June 2006 Archives

The controversial Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill starts its Committee stage in the House of Lords next week on Monday 3rd July.

One puzzling bit in the list of Amendments is:

The above-named Lords give notice of their intention to oppose the Question that Clause 3 stand part of the Bill.

Clause 3 of the Bill is the Power to implement Law Commission recommendations
i.e. a major part of the Bill as originally presented, and as voted on in the Commons,

However, Lord Bassam of Brighton is the NuLabour Government Minister pushing the Bill through the Lords.

Does this mean that Clause 3 is set to be abandoned ?

Does this mean that the Government is supporting an Opposition amendment, or has some sort of backroom deal be done to defer consideration until a later stage ? Initially we thought that there must be an error in the published
Marshalled List of Amendments to be moved in committee printed on 29th June 2006, but apparently this is not so.

Communications Traffic Data from mobile phones is in the media today:

The Sunday Telegraph came up with a story yesterday:
"Army wives get phone death threats from Iraq", which has been quoted by the online versions of their rival media yesterday, e.g. Mail on Sunday, or The Press Association.

Today's tabloids like The Sun or even The Times are also running this story, without bothering to follow it up with any more investigations, and without any credit the Sunday Telegraph at all, which is unethical, and something which most bloggers who comment on this story, hopefully will not emulate.

We are sceptical about the details and claims made in these stories, and in the supposed briefing document leaked by the Territorial Army London Regiment.

  • Lots of people get "nuisance calls" in the UK

  • Lots of people get "silent calls" from automated dialing machines waiting not to hear a fax or modem tone, and then pass the call on to a call centre worker, who then tries to sell them mobile phones or kitchen units or double glazing etc. Many times these systems fail to hand over to a busy call centre , hence the "silent calls".

  • What evidence is there that these "20 nuisance calls" have actually originated from Iraq ? Dialing 1471 will not reveal the number which has called, neither from a foreign based call centre. nor from the alleged "Iraqui insurgents".

The Territorial Army document supposedly says:

The document warns soldiers preparing to take part in operations that insurgents in southern Iraq have managed to obtain the home telephone numbers of soldiers by using electronic intercept devices to hack into mobile phone systems.


The military document states that there have been "many instances in the last weeks of relatives and friends of personnel serving abroad on operations getting nuisance phone calls" from Iraq.

It adds: "Investigations indicate that the 'callers' of these nuisance calls have acquired the numbers from personnel using their own mobiles to phone. This is fairly easy using today's technology. It makes no difference whether the mobile is of UK origin or sourced abroad.

Such claims are exrtremely hard to believe. Why did these supposedly professional journalists not check such claims with some mobile phone network experts ?

Sealand, housed just outside UK coastal waters in the Thames Estuary, has caught fire on Friday 23rd June 2006, according to the EADT24 local newspaper.

Ryan Lackey and other cypherpunks are no longer associated with the HavenCo secure internet hosting company and the attempt to establish a Data Haven which flourished there in Sealand for a while..


Harwich Lifeboat Station has some images of the fire and rescue operation at "The Roughs Towers".

Details of the damage:

The New York Times has a story "Bank Data Secretly Reviewed by U.S. to Fight Terror" which reports that US Intelligence agencies have had access to the Belgium based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) financial network which serves over 7,800 international banks, and handles the majority of the world's international bank money transfers in over 200 countries.

We have no problem with this sort of information being handed over for specfic, limited, terrorist investigations, but, as always seems to be the case, the temptation to speculatively "data trawl" through as much data, from as many innocent people as possible, was too much for the bureaucrats to ignore.

Shamefully the UK print and broadcast media have chosen not to bother to analyse any of the implications for the United Kingdom, of this story, which has now been confirmed by the US Vice President Dick Cheney..

The UK political blogspace / blogosphere does not seem to have realised the implications of this story either, and how it could affect Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown's announced plans for a "Bletchley Park" type effort to supposedly track terrorist funding, part of his campaign to be seen as the next Prime Minister.

Lord Carlile of Berriew Q.C is the independent reviewer of the complicated Terrorism legislation in the UK.

Thanks to David Mery for pointing us to Lord Carlile's latest annual report:

Report on the operation in 2005 of the Terrorism Act 2000 (66 page .pdf)

This is worth reading, although the media have only picked up on his call for more Customs & Excise officers to be on duty at UK ports and airports and for the better scrutiny of private executive jets etc. ("General Aviation").

