Recently in Wilson Doctrine Category

The Emergency Debate on the Wilson Doctrine on Monday 19th October 2015:

Commons Hansard 19 Oct 2015 : Column 694

Almost no MPs bothered to attend this Emergency Debate on the operation of the Wilson Doctrine.


The MPs who did speak:

Chris Bryant (Rhondda) (Lab)
Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con)
Mr David Davis (Haltemprice and Howden) (Con)
Lady Hermon (North Down) (Ind):
The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mrs Theresa May)
Mr Kenneth Clarke (Rushcliffe) (Con)
Andrew Gwynne (Denton and Reddish) (Lab)
Tom Pursglove (Corby) (Con)
Mr Alistair Carmichael (Orkney and Shetland) (LD)
Mr David Winnick (Walsall North) (Lab)
Joanna Cherry (Edinburgh South West) (SNP)
Mark Field (Cities of London and Westminster) (Con)
Dr Andrew Murrison (South West Wiltshire) (Con)
Ms Margaret Ritchie (South Down) (SDLP)
Gavin Robinson (Belfast East) (DUP)
Caroline Lucas (Brighton, Pavilion) (Green)
Martin John Docherty (West Dunbartonshire) (SNP)

Will Her Majesty's Opposition hold the Government to account over this shoddy deception ? Or will the Corbynistas be overshadowed by the Scottish Nationalists ? Will the handful of Conservative MPs who seem to care about liberty and privacy and freedom have any effect on the Government ?


Chris Bryant, who lead this Emergency Debate, made a lot of sense in his analysis of the current Wilson Doctrine debacle, but the attitude of the rest of the Labour party, almost none of whom bothered to turn up, is still suspiciously unclear.

He rightly chided the Home Secretary for rushing through the Data retention and Investigatory powers Act in a single day, and hoped that the forthcoming Investigatory Powers Bill which might be able to ut the Wilson Doctrine or similar into law would not be similarly rushed through.

Andy Burnham (Lab) the Shadow Home Secretary turned up for a bit, and lurked next to Chris Bryant, but did not bother to speak

Where was the Deputy Leader Tom Watson (Lab), who is supposed to be a patron of the Open Rights Group and who did ask the Question which prompted Theresa May's "caveated statement" on the Wilson Doctrine earlier this year ? ?

Where were the Corbynistas ?

Dominic Grieve's contribution to the debate was restricted to promising that as Chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee, the Committee would consider MP and Constituency interception procedures along with other legally privileged lawyers and journalists etc.

Given the other things they must look into, it is unclear if they will contribute anything before the full Investigatory Powers Bill is set in motion early next year.

Peter Bone yet again asked the Home Secretary how many MPs have had their telephones intercepted since 1966. Her silence confirms that the number is clearly not zero, making a mockery of even the very narrow definition of the Wilson Doctrine which is now being spun by the Government.


David Davis correctly summed up the Wilson Doctrine is effectively dead:

"the doctrine is dead. Whether or not it is legally dead, it is in practice dead. It is dead in the eyes of the people--whistleblowers, campaigners and so on--who might come to us, and we have to do something to replace it."

He also mentioned the vital importance of metadata, which the Wilson Doctrine sneakily does not "protect".

Spy Blog would also like to see protection for Constituents, Campaigners, Journalists, Whistleblowers and other elected representatives all the other RIPA an non-IPA surveillance techniques included in the new Investigatory Powers Bill e.g. MetaData / Communications data / Traffic Data (RIPA 2000 Part II) , compelled access access to Encrypted Data (RIPA III), CHIS Covert Human Intelligence Sources (informers and infiltrators), bugging and tracking devices (Police Act 1997 Part III) etc.


The Scottish Nationalist Party outnumbered the Labour Party and emphasised the need for Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly, Northern Ireland Assembly and UK Members of the European Parliament to have their communications with constituents and whistleblowers etc. protected.


The 3 MPs from Northern Ireland pointed out what even Theresa May admitted was a "conundrum" - it is unclear with the shifting changes made in secret to the Intelligence Agencies Guidance, did the Wilson Doctrine apply or not apply to those "double dipping" Members of Parliament MPs who were also simultaneously Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) ?

Caroline Lucas of course was a party to the the Investigatory Powers Tribunal case and mentioned the point Spy Blog noticed that even though the Wilson Doctrine has no legal power, neither do the Draft Code of Practice (not yet presented to, let alone approved by Parliament) nor the internal Intelligence Agency Guidance.


The lack of interest in their constituents' privacy and liberties shown by the absent MPs does not bode well for the forthcoming Draft Investigatory Powers Bill.

The secretive Investigatory Powers Tribunal, which always seems to side with the Whitehall securocrats at the expense of ordinary, innocent people, has done it again with their judgment on the Wilson Doctrine

Spy Blog has always assumed that the deliberate vagueness and extreme brevity of any official Answers to Parliamentary Questions about the Wilson Doctrine, even as it has changed slightly over the years, meant that the public and Parliamentarians were being lied to by Downing Street regarding the confidentiality of the communications between Members of Parliament and their Constituents.


