Spy Blog

Watching Them, Watching Us

UK Legislation

Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988
Official Secrets Act 1989- widely abused by the Government to selectively leak information, a couple of "not guilty" cases throw this law into doubt.

Security Service Act 1989 - regulates the Security Service MI5

Computer Misuse Act 1990 completely out of date with regard to the internet.

Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 the byword for tabloid headlines converted into law, with no measurable effect on reducing attacks by dogs on children etc.

Intelligence Services Act 1994 - regulates the Secret Intelligence Service MI6 and the Government Communications Headquarters GCHQ and set up the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee

Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994
Dangerous Dogs (Amendment) Act 1997
Protection from Harassment Act 1997
Data Protection Act 1998 very wide Exemptions for "the prevention and detection of crime" etc. Deliberately budget limited enforcement by the Information Commissioner

Human Rights Act 1998 - very wide Exemptions for "national security" or "public health" etc.

Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 - limited protection for some whistleblowers under employment law. Government whistleblowers still persecuted.

Electronic Communications Act 2000 - legalises the uses of Digital Signatures on electronic communications, almost toally ignored by Government subsequently.

Football (Disorder) Act 2000 - arbitrary power for a policeman to prevent people from leaving the country, even without a banning order from a court, e.g. for wearing the "wrong" football shirt.

Freedom of Information Act 2000 - huge number of Exemptions used by the Sir Humphreys to evade the spirit of transparency and open government.

Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 - . Warrants etc. signed by politicians or policemen, not by independent Judges. Secretive Commissioners who only audit the processes and try not to deal with public complaints. Part III powers about Encrypted data still not in force, even though penalties are being increased. No protection against snooping by private individuals or companies. Covers the entire electromagnetic spectrum up to cosmic rays and beyond, "inside the UK" and "outside the UK" i.e. all electomagnetic energy in the entire universe.

Terrorism Act 2000 - Overbroad definition of terrorism, including "is designed seriously to interfere with or seriously to disrupt an electronic system". "Thought crimes" for the possession of a document or data file which may be of some use to a terrorist, even if you wrote it yourself, or if you have never read it. Very widely abused and ineffective against actual attacks powers of "stop and search".

Private Security Industry Act 2001 - Some Security Guards . Nightclub Bouncers , but what about IT Security Consultants ?
Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 - hodge podge of ineffective measures panicked into law after September 11th 2001 attacks. Detention without charge of foreign terrorist suspects, now overturned. Amends Terrorism Act 2000 to include offence of not informing, even on members of your own family, about suspected terrorists. Communications Data Retention code of practice delayed by several years. Noxious substance hoaxes include "all natural" and "all man made" substances i.e. all matter in the entire universe, "thought crime" of "creating an impression in someone's mind", anywhere in the world. Dubious "protection" of making it illegal to detonate a nuclear weapon in the UK, "without permission". Third Pillar Data Sharing with other EU Governments. Data sharing between UK Government departments.

Copyright, etc. and Trade Marks (Offences and Enforcement) Act 2002
Mobile Telephones (Re-programming) Act 2002 criminalises possession of dual use equipment such as a computer, data cable and software. Has had no effect on street muggings for phones as claimed.

Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002
Police Reform Act 2002
Proceeds of Crimes Act 2002 - Assets Recovery Agency can now consfiscate money and property from suspected criminals, without any criminal convictions or court order.

Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 - post code lottery of irrational local mob / tabloid Anti-Social Behavior Orders

Communications Act 2003 - regulates the telecomms, internet and radio and tv broadcasting, also the use of the Radio Spectrum e.g. ISM licence free RFID tags or WiFi networks
Crime (International Co-operation) Act 2003
Criminal Justice Act 2003 - innocent people's DNA and Fingerprint retention etc.
Extradition Act 2003 - Part 2 - unfair, unratified treaty with USA. No prima facie evidence required for extraditions from the UK to the USA, but still required for USA to UK extraditions. Part 1 of the Act implements the similar European Arrest Warrant extraditions, which the Home Secretary no longer gets involved in. Again, there is no requirement for prima facie evidence to be heard before a UK Court, where its validity can be challenged by the defendant.

Sexual Offences Act 2003 Voyerurism offence applies in limited circumstances to CCTV spy cameras etc.

Gender Recognition Act 2004
Sustainable and Secure Buildings Act 2004
Children Act 2004 - database on 12 million Children and their parents. Destruction of the common law duty of confidentiality between professional advisors and clients.

Human Tissue Act 2004 - DNA tissue sample retention and analysis without consen. No regulation of other genetic analysis techniques

Hunting Act 2004 - vast amount of Parliamentary time wasted on an Act which has not stopped fox hunting, but which includes arbitrary powers of search and seizure of vehicles.

Civil Contingencies Act 2004 - Henry VIII style Emergency Powers have the full force of any Act or the Royal Prerogative. Seizure and destruction of property without compensation etc. State of Emergency by (oral) Order, "in the opinion" of a Minister - more power than Hitler's "Enabling Act" of 1933. No exemptions for constitutional Acts of Parliament, but "all Ministers are deemed to always act reasonably".

Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 - Control Orders, house arrest, secret allegations, no habeas corpus, no freedom of assembly. Also applies to British citizens, not just foreigners. By Order of a politician, not an independent Judge.

Inquiries Act 2005 - censorship of Public Inquiries

Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 - all offences made arrestable, Designated Area around Parliament restricting demonstrations without prior written permission from the Police. More powers for fingerprint and tissue samples.

Draft ID Card Bill - full text for comparison with:
Identity Card Bill 2004 - lost before the General Election !

Identity Cards Bill 2004 clause by clause analysis and comments

Identity Cards Act 2006 re-introduced on 25th May 2005 - just as bad as the previous versions - it is the Centralised Biometric Database and Audit Trail which is so evil and unecessary.

Terrorism Act 2006 - deeply flawed, vague and catch all, claims worldwide jurisdiction, life sentence for (undefined) "acts preparatory to terrorism", various vague indirect incitement or glorification offences, censorship of websites, criminalisation of libraries and COSHH health and safety literature Amendments to RIPA 2000 further reducing public accountability and increasing penalties on Part III encrypted data offences which have still not yet been brought into force after 5 years

Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Actl 2006 - permits removal of British Citizenship, even for people who have been born in the UK, "for the public good", by Order of the Home Secretary.

Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill 2006 - repeal, amend, replace any legislation by Order with no constitutional safeguards - like the Civil Contingecies Act, but with even fewer safeguards e.g. can amend Human Rights act or be used to modify itself

Police and Justice Bill 2006 - includes an inept attempt to amend the Computer Misuse Act - bigger penalties, for uneforceable, vague, dual use, offences. The reform of the CMA deserves its own separate Bill to deal with the complexity of IT security in the internet age, not 3 clauses at the end of a complex Bill.

Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Bill 2006 - in theory to protect children etc,. but this creates a "banning infrastructure" and even more "red tape" bureaucracy that could be used to target, say, political or religous opponents. Huge potential security and privacy problems with the planned "instant online checks".

Corruption Bill 2006 - untainted by practicality or enforcability in regard to inherently corrupt Foreign Government Officals. No exemptions for our intelligence agencies or military forces overseas.