Recently in Media spin and manipulation Category

After faffing around for over 4 years, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Metropolitan Police Service have decided not to charge anyone at MI5 the Security Service or SIS the Secret Intelligence Service in the cases of two people who have made allegations of complicity in torture against them.

Their joint statement does not "clear" the officers and agencies concerned of any wrongdoing, which is the propaganda line being spun by say , the Daily Telegraph, it just says that the CPS feels that there is insufficient evidence for the likely prospect of a criminal conviction.


Joint statement by the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Metropolitan Police Service

12/01/2012

This is a joint statement by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) dealing with:

(a) the decisions of the CPS not to charge any named individuals in relation to the investigations in Operations Hinton and Iden;

(b) the setting up of an advisory panel for scoping other complaints about ill-treatment by detainees in similar circumstances; and

(c) the decision by the MPS whether to investigate two further cases where allegations of criminal wrongdoing are raised in relation to the alleged rendition of named individuals to Libya and the alleged ill-treatment of them in Libya.

[...]

All concerned have been mindful of the obligation that allegations such as those made in Operations Hinton and Iden must be investigated thoroughly and in accordance with Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights is very short and all encompassing:

No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Operation Hinton involved the investigation of the alleged involvement of British officials in the ill-treatment and torture of Mr Binyam Mohamed when he was detained in Pakistan between about April and July 2002 and/or when he was detained elsewhere between about July 2002 and early 2004.

Mr Mohamed has never alleged that any member of either the Security Service or the Secret Intelligence Service was directly involved in the torture and ill-treatment he alleges. The investigation has therefore focused on whether there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of convicting any member of either Service for offences of aiding and abetting torture, aiding and abetting war crimes and misconduct in public office.

[...]

However, the CPS has also concluded that there is insufficient evidence to prove to the standard required in a criminal court that any identifiable individual provided information to the US authorities about Mr Mohamed or supplied questions for the US authorities to put to Mr Mohamed, or was party to doing so, at a time when he or she knew or ought to have known that there was a real or serious risk that Mr Mohamed would be exposed to ill treatment amounting to torture.

"he or she knew or ought to have known that there was a real or serious risk"

The Crown Prosecution Service appear to be completely out of touch with reality, again.

Intelligence Agencies not only ought to have known exactly which countries and state agencies use torture, but they ought to know exactly where the torture chambers are located and the identities of the torturers and their superiors, because they should be hunting them down, instead of helping them.

If the Intelligence Agencies are claiming to be somehow ignorant of this, then MI5 or SiS officers and their superiors, should be charged with Misconduct in Public Office,
for "wilful neglect or misconduct", since everyone within the UK Intelligence Agencies is supposed to be aware that "torture" or "inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" is utterly wrong.

Any investigation of the Libyan allegations , which Sir Peter Gibson's Detainee Inquiry had already promised to look into back in September 2011, are now in danger of being spun out for another 4 years by the Metropolitan Police Service and the Crown Prosecution Service.

Ploddingly and bureaucratically, they have announced that they have set up "an advisory panel" to decide whether they should investigate these claims or not. Why have they not already started to investigate before Christmas 2011 ?

Statement by the Inquiry, January 12, 2012

[...]

Following the advice of the joint advisory Crown Prosecution Service and Metropolitan Police Panel, the Metropolitan Police has decided that the allegations raised in the two specific cases concerning the alleged rendition of named individuals to Libya and the alleged ill-treatment of them in Libya are so serious that it is in the public interest for them to be investigated rather than at the conclusion of the Detainee Inquiry.

The Detainee Inquiry Panel will now carefully consider its next steps and the Chairman of the Panel, Sir Peter Gibson, will make an announcement in due course.

Surely it is possible for the Detainee Inquiry to proceed in parallel with any Police investigation ? If they wait for every investigation and court case to finish, before they get formally started, then they might as well all resign now.

Were these kidnappings of individuals and families, none of whom were terrorists who posed a threat to the UK and their "extraordinary rendition" into the hands of torturers in the USA, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Morocco, Jordan, Egypt or Libya etc.
sanctioned by Labour government Ministers under the Intelligence Services Act 1994, section 7 Authorisation of acts outside the British Islands ?

Will Tony Blair and his henchmen like Jack Straw and David Blunkett, try and divert responsibility for British complicity in torture by blaming their civil servant officials instead ?

The Conservative / Liberal Democrat coalition government's hands are not entirely clean either, given that only last year, they firstly accepted the defection of
Moussa Koussa from the Gadaffi regime in Libya and then let him go freely out of their custody. There are plenty of allegations around of his personal involvement in political assassinations, massacres and torture as head of the Libyan intelligence bureaucracy, whose abandoned offices have yielded prima facie evidence of such complicity.

It is now over 18 months since the Detainee Inquiry was set up and the promise Undertakings to protect witnesses or whistleblowers from prosecution and / or disciplinary action have still not been agreed or published

Spy Blog has raised with the Detainee Inquiry, the question of Communications data snooping, Interception of Communications and Intrusive Surveillance and recruitment of Confidential Human Intelligence Sources i.e. routine Intelligence Agencies powers and techniques, which could easily be aimed at members and staff of the Detainee Inquiry and their families and friends, by one or all of the intelligence Agencies, trying to identify potential or actual whistleblowers who may not be adhering to the official party line. The self justification for doing so will be on the nebulous grounds of "national security" - to determine if anyone willing to talk, even in secret, to the Detainee Inquiry about the deeds or misdeeds of their colleagues or superiors be trusted any more.

See the previous Spy Blog article: Reply from the Detainee Inquiry, regarding anonymity protection for whistleblowers, surveillance targeting against the Inquiry itself etc.

Were the Metropolitan Police and Crown Prosecution Service teams working on investigations Operation Hinton and Operation Iden targeted in this way ? Given the 4 years it took them to fail to find sufficient evidence and the number of people they were not allowed to interview, it may well be that the Intelligence Agencies were always one step ahead of the investigators, perhaps through the use of such surveillance techniques.

Will the Metropolitan Police investigation into the Libyan allegations, if it ever goes ahead, also be so targeted by the Intelligence Agencies ?

Remember that individual Police officers and investigation teams have, according to evidence given to the Leveson Inquiry, been targeted by News of the World and / or other journalists and private investigators, including the team investigating Downing Street complicity in the "cash for honours" scandal headed by the now politically disgraced Assistant Commissioner John Yates.

