Recently in Protests and Demonstrations Category

Of interest to Spy Blog readers should be the forthcoming BBC Radio 4 Law in Action programme presented by Joshua Rozenberg

Broadcast times:

  • Tuesday 8th Jun 2010 16:00 BBC Radio 4 (FM only) .
  • Thursday 10th Jun 2010 20:00 BBC Radio 4

and online via the BBC iPlayer for a while thereafter.

1/4. Top legal journalist Joshua Rozenberg returns to present the first in a new series of the legal affairs magazine.

[...]

In this opening programme, he examines an issue that looks set to prompt widespread debate among the public as well as among those working in the criminal justice system. Increasingly the police are using digital cameras and intelligence tactics to create image libraries of campaigners and protesters. These are designed, senior officers say, to help the police prevent criminal acts from being committed. But critics see the creation and development of the photographic databases as potentially sinister, claiming that ever larger numbers of images are being added.

Joshua Rozenberg investigates how the police, the courts and those responsible for protecting personal data strike a balance between the need to safeguard civil liberties and the police's responsibility to prevent crime. Are there enough safeguards to protect the public from being unfairly linked with criminals? Is maintaining public order being used as an excuse to engineer a surveillance society? Or are the authorities simply taking the minimum steps to ensure a determined and well-organised minority of protesters bent on disruption do not wreck the lives of the law-abiding majority?

[...]

Allied with Forward Intelligence Teams is the snooping on and surveillance of. innocent public demonstrators and ordinary motorists etc. through the use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition technology, which , worryingly for millions of innocent motorists, includes a flag on the Police National Computer, which could be so very easily misinterpreted,

See: Spy Blog ACPO policy on ANPR: The Management and Use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition

7 REASON - Protest could easily be abused for political purpose, or could be seen as such.

See also the The Guardian report about Project Champion

Surveillance cameras in Birmingham track Muslims' every move -

About 150 car numberplate recognition cameras installed in two Muslim areas, paid for by government anti-terrorism fund

[...]

There is some belated local opposition to this "Big Brother Surveillance State" abuse of technology: see the protest and petition and ANPR camera mapping website: Spy on Moseley

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

[...]

Unlike other CCTV schemes, this one has an altogether different and far more sinister purpose: it is connected to the government's 'Preventing Violent Extremism' agenda, or 'Prevent' for short. The Home Office funding came from the counter-terrorism budget of ACPO (TAM) - an acronym that stands for 'Association of Chief Police Officers (Terrorism and Allied Matters)'.

Project Champion is a surveillance exercise which utilises a grid of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras which now encircles the predominantly Muslim areas of the city, notably Sparkbrook and Washwood Heath Wards. There are also nine camera points in Moseley, where this campaign of opposition began - hence the name of this website. It should be noted that opposition to this scheme is not limited to a few Moseley residents, but is a much wider issue.

These spy cameras will record every vehicle entering or leaving a zone that has been designated as Birmingham's 'Terrorist Quarter'. This is a Home Office initiative from central government. Big Brother is watching you. Especially if you are Muslim, or just happen to live in Birmingham's "terrorist ghetto."

Some of the offending ANPR camera locations in Moseley have been plotted onto a Google Map:

Project_Champion_Molesley_Birmingham_ANPR_map_450.jpg

We are waiting for the new Conservative - Liberal Democrat coalition government to fulfil its promises on the abuse of ANPR and CCTV cameras etc.

Hansard source (Citation: HL Deb, 3 June 2010, c11W)

Vehicles: Automatic Plate Recognition
House of Lords
Written answers and statements, 3 June 2010

Lord Corbett of Castle Vale (Labour)

To ask Her Majesty's Government what proposals they have to restrict the use of vehicle registration number-plate recognition cameras.

Baroness Neville-Jones (Minister of State (Security), Home Office; Conservative)

In keeping with our pledge to safeguard freedoms and protect civil liberties we believe it important to ensure that the use of automatic number-plate recognition technology is proportionate in order to command public confidence. We will therefore be considering whether more needs to be done to strengthen controls and safeguards relating to its use.

We accept the need for the Police to use such technology to help them to do the job that we expect of them.

