Spy Blog letter to the Detainee Inquiry re: lack of whistleblower anonymity protection and immunity from prosecution

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The Rt. Hon. Sir Peter Gibson
c/o Secretariat
The Detainee Inquiry
35 Great Smith Street

Dear Sir Peter,

Please accept my apologies for this rather long email, but the issues it raises are of critical importance to the Detainee Inquiry.

I am writing to you on behalf of Spy Blog and its readership, which includes many people within the privacy and human rights audience and also people within the UK Government and Intelligence Agencies, as well as Foreign Governments and their Intelligence Agencies.

Spy Blog has been very critical of your (and your predecessors') Annual Reports as the appointed Intelligence Services Commissioners under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.

However, unlike some trained lawyers, human rights activists and even former British Ambassadors, we do *completely understand the constraints placed upon you by the relevant sections of the Act* and cannot believe that you are likely to have come across anything directly relevant to your current chairmanship of the Detainee Inquiry, which would question your independence and honesty.

Unfortunately, the Detainee Inquiry Protocol, which you have agreed with senior Government Civil Servants, is all very well for protecting senior managers and officials of the UK Intelligence Agencies from embarrassment or the threats of prosecution.

However, it is is totally inadequate, if you put yourself in the shoes of a potential whistleblower e.g a junior official or sub-contractor to the Intelligence Agencies, whose testimony might contradict the official corporate line, which the senior managers and officials of those Intelligence Agencies have been briefed with.

Currently, there is basically no Whistleblower Anonymity Protection offered by your Detainee Inquiry at all.

Therefore, no matter what evidence or testimony you hear in public or private and no matter what your public report actually says, the Detainee Inquiry will inevitably be portrayed as a coverup and whitewash - trust us on this - we have a lot of experience in dealing with conspiracy theorists.

Perhaps there are no real whistleblowers, with "smoking gun" evidence which would have a major effect on your Inquiry, but you cannot be sure that story you are hearing from the senior officials and managers of the intelligence agencies is actually completely true - they may themselves have been deceived by their subordinates.

However, if, as you claim, your Detainee Inquiry is really independent of Government, you must be seen to make every effort to encourage and protect even a single potential whistleblower.

Spy Blog would like to see you publish, on your public website, your requests / demands to those people mentioned in the Prime Minister David Cameron's letter of over a year ago, setting out the Terms of reference for your Detainee Inquiry i.e. the detailed Undertakings by the Cabinet Office and the Intelligence Agency chiefs and the Attorney General.

We also expect that the Advocate General for Scotland, the Rt. Hon. the Lord Wallace of Tankerness QC, should also re-iterate the promises of immunity from prosecution which the Attorney General for England and Wales and the Advocate General for Northern Ireland, the Rt. Hon. Dominic Grieve QC MP, should by now have made, bearing in mind the slight differences in the relevant Scottish legislation.

Potential Whistleblowers

Spy Blog can "neither confirm nor deny" that we are in contact with potential whistleblowers within the Intelligence Agencies, who may or may not, be considering contacting the Detainee Inquiry.

Such whistleblowers may very well suggest lines of inquiry, or name specific documents or witnesses, which the Detainee Inquiry would be unprofessional not to pursue.

However, your published Protocol for the Detainee Inquiry is very obviously flawed, if you put yourself in the position of a potential whistleblower

There is one oblique reference to potential whistleblowers:.

Paragraph 34

"c) would giving evidence in private ensure the witness's welfare, security or freedom to speak frankly, for example in the case of junior staff who may wish to give evidence that runs counter to that of others?"

The Protocol does *not* provide any practical promises of whistleblower immunity from prosecution.

Just as important is the concept of "giving evidence in private". The Protocol may well suffice for hiding their testimony from the public and the mainstream media, but it does nothing to protect whistleblower or just potential whistleblowers, from identification and persecution by their colleagues and senior managers, cloaked under the veil of "national security" secrecy.

You need to give an explicit, absolute guarantee to potential whistleblowers, that you will *never* consult with members of the intelligence agencies about their potential or actual testimony or documentary evidence.

