House of Lords Second Reading of the Identity Cards Bill - our comments

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (2)

The controversial Identity Cards Bill has now had its Second Reading in the House of Lords, and now moved to the Lords Committee stage, the timing of which depends on whether or not the Prime Minister Tony Blair calls a General Election for the 5th May as widely expected.

The debate was poorly attended, and rather short, giving the impression that the Government is just "going through the motions"

The Government's "justifications" for the Bill still make dismal reading, as do the perorations of some Labour Peers.

The London School of Economics report The Identity Project: an assessment of the UK Identity Cards Bill and its implications (.pdf) seems to have had an impact on the debate, such as it was, and there was an extraordinary attack on the NO2ID Campaign from the Labour Baroness Gibson, who finds the use of a Post Office box on a "glossy and extremely well produced" leaflet is somehow evidence that NO2ID is a "sinister" organisation.

Since this Second Reading has not been extensively reported by the mainstream media or by other bloggers, here are some thoughts on the debate:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal):

"Current means of identification are simply not secure or reliable enough. This was pointed out clearly in Identity Fraud: A Study, published by the Cabinet Office in 2002."

That would be the document, which the Home Office has abused many times, by falsely claiming that the guesstimates in Annex B somehow "prove" that "Identity fraud" costs the UK economy £ 1.3 billion a year ?

Identity Fraud: A Study (.pdf) does not recommend that a centralised biometric database and ID card would actually reduce "Identity Fraud":

"Some overseas countries use identity cards as part of their counter-fraud strategy. An identity card is only as secure as the processes used to issue it and the safeguards employed against counterfeiting and theft. In the US, where the social security number and associated card have, through use and custom, become the de facto unique identifier and identity card, identity theft is rife."

"Countering identity theft and fraud requires an overarching strategy to make the issue of documents used as evidence of identity and the issue of unique identifying numbers more secure, to counter the use of counterfeit and stolen documents and to detect and prosecute identity fraudsters. Tackling just one of these areas will not yield significant dividends."

"Photographic identity documents are increasingly required in a wide range of circumstances; for example, by low-cost airlines, even for domestic flights. That creates problems for people, often elderly people, who do not have a current passport or photo-card driving licence. Identity cards will fill the gap."

Why on earth are passports, ID Cards or photid needed for internal flights ? It is because of the "seat auction" systems used by some airlines, who greedily resent selling a cheap seat to someone who manages to sell it on at a premium to other people. Simply demanding the actual individual credit card that was use to purchase the ticket. is sufficient to prevent this, and not all airlines operate this way, e.g. British Airways.

"We cannot stand still in the knowledge of the threats that we all face from identity fraud. Not only does it cost the country an estimated £1.3 billion per year,"

The Government keeps repeating this bogus claim, which simply does not stand up if you bother to read their own guesstimates.

"We have also been advised that more than one third of terrorist suspects are known to have used false identities."

The unspoken implication whenever this line is trotted out by Nu Labour politicians is that these "up to one third, up to 35%" or whatever of "false" or "multiple" identities used by "terrorists" or "serious organised criminals" or now just "terrorist suspects" are using British identities.

How many of the "multiple identities" are perfectly legal multiple identities e.g. dual Irish Republic and United Kingdom or dual French and Algerian citizenship ?

If 35% of the world's terrorists are using false British identities, then the Home Office Ministers in charge should resign on the grounds of incompetence, and there should be intensive investigations into probable corruption.

Even with a perfect UK ID card system, even on the Government's own guesstimate, over Two Thirds
of terrorists/criminals/terrorist suspects will still not be affected or "disrupted" since they will presumably still be operating under their own identities without getting caught, as they do now.

Baroness Gibson of Market Rasen:

"I now turn to some of the briefings that I have received on the Bill from different organisations. I particularly welcome those from both sides of industry. The TUC has raised questions about Clause 31, which covers tampering with the national identity register. I know that my noble friend Lord Lea of Crondall is to expand on these
concerns in his speech today. Of course, those of us on this side of the House who worked in and for the trade union movement will recognise those concerns and will listen carefully to the responses of my noble friend the Minister."

