to hand over details of 4,450 U.S. accounts at UBS.

But it could take into early 2010 before the first names are handed over under the agreed legal procedures.

Some 7,500 Americans voluntarily disclosed information about hidden overseas assets under a tax amnesty program that expired on October 15, according to the top U.S. tax collector.

UBS had agreed in February to pay $780 million to settle a criminal investigation accusing it of helping American clients evade taxes. At the same it agreed to release the names of about 250 clients in a first breach of Switzerland's banking secrecy.

Sonntag quoted lawyer Andreas Rued, who is representing some U.S. clients of the bank,

Andreas Rüd contact page at Rüd Winkler Partner AG, Rechtsanwälte in Zürich.

as saying the use of registered mail and envelopes showing the name of the bank could constitute a contravention of Switzerland's banking secrecy laws. He said he was considering whether to seek a criminal investigation against the bank.


The United States Postal Service Registered MailTM is entirely computer database tracked, just like in the United Kingdom:

you can verify the date and time of delivery and the delivery attempts online.

These details, and those of any extra delivery options

You can combine Registered Mail with the following Extra Services:

Delivery Confirmation™ - Provides date and time of delivery or attempted delivery.
Signature Confirmation™ - Provides date and time of delivery or attempted delivery, the name of the person who signed for the item, plus signature proof of delivery upon request.
Collect on Delivery (COD) - Allows the postage and price of an item to be collected from the recipient by the USPS and given to the mailer.
Return Receipt - Provides a green postcard with the recipient's actual signature by mail or a proof of delivery letter arriving as a PDF attachment that includes an image of the recipient's signature by e-mail.
Restricted Delivery - Confirms that only a specified person (or authorized agent) will receive a piece of mail. Only available with Certified Mail, Insured Mail over $200, or Registered Mail.

will end up on various USPS and other computer databases, which the US financial and intelligence agencies will have access to, if they can be bothered to ask for it.

Was this a privacy / secrecy cockup or a conspiracy ?

The original (German language) article BRIEF LÄSST KUNDEN AUFFLIEGEN quotes Andreas Rüd as saying that at least one of his clients had specifically requested that mail correspondence not be sent to the United States, so that this was a deliberate act by the Swiss Bank UBS.

To put things in perspective, we are reminded that the incompetent HM Revenue and Customs here in the UK wrote to 23 million people whose names, addresses , National Insurance Numbers (NINOs) and other sensitive personal data details they had lost on a CD-ROM (which was not sent by Registered Post to the Audit Commission), but included most of those details in the "apology letter", several thousand of which were delivered to the wrong addresses . See the previous Spy Blog article HMRC data security scandal debate - still no mandatory use of encryption

Remember that here in the United Kingdom, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 Chapter II Acquisition and disclosure of communications data specifically mentions postal services as well as electronic telecommunications or internet service providers.

The now abandoned Trafigura / Carter-Ruck "super injunction" saga and its associated Streisand effect continues:

This is the pathetic Government Written Answer to one of the Parliamentary Written Questions which were asked by Paul Farrelly MP at the same time as the one which Carter-Ruck attempted to suppress the reporting of:

15 Oct 2009 : Column 1010W

[...]

Injunctions

Paul Farrelly: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will (a) collect and (b) publish statistics on the number of non-reportable injunctions issued by the High Court in each of the last five years. [293012]

Bridget Prentice: The information requested is not available. The High Court collects figures on applications, however injunctions are not separately identifiable, and there are currently no plans to amend databases to do so.

Why ever not ? Secret justice or injustice is utterly unacceptable in a democracy If such "non-reportable injunctions" (the term which is now popular in the media is the hyphenated "super-injunction") are really exceptional, then a careful note should be made of them, either by the UK Courts system or by the Ministry of Justice and statistics on their numbers etc. should be made public.

How long will the Labour (In)Justice Minister Jack Straw dither, before he actually does something about this ?

There is an attempt by the Carter-Ruck shysters and the Trafigura oil trading company to claimed that they never had any intention of trying to "gag" Parliament or the press, but nobody is likely to believe them, especially after they unsuccessfully tried to claim that the matter was now sub judice, also a ploy to stop Parliamentary discussion of it.

