After being hastily cancelled in the first week of July 2013, the Intelligence and Security Committee has again announced the "historic" first ever open oral evidence taking session with the three heads of the UK's intelligence agencies.

23 October 2013
posted 23 Oct 2013 03:04 by ISC Admin
Open Evidence Session

At 14:00 on Thursday 7 November, the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament will be holding an Open Evidence Session with the three heads of the UK Intelligence Agencies:

Sir Iain Lobban, Director, GCHQ;
Mr Andrew Parker, Director General, Security Service; and
Sir John Sawers, Chief, Secret Intelligence Service.

No doubt all three are rehearesing what they will say and are being given taxpayer funded TV media coaching, so that they do not make fools of themselves in public.

Sir John Sawers a former Ambassador and British Permanent Representative to the United Nations, is likely to have most experience with the media, but the ISC is unlikely to ask any of the tree of them any hard questions.

This will be the Committee's first Open Evidence Session: it will be the first time the three heads of the Intelligence Agencies have appeared in public together to talk about their work.

The session will give an insight into the world of intelligence, and the work the Agencies do on behalf of the UK. It represents a very significant step forward in terms of the openness and transparency of the Agencies. The Committee will question the Agency Heads on the work of the Agencies, their current priorities and the threats to the UK. Among other things it will cover the terrorist threat, regional instability and weapons proliferation, cyber security and espionage.

The sort of things readers of the censored ISC Annual Reports have become used to.

However, since this is a public session, it will not cover details of intelligence capabilities or techniques, ongoing operations or sub judice matters. The Committee questions the Agencies about these details in their closed sessions.

So absolutely everything to do with the Edward Snowden revelations will be kept secret.

The session will be held on the Parliamentary estate and will last approximately an hour and a half. It will be broadcast on

Clearly not this is not likely to be a Parliamentary Committee Room in the main Palace of Westminster and the "secure" brutalist bunker architecture of the QE II Conference Centre is part of the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), not part of the Parliamentary Estate.

At a guess one of the Portcullis House Committee rooms might be used as they are already wired up for TV broadcast and which it is easier to smuggle the secret squirrels in and out via the maze of the Norman Shaw Building etc. for security reasons.


Parliamentary Estate boundaries as per Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 section 128 - crossing these boundaries without permission is criminal trespass.

The session will be broadcast on a short time delay. The time delay is a security mechanism to allow the Committee to pause the broadcast if anything is mentioned which might endanger national security or the safety of those working for the Agencies. A similar process was used during the public hearings for the Iraq Inquiry.

There will be a limited number of seats available in the meeting room itself. For security reasons, the Committee has agreed that for this first Open Session these seats will be available to full Parliamentary pass holders and a small number of print journalists only. A notification of the event has been posted on the parliamentary intranet and pass holders have been invited to apply for a seat, which will be allocated on a 'first come, first served' basis.

Media arrangements are being dealt with separately.

The week before and the weekend after this "historic" session, there is likely to be a lot of Whitehall "media handling" and spin to manipulate the usual suspect newspapers and broadcast media to emphasise the official line and to ignore the unanswered (and probably unasked) questions.

Submit Questions for the ISC to ask the heads of GCHQ, MI5 & SIS

We invite Spy Blog readers to submit their own Questions for the heads of the UK Intelligence Agencies either for the open session or for the closed one, either directly to the ISC:

Postal Address

Intelligence and Security Committee
35 Great Smith Street

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Alternatively, if you suspect that you may be tracked and monitored by the Intelligence Agencies, especially if you are a current or former employee, Spy Blog will pass on your Questions as anonymously as possible on your behalf.

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Intelligence agency staff whistleblower protection

The ISC has the theoretical power to protect actual witnesses giving evidence from any criminal or civil prosecutions or internal disciplinary measures. This is all very well for hiding the sins and errors of the heads or former heads or senior staff of the intelligence agencies, but is not adequate for more junior staff or contractors, whose evidence or testimony may contradict or may have been hidden from the more senior staff. These people risk their security clearances and commercial contracts if they speak out and so should get extra protection.

There should be whistleblower protection afforded by the Intelligence and Security Committe, similar to that outlined in our correspondence with the Detainee Inquiry (which was nobbled when trying to look into allegations of torture complicity by the UK intelligence services & MOD etc.)

Witness but not whistleblower protection for the Detainee Inquiry into torture complicity of MI5, SIS, GCHQ

Without this, middle level or senior intelligence agency staff, fearful for their own jobs, could well authorise the deployment of the full panoply of their state backed surveillance powers in a "mole hunt" exercise, self-justified on "internal national security" grounds, to try to identify who has attempted to "spill the beans" to the Intelligence and Security Committee, regardless of whether they actually go through with it or actually say anything really controversial.


Jemima Khan, Henry Porter and William Sieghart invite you to:

Mass Surveillance The debate in Britain must not be silenced

Twitter: @stopbuggingusUK
Twitter hashtags: #debatestartshere and #stopbuggingus

Tickets via email:


RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects)
66 Portland Place
London W1B 1AD

Google Map

When ?

Monday 4th November 2013

6.45pm to 9.00pm [N.B. it now looks to be starting at 6.30]

Confirmed Speakers:

Alan Rusbridger (editor of The Guardian)
David Davis MP
Sir Simon Jenkins
Jo Glanville (PEN)
Tom Watson MP
Wolfgang Büchner (Editor-in-Chief, Der Spiegel)
Julian Huppert MP

It would be better if some proponents / defenders of the current surveillance state were willing to try to justify the status quo in the light of the Edward Snowden revelations as these speakers are all very likely to agree with each other.

The proximity of this event to the BBC and the presence of some print / online media editors should ensure some media coverage.

Remember that there will be a Whitehall led "media handling" / spinning campaign in the run up to the potentially very dull Intelligence and Security Committee televised open evidence session with the heads of the the three UK intelligence agencies (invited print media only in the audience) on Thursday 7th November 2013. There needs to be media coverage which counters the likely spin.

The meeting location is opposite the Chinese Embassy . Will the nearby Met Police / MI5 surveillance teams now "accidentally" log all the meeting attendees' mobile phones & add their CCTV images to their political "extremist" databases ?

Hopefully any Spy Blog readers who do attend will leave their usual mobile phones at home and / or will have registered via a disposable, one time email alias.


The new Director General of the Security Service (MI5), Andrew Parker gave his first public speech, yesterday Tuesday 8th October 2013, at the following in the tradition of his predecessors, before an uncritical audience at traditional at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in Whitehall.

The Guardian has a useful analysis:MI5 chief's defence of GCHQ surveillance: extracts and analysis by Nick Hopkins and Matthew Taylor

The full text of his speech is worth commenting on, given the mainstream media briefing and spin, which, apart from The Guardian, is wholly uncritical of all of the claims and evasions made in this speech.

Address by the Director General of the Security Service, Andrew Parker, to the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), Whitehall, 8 October 2013.

RUSI is a securocrat thinktank which is literally in Whitehall, opposite next to the Banqueting House, on the same opposite side of the road as to Downing Street, between the Cabinet Office and Horse Guards.

Google Maps Streetview of 61 Whitehall.

[Thanks to the readers who pointed out the error with the geography]

It is now the traditional venue for MI5 Director General's public speeches. N.B. neither the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) nor GCHQ have bothered with even this tiny level of public transparency.

1. I'd like to start by thanking Professor Michael Clarke and the Royal United Services Institute for offering this forum for my first published speech as Director-General of MI5. RUSI is rightly recognised at home and around the world in the leading rank of independent, authoritative voices on national security matters.

2. I was appointed Director-General of MI5 in April. MI5 is a highly specialised and professional organisation. Its work has been critical to the safety and security of the country and our people for over a century. Leading MI5 is both a tremendous privilege and an enormous responsibility. Those responsibilities are as wide ranging as they are serious. Our work is ever more subject to public debate and scrutiny. I want to use the opportunity of my first public speech tonight to open my contribution to those debates.

"ever more subject to public debate and scrutiny" - really ? where ? Not in Parliament nor in the DA-Notice observant mainstream media.

3. I will focus on three things:

  • the MI5 of 2013, and what guides and shapes it;
  • the enduring and diversifying threat from Al Qaida and its imitators; and third
  • the question of how in a world of accelerating technological change MI5 will continue to be able to get the information it needs to protect the UK.

4. Let me begin with a personal perspective. I joined MI5 30 years ago, fascinated and drawn by the opportunity to work in a professional organisation doing work of real national importance. That might sound starry-eyed, but it has been my genuine experience every day since.

5. Over the years, with many excellent colleagues, I have been greatly privileged to be part of MI5's work in protecting the UK through numerous extraordinary and historic events that have shaped the life of this country.

6. Covert threats to the UK's security can arise from many different quarters. Wherever and whenever they do it is MI5's job to be there, gathering intelligence, investigating and disrupting to protect the United Kingdom.

7. We have seen countless examples of the capacity of individuals, groups and nations to act aggressively for a host of reasons, be it from fear, suspicion or a sense of grievance. We are all too familiar with the way that terrorism, espionage, cyber attack, and weapons of mass destruction are all features of the darker side of our modern world.

8. Of course the type and mix of security threats shifts. Over recent decades new threats have emerged (Al Qaida), old ones have fallen away (Cold War subversion), mutated (Northern Ireland-related terrorism) or branched out in new forms (cyber espionage).

