February 2010 Archives

The National Identity Scheme Commissioner is currently the quangocrat Sir Joseph Pilling, with a five or six figure salary, five staff, an office on Millbank, within easy waddling distance of the Home Office and Whitehall and a budget of over half a million pounds a year but with no powers to investigate individual complaints from the public or to punish abuses by bureaucrats or politicians or their sub-contractors

See our previous article: Sir Joseph Pilling appointed as National Identity Scheme Commissioner - how can a former Whitehall "Sir Humphrey" be "independent" of the Home Office ?

and also the NO2ID discussion forum:

http://forum.no2id.net/viewtopic.php?t=31032

See this FOIA request: Recruitment process for Identity Commissioner

The Identity and Passport Service (IPS) spent £42,077.24 on recruitment consultants and £8,826.35 on advertising for this post. The job was publicly advertised in the Sunday Times on 18 January 2009, as well as via the Cabinet Office Public Appointments website and the Odgers Ray and Berndtson website. 20 people applied for the post, and six of them were interviewed - after which Sir Joseph, who had not applied and was not interviewed, was 'phoned up out of the blue, at home, by his former bosses at the Home Office and offered the job.


Sir Joseph Pilling
Office of the Identity Commissioner
1st floor, 30 Millbank
c/o Millbank Tower
21-24 Millbank
London
SW1P 4QP

Email: enquiries@identitycommissioner.gsi.gov.uk

N.B. using a UK Government .gsi.gov.uk email address means that any email correspondence to the Identity Commissioner e.g. a "leak" or a complaint from a Home Office or Identity and Passport Service whistleblower or a complainant, could be tracked and intercepted, without any need for any RIPA authorisations at all.

The Identity Commissioner should publish a PGP Public Encryption Key, to help establish a secure channel for whistleblower leaks and complaints, which the Home Office should not be tempted to try to snoop on. This would also demonstrate to the public that the Identity Commissioner understands some basic data security, privacy and personal anonymity issues, which are relevant to the National Identity Scheme.

Website: http://www.identitycommissioner.org (why is this not a .UK registered domain name ?)

Office of the Identity Commissioner - Annual Report 2009 (PDF - 179Kb)

See the cross party NO2ID Campaign for powerful opposition and analysis of this wretched scheme.

Some highlights from this "Annual" report, which only covers the last 3 months of 2009:

Often curmudgeonly but always passionate defender of free speech and government transparency, New York architect John Young publishes a whistleblower document publishing archive called Cryptome.org

His latest domain name registrar and web hosting company , the giant Network Solutions has censored the entire site by removing the cryptome.org and cryptome.com domain names from their DNS, and placing the domain under a "Legal Lock", after having been served with a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notice, alleging copyright infringement of a Microsoft document.

Domain ID:D7496146-LROR
Domain Name:CRYPTOME.ORG
Created On:25-Jun-1999 14:58:29 UTC
Last Updated On:24-Feb-2010 18:47:18 UTC
Expiration Date:25-Jun-2011 14:58:29 UTC
Sponsoring Registrar:Network Solutions LLC (R63-LROR)
Status:CLIENT DELETE PROHIBITED
Status:CLIENT HOLD
Status:CLIENT TRANSFER PROHIBITED
Status:CLIENT UPDATE PROHIBITED

There is no excuse for censoring thousands of other web pages, from a major website, simply because there is a civil legal dispute (this is not a criminal matter) regarding one of them.

You can read the full story and other cryptome.org content via

http://cryptome.org.uk/

which currently points to

http://cryptomeorg.siteprotect.net/

This sort of censorship, without any fair trial in Court, is exactly the sort of thing we have to fear from disgraced, unelected, Labour Cabinet Minister Peter Mandelson's wretched Digital Economy Bill - see the Open Rights Group for the latest news on this.


UPDATE:

We are happy to report that the censorship of Cryptome.org has ended, after less than 24 hours.

The disputed document is again available:

http://cryptome.org/isp-spy/microsoft-spy.zip Microsoft Global Criminal Spy Guide February 20, 2010 (1.6MB)

This probably now out of date document (circa 2008) is full of strange concepts for United Kingdom "Communications Service Providers" with mention of Subpoenas or Warrants signed by Judges etc.

None of these apply here in the UK where such Communications Traffic Data is automatically requested via the "Single Point of Contact" using the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 and Data Protection Act 2000 section 29 requests

Such requests / demands are self authorised in secret by the hundreds of government organisations with the power to do so.

