UK ID card - 10 fingerprint biometrics to be held centrally on the National Identity Register

| | Comments (11) | TrackBacks (1)

We have been asking the Government to clarify exactly what it means by the terms "fingerprint biometrics" with respect to the proposed compulsory National Biometric Identity Card / centralised Database scheme. Instead of publishing a full technical architecture of what exactly they intend to create, which would have no adverse impact on any commercial procurement process, they just keep dribbling out crumbs of information, apparently as an afterthought:

House of Commons Written Answers 28th June 2005 (pt 18)

"Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many digits he expects to be printed on identity cards; and what information he has collated on the number of digits required on passports and identity cards by other countries. [6164]

28 Jun 2005 : Column 1452W

Andy Burnham: No fingerprints will be printed on the face of the identity card. Biometric information, including under current plans 10 fingerprints, will be held securely on the National Identity Register. Some of the fingerprint data could be held in an encrypted form on the card chip. All the Schengen states will be required to use biometrics in passports under Council Regulation 2252/2004. Fingerprint biometrics (rather than just fingerprints) will be introduced within three years of adoption. Non-Schengen states may choose to follow the requirements, although they would not be bound by the timetable. Other EU member states which issue identity cards are considering introducing biometrics to increase security and some, for example Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain, already collect one of more fingerprints as part of their national identity card schemes. Among non-EU states, Hong Kong and the Philippines currently include fingerprint information on their identity card schemes."


"Biometric information, including under current plans 10 fingerprints, will be held securely on the National Identity Register. Some of the fingerprint data could be held in an encrypted form on the card chip"

mean that the full fingerprint image scans are going to be stored on the National Identity Register, rather than any biometric secure hashes or template minutiae (an encoding of the ridges and intersections of the fingerprint pattern) i.e. the most useful data to both police investigators and to identity thieves will be stored centrally and have to be sent securely over the network infrastructure ?

There is no assurance that any of the fingerpint data will be held on the central National Identity Register in "encrypted form".

What does Andy Burnham mean about "some of the fingerprint data" with respect to the actual ID Card itself ? Does this means template minutiae of all ten digits or does it mean full digital scan images of, say, two fingers ?

We find it hard to believe that the Smart Cards being considerd for the ID Card scheme will have enough tamper resistant memory capacity to store the raw fingerprint image scans.

It is certain, that the ICAO standard Biometric passport chips (64 Kilobytes of memory in total) will not have enough tamper resistant memory space.

The current National Automated Fingerprint Identification System (NAFIS) for Criminal Records also uses 10 fingerprints and both palm prints (if you have them all) so you can see just how skewed the ID card scheme is towards treating us all as criminals, rather than as innocent citizens, and how far removed the system is from being an individual citiizen centric, purely identification card, and instead is really tool for mass surveillance by the state.

We fully support Dr. Brian Gladman's analysis of past abuses of the fingerprint system by the Police, and his fears for similar abuses of the ID card scheme.

[UPDATE: see comment below]

If four fingerprints are what the National Physical Laboratory / BT study suggested were needed for reasonably accurate identity verification purposes, and if even the US-VISIT system only uses two fingerprints for border control purposes, than surely the taking and indefinate storage of ten fingerprints of millions of innocent people must be considered to be disproportionate under the Data Protection Act ?

The NuLabour Home Secretary Charles Clarke seems to expect us to believe his statement during the Second Reading debate that

"I argue that the ID card system is in fact a bulwark against the surveillance or Big Brother society, and not a further contribution to it."

Is it terrorists, serious organised criminal, illegal immigrants, benefit fraudsters or "identity thieves" (the presumed statutory targets of the Identity Cards Bill) who are setting up multi-billion pound technological mass surveillance infrastructures to spy on everyone in the UK, or is it the NuLabour Government which is planning to do so ?

1 TrackBacks

Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: UK ID card - 10 fingerprint biometrics to be held centrally on the National Identity Register.

