Recently in Threats by lawyers Category

Often curmudgeonly but always passionate defender of free speech and government transparency, New York architect John Young publishes a whistleblower document publishing archive called

His latest domain name registrar and web hosting company , the giant Network Solutions has censored the entire site by removing the and domain names from their DNS, and placing the domain under a "Legal Lock", after having been served with a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notice, alleging copyright infringement of a Microsoft document.

Domain ID:D7496146-LROR
Created On:25-Jun-1999 14:58:29 UTC
Last Updated On:24-Feb-2010 18:47:18 UTC
Expiration Date:25-Jun-2011 14:58:29 UTC
Sponsoring Registrar:Network Solutions LLC (R63-LROR)

There is no excuse for censoring thousands of other web pages, from a major website, simply because there is a civil legal dispute (this is not a criminal matter) regarding one of them.

You can read the full story and other content via

which currently points to

This sort of censorship, without any fair trial in Court, is exactly the sort of thing we have to fear from disgraced, unelected, Labour Cabinet Minister Peter Mandelson's wretched Digital Economy Bill - see the Open Rights Group for the latest news on this.


We are happy to report that the censorship of has ended, after less than 24 hours.

The disputed document is again available: Microsoft Global Criminal Spy Guide February 20, 2010 (1.6MB)

This probably now out of date document (circa 2008) is full of strange concepts for United Kingdom "Communications Service Providers" with mention of Subpoenas or Warrants signed by Judges etc.

None of these apply here in the UK where such Communications Traffic Data is automatically requested via the "Single Point of Contact" using the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 and Data Protection Act 2000 section 29 requests

Such requests / demands are self authorised in secret by the hundreds of government organisations with the power to do so.

We suspect that Microsoft and other US based ISPs would be horrified by the European Union and United Kingdom governments' mandatory Data Retention laws, which require data log file retention for a year.

There is a confirmatory nugget of information in the document:

4. In Site IP/Time/History Row
a. The Site IP/Time/History table is not updated if the user logs in again from the SAME IP address to the SAME Microsoft
site. It only shows the FIRST login of the LAST day for the user, from the same IP and to the same machine.
b. There are many cases where end user IP address is hidden by ISP proxy server. SIS shows the IP address of ISP proxy server, instead of real end user IP address. So for the individual user information you can approach the ISP.
c. The table is limited to only the last 10 MS SITE and IP combinations.

You do know about the Tor onion routing proxy server cloud, don't you ?

Will anyone now "leak" the equivalent policy document for Network Solutions ?

Andy Hayman QPM CBE "held the rank of Chief Constable of Norfolk Constabulary and Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations at London's Metropolitan Police, the highest ranking officer responsible for counter-terrorism in the United Kingdom."

In 2005, Spy Blog spent some time and effort in transcribing and deconstructing his controversial Letter, the anonymous annex to which provided spurious arguments for the NuLabour government's "internment without trial" plans:

Asst. Met Commissioner Andy Hayman's letter trying to justify 90 days detention without charge

Now retired, after some questions over expenses and personal life, he has written a book entitled Cabinet Office Briefing Room A ("COBRA") emergency crisis committee, when faced with serious terrorist plots such as the July 2005 bombings, attempted bombings, killing of the innocent Jean Charles de Menzes by the police, the radioactive Polonium-210 murder of Alexander Litvinenko[ in 2006 and the incompetent terrorist self-immolation attack on Glasgow Airport in 2007.

The mention of a forthcoming terrorism trial, seemed to be used as justification for a temporary legal injunction against the publication of this book, back in July 2009, but this has now lapsed, and - a paperback version of the book was published in October 2009, without any redaction or censorship of the text in question.

Why then, was the £12 hardback edition of this book available yesterday on the shelves of a large Tesco supermarket:


However, when it came to pay for the book at the checkout, the Tesco computer system flashed up a big Legal Warning - Do Not Sell This Book - Remove It From The Shelves Immediately panic messageand they refused to sell it.

Has there been Yet Another Legal Injunction against this book, or is the Tesco stock control computer system not really as efficient as it could be ?

