Report of the Interception of Communications Commissioner for 2007 by the Rt. Hon. Sir Paul Kennedy

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Interception of Communications Commissioner

Report of the Interception of Communications Commissioner for 2007 (.pdf 16 pages) by the Rt. Hon. Sir Paul Kennedy, submitted to the Prime Minister on 27th June 2008, published on 22nd July 2008.

See our reasonably lengthy comments on this report below:

Section 2: Part I Chaper I - Interception of Communications

N.B. Presumably "Chaper" is typing error which should be read as "Chapter".

2.10 Twenty-four interception errors and breaches have been reported to me during the course of 2007. This is the same number of errors reported in my first Annual Report (which was for a shorter period) and is a significant decrease in the number reported by my predecessor. I consider the number of errors to be too high.


2.11 The Northern Ireland Office/Police Service Northern Ireland reported four errors.


2.12 Six errors were reported to me by GCHQ of which three are highlighted below.


2.15 The Security Service reported eight errors. Brief details of three of these are highlighted below.


2.18 HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) reported one error where, in light of a decision not to renew a warrant, they allowed a warrant to run up until its end date.


2.19 I now turn to give two examples of the five errors made by the communications service providers (CSPs).


2.22 No errors were reported by the Home Office, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Scottish Government, Ministry of Defence, Secret Intelligence Service, Serious Organised Crime Agency and Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command

There are some statistics:

2.23 Warrants (a) in force, under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, as at 31 December 2007 and (b) issued during the period 1 January 2007 and 31 December 2007

   a  b
Home Secretary  929 [754]*  1881
The total number of RIPA modifications from
01/01/2007 - 31/12/2007 = 5577
Scottish Executive  28 [43]*  145
The total number of RIPA modifications from
01/01/2007 - 31/12/2007 = 367

*For comparison purposes I have included in the parentheses the warrants in force as at 31 December 2006 as detailed in my 2006 Annual Report. I have not included the number of warrants issued during 2006 as the statistics in my 2006 Report were for a shorter period i.e., my first nine months in post - the period from 1 April 2006 to 31 December 2006. No realistic comparison can therefore be made.

[NB: Under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 there is no longer a breakdown of the figures between Telecommunications and Letters.]

Remember that these Interception statistics do not reveal the actual number of phone calls or emails (or postal letters) etc. which have been snooped on, only the number of warrants (which usually last up to 6 months) and certificates (which can cover entire foreign countries).

Communications Traffic Data is also meant to be scrutinised by the Interception of Communications Commissioner:

Section 3: Part I Chapter II - Acquisition and Disclosure Communications Data

Police Forces and Law Enforcement Agencies

3.6 I strongly believe that it is in the public interest that public authorities should demonstrate that they make lawful and effective use of regulated investigatory powers. My annual report should provide the necessary reassurance that the use which public authorities have made of their powers has met my expectations and those of my Inspectors,

This Report does not provide the necessary reassurance that the legitimate expectations of the public have been met.

although there is no reason why public authorities cannot make a further disclosure in compliance with a request under the Freedom of Information Act if they so wish. There is provision for this in the Code of Practice although each public authority must seek my prior approval before making any further disclosure. That is to ensure that the wider public interest is not adversely affected by a disclosure.

This mention of the Freedom of Information Act by Sir Paul Kennedy is is at variance with the views of Sir Christoper Rose, the Chief Surveillance Commissioner's remarks regarding such FOIA requests (see the later Spy Blog article).

Remember that despite fulfilling not just one, but both of the statutory requirements i.e. that they are established by an Act of Parliament , and they are appointed by a Minister, none of the RIPA Commissioners are classified as "public bodies" for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, unlike, say, the Information Commissioner or the Police forces etc. which are.

3.7 During the year ended 31 December, 2007, public authorities as a whole, made 519,260 requests for communications data to Communication Service Providers (CSP). I do not intend to give a breakdown of these requests because I do not think that it would serve any useful purpose, but I can say that the intelligence agencies, police forces and other law enforcement agencies are the principal users of communications data.

i.e. over half a million requests for communications data in 2007.