IPT/14/79/CH IPT/14/80/CH IPT/14/172/CH

Caroline Lucas MP, Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb AM, George Galloway vs. the Security Service, SIS, GCHQ

The Tribunal heard and resolved issues relating to the status, meaning and effect of what has been called the Harold Wilson Doctrine, or the Wilson Doctrine, originating in the statement in the
House of Commons on 17 November 1966 by the Rt Hon Harold Wilson, the then Prime Minister. The Tribunal made declarations that the Wilson Doctrine applies only to targeted, and not
incidental, interception of Parliamentary communications, but that it has no legal effect, save that in practice the Security and Intelligence Agencies must comply with their own Guidance,
which has now been disclosed in the Judgment.

Full judgment (.pdf 25 pages)

10. There are relevant passages in the Codes, to which we are satisfied the Home Secretary was referring: the Interception of Communications Code of Practice pursuant to Section 71 of RIPA in force until this year ("the Code") does not make express reference to communications between parliamentarians and their constituents as being confidential, in that such communications are not listed among the examples given, but they are particularised in the new draft Code which has been de facto in operation since the beginning of this year, and complied with by the Security and Intelligence Agencies, although it has been the subject of consultation and has not yet been put before or approved by Parliament ("the Draft Code").

How can this possibly be compliant with Human Rights Act 1998 ECHR Article 8 Right to respect for private and family life "in accordance with law", when the supposed protections are still only a Draft Code of Practice which has not been approved by Parliament or are internal Intelligence Agency Guidance, which has no legal force at all ?


Liberty/Privacy provides, particularly having regard to the well-established proposition as to the reduced foreseeability required in the field of national security, a sufficient and adequate system for ECHR purposes, and one which does not require the Wilson Doctrine to underlie it. Unlike journalists' and lawyers' communications, there is no ECHR authority for enhanced protection for parliamentarians. There are very good reasons, as Sir Swinton Thomas pointed out, for parliamentarians not being treated differently from other citizens. The s.5 RIPA criteria and the approved interception regimes, including other statutory provisions for the respective Agencies, impose and signal a high threshold for interception. It is not necessary for this Tribunal to make new law. Moreover any attempt to do so would entail inventing a new code to define the types of communications covered and where lines are to be drawn. The Wilson Doctrine, as now enunciated and put into effect, highlights a need for caution and circumspection in respect of parliamentarians' communications. But such caution and circumspection will be called for in respect of many other types of confidential and sensitive private communications, which come to be considered under the interception regimes.

Answers to the preliminary issues

33. The Tribunal accordingly answers the preliminary issues attached to this judgment as follows:

i) The Wilson Doctrine does not apply to s.8(4) warrants at the stage of issue.

ii) It applies to targeted, but not incidental, interception of parliamentarians' communications both in respect of s.8(1) warrants at date of issue and in respect of s.8(4) warrants at the date of accessing/selecting such communications.

iii) The Wilson Doctrine does not operate so as to create a substantive legitimate expectation.

iv) The Wilson Doctrine has no legal effect, but in practice the Agencies must comply with the Draft Code and with their own Guidance.

v) The regime for the interception of parliamentarians' communications is in accordance with the law under Article 8(2) and prescribed by law under Article 10(2), in particular by reference to s.5(3) of RIPA.

34. MPs' communications with their constituents and others are protected, like those of every other person, by the statutory regime established by Part 1 of RIPA 2000. The critical control is the requirement for a Secretary of State's warrant, which can only be issued if the requirements of Section 5 are satisfied. That regime is sufficient to protect such communications and nothing further is required by the ECHR.

It would be truer to say that

"MPs'communications with their constituents and others are unprotected, like those of every other person"


"That regime is insufficient to protect such communications"

    What now, that the Wilson Doctrine is effectively dead ?

There is a 3 hour Emergency Debate in the House of Commons on the Wilson Doctrine from some time after 14:30, tomorrow Monday 19th October 2015.

Will Her Majesty's Opposition hold the Government to account over this shoddy deception ? Or will the Corbynistas be overshadowed by the Scottish Nationalists ? Will the handful of Conservative MPs who seem to care about liberty and privacy and freedom have any effect on the Government ?

At a guess the Government will pretend that the the still only Draft Code of Practice is somehow important, even though it is the "incidental interception" on a massive industrial scale by GCHQ and our 5 Eyes intelligence foreign agency partners which is the threat to the privacy of a Constituent's emails or mobile phone or landline phone or postal communications with their Member of Parliament.

How can an MP be trusted with any sensitive personal or legal or whistleblower information, from their Constituents, especially if it pertains to a complaint against or wrongdoing by a branch of the UK Government, when there is no legal protection for such communications at all ?