It is therefore not fanciful to assume that people within the UK Intelligence Agencies with these secret surveillance powers will use them, or will get their US or European sister intelligence agencies to do so on their behalf against such torture investigations, unless expressly and publicly forbidden to do so .

Any such ban must be public, so that the companies and staff working in telecommunications, internet and postal communications services can recognise illegal requests for Communications Data or the contents of communications and refuse to accede to them.

It is ironic that the person to whom complaints about such abuses of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 by the Intelligence Agencies, if they exist, is the Intelligence Services Commissioner, the post held by Rt. Hon. Sir Peter Gibson until he resigned it early in his tenure to devote himself to the Detainee Inquiry.

The current Intelligence Services Commissioner is Rt. Hon. Sir Mark Waller - see the previous Spy Blog article: Intelligence Services Commissioner, Rt. Hon. Sir Mark Waller appointed early, announced late


Elizabeth Filkin, the former Parliamentary Standards Commissioner (who proved to be too competent for the sleazy MPs) has produced an interesting report into the cosy relationship between the top managment of the Metroplitan Police Service and the print media, specifically, but not exclusively News International.

The Ethical Issues Arising from the Relationship Between Police and Media (302 Kb .pdf)

When reading this report, you could and should mentally replace the words "MPS" or "Metroplitan Police Service", with "Downing Street" or "Whitehall Department" and especially with "Home Office", "Cabinet Office", "Ministry of Defence MoD", "Security Service MI5", "Secret Intelligence Service MI6" or "GCHQ".

Almost all of Elizabeth Filkin's conclusions and reccomendations for improving the Metropolitan Police's duties of transparency and accountability to the public, whilst protecting the operational security of ongoing investigations and also protecting the personal details of innocent members of the public and junior staff etc., could and should be applied to these other powerful, privilged, yet increasingly untrusted, supposedly public institutions.

The Metroplitan Police Service has been practicing the black arts of media spin and manipulation and their public reputation has suffered as a result.

Favoured access:

3.2.1 Inequality of access

It is felt both internally and externally that the MPS has not given equal access to all parts of the media for a number of years and that certain special relationships have developed selectively.

The kind of off the record nature of it all is actually counter-productive, and if we really want to hold public institutions to account we have to do it in an open, transparent and proper way. But the way they operate is they have the kind of closed press briefings, drinks at the pub - it's a club. Journalists get too close to senior police officers, because you get far more stories if you're nice to them than if you're not. And the result is I think we are quite generally in this industry, too reluctant to write critical pieces, than we were previously.

A Journalist

Trading information and even betraying details about innocent members of the public, in order to about to divert media attention away from embarrasing stories about the MPS themselves:

3.1.2 Trading

I have also been given examples where inappropriate information has been provided to the media, to dilute or prevent the publication of other information which could be damaging to the MPS or senior individuals within it. Of course there can be proper and ethical negotiations with the media to prevent the obstruction of an investigation, harm to
members of the public or the MPS, or to ensure accuracy in reporting. However some negotiations have included unethical placing of material, or offering exclusive stories to the media to bury other information.

"So that if you get the Press Officer who says, well, if I give Reporter 'A' a particular story exclusively, then next week Reporter 'A' will do me a favour. And you've got a direct conflict now between what the public needs and what the Press Officer wants."

Nick Davies, Freelance Journalist

Lack of Transparency, even when there is no justifiable operational need for it:

4.4 TRANSPARENCY

According to some, MPS contact with the media has in the past been characterised by back door briefings through informal and unofficial channels. This view was also reached when MPS communications were the subject of some informal advice from the private sector in 2010. I understand that this offer of help from an outside expert on improving communications with the public was undermined by the threat of negative press coverage.

Some contact will involve trusting the media with confidential information. There will also be occasions when negotiation between the MPS and the media will be necessary to ensure accurate reporting. I am concerned that some may use these proper practices to justify a general lack of transparency both in terms of who has contact with the media and what information they provide. Problems like the trading of information or the apparent closeness of some relationships with the media fuel the perception that the business of dealing with the press is by its nature secretive.

"I think if you spend your whole career working on secretive investigations, and concealing information, things like that, which is really, really important, it just goes to your head somehow, sometimes, and you think that you kind of own this information, and you forget that you're there to serve the public."

A Journalist

[...]

In most circumstances police officers and staff providing information to the media should expect to be named. In some instances it may be appropriate for only their role or position to be published. It should always be the case that the information is attributed to the MPS.

The culture of secrecy and the use of "Anonymous briefings" attributed to "police sources" are as stupid and counterproductive as those attributed to "Whitehall sources"

"I phoned up and said 'I've got some questions here', it was almost as though you were asking for them to release something which is privileged information somehow, it's absolutely not. So I just try back channels now, trying other contacts in the Met, going round the back within the slightly kind of shadowy stuff that you have to do to get data, because the front door doesn't work."

A Journalist

It is clear both from speaking to journalists and politicians, and from media reports even during the time of my review, that use of the word 'police source' can mislead. Every time this phrase is used it implies a leak. I have been told that it is also used in situations where the information comes from a different but related organisation such as the MPA, or as a generic term to try and protect the real provenance of a source. It is also sometimes used where the information has been legitimately and formally supplied by the MPS press office. This is a damaging practice with the potential to create a perception that leaks from the MPS are more widespread than they are.


BBC Radio 4: Secret Britain

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The BBC Radio 4 documentary series Secret Britain should be of interest to Spy Blog readers.

The first programme in the series was broadcast last Tuesday 16th August 2011, but it still available (for now) online via the BBC iPlayer

One Hundred Years of Secrecy

Presented by veteran investigative journalist Peter Hennessey, with sound bites from
retired heads of intelligence agencies, Whitehall mandarins, politicians and the occasional whistleblower.

The programme "celebrates" the 100th anniversary of the notorious Official Secrets Act 1911, which , amidst mainstream media inspired hysteria and collective Must Be Seen To Be Doing Something panic amongst the politicians, after a foreign security crisis.

The influence of this overbroad "catch all" Act and the way in which it was sneaked through Parliament in a rush, without proper debate or scrutiny set the tone for almost all subsequent "security" legislation to date.

