May 2006 Archives

The Government has finally published the Corruption Bill 2006, but without bothering to to publish any Explanatory Notes or Regulatory Impact Assessment of the cost and bureaucratic red tape burden which it will impose. How much will it cost the UK taxpayer to enforce ?

It will be interesting to see if this proposed legislation is ever applied to the sleazy world of commercial and political lobbying, special advisors, ex-Ministers and retired senior Civil Servants or senior Military Officers who joining the boards of companies which have bid for large UK Government contracts in which they were involved in etc. These are covered by the non-statutory Ministerial and Civil Service Codes. The Corruption Act 2006 will have criminal penalties.

It may be that even honest civil servants or businessmen etc. will be accused of impropriety, and, given the jobsworth , backside covering, politicallly correct attitude of the Police once an "Official Complaint" has been made, they will be arrested, have their fingerprints and DNA taken etc. and retained until their 100th birthday etc., even if no actual charges are ever brought.

This Bill also appears to be untainted by any hint of practicality or enforcability in regard to inherently corrupt Foreign Government Officals in so many parts of the world see the reports by Transparency International

Like Part 12 of the bodged Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001, brought in by the notorious David Blunkett, which it will repeal, this Bill has no exemptions for our intelligence agencies or military forces or even for charity aid workers overseas:

The Independent reports:

Flights to US at risk after secrecy ruling By Stephen Castle in Brussels Published: 31 May 2006

A deal allowing airlines to hand over confidential passenger data to the United States has been struck down by Europe's highest court, in a move which could result in chaos for transatlantic air travel.

The decision came after complaints that an agreement allowing American officials access to 34 different pieces of passenger information - from credit card details to phone numbers - breaches personal privacy.

The European Court of Justice yesterday threw out the deal, negotiated to satisfy US anti-terror measures, objecting to its legal basis. The court gave the European Union until 30 September to find an alternative solution, leaving officials with a desperate race against the clock to try to resolve the legal muddle.


Just to remind our readers what sort of data the "34 fields" in the Passenger Name Record contain, see our 2 year old posting EU Commission betrays Passenger Name Record data privacy to USA despite EU Parliament for more details of the abbreviations etc.:

UPDATE: This blog article has spawned a greatly expanded, regularly updated, mini-blog of its own:

Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers
Technical Hints and Tips for protecting the anonymity of sources for
Whistleblowers, Investigative Journalists,
Campaign Activists and Political Bloggers etc.
(and other political opponents of Gordon Brown)
by Spy Blog

(Tor Hidden Service)

The Home Office has been "dysfunctional and unfit for purpose" for several years now. It is only recently that the mainstream media has started reporting how bad things actually are.

The "crisis" seems to be fuelled by revelations in the newspapers and the broadcast media, e.g.

Sunday Times: Focus: Home Office in meltdown

The Guardian: Unfit or unfair: was Reid right about the Home Office?

However the Home Office Public Relations spin and disinformation machinery seems to be carrying on regardless, according to The Guardian: Home Office still burying bad news, say reporters

A couple of UK political bloggers are actively soliciting , or have commented on the likelihood of further "leaks" from disgruntled Home Office Civil Servants i.e. not the usual spin doctor briefings and "Whitehall sources" stories planted in the weekend newspapers, ahead of a policy announcement in Parliament, but actual examples of even more incompetence and bad management from whistleblowers elsewhere in the bureaucracy.

Guido Fawkes: The Truth Is Out There : Tell It!

Ian Dale's Diary: Why the Home Office Will Leak Like a Sieve

Ian Dale suggests that whistleblowers may be contacting the Shadow Home Secretary David Davis by email ,

Now, what was that email again? davisd AT parliament dot uk, I seem to remember.

This is something which was done before the Beverly Hughes resignation as Secretary of State for Immigration, Citizenship and Nationality back in 1994, when David Davis was contacted by whistleblowers Steve Moxon in Sheffield and and James Cameron in Bucharest. This episode boosted the political career of David Davis.

However, we asked at the time,
Is the Shadow Home Secretary's email being monitored ?

Our questions about whether or not the 40 year old Wilson Doctrine about "not tapping MPs telephones", has been updated and whether or not it also applies to their mobile phones, faxes and electronic mail, none of which existed when the Wilson Doctrine was uttered in 1966, remain unanswered.

Steve Moxon and James Cameron found that the supposed protections for whistleblowers under employment law, the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 did not seem to help them very much.