    OPSEC and COMSEC training for MPs etc.

The Open Rights Group has offered to help to train Members of Parliament (and other UK elected representatives not covered by the Wilson Doctrine in the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly, Northern Ireland Assembly and the European Parliament) in the sort of secure digital communications techniques involving risk assessment, personal computers and smartphones etc. which journalists and political activists have had to resort to

These same techniques can be used to help to hide MPs' shady private and business lives, but that is a price worth paying for access to our democratically elected representatives, without UK or other Government snooping.

Spy Blog has some experience with organising and teaching at CryptoParty events in London and even started to organise one for MPs, Peers or their staff in the last Parliament, until it became obvious that MPs didn't care about such things, by rushing the badly scrutinised Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act through in an unnecessary hurry.

Perhaps there will be more interest in such techniques by our elected representatives after this Wilson Doctrine debacle.

Unless and until Members of Parliament who criticise the Government over the Wilson Doctrine start to do things like using and publishing a PGP / GPG Public Encryption Key for their Constituency or Campaign business, nothing will change, and the public will become even more alienated from untrustworthy politicians and bureaucrats.

Another Parliamentary Question for the Spy Blog Wilson Doctrine category archive:

Topical Questions
Oral Answers to Questions -- Cabinet Office
11:30 am 12th March 2014

HC Deb, 12 March 2014, c306

David Davis (Haltemprice and Howden, Conservative)

The Wilson doctrine is a convention whereby Government agencies do not intercept communications with Members of Parliament without explicit approval from the Prime Minister. In a letter to my hon. Friend Nick de Bois in 2012, the Minister told him that the Wilson doctrine did not apply to metadata, thereby exposing whistleblowers to risks from which parliamentary privilege should protect them. Will he review this policy, discuss it with the Prime Minister and report back to the House?

Francis Maude (The Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General; Horsham, Conservative)

I absolutely understand the point that my right hon. Friend makes and I will undertake to look at this with my right hon. Friends the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister.

We will be watching for any (lack) of progress on this important issue.

The Coalition Government has again re-affirmed that the WIlson Doctrine still applies.

HL Deb, 3 July 2013, c238W

Wilson Doctrine

Asked by Lord Strasburger

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Wilson Doctrine on the interception of MPs' telephone calls still applies; whether it covers internet-based communications; and whether it applies to members of the House of Lords.[HL1217]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: Though it has been the longstanding practice for successive Governments not to comment on surveillance or interception operations. I can confirm that the Wilson Doctrine still applies, and applies to both Houses I refer the noble Lord to the then Prime Minister Tony Blair's written answer to Norman Baker MP on the terms of the Wilson Doctrine on 19 December 2001, Official Report, column 367W. and his subsequent confirmation that it continues to apply on 30 March 2006, Official Report. columns 95 and 96WS. His earlier written reply to a question by Norman Baker on 4 December 1997, Official Report, column 321W, made it clear that the Wilson Doctrine applied to telephone interception and to the use of electronic surveillance by any of the three security and intelligence agencies. This is still the position.

Strangely, this Written Answer mentions Norman Baker MP and the then Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair's re-affirmations of the Wilson Doctrine, but does not mention the more recent ones by Labour's Gordon Brown or by the current Conservative coalition government Prime Minister David Cameron.

Is this because Lord Stasburger , Lord Wallace (Government Whip) and Norman Baker (now a coalition Transport Minister) are all Liberal Democrats ?

Constituency emails between you and your Member of Parliament

If like Spy Blog, you have emailed your Member of Parliament, on constituency related or political matters, in the last 18 months or so, whilst Project Tempora has allegedly been in operation,according to Edward Snowden's revelations in The Guardian etc. using an email service based in North America, it seems very likely that your emails have been copied and stored for at least 3 days and the Communications Data stored for at least 30 days.

How does this square with the Wilson Doctrine claim at all ?

RIPA and ISA Warrants and Certificates

Foreign Secretary William Hague claimed in the Commons on 10th June (
HC Deb, 10 June 2013, c31) before the Tempora revelation,, that all GCHQ operations are legal.

Therefore GCHQ's Project Tempora must be covered by a Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 Warrant or Certificate and / or by an Intelligence Services Act 1994 Warrant, all of which need to have been signed by a Secretary of State, usually but not necessarily always, the Foreign Secretary for GCHQ.

However, if the Wilson Doctrine remains in force and since there has been no statement to Parliament saying that circumstances are such that it no longer applies wholly or in part, no Secretary of State can have signed any such Warrant or Certificate authorising snooping on Parliamentary constituency emails.

So who is lying and how should they be punished ?

Resist the newspeak - "collection" is really interception

Neither the public , nor Parliamentarians nor the press and media should allow themselves to be fouled by any attempt to use the the weasel worded Orwellian newspeak which the National Security Agency and the Obama government in the USA have tried.

