January 2011 Archives

sukey_kettle_logo_450.jpg

Some University College London students and others, have been trying out their Web 2.0 skillz by producing a smartphone App and Location Based Services web map called Sukey, in support of the student / anarchist protests, which are nominally about the Conservative / Liberal Democrat coalition Government financial cutbacks, due to the appalling state of the economy, which was ruined by the incompetence of the previous Labour government.

"Sukey" is meant to be a pun on the nursery rhyme "Polly put the kettle on, Sukey take it off again"

"Kettling" is the police jargon for the controversial tactic of surrounding crowds of peaceful protesters and preventing them from dispersing and going home for several hours, even when they are fed up with the protest. Demonstrators are also photographed and video surveilled and attempts are made to gather names and addresses from those who are ignorant of their legal rights not to do so unless actually arrested.

Despite making bold claims about the "security" of Sukey e.g. "Sukey is safe" and "Your data is safe with Sukey" here is nothing about any mobile phone anonymity techniques which might pose some problems to securocrats and their automated Single Point of Contact systems for grabbing Communications Traffic Data and Subscriber Details from mobile phone network companies

There is not even any basic advice about (not) taking anything but untraceable, disposable mobile phones to a demonstration or protest.

http://sukey.org/summary

Sukey

A tool for non-violent demonstrations.

Which, if it actually works, can also be easily misused by others.

Objective

To keep peaceful protesters informed with live protest information that will assist them in avoiding injury, in keeping clear of trouble spots and in avoiding unnecessary detention.

The application suite gives maximum information to those participating in a demonstration so that they can make informed decisions, as well as to those following externally who may be concerned about friends and family.

It should make full use of the crowd in gathering information which is then analysed and handed back to the crowd.

Success Criteria

The success of the project will be measured by user feedback according to the primary and secondary success criteria listed below.

Primary

Keeping people safe on demonstrations.

Anyone can use it.

Ensuring protesters are kept informed of the official demonstration route together with en-route amenities (eg WiFi, Toilets, Tube stations, First Aid, Coffee shops, Payphones etc).

Secondary

Provide a live viewing platform for interested parties not at the demonstration.

Which will also provide a Communications Data analysis and data mining opportunity for UK police and intelligence agencies, foreign intelligence agencies and corporate spies.

Key Elements of Solution

1. How we can help you to help each other

Website

Inform and educate.

Find out what is going on as it happens.

No matter what happens, sign up to the free SMS system.

SMS text messages are never free of charge.

Who is paying for this ?

What's in it for the user?

What are you getting?

Stay informed and make the right decisions during the demonstration.

Avoid trouble spots and risking injury.

Get live demonstration news as it happens.

Allow political organisers and manipulators to track the progress of the demonstrations they have organised, remotely, at a safe distance.

Allow political organisers and manipulators to feed false information to the police etc. and to manipulate some or all of the demonstrators into creating diversions to allow either peaceful media stunts or violent attacks, unhindered by the police etc.

Allow the forces of law and order / repression, yet another intelligence source to help to track the demonstrations they are policing or repressing, remotely, at a safe distance.

Why contribute information?

Help other peaceful demonstrators.

Provide an accurate view of events as they happen.

Accurate ? Just the facts, with all of the facts, with no political bias at all ?

Even large , well funded media organisations and the police are not capable of doing that.

Show what goes on in protests.

We exist to support decisions - be a part of it.

2. Sources of information

Information sources

Information crowd sourced from demonstrators out on the street.

Text

Photos

Video

The Sukey website urges people to publish digital photos to Twitpic and / or Flickr, but
it does not provide any of the easily available automatic software tools or even any advice, about removing or anonymising some or all of the Exif meta data embedded in such images, which can and will be used to help hunt down protesters and to prove that the photographers were present at a particular location and time.

None of the #sukey tagged photos on Twitpics, for example, appear to have had their Exif metadata removed, there are a couple examples of photos published from HTC Desire HD and HTC Wildfire phones

Up to the minute information from social and traditional media.

