June 2008 Archives

How effective can this first use of the new Serious Crime Prevention Orders under the Serious Crime Act 2007 possibly be ?

According to this Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office press release:

Friday 27 June 2008 17:47
Revenue and Customs Prosecution Office (National)

RCPO landmark case - the first ever use of SCPO powers under the Serious Crime Act

Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office (RCPO) secured three Serious Crime Prevention Orders (SCPO) today following an investigation by the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA). The ruling at Isleworth Crown Court is in the first ever use of new legislation in England and Wales.

For 5 years from the day they are released from prison, members of the gang will be at risk of an additional 5 years in prison if they breach the Orders - which are designed to stop them carrying out activities related to the possession and movement of money.

Loch Hakimzada, his wife Praveen Hakimzada and Kuljeet Grover today received a total of 17 years imprisonment for their part in laundering cash for organised crime networks. The Hakimzadas used the cover of a Money Service Bureau to launder £25million during a period of just over 2 years. Grover was their trusted lieutenant. A junior member of the gang, Christopher Harrison was also sentenced today to one year imprisonment, but was not subject to a SCPO.

Huge sums of Scottish and English bank notes were collected by the gang in bags or boxes typically in the street or in a car park. The cash was then passed through counting machines at the family home before being transferred abroad - mainly to Dubai where other contacts, probably relatives, continued the process. The true nature of the activities was concealed by the creation of false records. Painstaking investigation revealed links to drugs and other smuggling.

In addition to the sentences, Loch and Praveen Hakimzada and Grover were given Financial Reporting Orders requiring them to report all their financial details every year and on release every 6 months for 10 years. Deportation orders were made in respect of Loch Hakimzada and Grover.


Notes for editors:


5. Loch HAKIMZADA - 9 years imprisonment
Praveen HAKIMZADA - 4 years imprisonment
Kuljeet GROVER - 4 years imprisonment
Christopher HARRISON - 1 year


Could some please explain how either the Serious Crime Reporting Orders or the Financial Reporting Orders are actually going to be monitored for compliance or enforced, when two of the villains will have been deported to a foreign legal jurisdiction ?

Why will they ever be allowed back into the United Kingdom ?

Will bureaucrats be "forced" to make expensive "investigation" or "liaison" overseas trips for the next 14 to 19 years (i.e. 10 years after the end of the prison sentences given to the criminals ) ?

This first use of SCPOs looks likely to be even less effective than that of ASBOs.

We still fear that these SCPO powers, which, just like ASBOs, can also be inflicted on people who have not actually been arrested, charged or convicted of any crime, will be abused in the future, to try to suppress investigative journalists or bloggers, to prevent them from offering to publish leaked information from Government whistleblowers (the Official Secrets Act is specifically listed in the Serious Crime Act 2007).

Spy Blog has a history of asking Questions about the treatment of various assorted people, whose views or actions we do not support, e.g. accused terrorist suspects or their families, computer hackers, etc., but who seem to have got caught up in the complexities of our Kafkaesque bureaucratic Police and Judicial system. We are usually worried about the precedent such cases set for the treatment of all the rest of us.

Hence our worries about the arrest of Tony Gosling, who may well be a Conspiracy Theorist, but it seems to us, one of the saner and more reasonable ones. His long running, but not altogether successful, attempts to gather information on the secretive Bilderberg meetings of the rich and powerful, are to be commended, regardless of any of the more far fetched theories about what they may be up to in secret. His involvement with .various conspiracy theorist populated discussion forums involving 9/11 "truthers" and "no planers" etc. and even UK "7/7 truthers", also appears to be relatively moderate and rational.

He is, after all, a NUJ journalist, and a pacifist peace campaigner.

According to this 911 conspiracy bulletin board discussion thread, and the same information mirrored elsewhere:

Tuesday 24th June approx. 1400 Tony Gosling and fiancee were stopped in their vehicle on the M32 motorway in Bristol by ten police officers under the authority of the Northumbria Police Major Incident Unit.

Why stop them on the motorway, an action which put all the lives of the people involved (including the policemen) at unnecessary risk ?

Gosling and fiancee were held at Trinity Road police station in Bristol until 1200 the next day, 25th June. Both were heavily questioned. They were each arrested three times, a total of six arrests.

The arrests in order were, Obstructing a Recovery Order, Theft of a Credit Card and then again for Obstructing a Recovery Order.

He was released without charge, the next day.

Was he fingerprinted, photographed and DNA sampled etc ?

What it really seems to be about is tracking down a woman called Natalie Bracht, who perhaps has mental problems, and who has gone on the run with her 5 children. Tony Gosling had recorded a phone interview with her. He states that he does not necessarily believe her story, but that it was of journalistic / conspiracy theory interest.

Seemingly he cooperated with the Police, and handed over the keys to his home, (the threat seems to be - "otherwise we will kick your door down") and, despite the missing person and her family of 5 children obviously not being present at those premises,

After the raid Northumbria police still have:- both my mobile phones my desktop and laptop computer full printed list of my phone contacts both my dairies etc.

None of which could have been of any use in finding Natalie since I was careful not to phone her, write down where she was or type anything about her location on the computers, nor do I now know where she is.

Tony Gosling practices some of techniques we mention in our Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers (and Political Dissidents) when it comes to protecting his sources.

We hope that the Police return his property immediately, undamaged and unexamined forensically, otherwise there will be the obvious suspicion, that the Police are engaged in a fishing expedition to try to uncover his journalistic sources and contacts.

Since one of our many email address aliases is on one of his email distribution lists, will we now also be deemed "guilty by association", or does our own electronic secret police zapiska actually cast a shadow on him ?

Transport for London has a history of filling what would otherwise be commercial advertising space with some artwork posters, for the edification or social engineering and control of its captive audience of travellers.

This one by Anna Barribal is either ironic or sinister, given the mass surveillance systems and the crowds of people, to which the viewers of these posters will be exposed to on Transport for London's Underground railway Tube or bus networks.


This is one of a series of posters entitled 60 miles of beautiful views

We will see if we can get a photo of one of these posters in situ, without getting harassed or illegally stopped and searched or falsely arrested by jobsworths.

UPDATE: here are a couple of photos of this poster taken at Embankment Tube station, southbound on the Northern line taken on 2nd July 2008.

The Sir Edmund Burton's Review into the MoD recruitment laptop theft scandal, is now available online.

7.The stolen laptop, designated TAFMIS-R(H)SQL, was one of a small population of, currently, 512 laptops, which hold a large database incorporating over 600,000 personal records. Investigations revealed that a total of 4 of these laptops have been stolen since 2004 (all from parked cars). Only the recent theft appears to have led to disciplinary proceedings. Although the security instructions for the safekeeping of laptops were clear in prohibiting them from being left in unattended vehicles, they did not dictate that the data must be encrypted.


