December 2008 Archives

The Guardian reports: Private firm may track all email and calls, quoting Sir Ken Macdonald, the recently retired Director of Public Prosecutions:

Private firm may track all email and calls
'Hellhouse' of personal data will be created, warns former DPP

Alan Travis and Richard Norton-Taylor
The Guardian, Wednesday 31 December 2008

The private sector will be asked to manage and run a communications database that will keep track of everyone's calls, emails, texts and internet use under a key option contained in a consultation paper to be published next month by Jacqui Smith, the home secretary.

A cabinet decision to put the management of the multibillion pound database of all UK communications traffic into private hands would be accompanied by tougher legal safeguards to guarantee against leaks and accidental data losses.


"Authorisations for access might be written into statute. The most senior ministers and officials might be designated as scrutineers. But none of this means anything," said Macdonald. "All history tells us that reassurances like these are worthless in the long run. In the first security crisis the locks would loosen."


Macdonald, who left his post as DPP in October, told the Guardian: "The tendency of the state to seek ever more powers of surveillance over its citizens may be driven by protective zeal. But the notion of total security is a paranoid fantasy which would destroy everything that makes living worthwhile. We must avoid surrendering our freedom as autonomous human beings to such an ugly future. We should make judgments that are compatible with our status as free people."

Maintaining the capacity to intercept suspicious communications was critical in an increasingly complex world, he said. "It is a process which can save lives and bring criminals to justice. But no other country is considering such a drastic step. This database would be an unimaginable hell-house of personal private information," he said. "It would be a complete readout of every citizen's life in the most intimate and demeaning detail. No government of any colour is to be trusted with such a roadmap to our souls."

Such common sense views as expressed by Sir Ken, need to be encouraged within the corridors of power.

The political kite being flown, through this briefing / leak to The Guardian, regarding the idea that this intrusive national database of communications traffic data should somehow be sub-contracted to a private company must not be allowed to fly.

When, not if, such a database is compromised, then Ministers and senior civil servants at the Home Office and in Downing Street must be forced to resign and / or be prosecuted. The control freaks must not be allowed to simply blame a private sector sub-contractor for future data security and privacy scandals.

The Press Association, via The Guardian reports:

Police 'secretly taped Damian Green arrest'

Press Association, Wednesday 24 December 2008 02.47 GMT


The Met said: "A tape sound recording was made of the MP's arrest and subsequent period in police charge, without his knowledge, prior to arrival at Belgravia police station from Kent.

"This was authorised at superintendent level to provide an accurate record of anything that may have been said by officers or the MP over a period of nearly two and a half hours.

"This was done with the best of intentions but to ensure total transparency this matter has been voluntarily referred to the Office of the Surveillance Commissioners for their advice."

"The Crown Prosecution Service are also aware of this information which would be fully disclosable if any proceedings were to take place."

It is not good enough to spin and claim that "This was done with the best of intentions", it is still in contravention of the existing Statutory Codes of Practice, and is probably enough on its own, to get the whole case against Damian Green MP, such as it is, thrown out in a court of law.

The Office of Surveillance Commissioners, is meant to be consulted before the use of covert electronic bugging devices. Only in fast moving tactical situations, e.g. an ongoing kidnap / ransom etc. is it permissible to "fill in the paperwork" immediately afterwards.

That obviously does not apply to the arrest of Damian Green MP.

This secret audio bugging is obviously a contravention of the existing Police and Criminal Evidence Act statutory codes of practice, where recording of interviews by the Police, requires, firstly that they are not secret, and that two copies of the tape or other recoding media are produced, which are sealed and then signed, with one copy being given into the custody of a Police officer who is not involved directly in the investigation.

PACE Code E: Code of Practice on audio recording interviews with suspects (.pdf)

2.1 Recording of interviews shall be carried out openly to instil confidence in its reliability as an impartial and accurate record of the interview.

That is to provide a legally robust audit trail, and to prevent sneaky editing or forgery of the taped interview by the Police or others - such abuses have happened in the past.

None of those PACE safeguards apply to secret recordings as described in the Metropolitan Police statement above.

As usual, some Obvious Questions, which the mainstream media journalists etc. should be asking:

  • When exactly were the secret recording devices switched on ?

