Alternatives to WikiLeakS, which no longer caters for ordinary whistleblowers - OpenLeaks, BrusselsLeaks, BalkanLeaks, WikiSpooks, Cryptome, IndoLeaks

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The controversial WikiLeakS.org website (no longer the current website, this now only redirects to a partial mirror of the original website) is still no longer accepting any submissions of leaked documents from ordinary, local or regional whistleblowers.

They and their mainstream media collaborators, have instead, been busy milking the vast amount of secret information which seems to have come from the imprisoned, but as yet unconvicted, low level US Army intelligence analyst in Iraq, Bradley Manning and they have survived various legal and illegal attacks on their computer and internet infrastructure as a result.

There is a new WikiLeakS.CH website which now boast over 1600 mirror websites, the setting up of which has , incredibly, been done by getting gullible people to send off an unencrypted web form with the volunteer's computer login and password details, in the clear, for various government agencies, ISPs and criminals to snoop on and intercept .

Neither WikiLeakS.CH nor any of its mirrors is running any working, leaked document submission system, so the news that a new website, called OpenLeaks.org is set to launch on Monday is quite interesting,

However so are the other alternatives such as BrusselsLeaks.com, or BalkanLeaks.eu, or WikiSpooks.com, or the comparatively venerable Cryptome.org, or the Indonesian IndoLeaks.org

Anybody thinking about using any of these websites to contact journalists, or to upload whistleblower leak documents, should firstly take some or all of the anonymity and security precautions which you can find at our website ht4w.co.uk - Technical Hints and Tips for protecting the anonymity of sources for Whistleblowers, Investigative Journalists, Campaign Activists and Political Bloggers etc.

Some Spy Blog Questions, Analysis and Opinion on these whistleblower websites:


OpenLeaks.org

OpenLeaks_logo_150.jpg

This site which is apparently to be run by some of the disgruntled WiikiLeakS.org technical staff is more modest in its aims, but it still faces the same sort of questions which WikiLeakS.org refused to answer satisfactorily since its inception.

See this detailed list of Questions, posted on the long running WikiLeak.org blog (no "s"), which has been examining the ethical and technical issues surrounding the WikiLeakS.org project, which the journalists and other commentators who will be trying to interview OpenLeaks people next week, should really be asking about this new project:

Will OpenLeaks learn from the mistakes and successes of WikiLeakS ?

e.g.

* How will a whistleblower know if their "leak" is likely to get published or not ?
* If not, then why would they use OpenLeaks at all ?

[...]

What protections will there be against Communications Traffic Data Analysis to protect the individual journalists who may have access, or may be strongly suspected of having access to such leaked material ?

If, for example, someone were to upload some alleged real, life threatening secrets, perhaps a list of names, job titles, home addresses, photos , fingerprints, DNA profiles etc. of intelligence or counter-terrorism agency officers or undercover police officers, then how will OpenLeaks protect the identities of individual journalists who had access to cryptographically protected "part of the system" ? Communications Traffic Data analysis (i.e. which computer logged into the system at which time and what size of files were transferred etc.), could identify individual journalists, who might then be put under intrusive surveillance or harassment or arrest, even if the encrypted content could not be read by third parties ?

[...]

  • How many, if any, of the OpenLeaks team will declare their involvement and support of the project publicly ? Who are they ?

  • Will OpenLeaks be less aloof and arrogant and Twitter dependent than WikiLeakS.org ? (Despite having a Wiki and a Website and for a time a "blog" and email as methods of publishing detailed Press releases, WikiLeakS.org favoured short Twitter messages which, for complicated issues, come across as curt and arrogant. These Tweets were mixed with various ad hominem attacks and gripes against opponents)
  • Which of the several already registered domain names using OpenLeakS / OpenLeak etc . will this new website actually use from Monday ?

It appears from their Twitter feed,

https://twitter.com/openleaksorg

that at least one of the website Domain Names is

http://www.openleaks.org/

  • Will there be multiple physical mirrors of the content as well as multiple domain name DNS aliases pointing to the main website ?

  • Will OpenLeaks use secondary and tertiary etc. DNS providers,in different legal jurisdictions, so as not be vulnerable to legal or illegal attacks on a single DNS provider , something which WikiLeakS.org was warned about, but chose to ignore until very recently ?

