Mass photography protest - 11 am Monday 16th February 2009, Metropolitan Police HQ, New Scotland Yard

| | Comments (14)

It will be interesting to see if the new Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson reacts to this protest against the stupid and repressive Labour Government's terrorism laws, and the inept way in which some of his officers interpret them:

Monday, 9th February 2009

Photographers snap into action over new law

Comedian Mark Thomas is to join with NUJ members in an event to highlight the threat of a new UK law that could be used against press photographers taking pictures of the police.

The Counter Terrorism Act allows for the arrest and imprisonment of anyone whose pictures are "likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism".

The union is joining with campaigners to organise a mass picture taking session outside London's police HQ on Monday 16 February - the day the act becomes law.

Mark - who uses his comedy act to expose state and corporate wrongdoing - will be joined outside New Scotland Yard by renowned documentary-maker Chris Atkins, NUJ vice-president Pete Murray and a bevy of photographers.

Photojournalist and NUJ member Marc Vallée said: "The plan is simple, turn up with your camera and exercise your democratic right to take a photograph in a public place."

There have already been cases of photographers stopped from working by police quoting anti-terror laws.

John Toner, the NUJ's organiser who looks after freelance photographers, said: "Police officers are in news pictures at all sorts of events - football matches, carnivals, state processions - so the union wants to make it clear that taking their pictures is not the act of a criminal.

"Our members are photographers - not terrorists."

Roy Mincoff, NUJ Legal Officer, said: "Photographers do not want to endanger the health and safety of the police or the public - but it is important in a democracy that they can do their jobs properly without facing unnecessary legal restrictions."

The photo taking will start at 11am outside New Scotland Yard on Broadway, London.

Monday 16rh February 2009, from 11am

Location Map - Broadway, London, SW1

Nearest Tube Station is St. James's Park

Remember, that, very sneakily, New Scotland Yard is just within the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 ss 132 -138 Designated Area around Parliament Square (see the blog for details), and so the Metroplitan Police may attempt to arrest people, or to impose arbitrary Conditions etc.

See also:

See our previous blog articles for background links:


So if I have understand the new law, a person in the UK can now be arrested if they photograph (for example):

(a) The front of number 10 Downing Street with the policeman standing beside the famous door
(b) a scene at a football match if policemen are in the view
(c) The Queen in her royal carriage if members of the armed forces or police or security services are in the picture as well
(d) A police station since the photograph may contain car number plates which may or may not be owned by policemen who could then be identified based on their cars
(e) Buckingham Palace if any members of the armed forces are in the photo
(f) Police on horseback charging down peaceful protesters. So no photographic evidence could be used if it later turns out that these very same police on horseback killed some of the rioters in their horse charge.
(g) RAF air displays since members of the armed forces might be identified in your photos.
(h) The joyful homecoming of HRH Royal Navy ships with all the sailors lined up on the upper decks, since with even using a 3M pixel digital cameras and no zoom, sailors could be identified from your photos.
(i) UK troops serving abroad or anywhere could not be photographed. So you couldn't show in national newspapers them operating in various conflict zones around the world.


Silly isn't it? But it is now the law in Mass Surveillance R US UK (MS RUS UK)

@ Andrew - remember that this stupid law also applies to former police, military or intelligence agency personnel, without exception, regardless of why they are no longer active members, even if they were disgraced etc.

Asking about when and where, say, a Remembrance Day Poppy Parade may be held ,would also count as "eliciting or attempting to elicit" information. (these have been targets of Irish terrorists in the past).

so if police are in view at a football match does that mean it would be illegal to film the game that will be the end of sky sports then!!

@ Darrel - perhaps they will all wear facemasks, or insist on electronic blurring of their faces (the technology exists to do this, but possibly not in real time for broadcast of live matches)

Darrel and wtwu and other readers:

Yes, yes and yes. Facemasks and electronic blurring is the likely outcome (I think) of these new laws.