The supposedly more narrowly targeted Official Secrets Act 1989 also commands little public confidence,has led to some dubious prosecutions yet it has not prevented "leaks" from the Whitehall and national security / counter-terrorism bureaucracy. It therefore needs urgent reform

The most interesting quotation in the broadcast was from Sir Stephen Lander, the retired Director General of MI5 the Security Service (who was also later in charge of the Serious Organised Crime Agency).

His comment on the Security Service Act 1989,

SSL: "I think, fundamentally, it was a wonderful thing to have done for the Service. It was the most important thing that happened in my time. MI5 getting legislation for the Service.

Apart from anything else, it made us so much more operationally aggressive, and more confident.

PH: Because you had "cover" ?

SSl: Yep, We were "proper".

And it was a beautiful piece of draughting, at something, you know, "there shall continue to be a Security Service" without having previously acknowledged that it had previously existed in law - hah hah - a beautiful piece of draughting.

Sir John Scarlett, the former Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service MI6 was also complimentary about the Intelligence Services Act 1994, which put MI6 and GCHQ on a statutory legal footing.

However he is utterly wrong to claim that

The 1994 Act, allowed, a very large amount of information, to be made available for public discussion and in the public domain, about, the work, of the Service, the role it plays in Government, the way it's structured, quite a bit, in effect, about its resources, about it's preoccupations, its targets, and that process of releasing information into the public domain, began in 1994.

And now there is a vast amount of information available through, Parliamentary reports, Commission reports, and now, in recent years, through the websites,o the Services, and so on.

[...]

For all the ups and downs over the years, it's worked as least as well as we could have expected, and I would say, broadly better.

Regular Spy Blog readers will have noticed just how uninformative and secretive the censored Intelligence and Security Committee and various Commissioners' Reports have been over the years. The websites of the intelligence services are not very informative either - probably the best is that of MI5

Obviously tactical, operational security details of particular ongoing operations and investigations should remain secret. This radio programme illustrates with a couple of examples, the corrosive effect of self authorised "national security" secrecy, with criminal penalties with which to threaten whistleblowers, but without any counterbalancing criminal penalties for use against officials and politicians who abuse the privilege of such secrecy, simply to hide or cover up their political embarrassment or their managerial or technological incompetence or the whiff of corruption or treason,

The next programme in the series is:

D for Discretion: Can the Modern Media Keep a Secret?

This forthcoming programme looks as if it will talk about the increasingly irrelevant DA-Notice System of voluntary self censorship by the mainstream media.

The "Defence Advisory Notice System" - as it is now called - is supposed to be entirely voluntary. In reality, though, it's very rare for any of the mainstream media organisations to ignore the committee's requests. But how does this work in the age of Wikileaks and citizen journalism? This programme looks at the challenges to the system posed by social media websites. What happens if members of the public try to reveal government secrets on Twitter - in a similar way to this year's row about super-injunctions? And how do newspapers like The Guardian square their Wikileaks collaborations with their own editorial guidelines on national security issues?

Broadcast times:

Tue 23 Aug 2011 09:00 BBC Radio 4

Tue 23 Aug 2011 21:30 BBC Radio 4

and then online via iPlayer for a while.

Yesterday, Rebekah Brooks (formerly Wade) the former News International executive, former Editor of The Sun and former Editior of the (now defunct) News of the World,

"was arrested on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications, contrary to Section 1 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 and on suspicion of corruption allegations contrary to Section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906"

Section 1 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 carries the same penalty as the criminal offence to which it the consipiracy applies i.e. the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 section 1 Unlawful interception, which could lead to up to 2 years in prison and / or a unlimited fine.

The Prevention of Corruption Act 1906 section 1 Punishment of corrupt transactions with agents. carries a penalty of up to 7 years in prison and / or an unlimited fine.

Police officers are "agents" in the archaic languuage of the is Act:

(3)A person serving under the Crown or under any corporation or any . . . borough, county, or district council, or any board of guardians, is an agent within the meaning of this Act.


Since Rebekah Brooks is / was due to testify before the House of Commons Select Committe on Culture, Media and Sport in regard to the "phone hacking" scandal(s), there
are various people claiming that this is a conspiracy to silence or neuter any such testimony and she is obviously denying any illegality.

Hacking: Brooks' Lawyer Says She Is Innocent

Mrs Brooks' solicitor Stephen Parkinson said: "She is not guilty of any criminal offence. The position of the Metropolitan Police is less easy to understand.

"Despite arresting her yesterday and conducting an interview process lasting nine hours, they put no allegations to her and showed her no documents connecting her with any crime.

One of those making such claim of some sort of coverup is the former Labour junior Minister Chris Bryant,

Rebekah Brooks's arrest intensifies phone-hacking crisis

Vikram Dodd, crime correspondent
The Guardian, Monday 18 July 2011

[...]

The Labour MP Chris Bryant said: "It is unusual to arrest by appointment on a Sunday and that just makes me wonder whether this is some ruse to avoid answering questions properly on Tuesday in the Commons committee."


He was the MP who asked Rebekah Wade about Payments To The Police, when she appeared before the same committee back in 2003:

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 460-469)

TUESDAY 11 MARCH 2003

MS REBEKAH WADE, MR ANDREW COULSON, MR STUART KUTTNER AND MR TOM CRONE

[...]

Mr Bryant

[...]

467. And on the element of whether you ever pay the police for information?
(Ms Wade) We have paid the police for information in the past.

468. And will you do it in the future?
(Ms Wade) It depends--
(Mr Coulson) We operate within the code and within the law and if there is a clear public interest then we will. The same holds for private detectives, subterfuge, a video bag--whatever you want to talk about.

469. It is illegal for police officers to receive payments.
(Mr Coulson) No. I just said, within the law.

Chairman: Chris, you have your answer. Thank you very much. We are grateful for your evidence and the courtesy with which you have given your responses.

Are the now very embarassed and possibly vindictive Metropolitan Police relying on this Select Committee testimony, as all or part of the case against Rebekah Brooks for "corrupt transactions with agents" ?

Do they actually have any other real evidence against her personally ?

N.B. Witness testimony to Select Committees and their Written Reports, are protected by Parliamentary Privilige under the Bill of Rights 1688 and cannot be used as evidence in a Court of law.

This applies to both her 2003 testimony and to anything she might have said on Tuesday, before the Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport.