If there is some sort of computerised ban or recall on a product line, how can it make it out of the warehouse, where, presumably the barcode is also checked, and onto the supermarket shelves ? In our mind, this raises serious potential health and safety worries.about Tesco.

It also illustrates a fundamental feature of banning / censorship lists - once you are on one, it is difficult or impossible to be removed in the future, even when the orginal circumstances no longer apply.

The now abandoned Trafigura / Carter-Ruck "super injunction" saga and its associated Streisand effect continues:

This is the pathetic Government Written Answer to one of the Parliamentary Written Questions which were asked by Paul Farrelly MP at the same time as the one which Carter-Ruck attempted to suppress the reporting of:

15 Oct 2009 : Column 1010W



Paul Farrelly: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will (a) collect and (b) publish statistics on the number of non-reportable injunctions issued by the High Court in each of the last five years. [293012]

Bridget Prentice: The information requested is not available. The High Court collects figures on applications, however injunctions are not separately identifiable, and there are currently no plans to amend databases to do so.

Why ever not ? Secret justice or injustice is utterly unacceptable in a democracy If such "non-reportable injunctions" (the term which is now popular in the media is the hyphenated "super-injunction") are really exceptional, then a careful note should be made of them, either by the UK Courts system or by the Ministry of Justice and statistics on their numbers etc. should be made public.

How long will the Labour (In)Justice Minister Jack Straw dither, before he actually does something about this ?

There is an attempt by the Carter-Ruck shysters and the Trafigura oil trading company to claimed that they never had any intention of trying to "gag" Parliament or the press, but nobody is likely to believe them, especially after they unsuccessfully tried to claim that the matter was now sub judice, also a ploy to stop Parliamentary discussion of it.

The Stockholm based whistleblower website has published another Carter-Rick fax (to The Times legal department), which contains a copy of the Order by Mr Justice Tugendhat, which eases the restrictions which the previous Orders attempted to impose on Parliament.

See: Updated secret gag on UK Times preventing publication of Minton report into toxic waste dumping, 16 Oct 2009

This Order confirms the names of the Judges who issued the previous "super-injunctions" i.e.Mr. Justice Maddison and Mr.Justice Sweeney, but this latest Order itself raises some Questions about the competence of the senior Judiciary with respect to the Internet.and regarding the actual legal jurisdiction of the High Court of England and Wales.

Claim No HO09XX4132


Before the Honourable Mr Justice Tugendhat on 13 October 2009


(1) RJW
(2) SJW


- and -



who in or about September 2009 offered or supplied to the publishers of The Guardian and/or David Leigh a copy of,or information contained in or derived from, the document described in the Confidential Schedule C to this Order relating to the operation or affairs of the First Applicant and/or the Second Applicant


N.B. the faxed copy has a High Court of Justice, Queen's Bench Action Depart. rubber stamp mark of the 15th October - hardly evidence of "Internet speed" modern communications.


The learned judge having read correspondence between the Claimants and the First Defendant on 13 October 2009 agreeing to a variation of the Order of Mr Justice Sweeney of 18 September 2009 which extended the Order of Mr Justice Maddison of 11 September 2009.


The words "Ordered by Consent" torture the English language nonsensically.

An "Order" is not an "Agreement" or even a "Contract", which is what the word "Consent" implies in normal English.

1. Nothing in the Order of Maddison J of 11 September 2009 and/or the Sweeney J of 18 September 2009 shall prevent the First Defendant pr any other person from reorting or republishing information relating to:

i. any proceedings of the United Kingdom Parliament,including any information or matter published on the website

ii. any proceedings of the Scottish Parliament,including any information or matter published on the website

iii. any proceedings of the National Assembly for Wales including any information or matter published on the website


iv. any proceedings of the Northern Ireland Assembly an any information or matter published on the website

2. The costs are reserved.

Dated this 13th day of October 2009

With regard to Mr. Justice Tugendhat's Order, there are some Questions which spring to mind:

WIkileaks have published a copy of the extraordinary "super-injunction" High Court Order 11th September 2009 Order by Justice Maddison in the Trafigura toxic waste dumping scandal.