TrackBack URL for this entry:

How do NuLabour Ministers get brainwashed into making declarations, which even to supporters of ID cards must sound hollow and false ? Spy Blog notes that: "The NuLabour Home Secretary Charles Clarke seems to expect us to believe his statement... Read More


There is a good critique by Muriel Gray of the premise that the innocent have nothing to hide, see here:,3604,1519574,00.html

There are also agents of the state who will be put at risk because of the instance on the use of "biometric identifiers".

Undercover Policemen, James Bond secret agents, SAS special forces soldeirs etc. will all be issued with an ID card and have their Biometric identifiers registered at the age of 16, i.e. well before most of them will have been recruited into anuy of these sensitive posts. No doubt the Government can issue them with a ID card or Passport in a false name, but, if they have ever been overseas on holiday or on business to the G8 and EU countries that thewe are told are so keen to use biometrics for their passport and border controls, then these categories of peole will also be flagged up as "suspicious" and could have their "undercover roles" compromised.

If employers are meant to be able to "verify" that they are not employing "illegal workers" through the use of biometric checks against the National identity Register, then serious organised criminals will have access to fingerprint and iris scan and facial recognition information about undercover police or customs investigators, through their legitimate "front" companies, on the basis of "checking out" a potential employee.

The question only asked about fingerprints, not about palm prints, so it's not clear whether palm prints will also be taken. Obviously if the plan is to use palm prints, the minister should have said so in answering this question; but the way the government are letting information trickle out makes me unsure whether he would have.

Perhaps secret agents and so forth are meant to subvert biometric checks with gelatine patches on their fingers, special contact lenses, etc. None of the biometrics are known to work either for a scheme on this scale or when most tests are carried out by operators with limited time, training and motivation. Border guards could be properly trained and motivated, but will have very limited time per passenger. Most other operators will have neither the time, nor the training, nor the motivation.

Of course, people who try to subvert biometric tests will sometimes be caught. So agents of the state may indeed be placed at greater risk. Moderatly well organized criminals are likely to be inconvenienced perhaps a little, perhaps hardly at all. But the easiest people for Big Brother (which could mean agencies of the State or private corporations) to track will be ordinary, generally law-abiding people.

Here are some points on the issue of storing full fingerprint images, versus only storing templates extracted from full images (of minutiae or otherwise).

By discarding full images (on central storage) the Government would remove the opportunity to benefit from technological improvements that required a different template format or analysis. That is without re-registering the whole population. Thus it would not be prudent for the Government to discard full images.

The issue of on-card storage, as full images or templates, is somewhat different. For a UK-only system, template storage may well be adequate. This would limit Point-of-Use (PoU) checks to the matching approach(es) selected at card creation time. However, for international usage, eg within passports, current and (I believe) upcoming international standards call for a level of interoperability that uses fingerprint images as the common denominator. There are additional standards for a small number of template formats (and ISO/IEC are currently looking to standardise 3 such formats). Acceptance of non-image template formats for international use (especially in passports) is, in my opinion, less likely to be put into use, because of problems with interoperability between matching algorithms. However, adequate interoperability may become technically viable in due course.

Obviously, the other issue with on-card storage is template size. In my view, storage of just 2 fingerprint images (or perhaps only one) is likely to be the chosen way, for PoU checks. This is on grounds of "adequate" performance together with shorter transaction times and single finger capture equipment having lower cost. Use of greater numbers of fingerprint images is likely to be essential only for detection of multiple applications during enrolment, and perhaps for other special purposes (eg forensic), where access would be made to full 10-print sets stored centrally.

Best regards

The Third Principle of Data Protection, under the Data Protection Act 1998:

"3. Personal data shall be adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the purpose or purposes for which they are processed."

If only one or two or four fingerprint biometrics are required for the purpose of a Passport, there is no justification for collecting 10 fingerprints when you apply for or renew a Passport, especially during the so called "voluntary" phase of the legislation, before Parliament has voted on "compulsion" to register on the National Identity Register.

Similarly if only a digital image and a thumbprint is required for a Passport, then there should be no compulsion to provide iris scans, for that purpose, which are not even going to be used on the embedded RFID chip.

