Web censorship - anonymity / security issues with reporting.direct.gov.uk and the Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit - UPDATED 01May11

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Spy Blog and others, try to be vigilant about UK Government, schemes involving technological systems and infrastructures which, if not operated honestly, transparently and under strict control, could easily be abused to betray our freedoms and liberties, either now or in the future.

The Conservative / Liberal Democrat coalition government appear to be, for no good reason, persisting with the stupid web censorship plans championed by the authoritarian, former hardline Communist, former Labour Home Secretary John "not fit for purpose" Reid (who is now a paid consultant to multi-national private security companies bidding of public sector contracts e.g. EU Plans for Internet Censorship

According to this misspelled Home Office press release web page, there is now a secretive, unaccountable Web Censorship quango, with a web form for allegedly "anonymous" denunciations:

Challenge online terrorism and extremism

Thursday, 07 Apr 2011

Information leaflets and posters have been sent to every police force in the UK advising the public on how to identify and report offensive or illegal content.

"Information leaflets and posters", to promote a world wide web based campaign - surely this is not the correct media communications strategy ?

  • How many leaflets and posters have been distributed ?
  • Have the spelling mistakes in this Press release web page also found their way into the printed material ?
  • How much public money has this cost ?

It promotes an online tool - which can be found on the Directgov website (new window) - that allows people to report material anonymously.

Challenge and report

Security minister, Baroness Neville-Jones, said that it's vital that online extremisim is taken seriously: 'I want to encourage those who come across extremist websites as part of their work to challenge it and report it through the DirectGov webpage.

'By forging relationships with the internet industry and working with the public in this way, we can ensure that terrorist use of the internet does not go unchallenged.'

"extremisim" [sic] should presumably be spelled "extremism"

Why not use the existing MI5 Security Service or the Metropolitan Police secure online web forms then ?

Websites reported to Directgov via its online form are referred to the national Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit.

The specialist team of police experts work with industry and partners in the UK and abroad to investigate and take down illegal or offensive material if neccessary.

"neccessary." [sic] Does the Home Office Press Office really have no access to spell checkers ? Surely all Civil Servants should be able to spell "necessary", something which some of them, clearly, are not ? Presumably "national" should also start with a capital letter.

    Who exactly are the Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit ? It seems to have been set up by the unaccountable private company the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Home Office's secretive Office for Security and Counter Terrorism,

  • Who is the person in charge ?
  • Who exactly are these "partners in the UK and abroad" ?
  • How can they be contacted by the public, apart from via this allegedly "anonymous" web form ?
  • How is their effectiveness and value for money assessed and by whom ?
  • What are the mechanisms for detecting and correcting the mistakes and "collateral damage" that they will inevitably make ?
  • How is this website reporting and takedown mechanism compatible with the stated European Union policies on the topic, which stress that they must not damage the fundamental human rights of freedom of speech and association etc. ?

Past successes

In the last year, reporting through Directgov has helped the government remove content which has included beheading videos, terrorist training manuals and calls for racial or religious violence.

Successes include:

* removing a number of videos encouraging martyrdom operations that had been uploaded to a UK-based website
* shutting down a website that provided detailed video instructions on bomb making
* removing a number of videos encouraging acts of terrorism from a social networking site

To report content visit the Directgov website (new window) .

Have any of these "successes" actually involved websites physically hosted in the United Kingdom ?

Have any of them involved invoking the "takedown notice" legal powers under the controversial Terrorism Act 2006 sections 1 to 4, Encouragement etc. of terrorism ?

Is this web form really "anonymous" ?

Has the Marsham Street kremlin learned anything about running an anonymous whistleblower website submission form, from the likes of WikiLeaks.org and its couple of other emulators ?

The actual web form is at



It claims:

This website is intended for the public to report any illegal terrorist or violent extremist information, pictures or videos found online. The report only takes a few minutes to complete, and all reports received are anonymous and reviewed by specialist police officers.

Weaknesses which could have been avoided:

Is the web form "secure" ? Probably, but it is not configured as professionally as it should be.

SSL Digital Certificate

Incredibly, for a system which involves national security intelligence gathering reports, the SSL / TLS encryption is misconfigured on the reporting.direct.gov webserver.

It only rates a C: [52] rating from SSLLabs


It is unprofessional to configure any public web server with a Digital Certificate, without disabling the weak 40 bit and 56 bit cipher options, which can easily be broken in real time by today's personal computers.

There is no excuse for not disabling the deprecated SSL 2.0 protocol either.