Minton report secret injunction gagging The Guardian on Trafigura, 11 Sep 2009

So far, they have not yet published the Order by Mr. Justice Sweeney.This may not,in fact be worded any differently , but could just extend the expired time period of the 11th September Order. Alternatively, it might have imposed extra restrictions, but we have not read it to be able to comment.

However, the legal threats of this first Injunction are bad enough:

Mr. Justice Maddison has "considered the provisions of", but has decided to override the Human Rights Act 1998 section 12 Freedom of expression

Incredibly, and for no good reason such as "national security", or an immediate threat to life etc., Mr Justice Maddison also decided to impose overly broad, draconian, anonymity conditions, using stupid catch all weasel words like "anyone" or "all information". He even tried to ban all mention of the very fact of the secret injunction itself. - a "super-injunction".

There may be good reasons for witness anonymity or for temporary secrecy of evidence during legal proceedings, but not even the most serious national security criminal prosecutions justify pretending that they have never happened in the first place. Why should even greater secrecy be imposed on society at large for purely commercial reasons ?

This is utterly unacceptable in a democracy and must not be allowed to happen again.

How long will the Labour (In)Justice Minister Jack Straw dither about this ?

Here are some extracts from this now expired 11th September Order, which illustrate just how unfair and undemocratic is the Kafkaesque legal hell, which the British (In)Justice system sometimes attempts to inflict on the (mostly innocent) general public.

Who knows if such a "super injunction" Order is still in force or not ? If they keep the very fact of it secret, then they cannot expect anyone to obey it, especially if those people are not specifically named and served notice of the Order as formal Respondents.

Given how trivially easy it would be to forge such an Order document, how can you authenticate it and be sure that it is a genuine one or not, especially if it is being kept secret, even from High Court staff etc. ?


5. UPON it appearing to the Court (i) that the action is one likely to attract publicity, (ii) that publicity revealing the identity of the Applicants is likely to unfairly damage the interests of the Applicants, and (iii) that accordingly publication of details revealing the Applicants's identity ought to be prohibited AND pursuant to the Contempt of Court Act 1981, section 11,the CPR Rules 5.4 and 39.3(40, and the inherent jurisdiction pf the Court until the 18 September 2009 or other order:

Why should something which might allegedly "unfairly damage the interests of " i.e. commercial interest, be given more anonymity protection than a criminal national security" case or something involving an immediate threat to life or serious injury ?

The UK legal system does not attempt to hide the fact that say, Control Orders have been inflicted on an unconvicted terrorist suspect (who may be entirely innocent of any crime), even though the individuals involved have , in all cases so far, been granted anonymity orders.

(a) The application hearing to which this Order relates was held in private and the publication of all information relating to these proceedings or of information describing them or the intended claim is expressly prohibited.

These weasel words "all information relating to" or "information describing" are far too braoad and general.

(b) There be substituted for all purposes in this action in place of reference to the Applicants by name, and whether orally or in writing, references to the letters "RJW" and "SJW".

Possibly fair enough, except for the fact that one of the Applicants is Trafigura Beheer B.V., which is a Netherlands based company which is not within the jurisdiction of the High Court of England and Wales.

(c) To the extent necessary to conceal the identity of the Applicants, any other references, whether to persons or to places or otherwise, be adjusted appropriately, with leave to the parties to apply in default of agreement as to the manner of such adjustment.


6. Pursuant to CPR 5.4(7) the court file will be sealed and no copies of the court file including (without limitation) (i) witness statements, (ii) Claim Form, (iii) statements of case, (iv) applications will be provided to a non party without further order from the Court. Any non party seeking access to or copies of the above-mentioned document from the court file must make an application to the Court proper notice of which must be given to the Applicant's solicitors.

Note that Applicants' solicitors have to be informed, but not any of the Respondents' solicitors.

How is anyone meant to be able to apply to the Court, for something where the very fact of the existence of the legal proceedings are being kept secret ? You cannot "apply to the High Court" for free, it costs money in legal fees, well beyond the finances of ordinary members of the public.