  • Will OpenLeaks eschew the stupid WikiLeakS.org policy of "security through obscurity" and embrace Kerckhoffs' Principle ? i.e. "a cryptosystem should be secure even if everything about the system, except the key, is public knowledge."
  • Will OpenLeaks publish a high level technical / security / anonymity infrastructure architecture overview ? (WikiLeakS.org never did this, relying on buzzwords and names of open source security / anonymity tools which they never properly explained the specific risks of their particular implementation of. They often actually never used (e.g. Freenet) , or stopped using some of these claimed technologies after a while, for no good reason (e.g. the use of PGP encryption / digital signatures.)
  • Will OpenLeaks actually use a proper SSL/TLS Digital Certificate for https:// encryption, especially of any contact or submission web forms ? (WikiLeakS.org started off ok with one, but failed to replace it when the MD5 digital signature weakness was made public, then failed to renew it, then re-introduced a Digital Certificate for a while, but have now abandoned this again)


[UPDATE 30 Dec 2010: https://www.OpenLeaks.org does now sport a proper Digital Certificate, from GlobalSign, which is what WikiLeakS.org eventually got around to using this year, after they incompetently let their old (potentially weak) Digital Certificate expire. N.B. WikiLeakS.CH still does not offer any such encryption at all.]

  • Will OpenLeaks publish and use one, or more, Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) public encryption and digital signing keys ? (WikiLeakS.org initially, after some prompting, published a PGP Key, then allowed it to expire after a year and then claimed that they were developing some sort of alternative encrypted email system, which never appeared )
  • Will OpenLeaks publish a Tor Hidden Service to allow more anonymous file uploads ? (WikiLeakS.org did start off with a Tor Hidden Service option, but abandoned it a year ago, although there was a brief re-appearance of a different one in July)
  • Will OpenLeaks accept postal submissions and / or financial donations ? (WikiLeakS.org did publish a list of "safe" PO box addresses, including one in Kenya, which they managed to continue publicising for financial donations, even after there was physical a break in to the premises and even after they had inappropriately only used Twitter to warn off some, but not all, people, from using it any longer)

  • What feedback will there be to an anonymous whistleblower that their submission or communication has actually been successfully received ?

  • Will OpenLeaks automatically or semi-automatically sanitise the tell tale meta data , which is embedded in so many Microsoft Word word processor documents or Excel spreadsheets etc. or in Adobe .pdf files or in digital photos or in videos or audio clips etc. ? (Remember that sometimes this meta data does gives clues as to the authenticity of the original documents, but it can also specifically betray, or at least narrow down the search, for an otherwise anonymous whistleblower)

  • How will OpenLeaks raise any funds ?
  • What will they do to protect the anonymity of financial contributors ?
  • What level of financial transparency and auditing of the finances will there be ?
  • Which media organisations and government agencies will have pre-publication access to the submitted material ?
  • Why should OpenLeaks be any more trustworthy than WikiLeakS.org ?

Spy Blog opinion:

We will they fix or repeat some of the technical mistakes that the ex-WikiLeakS.org
people should be familiar with ?

Until they provide Answers to most of the Questions above, they cannot be yet be trusted by whistleblowers who wish or need to remain anonymous (at least for the time being).

All of these Questions also apply to a couple of new "regional" Whistleblower Leak websites, which have been inspired by the WikiLeakS.org example, but which are independent of it.


BrusselsLeaks.com

The European Union Parliament and the European Commission, its Byzantine bureaucracy, based in Brussels and in Luxembourg, is the heavily influenced by leaked copies of documents produced by itself and by various vested interest lobbying firms and organisations.

The new BrusselsLeaks which makes use of a hosted WordPress blog, with a WordPress Digital Certificate encrypted submissions form.

However this only protects the content of the data in transit, and it may end up unencrypted on the WordPress blog servers, and may be retrieved insecurely via , say, FTP, by the BrusselsLeaks team.

There is also a Hushmail Encrypted Web Form for document uploads.

https://forms.hush.com/brusselsleak

which should provide securely encrypted uploads and storage and retrieval of whistleblower leaked documents, provided that a Canadian Court Order is not obtained by any European Union investigating authority.

There is no use of Tor Hidden Services etc. for complicating the work of Communications Traffic data Analysts, who may be trying to track down the anonymous whistleblower source.

How can people trust you?

Most of us have been in Brussels for a long while working in various capacities for media outlets. Nobody here is affiliated with an industry or other lobby group.

What we see all the time (and we're sure you've seen) are people working for lobby groups or powerful institutions who want to get information out there, but can't. Even if they had personal connections with us, they just didn't feel comfortable passing on documents. And sometimes we did get the documents, but couldn't get them out there because our known personal connection to 'that person' might put them in danger (i.e. job security).