9. MI5 has changed with the times too. So have our close partner Agencies: especially GCHQ, SIS and the police, upon whom our work depends. Together we have a rich and proud history of continually adapting, reshaping, developing new skills and ways of working, and growing innovative capabilities to meet new challenges.

10. The past decade has seen some of the greatest shifts in MI5's post-war history. In recent years we have responded to the rising threat of Islamist terrorism, taken on a new lead role for intelligence work in Northern Ireland, built cyber work, and helped secure the Olympics. As I speak today we are tackling threats on more fronts than ever before.

"built cyber work" - what exactly is the MI5 rather than the GCHQ or Police aspect of this ?

11. But some things don't change. For over a hundred years MI5 has been protecting this country and its people from many kinds of danger: through two World Wars, the Cold War and bloody campaigns of terror. Critical to our success down the decades, and still today, are the enduring qualities that define MI5.

12. I had the pleasure of speaking to several hundred retired members of the Service earlier this year. The audience spanned recent leavers right back to a distinguished colleague who had served during the Second World War. They strongly recognised those defining qualities that remain at the core of MI5 today:

  • the energy, commitment and clarity of purpose;
  • the deep importance of integrity, objective judgement, and the rule of law;
  • operational agility, skill and sheer inventiveness; and
  • the way we work together in common endeavour.

13. Security threats are a feature of the modern world, but they do not define it. We are all lucky to be able to live without fear in a free society. It is the task of MI5 and all the vital partner agencies on whom we depend to keep it that way. We deal with threats and dangers all day every day. But for the public at large security concerns are rightly not a dominant part of daily life. Lethal terrorist attacks in the UK remain rare. MI5 and partners have a long track record of detecting and preventing most attempts.

14. But our task is getting harder. The threats are more diverse and diffuse. And we face increasing challenges caused by the speed of technological change. Those are my twin themes tonight.

"Lethal terrorist attacks in the UK remain rare" - not rare, but extremely rare. How much of this is due to MI5 is completely unclear.


15. My predecessor spoke last year about cyber threats. This evening I am majoring on terrorism. Describing the reality of the terrorism threat we face is challenging in public discourse. I've heard too much exaggeration at one end, while at the other there can sometimes be an alarming degree of complacency.

16. A partial picture does the public a disservice. It ultimately tends to corrode confidence in what MI5 and others do, and why. That is one of the main reasons why my predecessors over the past 20 years have made it an occasional habit to speak on the record. None of us joined MI5 to make public speeches. But I too believe strongly that the public is owed an explanation of the threats the country faces and what we are doing about them. Ministers properly take the day-to-day role in doing that, but I think it right that from time to time the public also hear direct from those who work behind the scenes to defend them.

Ministers are meant to be responsible for MI5 and the other intelligence agencies, but they simply do not bother to explain any of their actions, in any worthwhile detail.Instead they pretend that they can "neither confirm nor deny" nor "discuss" anything to do with "national security.

How convenient for them, but this stupidity breeds mistrust in the whole of government and lets conspiracy theories run wild.

17. I'm not focusing on Northern Ireland terrorism this evening in detail, but given its importance and its central part in MI5's work, I can't leave it without saying a few words. We have obviously seen enormous progress in re-building normality in Northern Ireland in the fifteen years since the Good Friday Agreement. But we still have to deal with continuing incidents of violence on both sides.

18. MI5 is necessarily focused on the darkest end. Various terrorist factions remain determined to kill people. We and the Police Service of Northern Ireland detect and disrupt the vast majority of their attempts. But occasionally we are all stung with the tragedy of wanton murder, as we saw most recently with the shooting of David Black last November. Rejecting the political process in Northern Ireland, these ragged remnants of a bygone age are in a cul-de-sac of pointless violence and crime with little community support. We will continue to work with the police to put these thugs and killers in front of the Courts.

Those "ragged remnants of a bygone age" in Northern Ireland still seem to be better armed and have much better access to weapons, explosives and bomb making skills, than any of the recent Islamist extremist plotters.

There should be more focus on Northern Irish terrorism than on purely overseas Islamic extremist plots or fund raising.

19. Turning to international terrorism, let's start with the plain facts: from 11 September 2001 to the end of March this year 330 people were convicted of terrorism-related offences in Britain. At the end of that period 121 were in prison, nearly three-quarters of whom were British. In the first few months of this year there were four major trials related to terrorist plots. These included plans for a 7/7-style attack with rucksack bombs, two plots to kill soldiers, and a failed attempt to attack an EDL march using an array of lethal weapons. There were guilty pleas in each case. 24 terrorists were convicted and sentenced to more than 260 years in jail.

Most of these had no access to weapons, explosives or even money.
Many of those convicted were not actually plotting anything in the UK at all.

The foiling of the potential armed attack by an Islamic extremist gang on the English Defence League extremist march had nothing whatsoever to do with MI5. The idiots got the time of the EDL march wrong and were stopped and arrested by Police, because their car had no insurance, with a car boot full of unsophisticated weapons !

Six admit planning to bomb English Defence League rally

Andrew Parker should have been advised not to use this (non) example in a speech about MI5 and Terrorism.

Far too many of these convictions have been simply for Orwellian Thought Crimes under the notorious Terrorism Act s58 Collection of information - most educated readers of Spy Blog have more knowledge in their heads, than many of those who have been convicted under this section ever downloaded from the internet e.g. the probable honeypot Inspire Magazine

c.f. Spy Blog MI5 / MI6 / GCHQ / CTIRU should positively deny any involvement in "Operation Cupcake" alleged cyber attack on "Inspire" magazine"

N.B. slide 20 in the Washington Post's version of a recent release from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden (censored in The Guardian version) shows that "Inspire Magazine" was a successful NSA hacking target after 8 months.

EGOTISTICALGIRAFFE (Washington Post version)

20. Today, the threat level for international terrorism in the UK is assessed to be 'substantial': attacks are considered a strong possibility. But what does that really mean?

21. Since 2000, we have seen serious attempts at major acts of terrorism in this country typically once or twice a year. That feels to me, for the moment, unlikely to change.

22. While that tempo seems reasonably even, the ground we have to cover has increased as the threat has become more diversified.

23. Ten years ago, the almost singular focus of the international CT effort was Al Qaida in South Asia. Since that time we have seen violent Islamist groupings in various countries and regions exploiting conflict, revolutions and the opportunity of weakened governance to gain strength and refuge. Some have adopted the Al Qaida brand, becoming franchised affiliates with what at the same time has been a declining Al Qaida core in South Asia.

24. A time-lapse sequence of a world map over the past decade would show outbreaks in Iraq, North & West Africa, Yemen, Somalia, and most recently Syria.

25. Al Qaida and its affiliates in South Asia and the Arabian Peninsula present the most direct and immediate threats to the UK. For the future, there is good reason to be concerned about Syria. A growing proportion of our casework now has some link to Syria, mostly concerning individuals from the UK who have travelled to fight there or who aspire to do so. Al Nusrah and other extremist Sunni groups there aligned with Al Qaida aspire to attack Western countries.

Why devote any expensive resources to people who are planning to travel to fight in Syria or elsewhere ?

Would today's MI5 be snooping on a modern day Eric Blair (better known as George Orwell) who volunteered to fight in the Spanish Civil War ?

Many of those who do so will either be killed or disillusioned, rather than posing any sort of threat (without access to weapons or explosives etc.) if they ever come back to the UK.

26. The ability of Al Qaida to launch the centrally directed large scale attacks of the last decade has been degraded, though not removed. We have seen the threat shift more to increasing numbers of smaller-scale attacks and a growing proportion of groups and individuals taking it upon themselves to commit acts of terrorism. It remains the case that there are several thousand Islamist extremists here who see the British people as a legitimate target.

27. Overall, I do not believe the terrorist threat is worse now than before. But it is more diffuse. More complicated. More unpredictable.

28. We have again seen the reality of terrorism this year. At the In Amenas gas facility in Algeria and then in Nairobi two weeks ago, we saw once more the unconstrained intent of the terrorists in action and the impact on Britons living and working around the world. And on 22 May, Fusilier Lee Rigby was brutally killed in Woolwich -- the forthcoming trial prevents me saying more. And we have seen violent attacks against Muslims and Mosques.

MI5 did nothing at all to prevent the murderer of Fusilier Lee Rigby in Woolwich despite having the alleged murderers under various levels of surveillance for years.

It may even be that the repeated harassment and attempts to recruit the chief suspect and members of his family into becoming MI5 informers actually contributed to this stupid and evil murder.

The Intelligence and Security Committee is meant to have looked into this, but., of course, they have not actually told the public anything, whilst the murder trial proceeds, but don't hold your breath for anything at all critical of Mi5.

Again, Andrew Parker should have been advised not to use this (non) example in a speech about MI5 and Terrorism.

Counter Terrorism

29. I'd like to turn now to counter terrorism. The months preceding 7 July 2005 saw widespread scepticism about the threat... Surely it couldn't happen here? I was Counter Terrorism Director the day Al Qaida murdered 52 people in London. I led the Service's CT response - a story for another day. But the steps we and our partners were then able to take with an injection of new resources led directly a year later to what has been described as the biggest counter terrorism success in modern history. Al Qaida tried to bring down a number of transatlantic airliners using liquid bombs -- the reason why there are restrictions on taking liquids on planes today. Like so many other attempts before and since, we were able to detect that plot and, with partners, stop it.