I refer you all to films like Brazil (dystopian world and bureaucratic, totalitarian government). This is where we are today in the UK.

I assume that the UK standard policmens PC Plod uniform will now be changed to include facemasks (Hannibal Lector style even).

Oh joy how to alienate your entire police, army and security forces from your population, by this and many other silly, stupid and in my view, evil laws.

Also bear in mind that as these laws also include past members of such forces, then even taking photos of retired armed forces personal placing Remembrance Day poppies at your local war memorial is now illegal.

...Come to think of it taking photos of such war memorials is also now illegal as the names of past members of the UK armed forces will be visible in your photos.

Any new future UK government must overturn these laws if they are to get my vote.

Don't the police get captured everyday on CCTV? Will all the operators now face legal action?

This could be interest to readers

Programme Details

Wednesday 11 February 2009

Anything to declare?

The government this week revealed plans for another database, this time to store and monitor the international travel records of all British citizens.

The aim is to fight terrorism and illegal immigration and it's in addition to the Home Office plans for another system to keep details of every phone call and email that is sent and the national identity card database.

We're rightly concerned when this data goes missing, but a House of Lords committee goes further, saying the monitoring of the everyday activities of innocent individuals was becoming "pervasive'' and "routine''.

How worried should we be if the government knows more about our private lives? Are the claims that Britain is becoming a surveillance society the cries of paranoid obsessive’s who haven't noticed that many thousands of people are happy to post very detailed information about themselves on the internet?

Where should we draw the line between the private and the public and the state's right to know?

PANEL: Michael Buerk (Chair) Melanie Phillips; Claire Fox; Michael Portillo; Kenan Malik

Great Energy

Its brilliant to see so much energy about political issues. But I'm not sure that the practical application of this act will lead to arrests of tourists at the gates of buckingham palace as suggested above.

Although the government clear fowls up occasionally (understatement) in its public realtions exercises. In most cases this Act will allow the police to take action where appropriate, where previously their hands have been tied.

In the last 18 months I have witnessed personally, while commuting, an individual acting suspiciously with a video camera at serveral london underground stations on my journey. The police unable to take action.

There is also evidence to suggest that Afgan and Iraqi insurgents have used news reports and opensource photographs to gather intelligence to prepare attacks on UK troops. I think

Any law like this can be abused. Stop and search etc. It is our responsibility to expose where its abuse is occuring but also to respect where the aplication of these laws can and is being appplied to improve our collective safety and security.

We are better equipt now to publicise abuses of the law then ever before in our history.

The answer to the question "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" is "We do!".

The internet, blogs, newspaper reports, the use of our democratic processes and protests at clear abuses of any law.

My fear is that it is natural human instinct to react to change. Hormonal responses trigger the fight or flight response. Many of the views above are sensationalist and alarmist for this reason.

Instead we should appreciate that we live in a safer society because of the organisations and individuals you are planning to protest against.

@ JL - your point about the inability of Police to act

In the last 18 months I have witnessed personally, while commuting, an individual acting suspiciously with a video camera at serveral london underground stations on my journey. The police unable to take action.

is not really so.

The exisiting NPIA Practice Advice on Stop and Search:

NPIA Practice Advice on Stop and Search in relation to Terrorism and on the War on Photographers

produced for ACPO, makes abundantly clear, that if the Police actually do have any real grounds for supsicion that someone is engaged in "terrorist reconnaissance", then they already have the power to stop search and to seize camera equipment (but not to destroy evidence by erasing photos or video footage) under the Terrorism Act 2000 section 43 search of persons

(1) A constable may stop and search a person whom he reasonably suspects to be a terrorist to discover whether he has in his possession anything which may constitute evidence that he is a terrorist.


(4) A constable may seize and retain anything which he discovers in the course of a search of a person under subsection (1) or (2) and which he reasonably suspects may constitute evidence that the person is a terrorist.