Our own experiences of the unfair treatment of a rightly disgruntled Home Office Immigration and Nationality Directorate Field Intelligence Officer bear this out. He was , apparently suspended from duty for contacting Spy Blog with details of his case, under the terms of the Civil Service Code, which forms part of the contract of employment for civil servants.

The fact that this Code is breached every week by Ministers, their Special Advisors, lobbyists, spin doctors etc.

"the duty not to use public resources for party political purposes, to uphold the political impartiality of the Civil Service, and not to ask civil servants to act in any way which would conflict with the Civil Service Code;"

does not make the experience any the less stressful for more junior staff who act as whistleblowers.

"10 Civil servants should not without authority disclose official information which has been communicated in confidence within the Administration, or received in confidence from others. Nothing in the Code should be taken as overriding existing statutory or common law obligations to keep confidential, or to disclose, certain information. They should not seek to frustrate or influence the policies, decisions or actions of Ministers, Assembly Secretaries or the National Assembly as a body by the unauthorised, improper or premature disclosure outside the Administration of any information to which they have had access as civil servants.

Many UK political bloggers are willing to publish controversial or leaked Government documents or memos e.g. all those who offered to Publish the Bomb Al-Jazeera Memo. However, if any of them should be lucky or unlucky enough to actually be the first people to be contacted by a Government whistleblower, they have an ethical duty to protect the identity of their "journalistic source".

This can be a quite difficult, especially if the Government wastes our taxpayers' money on a large scale "leak inquiry", as they have done in the past.

Spy Blog's hints and tips for Home Office (or other Government or corporate) whistleblowers, UK political bloggers and the media: - admittedly these are slightly paranoid, but unfortunately necessary to at least consider, if you plan to shame this media obsessed Labour Government, by becoming a whistleblower:

See our new Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers mini-blog - Technical Hints and Tips for the anonymity of sources for Whistleblowers, Investigative Journalists, Campaign Activists and Political Bloggers

We are getting an increasing number of emails along these lines, from people whose neighbours are installing cheap CCTV cameras for alleged "security" purposes, without bothering to consult their neighbours, over whose property these cameras also overlook:

So where do I go next - working on this on a daily basis - have been to police, planning, CAB, Liberty too and now the ASBO team, my life is hell and nobody can help! I can finally see how law abiding citizens get themselves into big trouble and finally flip am really coming close and where I have always been of the opinion that the Police etc and authorities will see that justice is done - I am fast becoming disheartened - have even in the last 2 days sent an email to parliament. How can this be that my totally mad neighbour is allowed to train a camera at my property and I am powerless- am at wits end - any advice now? Thanks Regards,

BBC 2 television The Money Programme: The Real Big Brother has just been broadcast, but is also available online.

This half hour programme illustrates some, but not all, of the applications of surveillance technologies about which we have been worrtying for years, from CCTV cameras, to the Oyster travel card,, to call centre and warehouse and lorry transport monitoring of employees, to mobile phone tracking with and without the help of GPS satellites, to RFID tags on supermarket shelves and implants under human skin, and beyond.

Chris McDermott from NoTags:

"We are on the cusp of a Privacy Dark Age"

There is a danger that with such a short programme packed full of so many examples of surveillance technologies, each of which deserves a whole programme to itself, to discuss the pros and cons, that this Money Programme will have contributed to the false impression that the use of these technologies is already ubiquitous, and that "they know everything about us already".

This is not yet true, and we can still do something to prevent the balance between business efficiency and "security" from overwhelming our privacy and liberty.

What could be worse than being extradited to foreign country like the USA without any prima facie evidence against you being presented to a British court for challenge by your defence lawyers, like in the cases of Gary McKinnon or Babar Ahmad ?

You could be arrested and extradited to a European Union country, under the supposedly "fast track extradition" European Arrest Warrant.

The first person to have had this dubious honour thrust upon him is Farid Hilali, who, today, has lost his High Court appeal against the decision last June to allow his extradition to Spain on terrorist chrges, connected with the alleged Al Quaeda cell which was broken up in 2001.

Spanish prosecutors claimed he telephoned Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas, the alleged head of the Madrid al-Qaida cell, in August 2001 and talked of entering "the field of aviation" and "cutting the bird's throat" - an apparent reference to the American bald eagle.

Except of course, that during the multi-defendant trial in which, Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas was sentenced, the Spanish court dismissed all of the telephone intercept evidence as being "untrustworthy".