Therefore Andrew Parker must have been complicit in or and should take personal responsibility for MI5's failure to supply the supposedly independent and all powerful Intelligence and Security Committee with all the relevant information regarding the July 2005 attacks.

The ISC had to sheepishly issue a second report into the July 2005 attacks and both the ISC and MI5 lost a huge amount of public credibility and public trust as a result.

Report into the London Terrorist Attacks on 7 July 2005 (2006)

Review of the Intelligence on the London Terrorist Attacks on 7 July 2005 (2009)

The airliner liquid bomb threat over-reaction has caused millions of pounds of economic damage and has actually put passengers lives at more risk.

The huge pile of baggage which built up at Heathrow airport and elsewhere when the restrictions on liquids were rushed in, which then was flown on passenger planes as well as cargo planes, without the associated passengers on the same plane. This risked Pan Am Flight 103 Lockerbie style bomb attacks and aided drug smuggling instead of making the public any safer.

30. But, as events have tragically shown, we can't stop them all.

31. There can be no doubt that the UK has one of the most developed and effective set of counter terrorist capabilities and arrangements in the world. But I don't say this with any boasting. As I've often said to heads of sister agencies overseas who have made such admiring remarks, what we have in the UK is not the product of some clever consultant on a management away-day with a flipchart and a marker pen. It was not designed and implemented in some giant leap.

32. The reality is of course that the UK has built and then advanced through many stages a set of defences over four decades in response to near-continuous severe terrorist threat. Over that time in Great Britain and Northern Ireland thousands of people have died at the hands of terrorists. We have continually adapted, adjusted and advanced what we do to counter it, applying hard won lessons, sometimes painfully learned. With partners in GCHQ, SIS, and the police, we continually challenge ourselves to move forward and keep improving. Increased investment and the skilful leadership of my predecessors have created a Security Service in the UK that is the envy of the world. Similar advances have been made in the agencies we depend upon.

33. In one sense counter terrorism is an extraordinary proposition. Let me say what I mean. Terrorism, because of its nature and consequences, is the one area of crime where the expectation sometimes seems to be that the stats should be zero.

34. Zero. Imagine applying the same target to murder in general, or major drugs trafficking. That is the stuff of 'pre-crime' in the Tom Cruise movie 'Minority Report'.

35. Life is not the movies. In a free society 'zero' is of course impossible to achieve in the face of persistent and serious threats - though we will keep stretching for it. The utter unacceptability of terrorism is the reason why so much effort is rightly devoted to intelligence work to detect plans and thwart plots before they occur.

36. A strong record of success risks creating an expectation of guaranteed prevention. There can be no such guarantee.

"though we will keep stretching for it." - We do not expect MI5 etc. to completely protect us from every terrorism attack and they should not be allowed to even try to snoop on all (or most) of our (innocent) communications, all of the time.

37. And then there is the difference between knowing of someone and knowing everything about them. Let me say what I mean. With greater resources since 7/7 we have worked very hard to identify as many as possible of the people in the country who are active in some way in support of terrorism.

38. As my predecessors have said at different times, there are several thousand of them, with varying degrees of involvement. My repeating this immediately risks conjuring the perhaps reasonable-seeming assumption that knowing who somebody is means MI5 then somehow knows everything about that person and can continually monitor every aspect of their life. We cannot.

Sounds like a pre-emptive washing of hands regarding the Drummer Lee Rigby murder.

Our impression of that murder is that the two alleged murderers only talked face to face to each other whilst planning an almost random , spur of the moment attack. Unless there had been an armed MI5 or Police surveillance team tracking them, no amount of MI5 communications or other remote surveillance could have prevented this evil murder.

39. The idea that we either can or would want to operate intensive scrutiny of thousands is fanciful. This is not East Germany, or North Korea. And thank goodness it's not. Successive Governments have made careful decisions about both the scale and powers of organisations like MI5, proportionate to the threats, and have gone no further. Britain is a democracy that rightly prizes the freedom of the individual. We do not want all-pervasive, oppressive security apparatus.

That is not how East German or North Korean state surveillance works, though, is it ? Even they did not / can not snoop on everything all of the time.

Surely everyone in MI5 must be familiar with this famous quote from George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four part 1 chapter 1.

Spy Bog George Orwell's 1984 - telescreen and the surveillance society

There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live -- did live, from habit that became instinct -- in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinised.

40. Knowing of an individual does not equate to knowing everything about them. Being on our radar does not necessarily mean being under our microscope. The reality of intelligence work in practice is that we only focus the most intense intrusive attention on a small number of cases at any one time.

There is no reason to disbelieve Andrew Parker when he states the obvious regarding properly authorised and sanctioned, narrowly targeted snooping.

Nobody has ever been prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act or the Computer Misuse Act or the Data Protection Act or The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act etc. for malicious, private snooping , stalking, harassment of their ex-wives or partners (something we absolutely know happens in other organisations like the Police or the Department for Work & Pensions or HM Revenue & Customs etc.) or for financial gain (by selling information to tabloid journalists or foreign intelligence agencies or for insider trading financial speculation.

If MI5 and the other other intelligence agencies want to try to regain the public's trust, which they have lost, they will have to be much more open and ruthless in stamping out, in public, any abuses of the massive snooping infrastructure that they have built in secret.

41. The challenge therefore concerns making choices between multiple and competing demands to give us the best chance of being in the right place at the right time to prevent terrorism. There are of course processes for making these decisions, but I can't emphasise too strongly that it is not and never can be a precise science, and it should not be treated as if it were. It centres on the art of judgement by intelligence professionals, who rarely have more than fragments of a picture to work with.

42. We are not perfect, and there are always things we can learn, do better and sharpen up on. That we have a habit of doing so is one of our enduring strengths. And it's right that independent scrutineers like the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) can look at what we have done and help point out areas in which we can improve.

The neither the secretive RIPA Commissioners nor the Intelligence and Security Committee, command any public trust - they are all seen, rightly or wrongly, as Whitehall poodles.

43. I am very pleased that we are a highly accountable Service. It is critically important to the sort of country we all want to live in that organisations like mine do not have free rein, and equally that we are not politically directed. We operate under law. I am in charge of our operations, but am accountable to the Home Secretary. She in turn is accountable to Parliament and the British People, responsibilities that I know she treats with the utmost seriousness.

Like all her recent Labour and Conservative predecessors as Home Secretary, this "utmost seriousness" does not actually involve taking responsibility for MI5 failure and honorably resigning from office, does it ?

44. There is an important double-lock there: Minsters cannot direct MI5 operations, but equally I have to explain and answer for what we do. MI5 initiates operations, but conducting the most intrusive activity requires the signed authority and consent of the Secretary of State in every instance.

Not just a "Secretary of State" but a "senior official" can also sign an Intelligence Services Act warrant or a RIPA Interception warrant, after Charles Clarke's failures to properly notice identical boilerplate text on what should have been individual, different warrants he was supposed to individually scrutinise and sign. This led to the amendments in the Terrorism Act 2006 s31 & s32

45. Our accountability goes much further. MI5 is overseen independently by Parliament through the ISC, inspected by two independent Commissioners (usually senior Judges), held to account on any complaints from the public by a senior and independent Tribunal of judges and lawyers, and audited by the National Audit Office. We give evidence in court.

Neither the Interception of Communications Commissioner, Sir Anthony May nor the Intelligence Services Commissioner, Sir Mark Waller (until December 2013)

are still Judges. They are retired Judges and no longer have any legal powers e.g. Contempt of Court etc. which could be used to fine or imprison truculent Intelligence Agency personnel.

They are very secretive and refuse to engage with the public, a necessary task for which they have no legal mandate and no budget for.

46. Rightly, these arrangements are tough and testing. They have just been strengthened further by the passage of the Justice and Security Act. This has expanded the powers and the resources of the ISC by a significant degree, allowing them for the first time to investigate operational matters of significant national importance.

The ISC is virtually technologically illiterate and has no experience of successfully scrutinising multi-million pound Information Technology projects, which are so common in intelligence agencies these days.

47. I welcome this reform and the enhanced confidence it can give to the public. The fact that much of this oversight necessarily happens out of public hearing leads some commentators to mistake silence for weakness. That is plain wrong. From my experience, I know that all of the bodies I have mentioned and their supporting staff pursue their responsibilities very fully, professionally and conscientiously.

48. We are also coming soon to the first Public Hearing at which the Agency Heads will be televised answering questions from the ISC in Parliament. Whilst it can never replace the value of candid and classified evidence given in closed session about the detail of our work, it will be an important and visible extension of the accountability process and one which is transparent and tangible to the British public.

This televised session was supposed to happen in the first week of July.

When exactly is it now scheduled for ? (no information on ISC or MI5 websites)

There should be a mechanism for the general public to submit Questions to be put to the heads of the UK intelligence Agencies by the Intelligence and Security Committee. However, we fear that this will be a bland, meaningless bit of public relations, not proper transparency or scrutiny.

There are plenty of questions which do not require the revelation of tactical secrets or sources or truly secret techniques.


49. I want to mention some of the challenges we face doing our work in the future. I'll do so in the way I talk about this to my staff. I often describe the work of MI5 as a duality: keeping the country safe today, and ensuring we remain able to do so tomorrow. In other words, doing all we can to tackle the threats the country faces today, while also positioning ourselves and developing the capabilities we need to be able to protect the UK against future threats. That second aspect might seem obvious but in a rapidly changing world it is becoming ever more important. It will require constant effort and forward thinking if we are to have the ways and means to hold back tomorrow's threats.

