Home Office: aviation (in)security Authority to Carry Scheme - Black Swan Event fantasy cost/benefit assumptions

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The Home Office is currently holding a Public Consultation on

Aviation security: Consultation on a statutory authority to carry scheme

Note the lack of any Privacy Impact Assessment, despite the plans for automated snooping on the travel data of millions of innocent passengers a year.

The Consultation document asks

12. The Authority to Carry Scheme takes its name from legislation. Are the meanings of the terms 'authority to carry' and 'refusal' or 'denial' of authority to carry clear? If not, are there different terms which may be clearer?

c.f. Section 124 of Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002

When we first read the words "Authority to Carry Scheme" in the context of Aviation Security, we assumed that it was something to do with the ineffective and dangerous schemes for allowing firearms on to passenger flights favoured by gun crazy Americans, involving armed Air Marshals or Airline Pilots etc. - did none of them watch the film Con Air ?

However it appears to be another plan for an extension of bureaucratic snooping on innocent people, with no reasonable chance of ever achieving its stated aims.

Like the previous incompetent yet authoritarian Labour regime, the current Conservative / Liberal Democrat coalition is paying lip service to civil liberties and human rights.

Civil liberties are at the heart of the Government's approach to counter-terrorism and it will be important to ensure these proposals give consideration to people's freedoms.

[...]

Measures will be put in place to minimise the potential for members of the travelling public to be mistakenly identified as an individual whom an airline should be denied authority to carry under these arrangements.

Rubbish !

Nowhere in this plan is there any mention of any system for rapid, public apology, generous financial compensation and the effective purging of the libellous toxic database entries, shared around the world, which put a black mark against the name of an innocent person wrongly identified as a terrorist.

There is no mention of the six figure legal costs to the Government and the Airline industry which will result from libel cases etc. when they falsely accuse some innocent passengers as terrorist suspects.

The Home Office civil servants and politicians still live in a fantasy world and are seeking to justify spending millions, or even billions of pounds of other people's money on a feeble Black Swan Event scenario, which even their astonishing Impact Assessment admits will have a massive rate of False Positives and which may never prevent any terrorist attack, before the policy and its underlying assumptions are changed.

No doubt some terrorist plots will be foiled by the work of the intelligence agencies, the police or the vigilance of the general public, in spite of this policy, but not because of it.

Impact Assessment page 9

Between 1999 and 2009, there were ten major terrorist plots in the UK : The shoe bomb plot (2001), Ricin bomb plot (2003), fertiliser bomb plot (Operation Crevice, 2003), London transport attacks of 7 July 2005 and 21 July 2005, transatlantic liquid bomb plot (Operation Overt, 2006), Haymarket car bombs and Glasgow airport attack (Operation Seagram,2007), Ibrahim suicide vests (Operation Vulcanise, 2008) and the Exeter bombing (2009). Of these, just one (7 July 2005) was successful; the rest were either disrupted prior to execution by the police, or failed after execution due to perpetrator error or police intervention.

Using assumptions about the potential fatalities, casualties, property damage and tourism losses that each of these attacks could have caused, it was estimated that the average cost of these terrorist attacks, had they each been successfully executed, would be in the region £950m - £1.64bn. Given the current 'success rate' (1/10) and frequency of attacks (10 per decade), it is estimated that in an average decade, terrorist attacks will cost the UK economy £828m - £1.43bn .

None of these "major terrorist plots", most of which did not even involve airline flights at all, could have been prevented by the proposed "Authority to Carry Scheme" policy, but they are being used as the "benefit" calculation justification !

These cases are also being used to justify the budgets of MI5, MI6, GCHQ, the Metropolitan Police etc..

The "shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted" policy driver appears to be the Christmas 2009 "underpants bomber" case of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab - the intelligence agency communications failures in that case, which did not involve the United Kingdom at all, would not have been mitigated by this proposed Aviation Security pre-flight Passenger Name database "Authority to Carry" scheme.

Neither would the "Authority to Carry Scheme" have prevented the visits of the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik to or from the UK.

Impact Assessment Page 10

- The manual system is assumed to be 99% effective, and the automated system 100% effective

- The number of false positives is assumed to be equal to the number of individuals correctly identified (i.e. 2.25 individuals per annum)

We simply do not agree with these ridiculous assumptions.

Given the hundreds of millions of airline passenger flights at UK airports every year, where exactly have they come up with these figures from ?

Where are the assumed figures for the number of False Negatives ?

Where are the figures of the number of terrorist suspects travelling on fake or genuine but falsely obtained Passports etc ?

Impact Assessment Page 12

These figures are based on data about all major terrorist plots to the UK, rather than using only those plots aimed at journeys in transit to the UK.

If they did that, then there would be no basis for this policy at all !

The Conservative / Liberal Democrat coalition have dithered over their pre-election promises regarding our freedoms and rights which were under such legislative assault by the previous Labour government.

Will they demonstrate that they are better than Labour and actually drop this proposed Aviation Snooping scheme on human rights grounds, rather than on "big cost / no financial benefit" grounds ?

If you care about your privacy and freedom, then put political pressure on the Coalition government to actually fulfil their pre-election promises and stop them from proposing inept, repressive, Labour style "technological magic fixes", by supporting the cross-party NO2ID Campaign

Text of the Impact Assessment:

PDF to HTML conversion based on: http://www.pdfonline.com/convert-pdf-to-html/

Title:

Implementation of Authority-to-Carry Scheme under Section 124 of Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002

Lead department or agency:

Home Office

Other departments or agencies:

Impact Assessment (IA)

IA No: OSCT

Date: 15/03/2011

Stage: Consultation

Source of intervention: Domestic

Type of measure: Secondary legislation

Contact for enquiries:

Predeparturechecks@homeoffice.x.gsi.g ov.uk

Summary: Intervention and Options

What is the problem under consideration? Why is government intervention necessary?

As one of the highest priorities for UK national security, the Government is committed to addressing the threat from terrorism and protecting the UK and its interests. In response to the attempted terrorist attack over Detroit in December 2009, work was commissioned to consider how such arrangements could be used to prevent individuals who pose a threat from travelling to the UK. Government intervention is necessary since it is the first responsibility of any administration to protect the safety and security of its citizens and it is the Government that manages information and intelligence on individuals that pose a terrorist threat.

