January 2010 Archives

One positive thing to report about Tesco, is that they seem to have sold at least 10,000 of these Chinese made VX1 "Party Phones" in the run up to Christmas.

The VX1 Mini-Mobile Phone is a "simple" mobile phone, aimed at people looking for a cheap emergency backup mobile phone. Allegedly, the fashion for tight jeans makes this slimline phone attractive to some female customers.

The dimensions are: 80mm x 50mm x 10.3mm i.e. smaller length and width than a Credit Card (85.60 × 53.98 mm or 3.370 × 2.125 in), but obviously thicker.

Some of the packaging describes this as a "VX1i" model, but only "VX1" appears on the actual phone itself.

VX1_Party_Phone_from_Tesco_450.jpg

VX1_Party_Phone_back_450.jpg

We wonder how many of these small devices have already been smuggled into British Prisons ?

This phone is available from Tesco for £18.99 either online via a credit card, or, with less traceable cash at the larger Tesco branches.

Of interest to Spy Blog is the fact that, unlike the other mobile phones offered by the larger Tesco supermarkets, this phone is not locked to any particular network and supposedly accepts any GSM SIM card (obviously not 3G ones though).

By not having any SmartPhone features, there is no way for a Java applet or or other Apple style "Apps" software to be downloaded into the phone to snoop on your voice or SMS text messages, apart from the limited universal SIM Application Toolkit hacks common to all mobile phones.

This makes the VX1 Party Phone attractive to whistleblowers who might want to contact journalists or bloggers or political activists or external regulatory authorities, with less chance of being tracked down during a "mole hunt" or leak investigation - see our Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers guide sub-blog at http://ht4w.co.uk

Remember that the individual International Mobile Equipment Identity(IMEI) of the handset (blanked out in the photos above) is associated with every call or SMS text message made, answered, sent or received by a mobile phone, so do not be tempted to swap your "normal" SIM card into such a "disposable", single purpose mobile phone.Use a "virgin" SIM card, but do not activate it at home or your office or other locations which may help to identify you e.g. ones with lots of CCTV surveillance.

The power adapter seems to be one of the new standard mobile phone micro-USB ones.

The claimed standby battery life is

  • Talk time 100 minutes
  • Standby 90 hours
  • Battery 400mAh

Coupled with the cheap price, this could also make this attractive as a Mobile Phone Location Based Services tracking device, which can be sneakily attached to vehicles, or baggage, or people, and then tracked via a Web based map.


Andy Hayman QPM CBE "held the rank of Chief Constable of Norfolk Constabulary and Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations at London's Metropolitan Police, the highest ranking officer responsible for counter-terrorism in the United Kingdom."

In 2005, Spy Blog spent some time and effort in transcribing and deconstructing his controversial Letter, the anonymous annex to which provided spurious arguments for the NuLabour government's "internment without trial" plans:

Asst. Met Commissioner Andy Hayman's letter trying to justify 90 days detention without charge

Now retired, after some questions over expenses and personal life, he has written a book entitled Cabinet Office Briefing Room A ("COBRA") emergency crisis committee, when faced with serious terrorist plots such as the July 2005 bombings, attempted bombings, killing of the innocent Jean Charles de Menzes by the police, the radioactive Polonium-210 murder of Alexander Litvinenko[ in 2006 and the incompetent terrorist self-immolation attack on Glasgow Airport in 2007.

The mention of a forthcoming terrorism trial, seemed to be used as justification for a temporary legal injunction against the publication of this book, back in July 2009, but this has now lapsed, and - a paperback version of the book was published in October 2009, without any redaction or censorship of the text in question.

Why then, was the £12 hardback edition of this book available yesterday on the shelves of a large Tesco supermarket:

Tesco_The_Terrorist_Hunters_450.jpg

However, when it came to pay for the book at the checkout, the Tesco computer system flashed up a big Legal Warning - Do Not Sell This Book - Remove It From The Shelves Immediately panic messageand they refused to sell it.

Has there been Yet Another Legal Injunction against this book, or is the Tesco stock control computer system not really as efficient as it could be ?

If there is some sort of computerised ban or recall on a product line, how can it make it out of the warehouse, where, presumably the barcode is also checked, and onto the supermarket shelves ? In our mind, this raises serious potential health and safety worries.about Tesco.

It also illustrates a fundamental feature of banning / censorship lists - once you are on one, it is difficult or impossible to be removed in the future, even when the orginal circumstances no longer apply.


One of the evils of national scale centralised databases is that they are inherently anti-democratic and discriminatory in practice, even when they claim to be "one size fits all" and "everybody is equal".

This certainly seems to be so for the red tape happy HM Revenue and Customs and their counterproductive attempts to run a secret two tier tax record security system.

Why should there be any Special Categories "of individual for whom security is a higher priority" when it comes to confidential tax records ?

  • Who exactly decides which individuals qualify for "special" treatment ?
  • What are the selection criteria for this "special" treatment ?
  • What are the de-selection criteria for this "special" treatment ?
  • How can we be sure that those people who are getting Special Category treatment actually deserve it e.g. because their lives are in danger, and that they are not simply Labour political cronies or people who are buying influence within Whitehall ?

See our UK FOIA request sub-blog article:

ICO FOIA Decision Notice FS50216168 against HM Revenue and Customs ordering disclosure of tax record Special Categories

The Information Commissioner has now issued a Decision Notice FS50216168 dated 25th January 2010::

6. The complainant wrote to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) on 28 January 2008 requesting information about the tax categories of individuals for whom security is a higher priority.