They have tried to pretend that "collection" of the contents of emails is somehow not "interception" until a human analyst reads it, rather than an automated system. By that false logic,no crime is committed if someone plants a computer virus or hacks into a system and copies your credit card or internet bank details and passwords, until they actually read them and use them

There are other dangers to our freedom and liberty if securocrats are allowed to get away with such evasion about automated data trawling, especially if they decide to automatically share the results to travel or financial blacklist databases or even to automated robotic killing machines like missile armed drones, without any human intervention and sanity checking.

Controversial Labour MP Tom Watson, is one of the politicians who inflicted the NuLabour surveillance state on us and who helped to ruin the UK economy, but he is also one of the most experienced MPs when it comes to using the internet. He has been prominent in the News International mobile phone voicemailbox hacking scandal and was even put under surveillance by private investigators hired by that tainted media group.

Recently he has been doing what many other politicians have failed to do for so many years, by calling attention to some "old news" but still toxic paedophile ring allegations.

His recent blog post

10 days that shook my world

November 3rd, 2012

It's ten days since I raised a question about intelligence suggesting a paedophile ring that touched the very heart of a previous government. I'd done so because a very credible retired child protection professional had lived with a gnawing suspicion of a cover up for many years.


All very worrying, but this is exactly what we expect backbench MPs to be doing.

However, Tom Watson goes on to mention:

the 50 plus emails and numerous phone calls and letters I have received


I'm not going to let this drop despite warnings from people who should know that my personal safety is imperilled if I dig any deeper. It's spooked me so much that I've kept a detailed log of all the allegations should anything happen

We have some Questions for Tom Watson and for every other Member of Parliament who such alleged victims and whistleblowers may try to contact.

  1. What steps have you taken to protect the anonymity of your whistleblower sources ?
  2. Are you and your staff at least keeping encrypted copies of these allegations, stored in multiple locations ?
  3. Why not publish a PGP Public Encryption Key - you are now quite experienced with computer and internet technology, but if you need help, then contact some experts e.g. at the next CryptoParty London
  4. At the very least, why not install a Digital Certificate on the web server used to process your online web contact form so that the contents can be submitted through an SSL/TLS encrypted session ?

  5. Why not remove all the evil 3rd party tracking from your Contact web form e.g. hands over the IP address and browser details etc. of every visitor to a Google Analytics server in the USA (and therefore also to the UK and US intelligence agencies).

If "powerful people" really are trying to cover up such scandals as organised child rape (the academic term "paedophilia" hides the horror of the crime), then any potential witnesses or whistleblowers should practice some basic techniques to preserve their anonymity when contacting a Member of Parliament. e.g. see the resources listed at - Technical Hints and Tips for protecting the anonymity of sources for Whistleblowers, Investigative Journalists, Campaign Activists and Political Bloggers etc.

The Wilson Doctrine is supposed to prevent the "tapping" (interception of the content of communications) of landline and mobile telephones (and fax and email and postal mail) of Members of Parliament by government departments or the Police

However it does not apply to the Communications Data (i.e. who communicated with whom, when and where etc.), which will usually be enough to betray the identities of your confidential contacts in such a scandal.

The "Wilson Doctrine" applies nowadays to the Members of the House of Commons and to Peers in the House of Lords, but does not apply to the Welsh Assembly, the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Scottish Parliament or the European Parliament, even though these bodies are also directly elected.

Neither does the "Wilson Doctrine" apply to tabloid journalists, private investigators, ex-spook/military/police "security" company mercenaries or foreign intelligence agencies with privileged telecomms and internet infrastructure insider access, who may also be trying to identify your contacts to intimidate them, or to prepare propaganda to discredit their allegations.

N.B. there are no criminal sanctions specifically for the abuse of Communications Data, not even in the current Draft Communications Data Bill

Even if there is no conspiracy of people in positions of power, who might try to silence or suppress such allegations, Members of Parliament and Investigative Journalists have a duty to protect all of their confidential sources, no matter how seemingly low level and mundane. They should use readily available, often free, technical and procedural safeguards, including the use of encryption, just in case there is one whistleblower whose case really needs such precautions, either now or in the future.

In the light of the recent Data Protection scandals involving Personal Data, including Sensitive Personal Data, exposed by Members of Parliament or their staff, when handling or disposing of copies of supposedly confidential, privileged, Constituency Correspondence, we have been prompted to set out a Model Letter for Spy Blog readers and others, to use to obtain some reassurance from their own Members of Parliament at Westminster.

Even if they fail to answer all of the sections to your satisfaction, such letters might prompt Members of Parliament and other elected representatives to improve the privacy and security of our correspondence with them.

Without an adequate assurance of such privacy and confidentiality, there really is no point in contacting a Member of Parliament,. especially if the issues you are trying to discuss with them actually involve potential snoopers such as government officials or the tabloid media etc.

You can also also send such letter to your other Elected Representatives e.g. your Local Councillors, Members of the European Parliament, Members of the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly, the Northern Irish Assembly or the London Assembly etc.