What are the policy objectives and the intended effects?

The objective is to make changes to pre-departure checks to better identify individuals who pose a terrorist threat and prevent them from travelling to the UK. This is proposed to be achieved through the implementation of a statutory authority-to-carry scheme to be operated by the secretary of State under section 124 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 which will require carriers to seek authority to bring passengers to the UK. The intended effect is to reduce the probability of a terrorist attack on a UK-bound vessel.

What policy options have been considered? Please justify preferred option (further details in Evidence Base)

1. Do nothing. The Government assess that, each year, 2-3 people who travel to the UK may be identified as likely to meet criteria for posing a terrorist threat to the UK.

2.Manual alerts sent through e-Borders underpinned by Authority to Carry legislation. This is the preferred option. Individuals identified from Advance Passenger Information as posing a threat to the UK are prevented from travelling to the UK through the use of alerts to carriers, thus reducing the probability of a terrorist attack. This option has a higher net present value compared to the automated alternative.

3.Automated Authority to Carry underpinned by Authority to Carry legislation. This is a more technology intensive option, comprising the use of e-Borders to identify individuals of interest and automated alerts to the passenger’s carrier. It achieves a higher success rate (and therefore bears lower risk) but is much more costly than Option 2. This option remains a long-term objective and has the potential to provide further benefits to the UK beyond counter-terrorism.

When will the policy be reviewed to establish its impact and the extent to which It will be reviewed
 
the policy objectives have been achieved? 01/2015
 
   
Are there arrangements in place that will allow a systematic collection of Yes
 
monitoring information for future policy review?  
   

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Summary: Analysis and Evidence   Policy Option 2
Description: Manual alerts sent through e-Borders underpinned by Authority-To-Carry legislation
           
Price Base   PV Base Time Period     Net Benefit (Present Value (PV)) (£m)
Year 2011   Year 2011 Years 10 Low: Optional   High: Optional Best Estimate: -£13.25m
         
             
COSTS (£m)   Total Transition   Average Annual Total Cost
  (Constant Price) Years (excl. Transition) (Constant Price) (Present Value)
     
               
Low     Optional     Optional Optional
         
               
High     Optional     Optional Optional
         
               
Best Estimate     £0     £1.54m £13.25m
         

Description and scale of key monetised costs by ‘main affected groups’

The largest cost of this policy is to the carrier industry. Carriers will be required to put in place 24-hour points of contact able to receive refusals of Authority to Carry in English, acknowledge receipt and give effect to that refusal. At a maximum this is assumed to occupy almost five members of full-time staff. The cost provided is economic rather than financial (i.e. it considers opportunity cost as well as financial outlay) and is estimated at £1.54m per annum. It is possible that existing carrier staff will be able to take on the role. As an unintended consequence there is a small possibility that individuals with similar personal details to an individual identified as posing a terrorist threat will be temporarily denied boarding, interrupting their travel. These individuals could be delayed in their journey by up to twenty-four hours and costs have been allowed for this.

Other key non-monetised costs by ‘main affected groups’

None

BENEFITS (£m) Total Transition   Average Annual Total Benefit
(Constant Price) Years   (excl. Transition) (Constant Price) (Present Value)
   
           
Low Optional     Optional Optional
     
           
High Optional     Optional Optional
     
           
Best Estimate       not quantified not quantified
not quantified    
     

Description and scale of key monetised benefits by ‘main affected groups’

The intended benefit of the policy is to reduce the probability of a terrorist attack on a UK-bound journey. It is extremely difficult to estimate the current cost and probability of a terrorist attack of this type, let alone the impact that this policy will have on these figures. Benefits have therefore not been quantified.

Other key non-monetised benefits by ‘main affected groups’

Although benefits cannot be quantified, a break-even analysis has been performed. Analysis shows that the policy would only have to prevent a terrorist attack once every few hundred years in order to be worthwhile. This benefit occurs only if the person is identified and would not otherwise have been stopped by other port security measures.

Key assumptions/sensitivities/risks Discount rate (%) 3.5
     

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It is assumed that the policy has no deterrence or displacement effect. The costs and benefits are assumed to fall on all carriers equally, regardless of the carrier’s nationality or volume of journeys. The costs of providing a point of contact are assumed to be negligible. Key uncertainties are around: (1) the success rate of the manual system (assumed to be 99%); (2) the rate of individuals assessed to pose a terrorist threat and (3) the number of false positives (passengers whose carrier is wrongly refused authority-to-carry). The costs are most sensitive to changes in the number of false positives; however this is not a key driver. For example, increasing the number of false positives by a factor of ten increases the total cost of the policy by just 1%. Benefits are very sensitive to assumptions about the system’s success rate and the number of individuals correctly refused authority to carry.

Direct impact on business (Equivalent Annual)£m:admin In scope of OIOO? Measure quantifies as
    Net: -1.54m   In
Costs: £1.54m Benefits: Yes
         

Enforcement, Implementation and Wider Impacts

What is the geographic coverage of the policy/option?     United Kingdom  
From what date will the policy be implemented?     01/11/2011  
Which organisation(s) will enforce the policy?     Home Office  
           
What is the annual change in enforcement cost (£m)?     0    
Does enforcement comply with Hampton principles?     Yes    
Does implementation go beyond minimum EU requirements?   No    
What is the CO2 equivalent change in greenhouse gas emissions?   Traded:   Non-traded:
         
(Million tonnes CO2 equivalent) Negligible            
             
Does the proposal have an impact on competition?     No    
What proportion (%) of Total PV costs/benefits is directly attributable to Costs:   Benefits:
       
primary legislation, if applicable?     0      
           
             
Annual cost (£m) per organisation Micro < 20 Small Medium Large
         
(excl. Transition) (Constant Price)         £0.11m
           
Are any of these organisations exempt? No No No No No

Specific Impact Tests: Checklist

Set out in the table below where information on any SITs undertaken as part of the analysis of the policy options can be found in the evidence base. For guidance on how to complete each test, double-click on the link for the guidance provided by the relevant department.

Please note this checklist is not intended to list each and every statutory consideration that departments should take into account when deciding which policy option to follow. It is the responsibility of departments to make sure that their duties are complied with.