'Regarding the story in the Daily Telegraph newspaper of Saturday 26 January 2008 about the security, privacy and confidentiality of tax returns and the Parliamentary Oral Answer given by the Financial Secretary to HM Treasury

Daily Telegraph 26 January 2008: Online tax system 'too risky' for the famous

1) Please list these special "categories of individual for whom security is a higher priority"
2) Approximately how many people are in each special category?
3)Who exactly makes the decision to to put someone into one of these special categories ?
4) When, if ever, is an individual removed from such a special category?
5) Does a special category extend to an individual's family as well?
6) How long has this policy of special categories been in place ?
7) Who exactly authorised this special category policy?
8) How exactly does adding an extra digit to a tax code or other special markings to a paper tax return, make it less of a target for human snooping or electronic sniffing of the data once it is in digital form? Surely this contravenes the well established security principles for handling 'sensitive' data whilst it is sharing common office or electronic network infrastructure ie that it should be indistinguishable from the rest of the data or documents, to reduce the temptation to casual snoopers ?
9) What about the previous 24 year tax record history of an individual before they become a 'celebrity' or politician etc?
10) Are these special category tax records included in the datasets handed over, through the statutory gateway, to the DWP Longitudinal Study? http://www.dwp.gov.uk/asd/longitudinal_study/ic_longitudinal_study.asp
11) What is the approximate annual cost of the extra infrastructure and personnel resources needed to handle these special categories?'

This has resulted in:

The Decision

91. The Commissioner's decision is that the public authority did not deal with the request for information in accordance with the Act:
• it breached section 1 (1)(b) by not providing the complainant with the requested information wrongly withheld under sections 36 and 38;
• it breached section 10(1) by not confirming to the complainant within the statutory timescale that it held the requested information;
• it breached section 10(1) by not providing the complainant with information within the statutory timescale;
• it breached section 17(1) by not providing the complainant with a valid refusal notice within the statutory timescale; and
• it breached section 17(1)(b) and (c) by failing to specify and explain exemptions it later relied on.

Steps Required


92 The Commissioner requires the public authority to take the following steps to ensure compliance with the Act:

• disclose the list of special categories not exempt by virtue of section 23 or 44;
• disclose the number of people in each special category not exempt by virtue of section 23 or 44:
• disclose the name of the decision maker who makes the decision to put someone in one of the special categories; and
• disclose the information withheld in relation to questions 4, 5 and 9.

93. The public authority must take the steps required by this notice within 35 calendar days of the date of this notice.

Will Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs disclose the requested information,as ordered to by the Information Commissioner, or will they waste public money and our time, by trying to appeal ?

Remember that this Labour government is also trying to sneak in similar two tier systems for their other national database disasters like the Children Database or the National Identity Register etc.

If these systems are inherently insecure, then they should not be implemented in the first place.

If they are properly secure, then there is no need for a "two tier" system for "special" people.

If you are as frightened and appalled by the rise of the Database State under this dismal Labour Government, and you want to keep the political pressure on the Conservatives so that they do not forget their pre-election promises, if they do get into power in May, then please join the cross party NO2ID campaign

The security Service (MI5) website announced on Friday 22nd January 2010:

title="UK threat level raised - new window">UK threat level raised

The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) has changed the UK threat level from international terrorism from SUBSTANTIAL to SEVERE. The current threat level means that the threat of a terrorist attack is considered to be highly likely.

The Home Secretary said in a statement:

"The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre has today raised the threat to the UK from international terrorism from SUBSTANTIAL to SEVERE. This means that a terrorist attack is highly likely, but I should stress that there is no intelligence to suggest than an attack is imminent."

To find out more about the UK's threat level system, see "Threat Levels" on the Security Service's website

We ask, yet again, as we do whenever this "terror alert level" status changes - what exactly are we meant do now, that we were not already doing,in terms of vigilance against suspicious people or objects or events ?

Why is there no mention of the increased threat from "domestic" terrorism, in Northern Ireland, and from crazed racist or animal rights fanatics etc. ?

Will there now be the usual Whitehall and Police "anonymous briefings", as there were in the run up to the last General Election ?

We still remember this scandalously NuLabour biased, scientifically inept, scaremongering nonsense, during the actual General Election campaign in April 2005:

Sir Ian Blair interviewed by Sir David Frost - partial transcript: more terror laws, "bubonic plague threat" and "iris scan" ID cards - partisan comments during the General Election.

Richard Taylor, a keen observer and Freedom of Information Act request expert, blogs:

Observing History - Heathrow Robbery Trial Starts Without Jury

[...]

This morning I went to the Royal Courts of Justice to personally witness the start of the first modern criminal trial in the UK where the defendants have been denied a jury.

That should probably say "England & Wales" rather than "the UK", given the Diplock courts in Northern Ireland.

My views on this are:

* It a terrible indictment on our police that they are unable to protect jurors and haven't been able to bring those disrupting the judicial process to justice themselves.
* By removing the right to a jury trial a key safeguard against state abuse of power has been eroded.
* I am concerned that this trial may be the first of many. If the police can't deal with jury intimidation connected with a robbery; how would they cope if problems occurred in a terrorist trial, there the consequences of a justice not being done, and not being seen to be done, could itself incite more anger and further terrorist acts. I am concerned that what has started today may ultimately make the UK less safe.

Agreed !

The usual security theatre (metal detectors, X-ray machines) etc. greets those entering the Royal Courts of Justice court complex. Staff were fairly relaxed though; the man who entered in front of me said he was carrying a hard disk containing CCTV footage for use in a trial and asked if the X-Ray machine would damage it. Security officers waved the man straight through without looking in his rucksack.

that is a Security FAILURE, which makes a mockery of the public money spent on the X-Ray machine and the "trained" staff !