However, the bureaucracy and secrecy behind which they have been allowed to hide the use or abuse of such technology, is utterly wrong.

There are still no easy, transparent procedures for innocent members of the public to be notified of errors and to get such mistakes rapidly corrected, both on the original Police databases and on all the other ones to which such inaccurate and possibly libelous data is routinely propagated to, both in the UK and internationally.

ICO Decision Notice FS50198733 - Home Office: Terrorism Act 2000 s44 stop and search Authorisations:

Given the recent European Court of Human Rights judgement about the controversial and widely abused Terrorism Act 2000 section 44 "stop and search" without "reasonable suspicion" legal powers, and, without any measurable positive effect on terrorism, we think that the Home Office and the Information Commissioner's Office are both very wrong in their decision to refuse our modest Freedom of Information Act request.

See European Court of Human Rights Judgment against the Terrorism Act 2000 section 44 stop and search without reasonable cause powers

More comments on this Decision Notice soon, when we have some feedback from our expert friends.

Reference: FS50198733

Information Commissioner's Office

Freedom of Information Act 2000 (Section 50)
Decision Notice Date: 8 February 2010

Public Authority: Address:
The Home Office
Seacote Building
2 Marsham Street
London
SW1P4DF

[...]

Summary


The complainant requested copies of all Authorisations for the power to stop and search issued under the Terrorism Act 2000. During the investigation, the request was refined as being for certain information contained within those Authorisations.

The public authority refused to release any information citing the exemptions at section
23 (Information supplied by or relating to, bodies dealing with security matters), section
24 (National security) and section 31 (Law enforcement). The complainant did not contest any information withheld by virtue of section 23.

The Commissioner's decision is that the exemption at section 24(1) is engaged and that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosure. He finds that this exemption applies to all the remaining information sought by the complainant so the exemption at section 31 has not been further considered.

The Commissioner has also identified procedural breaches which are outlined in the Notice below. The complaint is therefore partly upheld.

[...]

59. As cited in paragraph 34 above, "... 'national security' means the security of the United Kingdom and its people". The Commissioner is of the opinion that releasing the requested information would cause specific and real threats to national security. He believes that the information could be used by terrorists to support and influence their activity. He therefore believes that any advantages gained by further informing the public would be significantly outweighed by the factors for protecting the public by maintaining the exemption. The complaint is therefore not upheld.

60. As the Commissioner finds that all of the remaining requested information (to
which section 23 does not apply) is exempt by virtue of section 24(1) he has not gone on to consider the exemption at section 31(1 )(a), (b) and (c).

[..]

The decision


66. The Commissioner's decision is that the public authority dealt with the following elements of the request in accordance with the requirements of the Act:

  • the requested information was properly withheld under the exemption at section 24(1) of the Act.

67. However, the Commissioner has also decided that the following elements of the request were not dealt with in accordance with the Act:

  • in failing to provide a response compliant with section 1(1 )(a) within 20 working days of receipt of the request, the public authority breached section 10(1);
  • in exceeding the statutory time limit for providing a response the public authority breached section 17(1).

Steps required


68. The Commissioner requires no steps to be taken.


Other matters


69. Although they do not form part of this Decision Notice the Commissioner wishes to highlight the following matters of concern.

[...]


Information Notice

75. During the course of his investigation, the Commissioner has encountered considerable delay on account of the Home Office's reluctance to meet the timescales for response set out in his letters. The delays were such that the Commissioner found it necessary to issue an Information Notice in order to obtain details relevant to his investigation.

76. Accordingly, the Commissioner does not consider the Home Office's approach to this case to be particularly co-operative, or within the spirit of the Act. As such he will be monitoring the authority's future engagement with the ICO and would expect to see improvements in this regard.

[...]

Download the OCR / edited text of FOIA Decision Notice FS50198733 as a Rich text Format document.

ICO Decision Notice FS50198733 (.rtf)

Freedom_Not_Fear_Day_12_Sep_09_logo_275.jpg

Details of UK protests (and others mostly around the European Union), set for Sunday 12th September 2009, can be found via FreedomNotFear2009.org

There is also the German manifesto (in English, very similar to last year's) at the www.freedom-not-fear.eu wiki.