We suspect that Microsoft and other US based ISPs would be horrified by the European Union and United Kingdom governments' mandatory Data Retention laws, which require data log file retention for a year.

There is a confirmatory nugget of information in the document:

4. In Site IP/Time/History Row
a. The Site IP/Time/History table is not updated if the user logs in again from the SAME IP address to the SAME Microsoft
site. It only shows the FIRST login of the LAST day for the user, from the same IP and to the same machine.
b. There are many cases where end user IP address is hidden by ISP proxy server. SIS shows the IP address of ISP proxy server, instead of real end user IP address. So for the individual user information you can approach the ISP.
c. The table is limited to only the last 10 MS SITE and IP combinations.

You do know about the Tor onion routing proxy server cloud, don't you ?

Will anyone now "leak" the equivalent policy document for Network Solutions ?

Could someone please explain why so much public money is being wasted by the Home Office on their website each year ?

Departmental Internet
Home Department
Written answers and statements, 1 February 2010


Hansard source (Citation: HC Deb, 1 February 2010, c80W)

Chris Grayling (Shadow Home Secretary, Home Affairs; Epsom & Ewell, Conservative)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much his Department spent on its website in 2009-10.

Alan Johnson (Home Secretary; Kingston upon Hull West & Hessle, Labour)

The Home Office website is

www.homeoffice.gov.uk

The amount spent on the main site and Home Office sub-sites is forecast to be £762,000 for the 2009-10 financial year.



£762,000 a year !!

The taxpayer is being ripped off ! What exactly are they wasting over three quarters of a million pounds a year on ??


Apart from
www.homeoffice.gov.uk

the sub-sites include:

http://www.crimereduction.gov.uk - Crime Reduction
http://inspectorates.homeoffice.gov.uk/hmic - HM Inspectorate of Constabulary
http://www.ips.gov.uk - Identity and Passport Service
http://www.imb.gov.uk - Independent Monitoring Boards (why is this not paiid for by the Ministry of Justice which is now supposed to be in charge of Prisons)
http://police.homeoffice.gov.uk - Police
http://press.homeoffice.gov.uk - Press Office
http://scienceandresearch.homeoffice.gov.uk - Science and Research
http://security.homeoffice.gov.uk - Security
http://commercial.homeoffice.gov.uk - Supplying the Home Office
http://drugs.homeoffice.gov.uk - Tackling Drugs, Changing Lives
http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk - UK Border Agency

It is unclear if the supposedly independent Agencies, Quangos and NDBPs pay for their own websites out of their own, separate Home Office budgets or not. e.g. the Association of Chief Police Officers, the The Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland , the Security Service MI5, the Office of the Chief Surveillance Commissioner etc. etc.

The Press sub-website in particular is useless. It simply does not provide an up to date or even out of date but complete archive of even Home Office Press releases sent by email and fax to the mainstream media.

We were astonished by how little work the >over 64 staff in Home Office Press Office appear to do, if you go by their online web (in)activity.

We suspect that 60 Press Officers produce rather more than the meagre one or two Press releases a week which appear on the Press or Main home Office websites.

Surely the Home Office does not treat Press releases as if they were national security secrets ?

Unless and until they publish all their Press release, Media Briefings, "lines to take" etc. on their website, in an easily searchable format i.e. HTMl web pages, RSS aggregation feeds etc., then they will always be seen as trying to spin / manipulate the media and to always be dishonestly hiding something from the public.

See our Freedom of Information Act request of just over a year ago:

Home Office: Press Office output for week of Mon 9th Feb 2009 ?

All the other sections of the Home office website , are also very static, and the existing documents could be published and indexed automatically from the Microsoft Office originals, for virtually no extra cost at all.

We repeat - what exactly are they wasting £726,000 a year of our money on ?


Obviously the Labour government's plans for compulsory ID Cards and registration on a centralised biometric database (see the NO2ID campaign) would not have prevented the apparent abuse of United Kingdom Passports recently in Dubai, by an alleged assassination squad, inept enough to leave behind lots of CCTV evidence.

Retired UK Ambassador Charles Crawford points out, on his blogoir blog, the difference between faked or cloned UK Passports, and fraudulently obtained genuinely issued ones:

Hamas Killing: Cloned Or Fraudulent Passports

1 Real blank passports, misused: in secure British government locations in the UK and overseas are piles of 'blank' passports in serial number order, waiting to be issued. Procedures are in place to check regularly that the stocks of blank passports match the lists of passports printed and despatched to each location to await issue.