  • Did they record any briefings or radio instructions given to the arrest team before they actually started the arrest ? Will these briefings or instructions be disclosed to the defence lawyers ?

  • Did any of these secret recordings pick up anything said between Damian Green and his legal advisors , i.e. legally privileged information ? That would also contravene the Covert Surveillance Code of Practice Pursuant to Section 71 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.. (.pdf)

  • Was the only reason the secret recordings stopped after two and a half hours, due to the battery life / tape capacity of the, presumably portable, recording device ?

  • Who exactly "authorised" this covert surveillance "at superintendent level " , and why did he or she consider this to be proportionate ?

  • Has any illegal covert surveillance been mentioned in the report by the Ian Johnston, the Chief Constable of the British Transport Police who investigated this controversial arrest ?

  • Who else has been secretly and illegally recorded in this way, by the "Cover Your Backside" attitude of the Metropolitan Police Service Counter Terrorism Command or other Police forces ?

  • Are there similar secret recordings in existence of the arrests and interviews, of the then Prime Minister Tony Blair MP or his inner circle of staff and fund raisers like Lord Levy , made during the Labour Government "cash for honours" scandal ?

The Mail on Sunday has been delving a little into the business dealings of the controversial Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick, now in charge of the Metropolitan Police Service Counter Terrorism Command, formerly the Chief Constable of Surrey.

Given the new "thought crime" provisions brought in by the Labour government, through the recent Counter-Terrorism Act 2008, will such investigative journalism, or any further analysis by bloggers etc., which mentions current or former military, intelligence agency or police personnel, be legally possible in the future ?

The original Mail on Sunday scoop:

Security scare over wedding car hire firm run from top terror police chief's home

By Martin Delgado
Last updated at 9:35 AM on 21st December 2008

This well researched story (checking the world wide web, companies house, magazine advertisements and classic car experts etc.) originally ran on the Mail on Sunday website (updated 11.30pm 20th December) on Saturday night, illustrated with a photo from showing Judith Quick, the wife who runs the business, with one of the wedding cars. This was later censored to pixelllate out her face, and now the whole photo has been removed.

Remember to make "Save As" copies of interesting online newspaper or blog articles, instead of just adding the URLs to your web browser's Bookmarks or Favourites - they could, as in this case, be altered or censored later

Bob Quick complained to the media about the intrusion into his family life, claiming some sort of unspecified "security risk", and accusing the Conservative Party and their friends in the Press of "corruption" and " intimidation". He now seems to have retracted his use of the word "corruption".

Anti-terror chief behind arrest of MP Damian Green issues grovelling apology for Tory corruption claims

Given the information of the vintage Rolls Royce and other vehicles available for wedding hire or for other "VIP" occasions, and the approximate geographical area, published by the Mail on Sunday, it takes only a few seconds using a web search engine and online business directories to find the "search engine optimised" website, and the business address and phone number and mobile phone details.

If these represent a "security risk" to Bob Quick and his family, then perhaps the family business (not necessarily a bad thing of itself) should be running from commercial offices rather than from his home on the Surrey / Kent borders.

It cannot be pleasant having a tabloid newspaper, and the following press pack and blogosphere investigating your private life and business dealings, but such a high profile public servant, in a position of immense trust and power, in charge of the leading anti-terrorism Police unit in the UK, is paid a lot of money to shoulder such responsibility and risks, and should have "nothing to hide, nothing to fear".

A soon as Quick's statement to the press mentioned the word "corruption", a couple of obvious questions sprang to mind:

  • Have any of these vehicles, driven by ex-police chauffeurs, ever been magically "let off" from speeding tickets, parking fines or congestion charges etc. ?

  • Have any of these "VIP" vehicles been fitted with electronic location tracking or bugging devices, at the expense of the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command or, that of Surrey Police (Bob Quick used to be their Chief Constable) ?