We can claim a small amount of credit for alerting the Trades Union Congress to this issue

"One briefing about which I am most suspicious is that from the "NO 2 ID" campaign,"

N.B. she actualy enunciated "Number 2 ID"

"whose address is a Post Office box number in Marylebone High Street. Rarely have I received such objectionable and misleading information. It is a great pity that this group of individuals has taken time to print and circulate such information, hiding behind a PO box number. The only named person is a "national co-ordinator", although what and who he is co-ordinating is not clear. I find this worrying piece of literature far more sinister than the proposals to which the authors object."

This is utter rubbish. Presumably she is ignorant of the NO2ID website, which lists all this information and more. Compared with the Home Office spin machine, NO2ID operates on a tiny shoestring budget, probably less than the salary of one of the Home Office ID Card spin doctors, hence the PO Box.

Lord Lea of Crondall

"My second point relates to Clause 31. The TUC is concerned that Clause 31 could raise the possibility of criminal sanctions being applied against people who lawfully took part in industrial action. Clause 31 creates criminal offences relating to tampering with the national identity register that are punishable with imprisonment for up to 10 years. I would like the position to be put on the record.

The clause suggests that anyone whose job involves maintenance of the register, accessing or retrieving information, or facilitating access to or retrieval of information from the register could be committing an offence by participating in otherwise lawful industrial action. Clause 31(3) makes it clear that the offence covers conduct which,

"makes it more difficult or impossible for such information to be retrieved in a legible form from a computer on which it is stored . . . or contributes to making that more difficult or impossible".

Clearly, industrial action by civil servants and others with responsibility for administering the register, on the face of it, could be covered by that provision. I have given notice to the Minister of that point, and I seek clarification, on the record, that that interpretation, which is causing concern, is not reasonable, and that civil servants and others who are involved with the administration of the scheme would not be made liable, should their industrial action make it difficult or impossible for information to be retrieved, as described in Clause 31(3)."

We can claim some credit for alerting the Trades Union Congress to this issue, although we were totally ignored by the main Civil Service union, the Public and Commercial Services Union

This badly drafted Clause 31 was not debated or amended at all in the House of Commons.

Lord Stoddart of Swindon: My Lords, I first of all declare an interest as a paid-up member of NO2ID. That organisation, together with Liberty, gives out information about ID cards and the dangers to individual liberty that might be associated with the Bill.

The noble Baroness, Lady Gibson, described the organisation as "sinister". I must say that that is the first time that I have ever been described as sinister.

21 Mar 2005 : Column 87

I have been described as lots of things, but never sinister. If an organisation doing what I believe it is doing is sinister, we have come to a pretty pass.

Baroness Gibson of Market Rasen: My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for giving way. I did not describe him as sinister; I described the organisation as sinister. I think that any organisation is sinister when it hides behind a PO box number and sends out lots
of literature to all of us but does not state who it is and what it really stands for.

Lord Stoddart of Swindon: My Lords, an organisation is made up of members. If you describe the organisation as sinister, it follows that those people who belong to it are tainted with the same brush. I cannot answer the point of the noble Baroness about
the PO box number. It may be that the organisation is not very well financed and does not have the money to set up an office. That may be why it uses a PO box number. I do not want to get stuck on the point, but the noble Baroness may ask another question.

Baroness Gibson of Market Rasen: My Lords, I have before me the organisation's literature, which is glossy and extremely well produced. It has not been cheaply produced.

Lord Stoddart of Swindon: My Lords, I do not know about the finances, but it may be that there are people who are so concerned with individual liberty that they are prepared to finance such documents, glossy or not. In any event, I am a member of it, and I am glad
to be a member of it.