18.The loss of four laptops containing 600,000 personal records from unattended vehicles in clear breach of security instructions (and common sense) out of total population of 55 laptops over a period of less than four years indicates a failure of supervision.


27. The laptop stolen from Edgbaston in January 2008 was a TAFMIS-R(H) laptop using SQL, which contained the whole RN/RAF database, holding some 600,000 personal data records. Although the laptop held records relating to some 600,000 recruits or potential recruits, investigations by MOD DG Info staff, in conjunction with EDS, has indicated that the database includes personal details of some 400,000 additional individuals, who were either referees or parents of the recruits. Technically, therefore, the laptop held some 1,000,000 personal records. The reason for the large number of records is due to the original user requirement and design drawn up between RN, RAF and AFPAA. The TAFMIS-R(H) design synchronises the whole database from the main server to the laptop.


34.During a visit to an Armed Forces Career Office (AFCO) Joint Services recruiting unit in London, it was discovered that recruiting staff were unaware of MOD DPA retention policy for recruiting data. Nevertheless, the TAFMIS system does not allow recruiters to delete information once submitted to the database. The only people able to delete are EDS staff under authorisation from ARTD. Yet it is understood that no policy or process currently exists to manage data according to the eight principles defined with in the DPA 1998.


30. Hard Power: There is anecdotal evidence that the censure and punishment handed out to those who lose, compromise or misuse personal data within the Department is inconsistent at present. Serious compromises of personal data must invoke appropriate punishment, in order to create a deterrent effect and to emphasise the seriousness of such losses.

Recommendation 38: MOD to review and formalise a coherent system of censure and punishment for those who lose or compromise personal data, where the level of punishment reflects the scale and seriousness of the loss; seeking to apply this equitably, regardless of whether the individual responsible is military or civilian, government employee or contractor.

The report heavily criticises EDS for failing to comply with instructions issued back in 2003, to ensure that all these laptop computers had Reflex Data's DataVault hard disk encryption software installed, suitable for Restricted documents and data at least. The current laptop hard disk encryption, which seems to have been installed rapidly in a few weeks, on all MoD laptops, after the Birmingham laptop theft, appears to be the CESG approved BeCrypt software. This contrasts with the failure to install such encryption over the previous five years.

There is no good reason why the entire recruitment database should have been designed to be synchronised with a local SQL copies on dozens of laptop computers. The claim that this would have been too expensive in terms of communications costs in 2002, is false, and telecomms prices have gone down since then.

This data aggregation of having all those personal records in one SQL database should have bumped up the Protective Marking classification well above Restricted.

If Recommendation 38 is actually implemented, perhaps we will actually see some proper sanctions i.e. prison sentences for the negligent , inept or corrupt.

Regrettably there is no sign of Minister of Defence Des Browne acting honourably and offering his resignation.

Finally the HM Treasury Asset Freezing Unit has revoked the Financial Sanctions and the Asset Freezing against three individuals who were on their Consolidated List (which used to be run by the Bank of England).

This list is automatically fed into the vast array of expensive and mostly useless Government imposed bureaucratic red tape Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Countering Terrorist Finance (CTF) software and procedures, which have added to the cost and inconvenience of banking and other financial services, without actually catching any terrorists, or even seizing large amounts of money used to finance them.

See General Notice of Revocation of Article 4 Direction 25 June 2008:

  • Mohammed Asif Hanif - one of the first of the recent British suicide bombers who died in an bomb attack on a bar in Tel Aviv on the 30 April 2003

  • Omar Khan Sharif - accomplice who failed to blow himself up with Hanif, but whose body was found in the sea two weeks later. His family back home in the UK were subjected to forced genetic fingerprinting and to two trials under the Terrorism Act 2000 section 38b claiming that they somehow knew beforehand of his intentions or details of his terrorist attack (in Israel, a foreign country, not in the UK) , even though they were in the UK, and he had been on "holiday" in the Middle East. - see - BBC2 9pm - Britain's First Suicide Bombers - but why are they still on the official Bank of England Financial Sanctions list ?

  • Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi - former leader of Hama, killed by an Israeli missile 17th April 2004

However since the bureaucracy of the European Union is even slower than that of the United Nations, whilst revoking the Financial Sanctions under the United nations Order, these other two dead terrorists still have their (non-existent in the UK) assets frozen under the European Council sanctions list:

  • Imad Fa'iz Mughniyah - a top Hizballah terrorist killed by a car bomb in Damascus on 13th February 2008

  • Shamil Basayev- killed on July 10th 2006, the Chechen separatist terrorist who claimed to have ordered the Beslan school siege.

The fact that these people have actually been dead for months or several years, has, not, up till now, been seen as polluting the Consolidated List with excessive and erroneous data, by the anti-terrorist finance bureaucracy.

The Labour Government are up to their usual "bury bad news" media manipulation tricks again today.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling has published the final Poynter Review into the lost copies of the entire national HMRC Child Benefit database scandal last October. - Poynter Review final report, 25 June 2008 (PDF file 1.13MB)

As if by magic, and obviously just a complete coincidence, the supposedly independent from Government, Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has also published its report into the incident today. - HMRC, Washington IPCC independent investigation report into loss of data relating to Child Benefit (144KB .pdf)

Unsurprisingly, the IPCC finds nobody at Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, or at the National Audit Office, to be criminally responsible for breaching Section 55 of the Data Protection Act 1998.

Perhaps the fact that HMRC got the Director of Public Prosecutions to sign prosecution immunity certificates to the is effect explains this, although this was probably necessary in order to secure the cooperation of the junior and middle ranking staff involved.

Apparently Robert Hannigans's Cabinet Office review of wider Whitehall data handling is also meant to be published today. Whether this takes into account the recent Top Secret Joint Intelligence Committee papers left on a train, or Hazel Blears' Restricted and Confidential Cabinet documents unencrypted on a stolen computer in her constituency office scandals, remains to be seen.

There is also meant to be a Ministerial Statement by Des "Swiss Tony" Browne, the embarrassing Defence Secretary, into the stolen, unencrypted laptop computer with personal details of 650,000 potential and actual military recruits.

Also published today is Sir Michael Pitt's final report into the lack of preparedness for last summer's floods in large areas of the countryside., which obviously must also be of interest to the mainstream media and broadcasters.

It may take some time for the media and for bloggers to comment properly on all of these reports (if they are fully available on line), which is, presumably, a deliberate media spin policy

There is no hint of any of the senior civil servants or of the supposedly politically accountable Ministers actually taking personal, responsibility for the scandals, and resigning with honour.

We are alternating between laughter and fury, at the catalogue of errors displayed by HMRC, which seems to stem from the incompetence of its former boss, the then Chancellor and current Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

We note that neither the Poynter Review, nor the IPCC has properly examined the National Audit Office's lax data handling procedures, especially in regard to their transfers of the unencrypted Child Benefit Data to and from their commercial audit sub-contractors KPMG.

