Recently in Intelligence and Security Committee Category

The Guardian has a good summary of a limited investigation conducted by the Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police, Sara Thornton QPM, into the public relations disaster which was the West Midlands Police Project Champion.

This was a Labour government approved and funded plan to literally create CCTV Camera and Automatic Number Plate Recognition enforced apartheid ghettos in two districts of Birmingham.

Such mass surveillance schemes attack or destroy the fundamental human rights to freedom of travel and freedom of association, of millions of innocent people. Such schemes are a victory for our enemies, who aim to destroy our free society and help to create domestic extremists or terrorists.

The full text of the actual Review: Project Champion Review (.pdf)

N.B. this was not a full inquiry, with powers to punish the guilty or incompetent bureaucrats, however the Report is reasonably hard hitting in its conclusions.

This Review benefited from the expertise of one of our favourite Cross-Bench Peers, the Intelligence and Security Committee.

The blame for this scandal should not be heaped entirely on the West Midlands Police.

  • Who will cross examine the roles played by the West Midlands Police Authority and Birmingham Council ?

  • Since the £3 million was approved from central government public anti-terrorism funds, who will identify and cross examine the bureaucrats and politicians responsible for this evil Orwellian mass surveillance scheme ?

  • Who will investigate the Home Office (especially the Office for security and Counter-Terrorism) , ACPO (TAM), the Security Service MI5 and the "Prevent" strand of the CONTEST counter-terrorism strategy ?

    To Prevent

    This is a long term and vital element of CONTEST, focusing on building relationships with all members of the community and enhancing links with key organisations.

    Our 'Prevent' work will provide not only reassurance to vulnerable groups but also potentially impact upon the underlying causes of terrorism and diminish support for terrorists.

If the appalling NuLabour cheerleader Hazel Blears is allowed to serve on the Intelligence and Security Committee. then they cannot be trusted to investigate this scandal properly. Hazel Blears was the Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government when this Project Champion was proposed implemented. She was politically responsible for at least part of the PREVENT strand of CONTEST - so there would be an obvious conflict of interest whenever.the ISC looks into this policy area.

She cannot be trusted to keep classified documents secret, so her presence on the ISC will mean that they will not be given full access to documents and witnesses - see the previous Spy Blog article: Proposed Intelligence and Security Committee appointments - do *not* let Hazel Blears anywhere near the ISC !

We would also like to know

  • Are there other secret mass surveillance projects using overt and covert CCTV and ANPR technology in other British cities ?

  • Are there there Mobile Phone based "security cordons" using the same sort of combination of Cellular transmitter ID and / or antenna triangulation and web based geographical mapping and tracking used for Electronic Tags worn by criminals or by people subjected to Control Orders , to snoop on the locations and movements and meeting patterns of thousands or millions of innocent people in the Alum Rock and Washwood Heath areas of Birmingham or in London or Manchester or Leeds / Bradford etc. ?

  • Are there any other non-Mobile Phone call technologies e.g. BlueTooth and / or WiFi or contactless Passport or Oyster travel card etc. unlicensed Industrial Scientific Medical band radio snooping and surveillance schemes in these areas, which have supposedly been installed for anti-terrorism purposes, but which have mutated , through lack of transparent public scrutiny, into secret mass surveillance schemes, which are open to abuse by authorised insiders or by external agencies ?

  • Have any of these technologies been used to target and stigmatise or harass members of ethnic or religious minorities or otherwise peaceful political opponents of the Labour government, as has already happened with the national ANPR database and the Police National Computer ?

  • Will the Conservative / Liberal Democrat coalition government actually investigate what the creepy Labour control freaks specifically authorised, or turned a blind eye to, in terms of such mass surveillance schemes and will they undo the damage which has been done to our freedoms and liberties ?

If you know about any other such current or future mass surveillance schemes, please contact us pseudo-anonymously via the blog comments or email, PGP encrypted if possible, taking the usual precautions - see our - Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers - Technical Hints and Tips for protecting the anonymity of sources for Whistleblowers, Investigative Journalists, Campaign Activists and Political Bloggers etc.

