September 2007 Archives

The Information Commissioner may have been publicising Friday 28th September as international Your Right To Know Day (.pdf), but another Anniversary has now been reached:

It is now over 1000 days since our original Freedom of Information Act request was submitted, initially to both the Office of Government Commerce and to the Home Office, for the to pre-Stage Zero and the actual Stage Zero Gateway review reports, on the Home Office's Idenity Cards Programme.

Despite years of delays, and an appeal to the Information Commissioner, who made a Decision in favour of full publication, back in July 2006, followed by an appeal by the OGC to the Information Tribunal, who also found in favour of full disclosure in May 2007. The OGC is currently wasting more public money by appealing to the High Court, which still has nor set a date for the hearing.

See OGC Gateway Reviews of the Identity Cards Programme category archive for the history of this deliberate and disgraceful bureaucratic and political suppression of our rights and yours, under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Home Office Minister Tony "not fit for purpose" McNulty, seems to be trying to sound a bit more conciliatary towards his critics and opponents , presumably as a cynical pre-election ploy, according to this BBC report:

'Mistakes' made over 7/7 reaction

Home Office Security Minister Tony McNulty has admitted the government made mistakes in response to the 7 July 2005 bomb attacks in London.

He said the government should not have treated the Muslim Council of Britain as the only voice of British Muslims.

At a Labour Party conference fringe meeting, he warned against rushing into laws in response to a terror threat.

Echoing Tony Blair's phrase on dealing with terrorism, he said: "Actually the rules of the game haven't changed."


Mr McNulty told the meeting in Bournemouth: "I think we have made mistakes since 7/7."

He said one of these mistakes was Mr Blair's argument that people must be ready to accept reductions in their civil liberties in the fight against terror because "the rules of the game have changed".

Within weeks of the 7 July attacks, Mr Blair unveiled a raft of legislative measures to tackle terrorists, including tougher deportation and extradition powers, a new offence of glorifying terrorism and powers to close a place of worship.

But in his speech on Wednesday, Mr McNulty suggested that ministers had been too ready to adopt exceptional measures which could impact on the liberties enjoyed as part of the British way of life.

He distanced himself from the phrase "war on terror" stressing that terrorism should be tackled through "normal" rather than "exceptional" means.

"With the best will in the world, where we are at now as a government means that we are coming round to the view that says, actually, the rules of the game haven't changed..." he said.

"The more these things are tackled through normality, with some little exceptions on top, rather than absolutely by exception, the better.

"The more any response is rooted in our civil liberties and human rights, with whatever slight tweaks at the top, the better," he said.


He said lessons had been learned from last summer's botched terror raids in London "by not rushing headlong into looking at legislation instantly and with very short shrift, but by taking the time to develop a broader counter-terrorism response by government in all its facets".


If this is a genuine change of policy, then let him and his Labour colleagues prove it, by actually repealing some of the draconian and counterproductive repressive legislation which they alone have been responsible for. e.g. the Identity Cards Act 2006 and the Terrorism Act 2006

Where is the independent Public Inquiry or Royall Commission to investigate the July 2005 bomb attacks and attempted bomb attacks in London, including the role of the the intelligence agencies ?

Where is there an actual "hearts and minds" strategy to fight the root causes of the terrorist attacks ?

We are not holding our breath in anticipation.

Thanks to everyone who suggested Spy Blog -- here at to Iain Dale for inclusion in his Guide to Blogging 2007: Top 30 Non Aligned Blogs list, which is to be included in his new book Iain Dale's Guide To Political Blogging In The UK

If you want to be more informed than average, then you can read most of these various political blogs, all conveniently in one place, by subscribing your RSS or XML feedreader to Voidstar's UkPoliBlog: Composite feed, courtesy of Julian Bond.

