Automatic Number Plate Recognition national network and centralised database for the UK Police ?

| | Comments (7) | TrackBacks (1)

Is the United Kingdom really set to have Yet Another National Police Database ?

Automatic Number Plate Recognition seems to be a rapidlly expanding technology amongst the 43 or so UK Police Forces, according to a press release from the Association of Chief Police Officers

John Lettice has a good article in The Register which cites a Police Information Technology Organisation web page which lists the history of ANPR schemes.

Given the 25 to 30 million vehicles on the roads, it makes sense to use this sort of technology to try to clamp down on stolen or untaxed vehicles.

The use of mobile or fixed CCTV camera systems combined with a roadside police intercept team to conduct legal "stops and searches" of vehicles, where the grounds of "reasonable suspicion" have been provided by the ANPR lookup on the Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency and Police Intelligence databases, should be a proportionate use of the technology and is to be welcomed.

However, we really do have serious concerns about using ANPR for "intelligence" rather than for "reasonable suspicion" stops and searches.

"Key points from the Strategy include:
  • Development of a national infrastructure of ANPR enabled cameras and readers to cover strategic sites

  • Developing a National ANPR Data Centre to analyse intelligence from ANPR readers from across the country"

Will this be a new infrastructure of roadside cameras, or will existing systems be hijacked ? Either these existing cameras are not properly justified and are under utilised, or the ANPR tasks will compete with the primary function e.g. traffic queue management

Who exactly pays for this national infrastructure ? The local council tax payers ?

Will the private sector Trafficmaster system be used or will the controversial National Roads Teleccomunications Services Project ?

  • "All police forces in England and Wales having at least one dedicated ANPR intercept team by October 2005, with more to follow"

According to thus report in The Guardian, the Police Federation are worried about the decrease in Traffic Police numbers:

"He feels the new officers will be an excuse to whittle down the already dwindling ranks of traffic police, which dropped in manpower from 7,500 to 6,200 between 1998 and 2002"

whose duties, powers and training, especially for "stop and search", cannot be substituted by lower paid civilian auxilaries employed by the Highways Agency.

More ANPR camera technology is unjustifiable if there are even fewer actual Traffic Police patrols on the road.

  • "Using hypothecated income from Fixed Penalty Notices resulting from ANPR activity to fund further ANPR development"
  • Hypothecated taxes ? No ! As John Lettice points out, this looks to be as controversial as Speed Cameras or Privatised Car Clamping, where there is plenty of evidence of abuses caused by financial income targets.

    • "Using ANPR data within force intelligence and investigative strategies"

    The PITO webpage also includes the chilling phrase:

    "In addition, PITO’s Central Customer is identifying future ANPR requirements, such as the development of a national database to store all ANPR ‘reads’ and analytical tools to mine this."

    This implies collecting and collating ANPR time and location data on millions of innocent vehicles, which are not on any "wanted list".

    All the same questions we asked (and failed to get answers about) in our London Congestion Charge Concerns such as Data Retention and other Data Privacy policies comes to mind.

    We have extreme privacy concerns about these hidden "intelligence" uses for a national mass surveillance system.

    This needs to be invesigated by the Information Commissioner needs to investigate probable breaches of the Data Protection Act, as does the Surveillance Commissioner, for disproportionate use of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, before the specifications for the system are finalised.

    1 TrackBacks

    Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Automatic Number Plate Recognition national network and centralised database for the UK Police ?.

    TrackBack URL for this entry:

    Spyblog has a article concerning Automatic Number Plate Recognition: The technology is rapidly expanding technology amongst the 43 or so UK Police Forces. John Lettice has a good article in The Register which cites a Police Information technology Orga... Read More


    Tesco in Watford are now using ANPR to send out fines to people who use their carparks for longer than 3 hours. Since when does my name and address become accessible from my vehicle license plate to anyone other than the DVLA and police?
    And since when has it become a crime to park on private property for longer than three hours? I thought it was only a crime if you were asked to stop and don't (trespass).

    It's legal. Keeper details are available from DVLA if you have a good reason and pay a small fee. There is a code of practise for using keeper details for parking enforcement. The 'fine' is usually called a 'penalty charge' and is enforced in the civil courts - the argument is that you have entered into a contract by parking there having seen the notices outlining the rules. If those notices were absent you would have a defence.

    'Private parking tickets' are becoming more common now that wheel clamping is regulated.