[...]
.
The judge said that there had been plans, if the press presence had been larger, to allow the press to sit in the jury seats; the journalists responded with a half-gasp, half-laugh.

[..]

So this "trial without a jury", very nearly started of as "trial by the press and media" !

The judge then asked the prosecution barrister if there were to be any reporting restrictions. In response the prosecutor referred to restrictions imposed by the court of appeal. The press (and I - though the speech was addressed only to the official press) are forbidden from reporting the names of other defendants who are not being tried in the current trial but are alleged to have been involved in the robbery. One effect of this is to make it harder for people identify any further trial from the court lists if / when it takes place. The former home address of a witness - which is to be mentioned at some point in the trial - can also not be reported.

How exactly is a third party blogger or media organisation not physically present in Court, actually meant to know about these reporting restrictions ?

Prosecutor Simon Russell Flint QC then began; passing what he had trouble not calling the "Jury bundle" to the judge. Aided by illustrations, maps, etc. in the bundle Mr Flint outlined the case; starting with the fact that the events occurred six years ago and described them as a "professionally planned, professionally executed robbery". He listed precise amounts in various currencies which were stolen and then, using a 2004 exchange rate to convert to sterling rather pompously announced the full amount down to the penny.

Will the same misleading claims be made by the prosecution and the media about this being "the biggest" attempted armed robbery in the UK ?

We wrote about this aspect of the reporting of this case, on May 18, 2004:
Heathrow robbery attempt is NOT the biggest in Britain

The infamous Brinks Mat gold bullion robbery in November 1983 netted the criminals £26 million pounds worth of gold bullion - 6800 bars - about 3 tons of gold. This would have been worth over £55 million at today's prices, c.f the Office of National Statistics regarding inflation in the UK since 1750 (.pdf)

The BBC also fails to remind its audience of the largest attempted armed robbery in the UK - the Millennium Dome Diamonds heist - Operation Magician, which attempted to steal over £200 million pounds worth of diamonds.(worth over £213 million at today's prices).

Subsequently, in 2006, the Securitas depot robbery involved over £53million in banknotes.

The "story" of the robbery was then outlined in a painfully slow and repetitive manner, adding little to what has been written about in the press. Interesting elements include:

* Heavy reliance by the police on evidence of phone usage (who called who, when and for how long).
* Evidence from "Cell Site" records; was being used to infer "opportunities for meetings" when two phones were near.
* The defendants were alleged to have taken on a plan devised by others.

One thing which struck me was that the police were very closely following this group; they had been recording their conversations and knew their target yet they didn't act to prevent the robbery taking place - a robbery in which a gun was fired multiple times and someone could have been seriously injured or killed.

"Evidence from "Cell Site" records; was being used to infer "opportunities for meetings" when two phones were near."

When used as part of a targeted criminal investigation, where the investigators are fully aware of the background details, then this is a useful investigatory technique.

Whether it provides proper evidence, rather than mere suspicion, of a physical meeting
is not all clear, especially if there is no direct voice phone / SMS text or data call record evidence between the alleged participants.

This technique must not be used to speculatively trawl through the billions of retained Communications Traffic Data records of hundreds of millions of innocent European Union citizens, thereby tarring them with "guilt by association" simply for having been in unwitting close proximity with suspected criminals.

The fact that the alleged armed robbers were already under such intensive surveillance by the Police, means that they were collecting and analysing current and perhaps even near real timeCommunications Traffic Data.

This provides no justification whatsoever for mandatory Communications Data Retention of innocent people's data for at least a year.

While in the UK the doors of courts are almost always open there isn't much transparency in the justice system as:

  • It is hard to find out when cases of interest are scheduled. I found out the date and location of this one via a FOI request. As I knew the defendants names I could have watched the official court lists daily and got a few hours notice, but that isn't possible with local magistrates courts.
  • Court papers are not published online. Had today's "jury bundle"; been published everyone in court (and outside) could have followed along. As the request from the member of the press highlights the full list of charges was neither read out or made available on paper. The Stockwell Inquest and Diana Inquest show how transcripts, evidence and court papers can be effectively published online making the process accessible.
  • As I understand it - while the taxpayer pays for the recording and transcription of court cases the results are not automatically released to the public;

We agree that Justice is not being seen to be done fairly, because of the secrecy and the internet incompetence of the UK Courts system.

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg (which is not a European Union institution) has ruled against this Labour Government and the Home Office's controversial and counterproductive Terrorism Act 2000 section 44 "stop and search" without reasonable suspicion powers.

Read the European Court of Human Rights Judgment:

CASE OF GILLAN AND QUINTON v. THE UNITED KINGDOM

(Application no. 4158/05)

JUDGMENT

STRASBOURG

12 January 2010

[...]

87. In conclusion, the Court considers that the powers of authorisation and confirmation as well as those of stop and search under sections 44 and 45 of the 2000 Act are neither sufficiently circumscribed nor subject to adequate legal safeguards against abuse. They are not, therefore, "in accordance with the law" and it follows that there has been a violation of Article 8 of the Convention.

[...]

The ECHR HUDOCS database is hard to link to, and slow, so here is a copy of the Judgment (.doc)

Will this obstinate, increasingly authoritarian Government and bureaucracy, simply ignore this ECHR Judgment, like they have done with the retention of Innocent people's DNA Marper case, which they lost over a year ago ?

Will some (but not all), Police Constables in Uniform, Police Community Support Officers and jobswoth private security guards, continue to ignore the memos from their superiors, and continue to abuse this counterproductive legal power, to harass Photographers, Tourists, Trianspotters and even Members of Parliament ?