The Stockholm based whistleblower website wikileaks.org has published another Carter-Rick fax (to The Times legal department), which contains a copy of the Order by Mr Justice Tugendhat, which eases the restrictions which the previous Orders attempted to impose on Parliament.

See: Updated secret gag on UK Times preventing publication of Minton report into toxic waste dumping, 16 Oct 2009

This Order confirms the names of the Judges who issued the previous "super-injunctions" i.e.Mr. Justice Maddison and Mr.Justice Sweeney, but this latest Order itself raises some Questions about the competence of the senior Judiciary with respect to the Internet.and regarding the actual legal jurisdiction of the High Court of England and Wales.

Claim No HO09XX4132

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE
QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION

Before the Honourable Mr Justice Tugendhat on 13 October 2009

BETWEEN

(1) RJW
(2) SJW

Claimants

- and -

(1) GUARDIAN NEWS AND MEDIA LIMITED

(2) THE PERSON OR PERSONS UNKNOWN

who in or about September 2009 offered or supplied to the publishers of The Guardian and/or David Leigh a copy of,or information contained in or derived from, the document described in the Confidential Schedule C to this Order relating to the operation or affairs of the First Applicant and/or the Second Applicant


Defendants

N.B. the faxed copy has a High Court of Justice, Queen's Bench Action Depart. rubber stamp mark of the 15th October - hardly evidence of "Internet speed" modern communications.


Order

The learned judge having read correspondence between the Claimants and the First Defendant on 13 October 2009 agreeing to a variation of the Order of Mr Justice Sweeney of 18 September 2009 which extended the Order of Mr Justice Maddison of 11 September 2009.


IT IS ORDERED BY CONSENT that

The words "Ordered by Consent" torture the English language nonsensically.

An "Order" is not an "Agreement" or even a "Contract", which is what the word "Consent" implies in normal English.

1. Nothing in the Order of Maddison J of 11 September 2009 and/or the Sweeney J of 18 September 2009 shall prevent the First Defendant pr any other person from reorting or republishing information relating to:

i. any proceedings of the United Kingdom Parliament,including any information or matter published on the website www.parliament.uk

ii. any proceedings of the Scottish Parliament,including any information or matter published on the website www.scottish.parliament.uk

iii. any proceedings of the National Assembly for Wales including any information or matter published on the website www.assemblywales.org

or

iv. any proceedings of the Northern Ireland Assembly an any information or matter published on the website www.niassembly.gov.uk

2. The costs are reserved.

Dated this 13th day of October 2009

With regard to Mr. Justice Tugendhat's Order, there are some Questions which spring to mind:

WIkileaks have published a copy of the extraordinary "super-injunction" High Court Order 11th September 2009 Order by Justice Maddison in the Trafigura toxic waste dumping scandal.

Minton report secret injunction gagging The Guardian on Trafigura, 11 Sep 2009

So far, they have not yet published the Order by Mr. Justice Sweeney.This may not,in fact be worded any differently , but could just extend the expired time period of the 11th September Order. Alternatively, it might have imposed extra restrictions, but we have not read it to be able to comment.

However, the legal threats of this first Injunction are bad enough:

Mr. Justice Maddison has "considered the provisions of", but has decided to override the Human Rights Act 1998 section 12 Freedom of expression

Incredibly, and for no good reason such as "national security", or an immediate threat to life etc., Mr Justice Maddison also decided to impose overly broad, draconian, anonymity conditions, using stupid catch all weasel words like "anyone" or "all information". He even tried to ban all mention of the very fact of the secret injunction itself. - a "super-injunction".

There may be good reasons for witness anonymity or for temporary secrecy of evidence during legal proceedings, but not even the most serious national security criminal prosecutions justify pretending that they have never happened in the first place. Why should even greater secrecy be imposed on society at large for purely commercial reasons ?

This is utterly unacceptable in a democracy and must not be allowed to happen again.