We thought for a while it'd be a good idea to set up a website to allow people to anonymously upload files or send tip-offs on issues which we could use to either publish ourselves or send on to relevant people.

Wikileaks - something we have no connection with other than ideals - showed the power of this. As we say on the website, we are not necessarily expecting outrageous revelations but there is a lot of important information out there - information which might help an NGO explain why the European Commission is failing to act on something in particular, for instance. This isn't necessarily all about media; it's about getting documents out there to help society. That's what is important to us.

The people we know trust us personally, and if the website fails then so be it, we can carry on.

How do you know we are not a lobbyist or political group? We're not and in the coming months that should become plainly obvious. We're paying for the website and encryption tools out of our own pockets, and we all have (bar one person) full time jobs outside of this.

WordPress is based in the USA as is the legal jurisdiction for the BrusselsLeak.com domain name, which should act as a slight extra legal hurdle to jobsworth bureaucrats and policemen within the European Union who may try to force the website offline through illegal threats without a Court Order etc.

BrusselsLeaks have a Twitter feed, which can be accessed vuia SSL/TLS if you manually choose https:// . just like the WordPress hosted blog.

https://twitter.com/brusselsleaks

Spy Blog opinion:

Although they have yet to publish any leaks, BrusselsLeaks are worth following to see if they come up with important European Union leaks, which could allow public scrutiny and perhaps opposition to various vested interests' manipulation of the European Commission and European Parliament to develop.

Hopefully it will be a useful addition to the documents obtained and analysed by StateWatch.org

The use of properly encrypted web forms, hosted outside of the European Union is to be commended.

Some more thought and advice about Communications Traffic Data Analysis avoidance techniques is needed.

Publishing a separate PGP Public Encryption and Digital Signing Key which could be used in addition to the web form, would be a useful reassurance


BalkanLeaks.eu

Balkanleaks_logo_150.jpg

Slightly more technologically astute, necessarily so , given the authoritarian Communist secret police mindsets of many of those still in power in the region, is https://BalkanLeaks.eu.

This is based in Bulgaria, with webservers in Canada and Domain Registration in the USA. They insist on submissions being made through a Joomla based website running a Tor Hidden Service.

Dear friends,

Following the example of the whistleblowers site Wikileaks we opened this site to promote transparency and fight the nexus of organized crime and political corruption in the Balkan states.

We are deeply convinced that we're not alone in this battle. There are plenty of people out there that want to change the Balkans for good and are ready to take on the challenge. We're offering them a hand.

If you have any confidential documents related to political, criminal or financial topics and you want to share them with the press in a secure, anonymous way, you can use our secured and encrypted upload server. We will review the documents and publish them after checking the information.

To submit just follow those simple steps:

1. Download and install the Tor Browser Bundle for your system.

2. Launch the Tor browser and connect to our tor enabled server: http://r52mjuw7bkfbgtht.onion/upload/index.php

3. Wait! Tor is secure, but slow :-( If it really takes too long to join the page reload the tor browser.

4. Upload the files and disconnect.

Tor is working in such a way that nobody, including the administrators of the site can't guess who is the real submitter.

Tor offers a pretty high level of security and anonymity, but if you wish to do even better follow the recommendation:

- do not use your work computer for submitting;

- use a public, password free WiFi point;

- use a VPN connection to a server outside your home country.

Please, respect the following requirements for your uploads:

* Upload only documents which are either:
* not available in the public space or
* are in the public space but reveal data not known from previous journalistic investigations.
* Please, join a short description of your uploads;
* Name and number the documents in a comprehensive way;
* Do not upload opinions and allegations without document proofs.

Please, prefer the PDF format.

Thank you for your contribution.

The Balkan Leaks team

By using Tor end to end encryption, there is no need to run a SSL/TLS Digital Certificate encrypted web form, as this does not add any extra encryption over and above that of the Tor Hidden Service.

[UPDATE 27 Dec 2010: This website did not originally have a Digital Certificate , but it does have one now:
https://www.Balkanleaks.eu"]

Hopefully the leaked data is encrypted once it is on the BalkanLeaks.eu web server and can be retrieved securely as well.

They have already published some whistleblower leak documents available for download, translated into English and French e.g. The State-Mafia simbyosis in Bulgaria (.pdf)

Spy Blog opinion: worth following for Bulgarian and perhaps other Balkan state leaks and news.