They have had this legal power for the last 9 years, with similar powers under the "temporary" terrorism legislation for many years before that.

From a counter terrorism point of view, the very last thing that the Police should be doing is challenging or arresting a suspected terrorist reconnaissance operation in public !

They should be keeping it under covert surveillance in the hope that it will lead them back to the rest of the gang of plotters, ad any weapons or explosives if these actually exist.

You also say

There is also evidence to suggest that Afgan and Iraqi insurgents have used news reports and opensource photographs to gather intelligence to prepare attacks on UK troops.

They would have to be both incredibly amateur and unbelievably lucky to make a successful attack, without conducting some up to date reconnaissance of their own.

Any small risk which open source material poses is far outweighed by its wider benefits to society.

How is it justifiable for this new section 58A law to also include all former police, military and intelligence agency people, without exception, including convicted criminals or traitors or those who have resigned or been fired in disgrace ?

I doubt if anyone will ever be convicted under this new law, but I do fear that many people will be threatened with arrest, "reported" or arrested as a result.

"attempting to elicit" information (even if you are not actually successful in obtaining it) is such an overbroad, "catch all" power, that this will have a chilling effect on free speech and on investigative journalism or blogging, since an Arrest Under Terrorism Legislation , even if you are never charged or convicted, means that you will be forever blacklisted on secret intelligence, criminal record, fingerprint, DNA, travel watchlist and financial databases, not just in the UK, but around the world, with no chance of ever having all of these records expunged.

For example, I am already feeling inhibited about researching into the possible financial corruption scandal for which Sir Ian Blair (the former Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police) was questioned about, regarding the award of multi-million pound contracts to his long time friend's company. These investigations were officially dropped once Sir Ian resigned, but who will dare to look into them, or anything similar, now ?

Would the Mail on Sunday have been able to investigate their story about Bob Quick, the controversial head of the Met's Counter-Terrorism Command and his family business involving private hire luxury cars, being run from his home, a story which was clearly in the public interest ?

I strongly disagree with the posting by JL and his or her views!

JL is just trying to spin this new law as something good,safe and in the best "security" interests of the UK. Surely it is a "planted" posting with someone with a Vested

Interest (VI). A bit like Estate Agents posting on

Words and phases like "Great Energy", "practical application", "take action where appropriate", "previously their hands have been tried", "individual acting suspiciously", "also evidence to suggest", "respect where the application of these laws", "improve our collective safety and security", give the game away and point at JL being a VI.

Many many people (including foreign nationals) love the UK underground and so of course will film anything down there in the depths of the earth. Have you looked on for such videos!??? Type in "london underground" and you will get about 10,000 hits. Wow that means there are so many individual acting suspiciously filming in the London Underground doesn't it? (NOT!).

This law is evil, silly and wrong. How may arrests and prosecutions will it take before this law is overturned perhaps by force by laws of the EU? e.g. Human rights, false imprisonment etc...

Listen to the BBC Radio 4 : The News Quiz Question of Friday 13th Feb 2009. You will find it on the BBC R4 web site.

Download mp3 at


They joked about this new law. Listen at 9 mins, 15 seconds. The audience reaction was a big grasp after Sandi Toksvig said "The new anti terrorism law that comes into force on Monday makes it a criminal offence to take a picture of a picture officer".

I think that the audience reaction was most likely edited down/almost out. That is the way it sounds to me. Listen to it yourselves. Big huge grasp from the audience.

David Gorman: "Tricky at family does two of my brothers are policemen"
Andy Hamilton: "Millions of tourists are going to be carted away outside Buckingham Place"
Jeremy Hardy: "Is a cultural thing? Is it that police officers believe that part of their soul dies when their picture is taken?"
Various: "What about picture camera action and all that? Look at this stupid motorist get busted by the cops.
You won't be able to see any of that any more. It will just be police action. They will have to pixilate the policemen as well as the criminals."