I have done some of these checks myself in Embassy strong-rooms. It would be relatively easy for a corrupt UK official to steal a few of these blanks to pass on to gangsters/KGB/Mossad, but the risk of detection would be very high since sooner or later it would be spotted that issuing numbers were out of sequence with stock-lists and production/despatch-lists.

2 Real passports of real people, misused: the killers could have managed to get hold of real, properly issued passports of real people and alter and then use them for their own purposes. This would have to be done very well for it not to be detected, although having observed for myself the meticulously microscopic and ingenious efforts of teenage boys to alter dob on ID cards to win under-age access to Warsaw nightclubs, that presumably is no problem. The original owners would have to be left with an almost perfect copy of their passports to avoid suspicion. Too complicated?

3 Fake passports of real people, original identities kept: the killers borrowed a number of real passports of real people, then copied and altered them for their own purposes but retained the purported identity of the original owners. If that was done in this case, why would the serial numbers be incorrect?

A day after Dubai police announced the names of the Irish suspects as Gail Folliard, Evan Dennings and Kevin Daveron, a spokesman for Ireland's Department of Foreign Affairs said: "We are unable to identify any of those three individuals as being genuine Irish citizens.

"Ireland has issued no passports in those names."

The passport numbers had the wrong number of digits and did not contain letters as authentic passports do, he added.

4 Fake passports of real people, new identities: the killers took a number of real passports of real people, then copied and altered them for their own purposes but added new names and manipulated the photographs to create new identities.

Some combination of 1-4 above: maybe this was done for operational reasons (a hurried job, and/or the killers could not acquire enough passports in any one category and/or wanted to mix 'n' match to reduce the risk of detection and/or later muddy the waters).

Charles Crawford's points apply equally well to the older non-biometric Passports, which were apparently used in Dubai, as well as to the newer International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) compliant "biometric" ones, since these only currently contain a digitised image of the passport photograph and what is written on the face of the passport, and do not yet contain any fingerprint or iris scan biometric identifiers.

Facial Recognition is pretty useless at a passport control checkpoint, where there are lots of variations in ambient lighting etc. The UK Passport Service and some other foreign government equivalents do try to use it on their centralised digitised Passport Photo databases (which is why there are stupid rules on the size of such photos, in which you are now forbidden to smile), to try to spot obvious multiple applications in different names, but this is hardly an infallible automatic system - it needs plenty of experienced human facial recognition effort as well.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has mumbled something about an "urgent inquiry" into the affair, although we suspect that he is secretly pleased at the further embarrassment of his potential rival for the leadership of the Labour party, the useless Foreign Secretary David Milband, whose Jewish family background does not seem to have helped the UK in diplomatic relations with Israel..

According to The Guardian, it seems that the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) is responding to Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) requests from the Dubai police and Interpol, regarding the UK Passports in question.

SOCA inherited the role of being the first port of call for foreign MLA request from one of its now defunct predecessor organisations NCIS (the National Criminal Intelligence Service, not to be confused with the popular TV action drama about the US Naval Criminal Investigative Service).

However, in spite of their secrecy and lack of public accountability, SOCA are unlikely to progress very far with what should perhaps be a counter-intelligence or counter -terrorism investigation, neither of which are their areas of frontline expertise.

The media coverage of "fake" or "stolen" UK "identities" reminds us of our Freedom of Information Act Request to the Metropolitan Police Service (rejected on the spurious grounds of requiring a "real" name !)

Operation Maxim - breakdown of statistics of United Kingdom versus Foreign passports seized

Coinciding with the culmination of the Power 2010 Campaign's public vote and consultation on what political reform issues the prospective candidates and political parties should be scrutinised in detail over in forthcoming General Election, (see the previous Spy Blog article Power 2010 Pledge campaign - vote to "Scrap ID cards and roll back the database state" and "Expand the Freedom of Information Act"), the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust has commissioned a Public Opinion Poll from ICM, which supports Spy Blog's worries about the erosion of our Privacy and the creep of the Database State.

It is interesting that our opinions are supported by the majority of people questioned for this representative opinion poll, who are worried and mistrustful of the Government and others who snoop on them routinely and unnecessarily, but that is not something to celebrate.