Any new biometric image processing techniques requiring a different incompatible format of template stored on the physical ID card itself, are unlikely to be so staggeringly better than the current ones, that a "big bang approach" would be justified to upgrading them. Surely that can be done after a certain date with new or renewed ID cards or passports ?

If a template format is found to be easy to forge, or the digital signature master keys are compromised (e.g. the correct SHA-1 secure hash collision is found, with or without inside knowledge) then the Government must factor in the risk of the costs of having to re-register millions of people in a hurry.

More likely they will try to ignore any such systemic failures and hope that they will not be too widely exploited, until re-registration with a new algorithm, or key etc.

By email from Dr. Brian Gladman:


Thank you for your kind reference to my paper concerning the potential misuse of fingerprint data held in the proposed UK National Identity Register

In order not to confuse your readers, I should perhaps point out that the way in which you comment on this:

"We fully support Dr. Brian Gladman's analysis of past abuses of the fingerprint system by the Police, and his fears for similar abuses of the ID card scheme."

implies that I covered past fingerprint abuses when in fact my comments on the past were actually about DNA records, not fingerprints.

I am not trying to be critical but just pointing out that this might confuse people if they look at my paper expecting to find coverage of past abuses of fingerprint data.

Of course its just as bad that the Police are allowed to keep the fingerprints of those who are innocent - but I am not aware of the history of this - was it ever illegal to do this?

best regards,


wtwu commented above, at July 3, 2005 11:18 PM (that PM is puzzling): "[number of biometric modalities/instances must be] adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the purpose."

I do agree that this (and other) aspects of the data protection act have a good basis.

However, extra biometric samples (same or different modality or extra instances, eg 2nd iris scan and extra fingerprints) do actually improve performance (false accept/reject trade-off); see eg

This is very important for Detection of Multiple Applications (DMA). Given that DMA is a legitimate aim of the proposed National Identity Scheme, it strikes me as therefore almost impossible to argue logically that the number of biometric samples taken can ever be excessive or disproportionate in an absolute way.

One could argue against taking many biometric samples on grounds of enrolment time/effort, and on the cost of the number of different biometric equipments required at each enrolment station.

There is also a case for limiting the number of templates placed on ID cards to be less than the number available on-line. In particular, in addition to costs of card storage and point of use biometric devices, this is to prevent disclosure of all templates to the risk of artefact attack (eg gummy fingerprint overlay), so holding some in reserve for on-line checks.

Perhaps, even more than the above points, wtwu's underlying concern is that it is wrong to take 10-print sets of fingerprints of the whole population, for forensic use at the whim of any policeman. That is an entirely different matter, where I am in agreement. My view on this is that the police should have access to the NIR, for general searches of this sort, only with a warrant from a high court judge. It is also likely to be desirable for a more senior police officer (eg chief inspector or superintendent) to be able to authorise such checks of the fingerprints of an unidentified and uncooperative person (thought to be UK resident) who has been arrested on a serious charge.

I also recognise that a legitimate case can be made for excluding fingerprints entirely (or above any specified number of "flat prints") to prevent government/police misuse of fingerprints in the NIR for forensic purposes. Currently that is not a view that I hold, but I do see it as a view that is not illogical.

Best regards

I understand that it might seem to be a good idea to keep some literaly "check digit" fingerprints centrally which are not stored on the ID smartcard. However, in real life, how often is a situation likely to occur when this extra complexity and functionailty is likely to be used ?

What situation would ever trigger a request for, the check of say, the left hand little finger print, if for example, both thumb prints are what are usually checked ?

If the two thumb prints check out ok against what is stored on the ID card, then any extra online check for the little finger print is only going to cause confusion, delays and queues.

If one or both thumb prints "fail" against the
stored biometrics on the Card, then why would you not check them first against the central database ? If the presented thumbprints fail against the centarl database, then surely a check against the little finger print is superfluous ?

I do not understand why the Home Office does not take the same approach as with the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, regarding the authorisation and oversight of electronic phone and email intercepts.