Some brief quotations:

The Home Office has published: The Government Reply to the Report by Lord Carlile of Berriew Q.C (.pdf) on his Report on the Operation of the Terrorism Act 2000 and Part 1 of the Terrorism Act 2006.(.pdf)

This Reply contains what we have come to expect from the Government - they seem to think that rolling out even more complicated, repressive legislation (e.g. the 42 days malarkey) and even more privacy destroying data sharing. of, in this case, international and domestic airline or ferry or rail tunnel passenger and freight information, is somehow an effective anti-terrorism policy.

The Government seem to have shuffled the deckchairs and budgets around a bit, with regard to Lord Carlile's previous concerns regarding the lack of permanent Special Branch officers and offices at Ports, and regarding the growing threat of General Aviation (private corporate aeroplanes at private airfields)

Incredibly, there is also some details of further bureaucratic bungling over the supposedly strictly time and location limited, temporary Requests and Authorisations, for the extraordinary Terrorism Act 2000 section 44 stop and search without reasonable suspicion powers.

See our current, outstanding Freedom of Information Act request (currently in the Complaints queue at the Information Commissioner's Office) - HO Terrorism Act 2000 s44 Authorisations

It appears that 3 Police Forces, the dedicated Metropolitan Police National Joint Unit which specialises in terrorism legislation authorisations, the Home Office, and the Home Secretary, all find it too difficult to use a calendar to count up to the clearly laid down 28 days statutory limit correctly.

The Register, and the mainstream media report:

Snoop-happy councils warned off RIPA abuse
'Or they'll take our toys away'

By Chris Williams
Published Monday 23rd June 2008 10:06 GMT

The head of the Local Government Association (LGA) has today warned every council in England to restrict how their investigators use new surveillance powers, or risk losing public support.

Sir Simon Milton's letter follows a recent rash of news stories exposing how councils nationwide have been using the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) to monitor dog fouling and littering. He urged councils to review how they authorise surveillance to ensure that only more serious transgressions such as fly tipping and benefit fraud are tackled by such means.


Excessive, petty snooping, using RIPA powers by Local Councils seems to cross party political lines (it is not just NuLabour who are at it) , and it needs to be stopped, well before it gets linked to Hazel Blears' "tension monitoring" plans for "community" snooping and informing.against arbitrarily defined "troublemakers" and political opponents.

The text of the Letter from Sir Simon Milton to All Council Leaders in England regarding abuse of RIPA powers:

We are still waiting for the Information Commissioner to rule on our Freedom of Information Act Request complaint, regarding the refusal by the Foreign & Commonwealtth Office to name the four Russian diplomats and possible SVR Russian Foreign Intelligence Service officers , who were expelled from the Russian Embassy in London in mid July 2007, following the failure of the UK Government to extradite Andrei Lugovoi or have him prosecuted in Russia, for the alleged murder of British citizen Alexader Litvinenko through radioactive Polonium 210 poisoning, in London, in November 2006.

The FCO has not named the 4 British diplomats expelled , tit-for-tat, from Moscow either. All this Cold War style secrecy is both pointless and insults the intelligence of the public.

Every foreign Embassy in London and in Moscow, and therefore every other Government and intelligence agency in the world, will have been informed, directly or indirectly which of their fellow accredited diplomats were expelled, if only for official protocol and seating arrangement purposes at formal functions and ceremonies

What then, is the point of keeping the British public in the dark about this still unresolved murder of a British citizen, using a method which put lots of innocent British bystanders at risk ?

See the correspondence so far regarding our Freedom of Information Act request - FCO diplomatic expulsions Polonium 210 murder affair blog category archive. It is not clear to us that the names of foreign accredited diplomats should be somehow be exempt from the UK Freedom of Information Act law, when such diplomats are not technically subject to most UK laws at all.

Anybody on the internet can compare last year's London Diplomatic List (published on 17th June 2007) with this year's version, published on 18th June 2008 and come up with a list of possible candidates for the 4 names of the expelled Russian diplomats or perhaps intelligence agents. None of these people is ever going to be sent to a major diplomatic posting "under diplomatic cover" again, so naming them is not going to increase the risk to their safety in any way.

You can open the full comparison the 2007 and 2008 versions of London Diplomatic List in a new window, together with links to the original sources and to mirror copies, which does not not fit neatly into this blog post format.

We clearly remember Home Secretary Jacqui Smith's statement, back in February, . during the debate on the report by the Chief Surveillance Commissioner Rt.Hon. Sir Christopher Rose, regarding the Sadiq Khan MP / Babar Ahmad bugging in Woodhill Prison scandal, with its implications for the Wilson Doctrne:

21 Feb 2008 : Column 546

Mark Pritchard (The Wrekin) (Con): Given that foreign intelligence agencies fall outside the Wilson doctrine and existing and future codes of conduct, will the Home Secretary give the House an assurance that during the past 10 years, no British Minister, especially in the Ministry of Defence, has been bugged by a foreign intelligence agency--particularly the French intelligence agency--in relation to Ministry of Defence procurement contracts?

Jacqui Smith: It is illegal for foreign intelligence agencies to operate in this country.

We commented at the time:

Somehow, that does not actually stop them from doing so !

See - Home Secretary Jacqui Smith's statement on the Wilson Doctrine

However, yesterday, this firm assurance, made to Parliament by the current Home Secretary Jacqui Smith seems to have been contradicted by her subordinate Home Office Minister Tony "not fit for purpose" McNulty, in this Commons Written Answer to a Question by Michael Ancram, the Conservative MP for Devizes:

18 Jun 2008 : Column 967W

Intelligence Services:

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what active operations members of security forces of foreign states are permitted to undertake in the UK; and what restrictions apply to them. [202113]

Mr. McNulty [holding answer 28 April 2008]: Any activity is permitted as long as it is in accordance with law.

The statement "It is illegal for foreign intelligence agencies to operate in this country." is contradicted by "Any activity is permitted as long as it is in accordance with law."

Which one of these Labour politicians is misleading Parliament and the public, and should clarify and apologise, or resign ? Or is it both of them ?

A couple of mainstream media journalists blogs, such as Ben Brogan of the Daily Mail and Sam Coates of The Times, are speculating about former Home Office and now Culture Minister Andy Burnham's interview with the NuLabour Progress magazine.

They quote Andy Burnham as saying:

'To people who get seduced by Tory talk of how liberal they are, I find something very curious in the man who was, and still is I believe, an exponent of capital punishment having late-night, hand-wringing, heart-melting phone calls with Shami Chakrabarti.'

Andy Burnham is a former spin doctor, and an experienced politician, so we assume that his weasel words were carefully selected.

The journalists have picked up on the obvious hint of sexual impropriety between the married David Davis, and the married Shami Chakrabarti, the director of the human rights organisation Liberty.