Over the past 19 years, the JRRT has commissioned regular State of the Nation polls.

The 2010 poll found:

  • 53 per cent of those asked thought ID cards a bad or very bad idea, compared with only 33 per cent who opposed them in the 2006 poll.
  • The numbers also rose for people worried about the government holding data on them, from 53 per cent to 65 per cent.

[...]

Contrary to what people in the Home Office might like to think, this latest State of the Nation poll shows that the public have now made up their minds about ID cards - and they think they're a bad idea.

"And it's not just ID cards. Across the board, we have found people are becoming increasingly hostile towards any government initiative that involves collecting, storing and sharing their personal information.

Concerns about civil liberties, alongside the government's disastrous record in looking after people's data, have contributed to a clear hardening of attitudes against the database state.

"It's no surprise therefore that a demand to scrap ID cards and roll back the database state is one of the most popular issues being voted on at www.power2010.org.uk/vote - and look set to be a central part of our major nationwide campaign at the next election

'People are worried by the power of the state. They want more say in the decisions that affect them, their families and their communities. And they want a stronger Parliament that can hold government to account.

The specific questions asked, and the summary results of the poll are available below, and, eventually, on the JRRT and Power 2010 websites:

power2010-logo.png

Power 2010

POWER2010 is funded by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust and supported by a wide range of individuals and organisations.

This cross party political campaign is actually gathering feedback from the public, as to what needs to be changed in the smug, complacent, incompetent, borderline corrupt and cruel British political system.

The current unpopular and inept Labour government is still trying to pretend that they are somehow "great reformers", with the weedy Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill, which has been hijacked by the MP's expenses scandal, thereby missing the opportunity for some real reforms.

The five most popular ideas following the vote will become the POWER2010 Pledge and the focus for our nation-wide campaign at the next election.

Election campaign

The aim is for as many people as possible to sign the Pledge and then take it to the candidates in their constituency, by writing to them, calling them, and attending local hustings, public meetings and MPs' surgeries.

.

Hopefully the issues which make it onto the Power 2010 Pledge list will be used to influence the mainstream media agenda and to pin down the detailed policies and promises of individual prospective candidates and political parties in the forthcoming General Election, and to punish them at the ballot box, if they are evasive or fail to come up with sensible arguments against these ideas.

There is still time (voting closes in a couple of days on 22nd February) to register your online vote for:

Scrap ID cards and roll back the database state - Drop the National ID scheme and limit or scrap other databases that infringe civil rights

and also for

Expand the Freedom of Information Act - Extend the right of access members of the public have to official information

The current leading topics in their online poll are:

  1. Introduce a proportional voting system: 10326 votes

  2. Scrap ID cards and roll back the database state - 8815 votes

  3. A fully elected second chamber - 5270 votes

  4. English votes on English laws - 5126 votes

  5. A Written Constitution - 4980 votes

  6. Fixed term parliaments - 4882 votes

  7. "None of the Above" on ballot papers - 3790 votes

  8. Right to recall - 3744 votes

  9. Expand the Freedom of Information Act - 3632 votes

  10. Stronger local government - 3427 votes

There are also some slightly less popular but still important ideas which we support e.g.:

The top five topics will be included in the Power 2010 Pledge.

Will the Power 2010 campaign, armed with the results of their online voting and the opinion poll research which they have commissioned, actually make some real impact on the current political creatures in the Westminster village and the corridors of Whitehall, and the way in which the mainstream media influence them ?

Do the politicians, propagandists and control freaks really understand the depth of contempt and hatred which they are creating, out of mere apathy and indifference, amongst the sections of the public who can actually be bothered to "engage" in the political process ?

Is it any wonder that political party membership is in decline, but that there are plenty of "single issue" political campaigns , and an increase in extremist fringe groups of various kinds, some of which may give passive or active support to terrorists ?

We are unsure about the answers, but this online vote and pledge seems to be worth trying, if only to remind the politicians that unless they listen to and act on, informed, peaceful, democratic feedback like this, they will be personally blamed for the subsequent, predictable failures and disasters.


Back in October 2005 this Spy Blog article Terrorism Bill 2005 - part 2 of our comments asked:

Why is there any need for regulation in this area at all ? The existing Acceptable Use Policies of all UK website operators, for example, already means that there are no public "terrorist websites" operating from servers within the United Kingdom.