We are still astonished that Article 9 of the Bill of Rights was used to temporarily suppress the ultimately successful Freedom of Information Act request, for the publication of the notorious Identity Card Scheme Gateway Reviews


High Court upholds OGC appeal against Information Tribunal and suppresses publication of the Home Office ID Cards Gateway Reviews, on grounds of "Parliamentary Privilege" -

This New York Times article alleges that the News of the World had access to mobile phone Location Data from the police for "nearly $500" a time.

This is yet another reason why access to Communications Data must no longer be allowed to be self authorised by the Police or Intelligence Agencies or other public bodies - there must be independent judicial permission on an individual case by case basis.

A censored Annual Report by the Interception of Communications Commissioner does not provide any reassurance to the public about the system of Communications Data Retention and snooping.


New York Times

Murdoch Tabloids' Targets Included Downing Street and the Crown

By JOHN F. BURNS and JO BECKER

Published: July 11, 2011

(Page 2 of 2)


[...]


Separately, an inquiry by The New York Times, which included interviews with two former journalists at The News of the World, has revealed the workings of the illicit cellphone-tracking, which the former tabloid staffers said was known in the newsroom as "pinging." Under British law, the technology involved is restricted to law enforcement and security officials, requires case-by-case authorization, and is used mainly for high-profile criminal cases and terrorism investigations, according to a former senior Scotland Yard official who requested anonymity so as to be able to speak candidly.

According to Oliver Crofton, a cybersecurity specialist who works to protect high-profile clients from such invasive tactics, cellphones are constantly pinging off relay towers as they search for a network, enabling an individual's location to be located within yards by checking the strength of the signal at three different towers. But the former Scotland Yard official who discussed the matter said that any officer who agreed to use the technique to assist a newspaper would be crossing a red line.

"That would be a massive breach," he said.

A former show-business reporter for The News of the World, Sean Hoare, who was fired in 2005, said that when he worked there, pinging cost the paper nearly $500 on each occasion. He first found out how the practice worked, he said, when he was scrambling to find someone and was told that one of the news desk editors, Greg Miskiw, could help. Mr. Miskiw asked for the person's cellphone number, and returned later with information showing the person's precise location in Scotland, Mr. Hoare said. Mr. Miskiw, who faces questioning by police on a separate matter, did not return calls for comment.

A former Scotland Yard officer said the individual who provided the information could have been one of a small group entitled to authorize pinging requests, or a lower-level officer who duped his superiors into thinking that the request was related to a criminal case. Mr. Hoare said the fact that it was a police officer was clear from his exchange with Mr. Miskiw.

"I thought it was remarkable and asked him how he did it, and he said, 'It's the Old Bill, isn't it?' " he recalled, noting that the term is common slang in Britain for the police. "At that point, you don't ask questions," he said.

A second former editor at the paper backed Mr. Hoare's account. "I knew it could be done and that it was done," he said. Speaking on condition that his name be withheld, he said that another way of tracking people was to hack into their credit card details and determine where the last charge was made. He said this tactic yielded at least one major scoop, when The News of the World tracked down James Hewitt, a former army officer and lover of Princess Diana's, who had fled to Spain amid the media firestorm that followed the publication of his book about the affair.


Does the "Single Point of Contact" system for accessing Communications Data have a sufficiently robust audit trail to cross check when, where and by whom each of the thousands of mobile and landline phone numbers in Glen Mulcaire's (and other private investigators) already seized notes have been subjected to Communication Data demands ?

If the Rt Hon Sir Paul Kennedy, the Interception of Communications Commissioner does not investigate this scandal, he should resign, as there can be no public confidence in the office, whatsoever.

See RIPA: 2010 annual report of the Interception of Communications Commissioner, which like all the previous reports, is oblivious of any wrongdoing regarding Communications Data.

In order to try to restore public confidence , the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act should be amended with criminal penalties to discourage the abuse of Communications Data by individuals and organisations who have access to it.

Is the mainstream media collaborating again in the "Climate of Fear" disinformation which the previous (increasingly hated ) Labour government deliberately allowed to fester, to bolster their repressive legislation ?

The Daily Telegraph has a story, which has been plagiarised and made even more misleading by the Daily Mail, regarding the alleged threat of Shoulder Launched Surface to Air Missiles (Man Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS)) which could supposedly be aimed at Heathrow Airport from villages in Surrey, which are not on or even close to the flight path.

Police brief villagers on how to spot terrorists armed with rocket launchers

They are more used to attending talks on spotting rare birds or butterflies. But the villagers of Surrey are now being given briefings on identifying altogether more sinister visitors: terrorists armed with rocket launchers.

By Emily Gosden

12:15AM BST 02 Jul 2011

Emily Gosden may not be a specialist defence or security journalist, but this story is tagged under the "Defence" category. - why didn't the Editors spot the obvious errors ?.

[...]

Officers from the Metropolitan Police's specialist aviation security team have been touring village halls with a surface-to-air rocket launcher and video footage of a missile hitting a plane in Iraq. Similar briefings have been held near other airports around the country.

Police have invested tens of thousands of pounds in software to identify potential missile launch sites in recent years and have shown residents maps with red and orange dots pinpointing the most likely location for terrorist attacks.

Since they are showing these maps to some of the general public, why not publish them on the Metropolitan Police website ?

Or are they planning to just leave them at a local petrol station, like their colleagues did back in 2004, when such plans and more were handed in to The Sun tabloid newspaper ?

Terrorist's handbook

STEVE KENNEDY

Published: 19 Jul 2004

[...]

The secret files handed to The Sun were drafted by security chiefs only last month to guard the airport from attack.

They were found by an astounded motorist lying abandoned on a roadside just a few hundred yards from Terminal 4.

The reports, compiled by Scotland Yard's SO18 anti-terrorist Aviation Security team, show detailed maps and photographs of 62 potential terror missile launch sites.

[...]

The Daily Telegraph story continues:

James Nicholls, an Effingham resident who was invited to a briefing at Ockham village hall last month, said: "It was extraordinary, I couldn't believe it.

"We were asked to look for people burying things in the ground, we were shown all the components of this heat-seeking shoulder-launched missile. They told us they had been as far as Windsor and Sunningdale surveying and looking at potential sites."

Windsor and Sunnigdale are a lot closer to Heathrow Airport than Effingham or Ockham or East Horsely.

Is the "Metropolitan Police's specialist aviation security team" visiting every community directly under the Heathrow flightpath in the densely populated London Boroughs of Housnlow and Richmond upon Thames ?