Gordon Brown's Labour Party Conference speech - the BBC reports the full text:

Some selected bits which are of relevance to Spy Blog:

It was extremely poor taste to start off his speech by exploiting the current sub judice terrorist cases involving the Haymarket and Glasgow Airport incendiary vehicle attacks, for party political purposes

According to his pre-speech spin , Gordon Brown is set remove some more freedoms for innocent people, in his Labour Party conference speech this afternoon.

The BBC reports:

Stop and search

He will use his speech to back the use of stop and search powers in areas hit by gun crime.

Senior officers in ten existing street crime hotspots will be able to sweep areas in a bid to crack down on violent crime.

Mr Brown told the BBC: "I think anybody who knows that a few people with guns can disrupt a whole area will want the police to use these powers."

The move, which Mr Brown recognises may be controversial and revive memories of the old "sus" laws, will be part of a package of measures under the slogan "punish and prevent" which will also include plans to cut police paper work.

The Police already have massive powers of stop and search if they suspect that there is even a chance that someone is carrying illegal weapons. This is either a meaningless political stunt, or it means that Terrorism Act 2000 Section 44 style random stops and searches, without reasonable suspicion or any apology, will now be used to harass and intimate thousands of innocent people, presumably mostly young men from ethnic communities, just like the old "sus" laws which led to riots in the streets and general distrust and fear of the police, to the detriment of actually fighting crime.

Has there even been a single terrorist gun or bomb which has been discovered as a result of the tens of thousands of random Terrorism Act Section 44 stops and searches of vehicles and pedestrians ? Not so far as we can tell.

Intelligence lead policing specifically targeting gun crime has been used with some success by, say, the Metropolitan Police Service in their ongoing Operation Trident (now re-branded on the internet as Stop the Guns). Is this integrated, targeted approach to the problem now to be abandoned, simply for "marginal constituency" short term political advantage in case Gordon Brown decides to hold a General Election soon ?

We will be watching closely to see if there actually be any extra money made available by the Government to finance these "police sweeps"

Since we are worried about the threat of internet censorship by the UK Government and the European Commission, we are also worried about blog censorship via vague legal threats to internet hosting companies, who, understandably do not want to get involved in legal expenses which are likely to outweigh any profit they make from an individual cheap, web hosting package, so , belatedly, here are a few comments about the Alisher Usmanov and Schillings debacle.

See a sample of the bloggers and others who are now taking an interest in this scandal via Chicken Yoghurt

When Alisher Usmanov comes begging for political asylum, when he inevitably falls out with Vladimir Putin's "silovicki", what Wired magazine calls Russia's Espiocrats, he will find that he will be treated with the contempt which he deserves, by the very people in the British political blogosphere who might otherwise have been sympathetic to him.

Gordon Brown on the "Wilson Doctrine" again

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Another Parliamentary Written Question and Non-Answer regarding the "Wilson Doctrine", which may be interest to fellow kremlinologists who are trying to understand what the secretive United Kingdom bureaucracy and politicians are up to (see our "Wilson Doctrine" category archive for more history and background)

Written answers Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Prime Minister
Members: Surveillance

Ben Wallace (Lancaster & Wyre, Conservative)

To ask the Prime Minister whether the Wilson Doctrine extends to a ban on UK Government departments and agencies instructing/requesting or handling intercept material from a foreign power that relates to (a) hon. Members and (b) members of the House of Lords.

Gordon Brown (Prime Minister)

The Wilson Doctrine applies to all forms of interception that are subject to authorisation by Secretary of State warrant.

These masterfully imprecise weasel words in Gordon Brown's "answer" could be be interpreted in many ways:

[via Tom Griffin]:

This Scotland on Sunday article, reports that the Scottish Nationalist Party was subjected to infiltration and monitoring by MI5 the Security Service back in the 1950s, and to telephone tapping in the 1970s (following bizarre claims by the evil Ugandan dictator Idi Amin). This raises the Question of the applicability of the "Wilson Doctrine" to the elected Members of the Scottish Parliament. (see our "Wilson Doctrine" category archive)

Files prove that MI5 spied on SNP


THE SNP was spied on by British secret service agents, previously classified Government files seen by Scotland on Sunday have finally proved.