That interpretation might not have been Andy Burnham's intention, but he does have previous form for smearing civil liberties opponents of his Labour Government's repressive legislation.

He was one of the Home Office Ministers who were trying to discredit, both within Parliament using Parliamentary privilege, and in media interviews outside of Parliament, both Simon Davies of Privacy International and the London School of Economics and their Identity Project Report, which contradicted the Government's Identity Card scheme cost estimates, during the passage of the controversial Identity Cards Act 2005.

See LSE visiting fellow threatens Blair with legal action

However, our interpretation of Andy Burnham's remarks is different, and more sinister.

How does Andy Burnham appear to know that David Davis and Shami Chakrabarti are in telephonic contact at all ?

How does he know that such phone calls are "late night" ones ?

Are Labour Ministers being briefed by the the Security Service, GCHQ, the Police or by other snoopers, about the telephone calling patterns and perhaps the content of intercepted phone conversations of either Rt. Hon. David Davis, or of Shami Chakrabarti, or of both of them ?

Is such information being supplied by Covert Human Intelligence sources i.e. informers ?

When David Davis was raising the case of the British Consul to Romania, James Cameron, in March 2004, we asked: Is the Shadow Home Secretary's email being monitored ?

Since the spirit, if not the letter, of the vague Wilson Doctrine has been flouted in the case of the Labour MP Sadiq Khan and his constituent Babar Ahmad, and since the Labour MP Andrew MacKinlay feels himself to be under Government surveillance, we would not be surprised by such snooping on political opponents.

Communications Traffic Data i.e.who calls whom and when and where they do this, does not appear to be covered by the Wilson Doctrine, and so might be passed on by apparatchiks, eager to curry favour with their Labour political masters.


Every breath you take
Every move you make
Every bond you break
Every step you take
I'll be watching you

lyrics from "Every Breath You Take" by The Police, 1983

Nino Leitner, an Austrian documentary film maker has now succeeded in releasing on DVD his well researched, and thought provoking documentary entitled Every Step You Take.

This gives a glimpse of the CCTV Surveillance Society which is prevalent in the United Kingdom, and which is even starting to spread to his home country of Austria.

As this was a Master's documentary film project, Every Step You Take, at just over an hour of running time, it treats the topic in proper depth, with interviews of experts e.g. from Professor Clive Norris, the criminologist world authority on CCTV who made the famous "4.2 million cameras in the UK" guesstimate, (see "monitored on CCTV 300 times a day" etc. soundbites and Deputy Chief Constable Andy Trotter OBE QPM from British Transport Police, spokesmen from UK and Austrian Civil Liberties and Data protection organisations and a front line CCTV control room manager from Southampton.

There are are also vox pop interviews with members of the public in the streets, some of whom do not mind the idea of being under surveillance, and others who are somewhat shocked to be told that what they thought was a harmless street lamp, was in fact a CCTV surveillance camera disguised as a lamp post.

The subtitled comments by an Austrian musician and writer living in the UK, seem to give a dispassionate outsider's appreciation of the attitude of British society to CCTV.

There is also reconstructions of being filmed via CCTV and trying to get a copy of the footage via a Data Protection Act subject data access request in the UK. There is also a reconstruction of a privacy activist "hack" into a novel Austrian wireless CCTV system, which showed that no actual criminal drug dealers were being observed, but that the camera was being abused for voyeuristic purposes.

The documentary also has footage of some of the advanced digital analysis software which modern CCTV systems are now being fitted with, such as the rather creepy Automatic People Targeting, and Facial Recognition systems, which are good enough to harass innocent people automatically with, but which are not foolproof or capable of actually picking out all the wanted criminals and terrorists which they are supposed to.

Spy Blog strongly recommends this documentary to anyone interested in modern CCTV Surveillance, and to anybody else who is planning to make a documentary on this vast topic.

It is available from http://everystepyoutake.org or from Amazon Uk

Here are some video stills from the documentary:

There has been a recent spate of reports about the illegal harassment of innocent photographers, train and plane spotters, and of peaceful demonstrators exercising their rights of peaceful, lawful protest etc. by officious, jobsworth, ignorant or poorly trained private security guards, Police Community Service Officers or by genuine Police Constables,

There are also ongoing "Climate of Fear" propaganda campaigns, which seek to make innocent public photographers or mobile phone users into terrorist suspects.

These all deserve public apologies and disciplinary or criminal investigations into those responsible for them,

See Photography does NOT equal Terrorism"

It is worth remembering, however, that there are actually some places where photography is illegal.

Written answers Monday 16 Jun 2008 : Column 667W

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

Government Communication Headquarters: Photography

Mark Harper (Shadow Minister, Work & Pensions; Forest of Dean, Conservative)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs for what reasons and on what authority photography at the Government Communications Headquarters has been prohibited

David Miliband (Secretary of State, Foreign & Commonwealth Office; South Shields, Labour)

holding answer 13 June 2008

Section 1 of the Official Secrets Act 1911 makes it an offence for any person for any purpose prejudicial to the safety or interests of the state to approach, inspect or be in the neighbourhood of a 'prohibited place' or to make or otherwise obtain a sketch (a term which encompasses a photograph) which might be directly or indirectly useful to a potential enemy. All Government Communications Headquarters sites are prohibited places for the purposes of the Act.

This Labour Government abuses the supposed Parliamentary legislative safeguard, of having a Secretary of State personally scrutinising and signing an Order, or having to be Notified of a Request, to suspend normal laws, in a narrowly defined geographical area, on a temporary basis only, which they, as our supposedly democratically elected representatives have the power to Authorise, Amend or Refuse or Revoke.

They have demonstrated this abusive preference for general repression through Kafkaesque secret laws, which the general public cannot know whether they are being applied in a particular place, at a particular time or not, by their refusal to list when and where Terrorism Act 200 Section 44 stop and search without reasonable suspicion powers are or have been in force - see Home Office Terrorism Act 2000 s44 authorisations FOIA request correspondence archive.

We wonder if the Government will, in its usual secretive manner, also attempt to keep secret, what is already known to our enemies and allies through aerial and satellite reconnaissance i.e. the locations of such "Prohibited Places".

Perhaps it is time for another Freedom of Information Act request.

[UPDATE July 3rd 2008 - "The Home Office does not hold the information that you have requested." see this Spy Blog UK FOIA requests blog article - The War on Tourism and Photographers - where are the Prohibited Places under the Official Secrets Act 1911 ?]

These "Prohibited Places" are defined in the Official Secrets Act 1911 section 3 Definition of prohibited place:

When trying to make sense of the weasel words which ooze from the NuLabour kremlin, when they try to spin a line, to try limit the damage of news of their latest Data Security cockup, you have to look for what is deliberately not said, as well as what was actually uttered.