Publish all of the detailed Undertakings regarding criminal prosecution or internal discipline

The Detainee Inquiry should publish detailed copies of the "undertakings" promised in the Prime Minister David Cameron's letter of 6th July 2010 setting out the terms of reference for the Inquiry, especially:

"The Cabinet Secretary and the heads of the intelligence services will require staff in their departments and agencies to cooperate fully with the inquiry and expect them to cooperate with the Inquiry's requests for oral evidence. The Attorney General has agreed to provide an undertaking that evidence given by witnesses may not be used against them in criminal proceedings, whether their evidence is given in public, private or both (other than in proceedings where he or she is charged with giving false evidence or conspiring to do so in the course of this Inquiry). The Cabinet Secretary and heads of the intelligence services will set out analogous undertakings to staff in respect of disciplinary proceedings based on their evidence, whether public or private. "

i.e. at least 8 written undertakings need to be published from:

1) Attorney General for England and Wales and the Advocate General for Northern Ireland: the Rt. Hon. Dominic Grieve QC MP

a) The Attorney General needs to clearly state that the Prime Minister's Letter of 6th July 2010 and the promised undertakings made by

"The Cabinet Secretary and the heads of the intelligence services"

constitute "official authorisation" and "lawful authority" under the

Official Secrets Act 1989 section 7 Authorised disclosures.

for the disclosure of any Official Secrets or Information via Questions, Statements, Evidence or Oral Testimony etc. offered to the Detainee Inquiry.

Such leaked documents or other tipoffs from insiders, may help to guide the Detainee Inquiry to demand documents or computer files or human witnesses etc., which even some of the senior management of the intelligence agencies may have been deliberately kept unaware of.

This legal immunity should be regardless of whether Detainee Inquiry evidence is published in public or kept private and must apply to any current or former member of the intelligence agencies, any other current or former Crown servant, or any other current or former Notified Government Contractor etc.

b) Since the Detainee Inquiry is not a court of law or a tribunal or an inquiry set up under the Inquiries Act 2005 and therefore has no criminal sanctions or immunity from prosecution, the Attorney General also needs to give a public undertaking, exempting the Detainee Inquiry members, staff , sub-contractors, witnesses and whistleblowers etc. from prosecution under the controversial

Terrorism Act 2000 section 58A.Eliciting, publishing or communicating information about members of armed forces etc

which requires his consent for prosecutions.

This specifically covers "attempting to elicit" information about current or former members of the armed forces, the intelligence service or police constables.

This even applies to those who have been criminally convicted, fired in disgrace or forced to retire, for breaches of security or corruption etc.

This obviously could apply to the Detainee Inquiry, as you will inevitably be "attempting to elicit" information about the identities of current or former Intelligence Agency staff, regardless of whether or not you actually publish any such information.

There is a statutory defence of having a "reasonable excuse", but that can only come into play after the modern day executive punishment ordeal of Arrest, Fingerprinting, DNA sampling, charging, Bail / Remand and a court appearance. Any arrest under Terrorism legislation, does permanent damage to one's reputation, regardless of whether there is ever an actual charge, let alone a conviction, because of the immediate knock on effect this as you are automatically and permanently put onto international travel and financial watchlists and databases and you remain the collective online memory of internet search engines, around the world.

The threat posed by this legislation could easily be used to harass and obstruct members of the Detainee Inquiry or their staff etc, given that they are certain to be asking about current or former members of the intelligence agencies and / or the armed forces and that whistleblower evidence or testimony may include such information, regardless of whether it is eventually redacted or censored in the final Detainee Inquiry report.

Therefore the Attorney General should prevent the chilling effect of this law from hindering the Detainee Inquiry by clearly undertaking, in public, not to allow any prosecutions under the Terrorism Act 2000 section 58A, which might conceivably arise.

c) Potential whistleblowers may currently have, or may formerly have had, access to information gathered under the

Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000
Intelligence Services Act 1994
Security Service Act 1989
Police Act 1997 part III

Such legislation could prevent them from communicating relevant information to the Detainee Inquiry e.g. under RIPA section 19 the disclosure of the mere existence of Interception warrants, or RIPA section 54 the tipping off offences regarding demands for cryptographic keys etc ,

The Attorney General's public undertakings must make them exempt them from prosecution in relation to the Detainee Inquiry, in the public interest.

d) The various inchoate offences of conspiracy to breach the Acts mentioned above, should also be suspended in respect to the Detainee Inquiry and potential witnesses or whistleblowers

There must be no doubt at all in the minds of any potential whistleblowers or witnesses, that they will not ever be arrested or charged, let alone prosecuted, for making any whistleblower disclosures or leaks to the Detainee Inquiry.