Other Options


3. Information Presentation

Simple to use, uncluttered display

Must have a degraded version for lower spec phones

Must show freedom of movement and support fast decisions

4. Back End Data Processing

Use of Swarming Algorithms

It seems unlikely that existing Swarming Algorithms which simulate animal behaviour in unconstrained free air or water space, can be directly applicable to the behaviour of crowds of humans

Computer simulation modelling of the various permanent and temporary barriers to movement across all of the streets and protest target buildings of central London, is far harder than the existing state of the art studies and simulations of people flows in comparatively simple and well controlled sports stadia or airports or railways stations etc.

Use location data to detect freedom of movement

Presumably the mean Twitter and Google GPS data rather than GSM or 3G mobile phone cell transmitter Location Based Services data and triangulation.

Prioritisation of Messaging and Reports to and from crowd

Coalesce multiple reports of same event

Exactly the classical real time Command and Control problems faced by those who are policing such demonstrations.

There seem to be some reports that Sukey.org might be using the open source crisis mapping tool SwiftRiver to try to achieve this.

Must process footpaths and open spaces - not just roads

5. Security

User Security

No user identifiable data to be stored. Ever.

Regular User Security reviews throughout build

Encrypt locations on data requests

This is all very misleading !

This encryption of cannot do anything to hide the Communications Traffic Data cell phone Location Based Data Services and Subscriber Details ,which are controlled by the mobile phone networks and third party companies like Twitter and Google.

Such Communications Traffic Data is automatically handed over to the police and intelligence agencies, without any Court Order or Judicial Warrant of any sort, under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 Part 1 Chapter II Acquisition and disclosure of communications data

Neither the student protesters nor the Sukey App developers and operators have any control over this at all..

Neither do they have any control over the Google Latitude system, which they are encouraging people to sign up their smartphones to, and then to allow Sukey.org to track via Google Maps. What difference does any Sukey.org encryption make, when Google retains all your data and then sells or gives it law enforcement or intelligence agencies as requested ?

Encryption Keys to be generated either by users or automatically and undiscoverable by team.

Junk all identifiable data from Apache logs

System Security

Protected from DDOS and seizure

Hacksafe

Multiple routing options

Multiple servers/server locations

Multiple resilient, secure computers and communications infrastructure cost money.

Who is paying for this ?

Who exactly is in charge of the Sukey system ?

The "Security overview" page is partly re-assuring, but also rather worrying.

http://sukey.org/securit

Sukey is safe

At the very earliest stages of building Sukey we had a meeting where we divided the team into groups. The groups were: Data Input, Data Processing, Presentation, Security. In other words, security has been a key issue right the way through Sukey's design and build and has received as much focus as any of the more visible aspects of the project.

The team members involved on the security side are a mix of commercial information security experts and computer nerd under/post graduates who love nothing better than a complex algorithm. One of our key team members has technical commercial data security patents in his name and has provided information security consultancy to IBM, Lockheed Martin, and to the NHS.

All data received by Sukey is anonymised using secure encryption that is known to be unbreakable in less than 10 years using current computer technology. The process we use ensures that we can't decrypt any personal identifiers in the information sent to us. Even with a court order.

Attention to detail on security has been a hallmark of the project â€" both person identifiable security and the overall security and resilience of the Sukey service against infrastructure attack or failures.

Your data is safe with Sukey.

Is it really ?

The use of encryption does not automatically mean anonymity for users of or contributors to Sukey.org.

Following It would be much more reassuring if the Sukey.org people mentioned exactly which encryption algorithm they were using, instead of making speculative claims about its alleged strength. The fact that they have not done so gives rise to the suspicion that they have attempted to write their own encryption software, an approach which is fraught with danger for the users of Sukey.org.