Certificate Information
Common name reporting.direct.gov.uk
Alternative names -
Prefix handling Not required for subdomains
Valid from Wed Jan 27 00:00:00 UTC 2010
Valid until Fri Jan 27 23:59:59 UTC 2012 (expires in 9 months and 25 days)
Key RSA / 1024 bits
Signature algorithm SHA1withRSA
Server Gated Cryptography Netscape Step-Up
Weak key (Debian) No
Issuer www.verisign.com/CPS Incorp.by Ref. LIABILITY LTD.(c)97 VeriSign (OU)
Next Issuer Class 3 Public Primary Certification Authority (OU) TRUSTED
Chain length (size) 2 (2221 bytes)
Chain issues None
Validation type Not sure
Revocation Information CRL, OCSP
Revocation Status Good (not revoked)
Trusted Yes

TLS 1.2 No
TLS 1.1 No
TLS 1.0 Yes
SSL 3.0 Yes
SSL 2.0+ Upgrade Support Yes

Cipher Suites (sorted by strength; server has no preference)
TLS_RC4_128_EXPORT40_WITH_MD5 (0x20080) WEAK 40
TLS_RC2_128_CBC_EXPORT40_WITH_MD5 (0x40080) WEAK 40
TLS_DHE_RSA_EXPORT_WITH_DES40_CBC_SHA (0x14) DH 512 bits (p: 64, g: 1, Ys: 64) WEAK 40
TLS_DES_64_CBC_WITH_MD5 (0x60040) WEAK 56

TLS_DHE_RSA_WITH_DES_CBC_SHA (0x15) DH 1024 bits (p: 128, g: 1, Ys: 128) WEAK 56
TLS_RC4_128_WITH_MD5 (0x10080) 128
TLS_RC2_128_CBC_WITH_MD5 (0x30080) 128
TLS_RSA_WITH_RC4_128_MD5 (0x4) 128
TLS_RSA_WITH_RC4_128_SHA (0x5) 128
TLS_RSA_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA (0x2f) 128
TLS_DHE_RSA_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA (0x33) DH 1024 bits (p: 128, g: 1, Ys: 128) 128
TLS_DES_192_EDE3_CBC_WITH_MD5 (0x700c0) 168
TLS_DHE_RSA_WITH_3DES_EDE_CBC_SHA (0x16) DH 1024 bits (p: 128, g: 1, Ys: 128) 168
TLS_RSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA (0x35) 256
TLS_DHE_RSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA (0x39) DH 1024 bits (p: 128, g: 1, Ys: 128) 256



Server signature Apache/2.2.3 (Red Hat)
Server hostname reporting.direct.gov.uk
Session resumption Yes
Renegotiation Secure Renegotiation Supported
Strict Transport Security No
TLS Version Tolerance 0x0304: 0x301; 0x0399: 0x301; 0x0499: fail
PCI compliant No
FIPS-ready No
Ephemeral DH 512 bits (p: 64, g: 1, Ys: 64) WEAK

The other two web forms which solicit national security or crime related information e.g.

MI5 the Security Service, get a much better rating of: A [85]


as does the Metropolitan Police's online crime reporting web form, which also gets a rating of A: [85]

Most modern web browsers will usually connect with this web server using strong encryption (at least 128bit encryption). However the deprecated SSL 2.0 protocol could be used in combination with a man-in-the-middle attack (e.g. invoking a rogue wireless access point) to force the use of weak 40bit or 56bit encryption, which can be easily broken in real time , on today's computer hardware.

Why is there only space for a URL ?

What exactly do they hope to gather which Google has not already indexed ?

Even if you believe that it is a good idea to simply collect suspicious web URLs, it should be obvious from previous convictions, let alone ongoing investigations, that most criminal content available via the world wide web will be on password protected private web forums etc..

There is nowhere on this Report form to supply a username and password to such private areas, something which prevents Google or other search engines from already having accessed and indexed these.

There is no way of adding any comments or context or background information.

Using Google Re-Captcha for this form is wrong !

It is reasonable to use a Captcha system, running from the UK based Direct.gov.uk servers, to reduce the amount of script driven spam which this web form will attract.

Instead, the web form uses the Google operated Re-Captcha running from servers in the USA.

This is totally wrong for a United Kingdom based terrorism intelligence gathering system from the perspective of public trust and the promises made about "anonymity" !

Why should Google, a foreign based company (and therefore the US government) be handed over the internet address and web browser details of every supposedly "anonymous" terrorism information related report ?

Every time the Reporting form is loaded, the Google Re-Captcha web and application servers will log your IP Address and web browser details as the graphical images are pulled across from the USA.

