Recently in Mobile Phones in Prisons Category

Another year, another brief Annual Report by a RIPA Commissioner

Interception of Communications Commissioner Annual Report for 2009 (.pdf) , the right hon. Sir Paul Kennedy.

As with all the previous RIPA reports, the statistics about the number of Interception warrants or about the number of Communications Data requests are deliberately not broken down into any meaningful level of detail and should be ignored, although there will no doubt be plenty of media articles which are based on the headline figures.

How many people do these figures represent ? One criminal suspect could have many mobile phones, one interception warrant could be used to capture millions or billions of email messages.

There should be a breakdown of Communications Data requests since not all Public Authorities are allowed to request the full set of subscriber details, "friendship tree" call or email patterns and location data. Revealing such figures would not prejudice ongoing investigations.

As before, there are a trivial number of minor reported procedural and form filling Errors by the Police and Intelligence agencies (Interception and Communications Data) and , to a lesser extent the hundreds of other Public Authorities who have Communications Data powers, mostly due to keyboard typing errors.

Fewer of these Errors are now even being reported, in order to reduce bureaucracy:

3.11 Accordingly I agreed to a change in the error reporting system whereby public authorities now only report errors which have resulted in them obtaining the wrong communications data and where this has resulted in intrusion upon the privacy of an innocent third party. Other errors are simply recorded.

[...]

As before, we challenge the claim that the public are in any way "reassured" by this RIPA Commissioner (or any of the other RIPA Commissioners):

2.2

[...]

The Agencies always make available to me the personnel and documents that I have asked to see. They welcome my oversight, as ensuring that they are acting lawfully, proportionately and appropriately, and they seek my advice whenever it is deemed appropriate. It is a reassurance to the general public that their activities are overseen by an independent person who has held high judicial office

National Technical Assistance Centre snooping infrastructure down for 3 days

The National Technical Assistance Centre was formerly under the Home Office / MI5 now it is under the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and GCHQ.

Amongst other things they operate the "black box" legally authorised snooping under RIPA infrastructure which taps into major telephone and internet company infrastructure (not the same as GCHQ's main interception infrastructure)

2.27 Three errors attributable to the National Technical Assistance Centre (NTAC) were reported during the period of this report, one of which I now explain. NTAC reported a technical fault within their infrastructure that resulted in the prevention of delivery of intercept related information to the intercepting agencies for three days. A project to prevent this type of error occurring has been initiated and is expected to deliver improvements in the system in 2010.

How much public money is now being spent on NTAC and its "black boxes" ?

No Interception of Communications Commissioner involvement with Encryption, again ?

Yet again, on RIPA Part III, whilst the boilerplate text explaining the legal section of the Act is copied from previous reports, there is no mention of the Interception of Communications Commissioner having been advised of any Section 49 Notices demanding access to cryptographic de-cryption keys or to the plaintext information which has been protected by encryption.

Were all the cases in the past year really dealt with by the Other RIPA Commissioners ?

There is no mention of any reports or inspections by the Inspectors or by the ICC himself into how well or how badly the Code of Practice is being adhered to regarding electronic information protected by encryption.

Mobile phones in Prisons

It is interesting to see that the ICC and his inspectors seem to have finally taken our suggestion regarding illegal Mobile Phones in Prisons, made in previous years, that whilst they are inspecting the procedures for Interception and Communications Data analysis in Prisons, something which technically they have no power to do under the RIPA, but which they have been asked to do by successive Home Secretaries.


4.12 The inspections have also revealed that an alarming number of Category B local prisons appear to have a very limited capacity to monitor prisoners who pose a real threat to good order and security and this is a cause for concern. The smuggling of drugs and illicit mobile telephones are serious problems for most prisons, irrespective of their security status, and if a serious incident were to occur, which could have been prevented through the gathering of intercept intelligence, then prison managers and staff could find themselves in an indefensible position. Regrettably on occasions my Inspectors still have to emphasise this point in a number their reports.