"The judges dismissed evidence of recorded telephone calls used by the prosecution, saying they were misleading and often based on misunderstandings of the Arabic language."

There are still lots of unanswered questions about the alleged phone calls to or from Peckham and New Cross in London.

There does not appear to be any actual evidence to link Farid Hilali with the mobile phone(s) which an unknown person named or codednamed "Shakur" spoke in such coded terms with Yarkas, from i.e. they were not fouund in his Farid Hilali's possession, and there does not seem to be any DNA or fingerprint evidence which links him to these mobile phones, if they even still exist anywhere.

The only thing to link Farid Hilali as "Shakur" is an alleged "voice analysis" by the Spanish secret authorities, which was not done until May 2003.

"Voice analysis" is hardly an incontrovertible forensic technique which cannot be challenged in court.

Given that mobile phone calls are entirely digital and are synthesised from "phoneme" building blocks, it is entirely possible to digitally fake such an alleged intercepted phone call to resemble the "voice" of a suspect.

Even if not faked, or selectively and misleadingly digitally edited, how can anyone be sure that the vague and unspecific words used were not mis-translated from Arabic ? What direct proof is there that they had anything to do with the September 11th 2001 terrorist hijacking suicide murders ?

Remember also, that if Farid Hilali was being tried in England under the Terrorism Act which he was arrested under, then Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, Section 17 Exclusion of matters from legal proceedings would apply to all this alleged phone intercept "evidence", which would be indamissable in Court.

Why is there no mention of Farid Hilali in the extensive and exhaustive reports by US Congressional Commisions ad Committees into these attacks ?

How can it be right to extradite anyone on such flimsy, entirely digital and easly faked or misinterpreted, circumstantial evidence ?

One would have thought that such evidence would have been challenged in a British court during the extradition hearing, but, remember, thanks to the NuLabour Extradition Act 2003, no such evidence is required anymore. Since this comes under Part 1 of the Act, there is no longer even a role for the Home Secretary to decide on the case either.

Call us old fashioned, but we think that some actual positive, evidence should be brought before a British court, for a sanity check, before anyone is arrested and extradited from the UK to a foreign country.

For all we know, Farid Hilali could be a peripheral associate of terrorist plotters, but this is not justice, and it does not make us any safer against real terrorists, it just weakens our freedoms and liberties, which is exactly what the terrorist extremists want to achieve.

Do you have confidence in the Home Office or the Metropolitan Police etc. that they are doing their duty to protect us from terrorist enemies, whilst at the same time preserving our freedoms and liberties, which are exactly what the terrorists are trying to destroy ?

We are reminded of our previous blog posting in the wake of last July's bomb attacks in London - ""How many "terrorist suspects" do you know ? How many "terrorist suspects" know you ?"

Will we get any meaningful answers tomorrow morning, when David Mery puts a Question to the controversial Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Ian Blair, at a meeting of the Metropolitan Police Authority ?

David Mery's Question:

What exactly is going on at the Home Office ?

Tony McNulty and Liam Byrne now seem to have swapped roles as Ministers for State, after only two working weeks in office !

It is astonishing that Tony McNulty is still a Minister, given the utter mess which the Immigration and Nationality Directorate, and the National Identity Register scheme has been in under his direct "leadership".

These are not quite straight job swaps, as there seems to be some extra responsibility expected of each of the 3 Ministers of State, although what these extra long job titles actually mean in practice is a mystery - they should already have been part of these Ministerial roles.

Simply putting the words "cross departmental responsibility" in their titles will do nothing to break down the lack of internal communications and "jobsworth" attitudes within the Home Office bureaucracy.

Liam Byrne is now " Minister of State for nationality, citizenship and immigration with cross departmental responsibility for delivery",

Tony McNulty is now "Minister of State for policing, security and community safety with cross departmental responsibility for parliamentary business"

Baroness Scotland of Asthal QC is " Minister of State for criminal justice and offender management with cross departmental responsibility for legal advice."

John Reid announces his ministerial team

What with one thing and another, last week, we missed the first speech in the Commons of the new Home Office Minister of State for Policing, Security and Community Safety Liam Byrne

This was in response to a proposed amendment to the Police and Justice Bill, proposing increased penalties under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000: Part III Investigation of Electronic Data Protected by Encryption etc. Power to require disclosure in cases involving child pornography.