If the intention is to somehow stop impressionable people from falling into the clutches of terrorist recruiters, then this is already as effective as it will ever be.

If people are already moving within extremist circles, then private websites, especially those hosted abroad, are beyond the competence and legal jurisdiction of the Home Office or the UK Police.

Any attempts to "disrupt" these systems, such as those hosted in, say China, could easily be interpreted as "cyber war", which would damage the UK economy far more than the slight, temporary effect that "disruption" of such sites would have on the terrorists. It would also remove the opportunity for covert surveillance of such "honeypots" for intelligence gathering purposes.

It now turns out that this inept Labour Government's scaremongering and controversial Terrorism Act 2006 section 3 Application of ss. 1 and 2 to internet activity etc.. internet censorship powers, which relate to section 1 "Encouragement of terrorism" and / or section 2. "Dissemination of terrorist publications", have never actually been invoked.

HL Deb, 10 February 2010, c168W

Terrorism: Internet
House of Lords
Written answers and statements, 10 February 2010

Baroness Warsi (Shadow Minister (Community Cohesion and Social Action), Communities and Local Government; Conservative)

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many times the police have used powers under section 3 of the Terrorism Act 2006 to seek the removal or modification of unlawful terrorist-related material from the internet in each of the last six months.

Lord West of Spithead (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Security and Counter-terrorism), Home Office; Labour)

The Home Office and ACPO (TAM) have set up a new unit, the Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit (CTIRU), which was launched in a pilot capacity on 1 February 2010. The CTIRU is responsible for the co-ordination and execution of voluntary and Section 3 take-down notices. Further details on the CTIRU, including statistics regarding take-downs, will be available in due course.

To date, the preferred route for removing potentially unlawful terrorist content is through informal contact between the police and the internet service provider. This approach has proved effective. As a result, it has not been necessary to use the formal powers given under the Terrorism Act 2006 to seek the removal or modification of unlawful terrorist-related material from the internet.

Note the creation of Yet Another Unaccountable Bureaucratic Quango, the Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit (CTIRU)

The legal powers under the Terrorism Act 2006, were, typically, and totally unnecessarily, made available to any Police Constable, no matter how ill trained, or ignorant of the internet or of free speech or religious freedom issues.

Why did the original legislation not restrict these legal power only to members of a properly trained unit, dedicated full time to the task, as, hopefully the CTIRU now is ?

Before the Terrorism Act 2006, UK based internet and telecommunications companies always cooperated voluntarily with the Police, and they appear to have done so since.

Before the Terrorism Act 2006, foreign based internet companies had no obligation to cooperate and neither do they now.

What was the point of it all ?

Why not simply repeal this Act, with no loss in effectiveness whatsoever against real terrorists, and thereby nullifying somewhat, the propaganda victory which these repressive powers handed to the terrorists ?

Our previous blog article:

Digital Economy Bill 2009 seeks to crush UK Internet Domain Registry industry with bureaucratic red tape and unfair legal costs

was almost correct in its analysis of just how appallingly badly draughted clauses 18 to 20 of the notorious twice disgraced, unelected, Labour Minister Mandelson's Digital Economy (destruction of) Bill was, as originally published:

HL Deb, 26 January 2010, c1394

Digital Economy Bill [HL]
House of Lords debates, 26 January 2010, 9:15 pm

Lord Young of Norwood Green (Government Whip (technically a Lord in Waiting, HM Household); Labour)

[...]

I turn to the amendments in question. Following representations made by the industry, the Government realised that the scope of the domain name provisions in the Bill could have unintended consequences.

Unintended Consequences of proposed legislation, which obviously damages the UK Economy, should be a Resignation Matter for this incompetent Labour Government's First Secretary of State, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, President of the Board of Trade i.e. the pompously titled Peter Mandelson - Baron Mandelson, of Foy in the County of Herefordshire and of Hartlepool in the County of Durham.

Having so many newly created long titles does not mean that anyone should show any respect or deference to this scheming "champagne socialist" Labour politician, who appears to spend more time enjoying the luxury hospitality of dodgy foreign billionaires, than that of to his supposedly "working class" Labour supporters.

Specifically, the definitions in Clause 18 as currently drafted would bring any organisation or company in the UK that runs its own name server within the scope of the powers-that was not intended.

We did not initially spot the enormous significance of this, but thankfully other people did in time !