More worryingly, we also have to ask:

Will the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command now attempt to arrest anyone who has read (or re-published) this article Mail on Sunday article, or this example of further analysis by one of our favourite bloggers Postman Patel, under the "thought crimes" sections of the vast and complicated arraty of anti-terrorism legislation ? e.g. Terrorism Act 2000 section 58 Collection of information

Surely any such investigative journalism by the mainstream media or by bloggers etc.,
will be further chilled, when the new Terrorism Act 2000 section 58A Eliciting, publishing or communicating information about members of armed forces etc, comes into force ? This was sneaked onto the statute book, without any effective scrutiny by Parliament, via to the recent Counter-Terrorism Act 2008 section 76 (currently awaiting Commencement by Order):

It is late December, the House of Commons is about to take an extended break until January 12th, for no good reason, except to further reduce the amount of detailed scrutiny of the Government which they are supposed to do

As in previous years, we have been awaiting the publication of the Annual Reports of the supposedly Independent Commissioners, all former High Court Judges, who are meant to oversee and audit the operation of the the Government's snooping and interception powers under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.

Just like last year, and the year before, there is no sign of the Annual Report of the Interception of Communications Commissioner, nor that of the Intelligence Services Commissioner, covering the period up to the end of the calendar year of 2007.

See these previous RIPA Commissioners' Annual Reports published by the Cabinet Office.

See previous Spy Blog articles:

Remember that the wording off the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 is very clear - these Annual Reports must be "laid before Parliament" before the end of the calendar year to which they refer.

If these Reports are not "laid before Parliament" today, Thursday 18th December 2008, the last day of this Parliamentary session this year, then Members of Parliament should hold the Prime Minister to account for yet another breach of the law, and for further demonstrating his contempt for Parliament.

We especially look forward to figures and analysis of the number of requests for Communications Traffic Data from fixed line and mobile phone telecommunications companies, which has been specially retained under the European Union Directive, which came into force on 1st October 2007, and which would not otherwise have been available under normal business practices and under now abandoned safeguards of the Data Protection Act.

We also look forward to figures and analyses of RIPA 2000 section 49 notices requiring disclosure which demand Cryptographic Keys or Plaintext de-crypted electronic data. These section 49 notices may come under the scrutiny of either the Interception of Communications Commissioner Rt.Hon Sir Paul Kennedy, or perhaps the Intelligence Services Commissioner, Rt.Hon. Sir Peter Gibson.

  • How many times have the "no tipping off" secrecy provisions been invoked ?

  • How many times has the "national security investigation" power been invoked, which threatens a potentially longer prison term (up to 5 years in prison rather than up to 2 years) for refusal to comply with such section 49 notices ?

  • How many times has the Chairman of the Financial Service Authority been consulted about such notices about to be served on regulated financial institutions, as per the Code of Practice ?

  • How many times have actual Cryptographic Keys been handed over, rather than de-crypted Plaintext, in response to RIPA section 49 notices ?

  • How many refusals to comply with RIPA Section 49 notices have there been ?

  • How many prosecutions for refusal to comply with a RIPA section 49 notice have there been ?

  • How many convictions for refusal to comply with a RIPA section 49 notice have there been ?

Yet again, the deliberate delay in the publication of these two RIPA Commissioners' Annual Reports, contrasts with that of the other main RIPA Commissioner, the Chief Surveillance Commissioner, Rt. Hon. Sir Peter Rose, who, like his predecessors, managed to publish his report in the June or July , following the Calendar Year to which it refers.

See Office of the Surveillance Commissioners - Annual Reports

If these Annual Reports are not published today, then it will cast doubt on the integrity of the Home Secretary's promise of a public consultation starting in January 2009, over the Communications Data Bill, as these reports are directly relevant to that scheme.

What is your definition of a "surveillance society" ? It is probably not the same as Home Secretary Jacqui Smith's still secret definition.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, like her Labour party fellow travellers, seems to be spewing Orwellian doublethink and newspeak, where normal sounding English words, have their meanings utterly reversed, without displaying any sense of shame, or pang of conscience, at their perversion.

Safeguards, openness, proportionality and common sense.

From now on, all of Home Secretary Jacqui Smith's policy statements will be analysed with these categories in mind. We suspect that she will be found wanting in all of them.

Unfortunately these weasel worded soundbites, which touch on several topics about which Spy Blog regularly comments on, are the current Government's substitute for detailed, practical, cost effective policies:

Apologies for the length of this blog article fisking of this speech, but she uttered a lot of weasel words which need to be challenged:


Home Secretary's speech: Protecting rights, protecting society

16 December 2008

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith delivered this speech to the Intellect Trade Association on December 16, 2008.