This amendment was withdrawn, after
this promise by Liam Byrne that the Government would come up with similar proposals, following public consultation on a draft statutory code of practice.

The Department for Transport and Transport for London are continuing with a second phase of their dubious anti-terrorist bomb technology "trials". A month's trial started today at the Canary Wharf Tube station, with a later trial due at Greenford.

The Government should not be wasting public money on going through the motions of pretending to "vigourously test" explosive detectors of any sort at ticket barriers or platforms. Even they admit the obvious, that the disruption to the rail and tube systems which this would cause, if widely deployed, would be intolerable.

Instead, they should be devoting resources to portable equipment for speeding up the examination of "suspicious" abandoned parcels, packages and bags which lead to so many false alarms. There are literally thousands of disruptions of public transport caused either by a few delibarate "bomb hoaxes" or, mostly, by the idiotic thoughlessness of members of the public.

Perhaps there is a case for trained staff and such equipment, including bomb disposal "robots" etc. to be pre-deployed at every Tube and Railway station, to speed up the response to such incidents, so that they can be dealt with in minutes rather than hours, as at present.

Trying to report a suspicious package at even a supposedly well staffed Station can be a frustrating experience, as the Reverend Rat testifies

Ministerial Statement by Douglas Alexander the Minister for Transport, and, peculiarly, like his predecessor before the re-shuffle, also the Minister for Scotland, on Tuesday 16th May 2006:

If you thought that yesterday's debates on controversial Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill were difficult to follow, then today's list of Amendments is even more obscure.

What is clear is that since all the Government Amendments were "programmed" or "guillotined" to be dealt with yesterday, somehow, as if by magic, the one Government amendment which we saw as a partial concession, New Clause 26, which would have prevented the Human Rights Act 1998 from being amended or repealed , by Order, and whiich would partially have prevented the new legislation from being used to self-modify itself, has been dropped !

Does this have anything to do with the fact that the Prime Minister Tony Blair came out with a weekend spin and disinformation attack on the Human Rights Act, in response to the tabloid headlines of last week ?

There are some Opposition amendments which would also do prevent self-modificaation and more, however, it would be incredible if the Government preferred these to their own amendments, of which there are at least 75 Government Amendments tabled in the name of Hilary Armstrong. to be considered by the end of today's debate.

None of today's Government amendments provide even the weak constitutional safeguards of the Government's own New Clause 26, which now appears to have been lost.

[UPDATE: the New Clause 26 was passed, but without any word of debate, right at the very end of the debate on Monday see the comments below]

Feel free to double the number of people thinking about this incredibly obscure, yet constitutionally vital debate over at the Save Parliament blog if their "live blogging" thread is up an running today, or comment on it here.

"Live blogging" of the Commons Report Stage of the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill is available at Save Parliament Blog

Oliver Heald MP, leading for the Conservative Opposition did mention "blogsites" in his thanks to the various bodies who brought the "Abolition of Parliament" aspects of the Bill to the attention of Parliamentarians , if not the general public.

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Pat McFadden seems to be an almost exact clone of the previous Cabinet Office Minister Jim Murphy: he just keeps repeating the "trust us, we won't do anything bad with these powers, but we won't put that promise explicitly into the text of the Bill" nonsense.

Undecided what to blog about - which would you prefer ?

  1. The massive NSA unauthorised and probably illegal domestic communications data traffic scandal revealed by USA Today, and its implications for the UK and the European Union Data retention plans, and its obvious failure to catch any real Al Queda terrorists ?

  2. The replacement for Andy Burnham as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Immigration, Citizenship and Nationality at the Home Office, Joan Ryan, struggling with the technicalties of ID Cards, Machine Readable Travel Documents, contactless chips and Basic Authentication Control ? What is to prevent these new Biometric Passports from being used to trigger terrorist bombs aimed at specific individuals or nationalities?

  3. The Independent on Sunday's story about the Trident investigation at the Department for Work and Pensions and HM Revenue & Customs, showing a much greater "identity theft" problem than has so far emerged during the Tax Credits scandal, involving criminal gangs and authorised civil service insiders, and the obvious implications for the National Identity Register ?

    Has anyone else in the UK blogged about these topics ?

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster i.e. the new Cabinet Office Minister Hilary Armstrong, has now published a further set of amendments to the controversial Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill.