(b) (save for the purpose of carrying out this Order into effect) (i) the information that the Applicants have obtained an injunction and/or (ii) the existence of these proceedings and/or (iii) the Applicants interest in these proceedings; and



18. Effect of this order

It is a contempt of court for any person notified of this order knowingly to assist in or permit a breach of this order. Any person doing so may be imprisoned, fined or their assets seized.


The threat of Contempt of Court is what has muzzled the British mainstream media.

Who exactly are the Judges who are are, for no good reason,imposing secrecy orders which attempt to hide the very fact that a rich client has hired expensive lawyers to attempt to suppress a newspaper story ?.

There is often a case for Injunctions etc. about the names of the parties involved in a court case, but to attempt to hide the very fact that there are legal proceedings in the first place, is evil.

Such secrecy is not necessary even for the most serious cases involving National Security.

When this appears to be extended to the suppression of the reporting even of Parliamentary Written Questions, then it is time for the system to be reformed immediately.

See today's coded story in The Guardian:

Guardian gagged from reporting parliament

which has provoked the Streisand Effect flurry in the blogosphere and the twitterverse e.g. Guido Fawkes and Ministry of Truth etc.

Presumably it was one of these Written Questions, by former financial journalist (at Reuters, the Independent on Sunday and City Editor at The Observer) Paul Farrelly, the Labour MP for Newcastle under Lyme.


Questions for Written Answer

Notices given between Thursday 17 September and Friday 9 October


N Paul Farrelly (Newcastle-under-Lyme): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the Court of Appeal judgment in May 2009 in the case of Michael Napier and Irwin Mitchell v Pressdram Limited in respect of press freedom to report proceedings in court.

Pressdram Limited are the publishers of Private Eye satirical magazine.

BAILLI have the judgment online: Napier & Anor v Pressdram Ltd [2009] EWCA Civ 443 (19 May 2009)

61 N Paul Farrelly (Newcastle-under-Lyme): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of legislation to protect (a) whistleblowers and (b) press freedom following the injunctions obtained in the High Court by (i) Barclays and Freshfields solicitors on 19 March 2009 on the publication of internal Barclays reports documenting alleged tax avoidance schemes and (ii) Trafigura and Carter-Ruck solicitors on 11 September 2009 on the publication of the Minton report on the alleged dumping of toxic waste in the Ivory Coast, commissioned by Trafigura. (293006)

Inevitably, copies of these documents are available on the whistleblower website in Sweden.

How do expensive firms of lawyers still get away with charging so much money, for legal threats and injunction tricks, which try to suppress information in the media and on the internet, but which are so ineffective and counterproductive to the interests of their clients ? They inevitably create their own public relations disasters.

62 N Paul Farrelly (Newcastle-under-Lyme): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will (a) collect and (b) publish statistics on the number of non-reportable injunctions issued by the High Court in each of the last five years. (293012)

N Paul Farrelly (Newcastle-under-Lyme): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what mechanisms HM Court Service uses to draw up rosters of duty judges for the purpose of considering time of the essence applications for the issuing of injunctions by the High Court.


Good questions - will Jack Straw and the rest of the Ministry of (In)Justice evade giving any proper answers, as usual ?

WIll any investigative journalists or bloggers look into the possible corruption of the Judiciary, which such secrecy inevitably raises suspicions of ?

Feel free to comment below or to email us with any details, (taking the usual privacy precautions. using our PGP Public Encryption Key and anonymity measures e.g.Tor onion routing - see our Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers, investigative journalists and bloggers or political dissidents etc

Spy Blog does not usually get involved with blog tag memes, whereby one blogger nominates a few others to comment on a particular topic, and then to pass on the same meme to others, chain letter style.

However, we have been involved in the Streisand Effect, in defence of the right to free speech of political bloggers and the public in general, regardless of the fact that they might be expressing political views which we disagree with.