Today I'd like to address one of the most pressing questions we face as a modern society - how we secure our rights and liberties as individuals, at the same time as ensuring the wider protection of all in our society against terrorism, crime and disorder.

Balancing these individual and collective rights has always been a key responsibility of government.

One which this increasingly repressive and authoritarian, yet morally weak, Labour government, has failed to get right.

After a 4 year hiatus, the ever busy Simon Davies, of Privacy International, has re-instituted the UK Big Brother Awards, to recognise some of the people who have been trying to keep the monsters of state and corporate mass surveillance , snooping and control at bay.

At a ceremony held at the London School of Economics, despite the looming presence in the background, of the NO2ID / ORG photo collage of surveillance cameras etc. in the shape of Prime Minister Gordon Brown, it was good to hear Simon Davies express some cautious optimism, that perhaps, we are starting to push back the attacks on our privacy and security which the Labour Government, the bureaucracy and others have inflicted on us in recent years.

The evil Big Brother Award, with the boot forever stamping on the human face, was awarded simply to New Labour.


The 2008 UK Big Brother Awards Roll of Honour

  • Baroness Sarah Ludford MEP - one of the Liberal Democrat Members of the European Parliament whose Human Rights Committee has been trying to stem the onslaught of necessarily repressive legislation in the past few years.

  • Phil Booth, the National Coordinator of the cross political party
    NO2ID Campaign against the Database State. Phil was recently described as the "hardest man in NGO-world".

  • Helen Wallace from GeneWatch UK, who did so much to help educate politicians and lawyers and the media about the counterproductive evil policy of keeping innocent people's DNA tissue samples and DNA profiles, seemingly for ever, This has been overturned in the very recent European Court of Human Rights judgement in the Marper case.

  • Gareth Crossman - retiring Director of Policy at Liberty Human Rights

  • Becky Hogge - retiring Executive Director of the Open Rights Group

  • Rt. Hon. David Davis MP, the fomer Conservative Shadow Home Affairs spokesman, who was re-elected as the Member of Parliament for Haltemprice and Howden, on the principles of freedom and liberty.


Given the recent arrests of whistleblowers, journalists and now opposition Members of Parliament, we felt it important to give David Davis MP details of Spy Blog's

Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers: Technical Hints and Tips for protecting the anonymity of sources, for Whistleblowers, Investigative Journalists, Campaign Activists and Political Bloggers

There is now an easier to type or remember URL for these Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers etc.:

The BBC's Politics Show broadcast last Sunday, has collated some Freedom of Information Act disclosures on the financial payments made by Police Forces to mobile phone companies, to reimburse them for the cost of providing Mobile Phone Communications Traffic Data.

[hat tip to the BBC's Martin Rosenbaum and his Open Secrets blog about freedom of information]:

Police: Mobile phone payments...

The Politics Show has used Freedom of Information requests to find figures for 49 of the 52 regional police forces who, in total, spent £8.6m in the 2007/2008 financial year.

Twenty five forces spent over £100,000 and four spent over £500,000.

The Metropolitan Police Force was the largest, spending £1.4 million.

There is no standard fee for a search, and whilst it can be waived (and sometimes is) forces tend to be billed on a case by case basis.

The article quoted David Davis MP

On the Politics Show on 7 December, Former Shadow Home Secretary, David Davis, said: "Companies should have a sense of civic responsibility, and in my view, that means this sort of material should be provided free."

Unless and until, other effective safeguards are put into place, e.g. making it a criminal offence to request a disproportionate amount of data from the telecomms companies and internet service providers, then these requests definitely should not be free.

If the telecomms companies did not make any financial charge to recover these costs, then there would be massive abuse by the Police, intelligence agencies and by the hundreds of Local Authorities and Government quangos, and other bureaucrats and by rich libel or copyright lawyers in civil cases via a court order etc. who are authorised under the the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act to access such data.

They would be tempted to demand, as they have already done in the past, excessive amounts of data, wholly disproportionate to the investigations or cases which they are involved with,

Currently, there are no other effective safeguards to prevent this sort of disproportionate Communications Data snooping and trawling, only the financial cost and audit trail mechanism.