4.13 The Category B local prisons, which were inspected during the reporting period, were asked to provide details of the numbers of illicit mobile telephones and associated equipment that had been seized in a six month period. Statistics from 25 prisons were collated and these revealed that 1,456 mobile telephones and 797 SIM cards were seized. Under the Offender Management Act 2007 and Prison Order 1100 dated 26 March, 2008 it is now a criminal offence to convey a mobile telephone or a component part of this equipment into a prison without the authorisation of the Governor and 11 of the prisons were making use of this legislation. However, the availability of such a large number of illicit telephones in the prison system is a serious cause for concern because prisoners can also use them to access the Internet.

4.14 Following the publication of the Blakey report in 2008 the Chief Operating Officer issued the Mobile Phones Good Practice Guide which was designed to help prisons minimise the number of mobile phones entering prisons and disrupt the number of mobile telephones that they were unable to find. Intelligence from the Pin-phones does help to prevent and detect attempts to smuggle them into the prison and this was part of the strategy. Clearly quite a number of the establishments are unable to implement the strategy fully because the resources and equipment are weighted far too heavily in favour of the offence related monitoring and this is a continuing problem. It is crucially important that prisoners are prevented from using mobile telephones to conduct criminal or illicit activity inside and outside the prison. Better use of the Interception Risk Assessments will eventually reduce the amount of offence related monitoring which needs to be conducted and this will in turn increase the capability to conduct more intelligence-led monitoring.

No mention of the Wilson Doctrine

There is no mention of the Wilson Doctrine in this year's public report, except for the background reference to current Prisons policy:

4.2

[...]

Communications which are subject to legal privilege are protected and there are also special arrangements in place for dealing with confidential matters, such as contact with the Samaritans and a prisoner's constituency MP

See the previous Spy Blog article: When will Prime Minister David Cameron re-affirm and extend the Wilson Doctrine on the protection from snooping on constituents' communications with their elected representatives ?

Still no progress on the use of Intercept Evidence in Court proceedings

2.10 Both the Advisory Group of Privy Counsellors and the government believe
that the potential gains from intercept as evidence justify further work in order to
establish whether the problems identified are capable of being resolved. The issues
involved are complex and difficult. I hope to be able to report on the progress
made on the planned further work in my 2010 Annual Report.

There are couple of positive bits of this report:

One positive thing to report about Tesco, is that they seem to have sold at least 10,000 of these Chinese made VX1 "Party Phones" in the run up to Christmas.

The VX1 Mini-Mobile Phone is a "simple" mobile phone, aimed at people looking for a cheap emergency backup mobile phone. Allegedly, the fashion for tight jeans makes this slimline phone attractive to some female customers.

The dimensions are: 80mm x 50mm x 10.3mm i.e. smaller length and width than a Credit Card (85.60 × 53.98 mm or 3.370 × 2.125 in), but obviously thicker.

Some of the packaging describes this as a "VX1i" model, but only "VX1" appears on the actual phone itself.

VX1_Party_Phone_from_Tesco_450.jpg

VX1_Party_Phone_back_450.jpg

We wonder how many of these small devices have already been smuggled into British Prisons ?

This phone is available from Tesco for £18.99 either online via a credit card, or, with less traceable cash at the larger Tesco branches.

Of interest to Spy Blog is the fact that, unlike the other mobile phones offered by the larger Tesco supermarkets, this phone is not locked to any particular network and supposedly accepts any GSM SIM card (obviously not 3G ones though).

By not having any SmartPhone features, there is no way for a Java applet or or other Apple style "Apps" software to be downloaded into the phone to snoop on your voice or SMS text messages, apart from the limited universal SIM Application Toolkit hacks common to all mobile phones.