This would have meant hundreds of thousands of companies, organisations and individuals who run their own Domain Name Servers, even just for their own private networked computers not directly connected to the internet, being defined as a "domain name registry".

Similarly, the UK-based domain name registry operations of some third countries are also caught. Again, that is not what the Government had in mind when they proposed this draft legislation.

We certainly spotted this evil aspect of the Bill, which would have forced or encouraged these companies to flee from the United Kingdom to less bureaucratic, less potentially legally risky legal jurisdictions, almost anywhere else in the world.

This would also have lead to expensive international court cases, and probably trade sanctions against the UK, due to what would be seen as the UK Government's attempt to nationalise the intellectual property of foreign sovereign countries, whose top level internet domain names are just as important to them, as the .UK name space is to us.

It is still very wrong, that the Bill still includes the concept that a Manager appointed by Mandelson or his successors, supposedly in circumstances to defend a crisis affecting the national security of the entire UK digital economy, is to have his arbitrary fees paid for by the "property" of the domain registry on which he has been inflicted. This includes the legal costs of any Court action taken by the domain name registry against the Government or its appointed Manager "cuckoo", a process which is , effectively, nationalisation by the Government.

If these legal powers are, as claimed, really only reserve powers for times of national crisis, then they should be paid for by the public purse. What else are the Government's emergency financial reserves meant to be used for ?

The threat of such an unknown potentially very expensive financial burden is, thankfully, now much reduced, because the Government has yielded to the furore which it's incompetent Clauses 18 to 20 has stirred up, by adding the word "qualifying" in front of "domain name registry" or "registry".

In theory any company or organisation or individual could still be designated as "qualifying", but this would be much more likely to be successfully legally challenged, than the original, universal without exception, wording.

Another example of the clueless incompetence, or the last minute rush, of the original draughting of this Bill is the fact that the Government has also had to amend the wording "internet portal addresses" to "internet protocol addresses" !

See the Tech and Law blog for a marked up copy of the Digital Economy Bill. showing the changes from the original

Why is British legislation not always marked up with such changes like this officially ?

there are still plenty of other controversial aspects of this Digital Economy Bill, centered of Copyright and the collateral economic and social damage to families and businesses likely to be caused by the unfair internet disconnection enforcement measures vaguely outlined in the Bill.

These are likely to breach various fundamental human rights see Lillian Edwards Open Rights Group blog entry HL Committee on the Digital Economy Bill.

ICO Decision Notice FS50198733 - Home Office: Terrorism Act 2000 s44 stop and search Authorisations:

Given the recent European Court of Human Rights judgement about the controversial and widely abused Terrorism Act 2000 section 44 "stop and search" without "reasonable suspicion" legal powers, and, without any measurable positive effect on terrorism, we think that the Home Office and the Information Commissioner's Office are both very wrong in their decision to refuse our modest Freedom of Information Act request.

See European Court of Human Rights Judgment against the Terrorism Act 2000 section 44 stop and search without reasonable cause powers

More comments on this Decision Notice soon, when we have some feedback from our expert friends.

Reference: FS50198733

Information Commissioner's Office

Freedom of Information Act 2000 (Section 50)
Decision Notice Date: 8 February 2010

Public Authority: Address:
The Home Office
Seacote Building
2 Marsham Street
London
SW1P4DF

[...]

Summary


The complainant requested copies of all Authorisations for the power to stop and search issued under the Terrorism Act 2000. During the investigation, the request was refined as being for certain information contained within those Authorisations.

The public authority refused to release any information citing the exemptions at section
23 (Information supplied by or relating to, bodies dealing with security matters), section
24 (National security) and section 31 (Law enforcement). The complainant did not contest any information withheld by virtue of section 23.

The Commissioner's decision is that the exemption at section 24(1) is engaged and that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosure. He finds that this exemption applies to all the remaining information sought by the complainant so the exemption at section 31 has not been further considered.

The Commissioner has also identified procedural breaches which are outlined in the Notice below. The complaint is therefore partly upheld.

[...]

59. As cited in paragraph 34 above, "... 'national security' means the security of the United Kingdom and its people". The Commissioner is of the opinion that releasing the requested information would cause specific and real threats to national security. He believes that the information could be used by terrorists to support and influence their activity. He therefore believes that any advantages gained by further informing the public would be significantly outweighed by the factors for protecting the public by maintaining the exemption. The complaint is therefore not upheld.