The RIPA Commissioners are rightly annoyed when the mainstream media confuse "requests for communications data" with "Interceptions" of phone calls or emails etc..

The mainstream media and the public are rightly annoyed that the Interception of Communications Commissioner refuses to publish any statistics, even aggregated annual statistics, showing the actual number of interceptions which have happened , under the authority of various warrants and certificates, rather than fobbing them off with figures just about the number of such warrants, each of which which may represent a single interception, or may represent millions of them.

Later in my report I will give some indication of the extent to which local authorities use communications data as I believe that this should be placed in context. Any suggestion that a low ranking council employee may have unrestricted access to the telephone records of a member of the public is far removed from reality because a process has to be gone through first which requires the necessity and proportionality tests to be fully met before the necessary approval is given by a senior official.

That is what should happen in theory, but in practice, we suspect that there are exactly the same problems which the Chief Surveillance Commissioner highlights in his report (see later blog article) with Local Authorities i.e. their relative inexperience, lack of training, and tendency to self authorise (i.e. the senior official is usually the head of the department conducting the investigation, and not someone without a direct interest in it)

3.8 In the same 12-month period a total of 1,182 errors were reported to my office by public authorities: approximately two thirds are attributable to public authorities and one third to CSPs. This may seem a large number but it is very small when it is compared to the numbers of requests for data which are made nationally. I am not convinced that any useful purpose would be served by providing a more detailed report of these errors.

Let the informed public be the judges of that.

I should add that neither I nor any of my Inspectors have uncovered any willful or reckless conduct which has been the cause of these errors. A considerable proportion of these errors were due to the incorrect transposition of telephone numbers and of course human error can never be eliminated completely. I am pleased to say that more and more police forces are introducing automated systems for the management of communications data requests and these will inevitably reduce the number of keying errors which occur.

"automated systems for the management of communications data requests" may well reduce transcription and transposition errors, but they also make it easier and more tempting to snoop on more people disproportionately.

Note that the method of "error reporting" has now been changed:

3.9 In October 2007, when the Code of Practice was approved by Parliament, changes were made to the arrangements under which public authorities report errors because previously they were required to notify me of any error, even though it did not result in any intrusion upon the privacy of an innocent third party.


3.10 Accordingly I agreed to a change in the error reporting system whereby public authorities now only report errors which have resulted in them obtaining the wrong communications data and where this has resulted in intrusion upon the privacy of an innocent third party.


During the period October to December 2007 the number of 'reportable' errors made by public authorities was 99 which illustrates that in reality the level of intrusion upon innocent third parties is actually much less than stated in previous reports.


3.11 With effect from October 2007 each public authority must also keep a log of any 'recordable' errors which have occurred during the process of acquiring communications data. Generally these are procedural errors relating to non- compliance with the Code of Practice but which do not affect its lawful entitlement to acquire the data. [...]

These errors are kept secret from the public, save for the couple of non-specific examples indirectly mentioned in this report.

3.19 Where necessary my Inspectors will challenge the justifications for acquiring communications data if they believe that it was obtained unnecessarily or inappropriately. In one instance an Assistant Chief Constable was brought in to help resolve a case of difficulty.


Under the Code of Practice I have the power to direct a public authority to provide information to an individual who has been adversely affected by any wilful or reckless exercise or lack of exercise of its powers under the Act. So far it has not been necessary for me to exercise this function


This only applies to the small random sample of Authorisations which happen to be chosen to be audited. There is no mechanism for the Interception of Communications Commissioner to pro-actively investigate any particular case of potential or actual abuse, either from mass media reports, or from complaints by individual members of the public, who are discouraged from even knowing about his existence, let alone contacting him directly.

Security and intelligence agencies

3.21 For the most part the work of the intelligence agencies is necessarily secret and therefore this limits what I can say about the inspections which have been conducted in relation to their use of data. However, I can state that the intelligence agencies are subject to exactly the same type of inspection as police forces and law enforcement agencies. I am satisfied that they are complying with the Act and Code of Practice and no issues have arisen regarding their application of the legislation.