There is a welcome concession on not amending the Human Rights Act::

Excepted enactments

Hilary Armstrong


To move the following Clause:—

'An order under this Part may not make provision amending or repealing any provision of—

(a) this Part; or

(b) the Human Rights Act 1998 (c. 42).'.

Note that the wording of this clause refers to this "Part" i.e. only to Part 1 Power to reform legislation etc. of the Bill, and does not prevent this proposed legislation from being used to self modify the other Parts:

  • Part 2 Regulators

  • Part 3 Legislation relating to the European Communities etc.

  • Part 4 Supplementary and General

That still leaves the Bill with the power to amend or repeal or modify any other bit of legislation or regulation.

There are some Opposition amendments which might provide some constitutional safeguards, but , on past performance, it is doubtful if these will get through.

Home Secretary John Reid has a difficult job to do .

In the next 6 weeks he has to consider representations, and to decide whether or not to allow the extradition of Gary McKinnon to the USA to take place.

Is he up to "doing the right thing" and supporting the principles of British justice and fair play, by refusing to send Gary McKinnon to the USA, and , instead, trying him here in the UK ? Or will he just rubber stamp the process, and display the same weaknesses as his predecessor ?

You can sign the following Pledgebank Pledge at

"I will Make a Representation to the Home Secretary on behalf of Gary McKinnon but only if 10 United Kingdom voters will do likewise."

You can also sign up by via Mobile Phone. Send the words pledge FreeGary to 60022 (UK only, standard rate text message tarrif)

Hopefully at least 10 people will have signed this pledge in a month's time, by 8th June 2006.

UPDATE: the modest target of 10 signers of the pledge has already been reached, within a couple of hours.

You can still sign until the 8th June to show support for Gary McKinnon.

The Home Office has at last published the roles and responsibilities of their new junior Ministers, after the purge / re-shuffle last Friday.

This re-shuffle saw the "Communities" etc. functions of the Home Office subsumed by the former Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, which has now been rebranded as the Department for Communities and Local Government under Ruth Kelly. Obviously they still have not yet bothered to sort out a new domain name like

The Home Office, which is run by Permanent Secretary Sir David Normington, now has to try to work with this bunch of NuLabour "talent":

Secretary of State for the Home Department (Home Secretary) - Rt Hon John Reid MP for Airdrie and Shotts (central Scotland)

The BBC reports

Call for ban over MSP phone taps

The Scottish National Party is calling for MSPs to be given immunity from phone tapping by MI5 security officers.

Under rules introduced by Harold Wilson in the 60s, MPs are immune from surveillance by MI5.


South of Scotland MSP Christine Grahame said she had received confirmation from BT that her phone had been tapped by someone.

The Wilson Doctrine was introduced in 1966 amid fears that security service surveillance of MPs could undermine democracy.

We have asked questions about whether or not Members of the Scottish Parliament, Members of the Welsh Assembly, Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly, UK members of the European Parliament, or foreign Members of the European Parliament, are or are not covered by the "Wilson Doctrine", which pre-dates all of these institutions

Our questions and the Parliamentary Questions tabled by Liberal Democrat MP Dr. Vincent Cable have, so far, been stonewalled by Tony Blair and the bureaucracy, but they do still need to be answered.

What about the parliament of the Isle of Man, the Tynwald ?

What about the Channel Islands i.e. the States Assembly of Jersey ?
and the States of Deliberation in Guernsey ?

What about the House of Lords in Westminster ?

What is so difficult about a general statement of principle, which would not reveal any interception technology techniques, or say anything about any current criminal or intelligence investigations ?

Professor Martin Gill is due to lecture on CCTV surveillance:policy:

2:15pm Wednesday 17th May 2006

Lecture Theatre 1 - William Gates Building,
Computer Laboratory
University of Cambridge

Directions and Map

CCTV in the UK: A Failure of Theory or A Failure of Practice?

Martin Gill

Although CCTV was heralded as something of a silver bullet in the fight against crime (and by two Governments) scholarly research has questioned the extent to which it 'works'. Martin Gill led the Home Office national evaluation on CCTV and has subsequently conducted more research with CCTV schemes across the country. In this talk he will outline the findings from the national evaluation and assess the views of the public, scheme workers and offenders' perspectives (including showing film clips of offenders talking at crime scenes) to show just why CCTV has not worked out as many considered. Martin will relate these findings to the current development of a national strategy.