Does your policy option/proposal have an impact on…? Impact Page ref
   
    within IA
     
Statutory equality duties1 Yes See EIA
Statutory Equality Duties Impact Test guidance    
     
     
Economic impacts    
Competition Competition Assessment Impact Test guidance No  
Small firms Small Firms Impact Test guidance No  
Environmental impacts  
Greenhouse gas assessment Greenhouse Gas Assessment Impact Test guidance No  
Wider environmental issues Wider Environmental Issues Impact Test guidance No  

1 Race, disability and gender Impact assessments are statutory requirements for relevant policies. Equality statutory requirements will be expanded 2011, once the Equality Bill comes into force. Statutory equality duties part of the Equality Bill apply to GB only. The Toolkit provides advice on statutory equality duties for public authorities with a remit in Northern Ireland.

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Social impacts    
Health and well-being Health and Well-being Impact Test guidance No  
Human rights Human Rights Impact Test guidance Yes Annex 2
Justice system Justice Impact Test guidance No  
Rural proofing Rural Proofing Impact Test guidance No  
     
Sustainable development No  
Sustainable Development Impact Test guidance    
     

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Summary: Analysis and Evidence   Policy Option 3
Description: Automated Authority to Carry underpinned by Authority-to-Carry legislation
           
Price Base   PV Base Time Period     Net Benefit (Present Value (PV)) (£m)
Year 2011   Year 2011 Years 10 Low: Optional   High: Optional Best Estimate: -£1688m
         
             
COSTS (£m)   Total Transition   Average Annual Total Cost
  (Constant Price) Years (excl. Transition) (Constant Price) (Present Value)
     
               
Low     Optional     Optional Optional
         
High     Optional     Optional Optional
         
               
Best Estimate     £0     £196m £1688m
         

Description and scale of key monetised costs by ‘main affected groups’

This option has a high ICT cost for both carriers and government. Quotes are being sought at consultation stage, but as a rough estimate, the annual cost is estimated to be £95m to Government and £101m to industry. There is also some cost to individuals who are falsely prevented from travelling as a result of the system

Other key non-monetised costs by ‘main affected groups’

None

BENEFITS (£m) Total Transition Average Annual Total Benefit
(Constant Price) Years (excl. Transition) (Constant Price) (Present Value)
 
         
Low Optional   Optional Optional
   
         
High Optional   Optional Optional
   
         
Best Estimate not quantified   not quantified not quantified
   

Description and scale of key monetised benefits by ‘main affected groups’

The intended benefit of the policy is to reduce the probability of a terrorist attack on a UK-bound journey. It is extremely difficult to estimate the current cost and probability of a terrorist attack of this type, let alone the impact that this policy will have on these figures. Benefits have therefore not been quantified.

Other key non-monetised benefits by ‘main affected groups’

This option is expected to bear less risk than option 2, since the success rate is assumed to be 100%. However, break-even analysis suggests that the policy costs more than the current average cost of terrorist attacks, and thus does not represent value for money.

Key assumptions/sensitivities/risks Discount rate (%) 3.5
     

The largest uncertainty is around the cost of implementing ICT. Since quotes are not yet available, 50% of the estimated annual cost to carriers of e-borders and 50% of the estimated annual cost to the US government of implementing ESTA are used. Benefits are highly sensitive to the estimated 'hit rate' and success rate of the system (assumed to be 100%), but have not been quantified.

Direct impact on business (Equivalent Annual)£m:admin In scope of OIOO? Measure quantifies as
    Net:   In
Costs:£101m Benefits: Yes
         

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Enforcement, Implementation and Wider Impacts

What is the geographic coverage of the policy/option?     United Kingdom  
From what date will the policy be implemented?     01/11/2011  
Which organisation(s) will enforce the policy?     Home Office  
           
What is the annual change in enforcement cost (£m)?     0    
Does enforcement comply with Hampton principles?     Yes    
Does implementation go beyond minimum EU requirements?   No    
What is the CO2 equivalent change in greenhouse gas emissions?   Traded:   Non-traded:
         
(Million tonnes CO2 equivalent) Negligible            
             
Does the proposal have an impact on competition?     Yes    
What proportion (%) of Total PV costs/benefits is directly attributable to Costs:   Benefits:
       
primary legislation, if applicable?     0      
           
             
Annual cost (£m) per organisation Micro < 20 Small Medium Large
         
(excl. Transition) (Constant Price)         £7.2m
Are any of these organisations exempt? No No No No No

Specific Impact Tests: Checklist

Set out in the table below where information on any SITs undertaken as part of the analysis of the policy options can be found in the evidence base. For guidance on how to complete each test, double-click on the link for the guidance provided by the relevant department.

Please note this checklist is not intended to list each and every statutory consideration that departments should take into account when deciding which policy option to follow. It is the responsibility of departments to make sure that their duties are complied with.

Does your policy option/proposal have an impact on…? Impact Page ref
   
    within IA
     
Statutory equality duties2 Yes See EIA
Statutory Equality Duties Impact Test guidance    
     
     
Economic impacts    
Competition Competition Assessment Impact Test guidance No  
Small firms Small Firms Impact Test guidance No  
     
Environmental impacts    
Greenhouse gas assessment Greenhouse Gas Assessment Impact Test guidance No  
Wider environmental issues Wider Environmental Issues Impact Test guidance No  
     
Social impacts    
Health and well-being Health and Well-being Impact Test guidance No  
Human rights Human Rights Impact Test guidance No  
Justice system Justice Impact Test guidance No  
Rural proofing Rural Proofing Impact Test guidance No  
     
Sustainable development No  
Sustainable Development Impact Test guidance    
     

2 Race, disability and gender Impact assessments are statutory requirements for relevant policies. Equality statutory requirements will be expanded 2011, once the Equality Bill comes into force. Statutory equality duties part of the Equality Bill apply to GB only. The Toolkit provides advice on statutory equality duties for public authorities with a remit in Northern Ireland.

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Evidence Base (for summary sheets) – Notes

Use this space to set out the relevant references, evidence, analysis and detailed narrative from which you have generated your policy options or proposal. Please fill in References section.

References

Include the links to relevant legislation and publications, such as public impact assessment of earlier stages (e.g. Consultation, Final, Enactment).