    The job done by the ANPR was previously done by a minimum wage jobsworth in a high viz yellow jacket with a clipboard. The ANPR is probably somewhat cheaper to run and more accurate. But it won't deter theft of and from vehicles or any other crime in the carpark.

    Watford seems to be very keen on ANPR, and the local council are installing a couple of ANPR cameras in their town centre. Why are the local council doing this, rather than the police ? The Local council, or their private sector minimum wage CCTV monitoring staff should not have access to the Police National Computer !

    New weapon to catch criminals comes to Watford
    A major new state-of-the-art weapon is set to keep criminals off the Watford’s roads – for good!

    Watford Borough Council’s Cabinet decided at its meeting on Monday 18th July to install an Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) system. It will be positioned in a town centre location, probably on Beechen Grove, with cameras pointing in both directions and could be in place by September.

    It will be able to spot automatically if there is an untaxed or uninsured vehicle on the road – or one that has been involved in a crime. The information would then be forwarded to a control room where a CCTV operator would be alerted, as well as Hertfordshire Constabulary who could deploy officers to make an arrest.

    Dorothy Thornhill, Mayor of Watford, has personally seen the system in operation and believes it will be a major asset in keeping Watford safe.

    Mayor Thornhill said: “This system is stunningly effective in identifying criminals and helping to catch them. We know that in areas where ANPR operates arrest rates can be ten times higher than with conventional methods. This will help drive criminals out of Watford.

    "This has come about because of the Council working with the police as part of the Community Safety Partnership. It is good news for decent law-abiding residents – and bad news for criminals."

    The ANPR system costs £102,000 and is funded by the Home Office through Hertfordshire Constabulary.

    Can anyone state, definitively, if "clean" car numbers are stored, or is the data ditched immediately. I fear that a permanent (or semi-permanent) record will be kept of all vehicles entering this grubby little town.

    Data retention and what happens to the records of innocent motorists is a grey area which is almost certainly being abused by existing ANPR schemes.

    The London Congestion Charge ANPR scheme, for instance, claims not to store the images of the Number Plates, or the "background scene" images of the vehicles and possibly the drivers for more than 24 hours.

    However, they have refused to reveal so far, what they do with the *processed" data i.e. text files with vehicle number plate, camera location, time, date etc.

    We assume that this data is retained for much longer than necessary for the administration of the Congestion Charge, and that it is passed on illegally to unknown parties (nothing that Transport for London or Capita plc have said on the matter reassure us otherwise)

    The eGov Moonitor version of the press release about Watford Council's ANPR plans

    has the worrying paragraph:

    "It could help the Council create a database of its own wanted vehicles. For example, it would be possible to maintain a database of known persistent fly-tipping vehicles, known illegal private hire vehicles or unlicensed taxis, or vehicles wanted in connection with persistent parking offences."

    Or it could be used to track the movements, and look up the home addresses, of political opponents who have not committed any actual criminal offences at all.

    Neither a Local Council nor any of its private sector CCTV monitoting staff should be allowed to have a "backdoor" access to either the DVLA or the PNC databases which should only be accessed by Police officers, and then, only if it is actually part of a roadside enforcement operation, where suspect vehicles are actually being stopped by a roadside patrol.

    Data Mining the movements of thousands of innocent mototorists for no specific reason, is not acceptable.

    Neither woukd Tesco's use of ANPR be acceptable for say market research, of the people visiting their stores by car, without obtaining their prior informed consent,

    ANPR is great!, at controlling law abiding people!!

    Any self respecting criminal will just obtain a false number plate, probably copied from a similar make/model. Not so easy I hear you cry, the government has made obtaining number plates difficult!, yeh right - If I can get replacement plates without filling in forms, etc, then I am sure the bad guys can.

    Laws only apply to law abiding people, thats why the name "outlaw" was coined for those living outside the law !

    Can anyone tell me what a registration plate with the letter z in it means.
    In this context E.G.TR05 ZPL, the Z being at the first of the last 3 letters.
    Would be a great help.
    Many Thanks

    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.

    Recent Comments

    • Paul: Hi Can anyone tell me what a registration plate with read more
    • Normal Person: ANPR is great!, at controlling law abiding people!! Any self read more
    • wtwu: Data retention and what happens to the records of innocent read more
    • A Tench: Can anyone state, definitively, if "clean" car numbers are stored, read more
    • wtwu: Watford seems to be very keen on ANPR, and the read more
    • Nur Mi: It's legal. Keeper details are available from DVLA if you read more
    • GW: Tesco in Watford are now using ANPR to send out read more


    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