The way the Identity Cards Bill is written implies that the even the most junior member of staff in the police or intelligence services can be authorised to have full read access to the National Identity Register, including the detailed audit trail, assuming that the named roles e.g. Director General, Chief Constable etc. of the heads of these organisations are allowed to delegate any such tasks to their subordinates.

Given that biometrics do not offer perfect performance, from time to time an enrolled user will be rejected on the basis of the first biometric check (say 1 or 2 thumbprints).

In this case, a secondary check should be provided (by biometrics or otherwise) and in a way that does not blame or discriminate against the claimant. Checking additional fingers (perhaps on-line) is one form of secondary check.

Checking an additional finger provides additional (rather than replacement) information. Thus the overall result, using the extra fingers, should be more accurate. It would, however, take longer - so is best avoided, except where necessary.

There is also the possibility that the first digit(s) checked are damaged or changed from enrolment, temporarily or permanently.

Checking prints against on-card templates and then against centrally held templates is not useful, unless different templates are stored, or different matching algorithms are used. Although this is possible, it is not particularly beneficial to set up the system that way.

Unfortunately, I have not understood wtwu's point on the RIP Act. My reading of the draft ID bill is the same as wtwu's, that access to the NIR is not adequately restricted concerning authorisation of access by the police and intelligence services.

Best regards

Under RIPA the organisations who have access to your data without your permission are listed, and the authority to ask for phone or other electronic intercept warrants, or for communnications traffic data is laid down according to diffrent, broadly similar ranks of police or intelligence officer etc. e.g. deputy chief constable or above or superindent (for traffic data).

There are well established procedures for a SIngle Point of Contact within each police force or intelligence agency who filter out any excessive or repetitive or illegal request, so as not to waste either the Home Secretary's time or that of the busy commercial organisations who have to comply with these requests (in secret).

Under the Identity Cards Bill, these police and intelligence agencies are only mentioned by reference to the Director General of MI5 the Security Service, the Chief Constable of a Police Force etc. and there are no statutory minimum ranks or roles laid down regarding who can request your private data without your permission.

So, instead of requiring permission from a Judge or even from the so called independent Identity Scheme Commissioner to access a particular person's private National identity Register data without their permissin, the Identity Cards Bill is even more lax in the number of people that could legally request such data. Obviously there may be internal codes of practice, but these are not legally enforcable, and, in any case, the Identity Cards Bill provides a "good faith"/"I thought I was properly authorised" defence against being prosecuted for any illegal discloures.

There do not seem to be any safeguards against speculative trawling or data mining of the entire National Identity Register, or even to prevent cloning it onto another system outside of even the limited regulatory protection offered in the Identity Cards Bill, by one of the authorised police, intelligence, or even , in the future, licensed credit reference agencies etc.

How exactly will it be possible to resist feeding the NIR biometric data into the European Union's Schengen Information System II ?

The Identity Scheme Commissioner looks to have even fewer powers than the various RIPA or Data Protection Commissioners

who are somehow meant to protect our private data from being abused.

Nigel said it more succinctly:

"access to the NIR is not adequately restricted concerning authorisation of access by the police and intelligence services."

I am final year B.TECH i am doing on my final year project(fingerprint door opening system).i donot hava enough knowledge so please send fingerprint compare information.

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

  • lingaraj: sir I am final year B.TECH i am doing read more
  • wtwu: Under RIPA the organisations who have access to your data read more
  • Nigel Sedgwick: Given that biometrics do not offer perfect performance, from time read more
  • wtwu: I understand that it might seem to be a good read more
  • Nigel Sedgwick: wtwu commented above, at July 3, 2005 11:18 PM (that read more
  • wtwu: By email from Dr. Brian Gladman: "Hi Thank you for read more
  • wtwu: The Third Principle of Data Protection, under the Data Protection read more
  • Nigel Sedgwick: Here are some points on the issue of storing full read more
  • Phil Lanch: The question only asked about fingerprints, not about palm prints, read more
  • wtwu: There are also agents of the state who will be 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