It appears that our previous support for Tim Ireland, Boris Johnson, Bob Piper and others affected by "collateral damage" aimed at former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray, in the notorious Schillings / Alisher Usmanov affair (see also Matt Wardman's coverage of that issue) seems to has resulted in Spy Blog being put under a sort of geis, or obligation curse.

We have been challenged by the Miserable Old Fart blogger in Wales to support a Labour blogger Kezia Dugdale in Scotland, who has been forced to take down a blog article at short notice, as a result of bullying legal threats from Glasgow based "media lawyers" Bannatyne Kirkwood France & Co hired by a millionaire Scottish Nationalist Party Councillor Jahangir Hanif, even though there has, as yet, not been any libel action or court order.

This political censorship seems to have been as a result of Kezia being one several bloggers who published what seems to be the full letter from Noor Hanif , the 17 year old daughter of Jahangir Hanif, to the leader of the SNP Alex Salmond, which paints her father as a violent, devious, domineering bully, as well as puncturing some of the spin and gloss put out by him regarding the AK-47 incident in Pakistan, for which he has been temporarily suspended from the SNP. Parts of the letter have been quoted in National and Scottish newspapers and it has been referred to in debate in the Scottish Parliament.

This letter was removed from this site after Councillor Hanif's solicitors intimated their intention to raise a summons in the Court of Session for interim interdict. The firm of Bannatyne, Kirkwood, France and Co., gave this site 15 minutes to remove the letter.

15 minutes ? Such bullying is reminiscent of the notorious Schillings in London or Lavely & Singer in Los Angeles.

See Tim Ireland's write up of some the recent media coverage of the Jahangir Hanif scandals.

We are a bit unclear about the differences between libel law in Scotland and in England & Wales. There certainly have been cases where an English High Court Injunction has been perfectly legally broken by newspapers in Scotland, so, presumably, the reverse must also be true.

The libel laws in the United Kingdom, which allow expensive lawyers to bully poor people, especially those expressing their right of free speech on the internet, despite the guilt of their rich clients, must be reformed as soon as possible.

When will rich clients demand their money back, with interest and damages, after hiring "media lawyers" who only succeed in stirring up the Streisand Effect, and spreading the information which they are trying to suppress on the internet, to a much wider audience, than if they had simply ignored it ?

For experienced bloggers, especially those who use RSS or Atom syndication feed aggregators to read lots of blogs only when they get updated e.g. Bloglines, the original blog articles on Kezia Dugdale's Soapbox, on SNP Watch and by Jim Millar, are still easily available for now in the blog aggregator recent history caches (which will soon expire).

For those of you who cannot be bothered to do this, you can judge the Noor Hanif letter for yourselves, as it is available on the controversial supposedly anonymous whistleblower publishing website.

N,B. the website is currently was unusably busy as a result of an alleged leak of US vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's private Yahoo emails.

It looks as if the interesting and controversial, Wikileaks website, which promises "anonymous, untraceable, uncensorable" publication of leaked documents from whistleblowers, and which recently published the devastating No2ID Campaign annotated leaked UK National Identity Scheme document , is weathering some technical hitches and legal litigation attacks.

It seems that there has been a fire in an Uninterruptible Power Supply, which took the WikiLeaks web servers offline for much of Saturday, at their Swedish co-location hosting company, PRQ Inet, which has experience of attempts at censorship, through their former hosting of the peer to peer filesharing and political phenomenon, The Pirate Bay.

More seriously and for the longer term, the brand name of is no longer online, due to a Temporary Restraining Order issued by the California Northern District Court in San Francisco, aimed at a Domain Name Registrar, rather than just the actual publishers of controversial material, who happen to be outside of US legal jurisdiction..

See this partial public list of Wikileaks Cover Names for alternative URLs which have not yet been censored.

It seems that controversial "uncensorable, anonymous whistleblowing" website is now facing its first legal censorship attempt through the legal system via the shyster legal firm of Schillings, which has displayed such incompetence regarding the internet, over the Alisher Usmanov versus Craig Murray et al affair.

The website, which is not based in the United Kingdom, has suffered from quite a lot of downtime recently, possibly as a result of high demand or denial of service attacks, when it published various US military documents to do with Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay .

They also seem to have recently abandoned their use of PGP encryption (their only published PGP key expired on 2nd November 2007) and their use of a Tor onion routing network hidden service, as an optional method of submission of whistleblowing documents no longer seems to work either.

Despite their technical infrastructure failures, they have managed to interest sections of the press and broadcast media with their "whistleblowing leaks".

This time, the shysters Schillings are on slightly stronger legal ground, as there appears to have been a High Court injunction against the Financial Times, but not against the Daily Telegraph regarding the publication information from a sales prospectus document for the ailing Northern Rock bank.

However, this must surely now be out of date after it expired nd the directors of Northern Rock resigned, last Friday, and following the Emergency Statement to the House of Commons by the Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair darling on Monday.

Will Schillings succeed in censoring ? Are the whistleblowers, anlaysts and even readers of the website at risk of legal sanctions ?

The excessive secrecy and failure to communicate with the general public, which surrounds the UK legal system, is itself an issue which should be of concern to bloggers and journalists.

As the blog which discusses, but is not associated with the project says:

The Labour government appears to be trying to protect Alisher Usmanov, from public scrutiny:

Written answers Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Alisher Usmanov

Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North, Labour)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will publish reports received from British embassies relating to Alisher Usmanov.

Jim Murphy (Minister of State, Foreign & Commonwealth Office)

Such information would constitute personal data. A request for personal information brings into play the relevant legislative provisions on data release by the Government and would require the consent of the individual concerned.

This reliance on alleged "personal data" exemptions to the Data Protection Act and the Freedom of Information Act and to Parliamentary Questions, by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office is puzzling.

They are not invoking "national security", which one might expect them to do, regarding the so called "confidential telegrams" (i.e. communications between an Embassy and the FCO, which are more likely to be secure emails these days, than actual telegrams) or even Open Source Intelligence, which former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray has mentioned regarding Alisher Usmanov's criminal convictions and pardons, and his allegedly corrupt links with the Moscow and Tashkent ruling presidential cliques.

This "personal data" excuse is also what the FCO appear to be relying on in their refusal to name the former Russian Federation and British diplomats who were expelled from Lonson and from Moscow, over the Andrei Litvinenko Polonium-210 radioactive poisoning murder and contamination affair.

They seem to be on shaky ground, given the rulings by the Information Commissioner and the Information Tribunal regarding the disclosure of many more names, official job titles and official contact details of Ministry of Defence sales / procurement employees.

Where in the Data Protection Act 1998 (which also impinges on the Section 40 Personal Data exemptions to the Freedom of Information Act 2000), does the statute claim global legal jurisdiction ?

Why should the "personal data" exemptions apply to foreign nationals specifically about their activities outside of the legal jurisdiction of the United Kingdom ?

The Home Office has also refused to answer a Question about Alisher Usmanov's British Citizenship, if any:

The Sunday Times has two articles which add some details to, but which do not fully explore, the Alisher Usmanov affair and the disreputable tactics of his shysters Schillings.

It appears that the rich Uzbek has secretly owned Sutton Place for the past 3 years or so, which is located between Guildford and Woking in Surrey, which was formerly owned by US oil billionaire Jean Paul Getty and son. When J.P.Getty was in residence, Sutton Place had the nucleus of the fine art collection which has now become the J.Paul Getty Museum in California, which is richly endowed enough to outbid almost any other museum in the world for artworks.- Getty mansion gives up secret of new owner

This news should depress the property values of the nearby Sutton Place Farm luxury housing development - would you really want the extra security risk posed by a neighbour like Alisher Usmanov, with his bodyguards and enemies ?

The second article is an attempt to present a sanitised version of Alisher Usmanov's history. - Arsenal billionaire, Alisher Usmanov, recalls six years in penal colony

We do not begrudge the author Mark Franchetti having lunch with Usmanov at his country estate near Moscow, but, given the number of other UK journalists who have been flown to Moscow in Usmanov's private corporate jet, and put up at a luxury hotel, we wonder if The Sunday Times paid for the travel expenses for this trip or not.

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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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