We demand:

1. Cutback on surveillance measures

  • no blanket registration of all air travellers (PNR data)
  • no information exchange with the US and other states lacking effective data protection
  • no secret searches of private computer systems, neither online nor offline
  • abolish the blanket logging of our communications and locations (data retention)
  • abolish the blanket collection of our biometric data as well as RFID passports
  • abolish the blanket collection of genetic data
  • abolish permanent CCTV camera surveillance and automatic detection techniques
  • scrap funding for the development of new surveillance techniques
  • protect us from surveillance at the workplace by effective personal data protection in employment law
  • e-government projects must take into account the protection of citizens' and employees' data right from the start
  • no standardization of public databases in Europe (Stockholm programme)
  • no systematic surveillance of monetary transactions or any other mass data analysis within the EU (Stockholm programme)
  • no information exchange with the US or any other nation lacking effective human rights
  • no hidden searches of private computer systems, neither online nor offline

We are not sure what the difference between" "secret" and "hidden" searches of private computer systems is.

2. Evaluation of existing surveillance powers

We call for an independent review of all existing surveillance powers as to their effectiveness and harmful side-effects.

3. Moratorium on new surveillance powers

Following the homeland armament of the past few years we demand an immediate hold to new homeland security laws that further restrict civil liberties.

4. Guaranteeing freedom of expression, dialogue and information on the Internet

  • no restrictions on Internet access by governmental institutions or internet service providers
  • ban the installation of filtering infrastructure on ISP networks
  • only independent and impartial judges may request the removal of Internet content
  • create a full right to quote multimedia, today indispensable to public debate in democracies
  • protect common internet places of expression (participatory sites, forums, comments on blogs) today threatened by inadequate laws encouraging self-censorship (chilling effect)

There does not seem to have been any progress on these demands in the last year - see the previous Freedom Not Fear Day - Saturday 11th October 2008.

There is more anger, more frustration and contempt bordering on hatred, from ordinary people, from all parts of the political spectrum, directed at our morally weak and technologically inept Government politicians and apparatchiki, jobsworth securocrats and other vested interests,

What does it take to get these alleged "public servants" to listen to , and act on, our privacy and freedom concerns ?

I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist !

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Obviously inspired by the Icelanders are NOT Terrorists! campaign, which highlighted just how inept and internationally embarrassing Gordon Brown and his henchman Alistair Darling's mis-handling of the Icelandic banking crisis, there is now another protest against this Labour government and its army of jobsworth apparatchik bureaucrats, who are making life hell for ordinary, law abiding photographers (i.e.most of the general public) , under the spurious pretext of "security theatre" / Climate of Fear.

phnat-logo-black-on-white-212x300.jpg

I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist !

This campaign blog also has a Bust Card for photographers to print out and carry, with some handy legal advice for Photographers (and for the very confused and poorly trained Police on the streets etc.), which is being improved through the comments.

N.B.they should also print out the 24 hour contact details for some firms of solicitors experienced in criminal and human rights arrests, criminal charges and legal appeals etc. since, iIf you are harassed and then arrested, you will probably no longer have access to your mobile phone or PDA electronics contacts address book.however , the Police will probably be snooping through this and copying it "for intelligence" purposes if they can.

See our Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers etc - new window">Hints and tips for Whistleblowers etc., especially the section on What to do if you are arrested as a whistleblower:

ParliamentProtest.org.uk blog - Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill - repeals SOCPA ss 132-138, but substitutes new enabling powers in a 250 metre Area around Parliament Square

The Labour Government has today published its long awaited

Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill

The Good News - the abhorrent and undemocratic requirement for Prior Written Authorisation by the Police and arbitrary Restrictions on small or spontaneous demonstrations, near Parliament seems to be on its way to being repealed.

Part 4

Public order

32 Demonstrations etc in the vicinity of Parliament

(1) Omit sections 132 to 138 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (c. 15) (which regulate demonstrations in the vicinity of Parliament).

Hurray !!

However, do not get too excited because:

(2) Schedule 4 (which inserts new powers into Part 2 of the Public Order Act 1986 (c. 64) etc) has effect.

This amendment to the Public Order Act 1986 is even longer and just as complicated as the SOCPA legislation it replaces.