50. Let me explain. Our success in the future depends on how well we are able to respond to two principal themes. I have mentioned the first already: the diversifying threat landscape on all fronts. The challenge for us and for SIS and GCHQ is how to spread our effort effectively across a broader, shifting front. As always we will need to ensure we are at all times looking where the problems for the UK are developing most strongly. That applies across the whole range of fronts, not just terrorism.

"That applies across the whole range of fronts, not just terrorism."
e.g. G20 summits, the United Nations, European Union, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, SWIFT, Saudi banks, Brasilian petroleum and mineral industries, Belgacom Belgium's main telecommunications company, Tor users etc. , according to the revelations from Edward Snowden.

Edward Snowden

51. The second, perhaps greater, challenge is the accelerating technology race. The internet, `big data', and leaps in technology continue profoundly to change how we all live. There are healthy debates about how society and indeed the economy gain most from the best, while setting aside less welcome effects. Its relevance to our subject tonight is in the opportunities it gives to terrorists, and the challenges posed to us in tracking what they do.

52. What do I mean? The internet is used by terrorists for many purposes: broadcasting their propaganda, radicalising vulnerable individuals, arranging travel, buying items, moving money and so on. But the primary issue is communication.

53. When I joined the Service, communication between remote individuals was by telephone or by letter. Where there were grounds to do so, both could be covertly intercepted under legal warrant. We could reasonably assume that we could acquire the whole content of the target's communication for analysis. At a lower threshold we could acquire their call data: a list of what calls they had made and received, without the content.

54. The internet and related technologies offer a rather different world - better in so many ways, but better too for the terrorists. Through e-mail, IP telephony, in-game communication, social networking, chat rooms, anonymising services, and a myriad of mobile apps the terrorist has tens of thousands of means of communication. Many of those routes are now encrypted. Further advances are made every day.

"tens of thousands of means of communication" - not even full time professional internet experts have access to or will ever use "tens of thousands".

55. How the UK decides to respond to these developments will directly determine the level of security available against the threats we face. Retaining the capability to access such information is intrinsic to MI5's ability to protect the country.

56. Shifts in technology can erode our capabilities. There are choices to be made, including, for example, about how and whether communications data is retained. It is not, however, an option to disregard such shifts with an unspoken assumption that somehow security will anyway be sustained. It will not. We cannot work without tools.

57. Technologies advance all the time. But MI5 will still need the ability to read or listen to terrorists' communications if we are to have any prospect of knowing their intentions and stopping them. The converse to this would be to accept that terrorists should have means of communication that they can be confident are beyond the sight of MI5 or GCHQ acting with proper legal warrant. Does anyone actually believe that? We would all like to live in a world where there were no good reasons for covert investigation of people. But as events continue to prove, that is not the world we are

58. And let me be clear - we only apply intrusive tools and capabilities against terrorists and others threatening national security. The law requires that we only collect and access information that we really need to perform our functions, in this case tackling the threat of terrorism. In some quarters there seems to be a vague notion that we monitor everyone and all their communications, browsing at will through people's private lives for anything that looks interesting. That is, of course, utter nonsense.

Be very clear, just because Mi5 does not officially look through your innocent private (non terrorist, non criminal) communications now, the mere fact of snooping on them and storing them puts them at risk from rogue insiders (especially where personal jealousy or personal financial gain) and from future spies and extremist politicians who may change the current rules.

Until MI5 and their sister agencies can prove that they have really robust internal mechanisms to prevent such rogue or future malicious abuses of the surveillance infrastructure, it is better that they not be trusted with anything except narrowly focused investigations, coupled with an aggressive data destruction policy.

We do not expect 100% "security" and they should not have 100% access to our communications.

59. What we know about the terrorists, and the detail of the capabilities we use against them together represent our margin of advantage. That margin gives us the prospect of being able to detect their plots and stop them. But that margin is under attack. Reporting from GCHQ is vital to the safety of this country and its citizens. GCHQ intelligence has played a vital role in stopping many of the terrorist plots that MI5 and the police have tackled in the past decade. We are facing an international threat and GCHQ provides many of the intelligence leads upon which we rely. It makes a vital contribution to most of our high priority investigations. It causes enormous damage to make public the reach and limits of GCHQ techniques. Such information hands the advantage to the terrorists. It is the gift they need to evade us and strike at will. Unfashionable as it might seem, that is why we must keep secrets secret, and why not doing so causes such harm.

It should be Foreign Secretary William Hague, who is responsible for GCHQ, making such a defence of their snooping activities.

At the very least it should be the Director of GCHQ Sir Iain Lobban, who defends his own organisation in public, not the Director General of the Security Service MI5.

What precise information has been of any value to terrorists whatsoever, in the revelations by Edward Snowden ? How does the revelation of the cover name of say TEMPORA and the millions or billions spent on it, without any real technical details at all, make any difference to a potential terrorist ?

The only operational details revealed have been about spying on supposedly friendly allies and international organisations, who are clearly not terrorists.


60. In closing, let me remind you of something that is too easily forgotten. MI5 is in the end an organisation of members of the public from every walk of life who care very much about the sort of country we live in. That's why they work there. Believe me it's not for the money. Our whole raison d'être is the protection of the freedoms we all enjoy. The fundamental principles of necessity and proportionality run deep in the Service. We bring thoughtful and considered balance to decisions about use of intrusive techniques. Far from being gratuitous harvesters of private information, in practice we focus our work very carefully and tightly against those who intend harm. The law requires it. All our internal controls, systems and authorisation levels are built accordingly and subject to independent inspection and oversight.

61. Threats are diversifying, but not diminishing. The internet, technology and big data are transforming our society. We have a tough job to do in rapidly changing times. We can't stop every plot, much as we try and much as we would like to. There are choices ahead that will determine whether we can sustain what we do, or accept that it will erode.

62. But, standing before you today, I can say that we are well placed to tackle the bulk of the threats we face, because of the support we receive from our colleagues in GCHQ, SIS and the police and, most of all, because of the commitment of the men and women who make up MI5.

Ok, we support what you meant to be trying to do, but we do not trust the under resourced, technologically illiterate, far too secretive and public hating ,supposedly independent scrutiny of your activities
Note that there is no mention whatsoever in this speech of what, if anything, MI5 is doing in Counter Intelligence. Have all the foreign intelligence agencies operating in or against the United Kingdom magically stopped ?

The Observer carries an extraordinarily worrying claim by Sir Malcolm Rifkind the chair of the supposedly independent Intelligence and Security Committee, which is supposed to provide statutory oversight of the intelligence agencies, in debate with Henry Porter.

Henry Porter v Malcolm Rifkind: surveillance and the free society

Malcolm Rifkind and Henry Porter
The Observer, Saturday 24 August 2013 20.49 BST


What you clearly don't understand is that the ISC has two duties, not one. The first is to criticise and condemn the intelligence agencies if they exceed their powers or act foolishly. The second, just as important, is to defend them and declare their innocence when unfairly attacked by journalists or politicians. They cannot defend themselves. We are determined to do so, but only when the facts justify it.


According the Intelligence Services Act 1994 which set up the Intelligence and Security Committee, its remit was:

10 The Intelligence and Security Committee.

1)There shall be a Committee, to be known as the Intelligence and Security Committee and in this section referred to as "the Committee ", to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of--
(a)the Security Service;
(b)the Intelligence Service; and

The recent Justice and Security Act 2013 slightly increases the powers of the ISC, but its purpose and duty remains the same

Main functions of the ISC

(1)The ISC may examine or otherwise oversee the expenditure, administration, policy and operations of--
(a)the Security Service,
(b)the Secret Intelligence Service, and
(c)the Government Communications Headquarters.

(2)The ISC may examine or otherwise oversee such other activities of Her Majesty's Government in relation to intelligence or security matters as are set out in a memorandum of understanding.

Therefore the duty of the Intelligence and Security Committee is the first role of scrutiny but not the second of public relations !

The ISC has no legal remit to

defend them and declare their innocence when unfairly attacked by journalists or politicians

It is nonsense to pretend that

they cannot defend themselves

There is no legal barrier to the heads of Mi5, MI6 and GCHQ from giving public interviews themselves or having official spokesmen and official press releases to counteract any unfounded rumours and speculation.

Each of these intelligence agencies is supposedly politically answerable to either the Home Secretary or the Foreign Secretary, both of whose departments employ a surfeit of public relations and media spin doctors, who could and should issue official, on the record, public statements on behalf of the intelligence agencies as required.

The practice of "anonymous Whitehall sources", selectively officially briefing journalists in secret, fools nobody except themselves.

The Home Secretary, the Foreign Secretary or the Prime Minister should te the ones defending the intelligence agencies. They should resign if and when the intelligence agencies are caught out having exceeded their democratically ethically acceptable roles, whether or not the agencies have been acting under the legal cover of a carte blanche under the UK's sneakily worded laws, which make it almost impossible for them to act illegally.

The Intelligence and Security Committee must not be seen to be fulfilling the role of a public relations department for the intelligence agencies, as this looks like a conflict of interest and destroys public trust in the whole system of supposed Parliamentary scrutiny .

Unfortunately that is exactly what it seems to have become under the chairmanship of Sir Malcolm Rifkind, who, incredibly, is making Spy Blog look back to previous Labour chairs of the ISC with a hint of nostalgia.