The Government has managed to neuter the inquiry promised by the Speaker of the House of Commons last week into the search of the offices and emails etc. of opposition Conservative frontbench spokesman on Immigration, Damian Green.

This was supposed to be an immediate Parliamentary Committee of 7 experienced MPs, with the power to call everyone involved in Government to report, in public, "as soon as possible", ,the Police and the House of Commons bureaucracy as witnesses.

Instead, what the Labour party whips have got through, is a Committee with an inbuilt Government majority, with a very limited remit, which will convene to elect a chairman and then immediately adjourn, until some vague time in the future, when all possible Police enquiries or legal proceedings (including appeals) are concluded.

This will months or years into the future.

So much for Gordon Brown's lies about making the Executive more accountable to Parliament.

Will the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties actually boycott this sham of an inquiry, as they indicated they might ?

There was some mention e.g. by the former Labour Minister Frank Dobson, that the Privileges of the House of Commons and the Wilson Doctrine, should be clarified and spelled out explicitly in an Act of Parliament,


If we are serious about parliamentary privilege, we need to clarify what we mean by it. We should turn it into statute law to show that we take it seriously and that anyone who breaches it will be dealt with seriously. I would also include in such a law the Wilson doctrine that prohibits our phones being tapped. It was not very long ago that the previous Prime Minister was going to undermine that doctrine, and he was only prevented from doing so by a Cabinet revolt. Conventions cannot be set aside at the behest of a Prime Minister or any individual, which is why we need to shift the rules on parliamentary privilege to statute law.

However, this long overdue idea was ignored the Labour Government control freaks and placemen.

During the debate, Harriet Harman, the Leader of the House, who used to be a civil liberties lawyer, but who has obviously now been turned to the dark side, refused to give any sort of assurance to her opposite number the Conservative Teresa May, that the seizure of documents etc. in the Palace of Westminster did not also include far more than just items relating to Damian Green MP. She kept silent when directly asked to if this could also have included shared (Microsoft Exchange) email server and computer network drive computer resources, containing emails and documents from many other Members of Parliament, their constituents and other potential whistleblowers.

[Hansard URL available tomorrow morning]:

House of Commons debates, Monday, 8 December 2008, Business of the House,
Speaker's Committee on the Search of Offices on the Parliamentary Estate - 8 Dec 2008 : Column 261

Mr. Mark Harper (Forest of Dean) (Con): I should like to mention one of the reasons why it is important that the Committee should be able to do its work. My right hon. Friend and I asked the Leader of the House a question at business questions last week, but it has not been adequately answered. We asked whether last week the police were granted access to data belonging to other hon. Members. That has not been properly answered. [Interruption.] No, it has not been properly answered, and the Leader of the House needs to answer it properly for the House.

Mrs. May: I entirely agree with my hon. Friend. The Leader of the House referred to the fact that Mr. Speaker said that the issue would be looked into, but--I am very happy for the Leader of the House to intervene on me and confirm this--she did not confirm that the police had not had access to the shared drive or the servers. If they had, they would have had the ability to access every Member's correspondence and e-mails. I invite the Leader of the House to intervene on me and confirm that that was not the case. Her silence suggests either that she does not know, or that she is not able to give the House the assurance that it requires, and that is of concern to each and every Member of the House.

If you have contacted your constituency MP via email in the last 2 years or so, your private correspondence could well have been trawled through by the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command.

Please risk another email (or a fax or letter) to your MP, e.g. via, simply asking them if, as a result of the Damian Green Police raid on Parliament, copies of your confidential email or fax correspondence with your MP, have been seized or rifled through by the Police.

Business of the House: Government Information (Unauthorised Release) (4 Dec 2008)

Andrew Mackinlay (Thurrock) (Lab):: A little while ago I had a hand in getting the Prime Minister to reaffirm the Wilson doctrine, and he extended it to modern electronic surveillance. On the face of it, it would appear that the Wilson doctrine has been abrogated by the police in this case. Clearly, the e-mails of the hon. Member for Ashford (Damian Green) were looked at. I venture to suggest that he was listened in to, and...

4 Dec 2008 : Column 143

Jacqui Smith: I am sorry my hon. Friend has not received the reply to the letter, which I sent him yesterday and in which I made it clear that the Wilson doctrine as outlined by the Prime Minister has not been abrogated.


