Open Letter to ICAO against Biometric Passports

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The International Civil Aviation Organisation is currently meeting in Cairo. Their plans for Biometric Passports and Machine Readable Travel Documents, which are being used as the excuse for various Government ID card and Biometric database systems.

Various privacy and human rights organisations have published an Open Letter to the ICAO, calling for them to rethink their Biometric Passport standards and plans:

An Open Letter to the ICAO (.pdf)

In addition, we think that the whole question of Biometric Passports for people with Dual Citizenship has not been considered properly:

United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

"Article 15.
(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.

(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality."

There are literally millions of people who legitimately hold dual nationality. If a person holds two legitimate Biometric Passports, from different countries, each with a similar but different instance of their Biometric Identifiers, then their right not to be identified as a citizen of the country whose travel document they are not presenting at a particular border will be compromised, possibly with dire results e.g. dual UK and Israeli citizenship when travelling in the Middle East.

The use by the ICAO of Biometric Identifiers will tend to force people to favour one of their rights of citizenship over another, effectively depriving them of their second nationality, in contravention of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Remember that Biometric Passports would not have prevented the suicide hijacker terrorists on September 11th 2001 flights - they had legitimate travel documents.

Full text of the Open Letter:

An Open Letter to the ICAO

A second report on 'Towards an International Infrastructure for
Surveillance of Movement'

Tuesday March 30, 2004

To the participants of the International Civil Aviation Organization 12th Session of the Facilitation Division,

We are writing to you on behalf of a wide range of human rights and civil liberties organizations to express our concerns regarding a number of decisions emerging from your conferences and their likely effects on privacy and civil liberties. We are particularly worried about your plans requiring passports and other travel documents to contain biometrics and remotely readable �contact-less integrated circuits�.

We are increasingly concerned that the biometric travel document initiative is part and parcel of a larger surveillance infrastructure monitoring the movement of individuals globally that includes Passenger-Name Record transfers, API systems, and the creation of an intergovernmental network of interoperable electronic data systems to facilitate access to each country's law enforcement and intelligence information.

We are concerned that the ICAO is setting a surveillance standard for the rest of the world to follow. In this sense, the ICAO is setting domestic policy, implementing profiling and ID cards where previously none may
have existed, or enhancing ID documentation through the use of biometrics, and increasing the data pouring into national databases, or creating them when none previously existed.

While we understand the desire of the ICAO to increase confidence in travel documents, reduce fraud, combat terrorism, and protect aviation security, the implementation of biometrics will have disproportionate effects on privacy and civil liberties. These rights are enshrined in a number of international conventions and treaties including article 12 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 8 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, and a number of national constitutions and legal
systems. The actions of the ICAO threaten these rights. Protecting the privacy of movement

Respecting the privacy of individuals is essential to an open society, including travel privacy. The right to movement is viewed as a fundamental right around the world, akin to the right to assemble. Border and aviation security necessarily involves scrutinising travellers and the use of personal information, but in light of the fundamental human rights involved, must be approached with the utmost thought and care. The ICAO�s biometrics-based approach to securing travel documents unfortunately does not reflect such care �
in fact, it is enabling the creation of a global surveillance infrastructure.

Concern about biometric travel documents is high around the world, and has been recognized even by many national governments:

  • The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State note that privacy issues need to be resolved prior to the implementation of these systems.3
  • Even as the European Commission has advocated a centralised database solution, storing the biometrics of all EU travel document holders, it has noted that further research is necessary to"examine the impact of the establishment of such a European Register on the fundamental rights of European citizens, and in particular their right to data protection."4
  • The French Government has concluded similarly, requiring that any implementation of biometric techniques is systematically subject to prior agreement from its national privacy commission.
  • As ICAO has itself noted, some States are legally barred from storing biometrics.

Avoiding national biometric databases

Because they are not carefully crafted, the ICAO standards risk ignoring these international warnings, resulting in the creation of centralized national databases of personal biometric information.