How long will the Labour (In)Justice Minister Jack Straw dither about this ?

Here are some extracts from this now expired 11th September Order, which illustrate just how unfair and undemocratic is the Kafkaesque legal hell, which the British (In)Justice system sometimes attempts to inflict on the (mostly innocent) general public.

Who knows if such a "super injunction" Order is still in force or not ? If they keep the very fact of it secret, then they cannot expect anyone to obey it, especially if those people are not specifically named and served notice of the Order as formal Respondents.

Given how trivially easy it would be to forge such an Order document, how can you authenticate it and be sure that it is a genuine one or not, especially if it is being kept secret, even from High Court staff etc. ?

ANONYMITY OF THE APPLICANT

5. UPON it appearing to the Court (i) that the action is one likely to attract publicity, (ii) that publicity revealing the identity of the Applicants is likely to unfairly damage the interests of the Applicants, and (iii) that accordingly publication of details revealing the Applicants's identity ought to be prohibited AND pursuant to the Contempt of Court Act 1981, section 11,the CPR Rules 5.4 and 39.3(40, and the inherent jurisdiction pf the Court until the 18 September 2009 or other order:

Why should something which might allegedly "unfairly damage the interests of " i.e. commercial interest, be given more anonymity protection than a criminal national security" case or something involving an immediate threat to life or serious injury ?

The UK legal system does not attempt to hide the fact that say, Control Orders have been inflicted on an unconvicted terrorist suspect (who may be entirely innocent of any crime), even though the individuals involved have , in all cases so far, been granted anonymity orders.

(a) The application hearing to which this Order relates was held in private and the publication of all information relating to these proceedings or of information describing them or the intended claim is expressly prohibited.

These weasel words "all information relating to" or "information describing" are far too braoad and general.

(b) There be substituted for all purposes in this action in place of reference to the Applicants by name, and whether orally or in writing, references to the letters "RJW" and "SJW".

Possibly fair enough, except for the fact that one of the Applicants is Trafigura Beheer B.V., which is a Netherlands based company which is not within the jurisdiction of the High Court of England and Wales.

(c) To the extent necessary to conceal the identity of the Applicants, any other references, whether to persons or to places or otherwise, be adjusted appropriately, with leave to the parties to apply in default of agreement as to the manner of such adjustment.

ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS ON COURT FILE

6. Pursuant to CPR 5.4(7) the court file will be sealed and no copies of the court file including (without limitation) (i) witness statements, (ii) Claim Form, (iii) statements of case, (iv) applications will be provided to a non party without further order from the Court. Any non party seeking access to or copies of the above-mentioned document from the court file must make an application to the Court proper notice of which must be given to the Applicant's solicitors.

Note that Applicants' solicitors have to be informed, but not any of the Respondents' solicitors.

How is anyone meant to be able to apply to the Court, for something where the very fact of the existence of the legal proceedings are being kept secret ? You cannot "apply to the High Court" for free, it costs money in legal fees, well beyond the finances of ordinary members of the public.

INJUNCTION

7.

A

[...]

(b) (save for the purpose of carrying out this Order into effect) (i) the information that the Applicants have obtained an injunction and/or (ii) the existence of these proceedings and/or (iii) the Applicants interest in these proceedings; and

[...]

PARTIES OTHER THAN THE APPLICANT AND THE RESPONDENT

18. Effect of this order

It is a contempt of court for any person notified of this order knowingly to assist in or permit a breach of this order. Any person doing so may be imprisoned, fined or their assets seized.

[...]


The threat of Contempt of Court is what has muzzled the British mainstream media.

Is the Ministry of Justice pretending to be "environmentally friendly", by re-cycling Parliamentary Written Answers, or are they simply re-cycling their ineffective "do nothing" policies ?

Compare and contrast these two Written Answers about the ongoing scandal of Mobile Phones in Prisons:

The earlier Answer by David Hanson (now the replacement for Tony McNulty at the Home Office) gave totals of Mobile Phones and SIM cards seized in 2006, 2007 and 2008 for each prison, but does not bother to total them up, so we have done so, in order to compare them with the mid 2008 to mid 2009 figure trotted out six months after the fact in the latest Answer, which only breaks out a High Security estate figure from the total.