There has been no "independent" scrutiny of the UK intelligence agencies since the General Election in May even though, in the meantime, there have been several high profile "spy" cases reported in the UK media, over which the intelligence agencies should have been penetratingly questioned. e.g. the Israeli assassination of a Hamas terrorist in Dubai involving the abuse of British Passports / expulsion of the alleged Mossad station chief in London, the Daniel Houghton MI5/ Mi6 £900,000 secrets for sale to the Dutch case, the death of Dr Gareth Willams (GCHQ / MI6 ?), the "don't ask" complicity in torture and "extraordinary rendition", the upsurge in real bombs in Northern Ireland, etc..

Over 4 months later the new Intelligence and Security Committee is taking shape, with the appalling prospect of the incompetent and untrustworthy "New Labour android" Hazel Blears being given an important role as a member.

Sir Malcolm Rifkind, a former Conservative Foreign Secretary (therefore formerly in charge of MI6 the Secret Intelligence Service and GCHQ) was appointed as the chair by Prime Minister David Cameron back in July.

13 Sep 2010 : Column 710

Business without Debate
Business of the House




That Hazel Blears, Sir Menzies Campbell, Mr Mark Field, Paul Goggins, Mr George Howarth, Dr Julian Lewis and Sir Malcolm Rifkind be recommended to the Prime Minister for appointment to the Intelligence and Security Committee under section 10 of the Intelligence Services Act 1994.- (Angela Watkinson , on behalf of the Committee of Selection. )

The peculiar Intelligence and Committee, which is neither a Select Committee nor a Joint Committee of Parliament, is not yet complete, as the (token) member or members from the House of Lords have not yet been appointed. It is very unusual that there is not more of a Conservative / Liberal Democrat Coalition majority on this Committee.

For the first time, Parliament is meant to have a slightly bigger role in appointing members to the ISC, rather than simply leaving it up to the Prime Minister and his inner circle of advisors and cronies, as before.

It would be interesting if David Cameron actually rejected some or all of these recommendations. He should certainly reject Hazel Blears.!

  • Hazel Blears (Labour) - was the Home Office Minister of State (Crime Reduction, Policing & Community Safety) and then Minister of State (Policing, Security and Community Safety). She also led the "community snooping" initiatives when Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government. She helped to force the notorious Identity Cards Act 2006 into law.

    Her record as one of the architects of the Labour Big Brother / Big Nanny / Surveillance / Database State makes her appointment to the Intelligence and Security Committee particularly unwelcome as she simply cannot be trusted to protect ordinary, innocent, law abiding members of the public, from such creepy control freakery.

    She featured heavily as one of the worst offenders in the "MPs' expenses" scandals: e.g. this Daily Mail report: MPs' EXPENSES: Blears writes £13,332 cheque to Inland Revenue for Capital Gains Tax avoided on 'second home'

    If she is appointed, nobody should believe that Britain's secretive intelligence agencies will not continue to hide secrets from scrutiny by the Intelligence and Security Committee. If Hazel Blears is appointed, one could sympathise with them for doing so, since she is provably untrustworthy with state secrets.

    Hazel Blears has not once, but at least twice broken the Official Secrets Act, 1989 section 8 Safeguarding of information, through sheer incompetence and negligence.

    See the previous Spy Blog article

    Hazel Blears - stolen laptop, no encryption, breach of Restricted and Confidential rules - which email accounts were used ?

    and for example, the Daily Telegraph report :

    Hazel Blears, the Communities Secretary, has blundered by displaying secret papers relating to MPs expenses as she walked along Downing Street.

    In both cases she clearly failed "to take such care to prevent the unauthorised disclosure of the document or article as a person in his" (or her) "position may reasonably be expected to take."

    Either of these breaches in elementary data security regarding classified, Protectively Marked documents, could have resulted in dismissal and perhaps criminal prosecution, with a penalty of up to 2 years in prison and/or an unlimited fine, if a Civil Servant or private sector government contractor had been guilty of them.

    Once public confidence is gone, in the ability of a politician to be trusted or to keep national security secrets, it can never be rebuilt. For this reason alone Prime Minister David Cameron should reject Hazel Blears as a member of the Intelligence and Security Committee, or else he will be giving a public signal of its uselessness.

    We do not want Hazel Blears to be allowed to serve on the Intelligence and Security Committee, or in any other position of power or influence whatsoever.