Dear [Member of Parliament]

I am writing to you as one of your Constituents

There have been a couple of recent scandals, regarding the inept handling of Sensitive Personal Data included within supposedly privileged Constituency correspondence by two Government Ministers, Oliver Letwin (in St. James Park)

and Vince Cable (at his Constituency office):

Please fill in this short survey, about the commonplace, very basic, Data Protection measures, which you need to be taking, in order to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998. These precautions are routinely taken even by small businesses and voluntary sector organisations, without the benefit of taxpayer funded office allowances.

Unless you can reassure your Constituents and the wider General Public, that you do actually pay more than lip service to the almost universal claim that MPs take the privacy of the privileged correspondence with their constituents "seriously", you will turn even more people off mainstream democratic politics and into the arms of extremists.

I would greatly appreciate some reassurance about your Data Protection arrangements for handling my Constituency Correspondence with you, my elected Member of Parliament.

Please fill out the applicable Questions below

Yours sincerely



Please mark the sections which apply to your and your staff's handling of Constituency Correspondence within the square brackets:

What is your Registration Number on the Register of Data Controllers under the Data Protection Act 1998: [................]

How many of your paid staff could have access to Constituency Correspondence ? [...]

How many unpaid volunteers or interns could have access to Constituency Correspondence ? [...]

Do you receive and / or store originals or copies of Constituency Correspondence at:

Constituency Office [...]

Main Private Home [...]

Second Private Home [...]

nth Private Home [...]

Ministerial Office [...]

Palace of Westminster Office [...]

Portcullis House Office [...]

Norman Shaw Buildings Office [...]

Other Offices [...]

On Public Transport [...]

In Cars [...]

Secure Disposal of Paper Printouts or Photocopies of electronic documents or emails or written or typed Constituency Correspondence:

Do you and your staff have access to a
Cross Cut paper shredder at each of your Constituency Correspondence handling locations ? [...]

How is the shredded paper disposed of ?

Do you use any Secure Shredding / Disposal service which collects

a) unshredded paper documents [...]

b) shredded paper documents [...]

c) floppy disk, CD, DVD, USB [...]

Are the plastic bags full of Confidential Waste collected from within the building ? [...]

Or are they left outside for collection ? [...]

Do you simply rely on the normal Local Council Refuse Collection i.e. left outside the building ? [...]

Do you rely on your staff to dispose of Confidential Waste away from your offices ? [...]

Computer Encryption

Do you protect Constituency Correspondence held electronically with :

Full Disk Encryption [...]

Encrypted Data Volumes or Folders [...]


Do you publish a PGP Public Encryption Key, for use by whistleblowers and confidential informants ? [...]

If so, what is its PGP ID: [................]

Electronic documents and email correspondence etc.

Do you or your staff access your Constituency Correspondence electronic mail through a Web Mail account e.g. gmail or hotmail or yahoo etc.? [...]

Do you use your Web Mail via an encrypted session i.e. https:// ? [...]

Does the Web Contact form on your constituency website operate via an encrypted session https:// session using a Digital Certificate ? [...]


Do you store Constituency Correspondence on:

Office file servers [...]

Desktop computers [...]

Laptop computers [...]

Netbooks [...]

Smart Phones [...]

Removable Computer Media

Do you store Constituency Correspondence on:

External USB disk drives [...]

USB flash memory sticks [...]

SD card or MMC etc. flash memory for digital cameras or mobile phones [...]

Floppy disk [...]

CD [...]

DVD [...]

Blue Ray [...]

Tape [...]

Virtual Private Networking

Do you or your staff have remote access from home etc. to your office computers ? [...]

Do you use dedicated encrypted Virtual Private Network software / hardware ? [...]

Do you make use of third party web based VPN or remote access services e.g. Logmein, GoToMyPC etc ? [...]

WiFi network

WiFi wireless networking is convenient, but it can allow people who are physically outside your premises to access your internal computer systems:

Do your Internet Routers also act as a WiFi Access Points? [...]

Is your WiFi network currently set to use Encryption ? [...]

Is the WiFi encryption AES Pre Shared Key / PSK2 (the only WiFi encryption option which cannot now be broken in near real time by hackers or snoopers)? [...]

Secure Disposal of old office / computer equipment

There is a temptation to be "green" and to attempt to recycle old electronic equipment, which sometimes should instead be physically destroyed, if it contains sensitive data:

Is any data on old computers securely deleted, before they are handed over for recycling or Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) disposal ? [...]

Are heavy duty Scanner / Photocopier / Printers with internal hard disks securely wiped when they are disposed of or when they are replaced under leasing arrangements ? [...]

Are emails or SMS text messages, Diary entries and Address Book Contacts securely wiped from mobile phones, smart phones, or tablets, when these are replaced ? [...]

This is Privileged electronic correspondence between a Constituent and his Member of Parliament.