3.22 Communications data is used extensively by the intelligence agencies, primarily to build up an intelligence picture about persons or groups of persons who may pose a real threat to our national security. Given the nature of the work it is perhaps unavoidable that there will be some degree of collateral intrusion into the private lives of persons who have had contact with the subjects of investigations. However, this is recognised by the intelligence agencies, and the inspections have shown that intrusion is being limited so far as possible.

That provides no reassurance to innocent members of the public whatsoever.

Local Authorities

3.23 There are approximately 474 local authorities throughout the UK approved by Parliament for the purpose of acquiring communications data, using the provisions of the Act.

This is far too many public bodies, especially given their relatively infrequent use of these powers compared with the Police.

No local authority has been given the power to intercept a telephone call or any other form of communication during the course of its transmission. Local authorities may acquire communications data for the purpose of preventing and detecting crime, but there are restrictions upon the types of data which they may obtain. They do not have access to traffic data which would enable them to identify the location from or to which a communication has been transmitted.


3.26 During the period covered by this report only 154 local authorities made use of their powers to acquire communications data. A total of 1,707 requests were made for communications data and the vast majority were for basic subscriber information. Very few local authorities have used their powers to acquire itemized call records in relation to the investigations which they have conducted. Indeed our inspections have shown that generally the local authorities could make much more use of communications data as a powerful tool to investigate crime.

Since the Police etc. made over half a million such requests last year, this shows that Local Council staff are are likely to be inexperienced, and probably improperly trained in the handling of what are for them, relatively rare requests.

3.29 The local authorities reported a total of 52 errors in 2007 and a fair proportion of these were identified during the inspections.


I have not encountered any cases which would be serious enough for me to invoke the powers which I have outlined previously in paragraph 3.19 of this report.

There is no mention of the recently reported Poole Council or other local council cases where communications data as well as directed surveillance was seen to being used disproportionately.

No doubt the inspectors will check on Poole Council in the next couple of years or so, but, as was revealed to a Parliamentary Committee, there is little flexibility in the programme of the hundreds of scheduled inspection any of the RIPA Commissioners or their staff.

The concept of unannounced spot checks on public bodies, does not seem to be the way in which any of the RIPA Commissioners have chosen to work, although they have the legal power to do so.

Other public authorities

3.31 There are approximately 110 other public authorities which are registered for the purpose of acquiring communications data. These include the Serious Fraud Office, Independent Police Complaints Commission, Charity Commission, Royal Mail and the Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHPRA) to name just a few.

There are no figures at all for the number of Communications Data Requests made by these bodies, who are likely to be even less frequent users of these powers than Local Authority trading standards and environmental health departments.

Section 4: Interception in Prisons [...]

4.3 There are 137 prisons in England & Wales, including Kennet which was opened in 2007. All of the prisons have been inspected on at least one occasion during the last 3 years and quite a number have now been inspected for a second or third time. During the period covered by this report my Inspectors visited 85 prisons which roughly equates to two thirds of the whole estate


4.5 Regrettably, I cannot give an assurance that there is total compliance with the rules and in some prisons breaches still occur on a fairly regular basis. My inspectors have needed to re-inspect a number of prisons within a relatively short time in order to raise the level of compliance. In saying so, however, I do not imply that prison managers and their staff are deliberately setting out to circumvent the rules.

That is a large number of visits and use of manpower and resources, conducting inspections for which the Interception of Communications Commissioner has no statutory powers to do so, and has no sanctions with which to enforce compliance with the rules.

Surely the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 should be amended to include prisons, including privately run prisons, within the statutory remits of all of the RIPA Commissioners ?