This makes the VX1 Party Phone attractive to whistleblowers who might want to contact journalists or bloggers or political activists or external regulatory authorities, with less chance of being tracked down during a "mole hunt" or leak investigation - see our Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers guide sub-blog at http://ht4w.co.uk

Remember that the individual International Mobile Equipment Identity(IMEI) of the handset (blanked out in the photos above) is associated with every call or SMS text message made, answered, sent or received by a mobile phone, so do not be tempted to swap your "normal" SIM card into such a "disposable", single purpose mobile phone.Use a "virgin" SIM card, but do not activate it at home or your office or other locations which may help to identify you e.g. ones with lots of CCTV surveillance.

The power adapter seems to be one of the new standard mobile phone micro-USB ones.

The claimed standby battery life is

  • Talk time 100 minutes
  • Standby 90 hours
  • Battery 400mAh

Coupled with the cheap price, this could also make this attractive as a Mobile Phone Location Based Services tracking device, which can be sneakily attached to vehicles, or baggage, or people, and then tracked via a Web based map.


Although we are slightly relieved that no Communications Data Bill has been sneaked into the Queen's Speech, as originally threatened by the disgraced former Labour Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, this Labour Government simply cannot resist producing some more useless and repetitive legislation, as a public relations diversion to hide their failure to control aspects of modern technology.

From Times Online
November 18, 2009
Queen's Speech: ban on mobile phones in jail

Richard Ford, Home Correspondent

Prisoners who are found with mobile phones while inside jails are to face prosecution under plans outlined in the Queen's Speech today.

The new criminal offence follows growing concern that some prisoners are continuing to run their criminal empires from within jails by using mobile phones.

[...]

It is currently against prison rules for inmates to possess mobile phones in prison.

The Prison Discipline Manual rules, under the Prison Service Order 2000 Adjudication procedures (.doc) , which came into force in 2006, already makes punishments available against any prisoner stupid enough to be caught with a mobile phone in their possession.

These can involve loss of visitor privileges etc. and the imposition of up to 42 days extra detention on top of the existing prison sentence, for each breach of the prison rules.

The new measure is to be included in a Crime and Security Bill ...

[...]

What for ?

This is ridiculous gesture politics which is presumably intended to allow the Labour government politicans and civil servants to "Pretend That They Are Doing Something", without actually devoting real resources to overcome the fundamental problem.

Have the NuLabour political commissars at the Ministry of Justice already forgotten their own Offender Management Act 2007 section 22. Conveyance of prohibited articles into or out of prison ?

This has been in force for less than 2 years and it amended the list of prohibited articles under the Prisons Act 1952, to specifically make it a criminal offence to "convey" or "leave ... intending it to come into the possession of a prisoner" or "give" a mobile phone to a prisoner without authorisation.

This already has a criminal penalty of up to 2 years in prison and / or a level 3 fine i.e. up to £1000.

SInce mobile phones are almost always found as a result of searches of cells and other areas without the physical presence of the prisoner, it is going to be very hard to prove that they are "In possession" of a particular illegal mobile phone ("it must have been planted").

Illegal Mobile Phones in Prisons is actually an area of public security and crime policy where there should be more state surveillance and control, not less !

This is certainly an area where if mobile phone intercept evidence was allowed to be used in a UK court, then prison gang leaders etc. could be convicted "out of their own mouths", without compromising any "national security" sources or methods.

Instead of wasting at least 2 billion pounds on retaining and snooping on innocent people's mobile phone etc. communications, why can this incompetent Government not spend a fraction of that in implementing proper mobile phone security measures at every prison in the UK ?

N.B. This needs to involve the installation of mobile phone pico-cells in prisons, rather than just crude attempts at "jamming", which would cause collateral damage to the surrounding urban areas in which many British prisons are located, and which would otherwise also affect 999 / 112 calls to the Emergency Services.