What is wrong with using standard AES 256 encryption via a TLS session, especially for data which will be out of date in less than an hour after which it should be securely deleted from computer memory and never needs to be stored on a computer hard disk at all ?

it would be more impressive, if the Sukey.org team with their "attention to detail" had actually demonstrated their commitment to the use of strong encryption, by running a https:// session encrypted version of the Sukey.org website . However there is currently no Digital Certificate installed.

Similarly, there is no published PGP Public Encryption and / or Digital Signing Key available either, only Google gmail accounts, which are vulnerable Mutual legal Aid law enforcement requests

It looks as if the Sukey.org team need to be reminded that "Even with a court order." is irrelvant in the United Kingdom, - no court order is needed by the Police for access to Communications Data ( which must be Retained for at least a year) and none is required for Cryptographic Keys either.

The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 Part III Investigation of electronic data protected by encryption etc. does not require a Poice constable to get the prior permission of any Court, before serving a Section 49 Notice on someone , forcing them to hand over their cryptographic de-cryption keys , or the de-crypted plaintext. A Court only comes into play if and when you are deemed to have refused to comply with such an order, when you are facing up to 5 years in prison or up to 10 years in prison if the magic words "national security" are mentioned.

It will be interesting to see if the Sukey.org team does actually release its software source code to the public as it has promised, whilst it works on an improved version for the next protest.

Until they do so, you should avoid using the Sukey.org App and website, from anything except an anonymous mobile phone, unless you wish to attract Police , Intelligence Agency and corporate surveillance onto yourself and your family, friends and business associates,

If Sukey is not (yet) suitable for the streets of London, then it would be positively dangerous to deploy it or anything similar, in trouble spots like Tunisia or Egypt etc.

N.B. mobile phones actually require quite a bit of effort to initially obtain and maintain in an untracked, anonymous state.

See our website http://ht4w.co.uk. Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers etc. which covers some basic mobile phone anonymity techniques, removing Exif meta data from digital images, and some other anonymity techniques.

HC Deb, 24 January 2011, c35

Members: Surveillance
Prime Minister
Written answers and statements, 24 January 2011

Jonathan Edwards (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, Plaid Cymru)

To ask the Prime Minister whether there have been any changes to the Wilson doctrine since May 2010.

David Cameron (Prime Minister; Witney, Conservative)

No.

Technically this one word answer is a re-affirmation of the Wilson Doctrine, espoused by the then Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson in 1966, that no Member of Parliament's telephone shall be tapped, unless there is a major national emergency, and that any changes to this policy will be reported by the Prime Minister to Parliament.

No doubt some Downing Street apparatchik thought that he was being clever by draughting this one word "No" Parliamentary Answer, but the political effect is to make David Cameron appear as arrogant and uncaring about our freedoms and liberties, as his control freak Labour predecessors Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

Back in 1966, most people did not have direct dial international phone lines, let alone facsimile machines or mobile phones or the internet.

The Wilson Doctrine has been re--affirmed by every Prime Minister since Harold Wilson, and has been extended to cover Peers of the House of Lords as well as Members of Parliament in the House of Commons. It is also meant to cover mobile phones and computer telecommunications.

There is no reason why it could not or should not be extended to cover the elected Members of the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly, the Northern Ireland Assembly and the European Parliament.

All of these are democratically elected by the same British electorate who lend their power to the Parliament in Westminster.

The Wilson Doctrine is not meant to help financially or morally corrupt or treacherous politicians hide their crimes and scandals, but it is vital to give the right signals to the electorate, that their communications with their elected representatives will not be snooped on by the Government, especially when they are complaining about Government policies or are whistleblowing and exposing the incompetence or wrongdoings of Government bureaucrats.

Interestingly, it was left to a Welsh Nationalist MP to ask this important question about the Wilson Doctrine.

It is unsurprising that the authoritarian and incompetent Labour party. the so called Official Opposition", could not be bothered to ask any Questions about the Wilson Doctrine and the safeguarding of the communications of their constituents, presumably because of their own appalling record in creating the current, out of control, database surveillance snooper state.

Instead, there are several disgraced or disgraceful Labour figures who seem more concerned about the News of the World voice mailbox interception scandal.