60. As the Commissioner finds that all of the remaining requested information (to
which section 23 does not apply) is exempt by virtue of section 24(1) he has not gone on to consider the exemption at section 31(1 )(a), (b) and (c).

[..]

The decision


66. The Commissioner's decision is that the public authority dealt with the following elements of the request in accordance with the requirements of the Act:

  • the requested information was properly withheld under the exemption at section 24(1) of the Act.

67. However, the Commissioner has also decided that the following elements of the request were not dealt with in accordance with the Act:

  • in failing to provide a response compliant with section 1(1 )(a) within 20 working days of receipt of the request, the public authority breached section 10(1);
  • in exceeding the statutory time limit for providing a response the public authority breached section 17(1).

Steps required


68. The Commissioner requires no steps to be taken.


Other matters


69. Although they do not form part of this Decision Notice the Commissioner wishes to highlight the following matters of concern.

[...]


Information Notice

75. During the course of his investigation, the Commissioner has encountered considerable delay on account of the Home Office's reluctance to meet the timescales for response set out in his letters. The delays were such that the Commissioner found it necessary to issue an Information Notice in order to obtain details relevant to his investigation.

76. Accordingly, the Commissioner does not consider the Home Office's approach to this case to be particularly co-operative, or within the spirit of the Act. As such he will be monitoring the authority's future engagement with the ICO and would expect to see improvements in this regard.

[...]

Download the OCR / edited text of FOIA Decision Notice FS50198733 as a Rich text Format document.

ICO Decision Notice FS50198733 (.rtf)

[via The Register] If you have half an hour to spare, and you care about your own personal data privacy and security, and that of your family, you might be able to influence the European Commission, before they get out negotiated by the US Government, or get lobbied too hard by the vested securocrat interests.

Europe moves to curtail US data snooping rights

Free access to financial data may end

By John Oates

Posted in Government, 5th February 2010 15:56 GMT

The European Commission has opened a public consultation on whether the US government should continue to get free access to European bank and financial data under the SWIFT agreement.

The US claims it needs access to our bank accounts in order to fight terrorism - it has had free access since shortly after 11 September 2001. But the Civil Liberties Committee of European MPs yesterday recommended the Parliament reject renewal of the treaty; MEPs only recently got powers over external treaties.

This may sound like just hot air from Brussels, but the treaty is up for a vote next Thursday. MEPs want the data protected in the same way as it would be in Europe.

[,,,]

So when a US firm brings data out of Europe it must still follow EU law. This is now extended so that the data is passed on to an outsourcer, that company must also follow EU law.

The consultation documents are here. You have until 12 March to have your say.

Actually, that European Commission Consultation document is much wider and more general and applies to any data transfers involving Governments / national security / transnational border crime investigations etc:

Consultation on the future EU-US international agreement on personal data protection and information sharing for law enforcement purposes PDF File [69 KB .pdf]


Consultation on the future EU-US international agreement on personal data protection and information sharing for law enforcement purposes DOC File [25 KB .doc]


  • If you are answering this consultation as a citizen, please click here to submit your contribution.
  • If you are answering this consultation on behalf of an organisation, please click here to submit your contribution.
  • If you are answering this consultation on behalf of a public authority, please click here to submit your contribution.


[...]

Responsible service:

Directorate-General for Justice, Freedom and Security
Unit A2 - External relations and enlargement

E-mail: JLS-CONSULT-DP-AGRM@ec.europa.eu

Postal address :

European Commission
Directorate-General for Justice, Freedom and Security
Unit A2 - External relations and enlargement
B - 1049 Brussels

From the metadata of these documents, the author is listed as our old friend Jonathan Faull (.pdf), Director General of the European Commission's Justice, Freedom and Security department since 15 March 2003, with whom we have corresponded in the past

Jonathan_Faull.jpg

See our blog category archive EU Plans for internet censorship

The Questions which are asked in this short consultation document, are all well and good, provided that they are actually Answered and Implemented properly.

However, there are a few important Questions which are missing - notably in the areas of:

  • mandatory Data Security Breach Notification and Public Reporting,
  • mandatory use of strong Encryption to protect such data transfers in transit and storage,
  • the principle of Data Minimisation,
  • Data Retention and Destruction policies,
  • applying the same principles and protections for transfers between countries within the European Union as between any EU state and the USA,
  • the publication annually of how much public money is being spent on such data transfers, so that we can gauge whether they are cost effective or not.

See our comments below:

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.

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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