Protection of Freedoms Bill: CCTV / ANPR regulation at last, but not for National Security or on Motorways etc.

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There is a lot to digest in the Conservative / Liberal Democrat coalition government's

Protection of Freedoms Bill

which seeks to undo some, but not all of the damage inflicted on our freedoms and liberties and on the public purse, by years of neglect, bureaucratic red tape, technological and financial incompetence and the authoritarian "Must Pretend To Be Seen To Be Doing Something To Appease The Tabloid Newspapers" legislation and schemes dreamed up by discredited previous Labour government politicians and their "revolving door" apparatchiks and bureaucrats.

Hopefully, if time and other commitments permit, Spy Blog will try to comment on most of the provisions of this Bill.

UPDATE 15 Feb 2011: The Cabinet Office has created a public website where you can comment on each clause of the Protection of Freedoms Bill:

"http://publicreadingstage.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/

The reference to the Home Office's "Civil Liberties and Identity Policy Unit" is a bit worrying - are the same people who were driving the authoritarian National Identity Scheme, now also formulating policy on all "civil liberties" ?

An acid test of the Labour party since its election defeat will be how it scrutinises and enhances our freedoms and liberties through its Parliamentary scrutiny of this Bill. If it cannot even identify the weaknesses in this Bill and cannot successfully press the Government for positive changes, or it simply moans about "cuts" or just parrots the authoritarian lines fed to it by the control freaks hiding in the secrecy of Whitehall, then it will continue to be an object of hatred and derision. Given the make up of the Shadow Cabinet, the prospect of anything but dismal failure by the Labour party is slim.

Spy Blog originally started out online in 1996 (under the then Tory government) campaigning for a level playing field of legally enforceable, national regulations and standards for the even then unacceptable growth in unregulated CCTV surveillance cameras intruding on personal privacy and security in public and private spaces.

Although many years too late, it is welcome to see a start in this direction with the Statutory Code of Practice / Surveillance Camera Commissioner scheme proposed in the

Protection of Freedoms Bill Part 2 Regulation of surveillance Chapter 1 Regulation of CCTV and other surveillance camera technology

CCTV is not just about cameras but about linked Databases and Software

This Bill fails to acknowledge the fact that Closed Circuit Television is no longer just about Analog CCTV surveillance cameras and VHS analog tape recordings, but it is mostly about Digital Cameras and cross referenced, cross linked Computer Databases and Telecommunications Infrastructures. They also now work in multiple parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, not just in the visible light part of it.

The Code of Practice and the Surveillance camera Commissioner should have powers and budgets to deal with complaints and abuses about these technologies, which are already available or under development today.

There is a mention of one form of Software enhancement ot CCTV surveillance, that of Automatic Number Plate recognition, but other attempts at Software enhancements such as Facial Recognition databases, Lip Reading software (which can snoop on conversations out of earshot but in sight) , Gait biometrics (how individual people walk or run) , multi-spectral e.g. thermal Infra Red imaging (e.g. snooping on private houses, from the road or from the air, which seem to be radiating "too much" heat, and then kicking the door in, searching for illegal cannabis growing hydroponics systems) are ignored.

There is no mention of the various "See through Clothes" / "See through walls" spy camera imaging systems, which must also be nationally regulated.

Statutory Code of Practice does not cover all public bodies

Although it applies to Local Authorities , Police Forces and Police Authorities, this Bill does not apply to Whitehall Central Government Departments or their Agencies .

Why not ?

Surely the Bill, which specifically mentions Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) should also apply to the Highways Agency and the profusion of cameras and public and private sector ANPR systems e.g. the thousand of TrafficMaster ANPR cameras, on Motorways and A roads, as well as those operated by Local Authorities on minor roads ?

Motorway Road Works now routinely use SPECS camera systems to enforce the 50 mph speed limit, by taking ANPR images of all vehicles entering and leaving the road works and then calculating the average speed over the measured distance. What happens to the millions of such images taken each year, logging the time and date and location of millions of innocent motorists. Surely these should not be excluded from regulation by this Bill, because they are not operated by either the Police or a Local authority but by the Highways Agency ?

Transport for London controversially hands over all of its CCTV footage, from the London Congestion Charge and London Green Emissions Zone ANPR cameras, video feeds from its Traffic Cameras and from those on the London Underground "In real time, in bulk" to the Metropolitan Police for "national security" secret data mining and trawling, not just for any specific, targeted investigation. The notorious Labour Home Secretary Jacqui Smith signed a Ministerial Certificate exempting this data from the Data Protection Act. Why does this Bill not correct that vast extension of the Database Surveillance State ?

What about the CCTV / ANPR within the National Health Service or in Schools or Universities ?

What about Private Sector properties which are actually public or semi-public spaces like shopping centres, sports arenas , cinemas or theatres etc. ?

What about Factories and Offices and other private sector workplaces ?

Why are any of these CCTV / ANPR systems exempt from this Bill ?

National Security

There is no mention of the use or abuse of CCTV and ANPR Cameras and databases by the Intelligence Agencies or the Military Armed Forces.


National Security must not be glossed over or left to an obscure section in the the as yet unwritten Code of Practice.

There should be explicit provisions in the text of the Bill for authorising the temporary use of CCTV cameras and ANPR systems for "national security" directed or intrusive surveillance.

Where there are permanent "national security" CCTV / ANPR systems e.g. at Airports or Sea Ports and Fright Container Terminals etc. , they must be regularly inspected and reported on. If they are to act as a deterrent to criminals, spies and terrorists. The Surveillance Camera Commissioner must publish annual statistics as to their effectiveness.