The European Union, for example, is already using the call for biometric passports to propose the establishment a central European store of fingerprints, which would enable national databases, national-ID cards, and background searches. The EU is also calling for storage capacity on the chips contained in its
passports to be significantly larger than the ICAO standard of 32K, thus allowing for additional information to be included in the future, enabling further function creep.

Central databases become privacy risks through the disclosure of personal information, through the challenges of securing such large data stores, and through the use of biometric data for other purposes.

Additionally, the centralised storage of biometric data increases the risk of the use of biometric data as a key to interconnecting databases that, according to EU privacy officials "could lead to detailed profiles of an individual's habits both in the public and in the private sector".

Such databases will also lead to the increased transfer of personal information across borders as individuals travel. When an EU citizen's identity is verified in the U.S., for example, will the American authorities download the facial and fingerprint data from the EU databases, or will U.S. authorities retain the biometric data they collect when verifying the document, along with other similar data for the next 50 years? Similarly, when citizens of other countries visit EU member states, will they be required to submit fingerprints even
though the ICAO travel documentation standards do not require fingerprint data? Until these questions are resolved, no standards for interoperability should be established at the ICAO.

Already there is some discussion of sharing biometric information with private companies. Airline check-in procedures will involve verifying the integrity of the travel documents, and airlines may retain the biometrics data. As part of the Advanced Passenger Information systems, some foresee the biometric information also being transferred by airlines to government agencies at passengers� destinations.

Technologies in the Surveillance Infrastructure

Biometrics is a fallible technology that will increase surveillance, erroneously subject individuals to undue attention, and, unless implemented carefully, will lead to increased collection and processing of data and transfer across borders.
The ICAO�s choice of facial recognition as the standard remains problematic:

  • Facial recognition contains a high likelihood of false non-matches (where valid individuals are refused border entry because the technology fails to recognise them), and false matches (where an individual is matched to another individual incorrectly). The ICAO standards do not govern the
    use to which the facial recognition data is put, but even the most reliable uses of this technology � one-to-one verification using recent photographs � have been shown in U.S. government tests to be highly unreliable, returning a false non-match rate of 5 percent and a false match rate of 1 percent.
  • Furthermore, the reliability rates quickly deteriorated as photographs went out of date, climbing to 15 per cent after only about 2 years for the best systems tested. For governments that use the data
    to perform more ambitious one-to-many searches, tests show that the error rates would be sharply higher still.
  • Implementation of facial recognition on a global scale is likely to increase these errors, and will lead to delays, duress, and confusion.
  • Facial recognition technologies may reveal racial or ethnic origin.
  • The U.S. General Accounting Office warns that facial recognition is the only biometric that can be used for other surveillance applications, such as pinpointing individuals filmed on video cameras.

We are very concerned that the New Orleans resolution permits individual countries to use multiple biometrics, such as iris scans and fingerprints in addition to facial recognition. These additional physical
measures increase the likelihood that biometric databases will be used for other purposes. The New Orleans resolution is contrary to your stated goal of interoperability and allows countries to pursue invasive solutions
using the ICAO standards as their excuse. We have already seen the EU propose a central fingerprint registry; others may follow.

The current plans to store the biometrics on �contact-less integrated circuits� also raises a number of concerns. This is likely to involve the use of radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips. RFID-tagged passports could be secretly read right through a wallet, pocket, backpack, or purse by anyone with the
appropriate reader device, including marketers, identity thieves, pickpockets, oppressive governments, and others. The ICAO is promoting the adoption of this technology even as RFID chips are stirring deep concerns and controversy around the world. It would be premature to finalize a choice of technology
without consideration of these issues. Use of these chips must be re-considered, assessed, and compared with alternative technologies that are less invasive.

National biometric databases and the retention of biometrics by third-parties can be avoided. The ICAO could have been wiser in its selection of technology, and more specific in its implementation. Biometrics can be implemented in such ways that they are prevented from being used for surreptitious surveillance or
tracking. Biometrics can be stored locally on travel documents, and border checks can simply verify the link between the individual's live biometric and the biometric template stored on the actual document. Such twoway checks have been considered by the ICAO,16 but unfortunately are not part of the ICAO requirements.