When I was a member of the Labour Party - I was a member for more than 50 years before I was expelled - I was always brought up to believe that ID cards and central registers were the tools of dictators and racists. Now it appears that that has all changed.
I also associated with people who were proud to be called libertarians. I always have been and am still proud to be called a libertarian, because without such people we would not have any liberties in this country. They have always been under attack from one
source or another. So let me declare again that I am proud to be a libertarian.

It used to be the case that everyone believed that government was there to serve the people, but the new Jacobinism - if I can call it that - is turning that dictum on its head and sees people as the creatures and servants of the state. Osama bin Laden must be laughing his head off as he sees our Government using him as a bogeyman to
undermine our traditional freedoms and democratic rights on the pretext that it is the only way to keep our people safe from terrorism. Yet even as those traditional individual rights and freedoms are being whittled away here in the United Kingdom,
the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary have the temerity to lecture other countries on the subject of democracy."

"I am glad that the Bill is unlikely to make any further progress if a general election is to be held on 5 May, and I implore the Government to think long and hard before introducing it again in the new Parliament."

We tend to agree with Lord Stoddart

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: (Government Minister)

"The noble Lord, Lord Lucas, suggested that we need to pilot biometric identity cards. I hope that noble Lords remember that I said earlier that we have already carried out a biometric enrolment pilot involving 10,000 people enrolling face, finger and iris biometrics. A report on that trial will be published in due course"

Why has this not already been published ?

This "trial" was not designed to test the Biometrics, only some of the business processes around
registration. 10,000 self selected volunteers is not a valid trial for a system that will need to cope with 60 million people.

It would be criminal to draw planning conclusions for a multi billion pind project on such a tiny sample.

"The noble Lord asked whether people would need proof of address. The noble Earl, Lord Erroll, also raised the issue. To establish both identity and entitlement, applicants will be asked to provide their current address and a history of addresses. That is most likely to be over the past six years unless there are particular reasons for needing more information; for instance, if someone has lived abroad. The addresses will be checked during the footprint check, and if discrepancies are identified, they will be discussed at the meeting. An inability to provide proof of an address will not prevent people being registered on the national identity register.

Clause 43(10) gives power to make regulations on circumstances in which places can be regarded as an individual's address. That is likely to be used to allow students, travellers and homeless people to provide a contact address. Those issues are dealt with in relation to the Bill."

This is the first time that the Government has given any details about the requirements for address history. Who decided on "the past six years" ? Who was consulted on this ?

What are the implications of this statement for the validity period of an ID Card ? Presumably it would be strange to only ask about the last six years, if the validity period for an ID Card or Passport
remains at 10 years. Does this imply that the idea of reducing the validity period for a Passport from 10 down to only 5 years is now beyond the ideas stage ? i.e. double the cost and double the registration enrollment costs and loss of earnings or holiday.

"It was difficult to say exactly to what extent an identity card scheme contributes to preventing or frustrating terrorism because identity cards have been long-established in Spain, so there is no comparison. However, the police believe that ETA terrorists have been marginalised and driven to reside outside Spain because they can be identified."

So why are the "known" terrorists in Northern Ireland sucessfully margininalised without such an intrusive scheme ?

"The Spanish police state that they have identified nearly all the terrorists involved in the Madrid bombings and that that was made significantly easier by their identity card scheme."

Given that most of these terrorists were Moroccans, presumably with Passports and entry visas and residence permits, some with existing criminal records, this hardly proves the case for a National Identity Card scheme.

"Identity cards were also used to identify the victims of the bombings quickly. So it is not just useful in identifying villains, but it can be incredibly useful in identifying victims."

Victims of crime or accidents are usually easily identified through the multiple contents of their wallets - credit cards, library tickets etc.

Under what possible circumstances would Yet Another Bit of Plastic make any real difference to the speed of identification of the dead or injured ? Are Ambulance and Accident and Emergency medical staff
going to be expected to waste time to take fingerprints or iris scans of their patients ?