Google will also have log file details every time the Re-Captcha codes are filled in and submitted i.e. they will be easily able to tell which visitors to the web form have actually submitted something.

If you are planning to use this web form "anonymously" as promised, then you need to:take precautions before accessing https://reporting.direct.gov.uk

  1. Make sure that you are not logged in to any Google products e.g. gmail or , on your Android smart phone, Google Latitude etc.

  2. Delete any Google cookies

  3. Use Tor or other methods of hiding your traceable IP address.

otherwise you will risk your "anonymity", which could have serious consequences for you, either from the terrorists or extremists you are reporting on, or from the bureaucratic police and intelligence agencies you are reporting to.

N.B. There is history of this sort of failure to to protect the anonymity of potential informants via the internet within the Whitehall securocrat establishment. See the Spy Blog category archive: MI5 email subscriptions

How is this intelligence data being transmitted from the web server to the CTIRU ?

  • Can we be sure that the "report form" data is not being kept unencrypted on the reporting.direct.gov.uk webserver ?
  • Is it being emailed in a plaintext, unencrypted format ?
  • Is it available for download through unencrypted protocols like FTP ?

There is no public promise that proper encryption techniques are being used, so we must assume that they are not.

Are there any good points about this form at all ?

Feedback Reference Code

A major failing of the MI5 Security Service SSL encrypted national security / terrorism "reporting suspected threats" form, is that there is never any acknowledgement that the information you supply has actually been received, let alone read, let alone acted upon.The form is a one way, information "black hole", which discourages everyone from ever using it more than once.

This reporting.direct.gov.uk web form does at least have a supposedly random reference ID code which can be used to bookmark the web page for you to come back later, and perhaps get some idea of any further action that the Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit may have got around to.


This promises:

Thanks for your referral. It is currently
being assessed Please check back at this page
for further updates in four to six days.

It is too early to tell if they will actually give people who have reported a URL, any meaningful feedback, but there is always hope.


This supposedly secure and "anonymous" terrorist related reporting system has been allowed to go live to the public, without these basic security and anonymity flaws being noticed and corrected.

Home Office politicians and senior officials, Police and Intelligence Agency officials etc. appear to have learned nothing from their past failures under the Labour government.

Why were the GCHQ / CESG ("The National Technical Authority for Information Assurance") people not involved in checking this web form and web server, before it was allowed to go public ?

N.B. we do not totally blame the American internet consultant, who appears to have

Designed, built and launched site for SO15's Counter Terrorist Internet Referral Unit, which allows reporting of websites in breach of the Terrorism Acts; defended the site against a wave of hacker attacks after the site was Slashdotted

[We have omitted details of his name, email addresses, mobile telephone number, personal web site and probable home address in London]

The Senior Responsible Owner of this government project, should take public responsibility for its failings.

Is there actually one person in charge, or is decision making evaded somewhere between ACPO, the Metropolitan Police and the Home Office ?

This also reflects badly on the level of internet expertise within the Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit.

If they cannot instantly recognise weaknesses in their own web form, what use will they be against anything but the simplest of terrorist or extremist websites ?

Our fear is, that through ignorance, they will then cause "collateral damage" to innocent websites or IP addresses, through over-broad Terrorism Act 2006 section 3 "takedown orders" , or through the physical seizure of computer hardware which hosts innocent people's websites or through the legal intimidation of domain name registrars.

The Home Office press office should get a spell checker for their web page press releases.

UPDATE: 1st May 2011:

Spy Blog is glad to note that the Digital Certificate problems with


seems to have been fixed i.e no more deprecated SSL 2.0 protocol and no more weak cipher suites.

This now gets an A [85] rating from the SSLabs test page:


There are still problems with the use of Google's Recaptcha in the USA at all and also the Digital Certificate for the link to the Recaptcha code


This Digital Certificate expired nearly a year also and also seems to suffer from SSL 2.0 and weak cipher suites etc.


Perhaps this should be using


rather than


The best feature of the web form, the feedback tracking could be improved slightly. Unless someone has actually bookmarked the Tracking Report Status page, there is no link to


in the workflow of the the web form for them to type their Response Code into, assuming that they have written it down or remembered it.

Saving the web page or bookmarking it does poses potential anonymity betrayal risks to anybody who is trying to report their concerns about a web page or website from within an organisation or company etc. - it could tip off their colleagues who might be up to something illegal.

The Home Office also does now appear to have corrected the spelling mistakes on their web page press release.


Why do you say this has been fixed?