Section 5: Other Matters



5.4 Sections 15 and 16 of RIPA lay a duty on the Secretary of State to ensure that arrangements are in force as safeguards in relation to the dissemination, disclosing, copying, storage and destruction etc., of intercepted material. These sections of the legislation require careful and detailed safeguards to be drafted by each of the agencies and for those safeguards to be approved by the Secretary of State. This has been done. My advice is sought on proposed amendments to the safeguards when they are updated in light of technical and administrative developments. During the period of this report I saw and commented on the revised handling arrangements for the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the Serious Organised Crime Agency. I also assured officials in HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) that I was satisfied with the adequacy of the safeguards they had in place to deal with disclosure following adverse criticism of an HMRC officer by a Court of Appeal judge.

Was this before or after the incompetence of HMRC, and the flouting of established security operating procedures in October 2007, and the later Whitehall data handling security scandals revealed thereafter ?

The obscure Investigatory Powers Tribunal consulted the Interception of Communications Commissioner in one case.

6.3 Section 57(3) of RIPA requires me to give all such assistance to the Tribunal as the Tribunal may require in relation to investigations and other specified matters. During 2007 I was asked by the Tribunal President to assist the Tribunal on one occasion. The legislation precludes me from identifying details of the particular complaint but for the purposes of this Report I can say that I provided advice to the President as to whether the test of "necessity" was correctly applied when an agency was considering whether or not it was "necessary" for a particular person's telephone calls to be intercepted "for the purpose of preventing or detecting serious crime".

Finally, there is another passing reference to the Wilson Doctrine::

7.2 I said last year that in times like these the Wilson Doctrine seems to me to be indefensible. That is still my belief, and, judging by the reaction to a complaint made by a Member of Parliament some months ago, it is a belief that is widely shared.

His previous report just wholeheartedly agreed with his predecessor the Rt.Hon. Sir Swinton Thomas on the Wilson Doctrine.

Our criticism of their anti-Wilson Doctrine stance still remains valid, especially as they do not seem to be distinguishing between the personal and private business communications of Members of Parliament, which should not be above the law, and the confidentiality of communications between Members of Parliament and their constituents, which definitely should be protected from snooping by the Government agencies or other supposedly independent law enforcement agencies like the Police.

This MP / Constituent confidentiality should not just cover interception, but also all the other activities authorised under other parts of RIPA as well,i.e. communications traffic data, directed and intrusive surveillance, the use of confidential human intelligence sources / informers , and demands for cryptographic keys.

See: the previous Spy Blog article Sir Swinton Thomas on the "Wilson Doctrine"


Well - blow me down with a bicycle pump!

Just as Parliament closes down for 3 months !

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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.

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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


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London 2600

Our UK Freedom of Information Act request tracking blog - ethical and technical discussion about the project for anonymous mass leaking of documents etc.

Privacy and Security

Privacy International
Privacy and Human Rights Survey 2004

Cryptome - censored or leaked government documents etc.

Identity Project report by the London School of Economics
Surveillance & Society the fully peer-reviewed transdisciplinary online surveillance studies journal

Statewatch - monitoring the state and civil liberties in the European Union

The Policy Laundering Project - attempts by Governments to pretend their repressive surveillance systems, have to be introduced to comply with international agreements, which they themselves have pushed for in the first place

International Campaign Against Mass Surveillance

ARCH Action Rights for Children in Education - worried about the planned Children's Bill Database, Connexions Card, fingerprinting of children, CCTV spy cameras in schools etc.

Foundation for Information Policy Research
UK Crypto - UK Cryptography Policy Discussion Group email list

Technical Advisory Board on internet and telecomms interception under RIPA

European Digital Rights

Open Rights Group - a UK version of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a clearinghouse to raise digital rights and civil liberties issues with the media and to influence Governments.

Digital Rights Ireland - legal case against mandatory EU Comms Data Retention etc.

Blindside - "What’s going to go wrong in our e-enabled world? " blog and wiki and Quarterly Report will supposedly be read by the Cabinet Office Central Sponsor for Information Assurance. Whether the rest of the Government bureaucracy and the Politicians actually listen to the CSIA, is another matter.