"Conscious of the five points of the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay of St Johns, that I have to deal with - which I shall do incredibly swiftly - I say to my noble friend Lord Lea of Crondall and my noble friend Lady Gibson of Market Rasen that they are absolutely right in their analysis of Clause 31. I give them the assurance that they seek- I shall do so telegraphically because of time, and shall be quite happy to outline it more fully later."

The Government, presumably in trying to provide a sanction against Denial of Service Attacks, botched this clause in the Draft ID Card Bill, and made it worse in this Bill.

Why should the National Identity Register be different from other Critical National Infrastructure systems, where even a temporary Denial of Service could be life threatening ?

The outdated, pre-world wide web, Computer Misuse Act 1990 should be amended to protect all of these systems.

"Is the Home Office capable of making the cards work? The short answer is yes. The identity cards project is subject to regular scrutiny by the Office of Government Commerce, a gateway review process"

There is no evidence of that being true, especially as the Home Office and the TYreasury refuse to publish
these so called Gateway Reviews, even to the Home Affairs Committee or the Public Accounts Committee, or in response to Parliamentary Questions by the Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesman Mark Oaten.

They have also weaselled in respect to our Freedom of Information Act request for just the broad brush, high level Stage Zero Gateway Reviews, which do not contain any "commercially sensitive" information.

(Baroness Scotland of Asthal:)

"We do not believe that ID cards will pose a threat to civil liberties. The Identity Cards Bill will allow ID cards to be used by any service, public or private, to establish identity with the consent of the holder"

Rubbish. The Bill is full of powers for the Government to act without the consent of the holder.

"The Countess of Mar: My Lords, the noble Baroness has skated over lots of things, all in a great hurry. Some of her points have been a little difficult to absorb. She seemed to imply that there was no need for her to read the LSE report because the Home Office had already considered matters in it. Did I hear her correctly? Will she explain why other government departments came to meetings when they were invited to by the LSE but the Home Office was either too busy or had other things to do and could not come?

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: My Lords, first, as I made absolutely clear, we will read the report and consider its findings as everyone has suggested. Secondly, throughout the passage of the Bill it has been clear that the Home Office has been assiduous in trying to ensure that, wherever possible, we or our officials have attended
meetings, engaged in consultation and given briefings. I do not know the history regarding the LSE but I can assure the noble Baroness that consultation is one thing on which we seem to have excelled on this Bill, as on so many."

The Home Office have also failed to comply with the Freedom of Information Act, within the statutory 20 days (it is now over 30 working days) regarding our request for the meeting diaries, agenda etc. of the Identity Cards Programme team.

"On Question, Bill read a second time, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House. "

If or when theis Committee stage is timetabled for, depends on the General Election announcement and the "wash up" process.

2 TrackBacks

Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: House of Lords Second Reading of the Identity Cards Bill - our comments.

TrackBack URL for this entry:

SpyBlog has the details of the House Of Lords' second reading of the ID Cards Bill. As they report, there are still signs that the Government doubts it will get this Bill through before an election, which is something to be hopeful about: The debat... Read More

The final day of the House of Lords Committee stage of the Identity Cards Bill 2005, unsurprisingly did not pass any amendments . The Home Office Minister Baroness Scotland of Asthal failed to convince anyone that the National Identity Scheme... Read More

Leave a comment

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 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.

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 under the HMG PKI Root Certificate hierarchy 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)

House of Lords Constitution Committee - Surveillance: Citizens and the State

House of Lords Constitution Committee 2008-2009 session - Second Report: Surveillance: Citizens and the State


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
Privacy and Human Rights Survey 2004

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

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."

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

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

Syndicate this site (XML):

Follow Spy Blog on Twitter

For those of you who find it convenient, there is now a Twitter feed to alert you to new Spy Blog postings.

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.


Monthly Archives

November 2010

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30        

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