Why did they not raise such anti-Rupert Murdoch claims when they were Government Ministers ?

If these Labour politicians were so inept with basic mobile phone security (i.e. changing the default voicemailbox pass code and not leaving any sensitive voicemail messages whatsoever) with their private mobile phones, then how many Government secrets have they betrayed to foreign intelligence agencies and criminal gangs etc.via their official Government issue mobile phones ?

We will have plenty of criticism of the Home Office's reluctant
Review of counter-terrorism and security powers,hopefully sometime this weekend.

Here is a copy of the

Review of counter-terrorism and security powers - findings and recommendations (PDF file - 428kb)

for those of you who do not want to give the Home Office website (and the US owned , commercial Sitestat OnClick web tracking / snooping system which they employ) your IP address and web browser details etc.


Why was the announcement of the appointment of the new Intelligence Services Commissioner, Rt. Hon. Sir Mark Waller only made 3 weeks after he took office ?

HC Deb, 20 January 2011, c53WS)

Intelligence Services Commissioner

Prime Minister

Written answers and statements, 20 January 2011

David Cameron (Prime Minister; Witney, Conservative)

In accordance with section 59 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, I have agreed to appoint the right hon. Sir Mark Waller as Intelligence Services Commissioner from 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2013.

All the RIPA Commissioners are retired senior High Court Judges and they are usually appointed for 3 years at a time.

Why was this Written Ministerial Statement only published on 20th January 2011, when the appointment had already been in effect for the previous 3 weeks ?

Could the Prime Minister and his securocrat advisors really not recruit a successor to the previous Intelligence Services Commissioner before Christmas 2010 ?and announce the appointment Sir Mark Waller was to take over the role ?

What does this imply about the Rt. Hon. Sir Peter Gibson ?

He was originally appointed by Tony Blair as Intelligence Services Commissioner from 1st April 2006 to 31st March 2009. and was the re-appointed by Gordon Brown: to serve from 1st April 2009 to 31st March 2012

Why has his tenure been cut short by 15 months ?

Does this mean that he is in poor health ?

What about the Administrative Inquiry into the alleged complicity of the UK intelligence agencies with torture and "extraordinary rendition" of British nationals and residents, which Sir Peter Gibson was appointed to chair by Prime Minister David Cameron, on 6th July 2010 ?

Are there so many allegations or so much prima facie evidence of complicity in torture by the intelligence agencies, that Sir Peter Gibson can no longer fulfil both roles at the same time ?

There are only 69 days left before the mandatory United Kingdom Census on Sunday 27th March 2011

The Office for National Statistics has issued a misleading Press Release which seeks to allay the understandable public fears about what the risks are to their Sensitive Personal Data in regard to the involvement of he massive United States defence contractor Lockheed Martin.

The management executives of Lockheed Martin are obviously in no position to refuse any requests for demands for confidential UK census data data by US Government agencies, out of patriotic duty and for fear of threats to their huge multi-billion pound US Government contracts.

14 January 2011

2011 Census and Lockheed Martin UK

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) carries out the Census in England and Wales. ONS is using a number of specialist companies to provide specific services for the census. The contract for processing the census questionnaires is not with the Lockheed Martin USA.It is with Lockheed Martin UK which is a UK based subsidiary. The contract was awarded in August 2008 to Lockheed Martin UK as it offered the best value for money in an open procurement scheme, carried out under European law.

There is an exemption under European competition law for public contracts which allows Governments not to open tenders to foreign companies, for systems which have "security" implications.

The contract has created around 1,500 jobs in the UK.

The contract is for £150 million, so that is £100,000 per job created in the UK.

Surely there are much cheaper job creation schemes than that ?

Security safeguards for census data

Concerns expressed about the possibility of the US Patriot Act being used by US intelligence services have been addressed by a number of additional contractual and operational safeguards. These arrangements have been put in place to ensure that US authorities are unable to access census data.