No. Legislation or publication

1Partial Impact Assessment of Provision on Passenger, Service and Crew Data by carriers to the UK Border Agencies (August 2006)

2Impact Assessment of Provision on Passenger, Service and Crew Data by carriers to the UK Border Agencies (Final Version, November 2007)

3National Security Strategy (18 October 2010)

4Strategic Defence and Security Review (19 October 2010)

5Home Office Business Plan 2011-2015 (8 November 2010)

Add another row

Evidence Base

Ensure that the information in this section provides clear evidence of the information provided in the summary pages of this form (recommended maximum of 30 pages). Complete the Annual profile of monetised costs and benefits (transition and recurring) below over the life of the preferred policy (use the spreadsheet attached if the period is longer than 10 years).

The spreadsheet also contains an emission changes table that you will need to fill in if your measure has an impact on greenhouse gas emissions.

Annual profile of monetised costs and benefits* - (£m) constant prices (discounted costs)

  Y0 Y1 Y2 Y3 Y4 Y5 Y6 Y7 Y8 Y9
                     
Transition costs                    
                     
Annual recurring cost £1.54 £1.49 £1.44 £1.39 £1.34 £1.30 £1.25 £1.21 £1.17 £1.13
                     
Total annual costs £1.54 £1.49 £1.44 £1.39 £1.34 £1.30 £1.25 £1.21 £1.17 £1.13
                     
Transition benefits                    
                     
Annual recurring benefits                    
                     
Total annual benefits                    
                     

* For non-monetised benefits please see summary pages and main evidence base section

Microsoft Office

Excel Worksheet

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Evidence Base (for summary sheets)

A. Strategic Overview

A.1 Background

International terrorism affecting the UK or its interests is identified as a Tier One Priority Risk in the National Security Strategy. As one of the highest priorities for UK national security, the Government is committed to addressing the threat from terrorism and protecting the UK and its interests at home, at our border and internationally. In response to the attempted terrorist attack over Detroit on 25 December 2009, a range of work has been undertaken to consider the effectiveness of aviation and border security. This included a review of the UK’s counter-terrorism watchlisting arrangements. Work was commissioned to consider how these could be used to prevent those who pose a threat from travelling to the UK. This is a key priority for the Government. The Strategic Defence and Security Review and the Home Office Business Plan include a commitment that changes will be made to pre-departure checks to better identify people who pose a terrorist threat and prevent them flying to or from the UK.

Current powers are available to refuse entrance or admission to the UK to passengers of all nationalities (with the exception of UK nationals). The Home Secretary has existent powers to exclude certain individuals from the UK. The visa regime is a further mechanism to deny entry clearance to passengers seeking to travel to the UK. However, these powers cannot prevent an individual attempting to travel and carriers will not always be aware that an individual has been excluded from the UK. Implementation of an ‘Authority-to-Carry’ scheme provides the ability to prevent certain categories of individuals who would be refused leave to enter at the UK border from travelling to the UK.

A.2 Groups Affected

The largest cost of this policy is to the carrier industry. Although figures are illustrative only, the automated option (option 3) presents a significantly higher cost to carriers than the manual option (option 2). Under option 3, there is also a cost to the Government of implementing an appropriate IT system. As an unintended consequence there may also be costs to travellers if individuals are incorrectly prevented from boarding a plane. This occurs because there is a small possibility that individuals with similar personal details to an individual identified as posing a terrorist threat will be temporarily denied boarding, interrupting their travel.

It is expected that there will be no impacts beyond those to carriers, travellers and government. Since all travellers affected by the legislation will be non-UK citizens, distributional analysis of costs to travellers has not been considered.

A.3 Consultation

A targeted consultation exercise will take place involving key industry partners and other stakeholder groups, which will inform the development of the scheme and seek to identify ways that any negative impacts on industry can be reduced. On completion of the consultation the Statutory Instrument will be developed and laid in Parliament with a view to coming into force in November 2011.

B. Rationale

The first duty of the Government is to maintain the safety and security of the UK and its citizens. The Strategic Defence and Security Review and the Home Office Business Plan sets out that changes will be made to pre-departure checks to better identify people who pose a terrorist threat and prevent them from flying to or from the UK.

The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre currently assesses the threat to the UK from international terrorism to be SEVERE, meaning an attack is highly likely. Terrorist attacks are considered high

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impact, low probability events. Between 1999 and 2009, there were ten major terrorist plots in the UK3: The shoe bomb plot (2001), Ricin bomb plot (2003), fertiliser bomb plot (Operation Crevice, 2003), London transport attacks of 7 July 2005 and 21 July 2005, transatlantic liquid bomb plot (Operation Overt, 2006), Haymarket car bombs and Glasgow airport attack (Operation Seagram, 2007), Ibrahim suicide vests (Operation Vulcanise, 2008) and the Exeter bombing (2009). Of these, just one (7 July 2005) was successful; the rest were either disrupted prior to execution by the police, or failed after execution due to perpetrator error or police intervention.

Using assumptions about the potential fatalities, casualties, property damage and tourism losses that each of these attacks could have caused4, it was estimated that the average cost of these terrorist attacks, had they each been successfully executed, would be in the region £950m -

£1.64bn. Given the current ‘success rate’ (1/10) and frequency of attacks (10 per decade), it is estimated that in an average decade, terrorist attacks will cost the UK economy £828m - £1.43bn5. Using these figures, break-even analysis can be performed to show that a relatively low-cost counter-terrorism policy such as the preferred option needs to prevent only one attack in hundreds of years in order to break-even.

Options that avoid regulation have also been considered and it will be discussed with industry during consultation as to whether these provide opportunities to temporarily and partially mitigate the threat in advance of legislation. However, this approach cannot fully or adequately meet the policy objective. Regulation is necessary to apply the scheme fully with alignment to the roll-out of e-Borders to ensure best possible mitigation of the threat. Further, it is anticipated that carriers may prefer a clear instruction from government rather than needing to rely on voluntary arrangements.

C. Objectives

The objective is to make changes to pre-departure checks to better identify individuals who pose a terrorist threat and prevent them from travelling to the UK. This is proposed to be achieved through the implementation of a statutory authority-to-carry scheme to be operated by the secretary of State under section 124 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 which will require carriers to seek authority to bring passengers to the UK. The intended effect is to reduce the probability of a terrorist attack on a UK-bound vessel.