 200620072008July 2008 - June 2009
High Security Category A and Lifer292325391255
Lower Security Category B, C, D, YOI, Juvenile, Female, Local and Remand1776334768978393
Total2068367272888648

Why has there been no visible progress whatsoever by the Ministry of Justice in preventing Mobile Phones being smuggled in or used illegally in Prisons in the last six months or a year, does there ? As some of the media and bloggers have pointed out, there are only about 80,000 prison places in England and Wales, so that looks like about 1 mobile phone for every 10 or so prisoners !

House of Commons Written Answers 12 Oct 2009 : Column 139W House of Commons Written Answers 5 May 2009 : Column 74W
Prisoners: Mobile Phones Prisons: Mobile Phones
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many mobile telephones were found in the possession of prisoners in (a) top security and (b) all other prisons in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [287998] Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many mobile telephones were seized in each prison in England and Wales in the last five years for which figures are available. [260436]
Maria Eagle: Prisons in England and Wales are asked to send mobile phones and SIM cards they find to a central unit for analysis. In the last 12 months (from July 2008-June 2009), 8,648 mobile phones and SIM cards were analysed. 255 were from the high security estate and 8,393 were from the non-high security estate. These figures include items discovered within prison perimeters and on entry to establishments. We do not keep central records of mobile phones found in the possession of prisoners. Mr. Hanson: Prisons are asked to send mobile phones and SIM cards they find to a central unit for analysis. The numbers analysed are set out in the following table for each of the last three years. There are no figures available for the years prior to 2006, because this information was not collated centrally
  The figures include items discovered within the prison perimeter and on entry to establishments. However,
We believe that these figures may understate the actual number of finds, because they do not include items retained by the police for evidential purposes, and because in some instances prisons have not sent items for analysis. NOMS is putting in place new procedures to ensure that we have a more comprehensive picture in future. While the numbers of phones found indicates the scale of the challenge in tackling illicit mobile phones, it is also a reflection of prisons' increasing success in finding them and better reporting. we believe that these figures may understate the actual number of finds, because they do not include items retained by the police for evidential purposes, and because in some instances prisons have not sent items for analysis. NOMS is putting in place new procedures to ensure that we have a more comprehensive picture in future. While the numbers of phones found indicates the scale of the challenge in tackling illicit mobile phones, it is also a reflection of prisons' increasing success in finding them and better reporting.
NOMS is implementing a strategy to minimise the number of phones entering prisons, and to find or disrupt those that do enter. As part of the strategy, prisons have been provided with technologies to strengthen local security and searching strategies, in line with the recommendations in the Blakey report, "Disrupting the Supply of Illicit Drugs into Prisons", published in July 2008. This includes the roll out of "BOSS" chairs to all prisons, and the deployment of other detection and disruption technologies, including mobile phone signal blockers. NOMS is implementing a strategy to minimise the number of phones entering prisons, and to find or disrupt those that do enter. As part of the strategy, prisons are being provided with technologies to strengthen local security and searching strategies, in line with the recommendations in the Blakey report, Disrupting the Supply of Illicit Drugs into Prisons, published in July 2008. This includes the roll out of "BOSS" chairs to all prisons, and the deployment of other detection and disruption technologies, including mobile phone signal blockers.
We have also strengthened the law, through the Offender Management Act 2007 (implemented in April 2008), which makes it a criminal offence with a punishment of up to two years' imprisonment to bring an unauthorised mobile phone or component part into a prison. We have also strengthened the law, through the Offender Management Act 2007 (implemented in April 2008), which makes it a criminal offence with a punishment of up to two years' imprisonment to bring an unauthorised mobile phone or component part into a prison.

There is another Written Answer which gives a monthly breakdown of figures for each prison , between Mobile Phones and SIM cards "sent for analysis to the central unit". from April 2008 to March 2009: Prisons: Mobile Phones - Justice Written answers and statements, 23 April 2009. It is unclear if the the figure for SIM cards includes the SIM card almost always found in a Mobile Phone handset (i.e. double counting both the handset and its usual SIM card) .