The recent Washington Post article via whistleblower Edward Snowden, NSA report on privacy violations in the first quarter of 2012 has a few figures, which were never intended to be made public about the inevitable errors in large scale interception and communication data / "metadata" trawling by the United States' National Security Agency (NSA)

Without any individual detail, there is mention of completely predictable errors such as transposing or mis-typing the digits of a telephone number, or failing to narrow a database query sufficiently, either on the original authorisation documentation or at a later stage by a human analyst.

There are also worrying mentions of what are claimed to be merely massive automated data snooping cockups, which can be interpreted as hints of illegal activity e.g. snooping on all telephone traffic in Washington D.C. (area code 202) during an election year when automated equipment was supposedly "only" snooping on all international phone calls to / from Egypt (international phone prefix 20). Why was that not noticed after an hour or at most a day ?

The NSA spin doctors claim that only a tiny percentage of their vast snooping schemes are affected by such (admitted) mistakes, which may reassure US citizens that they are mostly not being snooped on by the NSA, deliberately or accidentally, but that is of no comfort whatsoever to United Kingdom and other "foreign" citizens.

For Spy Blog and the other few readers of the United Kingdom's Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 Commissioner' Annual reports, anodyne, detail free "audits" of the secret surveillance snoopers are familiar and depressing.

However, if we assume that the public servants in the NSA Signals Intelligence Directorate's (SID) director of oversight and compliance office and the UK's Interception of Communications Commissioner have tried to do an honest job, with their deliberately limited resources, the figures which have been not published but revealed (USA) or which have been published & censored (UK) should be compared:


leaked NSA Privacy Violations 2011 - 2012 (.pdf)

Figure 1a
: Table of the Number of NSAW SID-reported Incidents by Authority

E.O. 12333396390601670

i.e. 2776 "privacy violations" = "unauthorized collection, storage, access to or distribution of legally protected communications" in 2012, just for the main NSA HQ at Fort Meade in Maryland, not including its other big centres in USA :Augusta, Georgia; San Antonio, Texas; Honolulu, Hawaii; Denver, Colorado. or foreign stations like Menwith Hill in the UK.


2012 Annual Report of the Interception of Communications Commissioner (.pdf)

page 15
2012 Annual Report of the Interception of Communications Commissioner

6.4 Interception Errors

Figure 4 - Total Number of Intercept Errors over the previous 5 years


During the reporting year, 55 errors / breaches were reported to my office by public authorities.


N.B. GCHQ only admits to 8 intercept errors, 3 of which were from the previous reporting period i.e. only 5 for 2012..

Compare this with the over 2700 "privacy violations" admitted to in secret by the NSA for 2012.

Page 27 About half a million Communications Data requests per year for all UK intelligence agencies, police forces, local authorities etc.


Page 28 Just under 1000 Communications Data errors in the last year for all UK intelligence agencies, police forces, local authorities etc.


This figure is higher than the previous year (895). However, as the number of requests has increased by 15% this year, the overall error percentage has actually reduced from 0.18% in 2011 to 0.17% in 2012. I am satisfied that the overall error rate is still low when compared to the number of requests that were made during the course of the reporting year

Less than 0.2% error rate for all of the United Kingdom's Intelligence Agencies, Police Forces, Local Authorities etc.

N.B. the Interception of Communications Commissioner only audits a tiny sample of the half a million or so Communications Data requests each year.

The UK'S GCHQ has about 6,000 employees worldwide compared with the estimated 37,000 to 40,000 at the USA's NSA i.e. about 7 times as many in total, probably at least 3 or 4 times as many (more than 20,000) at the Fort Meade HQ and nearby facilities which are the subject of the leaked audit report.

The likelyhood of human errors e.g. transpositions of telephone number digits etc. must be similar in both organisations and the technology appears to be identical in many cases, so why is there an apparent discrepancy between the two sets of figures ?

Is the NSA in Maryland really orders of magnitude more error prone than GCHQ, even allowing for its bigger size, or are the UK's publicly published figures seriously mis-reporting or covering up the real number of GCHQ intercept errors ?

How does over 2700 "privacy violations" a year compare with only low single figures for GCHQ intercepts and less than a thousand Communications Data errors a year for the whole of the United Kingdom, including GCHQ plus the other two UK intelligence agencies, the 50 or so Police Forces and the several hundred albeit low level users of Communications Data (Local Authorities mobile phone subscriber name & address lookups mostly) i.e. National Security and general crime and regulatory infringements

N.B. It is scandalous that the UK Communications Data figures are not broken down by agency.

There is no conceivable tactical impact on any ongoing counter espionage or counter terrorism investigations which could be harmed by publishing, openly, the figures and percentages of self defined, self reported vague "privacy violations", even broken down by database access programme codeword / cover name.

Both NSA and GCHQ should publish such data openly, so that their respective bosses i.e. politicians and the people, can get a vague idea as to whether privacy violations are on the increase or not and can adjust their policies and budgets accordingly.

Spy Blog has re-submitted our FOIA Request which was refused over 6 months ago, on the grounds of imminent publication.

Cabinet Office - 6 F Off IA exemptions not to publish Detainee (Torture) Inquiry Interim Report requested back in December 2012..

Still no Detainee (Torture) Inquiry interim report over a year after submission to Downing Street

The process of clearing the report for publication has taken longer than envisaged, but it is important for the Government to be able to publish as full an accounting of the Inquiry's work as possible, without compromising national security and consistent with its legal obligations. Discussions with the Inquiry about clearing the report for publication are nearing a conclusion and it is hoped that the Government will be in a position to publish as full a version of their report as possible in the autumn, although no date has been set.

" in the autumn, although no date has been set."

It is now over 3 years since Prime Minister David Cameron announced the the setting up of Detainee Inquiry on 6th July 2010

It took a year for the Terms of Reference for the Inquiry to be produced and it only worked for about 6 months before being abandoned.

It then took another 6 months to produce the Interim Report, which has now been delayed / suppressed for another year.

Given that the Detainee Inquiry had hardly got into the detail of any investigations into the allegations of UK government complicity in the use of torture i.e. there had been no public witness evidence sessions etc., the Interim Report is likely to be quite content free, especially after the boycott by civil liberties and human rights organisations and the lawyers of some of the alleged victims of such torture..

Rt. Hon. Sir Peter Gibson, the retired High Court Judge who served as the RIPA Intelligence Services Commissioner, was presumably chosen to chair the Detainee Inquiry partty because of his experience in producing already self censored public reports, with confidential annexes for the Prime Minister. It is inconceivable that he would have put anything into the report which would have damaged national security tactical operations or confidential sources, so what, apart from political complicity, is there to censor ?

We would have liked to have seen our suggestions for witness anonymity and the promises from the Cabinet Office, the Attorney General and the heads of the Intelligence Agencies regarding immunity from prosecutions or disciplinary procedures for insider witnesses or whistleblowers who might have evidence about which the senior management of the Intelligence Agencies may have been unaware.

Witness but not whistleblower protection for the Detainee Inquiry into torture complicity of MI5, SIS, GCHQ

There is also the question of immunity of the Inquiry itself from being targeted by the Intelligence Agencies or their foreign based colleagues, to try to identify and neutralise or counter-spin any whistleblower evidence being considered by the Inquiry in private.

Given the recent revelations about NSA and GCHQ bulk snooping on transatlantic fibre optic cables, any future Inquiry must get explicit written promises that they will not be targeted for interception or Communications Data / Metadata analysis..

This is vital if there is to be, as promised, a future Inquiry into these torture allegations, which will face the same problems of credibility and excessive secrecy s the abandoned Detainee Inquiry.

Remember that since the original allegations of complicity in torture, highlighted by the Binyam Mohamed case, the Government has passed the Justice and Security Act 2013, which introduced Closed Material Procedure into civil cases, which has both pros and cons.

More importantly, they have nobbled Norwich Pharmacal Orders via section 17 of that Act.

It is now impossible to see how the revelations of rendition / kidnapping and torture in the Binyam Mohamed civil case, which saw former and current Secret intelligence Service officers having to give evidence (from behind a screen) in a civil court, could now take place, so one of the main possible reasons for the deliberate delays in the Detainee Inquiry would seem to have been removed i.e. the fear of another such court case

However the fall of the evil Libyan dictator Gaddaffi, also led to the some prima facie evidence of even more MI6 and other UK Government complicity in kidnapping and torture, something which the Detainee Inquiry noted but did nothing about..

Since the Detainee Inquiry obviously did not actually get around to investigating the Libya allegations, it is very puzzling what exactly there could be in this interim report, which is taking the Cabinet Office so long to censor.

If there really is nothing for the UK Intelligence Services to hide with respect to complicity in torture, then these delays are actually damaging to national security, because the public at home and abroad will be naturally suspicious of the activities of British intelligence agencies.

If there is something to hide, then the Coalition Government must show themselves to be strong enough to denounce and prosecute all of those involved, no matter how senior or distinguished. They should punish the securocrat bureaucracy to prevent it from happening again..

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.

Spyblog has always been a strong supporter of journalists or other online publishers protecting the Anonymity of whistleblowers or other confidential sources by using the most professional human and technological techniques available.

However, whistleblower anonymity is rarely maintained indefinitely. It is vital whilst a whistleblower is in immediate danger of arrest or other reprisal, but very often a genuine whistleblower wants to go public with their story.