  • All data processing will be carried out in UK - no data will leave or be held at any point outside the UK;

That is hard to believe, especially for the Still Secret Online Completion Census 2011 Web Site

The current http://www.census2011.gov.uk website tries to hand over your IP address and Web Browser details etc. to the US based company Google, by sneaking in Google Analytics javascript into their home page:

<script type="text/javascript"> var gaJsHost = (("https:" == document.location.protocol) ? "https://ssl." : "http://www."); document.write(unescape("%3Cscript src='" + gaJsHost + "google-analytics.com/ga.js' type='text/javascript'%3E%3C/script%3E")); </script> <script type="text/javascript"> try { var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker("UA-3503239-21"); pageTracker._trackPageview(); } catch(err) {}</script>
Is the Office for National Statistics really so technically incompetent that it cannot analyse its own webserver logfile statistics ?
  • All data is the property of the ONS and only UK/EU owned companies will have any access to personal census data.

No ! It is our data as individual citizens and residents of the UK, it does not belong to the the ONS !

It is intolerable for the ONS or any other Government department to falsely claim exclusive ownership of people's names or addresses or familial relationships or religious beliefs or any of the other answers to the intrusive Census Questions.

Which part of "Only I Own My Own Name" etc. do these bureaucrats not understand ?

  • The only people who have access to the full census dataset in the operational data centre will be ONS staff.

Misleading weasel words.

  • What about partial census datasets rather than "the full census dataset" ?
  • What about once data is copied and sent out of the "operational data centre" ?
  • What about the Approved Researchers ?
  • No Lockheed Martin staff (from either the US parent or UK company) will have access to any personal census data.

Surely Lockheed Martin staff will have access to the census form optical character reading software and databases ?

  • ONS will control system access rights to all data systems;

So what ?

That is not in itself, any guarantee that your Sensitive Personal Data will not be copied and shared without your consent.

  • Existing law already prevents the disclosure of census data - it is a criminal offence to disclose personal census data and is punishable by a fine and/or up to two years in prison.

No !!

This gives the misleading impression that somehow our Sensitive Personal Data can never be handed over individually or in bulk to anybody else apart from ONS staff.

See


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

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

(a) any member or employee of the Board,
(b) a member of any committee of the Board, or
(c) any other person who has received it directly or indirectly from the Board.

[...]

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

(a) is required or permitted by any enactment,
(b) is required by a Community obligation,
(c) is necessary for the purpose of enabling or assisting the Board to exercise any of its functions,
(d) has already lawfully been made available to the public,
(e) is made in pursuance of an order of a court,
(f) is made for the purposes of a criminal investigation or criminal proceedings (whether or not in the United Kingdom),
(g) is made, in the interests of national security, to an Intelligence Service,
(h) is made with the consent of the person to whom it relates, or
(i) is made to an approved researcher.

There is also a "get out of jail free" provision for any ONS bureaucrats or sub-contractors under the amendments introduced by the Census Confidentiality Act 1991:

1 Unlawful disclosure of information

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

[...]

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

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

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

[...]


i.e. this data can and will be handed over, without penalty, to:

    the 56 geographical and 8 non-geographical UK Police Forces
  • the three UK Intelligence Agencies (MI5, MI6 and GCHQ), the Department for Work and Pensions,
  • private investigators working for the DWP hunting down "benefits cheats",
  • Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs tax investigators,
  • approved Insurance Industry "anti-fraud" investigators / private investigators,
  • the Home Office Borders and Immigration Agency,
  • the Serious Organised Crime Agency (either for domestic investigations into Serious Crimes, or for these and also for minor investigations if requested by a Foreign Law Enforcement agency under Mutual Legal Assistance treaties,
  • Lawyers in civil Court Cases e.g. for Divorce or Libel or Copyright Infringement etc.,
  • Local Authority Trading Standards departments,
  • Local Authority Environmental Health departments
  • etc. etc. etc.