He said officers suggested that terrorists could try to smuggle a weapon from Afghanistan, where they are readily available for about £120, and bury its components in the countryside before reassembling them to launch an attack.

Surface to Air Missiles "readily available" for a measly £120 ! Utter nonsense !

Why did such an obvious mistake not get spotted by the professional journalist and the editors of the Daily Telegraph ?

There have been no reports of even the Taliban or Al Qaida combatants in Afghanistan currently having access to any Surface to Air Missiles whatsover..

Back in the1980's when Osama bin Laden used to work with the CIA against the Soviet invaders of Afghanistan, the US Government did supply Stinger heat seeking shoulder fired SAMs to the "freedom fighters" in Afghanistan which were used against Russian helicopter gunships etc.

  • Why would any terrorists with access to such a weapon bother to bury it in the ground ?

  • Why would it not be undetectably stored in whatever vehicle or shipping container used to smuggle it in to the country in the first place ?

  • Why would missiles be smuggled from Afghanistan, rather than directly from Russia or Eastern Europe ? The only people who might be able to do this from Afghanistan, would be corrupt British or US military personnel. Is that what the Metropolitan Police's specialist aviation security team are implying ?

The black market value of such a missile is probably in six figures, but all the recent plots to buy such missiles seem to be (illegal in the UK) entrapment sting operations e.g.

See Spy Blog: Where did Hemant Lakhani get an Igla missile from ?

SA-16_and_SA-18_missiles_and_launchers_450.jpg

Russian SA-16 and SA-18 missiles and launchers

Note how much longer the rocket obviously has to be for a MANPADS anti-aircraft missile, compared with the much shorter range Rocket Propelled Grenade anti-tank weapons.

During their briefing, officers showed residents footage of a DHL Airbus A300 cargo plane as it was hit over Iraq in 2003. The missile struck a wing and caused the complete loss of hydraulic power, forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing.

[...]

Mr Nicholls added: "To watch this shoulder-launched weapon hit this aeroplane at 8,000ft and take half the wing off it - everybody in that room was stunned.

"They told us, there's no threat whatsoever, but please be on the lookout. This is an awful lot of work to be putting in if there is no threat."

Less than 10 seconds with a web search engine points to this Wikipedia article:

2003 Baghdad DHL attempted shootdown incident

At about 8,000 feet (2,450 metres), a 9K34 Strela-3 (SA-14 Gremlin) surface-to-air missile struck the left wing tip. The warhead damaged trailing edge surfaces and structure and caused a fire

Rather less than taking "half the wing off it ", which is presumably why the pilots were actually able to land ok.

The maximum range of such a missile is stated as 4200 metres - the horizontal range to an aircraft on a landing or take off flight path will obviously be much less.

The villages of Effingham, Ockham and East Horsley are about 15 kilometres South of Heathrow airport (where the landing and take off flight paths run East - West). They are about the same distance North West of Gatwick airport, where again, the runway is aligned nearly East - West.

Even if MANPADS were somehow available to terrorists in the UK, they would be out of range from there.

heathrow_east_horsley_gatwick_map_low.jpg

The Daily Telegraph chose to illustrate their story with this picture

rocket-launcher_1936004c.jpg

Did the Daily Telegraph picture editors not bother to read the meta data embedded in this image ? It clearly states that it is of a Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) launcher:

A Shiite Muslim Iraqi fighter of the Meh...KUFA, IRAQ: A Shiite Muslim Iraqi fighter of the Mehdi Army militia walks with his rocket propelled grenade (RPG) launcher on his shoulder, close to the Abbasiyah Bridge, the scene of fighting in the town of Kufa, a few kilometers away from the holy city of Najaf, south of Baghdad, 29 May 2004. Nine Iraqis were wounded today in the second day of fighting between the Mehdi Army and US troops here, medics said. A now two-day-old statement from the firebrand cleric Moqtada Sadr, whose private Mehdi Army has waged an uprising against coalition troops for nearly two months, agreed to withdraw his militia from Najaf if US troops also left. AFP PHOTO/Ahmed AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)

i.e. definitely not an illustration of a MANPADS anti-aircraft missile.

In their "Daily Mail Reporter" byeline copycat article

Police tell 'high risk' Surrey villages how to spot threat of terrorists firing rockets at planes at Heathrow

the Daily Mail used this photo of another obvious Rocket Propelled Grenade with a misleading caption:

article-2010566-0CD610B100000578-629_468x286.jpg

Threat: Rocket launchers are available in Afghanistan for around £120 and can be reassembled for attacks

The maximum range of an RPG7 rocket propelled grenade is less than 1000 metres and it is only accurate below 200 metres. Unless the terrorists were actually at Heathrow Airport itself, they would have little chance of hitting an airliner, unless firing directly along the axis of the runway:

Due to the configuration of the RPG-7 sustainer/warhead section, it responds counter-intuitively to crosswinds. A crosswind will tend to exert pressure on the stabilizing fins, causing the projectile to turn into the wind. While the rocket motor is still burning, this will cause the flight path to curve into the wind

Terrorists could never hit an airliner on a landing or takeoff, at Heathrow Airport from these villages over 15 kilomteres away in Surrey, neither with an RPG7, nor even with a much more expensive and sophisticated MANPADS.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "The MPS regularly holds community engagement events to build relations with the community and to encourage the public to be vigilant, and to report any suspicious activity to police. This is part of an ongoing process and is not in response to any specific intelligence."

Why did the Metropolitan Police Service press office not correct the factual errors in both the village hall briefings and in the mainstream media reports ?

Lying to the public and stoking up a "Climate of Fear" via the mainstream and tabloid media is a propaganda victory for our terrorist and other enemies.

The BBC reports that

21 June 2011 Last updated at 16:32

Teenager arrested on suspicion of hacking

A teenager has been arrested in the UK in a joint Scotland Yard and FBI probe into the hacking of websites.

The man, named locally as Ryan Cleary, 19, was arrested in Wickford, Essex. Police have not identified him.

Make your mind up BBC - is he a "teenager" or a "man" aged 19 ?

Scotland Yard said the raid followed a series of distributed denial of service attacks.

It comes days after hackers from a group called Lulz Security (LulzSec) attacked a number of websites both in Britain and the United States.

Scotland Yard would not say if Tuesday's raid was connected to LulzSec but said it had been a "pre-planned, intelligence-led" operation.

However, BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner said the Metropolitan Police's e-crimes unit had confirmed the raid was linked to the recent intrusion attacks on the websites of the CIA and Britain's Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca).

It says the teenager's computer was being examined for data linked to Sony, which recently came under cyber attack.

Mr Cleary was arrested under the Computer Misuse Act and Fraud Act and is being questioned at a central London police station.

Earlier a Scotland Yard spokesman said: "The arrest follows an investigation into network intrusions and distributed denial of service attacks against a number of international business and intelligence agencies by what is believed to be the same hacking group.

"Searches at a residential address in Wickford, Essex, following the arrest last night, have led to the examination of a significant amount of material. These forensic examinations remain ongoing."

Mr Cleary's mother spoke to BBC Essex and confirmed her son had been arrested at 0330 BST on Tuesday.

She said he had been obsessed with computers since he was 12 and added: "Computers were his world."

It is one of the more disgraceful aspects of the mainstream and tabloid media, that they "name and shame" people who have been merely arrested, but who have not yet actually been charged with any offence and who may never charged or convicted of anything i.e. before the sub judice contempt of court rules apply.

What happened to the principle of "innocent until proven guilty" ?

Why did the BBC send a tv satellite outside broadcast van around to the family home in Wickford, Essex and broadcast voyeuristic pictures of it around the world ?

See this Teenager arrested on suspicion of hacking video clip, which was broadcast repeatedly by BBC televeison news, around the world.

BBC_satellite_OB_van_450.jpg

Note the BBC satellite Outside Broadcast van

BBC_Wickford_Essex_1_450.jpg

The number plate of this parked car is clearly visible in the broadcast, although it probably has nothing to do with the house and the alleged computer hacker. - this is "guilt through association".

BBC_snoops_bedroom_windows_450.jpg

What genuine news value is there in the slow pan across all three upper floor bedroom windows ?

Are the BBC complicit in police / government harassment and intimidation, or are they just uncaringly voyeuristic, or both ?

For what it is worth, the inherently untrustworthy @LulzSec Twitter feed claims that :

Clearly the UK police are so desperate to catch us that they've gone and arrested someone who is, at best, mildly associated with us. Lame.
7:54PM June 21st 2011

@superbus We use Ryan's server, we also use Efnet, 2600, Rizon and AnonOps IRC
servers. That doesn't mean they're all part of our group.
7:53 PM June 21st 2011

Ryan Cleary is not part of LulzSec; we house one of our many legitimate chatrooms on his IRC server, but that's it. youtube.com/watch?v=Jf7iBS...
7:48PM June 21st 2011

Will the UK Police actually charge and prosecute Ryan Cleary, or will this become Yet Another Extradition to the USA saga, like that of Gary McKinnon ?

Automatic Number Plate Recognition Camera enforced electronic ghettos are a hot topic in East Anglia at the moment, with the controversial "snoop on the general public 24/7, even when not actually stopping criminals" scheme in Royston, Herfordshire, which has been reported to the Information Commissioner by several human rights and civil liberties groups.

Royston's ANPR "Ring of Steel'' - the shape of things to come?

However, the mainstream media are still more obsessed with celebrities, than with the rights and freedoms of the public.

Thursday's front page story in the Daily Telegraph made this claim:

WikiLeaks: Government 'spying' on Julian Assange during house arrest

Supporters of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange are claiming that the Government has erected CCTV cameras to spy on the house where he is staying in East Anglia.

By Christopher Hope, Whitehall Editor

12:00PM BST 16 Jun 2011

In a video, titled "House Arrest", and released by WikiLeaks, they claim that three cameras have been erected to watch who enters and leaves his temporary home.

The video, published today on Telegraph.co.uk, marks his six months on bail. It shows one of the cameras outside the entrance to Ellingham Hall, Norfolk.

Mr Assange has lived there for six months while he fights extradition to Sweden over allegations of sexual crimes, which he denies.

All of the cameras have been installed since Mr Assange moved there in mid-December.

On the video, Sarah Harrison, one of the WikiLeaks' team, says: "This is one of the three cameras that is outside each entrance of the property.

"We suddenly noticed them appearing since we have been here. We believe they are monitoring everything that goes in and out of the property."

Vaughan Smith, who owns Ellingham Hall, adds: "I am not an expert on cameras but I believe that these take number plates and report number plates. I think the country is full of them but I don't know why I need quite so many of them around my house."

Is this what passes for investigative journalism by the "Whitehall Editor" of the Daily Telegraph these days ?

The "camera" to which Sarah Harrison is seen pointing to, is clearly a radar operated speed warning sign which should light up when a vehicle approaches at more than the speed limit e,g, 30 or 40 or 50 mph

See Case Study - Norfolk Interactive Fibre Optic Signs (the fibre optics refer to the method of illuminating the sign, rather that to any high speed communications network reporting to any central surveillance and control system).

These are not even "speed cameras", which issue Fixed Penalty Notices for speeding , they are just a primitive road safety feature.

speed_sign_1_450.jpg

speed_sign_2_450.jpg

The Google Street View copyright message on this image of the very same speed warning sign on the Yarmouth Road, Ellingham approaching the Hall Road turning says "2009" i.e. from well before anybody in Norfolk could have suspected that Julian Assange.would be held on bail there.

google_street_view_2009_radar_speed_sign_450.jpg

The following closeup shot may or may not be of a camera on a pole, somewhere, but it is not a close up of the same device which Sarah Harrison was standing next to - it is mounted on the pole via a horizontal bracket at 90 degrees to the direction the device is pointing.

The speed warning sign radar gun is mounted directly in the direction which the sign is facing.

not_the_same_camera_or_radar_unit_450.jpg

Other models of such signs have the radar gun integrated into the dark border surrounding the illuminated display.

Vaughan Smith has now been quoted by the BBC:

Julian Assange friend's 'embarrassment' at camera claim

In the video, Mr Smith, who owns the Frontline Club in Paddington, West London, said: "I'm not an expert on cameras but I believe these take number plates and record number plates."

He went on say that the "cameras" had been installed at some time in the past three months.

But in an interview with BBC Look East, Mr Smith said he now accepted they were unlikely to be automatic number-plate recognition (ANPR) cameras.

"I have heard that the council claims that these are not, in fact, cameras at all, unless they have been tampered with," he said.

"They are, I think, radars and I think it is important to correct that information.

Phones claim

"I feel slightly embarrassed about this, if I'm honest, because I was asked to respond to some information.

