Controversial Labour MP Tom Watson, is one of the politicians who inflicted the NuLabour surveillance state on us and who helped to ruin the UK economy, but he is also one of the most experienced MPs when it comes to using the internet. He has been prominent in the News International mobile phone voicemailbox hacking scandal and was even put under surveillance by private investigators hired by that tainted media group.
Recently he has been doing what many other politicians have failed to do for so many years, by calling attention to some "old news" but still toxic paedophile ring allegations.
His recent blog post
November 3rd, 2012
It's ten days since I raised a question about intelligence suggesting a paedophile ring that touched the very heart of a previous government. I'd done so because a very credible retired child protection professional had lived with a gnawing suspicion of a cover up for many years.
All very worrying, but this is exactly what we expect backbench MPs to be doing.
However, Tom Watson goes on to mention:
the 50 plus emails and numerous phone calls and letters I have received
I'm not going to let this drop despite warnings from people who should know that my personal safety is imperilled if I dig any deeper. It's spooked me so much that I've kept a detailed log of all the allegations should anything happen
We have some Questions for Tom Watson and for every other Member of Parliament who such alleged victims and whistleblowers may try to contact.
- What steps have you taken to protect the anonymity of your whistleblower sources ?
- Are you and your staff at least keeping encrypted copies of these allegations, stored in multiple locations ?
- Why not publish a PGP Public Encryption Key - you are now quite experienced with computer and internet technology, but if you need help, then contact some experts e.g. at the next CryptoParty London
- At the very least, why not install a Digital Certificate on the web server used to process your online web contact form so that the contents can be submitted through an SSL/TLS encrypted session ?
- Why not remove all the evil 3rd party tracking from your Contact web form e.g. http://www.tom-watson.co.uk/contacting-tom-watson hands over the IP address and browser details etc. of every visitor to a Google Analytics server in the USA (and therefore also to the UK and US intelligence agencies).
If "powerful people" really are trying to cover up such scandals as organised child rape (the academic term "paedophilia" hides the horror of the crime), then any potential witnesses or whistleblowers should practice some basic techniques to preserve their anonymity when contacting a Member of Parliament. e.g. see the resources listed at http://ht4w.co.uk - Technical Hints and Tips for protecting the anonymity of sources for Whistleblowers, Investigative Journalists, Campaign Activists and Political Bloggers etc.
The Wilson Doctrine is supposed to prevent the "tapping" (interception of the content of communications) of landline and mobile telephones (and fax and email and postal mail) of Members of Parliament by government departments or the Police
However it does not apply to the Communications Data (i.e. who communicated with whom, when and where etc.), which will usually be enough to betray the identities of your confidential contacts in such a scandal.
The "Wilson Doctrine" applies nowadays to the Members of the House of Commons and to Peers in the House of Lords, but does not apply to the Welsh Assembly, the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Scottish Parliament or the European Parliament, even though these bodies are also directly elected.
Neither does the "Wilson Doctrine" apply to tabloid journalists, private investigators, ex-spook/military/police "security" company mercenaries or foreign intelligence agencies with privileged telecomms and internet infrastructure insider access, who may also be trying to identify your contacts to intimidate them, or to prepare propaganda to discredit their allegations.
N.B. there are no criminal sanctions specifically for the abuse of Communications Data, not even in the current Draft Communications Data Bill
Even if there is no conspiracy of people in positions of power, who might try to silence or suppress such allegations, Members of Parliament and Investigative Journalists have a duty to protect all of their confidential sources, no matter how seemingly low level and mundane. They should use readily available, often free, technical and procedural safeguards, including the use of encryption, just in case there is one whistleblower whose case really needs such precautions, either now or in the future.