The controversial Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill seems to have lost its sponsor, the former Parliamentary Under-Secretary Jim Murphy at the Cabinet Office, who has been re-shuffled and promoted to become Minister of State (Work) at the Department for Work and Pensions.

It seems unlikely that either of the two newly appointed Cabinet Office Parliamentary Secretaries Pat McFadden MP for Wolverhampton South East or Ed Miliband MP for Doncaster will take up this controversial Bill.

Surely something as important as this Bill should be dealt with personally by the newly appointed Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, Hilary Armstrong MP for North West Durham who was the Government Chief Whip (Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury, HM Treasury).

This position had been left vacant when the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill was introduced.

Altenatively, the other Cabinet Office Minister who might take this on is the Minister without Portfolio Hazel Blears MP for Salford, whose experience of Orwellian newspeak and doublethink, and the grabbing of catch-all, infinite legislative powers at the Home Office, might be called into play.

Most Home Office Ministers purged

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One would have thought that the Home Office Ministers directly responsible for the Immigration department (Tony McNulty), and for the Prison system (Baroness Scotland) would have resigned over the foreign convicts non-deportation scandal.

However, Tony Blair's Cabinet re-shuffle has left both of these Ministers of State in office, but has swept away all the other Home Office Ministers !

The heavy losses suffered by the Labour party in Local Elections on Thursday, seems to have prompted the timing of the Ministerial re-shuffle announced on Friday. This is presumably designed to try to distract the media and wekend press. from the bad political news for Tony Blair.

The Home Office Ministerial team used to look like this:

Home Secretary - Rt Hon Charles Clarke MP

  • Minister of State for Policing, Security and Community Safety -Rt Hon Hazel Blears MP
    • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Paul Goggins MP

  • Minister of State for Criminal Justice and Offender Management - Baroness Scotland of Asthall QC
    • Parliamentary Under-Secretary - Fiona Mactaggart MP

  • Minister of State Immigration, Citizenship and Nationality - Tony McNulty
    • Parliamentary Under-Secretary - Andy Burnham MP

After the re-shuffle:

Home Secretary - Rt Hon John Reid MP for Airdrie and Shotts (central Scotland)

  • Minister of State for Policing, Security and Community Safety
    - Liam Byrne MP for Birmingham Hodge Hill

    • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - ?

  • Minister of State for Criminal Justice and Offender Management - Baroness Scotland of Asthall QC
    • Parliamentary Under-Secretary - ?

  • Minister of State Immigration, Citizenship and Nationality - Tony McNulty
    • Parliamentary Under-Secretary - ?

Charles Clarke has resigned / been sacked and returns to the backbenches.

The odious Andy Burnham has been "promoted" to become a Minister of State at the Department of Health.

Paul Goggins has been moved sideways at the same level to become Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Northern Ireland office.

Fiona Mactaggart has resigned and returned to the backbenches. Was she pushed, or did this former Chair of a human rights organisation actually find her conscience again after her stint inside the repressive NuLabour Home Office ?

So which of the announced Parliamentary Under-Secretary junior ministerial posts belongs to which of these new junior Ministers ?

  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Joan Ryan MP for Enfield North (London)

    Previously a Lords Commissioner, HM Treasury i.e. a Government Whip

  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Vernon Coaker MP for Gedling (north Nottingham)

    Previously a Lords Commissioner, HM Treasury i.e. a Government Whip

  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Gerry Sutcliffe MP for Bradford South

    Previously Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs), Department of Trade and Industry

Which one of them will have been handed the poisoned chalice of having to try to justify the National Identity Register / ID cards scheme and the National DNA Database, instead of Andy Burnham ?

Neither the main Home Office website, nor their Press Release website, give any clue. Their General Enquiries number is unmanned over the weekend and their Press Office number is constantly busy.

No doubt some favoured journalist or other will eventually be briefed, probably before the Public, or the Home Office staff or Parliament.

What now for the Home Office ?

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This morning's Cabinet re-shuffle has seen John Reid replace Charles Clarke as Home Secretary. Charles Clarke returns to the back benches - hooray !

Hazel Blears appears to have been moved to be Labour Party chairwoman. Who will replace her as Minister of State (Policing, Security and Community Safety) ?

What this means for the other Home Office Ministers or for the Permanent Secretary Sir David Normington, is still unclear.

John Reid is now on his 7th. (?) Ministerial position. He has only exhibited slavish loyalty to Tony Blair, without any notable achievements in any of the Departments where he has served.