Has anyone actually been arrested, charged, prosecuted or convicted under this section of the Offender Management Act 2007 came into force over 18 months ago ? Why is the Ministry of Justice simply ignoring the more than 8,000 criminal offences which these figures show have been perpetrated since April 2008 ?

Why are there still no "BOSS" chairs (sensitive metal detectors built into a chair to check inside body cavities) in use at every single prison, to check all prisoners and visitors and including the prison staff and contractors ?

Instead of wasting billions of pounds of tax payers money on Identity Cards and on snooping on millions of innocent people's mobile phone and internet communications data, why not spend a few millions on proper Mobile Phone security at every Prison ? This would have an immediate effect on Serious Crime etc.

See the previous Spy Blog article Wandsworth Prison IMB report 2007-2008 - things have got even worse with illegal drugs and mobile phones in the last year


The Daily Mail and the BBC report on another Rapidscan back scatter X-Ray machine "trial" deployment at a British airport.

Why is Manchester Airport inflicting another "see through your children's clothes" scanner on the public ?

As noted by Dr.David Murakami-Wood, on his notes from the ubiquitous surveillance society blog:

You would think after 4 years of trials at Heathrow, that British airports would now be able to work out whether or not they could and more importantly, should, use the various varieties of body scanners that are now available

What has changed since 2004 ? See the articles by John Lettice of the The Register articles from that time.

There is still no "safe dose" for even low levels of ionizing radiation, in this case X-Rays

The fact that the operator of the machine will (aping the trials in the USA) sit in a room away from the actual machine, and be hidden from the members of the public who are being processed, may reduce the number of lawsuits for cancer etc. from machine operators and security guards, who will inevitably get a larger cumulative dose of X rays through day to day proximity to the machine.

Hiding the operator from view is a two edged sword - it may reduce the number of complaints about abusive or lewd comments made by the operators to the passengers, or between security staff, (as noted by Dr. Murakami Wood) but it will also make it impossible to tell if you aae being snooped on by a man or a woman, something which will embarrass or offend many, many people, not just various religious sects.

The law on Child Pornography has actually changed since 2004.

It was, even back in 2004, it was a criminal offence to create or copy (even for a fraction of second) an indecent Image or Pseudo-image of a Child. Since 2004, the definition of a Child for this purpose has changed - it now includes anybody under 18 years of age (previously 16 years).

See the wikipedia article on the draconian, inflexible and often bureaucratically misinterpreted Protection of Children Act 1978

There is no legal dispensation for "see through your clothes" imaging scanners or their operators or the companies or government organisations or law enforcement officials, who inflict them on the public.

As the picture from the Daily Mail show article shows,

Rapiscan_Manchester_Airport_450.jpg - original photo Dave Thompson / PA Wire
(original photo credit: Dave Thompson / PA Wire)

It does not matter if the Manchester Airport's Head of Customer Experience Sarah Barrett thinks that the images are not illegal, her personal opinion has no legal standing.

Ms Barrett said the black-and-white image would only be seen by one officer in a remote location before it was deleted.

"The images are not erotic or pornographic and they cannot be stored or captured in any way," she said.

It is completely false to claim that the images "cannot be stored or captured in any way".

The Daily Mail article is actually illustrated with digital camera screen grabs from the display monitor !

The system uses a computer, therefore images are processed and stored. Who has maintenance access to these systems ? How, if at all, are the temporary image processing results actually securely erased ?

Putting an operator in an private room to view the screen, means that they can use their mobile phone cameras to snap "unclothed" images of celebrities etc. - or will there be a CCTV camera watching the "see through your children's clothes" scanner operator as well ?

Just as in 2004, there is still no justification for imaging rather than any other sort of metal or explosives or illegal drugs detection used on live people.

Who exactly are the Judges who are are, for no good reason,imposing secrecy orders which attempt to hide the very fact that a rich client has hired expensive lawyers to attempt to suppress a newspaper story ?.