They do seem to be taking Communications Data Traffic seriously, hopefully they also use encryption once the data is on their web server.

Publishing a separate PGP Public Encryption and Digital Signing Key which could be used in addition to the web form, would be a useful reassurance.

A Twitter account, used properly, to publicise newly published documents would be helpful to busy journalists, bloggers and politicians etc. It would also provide another communications channel to call for help if the main website is under legal or illegal attack, as WikiLeakS.org have shown.


WikiSpooks.com

WikiSpooks_logo_135.jpg is run by Peter Presland of Sabretache blog fame, with some friends and volunteers.

WikISpooks.com seeks to publish documents and articles possibly on the political fringe, challenging the accepted "official version" of events and news i.e. there could well be some "conspiracy theory" stuff, but that does not mean that it cannot be used by "ordinary" whistleblowers.

Just like the original WikiLeakS, this website does actually allow the public to comment on and analyse the documents and articles it publishes, using the same software as Wikipedia.

They also now have a proper Digital Certificate which protects the whole website if you use the https:// prefix rather than http:// (just like hosted WordPress blogs do)

This is especially important for the WikiSpooks Anonymous Submissions form.

https://wikispooks.com/anon/anon-ul.html

The do publish an Anonymous Uploads received page, to show whistleblowers etc. that they have succeeded in uploading something, although there should perhaps be some warnings about not revealing too much in the name(s) of the uploaded file(s).


https://wikispooks.com/wiki/Anonymous_Uploads_Received

WikiSpooks do publish a PGP Public Encryption Key [PGP Key ID: 0xE1CCF96F].

They offer some sound advice and warnings regarding Anonymity etc. online.

https://wikispooks.com/wiki/WikiSpooks:Anonymous_Uploads

Although seemingly aimed at a United Kingdom based, English speaking audience, the website is hosted in the Republic of Ireland with Domain Name Registration in the USA, so again, there is an extra legal hurdle for officious bureaucrats and shyster lawyers in the UK, if they attempt to censor it.

Spy Blog opinion:

Probably the closest to the original WikiLeakS.org concept, allowing for wiki style user comments and analysis.

Above average use of encryption.

Could be useful for United Kingdom based whistleblowers and journalists.

A Twitter account, used properly, to publicise newly published documents would be helpful to busy journalists, bloggers and politicians etc. It would also provide another communications channel to call for help if the main website is under legal or illegal attack, as WikiLeakS.org have shown.


Cryptome.org

cryptome_logo_150.jpg

The veteran New York architect John Young has been publishing Cryptome.org since about 1996.

There are a couple of mirrors of the content archive, which is also available on DVD for a moderate fee.

This website used to garner media attention now and then, for controversial whistleblower leaks or alleged disinformation e.g. alleged lists of the names of MI6 secret agents etc.

John Young was approached to be part of the WikiLeakS.org team, but he became disenchanted with it early on, and he leaked internal WikiLeakS.org email discussions onto his Cryptome.org website.

Standing firmly on his 1st Amendment to the US Constitution rights, John Young has resisted censorship attempts by his own and foreign governments.

His website has suffered from illegal hacking attacks and denial of service attacks, but the most serious threats to it being online have come from the activities of corporate lawyers from Microsoft etc. who have threatened expensive legal action against Internet Service Providers and Domain Name registrars, thereby temporarily succeeding in shutting down Cryptome.org, due to the publication of leaked documents describing their corporate Law Enforcement cooperation policies for services like Hotmail etc.

John Young does publish a PGP Public Encryption Key for jya@pipline.com [PGP ID: 0x58A4971E], but he does not bother with Digital Certificates or web submission forms.

http://cryptome.org/other-stuff.htm

The contact email address is currently: cryptome@earthlink.net

There is a Twitter account, https://twitter.com/cryptomeorg but this does not seem to get updated every time a new article is published on Cryptome.org.

He usually , but not always, censors personal names from emails sent to him, but he always publishes in full, attempts at censorship from lawyers and government agents.

He also delights in challenging real or alleged journalists to prove that they have actually bothered to read his website, before they ask stupid questions when interviewing him and he usually publishes any emails or transcripts of phone calls or video interviews etc.

Mixed in with obscure public domain US Government documents, photos and maps of supposedly sensitive US Government buildings (which the Russians and Chinese etc. know about from satellite imagery etc.) there are few whistleblower leak documents , but also rather too much anonymous ad hominem attacks on, say, WikiLeakS, or on "intelligence agencies", from anonymous and very often unreliable sources, some of which could be John Young himself.