The Information Commissioner's Office has, since mid-November 2009, been preparing a Decision Notice, which should really have been published by now:

See the Spy Blog UK Freedom of Information Act Requests HO Terrorism Act 2000 s44 Authorisations category archive

[via: WikiLeakS.org presentation at 26C3 - will Iceland become a WikiLeakS.org Publishing Data Haven ? ]

The annual congress held by the German Chaos Computer Club, between Christmas and the New Year, yet again provided WikiLeakS.org with a chance to communicate some of their activities, in front of an enthusiastic, highly information technology literate audience.

Video of the presentation, in several online formats is now available online:

26C3: Here Be Dragons video recordings

Daniel Schmitt and Julian Assange gave an update of some recent WikiLeakS.org activities:

3567 WikiLeaks Release 1.0 mp4 iProd mp3 ogg

[...]

However, the most interesting part of the WikiLeakS.org talk, was their report on the their trip to Iceland in November.

Julian and Daniel managed to get themselves onto the Icelandic political mainstream media, to talk about the WikiLeakS.org project, because, at the end of August 2009, WikiLeakS.org published the loan book of the failed Kaupthing Bank.

The whistleblower leak allowed the Icelandic public to see where the missing billions were initially siphoned off to, immediately prior to this bank's collapse.The failure of this bank, helped to destroy the current Icelandic economy, and precipitated hitherto unheard of riots in the streets of Reykjavik, and a change in government.

Iceland is trying to restructure its debt laden economy, to take advantage of its almost limitless cheap electricity from green hydro electric and geo-thermal sources, and its small but highly computer literate population of about 300,000 people, and its mid -Atlantic time zone location, by hosting some large computer and internet hosting data centres.

The WikiLeakS.org team suggested that Icelandic legislators should take this opportunity to pass the best free speech, whistleblower protection, personal privacy, data protection, copyright and libel laws etc., modeled on best practice around the world, to allow Iceland to become a Publication Data Haven.

This idea seems to have impressed some Icelandic legislators, who seem to be preparing some legislation for consideration by the end of this month January 2010 (another advantage of a small state).

Daniel and Julian are rightly sceptical that such plans might succeed , if the Icelandic politicians wait until after Iceland attempts to join the European Union, as there are a lot of vested interests, lobbyists and bureaucrats who would oppose such laws.

The incompetent UK Labour Government, which failed to regulate UK banks and financial institutions, and which precipitated the Icelandic banking collapse , by seizing Icelandic financial assets, in the most insulting way possible, by abusing anti-terrorism money laundering legislation, (see Icelanders are NOT terrorists!) together with the governments of the Netherlands and Denmark etc,, are using the carrot of European Union membership, to pressure / blackmail the Icelanders into promising to pay the debts of this and other failed Icelandic banks, to the often greedy or incompetent investors from those countries, who should have been aware of the commercial risks associated with the "too good to be true" high interest rates being offered. The Government / Bank failures in the UK or the Netherlands etc. were much larger than the Icelandic ones, but did not affect all of their ffinancial sector in the same way.

Of equal interest to us here in the United Kingdom, where we are also face internet censorship, disconnection and snooping on peaceful political activists:

Also of interest to WikilLeakS.org whistleblowers and journalists etc.is the presentation by Roger Dingledine.showing how the Tor anonymity cloud helped in last year's increases in censorship of the internet by the control freaks currently in power in Iran and China etc.

3567 Tor and censorship: lessons learned mp4 iProd mp3 ogg

Roger appealed to his audience of Tor users, to please set up some more voluntary Tor Bridge Relays, which do not appear in the main , easily censored or blocked, public Tor Directory.

Note also Roger's hint about the current uncensorability of IPv6 connections.

Spy Blog articles 2009

|

2009 saw further encroachments on our freedoms and liberties, without any measurable increase in our security.

Will this increasingly repressive, bankrupt Labour government, be replaced by something kinder, more humane and less inept ?

Spy Blog's articles published in 2009 appear to have been read by, and perhaps influenced, some mainstream print and broadcast media journalists and commentators, some technical IT publications, Members of Parliament at Westminster, various large blue chip companies, and also by UK and foreign government departments, law enforcement agencies and some of the more overt open source collection arms of intelligence agencies and by various private sector "corporate research" outfits.

Spy Blog has also come across some worrying and interesting stuff, which has not been published.