Her Majesty's Prison Wandsworth Independent Monitoring Board report 2008 - 2009 (.pdf), published in May 2009, which the Ministry of Justice have still not yet bothered (or dared) to reply to:

page 6

For the sixth year running we are asking for the implementation of an effective jamming system for mobile phones in prisons. The lack of a positive response from Government has resulted in an increasing use of mobile phones and a even more rapidly increasing market for drugs in prisons. (9.5)

(our emphasis)

page 39

Mobile phones
• Mobile phones continue to provide the biggest challenge to Security. This year there were 371 occasions when phones were found compared to 307 in 2008. Associated mobile phones
paraphernalia were also found. These included sim cards, hands free kits, chargers, (some home made), battery packs and adapters. The vast majority found in cells but some through Visits.
• Also found during searches were illicit alcohol, DVDs, Digiboxes and a variety of weapons.
• Although the prison was in possession of a BOSS chair (for intimate searching of prisoners) this was hardly used during the reporting period. It is now broken and is under repair.

"HMP Wandsworth is a Victorian Category B Local male prison built in 1851. It is the largest prison in Europe. Certified normal accommodation (CNA) is 1086 and current operational capacity is 1665 ". Surely there should have been at least two Body Orifice Scanning System chairs installed ?

• For the past four years we have asked the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice to implement an effective jamming system to curtail the use of mobile phones. Effective jamming systems are now in place in the USA, Australia and New Zealand. The Government's response has been that they will consider this when funds are available. In the current economic climate this looks high unlikely and the increasing use of mobile phones and the drugs trade in prisons is a certainty

Areas of Concern
• The jamming of the use of mobile phones in the prison needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency

[...]

Similarly, the HMP Wormwood Scrubs Independent Monitoring Board report for 2008-2009 (.pdf) says

page 6

8. It is widely recognised that mobile phones are strongly linked to drug activity within prisons. The Board commends the efforts of wing staff and Security staff to search out mobile phones within the prison. However the problem remains. The Board has asked about the provision of mobile phone blockers but has been told that trials of different techniques are being undertaken at other establishments. What are the results of initiatives being trialled to block the use of mobile phones in prisons? What is the current national strategy for combating the mobile phone and drug culture in many prisons?

(bold text as per the original report)

There does not appear to be any viable coherent national strategy against the the "mobile phone and drug culture" in prisons.

Guess where the former Ministry of Justice junior Minister in charge of Prisons, who failed to respond to the pleas of Prison staff and Independent Monitoring Boards, regarding mobile phones in prisons has been promoted to ? Rt. Hon. David Hanson MP, is now the Minister of State for Security, Counter-Terrorism, Crime and Policing at the Home Office - we do not feel any safer as a result of his appointment !

Is the Ministry of Justice pretending to be "environmentally friendly", by re-cycling Parliamentary Written Answers, or are they simply re-cycling their ineffective "do nothing" policies ?

Compare and contrast these two Written Answers about the ongoing scandal of Mobile Phones in Prisons:

The earlier Answer by David Hanson (now the replacement for Tony McNulty at the Home Office) gave totals of Mobile Phones and SIM cards seized in 2006, 2007 and 2008 for each prison, but does not bother to total them up, so we have done so, in order to compare them with the mid 2008 to mid 2009 figure trotted out six months after the fact in the latest Answer, which only breaks out a High Security estate figure from the total.

 200620072008July 2008 - June 2009
High Security Category A and Lifer292325391255
Lower Security Category B, C, D, YOI, Juvenile, Female, Local and Remand1776334768978393
Total2068367272888648

Why has there been no visible progress whatsoever by the Ministry of Justice in preventing Mobile Phones being smuggled in or used illegally in Prisons in the last six months or a year, does there ? As some of the media and bloggers have pointed out, there are only about 80,000 prison places in England and Wales, so that looks like about 1 mobile phone for every 10 or so prisoners !