The theft of a laptop computer from the constituency office of the chirpy, bit still odious, NuLabour Minister for the Department of Communities and Local Government (which she appears to be turning into the Department for Snooping on Communities and Political Opponents - see Hazel Blears and Sergeant Flanderka - "tension monitoring" i.e. snooping on local communities)
contributes to the general air of incompetence and their personal flouting of rules and regulations imposed on junior subordinates and on the general public.

"Restricted" and "Confidential" documents, which might be of interest to Muslim and other extremists or terrorists, and other documents of interest to commercial property or stock market speculators, together with, presumably, personal data regarding her constituents, appear to have been on the stolen laptop computer, which is unprotected by strong encryption.

There are also Questions to Be Asked about the apparent abuse of Government email systems.

One of our very first thoughts, upon learning that Facial Recognition image processing was actually being deployed on the streets of London, in the Borough of Newham, was that if the system had any success at all in picking out individual faces from a crowd, then it would not be difficult to use such a system to racially classify people by skin colour.

Polymath Engineer and Artist Benjamin Males has succeeded in raising ethical questions about the desirability of such uses of the technology, by demonstrating that it can be done, nowadays, reasonably cheaply, using open source image processing software and a professional CCTV camera.

Target Project (2008) - Benjamin Males

RTS-2 is a racial targeting system. A fully portable real-time image processing platform, RTS-2 has the ability to automatically find and follow faces and then analyse and store their race data.

The project illustrates the potential use (misuse?) of surveillance and automatic analysis technologies and exists to critique and raise questions concerning our experiences of them.

RTS-2 will be shown and demonstrated at part 2 of the Royal College of Art Graduation show from 25th June to 5th July. Other outcomes from the project, including a device that measures and stores weight data will also be shown and demonstrated.

Benjamin Males is a graduating student from Platform 11 of the prestigious Design Products course at the Royal College of Art in London. Having graduated from Imperial College in 2006 with First Class honours in Mechanical Engineering (MEng), Benjamin applies an advanced knowledge of the physical world to create works that explore our relationship with the technologies that surround us.

High resolution images are available on request.





When he demonstrated this working art installation in Japan recently, he was asked whether or not it could pick out Koreans from from ethnic Japanese.

His work demonstrates vividly, that the visible camera electro optics are only part of a modern Surveillance Camera system and the technology already exists which could easily be used for racially discriminatory "security" monitoring or harassment of ethnic minorities.

Even whilst MPs and Lords were being fobbed off in Parliament last Thursday 12th June by Government Ministers, after the Joint Intelligence Committee Top Secret papers were left on a train, regarding the lax and arrogant culture of "these rules and procedures do not apply to me personally", which seems to be endemic amongst senior civil servants in central Whitehall departments, there was Yet Another Example which threatened to give intelligence assistance to enemy terrorists and organised criminals and to unfriendly or evil nation states.

Exclusive: New batch of terror files left on train

IoS returns confidential documents to Treasury as officials promise to tighten procedures

By Simon Evans and Margareta Pagano
Sunday, 15 June 2008

Secret government documents detailing the UK's policies towards fighting global terrorist funding, drugs trafficking and money laundering have been found on a London-bound train and handed to 'The Independent on Sunday'.

The government papers, left on a train destined for Waterloo station, on Wednesday, contain criticism of countries such as Iran that are signed up to the global Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental body created to combat financial crime and the financing of terrorism.

is an organisation of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The confidential files outline how the trade and banking systems can be manipulated to finance illicit weapons of mass destruction in Iran. They spell out methods to fund terrorists, and address the potential fraud of commercial websites and international internet payment systems. The files also highlight the weakness of HM Revenue & Customs' (HMRC) IT systems, which track financial fraud.

The Independent on Sunday has returned the documents, and will divulge no details contained in them.


Alistair Darling, the Chancellor, who is in Japan at the G8 meeting, has been told of the latest debacle, and his department insists steps are being taken to tighten security procedures.

Last night, a spokesman said the Treasury regretted the latest incident: "We are extremely concerned about what has happened and will be taking steps to ensure it doesn't happen in the future."


They may be "extremely concerned" that they have been found out in public, but there is no evidence that they are capable of really , effectively, "taking steps to ensure it doesn't happen in the future".

All the same Obvious Questions we asked in our previous blog article apply to this case as well.

See Top Secret Joint Intelligence Committee current intelligence assessments left on a train

How many sensitive Government documents are being taken out of their physically secure office locations, and although they are not being lost, they are simply being copied illegally ?

There needs to be some criminal prosecutions of senior Whitehall civil servants responsible for allowing this culture of sloppy data security to infect the senior echelons of Whitehall.

One or more Labour Government Ministers should do the honourable thing and resign from office over this latest data security disaster., which is symptomatic of systematic failures in management, training and data security technology resources.

If all we get is Yet Another Review, then that will be an insult to the general public, and to the majority of conscientious and honest civil servants.

The Labour party politicians and apologists in the mainstream media may be trying their best to ridicule David Davis' principled stand on liberties and freedoms, which are being betrayed by this authoritarian, yet technologically inept Government, but their online internet fellow travellers, are having rather less success.

One of the "star" Labour party bloggers, Luke Akehurst, a HacKney Labour Party apparatchik, who was invited by the BBC to "live blog" the Local Election night results, has come up with the odious idea of manipulating a victim of terrorism, to be used as a proxy sacrificial stalking horse candidate against David Davis, without risking the electoral drubbing and lost deposit, which an official Labour party candidate would likely get.

In true NuLabour political commissar mode, he refuses to acknowledge the damage he has done to his own and his party's reputation, and gets more obdurate, even though former Labour supporters are expressing their disgust at such morally repulsive political manipulation, and are threatening never to vote Labour again.

What should really worry the NuLabour NuMedia spin doctors is this new PledgeBank pledge, currently signed by some extremely internet savvy online campaigners:

"I will Help David Davis win re-election by doing anything i can but only if 100 other people will do the same."

-- James Cox (contact)

Deadline to sign up by: 31st July 2008

SIgn up directly via PledgeBank:

Sign Up via FaceBook:

Sign up via Mobile Phone text message (normal UK SMS text message charges, UK only):
Send text "pledge daviddavis" to 60022

The latest Whitehall national security data scandal is, apparently, "very serious":

    Yes, Prime Minister Christmas Special - Party Games, BBC: 17 December 1984:
    Jim Hacker: "Yes, well this is serious."
    Chief Whip: "Very serious."
    Sir Humphrey: "Very serious."
    Jim Hacker: "What could happen if either of them became PM?"
    Sir Humphrey: "Something very serious indeed."
    Chief Whip: "Very serious."
    Jim Hacker: "I see...."
    Chief Whip: "Serious repercussions."
    Sir Humphrey: "Serious repercussions."
    Chief Whip: "Of the utmost seriousness."
    Jim Hacker: "Yes, that is serious."
    Sir Humphrey: "In fact, I would go so far as to say, that it could hardly be more serious."
    Jim Hacker: "Well, I think we all agree then: this is serious."