N.B. none of these organisations should be allowed to have access to Census Data, if the idea of the census is to be comprehensive and inclusive of those groups in society who have every reason to fear and distrust the bureaucracy.

  • All census employees and contractors working on the census sign a declaration of confidentiality to guarantee their understanding and compliance with the law.

What exactly is the text of this "declaration of confidentiality" ?

  • Independent checks by an accredited UK security consultancy of both physical and electronic security are carried out for ONS.

Which "accredited UK security consultancy" has been given this contract ?

-ENDS-


For further information, images and interviews:

Press Hotline: 01329 447654

Email: 2011censuspress@ons.gsi.gov.uk

Visit: www.census.gov.uk/2011press

Twitter: www.twitter.com/2011censuspress

Will any mainstream media journalists bother to question the ONS about these issues, or will we have to do it instead ?

The phrases "the BBC learns" or "the BBC understands that" or "Whitehall sources" etc. are euphemisms for an "off the record" a "leak" / briefing by a Whitehall spin doctor, not for revelations by a worried whistleblower.

The BBC and other mainstream media should refuse to publish such anonymous briefings about changes to Government policy. There should be a named official Government spokesman and Minister who takes the credit or blame for the policy announcement. If the final details of Government policy have not yet been decided, then they should say so and invite comment and advice from the public and outside experts, who know at least as much as they do about the issues.

This particular the media spin is about the hugely controversial "Control Orders" scheme, which , like so many "security" policies introduced by the inept and authoritarian former Labour government, has been both a practical disaster and a propaganda victory for our enemies, through the destruction of our basic freedoms and fundamental human rights i.e. exactly what they are trying to achieve.

The Home Office or the Prime Minister's Office should simply announce their new proposals officially, as a public consultation, on a website, for everyone to see and comment on, before they are implemented.

Given the appalling scheme which Labour produced in secret, there is no excuse for repeating the same mess, with slightly different variations.

The BBC often claims to be independent of the British government, but that is not the impression given by this report:

11 January 2011 Last updated at 19:25

Control orders: BBC learns detail of replacement regime

The coalition plans to replace control orders with a new range of restrictions to keep terror suspects under surveillance, the BBC has learned.

One working title for the new curbs is "surveillance orders".

[...]

The BBC understands the new orders would give the security services the power to:

* ban suspects from travelling to locations such as open parks and thick walled buildings where surveillance is hard

If the BBC were actually doing a proper job of investigative journalism, instead of just parroting the Government line, they would have asked how exactly is this stupid idea is possible to enforce.

Are MI5 and the Police really going to compromise their Surveillance Sources and Methods, by revealing exactly where "surveillance is hard" for them ? Unlikely.

Does this mean that the fabled airborne Surveillance Drones are useless for enforcing such "Surveillance Orders" ?

Does "thick walled buildings" include the London Underground Tube system or concrete car parks ?

* allow suspects to use mobile phones and the internet but only if the numbers and details were given to the security services

The existing Control Orders were incapable of preventing this, so the new "Surveillance Orders" will be just as useless.

Are the Controllees really likely to be ignorant of Mobile Phone interception and location tracking ?

* ban suspects from travelling abroad

Presumably none of the existing Control Orders aimed at British citizens have yet done so, since this would be a direct challenge to our fundamental human right of freedom to travel, which would require Derogation from the European Convention on Human Rights making the United Kingdom morally equivalent to totalitarian regimes like North Korea.

Remember, these are not bail conditions, where someone can be forced to surrender their Passport, these Orders are applied to people who have not been charged or convicted of any crime. Just because they have been used sparingly so far, is no excuse for creating a legal infrastructure of repression which can easily be used against other political or religious dissidents or opponents in the future.

* ban suspects from meeting certain named individuals, but limited to people who are themselves under surveillance or suspected of involvement in terrorism

Under the planned new orders, the security services would lose the power to impose overnight curfews, force suspects to phone into a monitoring company every time they entered or left their homes and lift the ban on them using mobile phones and the internet.