There is often a case for Injunctions etc. about the names of the parties involved in a court case, but to attempt to hide the very fact that there are legal proceedings in the first place, is evil.

Such secrecy is not necessary even for the most serious cases involving National Security.

When this appears to be extended to the suppression of the reporting even of Parliamentary Written Questions, then it is time for the system to be reformed immediately.

See today's coded story in The Guardian:

Guardian gagged from reporting parliament

which has provoked the Streisand Effect flurry in the blogosphere and the twitterverse e.g. Guido Fawkes and Ministry of Truth etc.

Presumably it was one of these Written Questions, by former financial journalist (at Reuters, the Independent on Sunday and City Editor at The Observer) Paul Farrelly, the Labour MP for Newcastle under Lyme.

WEDNESDAY 14 OCTOBER

Questions for Written Answer

Notices given between Thursday 17 September and Friday 9 October

[...]

60
N Paul Farrelly (Newcastle-under-Lyme): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the Court of Appeal judgment in May 2009 in the case of Michael Napier and Irwin Mitchell v Pressdram Limited in respect of press freedom to report proceedings in court.
(292409)

Pressdram Limited are the publishers of Private Eye satirical magazine.

BAILLI have the judgment online: Napier & Anor v Pressdram Ltd [2009] EWCA Civ 443 (19 May 2009)

61 N Paul Farrelly (Newcastle-under-Lyme): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of legislation to protect (a) whistleblowers and (b) press freedom following the injunctions obtained in the High Court by (i) Barclays and Freshfields solicitors on 19 March 2009 on the publication of internal Barclays reports documenting alleged tax avoidance schemes and (ii) Trafigura and Carter-Ruck solicitors on 11 September 2009 on the publication of the Minton report on the alleged dumping of toxic waste in the Ivory Coast, commissioned by Trafigura. (293006)

Inevitably, copies of these documents are available on the WikiLeakS.org whistleblower website in Sweden.

How do expensive firms of lawyers still get away with charging so much money, for legal threats and injunction tricks, which try to suppress information in the media and on the internet, but which are so ineffective and counterproductive to the interests of their clients ? They inevitably create their own public relations disasters.

62 N Paul Farrelly (Newcastle-under-Lyme): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will (a) collect and (b) publish statistics on the number of non-reportable injunctions issued by the High Court in each of the last five years. (293012)

63
N Paul Farrelly (Newcastle-under-Lyme): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what mechanisms HM Court Service uses to draw up rosters of duty judges for the purpose of considering time of the essence applications for the issuing of injunctions by the High Court.

[...]

Good questions - will Jack Straw and the rest of the Ministry of (In)Justice evade giving any proper answers, as usual ?

WIll any investigative journalists or bloggers look into the possible corruption of the Judiciary, which such secrecy inevitably raises suspicions of ?

Feel free to comment below or to email us with any details, (taking the usual privacy precautions. using our PGP Public Encryption Key and anonymity measures e.g.Tor onion routing - see our Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers, investigative journalists and bloggers or political dissidents etc

There has been rather too much uncritical media hype in the Daily Mail and on the BBC , about the creepy "Internet Eyes" money making scheme.

This is so fundamentally flawed that it is surprising that it has not been dreamed up by the Labour policy weasel control freaks at the Home Office or at the "Department for Communities and Local Government (who seem to be trying to drop the words "Department for" on their web site)

Instead of employing properly trained and Security Industry Authority licensed, camera control room operators, but allowing them to use secure,Virtual Private Network video camera feeds, remotely from home (something which is potentially attractive to many part time or disabled workers) , the Internet Eyes scheme/scam tries to exploit the most gullible of "Big Brother" voyeurs, on the cheap.

Contrary to most of the media and blog headlines about this scheme, which falsely report that the public is somehow going to be paid to watch these CCTV feeds, it turns out that Internet Eyes are not actually planning to pay people to snoop at all. Instead they are only offering them the vague hope of winning a monthly prize.

However "Viewers" /snoopers have to pay for SMS "alert credits" at £1 per alert, and "Customers" / camera operators, may have to pay £20 a month at least.