2) Advocate General for Scotland The Rt. Hon. the Lord Wallace of Tankerness QC

He must publish the same undertakings not to prosecute under the legal system in Scotland, where it differs slightly from that in England and Wales or Northern Ireland, for example the

Regulation of Investigatory Powers (Scotland) Act 2000

3) Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell GCB

4) Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service MI6 Sir John Sawers KCMG

5) Director General of the Security Service MI5 Jonathan Evans

6) Director General of GCHQ Iain Lobban CB

7) Chief of Defence Intelligence, Air Marshal Christopher Nickols, CB CBE

These officials must make it clear that the Detainee Inquiry itself i.e. the members, secretariat staff, sub-contractors and all their their families and friends, must *not* be subjected to the powerful techniques of surveillance, which the Intelligence Agencies routinely deploy every day.

"Don't ask / don't tell about contact with the Detainee Inquiry" and Developed Vetting Security Clearance interviews

These officials also need to publish instructions for a "don't ask / don't tell" policy about attempted or actual contact with the Detainee Inquiry by potential or actual whistleblowers and any future Developed Vetting interviews or forms, for current or future staff

If the Detainee Inquiry does somehow manage to preserve the anonymity of any intelligence agency whistleblower sources, there must be a clear "don't ask, don't tell" policy for when intelligence agency staff next undergo their periodic Developed Vetting security clearance interviews.

They should never be asked whether they tried to contact the Detainee Inquiry or not.

No shame or blame should be attached to those officials who do choose to testify to the Detainee Inquiry in public or in private, regardless of how politically embarrassing that might be to their colleagues or superiors.

This "don't ask, don't tell about the Detainee Inquiry" policy needs to apply to both the current Developed Vetting (DV) interviews and forms handled by each of the intelligence agencies themselves and also to any future DV interviews conducted by the Defence Vetting Agency etc., when personnel move jobs to other intelligence agencies or government departments or private sector contractors or consultancies and vice versa.

Therefore, in addition, you need to publish a written undertaking from the

8) Chief Executive of the Defence Vetting agency - Jacky Ridley,

that the Defence Vetting agency will also operate the "don't ask, don't tell about the Detainee Inquiry" policy, when they conduct Developed Vetting interviews with former intelligence agency staff moving to other Government departments or List X private sector companies etc.

Get assurances that the Detainee Inquiry itself will never be treated as a national security investigation target

Some people within the UK Intelligence Agencies will inevitably take the view, that anybody cooperating with the Detainee Inquiry, will have broken the internal code of honour / "omerta" and can therefore not be trusted with any other confidential information. These people, who may be in senior positions of power and influence, must be given explicit, very clear and unambiguous orders, that anybody associated with the Detainee Inquiry is strictly off limits, for any "national security" investigation or snooping.

Knowing what we do about Communications Data Retention and Analysis abuses, there should be clear, public, written instructions from the heads of each of the Intelligence Agencies, from the Cabinet Office and ultimately from the Prime Minister David Cameron, absolutely prohibiting these techniques from being used on the members of the Detainee Inquiry, or their staff, their website, email addresses, landline or mobile phone and postal mail etc.

This prohibition also needs to apply to the *private* phones, emails, social networking accounts etc. of the families and friends of people associated with the Detainee Inquiry.

Most importantly, this public prohibition must also apply to any *potential or actual witnesses* who attempt to contact the Detainee Inquiry.

There must be no Communications Data snooping or Communications Interception authorised under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 and no intrusive surveillance e.g. the planting of electronic bugging or tracking devices or cameras etc. sub-contracted out to any Police units, under the Police Act 1996 part III.

There must be no attempts to recruit or coerce any Confidential Human Intelligence Sources amongst the Detainee Inquiry members and staff, nor any or their sub-contractors nor service any of their providers (e.g. their website design or email hosting companies) , neither directly, nor from amongst their families and friends.