They would also lose the power to force suspects to live in a particular location, known as "relocation orders", or limit the visitors to their homes

Giving secret policemen and bureaucrats the power, without arrest, charge or conviction, to force your relocation to somewhere more administratively convenient for them, is indistinguishable from the legal power to set up Concentration Camps.

Tagging

However, one detail that appears to remain unresolved is over the future of tagging.

This will no longer be used to enforce a curfew by informing the authorities whether or not a suspect is at their home.

But some in government are pushing for the security services still to have the power to tag suspects simply so they can keep tabs on them by knowing if they are no longer sleeping regularly at one particular address

Who exactly are these "some in government" ?

Have they been lobbied by the security industry companies who have or are bidding for multi-million pound contracts electronic tagging services to the criminal justice system ?

N.B. former Labour Home Secretary John Reid gets £50,000 a year from the foreign owned multinational G4S (which took over the Group 4 Security and Securicor brands in the UK) to act as a "consultant".

The BBC has also learned that the government is drawing up tough new anti-terror laws that could be rushed through Parliament after a major terrorist incident - in case the new surveillance orders proved inadequate in the face of increased threat levels.

Whitehall sources said the draft legislation would - if enacted - give the police and the security services effectively the same powers they have now under existing control orders.

The so-called Terrorism Prevention Orders would be put before Parliament if the heads of the three intelligence agencies and the home secretary agreed there was a national emergency.

No ! There are already plenty of Emergency Powers available under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004. In what way are those draconian, Henry VIII powers in any way insufficient ?

Rushing through repressive terrorism legislation after a single "major terrorist incident" is utterly wrong - look at the creepy, authoritarian, badly draughted legal mess that Labour in the UK and the Republicans in the USA made with the hodge podge the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 or the PATRIOT Act.

Any such proposed legislation should be published and debated, now, so that everyone is clear on the fine details before it is ever needed.

But shadow home secretary Ed Balls said that the process had "descended into a shambles" as ministers struggled to find a way of keeping the coalition united.

"With daily leaks, briefings and counter-briefings, this is a chaotic and disorderly way in which to decide national security policy," he said.

Why didn't the BBC point out that that is exactly the modus operandi of the previous Labour government and that Ed Balls was himself a prime abuser of anonymous leaks and briefings ?

census_2011_logo_150.jpg

The 2011 Census is rapidly approaching on Sunday 27th March 2011 and the Government bureaucracy is preparing its media spin and propaganda campaign:

Have a look at this Census 2011 Press centre page: Local Press resources, updated 27th November 2010

[...]

Media incident guidelines

The 2011 Census press team has established a comprehensive media handling and issue tracking process. The press team will focus its resources on national and regional press, TV and radio. However, certain events and local press enquiries could mean that you want some support. Possible scenarios are:

Negative local media coverage: If you become aware of any negative local media coverage about the 2011 Census which may affect return rates or could damage the reputation of the 2011 Census and/or ONS, please contact your local census area manager or ACLM.

Difficult press enquiries: Press enquiries can be passed on to your 2011 Census area manager if:

  • you do not feel confident that you have enough information to satisfy a specific journalist request/enquiry
  • the journalist asks for an official ONS comment
  • the journalist is looking for information outside your area
  • you are unsure of the angle the journalist is taking - or suspect they may take a negative line

Other events: If ever something happens that you think could become a media issue, please call your 2011 Census area manager to talk it through.

For all emergencies requiring urgent communication with the 2011 Census press team in Titchfield, please call the 2011 Census Press Hotline:

01329 447654

2011 Census press officers are available on this number 24 hours a day. This is a press hotline and should only ever be used in an emergency.

A 24 hour a day census media spin hotline, to counter journalists who are merely "suspected" of "taking a negative line"

This is in itself, highly suspicious - what exactly are they trying to hide ?

Social media guidelines

The 2011 Census campaign includes activities to monitor and engage appropriately with social media. The viral nature of social media calls for extra care whenever your team is representing the 2011 Census in social media, Please observe our guidelines to avoid a social media crisis.