  • Paul Goggins (Labour) - was a junior Home Office Minister with experience of Prisons and who was also exiled to Northern Ireland as a junior Minister and then as Minister of State where he must have had frequent contact with the intelligence agencies. Whether this makes him "house trained" or an effective inquisitor, alert to all their tricks, remains to be seen.

  • George Howarth (Labour) - like Paul Goggins was also a junior Home Office and then a junior Northern Ireland minister. He has previously served on the Intelligence and Security Committee from 2005 to 2010 i.e. he is the most experienced potential ISC member so far mentioned.

  • Dr. Julian Lewis (Conservative) - he seems to have an interest in military matters, but he also has a record of helping to deny transparency and accountability of MPs, which makes him untrustworthy in our view, to represent the public in the secret scrutiny of secret agencies.

    He was one of the prime movers behind the the scandalous attempt by the House of Commons to further neuter the Freedom of Information Act which was touted as protecting the freedoms of Constituents, but actually had the effect of trying to hide "second homes" and other expenses scandals from the public. He was also behind the pompous amendment to the Political Parties and Elections Act, which removed the requirement for General Election candidates to disclose their home addresses on nomination and ballot papers. Given how many candidates claim to be "local", why should they not have to prove it, by giving their home addresses ?

  • Mark Field (Conservative) - who ? He seems to be a lawyer in a safe Conservative seat - how and why was he recommended to be appointed to the ISC ?

  • Sir Menzies Campbell (Liberal Democrat) - former Liberal Democrat Leader - we did not think that it was appropriate for him to stoop to being a member of the ISC. He has "an interest" in Foreign Affairs and has served on the Intelligence and Security Committee for the fag end of Gordon Brown's awful Labour government. He is reported as being friendly with Gordon Brown, who is his Parliamentary constituency neighbour.

We await with interest ,further recommendations or appointments to the Intelligence and Security Committee. There is no good reason why the Prime Minister should only appoint a token one or two members from the House of Lords, as has been the custom in recent years. Almost any Peer of the Realm, woulds be an improvement on the despicable former MP George Ffoulkes, who consistently took the most totalitarian NuLabour line possible. To be fair to Lord Ffoulkes of Cumnock, as a "double dipping" Westminster and Scottish parliamentarian, he does actually ask a lot of Written Questions of the Executive(s) - some of them pointless and partisan, but he does put his lazier colleagues to shame.

We hope in vain, for the appointment of say, the Earl of Errol, who is actually computer literate and who is therefore, unlike all the other members of the ISC (mostly liberal arts graduate lawyers) actually capable of scrutinising the utility and cost effectiveness of the vast array of intrusive IT databases and surveillance projects and secret IT infrastructures, which the intelligence agencies spend or waste so much of our precious public money on.

We also demand to know whether the outgoing Chair of the ISC's (Dr. Kim Howells, Labour) criticisms of the meddling and conflict of interest by Cabinet Office and the Prime Minister's office under Gordon Brown, have lead to any actual independence of this new Intelligence and Security Committee, or not e.g. is their email still provided (and therefore legally snooped on) by the Cabinet Office ?

The British public deserves to know and trust that the powerful, secretive intelligence agencies like GCHQ the Government Communications Head Quarters, MI5 the Security Service and SIS/MI6 the Secret Intelligence Service are operating properly and cost effectively, especially given:

  • The rise in actual real terrorist bomb attacks and killings in Northern Ireland

  • The recent Court cases revealing complicity in "extraordinary rendition" by the US intelligence agencies and the tacit complicity of UK intelligence in the use of torture.

  • Chinese internet espionage stories

  • Personnel vetting and IT security failures highlighted by the trial of alleged wannabe spy, the ex-MI6 employee Daniel Houghton

  • Major IT project failures and cost overruns e.g. the SCOPE project, the lack of backup disaster recovery data centres for the intelligence agencies.

  • Still no viable plan for the use of electronic intercept as evidence in Court.

  • Frightening and expensive plans for mass surveillance and data trawling against millions of innocent people.

  • The ongoing threat from self radicalised Muslims, racists, animal rights or environmental extremists etc.