This now seems to be the case for Edward Joseph Snowden, the former CIA employee and computer systems infrastructure contractor recently working for the NSA in Hawaii, who has identified himself as the source of the recent revelations published in The Guardian and the Washington Post.

Edward Snowden: the whistleblower behind the NSA surveillance revelations

Monday 10th June 2013 is unlikely to shed much light on the United Kingdom aspects of this affair.

Home Secretary Theresa May and MI5 involvement in the #Woolwich murder suspects - nothing will be revealed because the court case is still in progress.

Supposedly the new Director General of MI5 the Security Service Andrew Parker is meant
to have given evidence to the Intelligence and Security Committee.

Foreign Secretary William Hague has been on television on Sunday, failing to reassure the public that GCHQ and NSA have not been snooping on innocent UK people

Hague claimed the standard "Intelligence gathering in UK is governed by strong legal process. It is authorised, necessary, proportionate & targeted

Will William Hague resign if it is disclosed that the US snooping on the UK was not always under direct British control and in accordance with UK rather than US law ?

Exactly the same sort of unconvincing assurances were made by his Labour predecessor Jack Straw in regard to torture / rendition by the USA and with the cooperation of UK intelligence agencies. Straw had to admit that he had mislead Parliament over rendition flights to and from UK sovereign territory. The Detainee Inquiry if it is ever re-convened after being nobbled, and the court cases from Libya will show either that Jack Straw was lying about sanctioning assistance in kidnapping and torture or he was not informed in detail by MI6 the Secret Intelligence Service and not informed by GCHQ who should have been monitoring this.

Spyblog expects that William Hague's statement to the House of Commons on Monday will try to divert attention from the main allegations regarding the revelations about the NSA's global snooping efforts and British GCHQ involvement in them, by waving the usual "terrorism" flag and claiming that GCHQ always operates within UK law.

The inference that the NSA's PRISM system was used by the British authorities, presumably GCHQ, to generate 197 reports has lead to speculation that could have been illegal interception under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.
However, if William Hague has signed a warrant under the Intelligence Services Act 1984, which gives GCHQ effectively a carte blanche to do stuff overseas that would otherwise be illegal here in the UK, then, technically, he will be able to claim that all such snooping was , in fact legal.

He will not, of course mention any specific details of those 197 cases or reports, but the wretched "neither confirm nor deny" nonsense which he repeated on Sunday will no doubt come into play again.

What possible justification is there for "neither confirm nor deny" for anything whatsoever to do with the intelligence agencies, no matter how far removed from actual tactical operations or live investigations ?

There is no problem in discussing the cost or lack of value for money of say large military defence procurement programmes for submarines or aircraft carriers or combat aeroplanes etc. Doing so does *not* harm our national security and gives no significant advantage to a potential enemy whatsoever. It may actually deter some potential enemies from attacking us in the first place.

But the UK government will try to hide behind the outdated "neither confirm nor deny" nonsense when it comes to even mentioning the code names of mulch-million pound computer projects used by GCHQ etc.

Hague will also claim that , somehow, the Intelligence and Security Committee provides independent scrutiny of the UK Intelligence Services.

The ISC has never commanded much respect from the public in the past and even the slight changes to its remit and powers to investigate recently brought in this year would not have applied to the recent revelations, which go back to 2006 or so.

Coincidentally, the Intelligence and Security Committee seem to be off to the USA on Monday for a previously arranged trip to be briefed by the more powerful US intelligence watchdog committees.

None of the members of the ISC can be considered to be even moderately expert at computer and internet and telecommunications technology. Malcolm Rifkind managed to confuse Interception of Content with Communications Data when recently championing a revival of the #snooperscharter in the aftermath of the #Woolwich murder.

So it is completely plausible to assume that they will be easily bamboozled by technical jargon and fail to grasp the nuanced threats to the United Kingdom if they are actually briefed on the details of PRISM or Boundless Informant and the underlying snooping infrastructure upon which these systems rely.

Sir Malcolm Rifkind and the other other members of the ISC should ask:

1) Is the FBI / NSA snooping on the mobile phone Communications Traffic meta data of the phones belonging to the members of the Committee and their staff ?

N.B. There are no protections for "foreigners" under the relevant US snooping laws, as demonstrated by the top Secret Verizon / FISA court order, no matter how friendly they are to the USA.

2) The ISC's own website is hosted on, which is hosted by Google, with their Reports being published via Google Docs,

The ISC should establish, whilst they are in the USA, who exactly has been given access to the web server visitor logfiles.

If they cannot get straight answers to those two simple questions, which affect the security and effectiveness of the Intelligence and Security Committee itself, then they cannot provide any public reassurance whatsoever in this whole affair, regardless of what William Hague might claim in his statement.

The arrest and declaration as persona non grata i.e. the expulsion of the Ryan Fogle a third secretary in the political section of the United States Embassy in Moscow. for allegedly trying to suborn a Russian counter terrorism agent with experience in the North Caucases (i.e. perhaps Dagestan which is of interest to the US authorities after the Boston marathon murders) .

The FSB Russian Federal Security Service, seem to be saying that Fogle phoned his contact at about 11pm on Monday night and asked to meet with him., When the contact declined Fogle insisted and did arrange to meet. Was Fogle under pressure from his superiors ?

This has been heavily spun by the Russian FSB media outlet and quoted verbatim by western media organisations.

Cloak, dagger and a blond wig? FSB says CIA agent nabbed in Moscow (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Google Translated "FSB press announcement of the expulsion of Ryan Christopher Fogle.

N.B. a intelligence officer working under diplomatic cover in the US Embassy in Moscow is very likely to work for the CIA, but the people actually interested in making contact with the supposed recruitment target could be from the vast number of other US intelligence agencies.

Unfortunately some of the "evidence", especially the incriminitating letter displayed and translated into English by is being cited by various journalists and pundits as if it contained "gold standard" espionage tradecraft tips, which could / should also then be used by USA and UK etc. investigative journalists and whistleblowers, who are also now under heavy surveillance by their supposedly benign democratic governments.
e.g. Hear Ye, Future Deep Throats: This Is How to Leak to the Press English translation of the alleged incriminating letter.


Dear friend

This is a down-payment from someone who is very impressed with your professionalism and who would greatly appreciate your cooperation in the future. Your security means a lot to us. This is why we chose this way of contacting you. We will continue to make sure our correspondence remains safe and secret.

We are ready to offer you $100,000 to discuss your experience, expertise and cooperation. The reward may be much higher if you are willing to answer specific questions. In addition to that, we can offer up to $1 million a year for long-term cooperation, with extra bonuses if we receive some helpful information.

These are huge sums of money, compared with what people many people, even in the USA have been prepared to betray their country's secrets for.

If this is all a fake FSB set up, perhaps they are trying to drive up the expectations of potential spies to demand more money than even the CIA can afford ?

To get back with us, please go to an internet café, or cofee shop that has Wi-Fi and open a new Gmail account which you will use exclusively to contact us.As you register, do not provide any personal info that can help identify you or your new account. Don't provide any real contacts, e.g. your phone number or other email addresses.

If Gmail asks for personal info, start the registration process again and avois providing such data. Once you register this new account, use it to send a message to In exactly one week, check this mailbox for a response from us. does appear to be a still active Google Gmail account, which may or may not have been set up bythe CIA or other US intelligence agencies (or, possibly even by the Russian FSB)

Anyone in Russia would be stupid to try to contact this by email, except perhaps via a foreign , TLS encrypted web mail account.

The instructions regarding Google are uncessarily cumbersome and prone to error

Why all the complex instructions about evadiing the Google two factor authentication process ? This 2 factor authentication may kick in at any time anyway, if the IP address is deemed to be sufficiently different from what Google thinks is your "usual" location.

Wouldn't it have been more professional to have already set up a Gmail account, with further instructions waiting in the mailbox or drafts folder and then to simply share the email address and the log on credentials (Password and the answers to the Security Questions) in this letter ?

That way there could have been ex CIA Director David Petraeus adulterous affair style use of a shared Gmail mailbox (or even Google Drive shared document upload web space) ?

(If you use a netbook or any other device (e.g., a tablet) to open the account at a coffee shop, please don't use a personal device with personal data on it. if possible, buy a new device (paying in cash) which you will use to contact us. We will reimburse you for this purchase.)

Given the extreme difficulty in running a tablet computer securely or anonymously, it is extraordinary that any intelligence agency would suggest using one.

Thank you for reading this letter. We look forward to working with you in the nearest future.

Your friends

Investigative journalists (or British intelligence officers) should not use this alleged incriminating letter as an example of "Moscow Rules" best practice advice for securing confidential source communications.

To have such a letter in your possession is prima facie evidence of espionage or or "conduct incompatible with diplomatic status."

The wording, if genuine, seems to imply that this is the first attempt to recruit or suborn the recruitment target(s), who might be tempted by lots of money, but without any guarantee of real interest on their part.

Surely it is too early in a spy handler / agent relationship to be handing over thousands of Euros in cash (even though you have pronised US dollars) , before any secure communications method has been agreed and tested ?

Items found or allegedly found on Ryan Fogle when arrested are a mixture of the plausible and the suspicious:


  • 2 Wigs - the video of his arrest (at night) clearly shows him wearing one of the (obvious) wigs. The quality of the wigs may not be critical at night

    Unless the FSB simply plonked a wig on him and staged the arrest footage,then it does look likely that Ryan Fogle was up to something where he did not want to be recognised.