December 2009

  1. 2009.12.31: If Somalia can detect "underwear bombs" without them, why waste money on intrusive "child porn" / "see through your clothes" image scanners at airports ?
  2. 2009.12.23: ID Cards / National Identity Register centralised biometric database - further expansion of the Post Code Lottery to inflict the "voluntary" scheme on Liverpool and the North West etc.
  3. 2009.12.17: Powerless, part time, interim CCTV "regulator" appointed by the Home Office
  4. 2009.12.12: The Sun: Laptop is stolen at MoD HQ - "plus an encryption key to unlock highly sensitive files"
  5. 2009.12.12: Mass Gathering in defence of street photography - 12 Noon Saturday 23rd January 2010 Trafalgar Square, London
  6. 2009.12.11: Intercept as Evidence Report - £2.5 million spent and still no workable "legal model"
  7. 2009.12.02: RIPA Interception of Communications Commissioner Sir Paul Kennedy and the MPs expenses scandal
  8. 2009.12.01: Digital Economy Bill 2009 seeks to crush UK Internet Domain Registry industry with bureaucratic red tape and unfair legal costs
November 2009
  1. 2009.11.29: "JFL" provides some more details about his imprisonment for refusing to divulge his crytptographic keys under a RIPA Part III section 49 notice
  2. 2009.11.25: Forced into Prison / Mental Hospital for not revealing cryptographic keys to the Kafkaesque Police and (in)Justice system here in the United Kingdom
  3. 2009.11.21: Bribery Bill 2009 clause 12 - some Secret Intelligence Service MI6 or Security Service MI5 exemptions, but why should Local Authority Trading Standards etc. ever be allowed to bribe anyone ?
  4. 2009.11.19: Manchester area post codes where the foolish can apply for an ID Card
  5. 2009.11.18: Queen's Speech - "mobile phones in prisons" more useless, repetitive, legislation planned
  6. 2009.11.05: Home Office summary of responses to the public consultation on "Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000: Consolidating orders and codes of practice"
October 2009
  1. 2009.10.22: United Kingdom (England & Wales) Census Day / Night - Saturday 27th March 2011 - will you boycott the intrusive, snooping questions ?
  2. 2009.10.21: Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 conviction statistics
  3. 2009.10.19: Does a Registered Post mass mailing in USA = Communications Data / Banking Secrecy law breach in Switzerland ?
  4. 2009.10.17: Non-reportable injunctions - Mr. Justice Tugendhat, Mr. Justice Sweeney and Mr. Justice Maddison
  5. 2009.10.17: Carter-Ruck's Trafigura scandal non-reportable super- injunctions - Mr. Justice Maddison and Mr.Justice Sweeney
  6. 2009.10.15: More illegal Mobile Phones in Prisons, more re-cycled Answers and Policies from the Ministry of (In)Justice
  7. 2009.10.13: Manchester Airport "child porn" Rapiscan X-ray scanner trial - why now, after all the other trials at airports or railway stations failed ?
  8. 2009.10.13: Who are the Judges who are granting secret injunctions on behalf of Trafigura and Barclays etc. ?
  9. 2009.10.10: Is the "Internet Eyes" CCTV web monitoring "game" merely incompetent, or an actual scam ?
  10. 2009.10.04: Sunday Times: "recently retired C" lambasts David Miliband for the appointment of Sir John Sawers as the new Chief of SIS / MI6
  11. 2009.10.01: Sir David Pepper, retired boss of GCHQ, joins Thales UK advisory board - familiar photo in the press release
  12. 2009.10.01: 5 more National Identity Scheme Statutory Instruments - do Thales Group and 3M Company employees realise that they face up to 10 years in prison for any mistakes or strikes?
September 2009
  1. 2009.09.28: China tries to block Tor
  2. 2009.09.28: Compulsory dog ID microchips plan - Yet Another National Database of human names and addresses is not acceptable
  3. 2009.09.27: Castrol roadside billboard ANPR snoopvertising - another DVLA database privacy scandal
  4. 2009.09.26: David Mery gets an apology for his unlawful arrest after 4 years - it should have been 4 days at most
  5. 2009.09.21: RIPA Commissioner and illegal Property Interference by the Environment Agency
  6. 2009.09.14: Sir Joseph Pilling appointed as National Identity Scheme Commissioner - how can a former Whitehall "Sir Humphrey" be "independent" of the Home Office ?
  7. 2009.09.14: How can we have confidence that the HMRC online tax return system is safe to use ?
  8. 2009.09.06: News of the World politics blog: alleged CIA intelligence sharing threat and the Operation Pathway intelligence failure
  9. 2009.09.06: Why is there a need for a "Big Brother Watch" campaign by the TaxPayers' Alliance ?
  10. 2009.09.04: MI5 Security Service web site re-fresh - shadow people and foreign language version inconsistency
  11. 2009.09.01: The Identity Cards Act 2006 (Commencement No. 3) Order 2009 - who will be apponted as the National Identity Scheme Commissioner ?
August 2009
  1. 2009.08.27: ACPO eCrime Strategy - no clarity on international Extradition, nor on Collateral Damage to the innocent caused by eCrime investigations
  2. 2009.08.25: Climate Camp Twits - 6consulting and the Metropolitan Police Service
  3. 2009.08.25: Snooping on the Climate Camp Swoopers via SMS text messages
  4. 2009.08.16: International Action Day "Freedom not Fear 2009 - Stop Surveillance Mania!" on 12 September 2009
  5. 2009.08.13: I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist !
  6. 2009.08.10: New Enemies - part 3 of BBC Radio 4 - MI6: A century in the shadows
  7. 2009.08.02: ACPO policy on ANPR: The Management and Use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition
July 2009
  1. 2009.07.31: Home Office: UK identity card image unveiled
  2. 2009.07.29: Which was worse - the MI6 website spelling mistakes or the MI5 website Cross Site Scripting vulnerability ?
  3. 2009.07.25: Gordon Brown maintains the dilution the Wilson Doctrine again