The fact that only £9,318 of allegedly terrorist cash was seized in 2005 under the Terrorism Act 2000, seems to emphasise Gordon Brown's failures to clamp down on terrorist finances, as shown by his "I am not just the Chancellor, I have experience of secret anti-terrorism stuff as well, therefore I should become Prime Minister" speech to the Royal United Services Institute in February, which seemed to threaten a whole new level of secret snooping on the world's financial systems, on a similar scale to the WW2 "Enigma" cryptanalysis efforts at Bletchley Park.

Lord Carlile would like some information from the general Public, as well as from the Government and security authority vested interests:

The Police and Justice Bill starts its Committee stage in the House of Lords tomorrow, Tuesday 20th June 2006.

As with all Home Office Bills these days, there is much to occupy their Lordships with, which the Commons failed to sort out properly.

There are a few Amendments tabled regarding the controversial changes to the Computer Misuse Act 1990 in Clauses 39 to 41 of the Police and Justice Bill, especially the one dealing with the question of "belief" in the new "hacking tools" offence:

So the Home Secretary John Reid has caved in to tabloid newspaper pressure and is sending his junior Minister Gerry Sutcliffe on a taxpayer funded summer holiday "fact finding mission" to the United States to examine child molester "naming and shaming" laws (the term "paedophile" meaning "child lover" is a cruel euphemism akin to Orwellian newspeak)

Exactly how much will this trip cost us, when, according to the BBC

New offenders law 'not necessary'

An expert in rehabilitating sex offenders says a government fact-finding trip to the US is a waste of money.

Ray Wyre was speaking about minister Gerry Sutcliffe's examination of a sex offender system in the US called Megan's Law.

The trip was not needed, he said, because the law has already been investigated by officials.

Eighty per cent of sexual abuse is on children in families, he said.

"They're not going notify the community about those men because they're not allowed to identify who the children are.

"And it just worries me that a new home secretary comes and doesn't appear to know what his department, his government has been doing for years and years, and why they came up with sex offender register, multi-agency public protection panels."


We have extreme doubts about the failed US approach, especially with public web access to such data. We wrote this back on 1st March this year -
Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Bill 2006 - when did you stop beating your child ? (N.B. this Bill gets its 2nd Reading in the Commons on Monday 19th June):

Abu Bakr Mansha is back in the news. He is currently serving 6 years in prison for the "thought crime" of possessing the out of date address of a serving British soldier and Iraq war hero, written on a copy of The Sun newspaper, under the controversial Terrorism Act 2000 Section 58 Collection of information - he was not convicted of any actual threatening behavior or possession of weapons or of conspiracy with other people etc.

Today The Sunday Mirror has a story which links the "educationally subnormal with an IQ of 69" Abu Bakr Mansha
with the botched Operation Volga police raid on the house in Forest Gate, in East London, which failed to find any evidence of any "chemical device" and led to the arrest brothers Abul Koyair and Abul Kaha (who was shot in the shoulder during the raid), who are described as childhood friends of Abu Bakr Mansha.

The directed surveillance operation by either the Metropolitan Police or the Security Service MI5, also appears to have been bungled, "Everyone knew about the surveillance - children were knocking on car windows asking officers who they were watching"

The Sunday Mirror article:

We should have picked up on this earlier, but then so should lots of other people:

Consultation on the Revised Statutory Code for Acquisition and Disclosure of Communications Data - Chapter II of Part I of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000

See the
Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 Part I Chapter II

The (.pdf) document:

Consultation paper, and Revised Statutory Code on the Acquisition and Disclosure of Communications Data (278K )

This current Home Office Public Consultation on Communications Traffic Data, has had even less media or blogger or privacy or security activists attention, than the one on RIPA Part III Encrypted Data and Encryption Keys

The (.pdf) document also uses non-standard fonts, which present a small technical barrier for many people who are simply trying to Copy and Paste portions of text to quote in their submissions to the Public Consultation, so feel free to use our HTML version if you prefer.

Our RIPA Part I Chapter II consultation blog:


As with the RIPA Part III consultation blog, if anybody does not feel up to writing a full submission, leave your comments on the relevant section, and we will summarise them in our formal response, again by the closing date of 30th August 2006.

This Monday 19th June, the House of Lords is set to rubber stamp a couple of Draft Statutory Instruments relating to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000

Former Appeal Court Judge Sir Charles Mantell has been appointed as a Surveillance Commissioner by the Prime Minister from 1st July 2006 until 30th June 2009. See the Office of Surveillance Commissioners website for details of what they do under RIPA etc.