The Intelligence Agencies should also be forbidden from using their access to Unregulated Databases such as the ACPO National Automatic Number Plate Recognition Database or the London Congestion Charge monitoring vehicle journeys or the London Oyster Card monitoring Tube and Bus journeys etc. , or the e-borders access to Passenger Name Records from the airline and ferry industries, or CCTV footage in general, which they will be tempted to use to try to track down possible face to face meetings, or document dead drops, between Detainee Inquiry staff and potential or actual whistleblowers.

The Intelligence Agencies should be expressly forbidden from asking their colleagues and contacts in friendly foreign intelligence agencies e.g. in the USA, or in UK Police Forces, or private sector companies, to carry out any of these activities against the Detainee Inquiry or potential or actual whistleblowers, on their behalf.

These instructions need to be made public, so that staff at the Communications Service providers (telephone, mobile phone, internet and postal) are aware of them as well and can question or refuse even alleged "national security" requests for Communications Data or for Electronic Communications or Postal Intercepts.

GCHQ and MI5 should be given the budget and the explicit task of protecting the Detainee Inquiry from attempts to snoop on it by private military contractors, private investigators, foreign intelligence agencies, tabloid or mainstream media journalists and amateur hacktivists etc.

Make http://www.detaineeinquiry.org.uk into a proper whistleblower leak website

The current website Contact pages: http://www.detaineeinquiry.org.uk/contact/ provide no security or anonymity mechanisms to protect the identities of potential whistleblowers, either from foreign intelligence agencies, serious organised crime gangs, terrorists groups or from the UK intelligence Agencies, the UK Police, the press and media or from amateur or professional computer hacker wannabees.

Publish a PGP Public Encryption Key

At the very least the Detainee Inquiry should publish a Public PGP Encryption Key


and be properly trained in how to use it in conjunction with their published email addresses.

A Digital Certificate to encrypt a web submission form and a whistleblower submission workflow acknowledgement mechanism might also help with the credibility of the Inquiry.
see Leak Directory wiki (backup site) for examples.


Document Meta-Data should be removed before public publication

Please learn from the mistakes made by the Hutton Inquiry etc. when it comes to censoring or redacting any emails or other documents, which the Detainee Inquiry decides to publish on its website.

Please ensure that you do not simply use Adobe Acrobat to put a black rectangle over sensitive personal data e.g. names or email addresses, which can be simply overcome by copying the censored data to , for example , Microsoft Windows notepad.exe.

Please ensure that you remove any sensitive digital or photo or scan or document Meta-Data before publication e.g. using the multi-platform ExifTool


This may all sound a bit paranoid, but the people the Detainee Inquiry will be dealing with, cannot be treated as ordinary members of the public - they have privileged access to powerful surveillance techniques, which, if there is any sort of coverup, will inevitably be deployed against the Detainee Inquiry itself, in order to hunt down and neutralise any potential whistleblowers.

Please feel free to contact Spy Blog for any technical assistance in beefing up your whistleblower anonymity protection protocols and procedures.



http://SpyBlog.org.uk - Spy Blog

PGP Public Encryption Key for blog@spy.org.uk:
PGP Public Encryption Key ID: 0x281EBE28
Fingerprint: 9F7A 3F39 BA97 0148 2A1C 65F2 BDAC 5BBB 281E BE28

If you are researching, or writing, or protesting about anything to do with National Security, or Government spin and secrecy, you should take some basic precautions:

Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers

This constitutes a valid Electronic Signature, as per the
Electronic Communications Act 2000 section 7,
Electronic Signatures and related certificates



Attorney General has replied to FOIA request - no final version of the Undertaking has yet been agreed with the Detainee Inquiry, so there is nothing for them to disclose, as yet.

N.B. It is over 14 months since this Undertaking was promised by Prime Minister David Cameron

The clock is till ticking and the Cabinet Office is technically in breach of the FOIA, again. The similar request to the Cabinet Office for the Undertakings by the Cabinet Secretary and heads of the intelligence services was apparently "not correctly assigned on arrival and has only now been assigned an FOI file" despite being sent to the the FOI team and clearly stating that it was an FOIA request.

About this blog

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

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

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

Email & PGP Contact

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


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