  4. 2009.07.22: RIPA Commissioners Annual Reports for 2008
  5. 2009.07.21: Terrorism Threat Level SEVERE reduced to SUBSTANTIAL - what is anyone doing any different from before ?
  6. 2009.07.20: How they do Lawful Interception of mobile phones and broadband internet in Switzerland
  7. 2009.07.20: Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill - SOCPA to be replaced by Public Order Act powers in 250 metre Area around Parliament Square
  8. 2009.07.20: Satellite jammers in Iran ?
  9. 2009.07.17: RIPA Commissioners Annual Reports to be published on Tuesday 21st July 2009, just as Parliament breaks up until 13th October
  10. 2009.07.15: National Policing Improvement Agency annual report and accounts 2008-09 - mobile handheld computers, ANPR database, DNA database, PNC, IMPACT, Aircell for the Tube, Prüm
  11. 2009.07.12: BBC Radio 4 - MI6: A Century in the Shadows - Monday July 27th 2009
  12. 2009.07.11: Metropolitan Police Service incomplete "war on photographers" advice
  13. 2009.07.11: "suspect your neighbours" Climate of Fear propaganda posters campaign cost £1.7 million, Terrorism Hotline costs £120,000 a year
  14. 2009.07.10: Reminder: Home Office RIPA CoP Con closes today
  15. 2009.07.05: Facebook, Mail on Sunday and Sir John Sawers incoming Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service MI6
  16. 2009.07.02: Alan Johnson lies about ID Cards and £1.2 billion a year identity fraud
June 2009
  1. 2009.06.27: UK Cyber Security Strategy - even more bureaucracy, but no financial budget, legislative power or democratic accountibility
  2. 2009.06.21: Tor relays and exit nodes for Iran, and for the rest of us
  3. 2009.06.17: NightJack blog versus The Times newspaper - are there wider implications for anonymous sources and writers ?
  4. 2009.06.17: London School of Economics: Briefing on the Interception Modernisation Programme
  5. 2009.06.16: Sir John Sawers KCMG appointed as the new Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service MI6
  6. 2009.06.15: ID Card scheme function creep - sneaky compulsory registration of mobile phones by the back door ?
  7. 2009.06.14: Will Home Secretary Alan Johnson bother to listen to opponents of the ID Cards scheme, during his supposed review "by the end of the summer" ?
  8. 2009.06.11: The Guardian reveals details of the mechanics of the failed Hotmail plot by the anti-Gordon Brown faction of Labour MPs
  9. 2009.06.09: HMRC tax records centre left unguarded by Mapeley, who also run the Passport / ID Card interrogation centre buildings
  10. 2009.06.09: Postman Patel - Edward Teague - Rest in Peace
  11. 2009.06.09: Home Office ministers re-shuffled
  12. 2009.06.08: Who's Watching You ? - GCHQ's Sir David Pepper interviewed - but still too many surveillance topics in one tv documentary
  13. 2009.06.06: DVLA still selling drivers names and addresses to dodgy Private Wheel Clampers, according to The Times
  14. 2009.06.04: signonnow@hotmail.co.uk - The Email Address Most Likely To Be Snooped On ? - Labour in crisis: the Hotmail conspiracy
  15. 2009.06.02: Has any other political blogger been spammed by The Jury Team ?
  16. 2009.06.02: Steve Moxon - Home Office Immigration whistleblower vindicated by FOIA disclosures about Beverely Hughes
  17. 2009.06.02: Jacqui Smith to resign as Home Secretary - but when exactly ?
  18. 2009.06.01: Sir Richard Dearlove, former head of MI6 / SIS worries about lost civil liberties
May 2009
  1. 2009.05.30: Richard Tomlinson versus MI6 rapprochement ? Is this due to the amended Terrorism Act ban on eliciting or communicating information about former intelligence agency officers ??
  2. 2009.05.26: 38 Degrees - will the data protection issues inhibit sign up ?
  3. 2009.05.25: RAF Innsworth stolen personnel security vetting files coverup
  4. 2009.05.23: BBC2 tv documentary Who's Watching You ? starts Monday 25th May 9pm
  5. 2009.05.23: Illegal retention of Police surveillance photos of innocent people
  6. 2009.05.20: Home Office and research about the (lack of) effectiveness of CCTV in reducing crime
  7. 2009.05.19: ISC report (again) on the 7th July 2005 London bomb attacks - some jargon explained, but still no blame on MI5 or the Police for intelligence failures
  8. 2009.05.17: Naming of the MP Expenses whistleblower leak intermediaries ?
  9. 2009.05.14: SOCA Annual Report 2009/09 - Appendix III: SOCA Reports and Assessments 2008/09 - will these be made public ?
  10. 2009.05.12: Gordon Brown pretends that "knife crime" is a "new kind of crime"
  11. 2009.05.12: National Identity Cards Scheme creep - 4 Draft Orders laid before Parliament under the Identity Cards Act 2006
  12. 2009.05.10: UK computer forensics expert Jim Bates wins High Court appeal against a police search warrant
  13. 2009.05.09: Operation Algebra child rape convictions in Scotland: open WiFi tracking, digital camera image forensics
  14. 2009.05.07: Home Office spinning about 6 and 12 years data retention for innocent people's DNA profiles and Fingerprints
  15. 2009.05.04: GCHQ: our Intelligence and Security mission in the Internet age
April 2009
  1. 2009.04.27: Communications Data public "consultation" with only one permitted option
  2. 2009.04.22: Jacqui Smith: more weasel words about the harassment of innocent photgraphers
  3. 2009.04.21: BBC Radio 4 iPM - Can U See Me ? CCTV camera spotting and sousveillance
  4. 2009.04.18: Public Consultation on reforming parts of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000
  5. 2009.04.18: Damian Green MP arrest - Police tampering with computer evidence or political snooping on civil liberties campaigner Shami Chakrabarti ?
  6. 2009.04.17: The arrest of opposition Senator Stuart Syvret in Jersey - another Damian Green MP style scandal ?
  7. 2009.04.15: Operation Pathway arrests - where are the explosives or weapons ?