With the dire state of public finances, there must be financial cuts in the budgets of some or all of these secret agencies. How are we the public meant to know if these financial cuts are justified or not ?

That is the role of the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament, which is appointed by the Prime Minister.

However, like so much else, the last Labour Government left this in a shambles, with strong hints of political interference from Downing Street and / or the Cabinet Office, according to the outgoing (Labour) chairman of the Committee Kim Howells.

See:Intelligence and Security Committee Report 2009-2010 - interference by the Cabinet Office, MI5 DIGINT, Northern Ireland terrorism, new Cyber Defence bureaucracy but CESG financially bankrupt ?

For no good reason that we can see, currently there is no Intelligence and Security Committee in operation at all.

When will Prime Minister David Cameron appoint a new Committee ?

Will it be given the extra investigative manpower and budgetary resources it needs to work independently of the Cabinet Office etc. ?

At the very least they need forensic accountancy and IT project management resources to be able to understand the technical complexity and impact of potential budget cuts on GCHQ, MI6, MI5 etc.

By the time the National Audit Office or perhaps the Commons Public Accounts Committee get a sniff of such secret projects, there could have been millions or billions of pounds of public money wasted.

Alternatively, if the wrong budgets or projects are cut, delayed or cancelled, then we could needlessly find ourselves in another bloody war or terrorist outrage, because of inappropriate penny pinching.

The remit of this new Intelligence and Security Committee should be expanded beyond the roles of just the three main intelligence agencies.

They should also cover units or agencies which use the same technology and techniques as the main intelligence agencies do. e.g. the various UK Special Forces units like the Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR), or the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) or the Police units like the National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit (NETCU) or the Metropolitan Police Counter-Terrorism Command.

It should also look the role of sub-contracted intelligence agency functions either to so called "friendly" foreign intelligence agencies like the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), who, it appears, may have been allowed to breach British sovereignty by recruiting and running intelligence assets within UK Muslim communities

They must also investigate the shadowy and unaccountable world of Private Military Contractor / Mercenary companies, operating with UK Military and Intelligence agencies overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan etc. but, it appears, also being used within the United Kingdom.

As with the publication of the RIPA Commissioners' Annual Reports, it is not acceptable to delay the appointment of this Committee until September or October, they should already have been hard at work now.

Spy Blog would be interested to see in the(pseudonymous) comments or via email (PGP encrypted if you like) , your nominations for who you would trust to sit on this cross party committee of MPs and Peers., bearing in mind that most of the experienced former members of the ISC have now retired.

The Intelligence and Security Committee Annual Report 2009-2010 (.pdf) has been published, exactly as we predicted in our previous blog article:
Intelligence and Security Committee publishes Two annual reports - Gordon Brown keeps one still secret

i.e. only on the actual day of the debate in the Commons, presumably to deliberately restrict the number of Members of Parliament and members of the public who would actually read and analyse it.

The covering letter to the prime Minister Gordon Brown by the outgoing Labour ISC Chairman the Rt. Hon. Dr Kim Howells, MP

"I am grateful that you have agreed to publish both Reports before the House of Commons debate on our work on 18 March."

Gordon Brown broke this promise !

The backbench Labour MP Andrew Mackinlay, pointed out that the 2009 - 2010 Report had not been published "in good time" for the debate on 18th March:

18 Mar 2010 : Column 1049


I put the problem simply: approximately 600 MPs do not know of the existence of the 2009-10 report because they are not here in the House of Commons today. When I went to our own dear Vote Office-I make absolutely no criticism of its staff-to ask for papers for today's debates, I was given the 2008-09 report; only when I came into the Chamber and listened to the Chairman of the Committee did I realise that there was another document worth looking at.

18 Mar 2010 : Column 1050

It is a mickey-take of Parliament when that sort of thing happens and I just wonder who is to blame. Will anyone own up to that cavalier handling by Parliament? We need to watch that in the future. To be candid, I think it is indicative of the cavalier way in which the scrutiny of our security and intelligence services has been dealt with by a number of people, including Ministers and, I have to say, my colleagues on the ISC.

Technically, since the debate on 18th March 2010 was only about the 2008 - 2009 report, MPs could in theory have another debate on the 20009 - 2010 report, but do not hold your breath in anticipation.