There are many possible ways in which the public could be involved in CCTV based Neighbourhood Watch schemes etc., but none of them so far have overcome the fundamental problem of what can be done about criminals who are also your neighbours , and who have the same access to the Open CCTV / Neighbourhood Watch CCTV scheme as you do.

People seem to forget that CCTV camera feeds not only show the occasional flurry of "suspicious" activity, but they also show, the vast majority of time, the absence of police or security guards or business staff or home owners, i.e. they show when the coast is clear for criminals to attack their targets.

According to its website FAQ page, the Internet Eyes scheme attempts to get around this by not revealing the locations of the CCTV cameras which it is allegedly streaming images from to the "Viewer" over the internet. N.B. these feeds could be very easily faked - how can a "Viewer" know for sure that they are getting a live camera feed ?

This makes it worse than useless from an anti-crime alert point of view !

If any law abiding "Viewer" does, by some miracle, happen to see a violent crime in progress, he or she cannot actually pick up a phone and dial 999 / 112 to alert the local Police or Ambulance service about it - a vague "something is happening, I do not know exactly where)" is a waste of police time and could get them arrested for making a "hoax" 999 call, if they try to guess the location.

Why did none of the professional journalists involved with this story bother to ask about this obvious aspect of the scheme ?

The Sunday Times has a fairly detailed article on Sir John Sawers, including criticisms of his appointment by retired incumbents and contenders for the post of Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS/MI6).

There are named quotations from Sir Richard Dearlove (Chief of SIS from 1999 to 2004) and Sir Francis Richard (Director of GCHQ from 1998 to 2003), as well as from another, anonymous, former Chief of SIS.

From The Sunday Times
October 4, 2009

On Her Majesty's Not-So-Secret Service

Anne McElvoy

[...]

When he takes up his job on November 1 in the postmodernist building (known as "Legoland" to its occupants) in Vauxhall Cross on the Thames, he'll be the first C since Sir John Rennie, in 1968, to come from outside its ranks.

As one senior source puts it, "His life will change immediately. It won't be possible for friends to write to or phone him at home. He will disappear from normal life. He will not live at his home, but at a place in central London whose location will be kept secret. His security will be reviewed weekly. His driver will use different routes to take him from there to the office."

[...]

One recently retired C has taken the unusual step of speaking out to The Sunday Times Magazine about the appointment.

Is this code for Sir John Scarlett, the outgoing Chief ?

Sir John Scarlett's immediate predecessor was Sir Richard Dearlove (Chief of SIS from 199 to 2004), who is quoted directly, but his predecessor Sir David Spedding died in 2001.

Surely Sir Colin McColl (Chief of SIS from 1989 to 1994) does not count as "recently retired" ?

Which really only leaves the outgoing Sir John Scarlett as the unnamed "recently retired C".

"It's a dreadful mistake," he says flatly. "The problem will be operational credibility with the troops. What kind of signal does it send if someone who was barely in the service before he left it is appointed as its head? He is dealing with people who have devoted their lives to SIS, as MI6 is formerly known.

Perhaps "formerly" should read "formally" ?

"I know what the case in favour is: good Whitehall style, wide contacts and so on. But those shouldn't be the main criteria for this post. The main job is to lead the Secret Intelligence Service, and I am not convinced John Sawers, whatever his many talents, is at all qualified for that."

The retired C goes on to lambast David Miliband, seen as the prime mover behind the appointment: "It's the move of a very inexperienced foreign secretary. Sawers is an able, likable policy wonk. But the needs of the service have not been taken into account."

[...]

A typical day for Sawers will start with the morning meeting at Vauxhall Cross. This will be attended by the eight senior officers who make up the service's board of top personnel.

It discusses big operations and priorities.

The rest of the day is often spent in one-to-one meetings with senior officers and, says one who has attended the meetings, "an awful lot of time is spent liaising with Whitehall".

He meets the prime minister or foreign secretary frequently and has management meetings and updates from other secret-service chiefs. Dealings with the CIA and other key allied services are also conducted directly through his office, so he will travel frequently -- but his name does not appear on passenger flight lists, and great efforts are made to ensure that his whereabouts remain unknown at any time.