  • 3 pairs of spectacles / sunglasses - good Tradecraft - quick and easy to change your appearance slightly.

  • Map of Moscow

  • A flashlight torch

    This looks as if it might have an Infra Red filter attached. This needs a sutable mobile phone or digital camera sensitive in the near Infra Red, or an even more incriminating and suspicious sniperscope or IR goggles, for you to see anything extra with it at nigh.

    What use that is on the very first face to face meeting with just a potential, not yet actually recruited agent, is a mystery.

  • Orienteering style plastic Magnetic Compass

    Some online commentators have wondered why anyone might use a magnetic compass instead of a separate GPS reciever or one built into a Smart Phone. If seized these could easily have accidently recorded and provided evidence of dead drops or meeting places which the investigators were unaware of.

  • Another torch or perhaps a laser pointer on a keyring together with a Swiss Army penknife

    One online commentator has suggested that this might be a Kubotan

  • Lots of cash in 500 Euro notes

    Why Euros rather than the promised US dollars, apart from the fact that 500 Euro notes are of higher value than $100 bills and so are more compact. Why not simply offer Euros in the "incriminating letter" ?

    N.B. these banknotes look to be new ones, which is suspicious. Don't spies or organised criminals bother to use or demand payments in used, non-consecutively numbered banknotes any more ?

    Why don't they use secret bank accounts in offshore tax havens ? Lots of Russians have access to foreign bank accounts e.g. in Cyprus or Dubai or even London etc.

  • Pepper Spray (top right on the table) & a lethal looking knife

    if you look at the YouTube version of the video released by FSB / in High Definition quality, you can just about make out the words "Pepper Shield" and the nozzle of what is presumably a Pepper Spray canister.

    If you are wandering around Moscow (or any big city) at night, looking like a foreigner in an obvious wig (if seen up close), then perhaps you do need some sort of weapons to ward off muggers etc.

  • Peaked baseball style cap - a good bit of Tradecraft , as most CCTV cameras only get glimpses of your face since they usually point downwards from above you. A cap which keeps the sun out of your eyes also helps to hide your full face from such CCTV cameras.

    Задержание американского шпиона в Москве (оперативная съемка)

    It is strange that the Russian & US & UK media reports do not bother to list either the Pepper Spray or the potentially lethal knife which is clearly visible in the photo / video.

  • Unsophisticated looking Nokia (?) mobile phone

    There is a wire with a handsfree earpiece / microphone attached to the phone handset..

    N.B. the lack of any Radio Frequency Shielded Mobile Phone Evidence Bag, which is standard practice for, say, UK police forces.

    They do this to avoid switiching off the power to a mobile phone, before having a chance to forensically examine its memory and to prevent it sending "I have been stolen or seized" alerts via SMS or to stop incomung "Remote Wipe" commands.

    If they arrested Fogle on Tuesday night, it does not seem likley that they could have properly examined even a standard Nolkia mobile phone for DNA, fingerprint and other forensic trace evidence techniques, to see who else might have been handling the device e.g. other intelligence officers or other potential or actual spies..

    If you suspect that the simple looking Nokia mobile phone might really contain sophisticated CIA / NSA electronics with other hidden functions, then this analysis cannot possibly have been done all on the same night.

    It is significant and supsicious that the FSB do not seem to have bothered to do this. Either they are being unprofessional investigators or perhaps this was all a set up.

  • Evidence of two mobile phone SIM cards

    One plastic card with the charateristic hole in it left by the removal of a mobile phone SIM card (greenish design) can be seen just above the Euro banknotes to the right of the dark wig at the top left of the "evidence" table.

    This seems to be a Megafon pre-paid SIM card, with the Sochi Winter Olympics 2014 sponsorship logos.

    Another SIM card can be seen unused in its credit card sozed carrier card in a plastic bag with two AAA Duracell batteries and what is probably a mobile phone battery

    If the simple mobile phone is a "burner" phone to be disposed of immediately, then why is their evidence of two SIM cards ?

    Surely the CIA know that merely swapping a SIM in the same handset (without also illegally re-programming the handset IMEI) does not change the tracability of the mobile phone ?

    Both the phone number from the SIM card and the IMEI from the handset are recorded inn every Call Detail Record, whether for voice, SMS text or internet data.

  • Bic style disposable butane gas cigarette lighter

  • RFID Shield (bottom right)

    i.e, metallised plastic film intended to act as a flexible Faraday cage to stop radio waves.

    What use is this to an intelligence officer on his way to / from a dead drop or face to face meeting with an human intelligence asset ?

    Was it used or intended to be used to shield the Nokia mobile phone or perhaps a different one not seized or not on display ?

    Or was it to protect his US Embassy Pass from being tracked (if it contains an RFID chip like a passport etc.)?

  • Cheap looking spiral bound paper notepad with indistinguishable writing on it

  • Backpack (to the right of the table)

    Any Police or Customs seizure of a back pack would have resulted in all the seams and linings being cut open to search for potentially hidden items e,g, drugs

    Why didn't the FSB agents, who should be familiar with microfilm etc. do the same ?

The video section showing Ryan Fogle putting his wristwatch back on (no forensic examination for secret spy technology ?) also shows on the table he is sitting at:

  • another lighter (black) cigarette lighter

  • a packet of Marlboro cigarettes

  • another (blue) torch

  • a black camera case (presumably with a camera inside) - again there can have been no detailed foresnic examination of these. also displayed photos of his Russian issued Diplomatic Photo ID card and his US Embassy Photo ID. Why was he carrying these on a mission ?

Either Ryan Fogle's tradecraft was flawed (he has, after all been arrested and is to be expelled) or his potential recruit did not bite at the offer and called in the FSB.

Some of the "evidence" looks clumsy and unprofessional, which might mean that the FSB has fabricated some or all of this incident.

It seems extraordinary for any intelligence officer to be caught carrying an unencrypted, unhidden (no microfilm or secret ink) letter which provides prima facie evidence of an espionage recruitment attempt.

It is also noteworthy that the counter-terrorism officer who Fogle was supposedly trying to recruit was also reported as the very person physically arresting him and putting on the hand cuffs / exposing the notorious wig. In the old Soviet Union this person would still be under suspicion, regardless of his involvement in the entrapment / arrest of the US diplomat / intelligence officer.

@benatipsosmori Ben Page, Chief Exec of Ipsos MORI, market research and opinion polling company is denying this front page Sunday Times story and second illistrated article, but " he would say that, wouldn't he"

The Sunday Times claims that Ipsos Mori were offering to sell snoopers charter style personal data to the Metropolitan Police Service obtained commercially from mobile phone network EE.

They appear to have tested their scheme in secret, last summer, without any indivual, informed consent from the EE customers being snooped on.

They appear to be offering not just Communications Data such as might be proportionately obtained by the Metropolitan Police, which is supposed to proportionate and restricted to suspects in actual criminal or national security investigations, but also bulk trawling of the personal data if millions of innocent people.

They also appear to be offering extra "profile" data e.g. age and gender, which is not part of Communications Data.

The Sunday Times
12 May 2013

page 1

Secrets of 27m mobile phones offered to police

Richard Kerbai and Jon Ungoed-Thomas

THE data of 27 m mobile phone users has been offered for sale to the Metropolitan police, private companies and other bodies, enabling them to track users' movements.
Ipsos Mori, one of Britain's biggest research firms, has been caught offering text and call records for sale.

The company has claimed in meetings that every movement by users can be tracked to within 100 metres. This weekend the Met, which has been in talks with Ipsos Mori about paying for some of the controversial data, shelved any deal after being contacted by The Sunday Times.

Documents to promote the data reveal that it includes "gender, age, postcode, websites visited, time of day text is sent [and] location of customer when call is made".
They state that people's mobile phone use and location can be tracked in real time with records of movements, calls and texts also available for the previous six months.

Why only the last 6 months of data ?

Why is EE not selling the Communications Data from 6 months to a year old, which they are legally obliged to keep, regardless of any business use under the The Data Retention (EC Directive) Regulations 2009 Regulation 5, which specifies 12 months ?

A commercial partnership with Ipsos Mori or other companies would give them the "business use case" to retain such data indefinitely if they wished (and paid for the storage systems)

The data, obtained by Ipsos Mori in an exclusive deal with EB, Britain's biggest phone operator, goes beyond anything that the police can get without an application order under the Regulation of Invetigatory Powers Act 2000.

Experts said that it offered a similar level of data access as the government's proposed "snoopers' charter", which

Continued on page 2

page 2

Police ditch snooper deal

Continued from page 1

ministers shelved after an outcry over privacy invasion.

Police forces, councils, big businesses and Google are among potential clients for the data. Bernard Hogan-Howe, the police commissioner, is understood to have met representatives from Ipsos Mori on March 22 to discuss the data.

Another meeting was held last Thursday at Scotland Yard and was attended by Mark Rowley, the assistant commissioner in charge of public order and major events for the force.

Who from Ipsos Mori and / or EE attended these meetings with these very senior Metropolitan Police officers ?

However, within hours of being contacted by The Sunday Times the Met said it was abandoning the proposal, even though sources said officers had been enthusiastic about the potential for tracking users of pay-as-you- go phones.

They are also understood to have been interested in overlaying the EE data with home addresses and personal details of possible suspects.