  8. 2009.04.04: Re-appointment of the Interception of Communications Commissioner and the Intelligence Services Commissioner
March 2009
  1. 2009.03.29: Is Huawei really more of a security risk to the UK Critical National Infrastructure than other foreign telecommunications equipment companies like Cisco or Ericsson ?
  2. 2009.03.23: How much "war on terror" training for "tens of thousands" of people is the Labour government providing ? As little as 3 hours (including a coffee break)
  3. 2009.03.23: The state of the UK Database State
  4. 2009.03.19: OGC finally publish the two Stage Zero Gateway Reviews of the ID Cards programme - 1510 days = 4 years 1 month 18 days after the initial Freedom of Information Act request
  5. 2009.03.19: Passion and Dalliance blog: Why you need balls of steel to operate a Tor exit node
  6. 2009.03.17: The Polygraph Rules 2009 - more "Lie Detectors", but not for the politicians and spin doctors
  7. 2009.03.16: Metropolitan Police terrorism fear Propaganda Poster lies about bombs, reconnaissance and CCTV cameras - updated 25th March 2009
  8. 2009.03.16: The Data Retention (EC Directive) Regulations 2009 come into force on 6th April 2009
  9. 2009.03.14: The BBC botnet - UK cyber crime policing is still hopeless
  10. 2009.03.10: National Security Forum appointees - why is there no pandemic disease or biotech or financial markets or cyber security expertise ?
  11. 2009.03.08: Weekend newspaper briefing spin that the controversial Data Orders Clause 152 of Coroners and Justice Bill is to be abandoned
  12. 2009.03.07: Intelligence and Security Committee report for 2007 - 2008 - SCOPE Phase 2 cancelled, even more snooping planned
  13. 2009.03.03: MPs vote to try to keep their constituency home addresses secret
  14. 2009.03.02: The Convention on Modern Liberty is over - now what are you going to do to save our freedom and liberty ? Get rid of Clause 152 from the Coroners and Justice Bill
February 2009
  1. 2009.02.28: Convention on Modern Liberty video streams
  2. 2009.02.26: Liberal Democrats - Freedom Bill 2009
  3. 2009.02.25: Sir David Omand on Protint - 'protected information' data mining of personal sensitive data by intelligence agencies
  4. 2009.02.23: Practical things to do and bring to the Convention on Modern Liberty
  5. 2009.02.20: Privy Council Intercept as Evidence Advisory Group interim progress report 9th February 2009
  6. 2009.02.20: Information Tribunal orders publication of the early ID Cards Programme Gateway Reviews, again
  7. 2009.02.17: Former MI5 Director General Stella Rimington's interview with La Vanguardia
  8. 2009.02.16: Where are all the Home Office press releases ? 177 spin doctors but only 5 press releases a week ?
  9. 2009.02.14: Chilcot Advisory Group on Intercept Evidence (lack of) Progress Report
  10. 2009.02.12: A couple of photos of some Police officers and VIP vehicles - whilst we still can
  11. 2009.02.12: Home Office response to Consultation on second phase of EU Comms Data Retention Regulations (internet email, internet telephony etc.) coming into force on 6th April 2009
  12. 2009.02.12: Sir James Crosby's Review on Identity Assurance being written out of history by Gordon Brown ?
  13. 2009.02.10: Serious Crime Act 2007 used to harass Indymedia server colocation administrator - updated
  14. 2009.02.09: Mass photography protest - 11 am Monday 16th February 2009, Metropolitan Police HQ, New Scotland Yard
  15. 2009.02.08: Sunday Telegraph - British Jobs For British Spies ? MI5 overwhelmed, or lobbying for even more resources ?
  16. 2009.02.07: Surveillance: Citizens and the State - HoL Constitution Committee report
  17. 2009.02.06: Exactly what correspondence or communications between MPs and their Constituents is protected by Parliamentary Privilege ?
  18. 2009.02.05: Lords Constitution Committee report "Surveillance: Citizens and the State" to be published on Friday 6th February 2009
  19. 2009.02.03: Metropolitan Police seeking MPs Parliamentary privileged emails without a warrant
  20. 2009.02.03: London Calling Photographers debate - Know your rights: Facing the police crackdown on public photography
January 2009
  1. 2009.01.29: Ralph Bendrath: Privacy in Germany 2008: A new fundamental right, a privacy mass movement, and the usual surveillance suspects
  2. 2009.01.26: How sneakily are Blue State Digital tracking NGO political campaign emails ?
  3. 2009.01.26: Do not donate money via the Disasters Emergency Committee DEC website
  4. 2009.01.26: Coroners and Justice Bill - Information Sharing Orders and other controversies
  5. 2009.01.23: Counter Terrorism Act 2008 - "attempting to elicit information" and secret DNA sampling and data sharing etc. come into force on February 16th 2009
  6. 2009.01.21: Conservative MP Daniel Kawczynski - parliamentary office searched and constituency correspondence handed over to the Police, without a warrant - updated
  7. 2009.01.20: A plague on The Sun ?
  8. 2009.01.20: Lobby your MP to vote against the Freedom of Information (Parliament) Order 2009 this Thursday - update - have we won ?
  9. 2009.01.17: Rest in Peace: Patrick McGoohan and Sir John Mortimer QC
  10. 2009.01.15: Coroners and Justice Bill - a further crippling of the Data Protection Act
  11. 2009.01.14: ICO Guidance on FOIA requests name and address for correspondence - another attack on Anonymity
  12. 2009.01.10: Communications Data snooping - MI5 Jonathan Evans, BBC, DPP Kier Starmer
  13. 2009.01.05: Remote Searching of Computer Hard Disks - remember that RIPA etc. do not protect business premises from arbitrary intrusive surveillance, property interference etc.
  14. 2009.01.04: Google.co.uk - politically insensitive and inaccurate Metropolitan Police Service "Extremist" Sponsored Links and AdWords campaign
  15. 2009.01.02: Tom Watson and the US Air Force Blog Response Flowchart