House of Commons Written Answers 12 Oct 2009 : Column 139W House of Commons Written Answers 5 May 2009 : Column 74W
Prisoners: Mobile Phones Prisons: Mobile Phones
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many mobile telephones were found in the possession of prisoners in (a) top security and (b) all other prisons in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [287998] Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many mobile telephones were seized in each prison in England and Wales in the last five years for which figures are available. [260436]
Maria Eagle: Prisons in England and Wales are asked to send mobile phones and SIM cards they find to a central unit for analysis. In the last 12 months (from July 2008-June 2009), 8,648 mobile phones and SIM cards were analysed. 255 were from the high security estate and 8,393 were from the non-high security estate. These figures include items discovered within prison perimeters and on entry to establishments. We do not keep central records of mobile phones found in the possession of prisoners. Mr. Hanson: Prisons are asked to send mobile phones and SIM cards they find to a central unit for analysis. The numbers analysed are set out in the following table for each of the last three years. There are no figures available for the years prior to 2006, because this information was not collated centrally
  The figures include items discovered within the prison perimeter and on entry to establishments. However,
We believe that these figures may understate the actual number of finds, because they do not include items retained by the police for evidential purposes, and because in some instances prisons have not sent items for analysis. NOMS is putting in place new procedures to ensure that we have a more comprehensive picture in future. While the numbers of phones found indicates the scale of the challenge in tackling illicit mobile phones, it is also a reflection of prisons' increasing success in finding them and better reporting. we believe that these figures may understate the actual number of finds, because they do not include items retained by the police for evidential purposes, and because in some instances prisons have not sent items for analysis. NOMS is putting in place new procedures to ensure that we have a more comprehensive picture in future. While the numbers of phones found indicates the scale of the challenge in tackling illicit mobile phones, it is also a reflection of prisons' increasing success in finding them and better reporting.
NOMS is implementing a strategy to minimise the number of phones entering prisons, and to find or disrupt those that do enter. As part of the strategy, prisons have been provided with technologies to strengthen local security and searching strategies, in line with the recommendations in the Blakey report, "Disrupting the Supply of Illicit Drugs into Prisons", published in July 2008. This includes the roll out of "BOSS" chairs to all prisons, and the deployment of other detection and disruption technologies, including mobile phone signal blockers. NOMS is implementing a strategy to minimise the number of phones entering prisons, and to find or disrupt those that do enter. As part of the strategy, prisons are being provided with technologies to strengthen local security and searching strategies, in line with the recommendations in the Blakey report, Disrupting the Supply of Illicit Drugs into Prisons, published in July 2008. This includes the roll out of "BOSS" chairs to all prisons, and the deployment of other detection and disruption technologies, including mobile phone signal blockers.
We have also strengthened the law, through the Offender Management Act 2007 (implemented in April 2008), which makes it a criminal offence with a punishment of up to two years' imprisonment to bring an unauthorised mobile phone or component part into a prison. We have also strengthened the law, through the Offender Management Act 2007 (implemented in April 2008), which makes it a criminal offence with a punishment of up to two years' imprisonment to bring an unauthorised mobile phone or component part into a prison.

There is another Written Answer which gives a monthly breakdown of figures for each prison , between Mobile Phones and SIM cards "sent for analysis to the central unit". from April 2008 to March 2009: Prisons: Mobile Phones - Justice Written answers and statements, 23 April 2009. It is unclear if the the figure for SIM cards includes the SIM card almost always found in a Mobile Phone handset (i.e. double counting both the handset and its usual SIM card) .

Has anyone actually been arrested, charged, prosecuted or convicted under this section of the Offender Management Act 2007 came into force over 18 months ago ? Why is the Ministry of Justice simply ignoring the more than 8,000 criminal offences which these figures show have been perpetrated since April 2008 ?

Why are there still no "BOSS" chairs (sensitive metal detectors built into a chair to check inside body cavities) in use at every single prison, to check all prisoners and visitors and including the prison staff and contractors ?

Instead of wasting billions of pounds of tax payers money on Identity Cards and on snooping on millions of innocent people's mobile phone and internet communications data, why not spend a few millions on proper Mobile Phone security at every Prison ? This would have an immediate effect on Serious Crime etc.