If this highlights potential weaknesses and failings e.g. CCTV systems which are poorly maintained due to "budget cuts", a fact which which may conceivably be "of use to a terrorist" etc., then so be it.

It should be the duty of those running such systems to ensure that there is adequate management resources and budgets to tighten up any such loophole as son as they are found. Keeping them secret from the public, but almost certainly not secret from insiders and terrorists or espionage agents, is the worst possible way of running such schemes and any managers of such schemes should be named and shamed and prosecuted for misfeasance in public office if they persist in doing so.

Any such "national security" permissions should only be temporary and should have to be re-applied for and re-authorised every 6 months, just like RIPA interception warrants.

Remember that the controversial Project Champion ANPR / CCTV system involving the planned use of hundreds of cameras to create an electronic ghetto / political activist mass surveillance monitoring scheme, in a couple of areas of Birmingham with a large Muslim minority (but also snooping on the innocent majority of people of all religions and races) . This was a "counter terrorism" funded scheme which was sneaked in as a supposed "normal policing" anti-crime measure, inflicted on the local Police and Local Authority.

These extra "national security" scrutiny provisions should also apply to any systems commandeered or volunteered for use for "national security" purposes which are not wholly owned or operated by the Police or the Intelligence Agencies e.g. by Local Authorities or by private sector security monitoring companies.

Surely the Surveillance Camera Commissioner should have to give his temporary permission for any such, hopefully more narrowly targeted schemes ?

See Through Your Childrens' Clothes Imaging Cameras

See through your clothes passive millimetre wave or Backscatter X-ray or TeraHerz or Ultra Wide Band imaging systems should also be covered by this Bill - they certainly produce CCTV style images.

The use of such "see through your children's clothes 'perv scanner'" technologies should be confined to high security areas like Prisons and not permitted as general snooping systems, especially not in secret, on the public (including children) in the street.

There should be criminal penalties for such abuse.

Aerial Reconnaissance drones

The Surveillance Camera Commissioner must also have powers to regulate to prevent the abuse of the ever cheaper Aerial Reconnaissance drones and robot devices, which are being hyped up in the run up to take a share of the massive London 2012 Olympic Games security budget.

Surveillance Camera Commissioner

The role of the Surveillance Camera Commissioner appears to be the usual "jobs for the boys" sinecure based on the failed attempts to pretend that there is proper public scrutiny of the sometimes necessary state intrusions into our privacy, thorough the RIPA Commissioners, and without even the limited power and budget of the Information Commissioner.

Even the experienced and cynical observers of the UK Surveillance Database State who are regular readers of Spy Blog have difficulty in even naming, let alone trying to contact any of these secretive UK Commissioners.

These RIPA Commissioners may well be excellent people, former High Court Judges, but their roles and powers are deliberately crippled and they do not inspire any confidence amongst the general public, most of whom have never heard of them, let alone know how to contact them, a useless waste of time, since they refuse to deal with complaints from the public.

The Surveillance Camera Commissioner should be given the budget and manpower to employ technical experts as well as administrators and lawyers. The failure to do so has crippled the effectiveness of the Information Commissioner's Office, so this should not be repeated in this new role.

The Surveillance Camera Commissioner must be given the resources to interact with the public and have the power to investigate their complaints. The failure to do this has been a major failing of the RIPA Commissioners scheme i.e. the Interception of Communications Commissioner, the Chief Surveillance Commissioner, and the Intelligence Services Commissioner .

It is unclear what overlap and rivalry there will be between the Surveillance Camera Commissioner, the Chief Surveillance Commissioner, the Intelligence Services Commissioner and the Information Commissioner.

It is extraordinary and hypocritical that whilst another section of the Protection of Freedoms Bill relaxes the control of the Secretary of State / Whitehall department over the budgets and staff approval of the Information Commissioner's Office, yet that outdated model is exactly what is being proposed for the new Surveillance Camera Commissioner, thereby fatally compromising the independence and trustworthiness of the office right from the outset.

The Protection of Freedoms Bill should explicitly include the Surveillance Camera Commissioner as a public body under the Freedom of Information Act, for precisely the same reasons as the Information Commissioner's Office is already subject to it - it meets all the criteria for inclusion in the List of Public Bodies as it will have been set up by an Act of Parliament.

It is an ongoing scandal that the RIPA Commissioners , who have also been created by an Act of Parliament are still not yet classed as Public Bodies for the purposes of the Freedom Information Act.

Why has this Protection of Freedoms Bill not corrected this bit of authoritarian Labour party / Whitehall smoke and mirrors ?

Central registration of CCTV camera systems

One of the stupidest wastes of Police resources is the never ending scramble, going door to door, to find and then "seize as evidence" any CCTV camera footage in a particular area, after a high profile assault, rape, murder, kidnapping or terrorist attack.

Such footage is less and less useful, as time passes after the incident, so any delays in finding such footage are critical.

In a country where every receive only Television set has to have an Annual Television Licence fee paid, it is very surprising to many foreign visitors, that the CCTV camera snooping systems require no such Fee and no local or national registration,

Why does this Bill not mandate the creation of such Local CCTV registers, through the simple inclusion of any CCTV camera system on the exterior of any building, as part of the Local Authority Planning process, which already covers the erection of signs, ventilation pipes and Satellite dish aerials etc. of a similar size and visual impact as CCTV "Death Star" domes ?

Why is there no mandatory (or even suggested) Data Retention period for CCTV video footage, before it is overwritten on tape or on magnetic disk ? It would be trivial to insist on this as part of the CCTV Licence Application, provided that different classes and sizes of systems were sensibly accommodated. A home security CCTV system should not be expected to hold weeks or months of images online, whilst that run by the Police in a City Centre should have the budget to do so.

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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.

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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