One of the threats to our privacy and security, which has become evident in the press and broadcast media coverage of the "underwear bomb", Detroit bound airliner attack attempt over Christmas, is the inherent sensationalistic voyeurism of the mainstream press and broadcast media themselves.

The unpopular Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown has responded, presumably only because President Obama has been on television, with a rambling, turgid and repetitive article on the Number 10 Dowing Street website, which hops about thematically as if it had been stitched together from some SMS text messages via Twitter by Gordon Brown's spin doctors:: Vigilance key to tackling terrorist threat - PM

However, to be fair, if you actually read what the inept Gordon Brown or his henchmen have actually written, there is only one single mention of "full body scanners".

We need, therefore, to continually explore the most sophisticated devices capable of identifying explosives, guns, knives and other such items anywhere on the body.

So - in cooperation with President Obama and the Americans - we will examine a range of new techniques to enhance airport security systems beyond the traditional measures, such as pat-down searches and sniffer dogs.

These could include advancing our use of explosive trace technology, full body scanners and advanced x-ray technology.

As you can see from this Wordle analysis of the text of his article, it is mostly not about "full body scanners" at all:

Gordon_Brown_vigilance_article_01jan10_wordle_450.jpg

Is this the start of the cynical "Climate of Fear" propaganda and media spin, which we can expect from the Labour government in the run up to the forthcoming General Election , exactly as they did in the 2005 election ? Hopefully the British public will not tolerate a repeat of manipulative political tactic again.

However, Gordon Brown's vague promise to perhaps further examine full body scanners" is what the BBC and other broadcast media such as Sky News have seized upon, as if this is the only, inevitable solution, without bothering to question or analyse it in any detail.

Such reports are also "livened up" visually with images of, or taken from, privacy intrusive / illegal child porn capable full body image scanners, which are falsely being held out as being the only possible technology which might have magically prevented the attack.

So desperate is the BBC TV News for some suitably "action packed", or "visually interesting" images to illustrate this story with, that they have even broadcast footage of chemical analysis sniffer portals, which are even more expensive and even slower than "see through your clothes" scanners, thereby causing even longer queues at airports, without bothering to explain that this is an entirely different technology.

The media voyeurism, appears to be pushing Government and Opposition politicians in the direction of the military security equipment lobby, who stand to profit from selling these expensive, intrusive, repressive devices, at public expense.

Will none of these politicians display any leadership, and tell the media voyeurs and corporate profiteers and the failed extremists, that we will not be terrorised by them ?

See also the previous Spy Blog article -

If Somalia can detect "underwear bombs" without them, why waste money on intrusive "child porn" / "see through your clothes" image scanners at airports ?

for an example of a less "visually interesting", but potentially more effective device, which uses the same physics as the "see through your clothes" passive millimetre wave imagers, without the same intrusive privacy problems, but with a higher likelihood of being used on you illegally or sneakily, without your knowledge or consent.

About this blog

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

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

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

Email & PGP Contact

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

blog@spy[dot]org[dot]uk

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

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

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

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

Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers and Political Dissidents

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

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links

Watching Them, Watching Us

London 2600

Our UK Freedom of Information Act request tracking blog

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

Privacy and Security

Privacy International
United Kingdom Privacy Profile (2011)

Cryptome - censored or leaked government documents etc.

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

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

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

International Campaign Against Mass Surveillance

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

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

Technical Advisory Board on internet and telecomms interception under RIPA

European Digital Rights

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

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

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

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

Human Rights

Liberty Human Rights campaigners

British Institute of Human Rights
Amnesty International
Justice

Prevent Genocide International

asboconcern - campaign for reform of Anti-Social Behavior Orders

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

Internet Censorship

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

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

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

Judicial Links

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

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

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

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

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

Parliamentary Opposition

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

UK Government

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

No. 10 Downing Street Prime Minister's Official Spindoctors

Public Bills before Parliament

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

House of Commons "Question Book"

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

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

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

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

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

Online Media

Boing Boing

Need To Know [now defunct]

The Register

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

Ideal Government - debate about UK eGovernment

NIR and ID cards

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

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

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

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

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

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

Surveillance Infrastructures

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

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

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

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

RFID Links

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

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

RFIDBuzz.com blog - where we sometimes crosspost RFID articles

Genetic Links

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

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

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

Miscellanous Links

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

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

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

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

Former Spies

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

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

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

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

Naked Spygirl - Olivia Frank

Blog Links

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

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

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

Liberty Central

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

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

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

Vmyths - debunking computer security hype

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

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

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

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

Bloggerheads - Tim Ireland

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

Blogzilla - Ian Brown

BlairWatch - Chronicling the demise of the New Labour Project

dreamfish - Robert Longstaff

Informaticopia - Rod Ward

War-on-Freedom

The Musings of Harry

Chicken Yoghurt - Justin McKeating

The Red Tape Chronicles - Bob Sullivan MSNBC

Campaign Against the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Stop the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Rob Wilton's esoterica

panGloss - Innovation, Technology and the Law

Arch Rights - Action on Rights for Children blog

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

Shaphan

Moving On

Steve Moxon blog - former Home Office whistleblower and author.

Al-Muhajabah's Sundries - anglophile blog

Architectures of Control in Design - Dan Lockton

rabenhorst - Kai Billen (mostly in German)

Nearly Perfect Privacy - Tiffany and Morpheus

Iain Dale's Diary - a popular Conservative political blog

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

BLOGDIAL

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

Ralph Bendrath

Financial Cryptography - Ian Grigg et al.

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

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

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

"Give 'em hell Pike!" - Frank Fisher

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

geeklawyer - intellectual property, civil liberties and the legal system

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

Charlie's Diary - Charlie Stross

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

Famous for 15 Megapixels

Postman Patel

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

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

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

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

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

Matt Wardman political blog analysis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No CCTV - The Campaign against CCTV

Barcode Nation - keeping two eyes on the database state.

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

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

Justin Wylie's political blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Links

Spam Huntress - The Norwegian Spam Huntress - Ann Elisabeth

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

Cool Britannia

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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