See the previous Spy Blog article Wandsworth Prison IMB report 2007-2008 - things have got even worse with illegal drugs and mobile phones in the last year

Apart from retaining the Communications Traffic Data on millions of innocent people (with plans for even more extensive snooping under the Communications Data Bill), and admitting to the electronic bugging of Member of Parliament Sadiq Khan (now a junior Government Minister) when visiting his constituent Babar Ahmad (who has not been charged with any offence in the UK, but is awaiting extradition to the USA, without any prima facie evidence having been brought against him in a UK court) in prison, what has this labour government done about the ongoing scandal of thousands of mobile phones in Prisons ?

See Spy Blog: Thousands of Mobile Phones seized in UK Prisons - evidence of corruption ?

What has Jack Straw and his Prisons Minister David Hanson, who made vague promises to the BBC, actually done about this scandal in the last year ?

The 2007 - 2008 Independent Monitoring Board annual report for Wandsworth prison (.pdf), which holds the largest number of prisoners in the UK, makes dismal reading in this regard.

Access to mobile phones:

- For the past three years in this report we have asked the Home Office and then the Ministry of Justice to implement an effective jamming system to curtail the use of mobile phones. We have been promised that trials are taking place but nothing is happening in the large Local prisons to jam the use of mobile phones. Within Wandsworth it is estimated that the drugs trade would be halved if phones were jammed. As with drugs mobile phones are very freely available within HMP Wandsworth. Last year 307 were found and the numbers being found in the first six months of this year show an alarming increase. Phones are not just used to drive the drugs trade in Wandsworth. We have seen a phone seized by Security which had the most graphic and violent images taken in another prison, including forced sex and stabbings. With the possession of mobile phones within prisons now being a criminal offence we look forward to the Police taking a more active role in arresting and charging those found with mobile phones in prison.

The Labour government have, as is so typical of them, legislated unnecessarily in the Offender Management Act 2007 section 22 Conveyance of prohibited articles into or out of prison , which amends section 40 of the Prison Act 1952, to make smuggling mobile phones into a prison a criminal offence, pretending that it was not already illegal under drug dealing or prison escape conspiracy laws.

However they seem to have done nothing to actually implement any sort of mobile phone blocking or precise location tracking of handsets, (the controversial Path Intelligence Footpath technology used in some shopping centres, could be used for this).

Astonishingly, at HMP Wandsworth, it appears that the available metal detector anti-mobile phone smuggling technology is not being used !

We had very high hopes last year that the BOSS (Bodily Orifice Security Scanner) chair would be used to try and detect more phones being brought in by prisoners. Unfortunately it has hardly been used at all.

Is this because there is only the one BOSS chair, which cannot cope with the large number of movements in and out of the security perimeter every day ?

Or is there resistance to its use from corrupt prison staff ?

- Availability:

Drugs appear to be more widely available than at any time previously. The Mandatory Drugs Tests targets have been met with difficulty until recently primarily because of the relatively low level of drugs usage in Onslow. The current target for positive tests is 14%. The current annual market for drugs in Wandsworth was recently estimated to be worth £1million .Drugs of any sort are freely available.

[...]

Drugs enter the prison within prisoners, through visits, over the wall or via staff. Considerable progress appears to have been made to curb supplies through the first three categories of supply. There are concerns that a small number of staff is responsible for bringing the lion's share of drugs into the prison. Clearly this is an area for intensive investigation and the creation of the Ministry of Justice's new Anti-Corruption Unit is to be welcomed.

Who is holding Labour Ministers and Senior Civil Servants to account for their utter management failures e.g.

Spy Blog: Home Office and PA Consulting lose the names and addresses of all the most serious criminals in the UK

Given the years of failure by both the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice to sort out both the drugs and mobile phones scandals in prisons throughout the UK, one has to ask if the corruption extends beyond individual corrupt prison staff, and includes senior civil servants, private sector companies and Labour politicians as well ?

They are either incompetent, or corrupt, or both - they cannot be innocent of any blame.