Mr. Parmjit Dhanda (Gloucester) (Lab) The Home Secretary has been clear and unambiguous today. Will she go further on the point of my hon. Friend the Member for Thurrock (Andrew Mackinlay) about the Wilson doctrine? Can she reassure all hon. Members that our home numbers, work mobiles and the phones that we use in this House are covered by the Wilson doctrine, as well as our e-mail accounts?

Jacqui Smith: As I have suggested, the Wilson doctrine applies, and it applies as outlined by the Prime Minister.

4 Dec 2008 : Column 151

Remember that the Wilson Doctrine is interpreted very narrowly by this Labour Government - the "seizure of evidence" by the Police, when they grab someone's computer is not "interception of emails" in transit, although the end result in terms of betraying confidential information can be the same.

Since the whistleblower leak inquiry covers the last couple of years or so, what exactly were the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command granted access to, with respect to the Parliamentary email system ?

  • Were the Police granted access to all of the emails sent and received via Damian Green's Parliamentary email account ?
  • Were these emails restricted to only the ones sent to or from the Home Office whistleblower Christopher Galley (if , indeed, any such emails actually exist at all) , or were other emails from or to constituents, or correspondents of Damian Green, also scooped up in the data trawl ?
  • Were the Police granted access to the entire Microsoft Exchange server or shared folders containing correspondence from more than one MP and their constituents ?
  • Were they granted access to archives or backups, going back 2 or more years ?

There are separate questions about any content of any such emails i.e. Interception (which is supposedly covered by the Wilson Doctrine) and any email server logfiles which potentially betray the identities of other whistleblowers or other confidential journalistic contacts i.e. Communications Traffic Data. The latter is not covered by the Wilson Doctrine, but it should be.

It appears that Damian Green's Parliamentary email account was suspended on the Thursday of his arrest.

The Speaker of the House of Commons, Michael Martin appeared to be clueless and not in command of any facts about exactly what privacy, confidentiality and privilege breaches there had, or had not been, regarding the Parliamentary email system.

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has finally published its judgment in the long running Marper case, about the indefinite retention of DNA tissue samples, DNA profiles and fingerprints by the Police, even when people are not charged or found not guilty of an alleged crime.

The ECHR has ruled that the current UK Government policy breaches Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights:

58 The applicants complained under Article 8 of the Convention about the retention of their fingerprints, cellular samples and DNA profiles pursuant to section 64 (1A) of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 ("the PACE"). Article 8 provides, so far as relevant, as follows:

"1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private ... life ...

2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society ... for the prevention of disorder or crime..."

See the full text of the ECHR Judgment at the British and Irish Legal Information Institute:

S. AND MARPER v. THE UNITED KINGDOM - 30562/04 [2008] ECHR 1581 (4 December 2008)

125 In conclusion, the Court finds that the blanket and indiscriminate nature of the powers of retention of the fingerprints, cellular samples and DNA profiles of persons suspected but not convicted of offences, as applied in the case of the present applicants, fails to strike a fair balance between the competing public and private interests and that the respondent State has overstepped any acceptable margin of appreciation in this regard. Accordingly, the retention at issue constitutes a disproportionate interference with the applicants' right to respect for private life and cannot be regarded as necessary in a democratic society. This conclusion obviates the need for the Court to consider the applicants' criticism regarding the adequacy of certain particular safeguards, such as too broad an access to the personal data concerned and insufficient protection against the misuse or abuse of such data.

126 Accordingly, there has been a violation of Article 8 of the Convention in the present case.

Now that the ECHR has ruled in this way, it is clear that the current policy also breaches the UK's own Human Rights Act and must be changed.

What will the Labour Government do ?

  1. Will they immediately order the destruction of other innocent people's DNA cellular samples, DNA profiles and fingerprints ?

  2. Will they apologise to all the innocent people they have unfairly stigmatised in this way and pay them some financial compensation ?

  3. Will they sneak in a new law which would allow such samples to be retained for a finite number of years before destruction, rather than, as now, being kept, effectively indefinitely for the rest of your life and beyond ? This already happens in Scotland, and in most of the rest of Europe, without adverse affects on law and order.