Modulus (1024 bits):
c3 7d 85 1b e2 8a 58 1c 80 40 b4 e2 51 23 f0 b6
34 07 38 77 2c 72 1d 31 5d 6c f4 8e 9c b8 bf cd
bd 0f 1b 43 86 f9 6c e2 1f df 25 43 77 96 54 6a
4f 50 65 c3 20 2f 29 8b 47 08 1d 14 63 c5 74 d8
0e 28 62 30 69 44 1f 56 d4 50 19 da 84 90 9c 6f
df 68 72 6d 07 27 6d c6 c6 d4 06 2a 57 b1 d3 8d
20 e0 a7 2d 3e cb 4e c3 ea 4d 2a 81 bb 0b 16 66
46 c4 10 98 e6 0c 39 b4 71 f1 e1 77 60 40 80 5b

Who in their right mind uses 1024 RSA?

From jan 2011, nothing less than 2048 bit is acceptable for anything related to security.

This is a joke. Take a look at the MI5 site, 4096 bits - now that's more like it!

@ Security Check

Who in their right mind uses 1024 RSA?

Lots of e-commerce and banking websites do

From jan 2011, nothing less than 2048 bit is acceptable for anything related to security.

That would be better, but you are wrong to say that 1024bit RSA is currently broken.

I bet you £50, to go to a nominated charity or human rights or civil liberties campaign organisation, that 1024bit RSA will remain secure
until at least the time when the Digital Certificates of reporting.direct.gov.uk (or indeed of p10.secure.hostingprod.com) expire in the next 8 months to a year or so.

This is a joke. Take a look at the MI5 site, 4096 bits - now that's more like it!

Nowadays perhaps, but that is not what MI5 launched their secure web form with originally

Even if they reporting.direct.gov had had a 4096bit RSA private key, it would have been at risk because of their previous acceptance of the deprecated SSL 2.0 protocol and weak 40bit cipher suites.

reporting.direct.gov does accept some strong cipher suites with Diffie Hellman key exchange, which would provide so called TLS Perfect Forward Secrecy so you could limit your web browser to only use these, but most of the people who might use the web form will not do that.

@ Security Check - you might be interested in this:


even though

Key RSA / 2048 bits

This is at risk because of


TLS_RC2_128_CBC_EXPORT40_WITH_MD5 (0x40080) WEAK 40
TLS_RC4_128_EXPORT40_WITH_MD5 (0x20080) WEAK 40
TLS_DES_64_CBC_WITH_MD5 (0x60040) WEAK 56

and no Ephemeral Diffie-Hellman capable cipher suites are offered at all.


> That would be better, but you are wrong to say that 1024bit RSA is currently broken.

I wasn't saying it was broken already, but that it shouldn't be used as it is too weak for 2011.

It is ironic that if the person who set this up had done so in America, it would have been fixed. US government organizations are required to follow NIST guidelines, and NIST SP800-57 (revised way back in 2007) relating to key management explicitly states that 1024 should only be used to provide security up to 2010 and that between 2011 and 2030, a minimum 2048 is required. (I think the 2030 bit is a little optimistic, though :-)

The site certificate (Organization = department of work and pensions?) was only issued in 2010 and continues to 2012. Somewhat close to the mark, as the better CAs around that time would have rejected the request anyway (I suspect that in 2011 you wouldn't find a CA anywhere that would sign a 1024 request).

I'm a little tempted by the bet, although I suspect a more likely target would be any major online banking site using this strength key :-)

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


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.

We offer this verifiable GPG / PGP public key (the ID is available on several keyservers, twitter etc.) as possible one method to establish initial contact with whistleblowers and other confidential sources, if it suits their Threat Model or Risk Appetite, but will then try to establish other secure, anonymous communications channels e.g. encrypted Signal Messenger via burner devices,or face to face meetings, postal mail or dead drops etc. as appropriate.

Current PGP Key ID: 0x1DBD6A9F0FACAD30 which will expire on 29th August 2021.

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)


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

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
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
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


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.


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


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


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

syf_logo_120.gif Secure Your Ferliliser logo
Secure Your Fertiliser - advice on ammonium nitrate and urea fertiliser security

cpni_logo_150.gif Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure
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."

SIS MI6 careers_logo_sis.gif
Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) recruitment.

Government Communications Headquarters GCHQ

National Crime Agency - the replacement for the Serious Organised Crime Agency

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.

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)

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).

Amnesty International's irrepressible.info campaign

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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

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."

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

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."

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

No CCTV - The Campaign Against CCTV


I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist !


Power 2010 cross party, political reform campaign


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."


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


WhistleblowersUK.org - Fighting for justice for whistleblowers