"I was told it was a camera and what did I think of it but, nevertheless, it's important to get it right."

Mr Smith said it was possible the cameras had been tampered with, adding: "There's certainly evidence that our phones are being listened to."

Vaughn Smith is a journalist and war correspondent, so checking some basic facts just outside his home should not really have been too difficult for him.


Why not publish this evidence of phone tapping on wikileaks then ?

A Norfolk County Council spokesman said: "Two speed reactive signs were installed on Yarmouth Road in Ellingham in June 2002, of which one appears to be the sign that is featured in the film.

"Four other speed reactive signs were installed elsewhere in the village in 2003.

"These signs work by using a radar detector, which activates the sign if vehicles are travelling in excess of a certain speed."


So, according to Norfolk Council that is 6 "reactive speed signs", none of them installed in the last 6 months.

The location of Ellingham Hall is obviously not a secret, given that the mainstream media press pack has camped out on there in the past.

Perhaps there are actually some other CCTV cameras which the wikileaks cult supporters have noticed recently, in which case why not publish photos and the exact locations of these alleged surveillance cameras ?

The WikiLeaks cult supporters have, presumably, passed by these locations hundreds of times in the last 6 months to and from Julian Assange's daily signing in at the local police station which the video illustrates.

Just how incompetent are they at anti-surveillance and counter-surveillance techniques , (which people with enemies like theirs should be routinely employing) if they have not noticed these alleged "cameras" which have been in position, not for months, but for years ?

CCTV ANPR snooping and excessive data retention and "pattern matching" data warehousing applied to millions of innocent motorists, in secret, is a major civil liberties issue in the United Kingdom, which the WikiLeaks cult and the Daily Telegraph have managed to obscure with seemingly ill informed or false claims.

N.B. despite our criticisms of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, he is suffering unjustly from the hated former Labour government's Extradition Act 2003 and the European Arrest Warrant procedure, which was clearly introduced before the necessary harmonisation of different legal systems in the European Union has taken place.

When the Home Office issues an official Press Release, quoting a Minister, James Brokenshire the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State responsible for Crime Reduction, about the issuance of some new official legal guidance, is it really too much for members of the public to expect that someone, amongst the vast array of Press Officers, Special Political Advisors , Private Office staff, or even the Minister himself, would actually bother to read the guidance document published on the official Home Office website ?

The Press Release: New Guidance to help pubs, clubs and shops spot fake ID
is dated Thursday, 24 Feb 2011

which points to

False ID

[...]

On 24 February 2011, we released guidance to door staff in pubs and clubs on how to spot false documents and what to do once they have confiscated them.

This is additional to the false ID posters that were released in 2010.

The "new" guidance:


http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/alcohol/false-id/false-
identity-guidance

Guidance published in February 2011 provides advice to door staff at pubs and clubs on how to spot false documents and what to do once they have confiscated them.

Date: Wed Feb 23 15:50:15 GMT 2011

False identity guidance (PDF file - 2mb - Warning: large file)

Incredibly, even though this document has a preface by the Conservative / Liberal Democrat coalition Home Office Minister James Brokenshire and is dated 24th February 2011, the Home Office has taken no notice of their very own

Identity Documents Act 2010

1 Repeal of Identity Cards Act 2006

(1)The Identity Cards Act 2006 is repealed.

(2)But--

(a)sections 25 and 26 of that Act (possession of false identity
documents etc), and

(b)section 38 of that Act (verifying information provided with
passport applications etc), are re-enacted by this Act (with
consequential amendments and, in the case of section 38, also with
minor amendments).

We are not talking about a minor typographical error or two, but multiple pages full of no longer legal references to the repealed "Identity Cards Act 2006" e.g. page 7 and the whole of Annex B pages 32 to 34

If the licensed Security Industry door supervisors etc. attempt to seize people's suspected fake id documents, using this inaccurate Home Office guidance, citing these repealed legal powers, they could be prosecuted for theft, which would be a career ending mistake, which James Brokenshire and the Home Office would be responsible for.

Here is a link to a copy of the original, for you to compare with any future revisions of this "new guidance" - false-identity-guidance.pdf which, according to its meta data, was created between 15:02 and 15:43 on Wednesday 23rd February 2011 i.e. the day before the Press Release was published on the public Home Office website.

Spy Blog noticed this on Thursday and has waited in vain for the "razor sharp minds" at the Home Office to correct this rubbish.

If the Labour party was doing its job as the Official Opposition, of scrutinising, in detail, the work of the Government, they would have immediately noticed this stupid error and could perhaps scored a genuine political point off the Conservative / Liberal Democrat coalition government

It appears, however, that their Home Affairs spokeswoman Yvette Cooper (the third Labour politician in this post in less than a year) and her colleagues, are just as incompetent in Opposition, as they were when in power.

N.B. simply blaming the low level civil servant driving the Adobe InDesign CS4 (6.0) software used to create the offending (.pdf) is not the solution - this incident points to wider management failures at the Home Office.

Those of us who do try to keep an eye on what is spun out of the Home Office's Marsham Street kremlin, should welcome the role of pubs, clubs, shops and professional door supervisors, in dealing with underage drinking etc., but should we should call for a public apology and the withdrawal of this Home Office "guidance" until all the inaccurate mentions of the now repealed "Identity Cards Act 2006" have been removed.

There are only 69 days left before the mandatory United Kingdom Census on Sunday 27th March 2011

The Office for National Statistics has issued a misleading Press Release which seeks to allay the understandable public fears about what the risks are to their Sensitive Personal Data in regard to the involvement of he massive United States defence contractor Lockheed Martin.

The management executives of Lockheed Martin are obviously in no position to refuse any requests for demands for confidential UK census data data by US Government agencies, out of patriotic duty and for fear of threats to their huge multi-billion pound US Government contracts.

14 January 2011

2011 Census and Lockheed Martin UK

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) carries out the Census in England and Wales. ONS is using a number of specialist companies to provide specific services for the census. The contract for processing the census questionnaires is not with the Lockheed Martin USA.It is with Lockheed Martin UK which is a UK based subsidiary. The contract was awarded in August 2008 to Lockheed Martin UK as it offered the best value for money in an open procurement scheme, carried out under European law.

There is an exemption under European competition law for public contracts which allows Governments not to open tenders to foreign companies, for systems which have "security" implications.