The Draft Statutory Instruments:

Adam Laurie has published his first go at reading the new ISO 14443B contactless chip in a new style UK "Biometric" Passport (no fingerprints or iris scans are stored in the "Biometric" Passports , yet, only a digitised photo image)

This standard seems to be the one which will also be used in the UK Identity Cards, especially the ones which are valid for travel within the European Union, according to this Written Answer to Adam Holloway MP

The chip seems to be generating a pseudo-random id number, something which is not specified in the International Civil Aviation organisation's Machine Readable Travel Document specifications, but which companies like Axalto (formerly owned by Schlumberger) also seem to be doing with US "Biometric" Passports.

Unless and until such a feature is agreed internationally as a modified ICAO standard, then these "Biometric" passports will be internationally incompatible, and a waste of time and money.

However since the tests were only on one example Passport, that says nothing about any underlying weaknesses in the collision avoidance protocol, which could still allow individual remote tracking or to be used to target individuals or groups in terrorist attacks. (see "Security and Privacy Issues in E-passports" by Ari Juels, David Molnar, and David Wagner)

This UK "Biometric" passport still appears to be vulnerable to already demonstrated "man-in-the-middle" relay attacks which have already been shown to work with cheap equipment by Gerhard Hancke

The "not fit for purpose" Home Office has chosen to publish their Public Consultation paper and Draft Code of Conduct on Part III of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, the bit that was meant to deal with Government or Police access to Encrypted Data or Encryption Keys, but which has lain dormant on the Statute Book for 6 years, as a (.pdf) file with obscure fonts, making it it hard for most people to Copy and Paste the text.

Therefore, we have, with some assistance from a Spy Blog reader JR, created a mini-blog to help with this Public Consultation.

We have converted the text of the Consultation paper and the Draft Code of Conduct into HTML, so that people can Copy and Paste it into their own submissions to the Public Consultation.

Please comment or send your own submission, if you are involved in e-commerce, or internet banking, or care about the fundamental principle of "innocent until proven guilty", or if you care about online privacy and strong cryptography issues.

Even if you feel daunted by the task of submitting a full submission on this complicated topic, to the Public Consultation, please feel free to leave comments on any of the sections on the blog.

We will summarise these as part of our submission to the Home Office by August 20th 2006.

Our RIPA Part 3 consultation blog is at:


As a reminder of the "UK Crypto Wars", have a look at the Foundation for Information Policy Research's RIPA archive

RIPA Part III consultation

| | Comments (3)

The Home Office has published, with as little fanfare as possible (paper published on Tuesday, press release only on Friday), the threatened public consultation on RIPA Part III - after a delay of over 6 years !

The introductory blurb:
Consultation on the Draft Code of Practice for the Investigation of Protected Electronic Information - Part III of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000

The document:
Consultation paper, and Draft Statutory Code of Practice on Investigation of Protected Electronic Data (293 K )
(.pdf with non-standard fonts, presumably to make it harder to copy and paste any of the text)

The consultation closes on 30 August 2006.

Emai: encryption@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

by post:

Graeme McGowan
Covert Investigation Policy Team
Home Office
5th Floor
Peel Building
2 Marsham Street
London SW1P 4DF

No doubt we will look at this more deeply, and may, if we can summon up our depleted stock of civic duty, bother to re-iterate our previous criticisms of RIPA.

At first glance:

Wednesday saw a "security incident" in the Parliament, at about 6pm, where a protestor threw some "white powder" onto the floor of the Central Lobby of the Palace of Westminster.

Apparently, according to some Sky News interviewees:

"A bald man about 40 years of age"
"Complaining about something that happened in court today"
"The whole world is corrupt "
"The High Court system is dreadful"

At which point the visiting British public gave him a short round of applause, and he then "opened up a package" and threw some white powder.

Sky News are reporting that the protestor claimed that this "white powder" was "anthrax", which means that he is now likely to be facing up to 7 years in prison and / or a fine under Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 section 114: Hoaxes involving noxious substances or things.

However, it is also possible that someone else simply jumped to that conclusion, given the current hype and "Climate of Fear" following last week's chemical / biological / radiological hysteria in Forest Gate, East London.

A new version of the Civil Service Code has now been published.

There are a few minor changes which might affect whistleblowers, as it now more clearly forms part of the contract of employment of a Civil Servant.

Even Special Advisors , who are exempt from the sections dealing with political impartiality, are still expected, by the Civil Service, at least, to comply with the rest of the Code.