Claims of surveillance of nationalist politicians by intelligence officers have circulated for years, but the new papers provide the first incontrovertible evidence that the state spied on the SNP in the 1950s.



Fellow SNP member Christine Grahame, convener of Holyrood's Health and Sport Committee, is disappointed that Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill has so far rejected her calls to outlaw the monitoring of MSPs' phone calls.

MacAskill said: "The Scottish Government has no plans to seek to extend the Wilson Doctrine to cover MSPs, nor to introduce a convention to prevent police Special Branches carrying out covert surveillance in circumstances that meet the strict tests of necessity required by law."


If you are incredibly well informed, persistent and lucky, t is is sometimes possible to get your DNA and other personal data removed from Police databases, after you have been wrongfully arrested etc.

David Mery, a former technology journalist and magazine editor, seems to have eventually managed to do so - see his blog post: Innocents are exceptional

The fact that so few people are removed from the database, (only 115 last year) when they are innocent, is an intolerable scandal.

As explained by David, the system for doing so is a complicated bureaucratic, Kafkaesque nightmare, which is likely to be far beyond the abilities or resources of most of its victims.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail has found, via a Freedom of information Act request, that a 7 month old baby has had her DNA details put onto the National DNA Database, by the West Yorkshire Police, at the request of the West Midlands Police. This innocent child now faces the prospect of having her DNA profile and possibly DNA tissue samples retained for the rest of her life, for no good, valid or proportionate reason.

[via Samizdata and Ben Laurie]

See our EU plans for internet censorship archive for details of our correspondence with the European Commission on this controversial topic of censorship which would also apply to the press and media as well as to the "internet". Any laws which are broad enough to catch all the variants of the "internet" must also catch all forms of traditional publishing and broadcasting or any other form of disseminating information as well, which will have a chilling effect on free speech.

Even the updated Answers to our original 17 Questions which we asked when Franco Frattini, egged on by the then UK Home Secretary John "not fit for purpose" Reid, first started talking about his plans in public last year, reveal a high level of ignorance about the practicalities, effectiveness and costs of any such scheme.

There seems to be a willingness to institute repressive "ends justifies the means" policies on millions of innocent European Union citizens, without any mechanisms for curtailing the inevitable excesses of bureaucrats, or for compensation to individuals and businesses when the army of censors cock things up.

Together the European Commissions closely allied plans to further criminalise "inciting, aiding or abetting terrorist offences", these proposals will only help terrorists to gather new recruits and to further their aims to destroy our relatively free society, without actually hindering real terrorists or criminals.

Reuters reports:

Web search for bomb recipes should be blocked: EU

Mon Sep 10, 2007 1:16PM EDT

By Ingrid Melander

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Internet searches for bomb-making instructions should be blocked across the European Union, the bloc's top security official said on Monday.

Internet providers should also prevent access to any site giving instructions on how to make a bomb, EU Justice and Security Commissioner Franco Frattini said in an interview.

"I do intend to carry out a clear exploring exercise with the private sector ... on how it is possible to use technology to prevent people from using or searching dangerous words like bomb, kill, genocide or terrorism," Frattini told Reuters.

Dangerous word ? WoIl Franco Frattinni's Thought Police also ban searches for ThoughtCrime ?

Given how quickly and easily "illegal" data can be mirrored, shifted or disguised on the internet, especially in countries outside of the legal jurisdiction of the European Union (i.e. most of the world) what evidence is there that crudely banning searches or websites etc. is a superior and more effective counter-terrorism strategy than covert surveillance and intelligence gathering aimed at the fanatics and criminals ?

Once the infrastructure of legal and technical censorship mechanisms are in place, what is there to prevent them being stealthily extended via the usual "function creep" so beloved of large faceless bureaucracies ?

This Associated Press report will hopefully give people another reason to think twice about VeriChip subcutaneous implantable radio frequency identification chips.