[...]

The retired C I spoke to isn't convinced: "The service is loyal and cohesive and it can survive one bad chief. But it isn't encouraging for those within the service that an impulsive and immature foreign secretary should have made the wrong choice at such an important time."

[...]

We agree that the Labour apparatchik David Miliband is a national embarrassment as Foreign Secretary, but it is impossible to predict how well Sir John Sawers will turn out as the new Chief of SIS - we pray that he will be a resounding success.

However, given the lack of effective public oversight of "British Intelligence", how can we ever be sure that any disasters will not simply be covered up ?

Those of you who keep an eye on the revolving door between Government securocrat mandarins and lucrative jobs offered by the defence and security industry vested interests, may be interested in this press release from the French owned Thales Group subsidiary Thales UK plc.

Sir David Pepper joins Thales UK advisory board

28 September 2009

Thales UK today announces the appointment of Sir David Pepper as a member of its advisory board.


Sir David retired in July 2008 after five years running the Government's signals intelligence centre, GCHQ. He is a member of the National Security Forum, and has a non-executive position on the management board of Gloucestershire County Council.

The addition of Sir David to the board reflects the growing importance of national security and resilience as a core element of Thales UK's long-term strategy.


Alex Dorrian, CEO of Thales UK, says: "We welcome Sir David to Thales. He brings a wealth of experience and a fresh perspective to the Group, which I am sure we will find invaluable as we accelerate the growth of our national security and resilience business both in the UK and in the export market."


Sir David Pepper says: "Thales UK is a very successful British company; many of its 8,500 people work on critical security systems for the UK government. Thales UK encompasses a fascinating array of technological and engineering capabilities, and I am delighted to be joining its advisory board."

- Ends

About Thales and Thales UK

Thales is a global technology leader for the Aerospace, Space, Defence, Security and Transportation markets. In 2008 the company generated revenues of £10.2 billion, with 68,000 employees in 50 countries. With its 25,000 engineers and researchers, Thales has a unique capability to design, develop and deploy equipment, systems and services that meet the most complex security requirements. Thales has an exceptional international footprint, with operations around the world working with customers as local partners.


Thales UK employs 8,500 staff based at more than 40 locations. In 2008 Thales UK's revenues were over £1.4 bn.

Is it significant that this press release no longer appears on the Thales website ?

http://www.thalesgroup.com/Press_Releases/09-09-28_Sir_David_Pepper_joins_Thales_UK_advisory_board/

N.B. this now gives a 404 not found error., although a copy is still in the Google cache, for now.

Has it been censored ?

The observant readers of Spy Blog might also spot something familiar in the photo image used to illustrate this press release:

Resizer.jpg
Resized Image used to illustrate the Thales UK press release - no copyright metadata
 
Sir_David_Pepper.jpg
"Enlarged" / Original image used to illustrate the Thales UK press release - no copyright metadata
 
Sir_David_Pepper_450.jpg
Spy Blog screen grab June 8, 2009 of Sir David Pepper KCMG from the BBC documentary Who's Watching You ? - includes copyright metatdata
 

See Who's Watching You ? - GCHQ's Sir David Pepper interviewed - but still too many surveillance topics in one tv documentary

William Gibson's cyberpunk science fiction story Johnny Mnemonic, which starred Keanu Reeves in the Hollywood film version, before The Matrix, featured the use of a screen grab from a television broadcast , as part of the cryptographic key used to secure some secret data which the shady "data courier" Johnny had locked inside his head.

Here are some Statutory Instruments which show that the benighted National Identity Register and Scheme is creeping ahead slowly, presumably starting to come into force for the airside workers at Manchester and City of London airports after the 20th October 2009:

Do the Thales Group and 3M Company directors, employees and sub-contractors realise that they face up to 10 years in prison and / or an unlimited fine for any hardware, software or configuration errors or mistakes (even temporary ones) ,or any industrial action such as going on strike ?

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: 0x80CFAA4C 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