Ed Miliband, the Cabinet Office Minister, and, incredibly, the brother of the Foreign Secretary David Miliband (the nepotistic NuLabour Cabinet resembles a Mafia organised crime "family") has made an oral Statement to the House of Commons, regarding this latest data security scandal (see below)

1) Sir David Omand , the retired former permanent secretary for security and intelligence at the Cabinet Office, seems to be conducting Yet Another Inquiry prompted by this Top Secret JIC papers left on a train affair.

2) Why is it not Robert Hannigan, the Head of Security, Intelligence and Resilience and Security Adviser to the Prime Minister who is conducting this review ?

He has supervised a similar review of procedures for his boss, Sir Gus O'Donnell, the Cabinet Secretary and head of the Civil Service (i.e. "Sir Humphrey Appleby") , across all Whitehall departments following the Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and National Audit Office (NAO) Child Benefit national scale database privacy disaster.

Has Sir David Omand been called in, because there is the possibility that Robert Hannigan himself is going to be blamed for the disaster, rather than Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell, or any Labour Minister ?

3) Is the hapless idiot who broke the security procedures to cause this scandal, actually an MI5 Security Service officer attached to the JIC assessments staff, as has been alleged (under Parliamentary Privilege) by Andrew MacKinlay MP ?

Commons Hansard 12 Jun 2008 : Columns 485 - 495

Cabinet Office Assessment (Documents)
1.21 pm

The Minister for the Cabinet Office (Edward Miliband): With permission, Mr Deputy Speaker, I would like to make a statement about events relating to the loss and recovery of two Joint Intelligence Committee documents.

David Davis, the Conservative Shadow Home Secretary and Member of Parliament for Haltemprice & Howden in Yorkshire, has announced that he will resign as an MP, and fight a by-election over the principles of civil liberty and the database surveillance state which the Labour Government have inflicted on us, bit by bit, over the last 10 years.

In his statement to the media, he mentioned the 42 days internment without charge vote, CCTV cameras, the most intrusive ID card system in the world, a bigger DNA database than any dictatorship, snooping by petty officials, the incompetence of the bureaucracy in supposedly protecting our sensitive data etc. - all issues which have frightened and disgusted us here at Spy Blog.

If this by-election can grab and hold mainstream media attention, and stimulate public scrutiny of the repressive surveillance snooping state, then that will be A Good Thing.

The Conservative leader David Cameron, and Dominic Grieve, who takes over as Shadow Home Secretary say that they will campaign for him, but at this stage, it does not look as if there will be full Conservative party money and political campaign resources devoted to the campaign, but perhaps that is not necessary.

There seems little chance of him not being re-elected, especially as he got over 22,000 votes and beat the Liberal Democrats by over 5,000 votes at the 2005 General Election say they will not be standing against him,. Labour only got about 6,000 votes in total last time.

It will be interesting to see if Gordon Brown's Labour party even dares to field a hapless candidate against him - if they do not, they will be rightly accused of political cowardice.

Their Crewe and Nantwich by-election class warfare tactics are hardly going to be successful, as David Davis has more genuine working class roots than most of the Labour cabinet does.

Tony "not fit for purpose, but somehow still a Home Office Minister" McNulty, said

"What is this about ? I don't understand."

which shows just how out of touch with reality and the public, Labour politicians are.

Although Spy Blog is not party politically aligned, we support the principled stand on these issues being taken by David Davis.

We are now almost into the second half of 2008, well after the promised tightening up of data security procedures and techniques promised by the still secret Reviews by Kieran Poynter and by Robert Hannigan, which following the scandalous data security and privacy disasters involving the HMRC Child Benefit lost CDROM disks, and the MOD recruitment database stolen laptop computer etc.

See Poynter and Hannigan review reports fail to reassure anyone about UK Government data security and privacy issues - final reports delayed until after the May 2008 Local Elections ? and Ministry of Defence 600,000 recruitment records on stolen laptop - ignorance or "Data Traitor" malice ?

Several UK Government visitors to this blog have been looking up mentions of the Hannigan review in particular, in the last week or so..

The BBC are reporting an "extremely serious" security breach involving Top Secret documents from the Cabinet Office. left on a train..


[image via this BBC news website report Secret terror files left on train]

According to the chatty BBC TV news journalists, this latest scandal involves:

  • 7 pages - two documents - in an orange manila cardboard folder envelope.There also seems to have been a copy of a scientific magazine e.g. perhaps New Scientist or similar.

  • Joint Intelligence Committee assessments of the current, latest assessments of:

    • "Al Qaid's Constraints and Vulnerabilities" - commissioned for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the Home Office. This seems to have had UK TOP SECRET STRAP2 CAN/AUS/UK/US EYES ONLY Protectively Marked document classification, with a red border, and presumably, a very limited number of copies.

      The document is dated 5th June 2008 and headed JIC(08)087

      "This paper was discussed by the JIC and approved on 5th June 2008"

    • The state of the security situation in Iraq, including "damning criticisms" of the shortcomings of Iraqi government security forces - commissioned for the Ministry of Defence. This was apparently marked as Secret

  • These documents were, it seems, left on a train from London Waterloo to Surrey yesterday morning.

These levels of Protective Marking imply that the information contained in these documents could have put people's lives at risk if disclosed to the wrong people:

Secret - This marking is used for information whose side-effects may be life-threatening, disruptive to public order or detrimental to diplomatic relations with friendly nations.

Top Secret - Information marked as Top Secret is that which whose release is liable to cause considerable loss of life, international diplomatic incidents, or severely impact ongoing intelligence operations.

The Joint Intelligence Committee is chaired by Alex Allan, the former "Sir Humphrey" at the Department for Constitutional Affairs / Ministry of Justice , the former UK Government e-envoy and who performed the real life role of "Bernard Woolley" to both Prime Ministers John Major and Tony Blair. When appointed to this JIC role, his home address and mobile phone numbers were available on the internet, via the Domain Name registration whois system,

Luckily these JIC documents were handed in to the BBC, who then handed them to their security correspondent BBC's Frank Gardner, who said that there did not seem to be codenames of people or operations, but that there were some damning criticisms of Iraqi security forces.

They are being returned to the Government via the Metropolitan Police's Counter Terrorism Command, although, of course, they might now be seized as evidence for a forthcoming criminal trial.

Some Obvious Questions:

  • Are these two documents the original, numbered copies - in breach of established procedures ?

  • Are they illegal photocopies made in breach of the well established existing procedures ?

  • Will any senior Sir Humphreys heads roll at the Cabinet Office ? Not just the hapless idiot (possibly a Military officer) who actually left them on the train, but his managers and superiors ?

  • Will anybody be prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act 1989 section 8 Safeguarding of information

  • If not, then why not ?