D. Options

Option 1 is to make no changes (do nothing).

Option 2 Manual alerts sent through e-Borders underpinned by Authority to Carry legislation

The provision of Advance Passenger Information (API) to e-Borders will constitute a request by the carrier for authority to carry all the passengers to the UK. Carriers will be informed by the UK Border Agency by telephone and email if any of those passengers should not be brought to the UK.

Carriers will not have ‘authority to carry’ such passengers.

Option 3 Automated Authority to Carry underpinned by Authority to Carry legislation

The provision of Advance Passenger Information (API) to e-Borders will constitute a request by the carrier for authority to carry all the passengers to the UK. Carriers will receive an automated per- passenger response to their check-in systems to confirm whether they have the authority to carry them to the UK or not.

3 Islamist Terrorism: The British Connections by R. Simcox, H. Stuart H. Ahmed, The Centre for Social Cohesion (2010). The Exeter bombing and Ibrahim suicide vests plots have been added to the source list, although they are not generally considered

‘major’ plots.

4 Data taken from the National Risk Assessment. No social cost for anxiety or stress has been included, as this is extremely difficult to quantify or monetise.

5 This has been calculated by assuming an attack occurs in the middle of the decade, and discounting at the 3.5% social time preference rate.

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E. Appraisal (Costs and Benefits)

General Assumptions and Data

-The costs and benefits of the various policy options are assumed to fall on all carriers equally, regardless of the carrier’s nationality or volume of journeys

-The manual system is assumed to be 99% effective, and the automated system 100% effective

-The rate of individuals assessed to pose a terrorist threat is estimated to be around 2.25 individuals per annum

-The number of false positives is assumed to be equal to the number of individuals correctly identified (i.e. 2.25 individuals per annum)

-ASHE data for hourly wages of administrative staff are used to calculate the cost to carriers

-Department for Transport estimates for the value of working time spent travelling are used to calculate the time cost to individuals of being falsely delayed

-ONS estimates of the average spend per visit abroad, per day are used to calculate the food and subsistence costs of individuals of being falsely delayed

-International Passenger Survey and Civil Aviation Authority data on the cost of an average flight are used to calculate the benefit to carriers of avoiding removal costs.

Option 1 – Do Nothing

Under Option 1, the existing costs and benefits prevail; no changes to the value of these costs and benefits, or any additional costs and benefits, are expected. Carriers currently pay detention and removal costs for all individuals denied entry at the UK border.

Option 2 – Manual alerts sent through e-Borders underpinned by Authority to Carry legislation

Cost to Carriers

The largest cost of this policy is to the carrier industry. Carriers providing Advance Passenger Information to e-Borders will be required to put in place 24-hour points of contact able to receive refusals of Authority to Carry in English, acknowledge receipt and give effect to that refusal. This is expected to involve arranging a phone line and a contact email mailbox, at a cost which is assumed to be negligible to the carrier. These communication lines will be manned 24 hours a day by an individual at a cost of £110,000 per annum to each carrier. This is calculated by multiplying the number of hours in a year by the average hourly labour cost of admin staff6. Approximately five members of full-time staff would need to be employed to fill this position (accounting for shift rostering). The volume of communication over a year is expected to be very low, meaning that in actuality carriers may allocate this task to existing staff - in this case, the financial cost of the option is likely to be extremely low. However, as a conservative estimate, it is assumed that the staff manning the phone line will not be able to perform any other tasks simultaneously, and thus the economic cost considers the full 24/7 labour cost. There are currently 14 UK carriers providing data to e-Borders, giving a total cost of £1.54m per annum to the UK carrier industry. The action on the alerts received is assumed to be absorbed by the existing carrier staff.

Under this option, carriers will not have to pay the detention and removal costs that they would otherwise need to meet when such individuals are refused entry or admission to the UK. The maximum possible cost of detention is currently set at £1862.78 per individual, and the average cost of a return-leg flight is £275.30.7 The number of individuals correctly refused boarding following a refusal of Authority to Carry under this option is assumed to be 2.2275 per annum. This is based on an annual rate of 2.25 people, and a 99% success rate of the manual system (i.e. 1% of the 2.25 individuals will be missed. These individuals would be stopped at the border and then need to be detained and removed, as under option 1). As is standard for a UK Impact Assessment, only net gains and losses to the UK are considered. Therefore, the total cost of detention and removal is multiplied by the effective

6 Source: Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 2010. Gross median hourly wage for admin staff (£9.66) is used, multiplied by 1.3 to account for non-wage labour costs, giving an hourly cost of £12.56.

7 Data collected by International Passenger Survey and Civil Aviation Authority, based on the average price for a single flight from the UK to 17 destinations. 2008 prices have been uprated to 2010 prices using National Accounts figures from ONS

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rate of 2.2275, and multiplied by the fraction of all carriers providing data to e-Borders that are UK companies (14/122). This assumes that the identification of individuals posing a terrorist threat are equally likely to occur on any carrier, regardless of nationality. This brings an anticipated cost saving of £547 per annum to carriers.

Cost to Individuals

A cost to individuals may arise if they are subject to a mistaken identity and incorrectly prevented from travelling to the UK. This results in the individual being delayed in their travel, and so has been costed as a 'time cost ' and a food/accommodation cost. For the purpose of this document, it is assumed that the number of these 'false positives' is equal to the number of correctly identified cases. Further analysis will be conducted in due course and as part of the Final Impact Assessment, when that figure is expected to be lowered. This means that up to 2.2275 people per year may be falsely prevented from boarding, resulting in a time delay of an estimated maximum of twenty-four hours before their carrier is given authority-to-carry and they can successfully board. Although these people will be foreign nationals and not UK citizens, their time and inconvenience has been accounted for, since presumably they are coming to the UK for business or tourism reasons, and their delay will therefore result in a net loss to the UK. The value of time used is the Department for Transport value of work time spent travelling8. This is multiplied by the number of false positives per annum, and by a 24 hour delay period. A daily cost of £54 for food and accommodation is also included. This comes from the ONS Travel Trends Report 2008, which gives details about average daily spend of a UK citizen on holiday abroad9. The cost per individual delayed is calculated to be £711.45. Multiplying this by the expected number of people falsely prevented from travelling gives a total annual cost of £1,585.