These are electronically too simple (no encrypted handshakes etc. whatsoever) to provide the sort of "security" in human systems which the proponents of these "mark of the beast" chips have been hyping for several years. They can be used and abused to invade people's privacy, in any mass deployment, yet are insecure enough to be faked and spoofed when incorrectly used to attempt to provide "security" e.g. the astonishing idea of linking these chips to automatic credit card payment debits..

Chip Implants Linked to Animal Tumors

By TODD LEWAN – 14 hours ago

When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved implanting microchips in humans, the manufacturer said it would save lives, letting doctors scan the tiny transponders to access patients' medical records almost instantly. The FDA found "reasonable assurance" the device was safe, and a sub-agency even called it one of 2005's top "innovative technologies."

But neither the company nor the regulators publicly mentioned this: A series of veterinary and toxicology studies, dating to the mid-1990s, stated that chip implants had "induced" malignant tumors in some lab mice and rats.


Leading cancer specialists reviewed the research for The Associated Press and, while cautioning that animal test results do not necessarily apply to humans, said the findings troubled them. Some said they would not allow family members to receive implants, and all urged further research before the glass-encased transponders are widely implanted in people.


See who have been campaigning against the risks and abuses of some but not all, RFID technology implementations, which have put profit ahead of public privacy etc.

We cannot seem to get through to the Prime Minister's official website either at


We have tried several different ISPs and connections in the UK and around the world. You can ping and traceroute to the webserver(s) but they seem to be offline or are being blocked.

Is this the alleged Chinese hackers, or is it just another out of office hours cockup ?

Surely the Service Level Agreement for downtime has now been breached ?

Most of the other main UK Central Government websites seem ok at the moment.

Lord Justice Stephen Sedley , quoted by the BBC: All UK 'must be on DNA database' is correct when he says that the current policies regarding data retention on the National DNA Database are very wrong.

However his proposed solution to remove the alleged discrimination against some ethnic minorities, by extending the database to compulsorily take samples from the entire population of the UK and of visitors and tourists, is utterly wrong.

He said the only option was to expand the database to cover the whole population and all those who visited the UK, even for a weekend.

"Going forwards has very serious but manageable implications," he insisted. It means that everybody, guilty or innocent, should expect their DNA to be on file for the absolutely rigorously restricted purpose of crime detection and prevention."

In what way could such a system, which would be at least 15 times larger than the current system, which is already the largest such database in the world, be "manageable" ?

The cross party NO2ID Campaign have spoken out against this suggestion:

Phil Booth, NO2ID national coordinator, said:

"You can't make an "indefensible" system better by expanding it. The only way to tackle the unfairness of the DNA database and restore trust in the system is to remove the records of every innocent person currently held. Anything else is a perversion of justice."

As usual, the level of analysis offered by the mainstream media on this vitally important topic is quite poor:

Following on from the media reports that the German Chancellor Angela Merkel about email malware targeted at German government computer systems when she visited the Chinese communist regime in Beijing, on Monday, the Financial Times reported vague or anonymous US reports about an allegedly similar campaign targeting the US Defense Department bureaucracy, dubbed "Titan Rain".

Subsequently, on Tuesday the Financial Times reported via Reuters that the Chinese government denied all such accusations ("well, they would, wouldn't they ?" ),

Wednesday's The Guardian had its front page dominated by the headline: Titan Rain - How Chinese hackers targeted Whitehall, a story which relied on Royal United Services Institute people and anonymous Whitehall sources, which claims that the UK central Government and presumably other non-governmental parts of the Critical National Infrastructure had also been targeted allegedly by the Chinese People's Liberation Army.

So where is the actual evidence that these are either co-ordinated cyberspace attacks or that they are really by the Chinese communist People's Liberation Army ?

If such Chinese military spying via cyberspace is true, then why is it not being treated at least as seriously as the resumption of Russian cold-war style attempts to penetrate United Kingdom airspace with military bomber reconnaissance aircraft ?

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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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.

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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