Interception of this electronic communication without a warrant signed by a Secretary of State is a criminal offence with a penalty of up to 2 years in prison, under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.

No such warrant can be granted because of the "Wilson Doctrine" ordered by then Prime Minister Harold Wilson, and re-affirmed by every Prime Minister since then c.f. Commons Hansard Oral Answers, 17th November 1966, Column 634

HC Deb, 24 January 2011, c35

Members: Surveillance
Prime Minister
Written answers and statements, 24 January 2011

Jonathan Edwards (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, Plaid Cymru)

To ask the Prime Minister whether there have been any changes to the Wilson doctrine since May 2010.

David Cameron (Prime Minister; Witney, Conservative)


Technically this one word answer is a re-affirmation of the Wilson Doctrine, espoused by the then Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson in 1966, that no Member of Parliament's telephone shall be tapped, unless there is a major national emergency, and that any changes to this policy will be reported by the Prime Minister to Parliament.

No doubt some Downing Street apparatchik thought that he was being clever by draughting this one word "No" Parliamentary Answer, but the political effect is to make David Cameron appear as arrogant and uncaring about our freedoms and liberties, as his control freak Labour predecessors Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

Back in 1966, most people did not have direct dial international phone lines, let alone facsimile machines or mobile phones or the internet.

The Wilson Doctrine has been re--affirmed by every Prime Minister since Harold Wilson, and has been extended to cover Peers of the House of Lords as well as Members of Parliament in the House of Commons. It is also meant to cover mobile phones and computer telecommunications.

There is no reason why it could not or should not be extended to cover the elected Members of the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly, the Northern Ireland Assembly and the European Parliament.

All of these are democratically elected by the same British electorate who lend their power to the Parliament in Westminster.

The Wilson Doctrine is not meant to help financially or morally corrupt or treacherous politicians hide their crimes and scandals, but it is vital to give the right signals to the electorate, that their communications with their elected representatives will not be snooped on by the Government, especially when they are complaining about Government policies or are whistleblowing and exposing the incompetence or wrongdoings of Government bureaucrats.

Interestingly, it was left to a Welsh Nationalist MP to ask this important question about the Wilson Doctrine.

It is unsurprising that the authoritarian and incompetent Labour party. the so called Official Opposition", could not be bothered to ask any Questions about the Wilson Doctrine and the safeguarding of the communications of their constituents, presumably because of their own appalling record in creating the current, out of control, database surveillance snooper state.

Instead, there are several disgraced or disgraceful Labour figures who seem more concerned about the News of the World voice mailbox interception scandal.

Why did they not raise such anti-Rupert Murdoch claims when they were Government Ministers ?

If these Labour politicians were so inept with basic mobile phone security (i.e. changing the default voicemailbox pass code and not leaving any sensitive voicemail messages whatsoever) with their private mobile phones, then how many Government secrets have they betrayed to foreign intelligence agencies and criminal gangs etc.via their official Government issue mobile phones ?

Has the Wilson Doctrine now been broken or abandoned ?

We find it impossible to believe that there can have been any MI5 Security Service espionage investigation into the activities of the Russian Ekaterina "Katia" Zatuliveter, the former Parliamentary researcher / assistant to Mike Hancock, the Liberal Democrat MP for Portsmouth South, without any demands for telephone or email Interception or for Communications Data Traffic Analysis.

The fact that she had access to the MP's Parliamentary email and telephones, means that there is a grave danger of "collateral damage" snooping on the correspondence between the MP and his Constituents.

Given how little information the Ministry of Defence actually provides to Members of Parliament and the public, there should have been no risk of any secrets being handed over to Russian intelligence services, even in regard to his work as a member of the Commons Defence Select Committee.

This MP's constituency encompasses Portsmouth, so he may well be in supposedly private correspondence with the families of Royal Navy personnel suffering from hardship or Ministry of Defence bureaucracy, or with whistleblowers exposing incompetence within the the Navy or MoD. This is may actually be of more of interest to Russian intelligence agencies than any public, on the record, Parliamentary Questions or Select Committee on Defence questions he may have asked about the UK nuclear deterrent etc.

Prime Minister David Cameron has still not made any statement re-affirming and ideally extending the Wilson Doctrine, against the "tapping of telephones", internet connectivity etc.of Members of the House of Commons and Peers of the House of Lords.

According to this "unwritten constitution" convention, the Prime Minister David Cameron is supposed to inform the House of Commons and the public, if there have been changes to the Wilson Doctrine.

Even his control freak Labour predecessors Tony Blair and Gordon Brown reluctantly and with bad grace did so, in response to Parliamentary Questions from the then Opposition. They slowly expanded the original Wilson Doctrine to cover all electronic communications used by MPs (most of which like fax, email or mobile phones had not been invented back in 1966 when the then Labour Prime Minister promulgated the Wilson Doctrine)

It is a measure of the ongoing betrayal of our civil liberties and freedoms by the Labour party, even now that they are out of power and are pretending to have changed the incompetence, control freakery, corruption, spin and lies, which lost them the election, that they have not bothered, or perhaps have not dared, to to ask any Questions about the Wilson Doctrine.