The development of the scheme will take into account the high importance of minimising this effect, and procedures will be put into place to prevent an individual from being subject to repeated instances of this. It is currently expected the instances of this occurring will be low.

Cost to Government

Under this option, there is no cost to the UK Government. Failure to comply with a refusal of 'authority-to-carry' without reasonable excuse will result in a sanction payment of £10,000 from the carrier to the UK Government. However, the Home Office is committed to supporting carriers so that they may meet their obligations and will monitor the scheme operation to provide advice and resolve issues wherever possible. To be conservative in this assessment, it is assumed for all such cases a sanction would be applied. If this is a UK carrier, then this transaction is a transfer (and there is no net loss or gain to the UK), but if it is a foreign carrier, then this is a source of revenue for the UK. It has been estimated that 1% of refusals of Authority to Carry are not prevented from boarding by carriers under this option. This means that 0.225 individuals are erroneously permitted to travel each year. Multiplying by the £10,000 sanction and by the proportion of carriers that are foreign gives an estimated gain to the UK of £199 per annum.

It is assumed that enforcement of the legislation will be administered by existing UKBA staff, who are already administer existent Carriers’ Liability charges.

Total Cost

The total cost of this option is £1.54m per annum, giving a Net Present Value over ten years of negative £13.25m. This includes the cost to carriers of manning a 24/7 phone line, the cost to ‘false positives’ of being delayed during travel, the benefit to carriers from lower detention and removal costs, and the benefit to the UK Government of sanction payments made by foreign carriers. This figure does not include any benefit from the reduced probability of a terrorist attack, which cannot be quantified. However, a break-even analysis of the benefits case is discussed below.

Benefits

Given the cost of the policy and estimated current cost of terrorist attacks, we can estimate the reduction in probability of attack that would be necessary in order for the policy to break even.

8 DfT Guidance: The value of working time spent travelling, average for all transport types. 2002 prices have been uprated to 2011 prices using DfT guidance on value of time growth rates.

9 ONS Travel Trends 2008: http://www.statistics.gov.uk/downloads/theme_transport/Travel_Trends_2008.pdf . Table 3.06: Average spend per visit abroad, per day. Average across all regions, all purposes of visit.2008 prices uprated to 2010 prices using National Accounts figures from ONS

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Under the baseline option, any such passenger who attempts to enter the UK will be stopped at the UK border and removed. The benefit of this option is that it reduces the possibility that an individual could commence a journey to the UK and execute an attack before reaching the UK border. The benefit only operates in the case that the individual would be identified as posing a terrorist threat and prevented from travelling to the UK following pre-departure checks10. This option is presumed to have a 99% success rate – this implies that 1% of individuals are not prevented from boarding, and thus may pose a terrorist threat until they are stopped and detained at the UK border.

Under this option, over a ten-year period an estimated 22.275 people would be prevented from travelling to the UK. Under the baseline option, these people may have been allowed to board11 and may then have attempted a terrorist attack.

Of the ten major plots described above, six reached execution stage and the other four were foiled by the police prior to intervention. This policy is not expected to affect the probability that an attack reaches execution stage, since it only intervenes at the point where the individual travels to the UK. The expected benefit of the policy is to increase the probability that an attack is foiled by intervention, and therefore decrease the probability that an attack is successful. Using the NPC of this policy option (£13.25m), we can see that in order for the policy to break-even (i.e. to be just worthwhile) the policy would need to result in an increase in the probability that an attack is prevented at execution stage from 0.167 to between 0.168-0.169. Since the cost of this policy is very low relative to the baseline spend on terrorist attacks (the policy costs around 1-2% of the cost of terrorist attacks per decade), only a very small lowering in the probability of an attack being successful would be necessary in order to break- even. On average, the total number of successful attacks would need to decrease from 1 per decade to 0.984-0.991 per decade in order that the policy breaks even. This change would be almost imperceptible – it is equivalent to one attack fewer in several hundred years, assuming that the policy were to run for this length of time. This is not a measure of the benefit of the policy, merely an indication of the scale of benefits that would be necessary in order to break-even.

These figures are based on data about all major terrorist plots to the UK, rather than using only those plots aimed at journeys in transit to the UK. The calculation here does not take into account the probability that a plane is the target of an attack – if all plots over the next ten years were aimed at a plane, then it would be likely that the increased prevention rate required to break-even would be achieved by the policy. However, if there were no attempted attacks of this type, it would not be possible for this policy to achieve the required increase in the prevention rate. There is no data available to investigate this claim further.

Option 3 – Automated Authority to Carry underpinned by Authority to Carry legislation

Cost to Carriers

This is a more technology intensive option, comprising the use of e-Borders to identify individuals of interest and automated alerts to the passenger’s carrier. The phone line and email inbox detailed in Option 2 will not be required – instead, an automated system is used. The cost of this system is currently unknown, and estimates may be sought from industry during the consultation stage. As an initial conservative estimate, the cost of e-Borders to industry is considered. The Regulatory Impact Assessment of e-Borders undertaken in 2007 estimated an annual cost of £202m to industry. This is likely to be much larger than the cost of implementing automated Authority to Carry, and therefore we consider 50% of this cost, £101m per annum, to be a reasonable estimate.

Unlike the manual system (which assumed a 99% success rate), the automated system is presumed to be 100% successful. This means that for every positive match the passenger’s carrier is refused authority-to-carry and the passenger is successfully prevented from boarding. On average, 2.25 individuals per year are therefore prevented from posing a threat to the UK and its interests whilst in transit to the UK, saving the UK carrier industry detention and removal costs of £552.05 per annum (this

10 This does not consider the effects of physical port security screening measures in place in the UK and ports that embark to the UK which are complementary to but not within the remit of this regulation, which aims to identify known individuals believed to pose a threat in advance of travelling

11 As above: This does not consider the effects of physical port security screening measures in place in the UK and ports that embark to the UK

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is based on the average detention and removal costs, as described above, multiplied by a rate of 2.25 and the fraction of carriers that are UK companies).

Cost to Individuals

The slightly higher rate of individuals identified as a terrorist threat under this option also results in a slightly higher false positive rate. On average, 2.25 people per annum are falsely prevented from travelling under this option. Based on an average delay of 24 hours, using estimates for the value of public time and expenditure abroad as described above, these false positives result in a cost to individuals of £1601 per annum.