Several documents and allegations regarding terrorist and intelligence agency alleged double agent and informer activities Northern Ireland have been published on Cryptome.org

Spy Blog opinion:

Almost any of the WikiLeakS.org leaks could have been sent to Cryptome.org, and, if published, would have been seen and used by quite a few mainstream media journalists.

However, John Young is at least as egocentric and (with good reason) as paranoid as Julian Assange, so publication is not guaranteed.

Any anonymous whistleblower would have to take their own anti Communications Traffic Data precautions in contacting Cryptome.org.


IndoLeaks.org

This launched last Friday 10th December 2010, using a USA registered Domain Name and the services of Google Docs and Blogger and Gmail and has already published several "leaks" e.g. a now declassified Transcript of a conversation between the Indonesian dictator General Suharto and US President Gerald Ford (.pdf), together with Henry Kissinger, just before the Indonesian invasion of East Timor in 1975,.from the Gerald R. Ford Library - the sort of document obscure which is often published by Cryptome.org and which would otherwise be ignored by the mainstream and even alternative media.

The IndoLeaks.org About Us page (translated via Google), does draw some clear lines about what will not get published on IndoLeaks.org e.g.

[...]

You can also share with us, with contact through indoleaks@gmail.com

  • Documents must be original, with no opinion of the sender in it.
  • Indoleaks.org will mention the source document is ANONYMOUS.
  • The document is a document published in the public interest HAVE.
  • Indoleaks.org NOT going to publish information relating to bank accounts, medical records, and other personal secret.

So IndoLeaks.org have a higher moral standard than WikiLeakS.org, which has published this sort of personal data.

  • Indoleaks.org NOT responsible for the use of the published document.

N.B. IndoLeaks.org does not currently point to the web blog, only www.indoleaks.org does

There is also no SSL/TLS Digital Certificate to protect browsing and downloads of possibly controversial or sensitive whistleblower leaked documents.

If Gmail is used with https:// SSL/TLS encryption, then this will provide a high degree of confidentiality regarding what is sent to IndoLeaks.org..

The use of Gmail will provide less than zero protection from Communications Traffic Data Analysis, since that is what Google does commercially, all of the time.

The operators of the indoleaks@gmail account / blogspot account, should be careful to disable the Google tracking cookies etc., after each time that they access this account, as otherwise they will very likely identify themselves to Google and their customers (including Governments) when visiting other websites.

There is a Twitter feed https://twitter.com/indoleaks which seems to have generated quite a lot of interest from the media and other commentators.

Spy Blog opinion::

Trusting Google with everything seems foolish for a whistleblower website.

IndoLeaks.org should provide, or at least link to, advice about Tor, open WiFi systems, VPNs etc. to help its sources protect their own anonymity.

Publishing a separate PGP Public Encryption and Digital Signing Key which could be used in addition to Gmail, would be a useful reassurance of a commitment to protect anonymous sources.


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About this blog

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

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

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

Email & PGP Contact

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

blog@spy[dot]org[dot]uk

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

Current PGP Key ID: 0x80CFAA4C which will expire on 6th September 2014.

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

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

Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers and Political Dissidents

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

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links

Watching Them, Watching Us

London 2600

Our UK Freedom of Information Act request tracking blog

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

Privacy and Security

Privacy International
United Kingdom Privacy Profile (2011)

Cryptome - censored or leaked government documents etc.

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

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

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

International Campaign Against Mass Surveillance

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

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

Technical Advisory Board on internet and telecomms interception under RIPA

European Digital Rights

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

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

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

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

Human Rights

Liberty Human Rights campaigners

British Institute of Human Rights
Amnesty International
Justice

Prevent Genocide International

asboconcern - campaign for reform of Anti-Social Behavior Orders

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

Internet Censorship

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

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

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

Judicial Links

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

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

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

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

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

Parliamentary Opposition

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

UK Government

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

No. 10 Downing Street Prime Minister's Official Spindoctors

Public Bills before Parliament

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

House of Commons "Question Book"

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

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

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

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

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

Online Media

Boing Boing

Need To Know [now defunct]