Liberal Democrat MPs did used to ask about the Wilson Doctrine, but the likes of Norman Baker and Vince Cable are now Government Ministers and are avoiding this issue.

The new Intelligence and Security Committee cannot be trusted to investigate this matter, since despite our warnings, it now includes the authoritarian Labour apparatchik, the expenses scandal disgraced Hazel Blears, who has proven that she cannot be trusted with secret information. If a civil servant had been as lax as Hazel Blears,they could have been prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act 1989 section 8 Safeguarding of Information, not just once, but twice.

The House of Commons Standards and Privileges Committee is supposedly investigating the the latest attempts to re-open the old News of the World tabloid mobile phone voicemail "blagging" scandal, in so far as it may have affected some MPs. However, given the fact that the Police and the Crown Prosecution Service are not proceeding with any new charges, this Committee of very obscure backbench MPs, will probably dither and do nothing.

If they had any proper sense of public duty, they would be loudly demanding a re-statement of the Wilson Doctrine from the Prime Minister, in order to ensure the privacy and anonymity of communications between elected Parliamentary representatives and their Constituents, but they have so far failed to do so.

Lack of any espionage charges against Zatuliveter.

It seems unlikely that there is any hard evidence against Ekaterina Zatuliveter, since she was not arrested and held in a high security prison back in August when she was stopped at Gatwick Airport.

As an "agent of influence", she is obviously not in the same league as any number of Russian or former Soviet empire billionaires with links to the Kremlin, who have had socoal and business contacst with British politicians of all parties.

She was arrested only in early December and held for a week in the notorious, but low security, Yarl's Wood Immigration Detention Centre, before being allowed bail.

That sort of administrative detention without charge implies almost no actual hard evidence against her whatsoever

She has not been charged with Espionage or even under the Official Secrets Act or under any of the catch all Terrorism "thought crime " laws.
Tit for tat expulsion of Russian and British diplomats

However, supposedly on an unrelated matter, at almost the same time as Zatuliveter was being arrested, the British Government expelled a Russian diplomat from the Russian Embassy in London on 6th December 2010.

The Russians have taken their time and have also expelled a British diplomat from Moscow on 16th December 2010 in reprisal.

HC Deb, 21 December 2010, c165WS

UK/Russia Embassies
Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Written answers and statements, 21 December 2010

William Hague (Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs; Richmond (Yorks), Conservative)

On 10 December we requested that the Russian embassy in London withdraw a member of their staff from the UK. This was in response to clear evidence of activities by the Russian intelligence services against UK interests.

Russia responded on 16 December by requesting the removal of a member of our embassy staff in Moscow. We reject any basis for this action.

Both staff members have now been withdrawn.

We remain open to a more productive relationship with Russia, as with any other country, on the basis of respect for our laws.

Both sides claim that there is no link with the Ekaterina Zatuliveter, case, but then both sides are professional liars and media spinners, so it it is hard to believe them.

6th December 2010 London Diplomatic List for the Russsian Embassy in London

London Diplomatic List published on 6th December 2010 (.pdf) lists the following Russian diplomats in London:

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):



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:



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:

Parliament adjourns for a long summer break in less than 2 weeks. just over 3 weeks, from 27th July until 6th September 2010.

By that time, we are promised, the Identity Cards Act 2006 will have been repealed, all well and good. We will celebrate properly when the National Identity Register data is securely destroyed.

However, there are several things of interest to Spy Blog readers, which this Conservative / Liberal democrat coalition government has not yet done as they should have.

By convention, since 1966, each Prime Minister has re-affirmed the Wilson Doctrine, regarding the supposed ban on telephone and other interception of communications of Members of Parliament, especially with their constituents.

Sometimes they have hinted at slight changes in policy, in their short, bland, detail avoiding statements, which need heavy analysis by Downing Street kremlinologists.

Prime Minister David Cameron has not yet made any such statement.

If he does not want to appear just like his hated predecessor, then he will announce next week, a wider application of the Wilson Doctrine, as we wrote back in 2008:

The Wilson Doctrine should not be abolished, it should be clarified and extended

The Wilson Doctrine should be extended to cover not just Members of the House of Commons, and the Peers of the House of Lords, but also to the other equally democratically elected Parliaments and Assemblies, to the Scottish Parliament, the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Welsh Assembly, to the UK Members of the European Parliament, and probably to all foreign Members of the European Parliament as well.

In principle, the Constituency Communications of elected Local Authority Councillors should also be protected by the Wilson Doctrine.

The Wilson Doctrine is not about rights and privileges of elected politicians, it is about protecting the privacy of their communications with their constituents, who may very well be complaining or whistleblowing about the very Government departments and agencies and other tentacles of the State, who try to snoop on such communications.