If you are at all unsure, please contact us at 2011censusLAcomms@ons.gov.uk for advice.

Will this "social media monitoring and engagement" manage to detect this blog post and its corresponding tweet ?

Response statements

Should the national press raise an issue that could cause public concern, damage the reputation or success of the 2011 Census, and require correction/clarification, we may publish an official response/position statement on the 2011 Census website, www.census.gov.uk/2011press. We will send you an email alert whenever these are published on the press centre. A detailed explanation of the background, research and consultation involved in developing the 2011 Census questions is available on the ONS website.

Are there any journalists or social media commentators who would like to test this spin system with some "Negative local media coverage" or "difficult press enquiries" or issues "which may raise public concern" ?

See our previous Spy Blog article United Kingdom (England & Wales) Census Day - Sunday 27th March 2011 - will you boycott the intrusive, snooping questions ?

Some Questions to Ask:

  1. The outsourcing of the Census data processing to the United States defence contractor Lockheed Martin, whose company officers and executives have no choice under the US Patriot Act but to allow US Government agencies to snoop on our unredacted, not yet anonymised Census data . What proof is there that US employees or citizens will have no access to our Census Data ?

  2. The mysterious, secret, Census 2011 Online Completion website, which will be available from March 5th 2011.

    • Why is there no preview URL for the public and media to check the "look and feel" and functionality ?
    • What strength of SSL / TLS Digital Certificate and cryptographic algorithms will be employed, if any ?
    • What proof is there that the data will not be shipped from the webserver to back end servers unencrypted ?
    • Will the web forms attempt to force you to answer every Question, even if you want to leave something blank ?
    • Will the website employ web bugs and foreign based Google tracking cookies (like the Census 20111 website does, for no good reason)
    • What Communications Data logfile tracking will there be ? This would be a bonanza for Google or other tracking cookie systems if they are in place.
    • What measures exactly are in place to prevent the "Census Online Completion" website from grinding to a halt, due to entirely predictable peak demand, as we have seen with previous Office of National Statistics historical census websites and with the HMRC self assessment tax return website etc. ?

  3. What proof is there that there will not be Another Massive Data Loss Disaster involving CDs, DVDs, USB memory devices, laptop computer losses or thefts, as we have seen with HMRC and the Ministry of Defence etc. ?

  4. Can census takers and the Census board be prosecuted under the Terrorism Act 2000 section 58A Eliciting, publishing or communicating information about members of armed forces etc, which applies, without any exceptions, to all current and former members of the intelligence agencies, military personnel or police constables?

    • Will the Census contain accurate lists of the names, home addresses, workplace addresses, job titles and sensitive personal data details of all the UK based employees of MI5 the Security Service, MI6 the Secret Intelligence Service, GCHQ, the Defence Intelligence Staff, members of the Special Forces (e.g. the Special Air Service (SAS) or Special Boat Squadron (SBS) or the Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR) ) or the Metropolitan or West Midlands or Thames Valley Police Counter-Terrorism Command, the National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit (NETCU) etc ?

    • Will these groups of secret civil servants be prosecuted for not filling in the Census Form completely and accurately ? If not, then what legal basis is there for any exemption for these secretive people or for others like Judges, or Prison Warders or people in Witness Protection Schemes etc. ? There is none in the census legislation as it stands.

  5. Most importantly, what about the fact that the old legal protections against the sharing of Sensitive Personal Data defined in the Data Protection Act 1998 Part 1 section 2 Sensitive personal data on religion, health , sexuality etc.collected during the Census have now been abolished. ?

  6. What proof is there that our confidential sensitive personal data will not be shared with the intelligence agencies, the police, the immigration authorities, the tax authorities, foreign governments or private sector companies now that such sharing is exempt from the 2 years in prison penalty under the old Census Act 1921, by virtue of the wide ranging exemptions which were sneaked into the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 section 39. Confidentiality of personal information ?

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.

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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