However, although there is now a mention (in a footnote on the last page) , of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 no real guidance is given as to when this might, or might not apply.

The whistleblowing legislation (the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998) may also apply in some circumstances.

The supposedly independent Office of the Civil Service Commissioners of will, apparently now sometimes take complaints from Civil Servants directly, rather than only after all the internal management complaints processes have been exhausted, something which was and which may still be deeply flawed at the Home Office.

The Commissioners will also consider taking a complaint direct.

However they do not offer any confidential telephone hotline, or SMS text message, or anonymous or encrypted email or web form facilities, which means that some Civil Servant whistleblowers are not going to trust them to keep their complaints confidential from their line managers and work colleagues.

similarly, the duty of confidentiality has now been reduced to the very simple yet catch-all:


6 You must not:


  • disclose official information without authority. This duty continues to apply after you leave the Civil Service.

There is no guidance about, for example, the publishing of anonymous work blogs by Civil Servants, so it is really hard to see how the press releases and speeches claiming that the Civil Service is fitr for the 21st Century can be completely true..

When will there be a legally enforcable Ministerial Code of Conduct ?

The Prime Minster Tony Blair is holding an online version of Prime Minister's Question Time this afternoon from about 5pm.

We submitted a neutral, non-partisan Question about the "Wilson Doctrine", which only the Prime Minister can answer.

We will be surprised if this Question is picked, and astonished if it is answered fully online, but, the Answer must be divulged, sooner, or later.

Our Question:

Does the "Wilson Doctrine", the prohibition on the interception of
the telephone conversations of Members of Parliament (and by
implication, their constituents who may be communicating with them), also apply to Mobile Phones and the Internet, and to Members of the Scottish Parliament, Members of the Euroopean Parliament, Members of the the Welsh Assembly or Members or the Northern Ireland Assembly, none of which existed 40 years ago, when the "Wilson Doctrine" was first proclaimed ?

Yesterday saw the the Second Reading in the House of Lords of the Police and Justice Bill 2006

Baroness Anelay of St Johns:

"I am told by the Library that this is the 52nd Home Office Bill since the Government came to power in 1997".

If the various NuLabour Home Secretaries and their senior staff had spent less time on producing hugely complicated and ever changing Legislation, they might have paid proper attention to the day to day running of the Home Office and its Departments, instead of which, it is now clearly "unfit for purpose".

None of the Opposition Peers spoke against the badly draughted "hacking tools" amendment to the Computer Misuse Act, which we have tried to raise awareness of.

There were some concerns raised over:

There should be a full, independent Public Inquiry into last year's terrorist bomb attacks on July 7th and the failed attacks on July 21st 2005.

Today's publication of the Greater London Assembly report on the July 7th 2005 bomb attack Emergency Services responses shows that there are are lessons to be learned regarding, for example, radio and mobile phone telecommunications, etc.

Mobile Phone Networks Access Overload Control in the aftermath of the July 7th 2005 terrorist attacks in London

However, the NuLabour government is rejecting such calls for a Public Inquiry. They have, in any case, granted themselves the power to effectively censor any such Inquiry, under the obscure and hardly reported Inquiries Act 2005

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 www.pgpi.org
(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: http://ht4w.co.uk

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

WikiLeak.org - ethical and technical discussion about the WikiLeaks.org 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
PublicTechnology.net - 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 stand.org.uk have gone on to set up other online tools like WriteToThem.com. The Government's contemptuous dismissal of over 5,000 individual responses via the stand.org 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
www.idcards-uk.info - New Alliance's ID Cards page
irefuse.org - 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

CommentOnThis.com - 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

RFIDBuzz.com 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
freetotravel.org - 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

e-nsecure.net 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 Euro-correspondent.com 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


MySecured.com - 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 http://nuclear-weapons.info

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

  • zowyvoku: the longest ladyboy dick There awkwardly, by its pushing read more
  • rozer: Moving home ? Needs a wide range of storage boxes read more
  • porno izle: hello it is my first post on this website and read more
  • porno izle: This is actually my first time here, really nice looking read more
  • porno izle: Hey site owner, I like blogengine.net but why did you read more
  • porno izle: Hello! I just would like to give a huge thumbs read more
  • porno izle: Hey site owner, I like blogengine.net but why did you read more
  • porno izle: Just want to say your article is striking. The clearness read more
  • porno izle: I assumed it was likely being some unexciting old report, read more
  • porno izle: Terrific piece of content, this is very similar to a 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 - 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.com - 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 irrepressible.info 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