As an MP for a Scottish constituency, (Airdrie and Shotts) , the "West Lothian Question" applies i.e. John Reid will be presumably making some laws which only affect England & Wales, whilst not being electorally accountable to English or Welsh voters.

He does not appear to have any grasp of complicated technical issues, as can be seen from his legacies of the complicated, insecure and hugely expensive National Health Service IT "data spine" scheme and the tradional complexities of Ministry of Defence weapons and IT systems.

We still remember his stupid utterances about ID Cards and terrorism during the General Election campaign.

John Reid is alleged to have had some role in the debate within Cabinet over the "Wilson Doctrine"

Is John Reid's self proclaimed "political tough guy" image justified, will he be the strong leader needed to effectively reform the Home Office, or, like David Blunkett and Charles Clarke before him, prove to be a combination of bullying and ineptitude ?

In an announcement which, presumably for news spin management purposes, was timed to coincide with the Local Elections, the junior Cabinet Office Minister Jim Murphy has published 10 pages of Amendments to the controversial Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill 2006

These Amendments do not allay our concerns about the Constitutional dangers which this Bill presents:

  • There is still no explcit limitation, written into the text of the Bill via these Amendments, which would prevent the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act being used to modify itself.

  • It will still apply to any Act of Parliament including the Human Rights Act, Habeas Corpus, the Civil Contingencies Act, the various Terrorism Acts etc. i.e. there is still no list of exempted Acts of Parliament as was suggested by the Opposition during the Committee stage.

  • It will still apply to any rule of the Common Law.

  • The amendments do not change the totally inadequate "consultation" arrangements proposed in the Bill - i.e. the Minister can hand pick exactly who he chooses to consult with, and then ignore their suggestions, on a whim. There is no requirement even to follow the Cabinet Office's own Code on 12 week public consultations.

The only alleged "safeguards" are a strengthened role for some Parliamentary Committees.

We have already pointed out, this would be still on a "take it or leave it basis" when considering an Order, so , if the Order is a multi-part one, covering several non-controversial reforms, with only one or two controversial bits buried deep within it, the chances are that the inevitably Government dominated Committees will just rubber stamp such Orders.

There is talk of reducing the "burden" of legislation or regulation. There is nothing in these amendments which would prevent this or a future Government from "reducing the burden" of say the system of Appeal Courts or the Human Rights Act, etc. by simply abolishing them, by Order.

There is still nothing to prevent existing Primary Legislation from being widened and extended in scope, without full Parliamenatry scrutiny with the opportunity for Opposition amendments, as befits changes to Primary Legislation. This could easily be applied to draconian anti-terrorism powers, which carry a life sentence.

Read the proposed Governnment Amendments (.pdf) and judge for yourselves.

Apart from the utterly disgraceful deportation of foreign convicts scandal, which emerged last week, Home Secretary Charles Clarke also demonstrated his lack of a grip on the Home Office's internet publishing empire.

How can people who do not appear to know the state of their own "corporate", public facing websites, ever be trusted to securely deliver far more complicated IT systems like the National Identity Register scheme ?

Apparently, according to Charles Clarke's Parliamentary Written Answer, the Home Office "operates 40 websites" - except, of course, it does not !

Written answers Thursday, 27 April 2006

Norman Baker (Lewes, Liberal Democrat) :

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list (a) the websites operated by his Department and (b) the reports placed on the internet in March 2006, indicating in each case whether paper copies were also made available.

Charles Clarke (Home Secretary):

As of 21 April 2006, the Home Office operates 40 websites.

The core Home Office website also has a number of sub-domains, such as, which act as portal sites for practitioners around policy issues.

After a major redevelopment in September 2005, which brought nine separate websites under the main Home Office domain, a plan is under way to consolidate all of our sites by March 2007.

The Home Office does not keep a central record of all of the reports published on its websites. The information requested about numbers of reports published on the internet in March 2006—and also made available in paper copy—can therefore not be collected without incurring disproportionate cost.

So much for a coherent Web Document Publishing system with version control, which would have given the answer within a few seconds.

The Written Answer then lists the URLs of the websites . However several of them refer to non-existant website URLs , some with non-existant sub-domains and some with entirely non-existant domain names. There are even Extranet websites to which the public has no access, which should not have been listed in this Written Answer at all.l

Is it really too much to expect, in the 21st Century, that whoever compiled this list, and Charles Clarke, who signed his name to the Written Answer, should at least have attempted to click on each of the URLs and visited each website listed ?