Cost to Government

Under this option, it is assumed that carriers always succeed in preventing individuals identified as a terrorist threat from boarding the vessel. In this case, no sanction payments to the UK Government can be expected.

There is a large additional cost to Government of implementing the IT system. This cost is unknown, and quotes are being sought as part of the consultation stage. As a preliminary estimate, the cost of the US ESTA system is considered. This is estimated to cost the US government $300m per annum. This is likely to be a great deal larger than the cost of implementing Authority to Carry – again 50% of the cost (£95,152,500) is used as a more reasonable estimate. This estimate may be revised in due course on receipt of estimates from IT service providers.

As for option 2, it is assumed that enforcement will be administered by existing UKBA staff.

Total Cost

The total cost of this policy is £196m per annum, giving a Net Present Value of negative £1,688m. The NPV is a great deal lower than for Option 2 – this is because the automated system is much more expensive to implement, and the benefits that arise (as a result of the higher level of accuracy) can not be quantified.

Benefits

As for Option 2, the benefit of this option is that an individual is prevented from travelling to the UK, and therefore cannot execute an attack in passage. Again, this benefit only arises if the individual is is successfully prevented from boarding following the completion of pre-departure checks on the watchlist and would not otherwise have been stopped by port security. Since the success rate of this option is 100%, every individuals identified as posing a terrorist threat is prevented from boarding. Over a ten-year period, an estimated 22.5 such individuals would be prevented from boarding. This is higher than under options 1 and 2, meaning that we expect a higher level of benefits from this option.

Using the preliminary assumptions on the cost to the government and to industry of this option the cost of this policy is actually higher than the current average cost of terrorist attacks, and therefore does not break even. This is under the assumption that the current attack-rate and cost of attacks remains constant. Considering the upper-bound cost of terrorist attacks, the cost of the policy over ten years would need to decrease by £259m (85%) in order that the expenditure on the policy is equal to the current expenditure on terrorist attacks. However, at the lower-bound cost of terrorist attacks, the cost of the policy would need to decrease by £861m (49%) in order to reach this point. This option will be re- assessed once quotes for systems development have been obtained – it is possible that a significantly lower estimate of costs will be obtained, in which case the option should be reconsidered in terms of its value-for-money. It is important to note that the cost and benefits assumptions taken will be revised in future versions and in future assessments upon receipt of improved estimates. Further, there may be much wider immigration, crime and counter-terrorism benefits to the UK and benefits to industry that could be realised through an automated Authority to Carry system that have not been included in the scope of consideration here.

F. Risks

Risks and assumptions

For all policy options, the assumptions listed below have been made.

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1.The policy has no deterrence or displacement effect. This is a simplifying assumption. In reality, stricter border controls may well reduce the number of attempted attacks, and therefore the number of attacks reaching execution stage as well as the number of attacks prevented after reaching execution stage.

2.No wider social costs are accounted for in the cost of terrorist attacks. This suggests that the cost- effectiveness of the policy may be underestimated.

3.The costs and benefits are assumed to fall on all carriers equally, regardless of nationality or volume of journeys. The largest cost of the policy (that of manning a 24-hour phone line and email address) is not sensitive to this assumption, since all carriers must operate the phone line, regardless of the volume of journeys they operate.

4.The costs of providing a telephone and email point of contact are assumed to be negligible. The cost of preventing a person whose carrier has been refused authority-to-carry is assumed to be absorbed by existing staff. It is assumed that new staff will need to be hired in order to man the 24- hour phone line. In reality, it may be the case that existing staff could absorb this role, in particular since the number of calls they are expected to take is likely to be very low.

Key uncertainties are around:

The cost of implementing option 3, since estimates for the the necessary IT infrastructure for industry cannot be obtained until consultation, and estimates of costs to government will also be obtained in due course.

1.The success rate of the manual system (assumed to be 99%). This translation of success rate to benefits cannot be made, since benefits have not been quantified.

2.The number of individuals identified as a terrorist threat and the number of ‘false positives’ incorrectly identified. The costs are sensitive to changes in the number of false positives, however changes in this assumption do not greatly affect the estimated total cost . For example, increasing the false positive rate by a factor of ten results in total costs increasing by just 1%. Benefits are very sensitive to assumptions about the system’s success rate and the number of individuals identified as a terrorist threat. Since benefits cannot be quantified, sensitivity analysis around this cannot be performed.

G.Enforcement

Consultation across government has been conducted, with departments to absorb any additional administrative burden within existing resourcing arrangements.

H. Summary and Recommendations

The table below outlines the costs and benefits of the proposed changes.

Table H.1 Costs and Benefits

Optio Costs Benefits
n
   
     
2 £1.54m /year Benefits have not been quantified
     
    The estimated rate of individuals who may
    be identified as posing a terrorist threat
    travelling to the UK would reduce to 0.25
  All costs have been quantified per decade. In order to break-even, the
  policy must result in the probability that an
   
    attack is prevented at execution stage
    increasing from 0.167 in the baseline
    scenario to 0.168-0.169.
     

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3 £196m /year Benefits have not been quantified
     
    The estimated rate of individuals who may
    be identified as posing a terrorist threat
    travelling to the UK would reduce to zero.
  All costs have been quantified This policy is more expensive than the
    current estimated cost of terrorist attacks.
    Therefore, with these assumptions this
    option cannot represent value for money.
     
Source:    

Option 3 is discarded on the grounds that, based on the assumptions utilised here, it does not represent value for money. This will be reassessed upon receipt of improved cost estimates. Option 2 is the preferred option, since it is likely that the benefits required to breakeven would be achieved through identifying individuals as posing a terrorist threat and preventing them from travelling to the UK following pre-departure checks

I. Implementation

A targeted consultation will take place involving key industry partners and other stakeholder groups, which will inform the development of the scheme. On completion a Statutory instrument will be developed and laid in Parliament with a view to coming into force in November 2011.

J. Monitoring and Evaluation

Management Information will be collected by UK Border Agency to inform future Impact Assessments that review this policy. The impact will be reviewed formally in 2015 and may also be formally reviewed as part of any reviewed Impact Assessment on e-Borders that takes place in the interim.