Yet another reason for investigative journalists (or police or intelligence agency investigators) and their confidential sources (whether whistleblowers or informants) to keep the anonymous mobile phones switched off at or near home or usual work places, so that they are not linked with identifiable ones, simply through plotting where thety have been switched on, regardless of any voice or SMS text or internet data calls made.

Ben Page, chief executive of Ipsos Mori, admitted in a tweet last month that the deal between Ipsos Mori and EE might sound "creepy", but said it had safeguards to protect anonymity.

Documents circulated to the Met and seen by The Sunday Times, however, show the data offers clients:

* Gender, age and postcode of users as well as friendship networks, plus calling circles, customer interests (eg sport, film, news) and activity at work or at home

"Gender, age and postcode of users" is data which the Police cannot normally see from Communications Data for prepaid mobile phones.

* Calls data, including time of day call is made, number called, duration of call and customer location to a 100-metre radius

* Data on texts, including time of day it is sent and location of customer

* Mobile web and app usage, including domain name of sites visited, session length, duration on site, previous and next sites visited and amount of data uploaded and downloaded during session

Data on "App usage" is not part of Communications Data under RIPA, but is the sort of thing that the Home Office was fishing for with the Draft Communications Data Bill.

* Customer location, which is determined by Call records or mobile phone ID, to an approximate accuracy of 100 metres, and profiles of customers, potentially including spending patterns.

" profiles of customers, potentially including spending patterns" is data which the Police cannot see from Communications Data for any sort of phones.

Page initially said Ipsos Mori had access to individual data, although it would not pass this to police. He later said the firm could get only aggregate, anonymised data. He said: "This is purely trying to look at mass movement in aggregate."

Page admitted some of the information was similar to the data proposed to be stored under the Communications Data Bill. EE said it had authorised data to be released only in an aggregated, anonymised form to protect its customers. Details would be released only for groups of 50 people or more.

This claim about "aggregate" data "anonymity" is nonsense.

If a snooper e.g. the Metropolitan Police has access to other databases which can be cross referenced, this will, in many cases then allow the EE / Ipsos Mori supplied datasets to be de-anonymised.

Switch on and you become a goldmine, page 14

Inside, on page 14, there are some more details and a graphical illustration.
(credited to Joel Goodman / Peter Alvey)

page 14

Switch on and you become a goldmine

Market researchers snooping on mobile phones tried to sell personal data to police to track criminals and protestors

Richard Kerbaj and Jon Ungogd-Thomas

LAST summer, as shoppers streamed out of a Tube station in Oxford Street in central London, they were put under discreet electronic surveillance.

As they emerged into daylight and pulled out their smartphones, the websites they visited were being monitored en masse.

The surveillance was part of a trial by Ipsos Mori, the pollster and opinion research company, to snoop on the habits of millions of EE phone customers. They could monitor how many of the phone users checked their Facebook accounts, or the website of their favourite shop.

Ipsos Mori was delighted with the results. In a deal with EE --"Britain's biggest mobile phone company, formed in 2010 from a merger between Orange and T-Mobile -- the polling firm had purchased the exclusive use of the phone data and the test run in central London had shown its potential.

In a tweet last month, Ben Page, chief executive of Ipsos Mori, admitted the EE geolocation deal mightsound "creepy" to customers, but insisted it was based on anonymised data with "safeguards on all sides".

What safeguards exactly, for the EE customers who had not given their prior, informed consent ?

It was certainly; dramatic project: Ipsos Mori had found a way to unlock the intimate secrets of the modern mobile phone and was sitting on a potential goldmine.
Initially, the company considered uses of the data for private sector clients and sporting events. It looked at the It looked at the websites Olympic spectators checked on their mobile phones and the phone habits of concert goers and shoppers.

Visitors to shopping centres, such as the Metrocentre in Newcastle upon Tyne and Bluewater in Kent, were monitored and the details of the websites they visited on their phones quietly harvested.

The movements of phone users were also tracked. An Ipsos Mori document stated: "We can understand not only where people are going, but what have been doing before, during and after they visited these various locations.

So these secret data snooping /matching trials were conducted without the prior, informed consent of the mobile phone customers ?

Will the Information Commissioner and the Interception of Communications Commissioner and OfComm investigate as they should ?

There was, however, another potentially lucrative application: crime detection. Bernard Hogan-Howe, the police commissioner, is understood to have met representatives from Ipsos Mori on March 23 to discuss the possabilities available to the Metropolitan police, using the EE data.

In public, Ipsos Mori insists all data it obtains is aggregated and protects customer privacy. In private, it claims it could get access to the data from individual phones. The documents circulated to the Met stated that the gender, age and postcodes of users was available, as well as friendship networks, time of calls, mobile web usage and customer location within 100 metres.

The police were understandably interested. Theresa May, the Home Secretary, last year failed to push though the Communications Data Bill, nicknamed "the snoopers' charter". Its terms would have required internet service providers to store for a year all details on online communications in the UK.

The bill stalled after a joint committee of peers and MPs found that it paid "insufficient attention to the duty to respect the right to privacy" and went too far in providing access to communications data.

The talks over the EE data appeared to offer another way of tracking people's phones and web usage. Another meeting to discuss the data was held last Thursday at Scotland Yard's headquarters, attended by Mark Rowley, the assistant commissioner in charge of public order and major evénts.

One of the proposals was for possible live tracking of events that would allow officers to monitor groups through their phones. If there was an incident, data on the subsequent movements of those at the scene could be harvested.

Officers were told they would be able to monitor protesters at demonstrations, to see where they had come from, where they were going and their phone usage during the event. The Met was also interested in getting a map of all pay-as-you-go phones, which could then be overlaid with the home addresses of "people of interest".

There were clearly concerns about data protection. One option considered by Ipsos Mori was to circulate a survey to EE users offering incentives in return for more information about themselves. They would then be asked for permission to share their data with third parties, which could include the Met.

Would they really have made it explicitly clear that your data is being sold to the Police, or would they just have used weasel words like "commercial partners" ?

In the event, the deal was scuppered after details of the talks were leaked to The Sunday Times.

The whistleblower seems likely to be from the Metropolitan Police despite the #Leveson clampdwown on contacts with the press or perhaps from Ipsos Mori.

If the EE spokesman is to to be believed, it is less likely that the leak came from the mobile phone network operator EE.

A spokesman for the Met admitted there had been an initial discussion, but "the [Met] has made no offer to purchase data from Ipsos Mori nor has any intention of doing so".

No intention now that the story is public, but why then were there at least two meetings with at the level of Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis and Assistant Commissioner to discuss, such this supposed non-starter of a scheme ?

Will the Mayor of London investigate the Metropolitan Police's complicity in this scandal ?

EE said it had not even been aware of the Met talks. When told the documents seen by
The Sunday Times indicated that customers would be tagged with reference numbers, postcodes and could be tracked to within 100 yards, an EE spokesman said: "This is not coming from us and it is the first I have heard of it. We are not providing this type of data."

EE said it would provide anonymised data only in groups of 50 people or more. There was, however, some confusion last week at Ipsos Mori about the exact data to which they had access.

Page initially told The Sunday Times that Ipsos Mori could obtain data on individual phones. However, he later said it would gather only aggregate data. This confusion exposes one of the biggest problems of personal data: the lack of transparency about exactly what is held on individuals, to Whom it is being sold and how it is being used.
Ipsos Mori is to launch its tie-up with EE this month. The huge database offers vast potential for market research.

The firms will, however, now face questions about the talks with police over the use of the data and scale of the information it is offering to other potential clients. The Information Commissioner's Office said last week there were specific rules concerning telephone data and the sale of any data "must be done in compliance with the Data Protection Act".

Page said The Sunday Times had raised legitimate questions about the sale of data. "We may have to decide policing is not something we are going to do on this," he said. -

Nick Pickles, director of privacy and civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch, said: "Customers are kept in the dark about how much information is collected, how long it is stored and how it can be used and the law needs urgently strengthening to give consumers proper control."

Do any other market research companies have similar "exclusive deals" with the other main mobile phone networks Vodafone, 3, O2 or with their Virtual Mobile Phone Operators partners like Tesco or Virgin ?

Any new Communications Data Bill must include Criminal Penalties for abuse of Communications Data (there are none under the current Regulation of investigatory Powers Act 2000)

See the Digital Surveillance report reccommendations published by the Open Rights Group:

  1. Hold an overarching review, potentially through a Royal Commission, to properly study surveillance in the digital age.
  2. Judicial oversight of requests for intrusive communications data, in particular for all traffic data requests.
  3. Choose 'data preservation' rather than blanket data retention. Include quick response and emergency processes, and means to intelligently and accountably identify targets.
  4. Create a unified Surveillance Commissioner capable of carrying out a strong, independent audit with "multi-skilled investigators including human rights and computer experts."
  5. Reject vague proposals, such as those in the draft Communications Data Bill, for automated, pervasive analytics tools designed to trawl through and across datasets.
  6. Provide stringent penalties for misuse of either powers or data.
  7. Individuals should be notified by default of a decision authorising the request for their communications data.
  8. Invest in law enforcement's capacity to use and analyse the data already available to them.
  9. Lift the ban on the use of intercept evidence in court.
  10. Use the International Principles on Communications Surveillance and Human Rights developed by Privacy International and other groups as a template for future laws.

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.

Current PGP Key ID: 0x80CFAA4C which will expire on 6th September 2014.

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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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

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

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