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

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UK Legislation

The United Kingdom suffers from tens of thousands of pages of complicated criminal laws, and thousands of new, often unenforceable criminal offences, which have been created as a "Pretend to be Seen to Be Doing Something" response to tabloid media hype and hysteria, and political social engineering dogmas. These overbroad, catch-all laws, which remove the scope for any judicial appeals process, have been rubber stamped, often without being read, let alone properly understood, by Members of Parliament.

The text of many of these Acts of Parliament are now online, but it is still too difficult for most people, including the police and criminal justice system, to work out the cumulative effect of all the amendments, even for the most serious offences involving national security or terrorism or serious crime.

Many MPs do not seem to bother to even to actually read the details of the legislation which they vote to inflict on us.

UK Legislation Links

UK Statute Law Database - is the official revised edition of the primary legislation of the United Kingdom made available online, but it is not yet up to date.

UK Commissioners

UK Commissioners some of whom are meant to protect your privacy and investigate abuses by the bureaucrats.

UK Intelligence Agencies

intelligence_gov_uk_150.gif - Cabinet Office hosted portal website to various UK Intelligence Agencies and UK Government intelligence committees and Commissioners etc.

Anti-terrorism hotline - links removed in protestClimate of Fear propaganda posters

MI5 Security Service
MI5 Security Service - links to encrypted reporting form removed in protest at the Climate of Fear propaganda posters

syf_logo_120.gif Secure Your Ferliliser logo
Secure Your Fertiliser - advice on ammonium nitrate and urea fertiliser security

cpni_logo_150.gif Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure
Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure - "CPNI provides expert advice to the critical national infrastructure on physical, personnel and information security, to protect against terrorism and other threats."

SIS MI6 careers_logo_sis.gif
Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) recruitment.

Government Communications Headquarters GCHQ

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

Defence Advisory (DA) Notice system - voluntary self censorship by the established UK press and broadcast media regarding defence and intelligence topics via the Defence, Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee.

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

Campaign Button Links

Watching Them, Watching Us - UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign
UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign

NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card
NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card and National Identity Register centralised database.

Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.
Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.

FreeFarid_150.jpg - Kafkaesque extradition of Farid Hilali under the European Arrest Warrant to Spain

Peaceful resistance to the curtailment of our rights to Free Assembly and Free Speech in the SOCPA Designated Area around Parliament Square and beyond
Parliament Protest blog - resistance to the Designated Area restricting peaceful demonstrations or lobbying in the vicinity of Parliament.

Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans
Data Retention is No Solution - Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans.

Save Parliament: Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)
Save Parliament - Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)

Open Rights Group

The Big Opt Out Campaign - opt out of having your NHS Care Record medical records and personal details stored insecurely on a massive national centralised database.

Tor - the onion routing network
Tor - the onion routing network - "Tor aims to defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal anonymity and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security. Communications are bounced around a distributed network of servers called onion routers, protecting you from websites that build profiles of your interests, local eavesdroppers that read your data or learn what sites you visit, and even the onion routers themselves."

Tor - the onion routing network
Anonymous Blogging with Wordpress and Tor - useful Guide published by Global Voices Advocacy with step by step software configuration screenshots (updated March 10th 2009).

Amnesty International's campaign

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

NGO in a box - Security Edition privacy and security software tools

Home Office Watch blog, "a single repository of all the shambolic errors and mistakes made by the British Home Office compiled from Parliamentary Questions, news reports, and tip-offs by the Liberal Democrat Home Affairs team."

Reporters Without Borders - Reporters Sans Frontières - campaign for journalists 'and bloggers' freedom in repressive countries and war zones.

Committee to Protect Bloggers - "devoted to the protection of bloggers worldwide with a focus on highlighting the plight of bloggers threatened and imprisoned by their government."

Icelanders are NOT terrorists ! - despite Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling's use of anti-terrorism legislation to seize the assets of Icelandic banks.

No CCTV - The Campaign Against CCTV


I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist !


Power 2010 cross party, political reform campaign


Cracking the Black Box - "aims to expose technology that is being used in inappropriate ways. We hope to bring together the insights of experts and whistleblowers to shine a light into the dark recesses of systems that are responsible for causing many of the privacy problems faced by millions of people."


Open Rights Group - Petition against the renewal of the Interception Modernisation Programme