  • Given how cheap mobile computers or data storage is, with full, UK Government approved strong encryption, why are there any such documents, at this level of Protectively Marked document security classification, ever printed onto paper in the first place ?

  • Is this yet another case of the most senior people in Government flouting their own rules, which they inflict on their subordinates, and on the rest of the public ?

  • How many other such documents have been put at risk by this wretched individual or by his colleagues ?

  • Will there now be Yet Another Review of Procedures which will be Ignored Again ?

  • If the UK Government cannot even secure Top Secret documents of this nature, then why should they ever be trusted with a national centralised biometric National Identity Register database, i.e. with very long term sensitive information which cannot be changed or amended or re-issued, for the rest of your life ?

One of the sections which caught our attention on first reading the text of the Counter-Terrorism Bill 2008 was what appeared to be a retrospective carte blanche, to cover up any past misdeeds of the intelligence agencies, with regard to the handling of confidential disclosures from people who have a duty of confidence e.g. lawyers, accountants, medical doctors, financial institutions, commercial companies etc.

Clause 20 subsection 4

20 Disclosure and the intelligence services: supplementary provisions


(4) Nothing in that section shall be read as casting doubt on the legality of anything done by any of the intelligence services before that section came into force.


As we pointed out before, the effect of this wording is precisely the opposite of , presumably, the Government intended. Given the lack of public trust trust in this Labour Government , and the excessive secrecy which the intelligence agencies appear to use to hide their failures, most people reading it will think "no smoke without fire".

This sub-clause was unconvincingly defended by Home Ofice Minister Tony McNulty during the Committee stage debate: see Counter-Terrorism Bill - Commons Committee debate 6th May 2008 - Columns 236 - 240

As predicted, yesterday's Report stage "debate" in the Commons was heavily programmed or guillotined, and, there was no debate or explanation for this utterly obscurely worded Government amendment which had sneaked onto the order papers.

Clause 20 Disclosure And The Intelligence Services: Supplementary Provisions

Amendment made: No. 55, page 15, line 33, leave out subsection (4).--[Mr. McNulty.]

This, together with a wodge of other amendments went through on the nod, without a vote.

The offending Clause 20 sub-clause (4) has gone - so what changed between the 6th May and the 10th June to remove it ?

There may have been a perfectly sensible and reasonable re-evaluation of the Government's aggressive stance on this issue, but, since they have not deigned to bother to explain in public, they deserve no credit for democratic openness and transparency.

During the Committee stage mentioned above, Tony McNulty claimed that


That is all that clauses 19 to 21 do. They mirror sections 33 to 35 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act. Our concern is that the absence of similar explicit protections for the intelligence and security agencies may cause doubt in the minds of those wishing to give information that it is safe to do so. Given the vital work of the intelligence and security agencies it is important that nothing should dissuade those wishing to protect our society by giving information to the agencies, so that the agencies can carry out their vital statutory functions. It is important that nothing gets in the way of that, and that is why those clauses are offered.


This is nonsense !

Our theory that all the fuss about "42 days" internment without charge would lead to the rest of the controversial measures in the Counter-Terrorism Bill 2008 being smuggled through without any effective opposition seems to be proving true.

The vote on the controversial "Coroners Inquests nobbling" section of the Counter-Terrorism Bill:

Ayes: 287

Noes. 310

i.e. the Government has beaten the Opposition amendment which would have preserved Coroners' Juries in Inquests in all cases. Now the Government will be able to arbitrarily appoint specially vetted Coroners, who will hear "national security" evidence in secret, without a jury.

As has been pointed out in the debate, the vast majority of Inquests held by Specially Appointed Corners without Juries will not have anything to do with terrorism cases e.g. like the inquests into the death of Princess Diana, or Dr. David Kelly, or "friendly fire" British military casualties in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Is this legislation directly a result of the embarrassment of Secret Intelligence Service MI6 officers and managers having to creep out from the shadows and give evidence before a Coroner's Jury (albeit anonymously), to dispel the conspiracy fantasies about their alleged involvement in the the death of Diana, Princess of Wales ?

There is also a Coroners Reform Bill which has been announced, which would have been a more appropriate place to consider the whole of the Coroners system, than in this Counter-Terrorism Bill.

This section of th Counter-Terrorism Bill pre-empts the Chilcot Implementation Group report into the whole question of intercept evidence and terrorism cases - so what is the pressing need for it in this Bill right now ?

See Privy Council Chilcot Review report on Intercept Evidence - more ***

The smarmy Home Office Minister Tony McNulty has vaguely promised on the floor of the house (i.e. a promise not worth the paper it is not written on) that there might be "sunset clauses" added to this "Coroners Inquest nobbling" legislation in the House of Lords , if this Labour Government lasts long enough to go forward with the Coroners Reform Bill.

With his usual technique of exaggeration and arguing against a fake straw man, McNulty claimed that this legislation would not result in "secret inquests", and that most of such inquests would still be open to the public.

So what ? It will just result in Inquests which will not fully satisfy the need for public accountability when, not if, there are deaths, partly or wholly as a result of genuine mistakes or malice or incompetence by secret public agencies of the state.

The relatives of the deceased will still have questions about exactly why their loved ones died, and there will be a suspicion of conspiracy and coverup.

The House of Commons Select Committee on Home Affairs has published (in print, but , unaccountably in the 21st Century, there is no simultaneous public publication of a web version) a report entitled A Surveillance Society ?.

As with similar Home Affairs Committee reports, they seem to interview and taken evidence from a reasonable selection of people, most of whom are critical of one or more aspects of Government policy. However they then they meekly accept untrustworthy assurances from the likes of Tony "not fit for purpose, but still a Home Office Minister", McNulty, that the Government are "listening" or "tackling" or " reviewing" and that they are "taking things very seriously".

However, none of the RIPA Commissioners i.e. neither the Intelligence Services Commissioner, the right hon. Sir Peter Gibson, nor the Interception of Communications Commissioner, the right hon. Sir Paul Kennedy, nor the Chief Surveillance Commissioner the right hon. Sir Christopher Rose, gave oral evidence or submitted written evidence to this Committee,

This is a major failing of a Report which discusses the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, and the "Wilson Doctrine", and has "Surveillance" in its title.

Anybody expecting firm conclusions and clear recommendations from this Report will, search for them in vain.

The first paragraph of the Conclusions and recommendations :

We reject crude characterisations of our society as a surveillance society in which all collection and means of collecting information about citizens are networked and centralised in the service of the state.

This is a fallacious straw man argument - the point at which a free society is crushed by a surveillance state occurs well before "all" i.e. 100% of such information is snooped on.

A commercial cartel does not need to control 100% of a market to have an effective monopoly - 30 or 50 % can give it a dominant market share, which none of its smaller rivals can compete fairly with. This Labour Government was not elected by even a simple majority i.e. over 50% of the electorate - only about 22% of the electorate voted for them in the 2005 General Election so it is deliberately misleading to claim that only absolutely 100% snooping constitutes a threat to our freedoms and liberties.