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Annexes

Annex 1 should be used to set out the Post Implementation Review Plan as detailed below. Further annexes may be added where the Specific Impact Tests yield information relevant to an overall understanding of policy options.

Annex 1: Post Implementation Review (PIR) Plan

A PIR should be undertaken, usually three to five years after implementation of the policy, but exceptionally a longer period may be more appropriate. A PIR should examine the extent to which the implemented regulations have achieved their objectives, assess their costs and benefits and identify whether they are having any unintended consequences. Please set out the PIR Plan as detailed below. If there is no plan to do a PIR please provide reasons below.

Basis of the review:

The basis of review will be a matter of intended policy rather than a statutory or political commitment.

Review objective:

The review is intended to assess to what extent the regulation is tackling the problem of concern and highlight any areas of change or improvement

Review approach and rationale:

Review of monitoring data and scan of stakeholder views

Baseline:

Measurement is against the number of indivuduals subject to pre-departure checks that are detected through the provision of Advance Passenger Information, and what proportion of these are successfully prevented from travelling to the UK.

Success criteria:

As per baseline

Monitoring information arrangements:

Management Information to be collected internally in line with operating procedures

Reasons for not planning a PIR:

Not applicable

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The acronym "PIR" can also stand for Privacy Impact Assessment

A government system which will be snooping on millions of innocent passengers, where even this wretched "impact assessment" plans that the rate of False Positives will be equal to the number of terrorism suspects affected must have a thorough Privacy Impact Assessment

Annex 2: Human Rights Impact Assessment

Consideration has been given to the impact of this legislation on the UK’s human rights obligations. The policy will be developed so as to fully consider the engagement of these rights and an assessment will be made in the Final Impact Assessment for the policy.

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Under Labour, this has always been a worthless promise, will it remain so under the Coalition government ?

All UK legislation gets a "compliant with Human Rights" rubber stamp, even when it is found to be in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights by the international panel of judges in Strasbourg.

About this blog

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

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

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

Email & PGP Contact

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

blog@spy[dot]org[dot]uk

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

We wiil use this verifiable public key (the ID is available on several keyservers, twitter etc.) to establish initial contact with whistleblowers and other confidential sources, but will then try to establish other secure, anonymous communications channels, as appropriate.

Current PGP Key ID: 0x122B3C4FD0BD0FB3 which will expire on 1st October 2018.

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

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

Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers and Political Dissidents

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

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links

Watching Them, Watching Us

London 2600

Our UK Freedom of Information Act request tracking blog

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

Privacy and Security

Privacy International
United Kingdom Privacy Profile (2011)

Cryptome - censored or leaked government documents etc.

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

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

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

International Campaign Against Mass Surveillance

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

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

Technical Advisory Board on internet and telecomms interception under RIPA

European Digital Rights

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

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

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

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

Human Rights

Liberty Human Rights campaigners

British Institute of Human Rights
Amnesty International
Justice

Prevent Genocide International

asboconcern - campaign for reform of Anti-Social Behavior Orders

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

Internet Censorship

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

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

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

Judicial Links

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

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

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

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

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

Parliamentary Opposition

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

UK Government

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

No. 10 Downing Street Prime Minister's Official Spindoctors

Public Bills before Parliament

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

House of Commons "Question Book"

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

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

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

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

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

Online Media

Boing Boing

Need To Know [now defunct]

The Register

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

Ideal Government - debate about UK eGovernment

NIR and ID cards

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

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

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

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

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

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

Surveillance Infrastructures

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

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

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

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

RFID Links

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

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

RFIDBuzz.com blog - where we sometimes crosspost RFID articles

Genetic Links

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

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

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

Miscellanous Links

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

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

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

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

Former Spies

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

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

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

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

Naked Spygirl - Olivia Frank

Blog Links

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

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

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

Liberty Central

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

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

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

Vmyths - debunking computer security hype

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

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

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

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

Bloggerheads - Tim Ireland

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

Blogzilla - Ian Brown

BlairWatch - Chronicling the demise of the New Labour Project

dreamfish - Robert Longstaff

Informaticopia - Rod Ward

War-on-Freedom

The Musings of Harry

Chicken Yoghurt - Justin McKeating

The Red Tape Chronicles - Bob Sullivan MSNBC

Campaign Against the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Stop the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Rob Wilton's esoterica

panGloss - Innovation, Technology and the Law

Arch Rights - Action on Rights for Children blog

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

Shaphan

Moving On

Steve Moxon blog - former Home Office whistleblower and author.

Al-Muhajabah's Sundries - anglophile blog

Architectures of Control in Design - Dan Lockton

rabenhorst - Kai Billen (mostly in German)

Nearly Perfect Privacy - Tiffany and Morpheus

Iain Dale's Diary - a popular Conservative political blog

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

BLOGDIAL

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

Ralph Bendrath

Financial Cryptography - Ian Grigg et al.

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

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

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

"Give 'em hell Pike!" - Frank Fisher

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

geeklawyer - intellectual property, civil liberties and the legal system

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

Charlie's Diary - Charlie Stross

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

Famous for 15 Megapixels

Postman Patel

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

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

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

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

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

Matt Wardman political blog analysis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No CCTV - The Campaign against CCTV

Barcode Nation - keeping two eyes on the database state.

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

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

Justin Wylie's political blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Links

Spam Huntress - The Norwegian Spam Huntress - Ann Elisabeth

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

Cool Britannia

NuLabour

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

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

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

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https://twitter.com/SpyBlog

Please bear in mind the many recent, serious security vulnerabilities which have compromised the Twitter infrastructure and many user accounts, and Twitter's inevitable plans to make money out of you somehow, probably by selling your Communications Traffic Data to commercial and government interests.

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UK Legislation

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

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

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

UK Legislation Links

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

UK Commissioners

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

UK Intelligence Agencies

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

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

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

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

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

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Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) recruitment.

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Government Communications Headquarters GCHQ

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

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

Foreign Spies / Intelliegence Agencies in the UK

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

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

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

Campaign Button Links

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Open Rights Group

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

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

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

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Amnesty International's irrepressible.info campaign

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BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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

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

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

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

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

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No CCTV - The Campaign Against CCTV

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I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist !

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Power 2010 cross party, political reform campaign

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

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

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WhistleblowersUK.org - Fighting for justice for whistleblowers