The Register

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

Ideal Government - debate about UK eGovernment

NIR and ID cards

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

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

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

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

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

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

Surveillance Infrastructures

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

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

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

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

RFID Links

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

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

RFIDBuzz.com blog - where we sometimes crosspost RFID articles

Genetic Links

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

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

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

Miscellanous Links

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

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

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

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

Former Spies

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

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

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

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

Naked Spygirl - Olivia Frank

Blog Links

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

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

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

Liberty Central

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

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

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

Vmyths - debunking computer security hype

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

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

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

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

Bloggerheads - Tim Ireland

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

Blogzilla - Ian Brown

BlairWatch - Chronicling the demise of the New Labour Project

dreamfish - Robert Longstaff

Informaticopia - Rod Ward

War-on-Freedom

The Musings of Harry

Chicken Yoghurt - Justin McKeating

The Red Tape Chronicles - Bob Sullivan MSNBC

Campaign Against the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Stop the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Rob Wilton's esoterica

panGloss - Innovation, Technology and the Law

Arch Rights - Action on Rights for Children blog

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

Shaphan

Moving On

Steve Moxon blog - former Home Office whistleblower and author.

Al-Muhajabah's Sundries - anglophile blog

Architectures of Control in Design - Dan Lockton

rabenhorst - Kai Billen (mostly in German)

Nearly Perfect Privacy - Tiffany and Morpheus

Iain Dale's Diary - a popular Conservative political blog

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

BLOGDIAL

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

Ralph Bendrath

Financial Cryptography - Ian Grigg et al.

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

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

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

"Give 'em hell Pike!" - Frank Fisher

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

geeklawyer - intellectual property, civil liberties and the legal system

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

Charlie's Diary - Charlie Stross

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

Famous for 15 Megapixels

Postman Patel

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

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

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

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

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

Matt Wardman political blog analysis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No CCTV - The Campaign against CCTV

Barcode Nation - keeping two eyes on the database state.

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

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

Justin Wylie's political blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Links

Spam Huntress - The Norwegian Spam Huntress - Ann Elisabeth

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

Cool Britannia

NuLabour

Free Gary McKinnon - UK citizen facing extradition to the USA for "hacking" over 90 US Military computer systems.

Parliament Protest - information and discussion on peaceful resistance to the arbitrary curtailment of freedom of assembly and freedom of speech, in the excessive Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 Designated Area around Parliament Square in London.

Brian Burnell's British / US nuclear weapons history at http://nuclear-weapons.info

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UK Legislation

The United Kingdom suffers from tens of thousands of pages of complicated criminal laws, and thousands of new, often unenforceable criminal offences, which have been created as a "Pretend to be Seen to Be Doing Something" response to tabloid media hype and hysteria, and political social engineering dogmas. These overbroad, catch-all laws, which remove the scope for any judicial appeals process, have been rubber stamped, often without being read, let alone properly understood, by Members of Parliament.

The text of many of these Acts of Parliament are now online, but it is still too difficult for most people, including the police and criminal justice system, to work out the cumulative effect of all the amendments, even for the most serious offences involving national security or terrorism or serious crime.

Many MPs do not seem to bother to even to actually read the details of the legislation which they vote to inflict on us.

UK Legislation Links

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

UK Commissioners

UK Commissioners some of whom are meant to protect your privacy and investigate abuses by the bureaucrats.

UK Intelligence Agencies

Intelligence and Security Committee - the supposedly independent Parliamentary watchdog which issues an annual, heavily censored Report every year or so. Currently chaired by the Conservative Sir Malcolm Rifkind. Why should either the intelligence agencies or the public trust this committee, when the untrustworthy ex-Labour Minister Hazel Blears is a member ?

Anti-terrorism hotline - links removed in protest at the Climate of Fear propaganda posters

MI5 Security Service
MI5 Security Service - links to encrypted reporting form removed in protest at the Climate of Fear propaganda posters

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Secure Your Fertiliser - advice on ammonium nitrate and urea fertiliser security

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Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure - "CPNI provides expert advice to the critical national infrastructure on physical, personnel and information security, to protect against terrorism and other threats."

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Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) recruitment.

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Government Communications Headquarters GCHQ

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Serious Organised Crime Agency - have cut themselves off from direct contact with the public and businesses - no phone - no email

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

Foreign Spies / Intelliegence Agencies in the UK

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

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

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

Campaign Button Links

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Open Rights Group

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

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

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

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Amnesty International's irrepressible.info campaign

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BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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

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

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

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

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

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No CCTV - The Campaign Against CCTV

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I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist !

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Power 2010 cross party, political reform campaign

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

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

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WhistleblowersUK.org - Fighting for justice for whistleblowers