Biometrics in schools - 'A concerned parent who doesn't want her children to live in "1984" type society.'

Human Rights

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British Institute of Human Rights
Amnesty International

Prevent Genocide International

asboconcern - campaign for reform of Anti-Social Behavior Orders

Front Line Defenders - Irish charity - Defenders of Human Rights Defenders

Internet Censorship

OpenNet Initiative - researches and measures the extent of actual state level censorship of the internet. Features a blocked web URL checker and censorship map.

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

Reporters without Borders internet section - news of internet related censorship and repression of journalists, bloggers and dissidents etc.

Judicial Links

British and Irish Legal Information Institute - publishes the full text of major case Judgments

Her Majesty's Courts Service - publishes forthcoming High Court etc. cases (but only in the next few days !)

House of Lords - The Law Lords are currently the supreme court in the UK - will be moved to the new Supreme Court in October 2009.

Information Tribunal - deals with appeals under FOIA, DPA both for and against the Information Commissioner

Investigatory Powers Tribunal - deals with complaints about interception and snooping under RIPA - has almost never ruled in favour of a complainant.

Parliamentary Opposition

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

UK Government

Home Office - "Not fit for purpose. It is inadequate in terms of its scope, it is inadequate in terms of its information technology, leadership, management systems and processes" - Home Secretary John Reid. 23rd May 2006. Not quite the fount of all evil legislation in the UK, but close.

No. 10 Downing Street Prime Minister's Official Spindoctors

Public Bills before Parliament

United Kingdom Parliament
Home Affairs Committee of the House of Commons.

House of Commons "Question Book"

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

FaxYourMP - identify and then fax your Member of Parliament
WriteToThem - identify and then contact your Local Councillors, members of devolved assemblies, Member of Parliament, Members of the European Parliament etc.
They Work For You - House of Commons Hansard made more accessible ? UK Members of the European Parliament

Read The Bills Act - USA proposal to force politicians to actually read the legislation that they are voting for, something which is badly needed in the UK Parliament.

Bichard Inquiry delving into criminal records and "soft intelligence" policies highlighted by the Soham murders. (taken offline by the Home Office)

ACPO - Association of Chief Police Officers - England, Wales and Northern Ireland
ACPOS Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland

Online Media

Boing Boing

Need To Know [now defunct]

The Register

NewsNow Encryption and Security aggregate news feed
KableNet - UK Government IT project news - UK eGovernment and public sector IT news
eGov Monitor

Ideal Government - debate about UK eGovernment

NIR and ID cards

Stand - email and fax campaign on ID Cards etc. [Now defunct]. The people who supported have gone on to set up other online tools like The Government's contemptuous dismissal of over 5,000 individual responses via the website to the Home Office public consultation on Entitlement Cards is one of the factors which later led directly to the formation of the the NO2ID Campaign who have been marshalling cross party opposition to Labour's dreadful National Identity Register compulsory centralised national biometric database and ID Card plans, at the expense of simpler, cheaper, less repressive, more effective, nore secure and more privacy friendly alternative identity schemes.

NO2ID - opposition to the Home Office's Compulsory Biometric ID Card
NO2ID bulletin board discussion forum

Home Office Identity Cards website
No compulsory national Identity Cards (ID Cards) BBC iCan campaign site
UK ID Cards blog
NO2ID press clippings blog
CASNIC - Campaign to STOP the National Identity Card.
Defy-ID active meetings and protests in Glasgow - New Alliance's ID Cards page - total rejection of any UK ID Card

International Civil Aviation Organisation - Machine Readable Travel Documents standards for Biometric Passports etc.
Anti National ID Japan - controversial and insecure Jukinet National ID registry in Japan
UK Biometrics Working Group run by CESG/GCHQ experts etc. the UK Government on Biometrics issues feasability
Citizen Information Project feasability study population register plans by the Treasury and Office of National Statistics - comments and links to each paragraph of the Home Office's "Strategic Action Plan for the National Identity Scheme".