In addition, as EU privacy officials have written, biometric systems related to physical characteristics which do not leave traces (e.g. shape of the hand but
not fingerprints) or biometrics systems related to physical characteristics which leave traces but do not relyon the memorisation of the data in the possession of someone other than the individual concerned (in other words, the data is not memorised in the control access device or in a central data base) create less
risks for the protection for fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals.
Such care in the creation of the standards has not been demonstrated by ICAO so far. The ICAO must go back and reconsider its choices and conduct a review of all available technologies and their likely effects on privacy and civil liberties.
Biometrics remains problematic even if implemented on a voluntary basis. Initiatives such as 'trusted traveller' and 'Simplified passenger travel' still create a surveillance infrastructure involving background checks and the transfer of personal information that can be used for additional purposes, including the
protection of revenue control.18 Those who fail to "volunteer" to subject themselves to increased surveillance will inevitably become second-class travellers subjected to more intrusive searching, longer lines and
inconvenient delays. What ICAO should do

The ICAO must impose restraints on the undue collection, processing, retention, and transfers of data. At the very least, we call on the ICAO to adopt specific requirements to ensure that countries do not use this mandate to build national biometric databases.

The current ICAO specifications are too broad, and would promote irresponsible national behaviour and allowing national governments to circumvent their own democratic deliberations on such sensitive issues as profiling, national identification cards, and international data-sharing. Unless the ICAO is willing to propose only solutions that preserve privacy and human rights through its
specification requirements for technological design and review alternative technologies, then we call on the ICAO to abandon its intent to adopt biometrics as a standard.

Specifically, the undersigned call on the ICAO to

  • Follow through on earlier promises to review privacy implications of biometrics and trans-border personal information transfers;
  • Release clear and binding privacy requirements that will reduce the risks of illegal collection, use, retention, and transfers of this information;
  • Uphold national data protection laws or cultural practices, as previously promised by the ICAO;
  • Prevent, by design or biometric selection, the development of biometric databases;
  • Refrain from adopting RFID or biometric standards until their privacy and surveillance implications-- and the possibility that alternatives with less potential for privacy invasion or other abuse by surveillance agencies -- can be more fully evaluated.

We hope that the choices of biometrics have been driven primarily by logistical and commercial concerns, and were not intended to facilitate the conversion of travel systems into a global infrastructure of surveillance. But we are deeply concerned that this may become their unintended consequence.

Privacy International
The American Civil Liberties Union
Association for Progressive Communications
European Digital Rights
International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group
Big Brother Awards Denmark (Denmark)
Big Brother Awards Switzerland (Switzerland)
Bits of Freedom (Netherlands)
British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (Canada)
British Columbia Freedom of Information and Privacy Association (Canada)
Center for Democracy and Technology (USA)
Community Communications Online (Australia)
Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (USA)
Consumer Action (USA)
Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering (USA)
Digital Rights (Denmark)
Electronic Frontier Canada (Canada)
Electronic Frontier Foundation (USA)
Electronic Privacy Information Center (USA)
The Foundation for Information Policy Research (UK)
FoeBuD e.V. (Germany)
GreenNet (UK)
IRIS - Imaginons un r�seau Internet solidaire (France)
Korean Progressive Network Jinbonet (Korea)
La ligue des droits et libert�s du Qu�bec (Canada)
PrivacyActivism (USA)
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (USA)
quintessenz (Austria)
STOP1984 (Germany) (UK)
Swiss Internet User Group (Switzerland)
VIBE!AT (Austria)
ZaMirNET (Croatia)