There appears to have been some sort of petty interference from the Cabinet Office and / or the Prime Minister and his henchmen, with the running of the Intelligence and Security Committee.

7. [...]

According to the legislation which established the Committee, it can set its own procedures. These have, naturally, evolved over the last 16 years through written agreements and verbal assurances. It has become very clear to us, however, that corporate knowledge of these procedures within Government has been lost over time and there was now very little awareness of our procedures, some of which date back to when the Committee was first established. This has led in some cases to misunderstandings as to the statutory independence of the Committee and its work and the nature of the relationship between the Committee and the Prime Minister.

This Report includes an appendix making a plea by the ISC to divorce themselves from reliance on the Cabinet Office for facilities and budget. The Cabinet Office is belatedly now seen to have a conflict of interest regarding Intelligence matters by the ISC, which rightly feels that the public perception of its supposed Independence from Government has been compromised.

This potential conflict of interest was obvious to outside observers since the very inception of the ISC.

A few crumbs of information from the 2009 - 2010 report:

The Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee, who are supposed to provide the public with independent scrutiny of the secret intelligence services, has actually written two Annual reports in the last 9 months.

11 March 2010: The Intelligence and Security Committee's Annual Report for 2008-2009 was laid before Parliament today by the Prime Minister. A copy of the Report can be found here. A copy of the Government Response to the Intelligence and Security Committee's Annual Report 2008-2009 can be found here.

The Committee has issued an accompanying Press Release, which can be found here.

These Annual Reports are not an adequate mechanism for holding the secret intelligence agencies to account, either for their waste of public money, or for how well they are doing their job.


Perhaps there is some good reason for the 8 month publication delay of this supposedly Annual 2008 - 2009 report , but since nobody trusts Gordon Brown not to lie by omission, we assume that there was some sort of petty political reason for the unnecessary delay.

Dr. Kim Howell's, the outgoing Labour chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee, who will not be standing for re-election at the forthcoming General Election, seems a bit frustrated with the

"We also sent our Annual Report for 2009-10 to the Prime Minister on Friday 5 March 2010.
This is a shorter report, given the duration of the Parliamentary year, however it covers some
fundamental issues.


We have been assured by the Prime Minister that this Report will also be published in good time before the debate next week.

This is an opportunity for Gordon Brown to show his respect or contempt for Parliament and the British public.

We would like to be proved wrong, but we assume that Gordon Brown will break this promise to Kim Howells.

The debate on the Intelligence and Security Committee Report is scheduled for this Thursday 18th March 2010.

On past performance, we expect a few paper copies this 2009 - 2010 report to have been made available a few minutes before, or perhaps even during this debate, in the Vote Office, giving MPs and others no time to read and analyse it beforehand.

We doubt if it will be published on the web until after the debate in the Commons.

Here are a few points which stood out for Spy Blog, when reading this censored ISC report:

The Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament (ISC) is an increasingly useless way for the Government to pretend to provide independent scrutiny of the secret intelligence agencies. The ISC's highly censored Annual report, sometimes provide a few tantalising glimpses of what these agencies are wasting our public money on, without providing any hard evidence of any actual successes, and with no indication of value for public money.

Having delayed publication of this censored report for over 3 months, the Government also gets to timetable the "debate" in the Commons about this Report, probably in another 6 months or so, judging by previous years.

The mainstream media have cherry picked the section on the failure of the SCOPE computer project, but have not bothered to look any deeper into the worrying projected increase in the size and intrusiveness of the Surveillance / Snooper / Secret Police State which this Report hints at, involving the general expansion of all of the intelligence agencies, and projects such as the Intelligence Exploitation programme, the IQ Programme, the Interception Modernisation Programme and the Communications Data Bill.

These all seem to be an expansion of snooping and data trawling through large numbers of innocent people's data, in pursuit of mythical "terrorist patterns", without any evidence that such snooping can possibly work technically, and without any effective error correction mechanisms and procedures, to investigate individual abuses, and to purge the records, provide financial compensation and issue a public apology to the inevitable victims False Positive matches.

Yet again, the ISC fails to scrutinise either the Serious Organised Crime Agency, or the various "domestic extremism" Police units set up by the unaccountable Association of Chief Police Officers, or any military Special Forces covert surveillance and reconnaissance units.