De-Materialised ID - "The voluntary alternative to material ID cards, A Proposal by David Moss of Business Consultancy Services Ltd (BCSL)" - well researched analysis of the current Home Office scheme, and a potentially viable alternative.

Surveillance Infrastructures

National Roads Telecommunications Services project - infrastruture for various mass surveillance systems, CCTV, ANPR, PMMR imaging etc.

CameraWatch - independent UK CCTV industry lobby group - like us, they also want more regulation of CCTV surveillance systems.

Every Step You Take a documentary about CCTV surveillance in the Uk by Austrian film maker Nino Leitner.

Transport for London an attempt at a technological panopticon - London Congestion Charge, London Low-Emission Zone, Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras, tens of thousands of CCTV cameras on buses, thousands of CCTV cameras on London Underground, realtime road traffic CCTV, Iyster smart cards - all handed over to the Metropolitan Police for "national security" purposes, in real time, in bulk, without any public accountibility, for secret data mining, exempt from even the usual weak protections of the Data Protection Act 1998.

RFID Links

RFID tag privacy concerns - our own original article updated with photos

NoTags - campaign against individual item RFID tags
Position Statement on the Use of RFID on Consumer Products has been endorsed by a large number of privacy and human rights organisations.
RFID Privacy Happenings at MIT
Surpriv: RFID Surveillance and Privacy
RFID Scanner blog
RFID Gazette
The Sorting Door Project blog - where we sometimes crosspost RFID articles

Genetic Links

DNA Profiles - analysis by Paul Nutteing
GeneWatch UK monitors genetic privacy and other issues
Postnote February 2006 Number 258 - National DNA Database (.pdf) - Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology

The National DNA Database Annual Report 2004/5 (.pdf) - published by the NDNAD Board and ACPO.

Eeclaim Your DNA from Britain's National DNA Database - model letters and advice on how to have your DNA samples and profiles removed from the National DNA Database,in spite of all of the nureacratic obstacles which try to prevent this, even if you are innocent.

Miscellanous Links

Michael Field - Pacific Island news - no longer a paradise - John Gilmore versus USA internal flight passports and passenger profiling etc.

The BUPA Seven - whistleblowers badly let down by the system.

Tax Credit Overpayment - the near suicidal despair inflicted on poor, vulnerable people by the then Chancellor Gordon Brown's disasterous Inland Revenue IT system.

Fassit UK - resources and help for those abused by the Social Services Childrens Care bureaucracy

Former Spies

MI6 v Tomlinson - Richard Tomlinson - still being harassed by his former employer MI6

Martin Ingram, Welcome To The Dark Side - former British Army Intelligence operative in Northern Ireland.

Operation Billiards - Mitrokhin or Oshchenko ? Michael John Smith - seeking to overturn his Official Secrets Act conviction in the GEC case.

The Dirty Secrets of MI5 & MI6 - Tony Holland, Michael John Smith and John Symond - stories and chronologies.

Naked Spygirl - Olivia Frank

Blog Links blog - Comments on IT security and Privacy or the lack thereof.
Rat's Blog -The Reverend Rat writes about London street life and technology
Duncan Drury - wired adventures in Tanzania & London
Dr. K's blog - Hacker, Author, Musician, Philosopher

David Mery - falsely arrested on the London Tube - you could be next.

James Hammerton
White Rose - a thorn in the side of Big Brother
Big Blunkett
Into The Machine - formerly "David Blunkett is an Arse" by Charlie Williams and Scribe
infinite ideas machine - Phil Booth
Louise Ferguson - City of Bits
Chris Lightfoot
Oblomovka - Danny O'Brien

Liberty Central

dropsafe - Alec Muffett
The Identity Corner - Stefan Brands
Kim Cameron - Microsoft's Identity Architect
Schneier on Security - Bruce Schneier
Politics of Privacy Blog - Andreas Busch
solarider blog

Richard Allan - former Liberal Democrat MP for Sheffield Hallam
Boris Johnson Conservative MP for Henley
Craig Murray - former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan, "outsourced torture" whistleblower