The contract has created around 1,500 jobs in the UK.

The contract is for £150 million, so that is £100,000 per job created in the UK.

Surely there are much cheaper job creation schemes than that ?

Security safeguards for census data

Concerns expressed about the possibility of the US Patriot Act being used by US intelligence services have been addressed by a number of additional contractual and operational safeguards. These arrangements have been put in place to ensure that US authorities are unable to access census data.

  • All data processing will be carried out in UK - no data will leave or be held at any point outside the UK;

That is hard to believe, especially for the Still Secret Online Completion Census 2011 Web Site

The current http://www.census2011.gov.uk website tries to hand over your IP address and Web Browser details etc. to the US based company Google, by sneaking in Google Analytics javascript into their home page:

<script type="text/javascript"> var gaJsHost = (("https:" == document.location.protocol) ? "https://ssl." : "http://www."); document.write(unescape("%3Cscript src='" + gaJsHost + "google-analytics.com/ga.js' type='text/javascript'%3E%3C/script%3E")); </script> <script type="text/javascript"> try { var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker("UA-3503239-21"); pageTracker._trackPageview(); } catch(err) {}</script>
Is the Office for National Statistics really so technically incompetent that it cannot analyse its own webserver logfile statistics ?
  • All data is the property of the ONS and only UK/EU owned companies will have any access to personal census data.

No ! It is our data as individual citizens and residents of the UK, it does not belong to the the ONS !

It is intolerable for the ONS or any other Government department to falsely claim exclusive ownership of people's names or addresses or familial relationships or religious beliefs or any of the other answers to the intrusive Census Questions.

Which part of "Only I Own My Own Name" etc. do these bureaucrats not understand ?

  • The only people who have access to the full census dataset in the operational data centre will be ONS staff.

Misleading weasel words.

  • What about partial census datasets rather than "the full census dataset" ?
  • What about once data is copied and sent out of the "operational data centre" ?
  • What about the Approved Researchers ?
  • No Lockheed Martin staff (from either the US parent or UK company) will have access to any personal census data.

Surely Lockheed Martin staff will have access to the census form optical character reading software and databases ?

  • ONS will control system access rights to all data systems;

So what ?

That is not in itself, any guarantee that your Sensitive Personal Data will not be copied and shared without your consent.

  • Existing law already prevents the disclosure of census data - it is a criminal offence to disclose personal census data and is punishable by a fine and/or up to two years in prison.

No !!

This gives the misleading impression that somehow our Sensitive Personal Data can never be handed over individually or in bulk to anybody else apart from ONS staff.

See


Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 section 39. Confidentiality of personal information

(1) Subject to this section, personal information held by the Board in relation to the exercise of any of its functions must not be disclosed by--

(a) any member or employee of the Board,
(b) a member of any committee of the Board, or
(c) any other person who has received it directly or indirectly from the Board.

[...]

(4) Subsection (1) does not apply to a disclosure which--

(a) is required or permitted by any enactment,
(b) is required by a Community obligation,
(c) is necessary for the purpose of enabling or assisting the Board to exercise any of its functions,
(d) has already lawfully been made available to the public,
(e) is made in pursuance of an order of a court,
(f) is made for the purposes of a criminal investigation or criminal proceedings (whether or not in the United Kingdom),
(g) is made, in the interests of national security, to an Intelligence Service,
(h) is made with the consent of the person to whom it relates, or
(i) is made to an approved researcher.

There is also a "get out of jail free" provision for any ONS bureaucrats or sub-contractors under the amendments introduced by the Census Confidentiality Act 1991:

1 Unlawful disclosure of information

In section 8 of the [1920 c. 41.] Census Act 1920 (penalties), the following subsections shall be substituted for subsection (2)--

[...]

(4) It shall be a defence for a person charged with an offence under subsection (2) or (3) to prove--

(a) that at the time of the alleged offence he believed--

(i) that he was acting with lawful authority; or

[...]


i.e. this data can and will be handed over, without penalty, to:

    the 56 geographical and 8 non-geographical UK Police Forces
  • the three UK Intelligence Agencies (MI5, MI6 and GCHQ), the Department for Work and Pensions,
  • private investigators working for the DWP hunting down "benefits cheats",
  • Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs tax investigators,
  • approved Insurance Industry "anti-fraud" investigators / private investigators,
  • the Home Office Borders and Immigration Agency,
  • the Serious Organised Crime Agency (either for domestic investigations into Serious Crimes, or for these and also for minor investigations if requested by a Foreign Law Enforcement agency under Mutual Legal Assistance treaties,
  • Lawyers in civil Court Cases e.g. for Divorce or Libel or Copyright Infringement etc.,
  • Local Authority Trading Standards departments,
  • Local Authority Environmental Health departments
  • etc. etc. etc.

N.B. none of these organisations should be allowed to have access to Census Data, if the idea of the census is to be comprehensive and inclusive of those groups in society who have every reason to fear and distrust the bureaucracy.

  • All census employees and contractors working on the census sign a declaration of confidentiality to guarantee their understanding and compliance with the law.

What exactly is the text of this "declaration of confidentiality" ?

  • Independent checks by an accredited UK security consultancy of both physical and electronic security are carried out for ONS.

Which "accredited UK security consultancy" has been given this contract ?

-ENDS-


For further information, images and interviews:

Press Hotline: 01329 447654

Email: 2011censuspress@ons.gsi.gov.uk

Visit: www.census.gov.uk/2011press

Twitter: www.twitter.com/2011censuspress

Will any mainstream media journalists bother to question the ONS about these issues, or will we have to do it instead ?

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.

Current PGP Key ID: 0xA165A29480CFAA4C which will expire on 6th September 2014.

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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UK Legislation

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

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

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

UK Legislation Links

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

UK Commissioners

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

UK Intelligence Agencies

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

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

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

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

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

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Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) recruitment.

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Government Communications Headquarters GCHQ

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Serious Organised Crime Agency - have cut themselves off from direct contact with the public and businesses - no phone - no email

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

Foreign Spies / Intelliegence Agencies in the UK

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

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

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

Campaign Button Links

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Open Rights Group

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

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

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

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Amnesty International's irrepressible.info campaign

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BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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

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

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

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

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

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No CCTV - The Campaign Against CCTV

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I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist !

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Power 2010 cross party, political reform campaign

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

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

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WhistleblowersUK.org - Fighting for justice for whistleblowers