It does not spell out any of the details, as it is enabling legislation, allowing for the creation of arbitrary laws via Statutory Instrument Orders, which can only be accepted or rejected by Parliament, and not amended in any way.

The main difference seems to be the "area around Parliament", defined as no more than 250 metres in a straight line from the nearest point in Parliament Square, rather than the still current Designated Area of up to 1 kilometre (the current Designated Area does not extend as far as that in all directions).

Unlike the current Designated Area, this smaller Area around Parliament would exclude the front entrance of the Metropolitan Police HQ at New Scotland Yard to the west, the MI5 Security Service Thames House building to the south, extend only across Westminster Bridge but no further than the former Country Hall to the east, but would still cover most of Whitehall to the north, including the Whitehall and Horseguards Road entrances to Downing Street and the Whitehall entrance to the Ministry of Defence, if the full 250 metres is designated.

[...]

N.B. the existing Public Order Act 1986 already covers the 250 metres Area around the Parliament Square, so there must be something sneaky being planned for the Secondary Legislation Statutory Instrument Orders, which this Clause and Schedule would enable.

Will the Metropolitan Police and other Police forces curtail their "Surveillance State" abuses of photographs and videos of innocent people, following this legal Judgment in the England and Wales Court of Appeal (Civil Division) ?

Wood v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis [2009] EWCA Civ 414 (21 May 2009)

For an expert legal view, see the Panopticon blog

Privacy and the Police - Important Court of Appeal Judgment

It is important to note that the result of the Court of Appeal's judgment is that the taking of the photographs did not per se constitute a unlawful interference with Mr Wood's right to privacy. Rather what was unlawful was the excessive retention of the photographs beyond a time when there was any reasonable basis for supposing that Mr Wood may engage in criminal conduct at the arms fair. On the question of whether this judgment sets a precedent on the question of whether the police can generally take photographs of ostensibly law-abiding citizens, it is worth noting Lord Collins' concluding comments: 'it is plain that the last word has yet to be said on the implications for civil liberties on the taking and retention of images in the modern surveillance society. This is not the case for the exploration of the wider, and very serious, human rights issues which arise when the State obtains and retains the images of persons who have committed no offence and are not suspected of having committed any offence' (paragraph 100).

Whether this Judgment actually leads to the destruction of the millions of images of innocent people, which are currently being stored and retained by Police Forward Intelligence Teams and on other "intelligence" databases and files etc., remains to be seen

Will the "in your face" photographic harassment by FIT police and civilian cameramen of political activists and journalists, especially at public demonstrations, (see examples, and the counter reaction which this provokes, at the FIT watch blog) and the whole infrastructure of CCTV snooping and monitoring come under proper, critical, value for money and privacy oriented scrutiny ?

Or will these matters be swept under the carpet again, through bureaucratic inertia, buck passing and fatuous excuses like "the Olympics" or the "security of crowded places" ?

Will this Government or the next one, actually repeal the stupid and repressive laws and policies which are used to harass innocent photographers in public places ?

NUJ video - Press Freedom: "Collateral Damage"

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The National Union of Journalists has today released a press release and an online Flash video, which gives a glimpse of the deliberate targeting of even fully accredited media photographers who are covering political protests and dissent in the UK.

NUJ film shows police obstruction of journalists

The nine-minute video, called Press Freedom: "Collateral Damage", includes examples of the police obstructing journalists in their work.

Press_Freedom_Collateral_Damage_300.jpg

N.B. this is not a directly embedded Flash video object, which otherwise would act as a web bug, effectively allowing the Flash video hosting site, and whoever is snooping on them, to track visitors to the Spy Blog website, even if they are not actually interested in watching the video.

This film features Jeremy Dear, the General Secretary of the NUJ, who has tried to engage with the Home Secretary and senior Police chiefs over this matter, seemingly with little effect, and the photojournalist Marc Vallée, who was knocked unconscious and hospitalised by the Police whilst covering a demonstration in the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 Designated Area around Parliament Square.

As the video says, there are no laws preventing the Police from taking photographs in public, just as there are none which prevent professionals or members of the public from doing so either.