Howard Rheingold - SmartMobs
Global Guerrillas - John Robb
Roland Piquepaille's Technology Trends

Vmyths - debunking computer security hype

Nick Leaton - Random Ramblings
The Periscope - Companion weblog to journalist network.
The Practical Nomad Blog Edward Hasbrouck on Privacy and Travel
Policeman's Blog
World Weary Detective

Martin Stabe
B2fxxx - Ray Corrigan
Matt Sellers
Grits for Breakfast - Scott Henson in Texas
The Green Ribbon - Tom Griffin
Guido Fawkes blog - Parliamentary plots, rumours and conspiracy.
The Last Ditch - Tom Paine
The (e)State of Tim - Tim Hicks
Ilkley Against CCTV
Tim Worstall
Bill's Comment Page - Bill Cameron
The Society of Qualified Archivists
The Streeb-Greebling Diaries - Bob Mottram

Your Right To Know - Heather Brooke - Freedom off Information campaigning journalist

Ministry of Truth _ Unity's V for Vendetta styled blog.

Bloggerheads - Tim Ireland

W. David Stephenson blogs on homeland security et al.
EUrophobia - Nosemonkey

Blogzilla - Ian Brown

BlairWatch - Chronicling the demise of the New Labour Project

dreamfish - Robert Longstaff

Informaticopia - Rod Ward


The Musings of Harry

Chicken Yoghurt - Justin McKeating

The Red Tape Chronicles - Bob Sullivan MSNBC

Campaign Against the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Stop the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Rob Wilton's esoterica

panGloss - Innovation, Technology and the Law

Arch Rights - Action on Rights for Children blog

Database Masterclass - frequently asked questions and answers about the several centralised national databases of children in the UK.


Moving On

Steve Moxon blog - former Home Office whistleblower and author.

Al-Muhajabah's Sundries - anglophile blog

Architectures of Control in Design - Dan Lockton

rabenhorst - Kai Billen (mostly in German)

Nearly Perfect Privacy - Tiffany and Morpheus

Iain Dale's Diary - a popular Conservative political blog

Brit Watch - Public Surveillance in the UK - Web - Email - Databases - CCTV - Telephony - RFID - Banking - DNA

BLOGDIAL - smart mobile phone forensics, information security, computer security and digital forensics by a couple of Australian researchers

Ralph Bendrath

Financial Cryptography - Ian Grigg et al.

UK Liberty - A blog on issues relating to liberty in the UK

Big Brother State - "a small act of resistance" to the "sustained and systematic attack on our personal freedom, privacy and legal system"

HosReport - "Crisis. Conspiraciones. Enigmas. Conflictos. Espionaje." - Carlos Eduardo Hos (in Spanish)

"Give 'em hell Pike!" - Frank Fisher

Corruption-free Anguilla - Good Governance and Corruption in Public Office Issues in the British Overseas Territory of Anguilla in the West Indies - Don Mitchell CBE QC

geeklawyer - intellectual property, civil liberties and the legal system

PJC Journal - I am not a number, I am a free Man - The Prisoner

Charlie's Diary - Charlie Stross

The Caucus House - blog of the Chicago International Model United Nations

Famous for 15 Megapixels

Postman Patel

The 4th Bomb: Tavistock Sq Daniel's 7:7 Revelations - Daniel Obachike

OurKingdom - part of OpenDemocracy - " will discuss Britain’s nations, institutions, constitution, administration, liberties, justice, peoples and media and their principles, identity and character"

Beau Bo D'Or blog by an increasingly famous digital political cartoonist.

Between Both Worlds - "Thoughts & Ideas that Reflect the Concerns of Our Conscious Evolution" - Kingsley Dennis

Bloggerheads: The Alisher Usmanov Affair - the rich Uzbek businessman and his shyster lawyers Schillings really made a huge counterproductive error in trying to censor the blogs of Tim Ireland, of all people.

Matt Wardman political blog analysis

Henry Porter on Liberty - a leading mainstream media commentator and opinion former who is doing more than most to help preserve our freedom and liberty.