Yet the potential for surveillance of citizens in public spaces and private communications has increased to the extent that ours could be described as a surveillance society unless trust in the Government's intentions in relation to data is preserved.

Who is stupid enough to trust this Government with personal data ? We have to grudgingly hand it over, but surely nobody now trusts them with it ? They have a literally appalling record of incompetence and uncaring bureaucratic arrogance in this regard.

Therefore, since we do not trust this Government, we can describe the United Kingdom as a "surveillance society", according to this criterion.

The Home Office in particular and Government in general must take every possible step to maintain and build on this trust: our Report provides a starting point.

Even if the Government "accepts" this Report, and then. , by some miracle, actually properly implements all of this Committee's rather weak recommendations, that will not be sufficient to re-establish public trust.

Here are their vague "Ground rules for Government"

The forthcoming British Telecom annual general meeting of shareholders at the Barbican in London on July 16th, could be interesting, with a planned protest by furious BT broadband customers who were secretly snooped on for the controversial Phorm advertising interception secret technical trial - see the NoDPI.org campaign website ("Watching them watching us" - a familiar slogan !)

It seems that there has now been a leak of the internal British Telecom Retail report, dated January 2007, which highlights the technical issues and performance of the illegal 2 week secret technical trial which British Telecom inflicted on thousands of its unsuspecting broadband internet customers, for two weeks in September 2006.

The report confirms that that none of the BT customers were consulted beforehand, and they did not grant their permission for their port 80 web traffic to be intercepted and modified by British Telecom and 121Media (as Phorm were then known)

They tested out the substitution of banner adverts from a range of British based advertising agencies, mostly relating to Motoring, which were substituted in place of some charity adverts e.g. from Oxfam. It is unclear from this report whether Phorm had paid for the charity adverts, but, given the sneakiness of this commercial espionage test, it seems unlikely that any charity would have been consulted or agreed.

The BT report highlights the obvious "web cookie dropping" problem and its incompatibility with informed consent.

The effect on static IP address customers by the sneaky imposition of the proxy servers is also recognised in the report.

The report does not mention the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 section 1 criminal offence legal implications of intercepting web based emails, but the engineers do seem to be passing the buck over to the BT legal department, to get the terms and conditions of the broadband customer contract changed.

The other interesting part of the report are the figure for the scalability of the standard proxy server and channel server equipment required. The BT report estimates that over 300 servers would be required to cover all of British Telecoms 9GB/s broadband web traffic.

This gives an idea of the scale and cost of similar Deep Packet Inspection web content snooping schemes envisaged by the Labour Government and the European Commission, for "anti-terrorism" purposes.

See Alexander Hanff's report and analysis of this leaked BT report,:
BT covert trials in 2006 - The FACTS about PageSense

Also see Dr. Richard Clayton's technical analysis of the Phorm infrastructure - The Phorm "Webwise" System

A couple of Questions for BT's senior managers -

  • Who were the BT managers who authorised this secret snooping on thousands of broadband customers ?
  • Was the Phase 2 Commercial viability test promised in this report ever conducted, also, presumably, in secret ?
  • When will BT publicaly apologise and pay financial compensation to the few people who were tearing their hair out, and wasting their time and energy trying to track down the non-existent computer virus or spyware which they assumed had infected their systems during this secret test of the Phorm scheme ?
  • Will BT bow to the inevitable and drop this pernicious Phorm plan altogether (unless they create a completely separate, free or very cheap, clearly up front advertising funded broadband service) ?

A copy of the BT report (17Mb .pdf) also now resides on the supposedly uncensorable Wikileaks.org website in Sweden.

You may want to consider the security and privacy implications of the fact that the SSL Digital Certificate for https://wikileaks.org expired on 16th May 2008.

See WikiLeakS.org - secure.wikileaks.org - Secure Sockets Layer Digital Certificate has Expired

Has Andrew MacKinlay, the sometimes rebellious Labour MP for Thurrock, been snooped on by the secret intelligence agencies and by Labour Ministers ? Have his conversations with his constituents and others bee snooped on as well, in contravention of the Wilson Doctrine ?

One of his constituents is Michael John Smith, who was convicted of passing aerospace secrets to the Russian KGB, but who is now trying to get his case reviewed.

Andrew MacKinlay recently asked a Parliamentary Question of Jack Straw if he had been snooped on whilst visiting Michael John Smith in prison. It also seems that a Government Minister has admitted that this MP's meetings with a "Russian Envoy" in the Palace of Westminster itself, were also being snooped on.

Are there hidden microphones or cameras, or a network of human informers sneaking about within Parliament ?

Remember when Gordon Brown pretended that his Government would not be spinning important policy ideas to the favoured mainstream media before announcing them officially in Parliament first ?

There has been no Statement or detailed Government consultation paper explaining the alleged "concessions" and supposed extra safeguards regarding the planned 42 days internment without charge (or even evidence) which is being planned in the Counter-Terrorism Bill 2008.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith is due to say something about this in the House of Commons later today, but only to potential rebel backbench Labour MPs, and is not making an official Ministerial Statement to Parliament.. Her boss and his expensive meedja spin doctor apparatchiki are doing exactly what Tony Blair used to do, and have published this article in The Times, ahead of any official statement to Parliament.

The Times
June 2, 2008

42-day detention; a fair solution
The complexity of today's terrorist plots means the Government needs more powers

Gordon Brown

Will this controversial 42 days internment issue soak up all the available Opposition time and campaign resources, dominate the mainstream media attention span, and thereby allow the other evil provisions of the Counter-Terrorism Bill, to sneak through without proper scrutiny ?

See Counter-Terrorism Bill - DNA and Data Sharing by MI5, MI6 and GCHQ - no more Duty of Confidentiality or the Wilson Doctrine ?

Where is the compelling, detailed evidence which justifies such an evil law ? It is not to be found in the following media spin article:

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

  • larapbac: She had hardly seen hundreds of squeezing my tits what read more
  • Mattski: Good observations on media enquiry dodging - been there and read more
  • wtwu: Sarah Garrett did reply to our email, very promptly (apologies read more
  • wtwu: 26th October 2010 London Diplomatic List http://www.fco.gov.uk/resources/en/protocol/ldl-october-2010 (.pdf) HIS EXCELLENCY read more
  • isa: با سلام من عیسی هستم از کشور ایران می خواهم read more
  • wtwu: @ melbury - paying 3 shifts of people, to provide read more
  • melbury: Obviously a no-brainer, what type of people would possibly be read more
  • Chantelle: Hi im 17yrs old got a reprimand for abusive & read more
  • wtwu: @ Top Ten - perhaps that book might go on read more
  • Top Ten: What about MI6: The History of the Secret Intelligence Service 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