Although this Marper case relates specifically to the controversial National DNA Database, used by the Police for criminal investigations, that is not the only such DNA database run by the UK Government.

See Counter-terrorism Bill - covert DNA sampling and analysis with no effective safeguards

  1. What are the implications for the secret Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism DNA and Fingerprint databases mentioned in the House of Lords debate on the Counter Terrorism Act 2008 section 18 material not subject to existing statutory restrictions ?

  2. How about the copies of innocent people's DNA data and fingerprints being handed over to foreign Governments and agencies, potentially automatically and in bulk, without any realistic safeguards, or error correction mechanism ?

  3. What about the retention of "fingerprints and samples" taken from people (including British citizens) who have been subjected to Control Orders under the controversial Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005, none of whom have been actually charged or convicted of a terrorist crime ?

  4. What about Home Office Minister Admiral Lord West's plans to allow for the secret collection of DNA cellular tissue samples and fingerprints, e.g. "from a teacup", by informers and undercover agents or by "property interference" state sanctioned burglars, who are not forensically trained or equipped to avoid DNA cross contamination ?

The National Police Improvement Agency, on behalf of the Association of Chief Police Officers has now issued some updated advice:

Practice Advice on Stop and Search in relation to Terrorism (.pdf)

Every person searched under section 44 should be told explicitly that they are not suspected of being a terrorist.

This is rather misleading, since if you are stupid enough to allow the Police conducting a Terrorism Act 2000 section 44 stop and search to take your Name and Address etc, something which they have no power to demand under that particular section, but which they very often attempt to do, especially when completing the cumbersome paper Stop and Search Form (or the new, supposedly quicker electronic version), you will eventually have this data logged on an electronic database, which may well be handed over in bulk to foreign police and intelligence agencies.

This information could also be disclosed , to your detriment when applying for jobs, in future Criminal Records Bureau Enhanced Disclosures.

The "Good News" is that this NPIA / ACPO practice advice, which must surely form the basis of the training and operational briefing of Police Officers, specifically re-iterates that there are no restrictions on Photography or Digital Imaging conferred by the Terrorism Act 2000.


The Terrorism Act 2000 does not prohibit people from taking photographs or digital images in an area where an authority under section 44 is in place. Officers should not prevent people taking photographs unless they are in an area where photography is prevented by other legislation.

If officers reasonably suspect that photographs are being taken as part of hostile terrorist reconnaissance, a search under section 43 of the Terrorism Act 2000 or an arrest should be considered. Film and memory cards may be seized as part of the search, but officers do not have a legal power to delete images or destroy film. Although images may be viewed as part of a search, to preserve evidence when cameras or other devices are seized, officers should not normally attempt to examine them. Cameras and other devices should be left in the state they were found and forwarded to appropriately trained staff for forensic examination. The person being searched should never be asked or allowed to turn the device on or off because of the danger of evidence being lost or damaged.

About this blog

This United Kingdom based blog attempts to draw public attention to, and comments on, some of the current trends in ever cheaper and more widespread surveillance technology being deployed to satisfy the rapacious demand by state and corporate bureaucracies and criminals for your private details, and the technological ignorance of our politicians and civil servants who frame our legal systems.

The hope is that you the readers, will help to insist that strong safeguards for the privacy of the individual are implemented, especially in these times of increased alert over possible terrorist or criminal activity. If the systems which should help to protect us can be easily abused to supress our freedoms, then the terrorists will have won.

We know that there are decent, honest, trustworthy individual politicians, civil servants, law enforcement, intelligence agency personnel and broadcast, print and internet journalists etc., who often feel powerless or trapped in the system. They need the assistance of external, detailed, informed, public scrutiny to help them to resist deliberate or unthinking policies, which erode our freedoms and liberties.

Email Contact

Please feel free to email your views about this blog, or news about the issues it tries to comment on.


Our PGP public encryption key is available for those correspondents who wish to send us news or information in confidence, and also for those of you who value your privacy, even if you have got nothing to hide.

You can download a free copy of the PGP encryption software from
(available for most of the common computer operating systems, and also in various Open Source versions like GPG)

We look forward to the day when UK Government Legislation, Press Releases and Emails etc. are Digitally Signed under the HMG PKI Root Certificate hierarchy so that we can be assured that they are not fakes. Trusting that the digitally signed content makes any sense, is another matter entirely.

Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers and Political Dissidents

Please take the appropriate precautions if you are planning to blow the whistle on shadowy and powerful people in Government or commerce, and their dubious policies. The mainstream media and bloggers also need to take simple precautions to help preserve the anonymity of their sources e.g. see Spy Blog's Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers - or use this easier to remember link:

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

Digital Security & Privacy for Human Rights Defenders manual, by Irish NGO Frontline Defenders.

Everyone’s Guide to By-Passing Internet Censorship for Citizens Worldwide (.pdf - 31 pages), by the Citizenlab at the University of Toronto.

Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents - March 2008 version - (2.2 Mb - 80 pages .pdf) by Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Guide to Covering the Beijing Olympics by Human Rights Watch.

A Practical Security Handbook for Activists and Campaigns (v 2.6) (.doc - 62 pages), by experienced UK direct action political activists

Anonymous Blogging with Wordpress & Tor - useful step by step guide with software configuration screenshots by Ethan Zuckerman at Global Voices Advocacy. (updated March 10th 2009 with the latest Tor / Vidalia bundle details)

House of Lords Constitution Committee - Surveillance: Citizens and the State

House of Lords Constitution Committee 2008-2009 session - Second Report: Surveillance: Citizens and the State


Watching Them, Watching Us

London 2600

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

Privacy and Security

Privacy International
Privacy and Human Rights Survey 2004

Cryptome - censored or leaked government documents etc.

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

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

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

International Campaign Against Mass Surveillance

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

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

Technical Advisory Board on internet and telecomms interception under RIPA

European Digital Rights

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

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

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

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

Human Rights

Liberty Human Rights campaigners

British Institute of Human Rights
Amnesty International

Prevent Genocide International

asboconcern - campaign for reform of Anti-Social Behavior Orders

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

Internet Censorship

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

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

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

Judicial Links

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

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

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

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

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

Parliamentary Opposition

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

UK Government

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

No. 10 Downing Street Prime Minister's Official Spindoctors

Public Bills before Parliament

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

House of Commons "Question Book"

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

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

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

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

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

Online Media

Boing Boing

Need To Know [now defunct]

The Register

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

Ideal Government - debate about UK eGovernment

NIR and ID cards

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

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

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

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

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

Surveillance Infrastructures

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

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

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

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

RFID Links

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

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

Genetic Links

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

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

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

Miscellanous Links

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

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

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

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

Former Spies

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

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

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

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

Naked Spygirl - Olivia Frank

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

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

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

Liberty Central

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

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

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

Vmyths - debunking computer security hype

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

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

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

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

Bloggerheads - Tim Ireland

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

Blogzilla - Ian Brown

BlairWatch - Chronicling the demise of the New Labour Project

dreamfish - Robert Longstaff

Informaticopia - Rod Ward


The Musings of Harry

Chicken Yoghurt - Justin McKeating

The Red Tape Chronicles - Bob Sullivan MSNBC

Campaign Against the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Stop the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Rob Wilton's esoterica

panGloss - Innovation, Technology and the Law

Arch Rights - Action on Rights for Children blog

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


Moving On

Steve Moxon blog - former Home Office whistleblower and author.

Al-Muhajabah's Sundries - anglophile blog

Architectures of Control in Design - Dan Lockton

rabenhorst - Kai Billen (mostly in German)

Nearly Perfect Privacy - Tiffany and Morpheus

Iain Dale's Diary - a popular Conservative political blog

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

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

Ralph Bendrath

Financial Cryptography - Ian Grigg et al.

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

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

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

"Give 'em hell Pike!" - Frank Fisher

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

geeklawyer - intellectual property, civil liberties and the legal system

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

Charlie's Diary - Charlie Stross

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

Famous for 15 Megapixels

Postman Patel

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

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

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

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

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

Matt Wardman political blog analysis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No CCTV - The Campaign against CCTV

Barcode Nation - keeping two eyes on the database state.

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

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

Justin Wylie's political blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Links

Spam Huntress - The Norwegian Spam Huntress - Ann Elisabeth

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

Cool Britannia


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

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

Brian Burnell's British / US nuclear weapons history at

RIPA Consultations

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

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

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Monthly Archives

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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