HMRC is shite - "dedicated to the taxpayers of Britain, and the employees of the HMRC, who have to endure the monumental shambles that is Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC)."

Head of Legal - Carl Gardner a former legal advisor to the Government

The Landed Underclass - Voice of the Banana Republic of Great Britain

Henrik Alexandersson - Swedish blogger threatened with censorship by the Försvarets Radioanstalt (FRA), the Swedish National Defence Radio Establishement, their equivalent of the UK GCHQ or the US NSA.

World's First Fascist Democracy - blog with link to a Google map - "This map is an attempt to take a UK wide, geographical view, of both the public and the personal effect of State sponsored fear and distrust as seen through the twisted technological lens of petty officials and would be bureaucrats nationwide."

Blogoir - Charles Crawford - former UK Ambassodor to Poland etc.

No CCTV - The Campaign against CCTV

Barcode Nation - keeping two eyes on the database state.

Lords of the Blog - group blog by half a dozen or so Peers sitting in the House of Lords.

notes from the ubiquitous surveillance society - blog by Dr. David Murakami Wood, editor of the online academic journal Surveillance and Society

Justin Wylie's political blog

Panopticon blog - by Timothy Pitt-Payne and Anya Proops. Timothy Pitt-Payne is probably the leading legal expert on the UK's Freedom of Information Act law, often appearing on behlaf of the Information Commissioner's Office at the Information Tribunal.

Armed and Dangerous - Sex, software, politics, and firearms. Life’s simple pleasures… - by Open Source Software advocate Eric S. Raymond.

Georgetown Security Law Brief - group blog by the Georgetown Law Center on National Security and the Law , at Georgtown University, Washington D.C, USA.

Big Brother Watch - well connected with the mainstream media, this is a campaign blog by the TaxPayersAlliance, which thankfully does not seem to have spawned Yet Another Campaign Organisation as many Civil Liberties groups had feared.

Spy on Moseley - "Sparkbrook, Springfield, Washwood Heath and Bordesley Green. An MI5 Intelligence-gathering operation to spy on Muslim communities in Birmingham is taking liberties in every sense" - about 150 ANPR CCTV cameras funded by Home Office via the secretive Terrorism and Allied Matters (TAM) section of ACPO.

FitWatch blog - keeps an eye on the activities of some of the controversial Police Forward Intelligence Teams, who supposedly only target "known troublemakers" for photo and video surveillance, at otherwise legal, peaceful protests and demonstrations.

Other Links

Spam Huntress - The Norwegian Spam Huntress - Ann Elisabeth

Fuel Crisis Blog - Petrol over £1 per litre ! Protest !
Mayor of London Blog
London Olympics 2012 - NO !!!!

Cool Britannia


Free Gary McKinnon - UK citizen facing extradition to the USA for "hacking" over 90 US Military computer systems.

Parliament Protest - information and discussion on peaceful resistance to the arbitrary curtailment of freedom of assembly and freedom of speech, in the excessive Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 Designated Area around Parliament Square in London.

Brian Burnell's British / US nuclear weapons history at

RIPA Consultations

RIPA Part III consultation blog - Government access to Encrypted Information and Encryption Keys.

RIPA Part I Chapter II consultation blog - Government access and disclosure of Communications Traffic Data

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Please bear in mind the many recent, serious security vulnerabilities which have compromised the Twitter infrastructure and many user accounts, and Twitter's inevitable plans to make money out of you somehow, probably by selling your Communications Traffic Data to commercial and government interests.

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UK Legislation

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

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

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

UK Legislation Links

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

UK Commissioners

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

UK Intelligence Agencies

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

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

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

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

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

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

Government Communications Headquarters GCHQ

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

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

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

Campaign Button Links

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Open Rights Group

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

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

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

Amnesty International's campaign

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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

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

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

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

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

No CCTV - The Campaign Against CCTV


I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist !


Power 2010 cross party, political reform campaign


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


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