Toby Oliver from Path Intelligence has, via email, answered a few of our Questions and Concerns but raised a few new ones - see below.

As a general point we don't use the phones IMEI's we use the TMSI and occasionally part of the IMSI

See our previous article "Path Intelligence - Phorm for shopping centres ?"

More coverage and comment at The Register

Interception of Communications in Prisons etc.

| | Comments (0)

The Annual Report for 2006 of the Interception of Communications Commissioner Rt.Hon. Sir Paul Kennedy is very bland, and lacking in detail, but there is an area of concern, by omission - the safeguards, if any, when tracking or monitoring smuggled mobile phones in Prisons.

About half of all the site visits and re-visits (about 120) by Sir Paul Kennedy and his team of 6 Inspectors appear to be to Prisons.

However, technically, Sir Paul has no legal powers under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 to supervise the Interception of postal or electronic communications in Prisons.

26. I have, at the request of the Home Secretary, continued in a non-statutory role, the oversight of the interception of communications in prisons, which was undertaken by my predecessor.

Perhaps the situation has not yet arisen, but, in theory, the management or staff of a privatised Prison or Detention Centre (or even a state run one) could , perfectly legally, refuse to cooperate with Sir Paul and his Inspectors, perhaps on the grounds of cost or perhaps when working to rule during a pay dispute, especially if they are not under the threat of a forthcoming contract renewal.

There is nothing wrong in principle with Sir Paul and his team inspecting the interception regimes in Prisons, but this really should be done on a proper statutory basis, and, given the large number of visits involved, some money should be allocated from the Ministry of Justice who have now been lumbered with responsibility for Prisons.

Since the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice love to tinker with Legislation, why can they not bring Prisons and Immigration Detentions Centres etc. under the legal scrutiny of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act ?

Sir Paul obliquely hints that all is not well in the Prison Service:

Of all the places in the United Kingdom, one would have expected that Her Majesty's Prisons could be kept free of illegal mobile phones.

It should be trivial for the mobile phone networks to detect any unauthorised mobile phones physically within Prisons and to alert the authorities automatically (after, no doubt, charging them a suitable Location Based Services fee). It should be technically easy to install radio triangulation equipment which spots and accurately locates a mobile phone within a Prison, as soon as it is switched on, even for a few seconds.

However, according to these figures published in Hansard, it appears that the Ministry of Justice (and the Home Office before them) are failing to prevent the smuggling of mobile phones into prisons.

They claim to have seized 3,473 mobile phones (or SIM cards) in the last year (October 2006 to September 2007)

This must also imply that there is a huge illegal drugs smuggling racket as well, and that it seems very likely that corrupt Prison Staff must be involved:

Dec 2007 : Column 1261W

[...]

Prisons: Mobile Phones

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many mobile telephones were seized in prisons in England and Wales in each of the last 12 months. [170463]

Maria Eagle: Prison establishments are required to send all seized mobile telephones to HMPS Security Group for interrogation. The following table contains the number of mobile phones (which includes handsets, handsets containing SIM cards, and individual SIM cards) seized and sent for interrogation in each month from 1 October 2006 to 30 September 2007.

5 Dec 2007 : Column 1262W

MonthTotal number submitted for interrogation
October 2006230
November 2006249
December 2006178
January 2007310
February 2007330
March 2007240
April 2007272
May 2007400
June 2007302
July 2007334
August 2007333
September 2007295
Total3,473


We would like to see some statistics on how long it takes for these illegal mobile phones to be detected and confiscated.

The figures for each individual Prison should be also be published.

A Further Thought:

Given that modern mobile phones can also include BlueTooth and/or WiFi,then the radio security defences of Prisons should also check these methods of sending messages. An extended range antenna and/or an illegal amplifier, in a vehicle in the car park or in neighbouring streets could well penetrate the walls of the Prison, without making use of the actual mobile phone network.

Cordless DECT phone handsets might also be illegally amplified to reach in and out of a Prison.

About this blog

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

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

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

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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)

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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