Back in 1966, when the then Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson announced his policy, there were no direct dial international phone calls , let alone fax machines, mobile phones or internet email or WiFi communications etc.

See "Wilson Doctrine" - Prime Minister Harold Wilson answers Oral Questions in the House of Commons 17th November 1966 - transcript

The Wilson Doctrine should be extended to cover not just the interception of communications i..e. listening to phone calls or reading emails etc., but to the collection or analysis of Communications Traffic Data - who called or emailed who, when and where from etc.

It should also apply to all of the postal mail, public internet connections, private computer networks, email accounts, computers, fax machines and mobile phones etc. used by the elected representative or his office staff, provided that these are used for communications to and from the elected representatives constituents.

Given the scandal over the electronic bugging of an MP and his constituent in prison, who has not been charged with any crime in the UK, the Wilson Doctrine should also be made to cover face to face meetings with constituents. It should ban directed and intrusive surveillance of such face to face meetings and it should also ban the use of Confidential Human Intelligence Source informers to infiltrate an MP or other elected representatives offices.

Obviously where there are actual national security or serious crime investigations in progress, the Wilson Doctrine allows these to proceed, but this should be strictly limited and should require a formal warrant, not any kind of self authorisation by the investigating agency.

There must be no repeat of the appalling mess which the former Speaker of the House of Commons created over the police raid without a warrant of MPs offices.

The Wilson Doctrine should be made to apply not just to the three main UK intelligence agencies GCHQ, MI5 and SIS/MI6, but to any Police or Military units with the legal or technical capability e.g. Military Special Forces units, Association of Chief Police Officers units like NETCU and to any "quid pro quo" arrangements with Foreign Governments or agencies and also to any private sector companies or other non--governmental organisations as well.

If you cannot trust that your written or electronic communications or face to face meetings with your MP etc. is not being snooped on by state bureaucrats or private sector snoopers, then there is no elected democracy in the UK any more.

If the Government really means to restore public trust in the tainted institution of Parliament, then they should re-affirm and extend the Wilson Doctrine, something which will not even cost them any public money to do.

It is a measure of how inept the hated Labour party is in Opposition, that they have not bothered to table any Parliamentary Questions about the Wilson Doctrine, not even simply in order to put the current Government under political pressure, like a proper Opposition should.

Is it because the few Labour MPs who cared about democratic accountability of the powerful organs of the state, have retired or have not been re-elected, leaving behind only the creepy control freaks and apparatchiks ?

The Liberal Democrat and Conservative MPs who used to care about these issues are now on the Government side, but they should not let that stop them from raising Questions fundamental issues of liberty and democracy either.

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.


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

We offer this verifiable GPG / PGP public key (the ID is available on several keyservers, twitter etc.) as one possible method to establish initial contact with whistleblowers and other confidential sources, if it suits their Threat Model or Risk Appetite, but will then try to establish other secure, anonymous communications channels e.g. encrypted Signal Messenger via burner devices,or face to face meetings, postal mail or dead drops etc. as appropriate.

Current PGP Key ID: 0x1DBD6A9F0FACAD30 which will expire on 29th August 2021.

You can download a free copy of the PGP encryption software from
(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:

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)


Watching Them, Watching Us

London 2600

Our UK Freedom of Information Act request tracking blog - ethical and technical discussion about the 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

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 - 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 have gone on to set up other online tools like The Government's contemptuous dismissal of over 5,000 individual responses via the 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 - New Alliance's ID Cards page - 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 - 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 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 - 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 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 journalist network.
The Practical Nomad Blog Edward Hasbrouck on Privacy and Travel
Policeman's Blog
World Weary Detective

Martin Stabe
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
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


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.


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 - 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


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

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  • wtwu: NetIDMe seems to be in process of being wound up read more
  • wtwu: The House of Lords have approved the Regulations, without a read more
  • wtwu: Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill Government Note on the read more
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  • wtwu: BBC reports the password was $ur4ht4ub4h8 When Hussain was read more
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  • wtwu: Although not confirmed as part of the Wilson Doctrine per read more
  • wtwu: For now (just before Christmas 2013) it appears that the read more
  • wtwu: As expected, the ISC did not give the intelligence agency read more
  • wtwu: N.B. the Intelligence & Security Committee is now legally consituted read more


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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

syf_logo_120.gif Secure Your Ferliliser logo
Secure Your Fertiliser - advice on ammonium nitrate and urea fertiliser security

cpni_logo_150.gif Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure
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."

SIS MI6 careers_logo_sis.gif
Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) recruitment.

Government Communications Headquarters GCHQ

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

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.

FreeFarid_150.jpg - 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)

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).

Amnesty International's campaign

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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

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."

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

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."

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

No CCTV - The Campaign Against CCTV


I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist !


Power 2010 cross party, political reform campaign


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."


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

wblogocrop_150.jpg - Fighting for justice for whistleblowers