1 European Civil Aviation Conference, "Biometrics," (Cairo, Egypt: Presented to the ICAO summit in Cairo, 2004).
2 Colin Powell, "Subject: Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002 - Aldac No. 1," ed. ALL
DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR POSTS, et al. (Washington, D.C.: Department of State, 2002). See
3 Thomas J. Ridge and Colin L. Powell, "Dear Mr. Chairman, Letter to the Chairman of the House Committee of the
Judiciary," (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Congress, 2004). See
4 Commission of the European Communities, "Proposal for a Council Regulation on Standards for Security Features
and Biometrics in EE Citizens' Passports," (Brussels: The European Commission, 2004). See
5 French Government, "Implementation of Biometric Techniques on French Airports," (Cairo, Egypt: Presented to the
ICAO summit in Cairo, 2004). See
6 ICAO, "Biometrics Deployment of Machine Readable Travel Documents ICAO TAG MRTD/NTWG Technical
Report: Development and Specification of Globally Interoperable Biometric Standards for Machine Assisted Identity
Confirmation Using Machine Readable Travel Documents," (Montreal: ICAO, 2003).
7 Council of European Union, "Commission Paper on Terrorism to the Council: Providing Input for the European
Council," (Brussels: Note from Secretary-General of the European Commission, signed by Mrs Patricia BUGNOT,
Director, to Mr Javier SOLANA, Secretary-General/High Representative, Subject: Commission paper to the Council
on Terrorism providing input for the European Council, 2004).
8 Commission of the European Communities, "Proposal for a Council Regulation on Standards for Security Features
and Biometrics in EU Citizens' Passports."
9 Ibid. With the larger chip-size, the EU can go even further than two biometrics. As the proposed regulation says,
�However, as it may be necessary to store a facial image and fingerprint images, a 64 K chip would be more
appropriate, especially if Member States wish to add some alphanumeric data.�
10 Article 29 Working Party, "Working Document on Biometrics," (Brussels: European Commission, 2003). See
11 European Civil Aviation Conference, "Biometrics."
12 GAO, "Challenges in Using Biometrics: A Testimony for the Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy,
Intergovernmental Relations, and the Census, Committee on Government Reform, House of Representatives,"
(Washington, D.C.: General Accounting Office, 2003).
13 United States Government, "Face Recognition for Identity Confirmation -- Inspection of Travel Documents," (Cairo,
Egypt: Presented to the ICAO summit in Cairo, 2004). See
14 Article 29 Working Party, "Working Document on Biometrics."
15 GAO, "Challenges in Using Biometrics: A Testimony for the Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy,
Intergovernmental Relations, and the Census, Committee on Government Reform, House of Representatives."
16 ICAO, "Biometrics Deployment of Machine Readable Travel Documents ICAO TAG MRTD/NTWG Technical
Report: Development and Specification of Globally Interoperable Biometric Standards for Machine Assisted Identity
Confirmation Using Machine Readable Travel Documents."
17 Ibid.
18 According to IATA "The use of biometrics as an identity authentication and entitlement function will result in more
confidence in revenue control, and the ability to know with more certainty, exactly who is getting onto flights.". For
more information see "Accelerating a Worldwide Approach to Biometric Identity Confirmation in MRTDs as the Key
Token of Entitlement for Simplified Passenger Travel," (Cairo, Egypt: International Air Transport Association (IATA)
presentation to the ICAO Cairo summit, 2004). See


As far as we can see, the ICAO, has totally ignored this appeal by Human Rights and Privacy organisations.

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About this blog

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

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

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

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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

RIPA Consultations

RIPA Part III consultation blog - Government access to Encrypted Information and Encryption Keys.

RIPA Part I Chapter II consultation blog - Government access and disclosure of Communications Traffic Data

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Please bear in mind the many recent, serious security vulnerabilities which have compromised the Twitter infrastructure and many user accounts, and Twitter's inevitable plans to make money out of you somehow, probably by selling your Communications Traffic Data to commercial and government interests.

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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_gov_uk_150.gif - Cabinet Office hosted portal website to various UK Intelligence Agencies and UK Government intelligence committees and Commissioners etc.

Anti-terrorism hotline - links removed in protestClimate 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.

netcu_logo_150.gif National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit
National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit - keeps a watch on animal extremists, genetically modified crop protesters, peace protesters etc.
(some people think that the word salad of acronyms means that NETCU is a spoof website)

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