If professional photographers, who regularly document political demonstrations and protests feel intimidated, then what about the "chilling effect" on the freedom of members of the public who might try to snap a picture on their mobile phone or digital camera , now that there are Government and Police propaganda campaigns which demonise street photographers as if they were all terrorist suspects ?

The targeting and harassment of photographers e.g. "we know your name" etc. is more than just overzealous individual policemen, it seems to be a deliberate policy.

What is this Police surveillance footage and other data e.g. mobile phone Communications Traffic Data), which is not taken as evidence of acts of violent public disorder actually being used for ?

Who has access to this data ?

When, if ever, is this surveillance data destroyed ?

Is it it all just a waste of Police manpower and public money ?

The Home Office and the senior Police management need to stamp out this public and community relations disaster, which is just creating contempt, fear and hatred of the Police and the Government..

NO2ID_logo-20060416.png

If, like us, you are shocked and incensed about the disgraceful arrest and charging of nine NO2ID Campaign supporters (see previous article Nine NO2ID arrests at Home Office Minister Meg Hillier's secretive ID Cards centralised State database propaganda meeting in Edinburgh), there is something practical you can do to show your support for them, for their right (and yours) of peaceful, lawful protest, and to help counter the privacy intrusions and security risks of the Database State.

Geraint Bevan, the NO2ID Campaign Glasgow local group organiser wrote:

"If anyone would like to contribute to legal costs, cheques made payable to "Glasgow NO2ID", along with an indication of the intended purpose, would be gratefully received at 3e Grovepark Gardens, Glasgow G20 7JB. Any surplus after the cases have all concluded would be sent to London to be added to the legal defence fund (or to start an activists defence fund, whatever)."
There are several other NO2ID Campaign local groups in Scotland:

The poisoned chalice of trying to pretend to be seen to be "consulting" the public, about the labour government's wretched Identity cards and centralised biometric database, the National Identity Register, has currently been palmed off onto the most junior Minister at the Home Office. the hapless Meg Hillier MP, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Identity)..

She is currently touring the country, at a series of not exactly secret, but certainly deliberately unpublicised meetings, with invited audiences, with notifications to the local media and invitations only being sent out less than a week beforehand.

This "consultation" appears to be a vain hope that somebody, anybody, will think of a way to "sell" the alleged benefits of ID cards to "young people" or indeed, to any substantial groups of people at all.

Note that despite the tens of millions of pounds which the Home Office has spent on external consultants and the best efforts of their own civil service staff, and the fabulous political skills of their NuLabour political special advisors, they have had no success in doing this so far, and seem to be flapping about aimlessly.

The meetings are deliberately being publicised only a few days in advance to the local media, with invitations being sent out to the attendees, less than a week before.

The NO2ID Campaign or anybody else who might ask awkward questions, are deliberately refused admission to these meetings.

Yesterday, the Edinburgh "consultation" meeting was held at a local hotel, and, nine NO2ID supporters were arrested and charged, despite their protest being peaceful and lawful.

The Questions which some people did manage to ask at the meeting, were not answered, except with newspeak slogans.

Read Geraint Bevan's first hand description of the events - it would be a comical farce, if it was not actually so serious.

The fact that this peaceful demonstration, at a low attendance meeting behind closed doors, was filmed by the local STV television news crew, seems to have foiled the Home Office's attempt to suppress publicity and reporting. You can see a flash video clip of the STV report on their website, but the sound track is mangled.

Meg Hillier seemed to be repeating the Labour cult mantras and blatant lies, that somehow their particular scheme would be cost effective against terrorism, illegal immigration or, online fraud (unlike ID Cards in other countries, there are no Digital Certificates which could be used to authenticate online e-commerce or banking etc. transactions over the world wide web).

Incredibly, after all these years, the Government still has not dared to publish a detailed business case of what exactly their scheme will achieve, how it will work and how much it will cost every else (including other Government departments and the public) apart from vague cost figures just for the Home Office itself.

We urge the Borders and Lothian Police and the Procurator Fiscal to drop these charges against the nine NO2ID Campaign supporters., and to purge the centralised database records of the personal details which have been taken from them as a result of the political arrests.

UPDATE: see also blogger James Hammerton's The NO2ID Nine account of his arrest on a "ridiculous jumped up charge" and for links to the media coverage.


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