As of Monday I assume the Sunday Mail could not run a story such as this (which they are running today) with a photo of an ex (I assume?) Police Officer (i.e. Ken Jones).

Perhaps on Monday they will be legally required to remove the photo from their Web site? (Though they may not know that until later....)

"Body in charge of UK policing policy is now an £18m-a-year brand charging the public £70 for a 60p criminal records check"

To answer JL, the answer to the question "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" is "They do" and they appear to get away with shooting people like
Jean Charles de Menezes. Yes lots of individuals acting suspiciously on London Underground when they were busy shooting Mr Menezes in the head multiple times with no warning it seems to me and many others.. How handy that the CCTV footage was missing and as of Monday would such CCTV footage be now legal to use in UK a court of Law anyhow????

Thanks for covering this, and the Calling London Photographers event which I attended a couple of weeks ago.

One thing that I am still concerned about with respect to this law is the way it will effect photographers who don't have representation with the NUJ or any other professional body. Amateur photographers such as myself who simply enjoy taking photographs.

The wording of this law is so utterly vague: "likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism" - that doesn't mean that the person taking them might be taking them with the intention of committing or preparing an act of terrorism, simply that the material itself may be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism. Presumably, if for example I lose my camera, or it gets nicked from me or my home, or I publish a photo on my photo website, or it gets republished elsewhere for whatever reason, anyone might get hold of that image, and they could have any number of uses for it, including committing or preparing an act of terrorism. So this law seems to criminalise the taking of the photo in the first place. Intent becomes irrelevant, potential usage by ANYONE is the "risk" being mitigated against by this legislation.

I personally have never been hassled by the police for taking photographs, but then I've not been out that much in town with my camera. What really worries me is that, whether or not anyone is ever convicted under this legislation, it will be ABused wilfully or ignorantly by officers who simply don't want their images to be captured, for whatever reason (including their own illegal/criminal behaviour), and that this ABuse will have awful consequences for anyone who is subject to such behaviour.

What advice for us amateurs?

There are a few photos of this event, with a predictably noticeable absence of many actual Police Constables (Police Community Support Officers are not constables) in this posting on Indymedia (save copies of these yourself, before their servers are seized, again)

More links to photos of the this demonstration, with some more photos of "good natured" Police constables [via the British Journal of Photography]:

Photos of mass-event at New Scotland Yard hits Flickr

While BJP posted some of its photos of today's event against the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008, there are a lot more photos now available on sites such as Flickr. Here are the links to a view sets worth a look.

Scotland Yard Photo Rights Rally by Simon Bradshaw
I'm a photographer not a terrorist by photourbanism
Photographers meet up in London by Snapperjack
Photo protest by blinkofaneye
Photographers' Rights Rally by Antony Bennison

And of course, check ours here.

Leave a comment

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

Syndicate this site (XML):

Follow Spy Blog on Twitter

For those of you who find it convenient, there is now a Twitter feed to alert you to new Spy Blog postings.

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

Recent Comments

  • David Mery: And a few more here... I’m a Photographer … not read more
  • wtwu: More links to photos of the this demonstration, with some read more
  • wtwu: There are a few photos of this event, with a read more
  • amateur: Thanks for covering this, and the Calling London Photographers event read more
  • Sam Vimes: I strongly disagree with the posting by JL and his read more
  • wtwu: @ JL - your point about the inability of Police read more
  • JL: Great Energy Its brilliant to see so much energy about read more
  • Andrew: This could be interest to readers Programme Details Wednesday read more
  • Fellow Traveller: Don't the police get captured everyday on CCTV? Will all read more
  • Andrew: Darrel and wtwu and other readers: Yes, yes and yes. read more


Monthly Archives

November 2010

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30        

UK Legislation

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

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

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

UK Legislation Links

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

UK Commissioners

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

UK Intelligence Agencies

intelligence_gov_uk_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