There is also no investigation of the revolving door whereby retired intelligence agency or police counter terrorism specialists join Private Military Contractor and Security / Mercenary companies.

ISC Annual Report 2007-08
[PDF 658KB, 58 pages]

The Government's Response to the ISC Report, is, as usual, even less informative than the Report itself:

Government Response to the ISC Annual Report 2007-08 [PDF 298KB, 8 pages]

Some Spy Blog notes and questions on the ISC report:

The annual Intelligence and Security Committee Report, does its usual job of providing only the vaguest details about the running of the United Kingdom's intelligence agencies and security services. Neither the public, nor the intelligence agencies themselves are best served by so much secrecy and failure to get the answers to probing questions.

They give the impression that important questions of policy, which would not compromise tactical or operational secrets are not even asked, let alone answered.

Combined with the dubious media spins and leaks, is it any wonder that conspiracy theories thrive, and that few members of the public , especially those in, say the Islamic or Irish or the online communities, have any confidence that the intelligence services are doing a competent job, for the public good.

Annual Report 2005-06 [PDF 445KB, 47 pages]

A few points which caught our attention:

This website, despite its domain name, is not primarily focussed on the secret world of British intelligence agencies like MI5, MI6, GCHQ, DIS etc.

The House of Commons Intelligence and Security Committee has published its annual, heavily censored report, which bears a striking similarity to last year's report.

Some comments on the public findings of this report, which the Government merely "takes note of the view of the Committee", and is not bound to do anything about:

Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee has published their 2003-2004 annual report (.pdf)

This report is the fig leaf of what passes for Parliamentary oversight of the secret intellingence agencies in the UK, and only gives brief details about their activities and expenditures. Even these are censored in the report. Other democratic countries manage to provide the tax paying public with much more detail and insight, without compromising their national security.

Nevertheless, the report mentions things which will be of some interest to students of Government technology project cock ups.

If there is one thing that the UK Government is worse at than Information Technology Projects, it is probably large office complex projects. The new GCHQ "Doughnut building" is all very well, and a much needed replacement for the sub standard pre-fab accommodation which GCHQ has squatted in for so many years.

The report highlights the various scandals involving the lack of financial control and managerial leadership at GCHQ e.g. the auditors refused to sign off the accounts for 3 years in a row!, GCHQ can only find and account for 92% of the equipment assets which we have paid for, by means of the accounting trick of ignoring anything under £10,000 value etc. - 8% of what must be billions of pounds worth of assets is a lot of public money which has been lost through incompetence or possible corruption.

It is no great surprise that the new Doughnut building is simply too small to hold all the GCHQ staff. The occupancy is alleged to be 115% , so the 1950's vintage pre-fabs remain in use, despite the fact that the site has been sold off to private sector developers, who will soon be within their rights to bulldoze these or else to milk the Government for massive financial compensation.

The Secret Service MI5 seems to have been concentrating too much on terrorism and has taken its focus off Russian and Chinese espionage.

The Secret Intelligence Service MI6 apparently managed to underspend its allocated budget, supposedly due the situation in Iraq and various unnamed project delays They too seem to have withdrawn from intelligence activities in certain parts of the world - at a guess Latin America, although they claim to have been the only agency with some spare capacity to devote to some anti-Organised Crime activities, presumably drug smuggling (although obviously with no success in Afghanistan).

The report has this curious comment:

"135. We believe that this situation mainly derives from the history of cuts in the 1990s as part of the post-Cold War budget realignment, which put the Agencies on the defensive. When international terrorism began to spread in the mid 1990s, the Agencies felt that they could not ask for additional resources, not least because they were already being accused of inventing new tasks for themselves."

Surely this is an argument for much more openness on the part of these Agencies, to demonstrate their actual worth to the taxpayer ?

The Government does not seem to have properly reviewed the Critical National Infrastructure since 2002, this remains a concern for the Committee i.e. there has been no progress since their similar comments last year:

"We were also informed that the JIC had not assessed the threat to the CNI from electronic attack since 2002. Capabilities to attack the CNI exist, and, while both NISCC and CESG sought to reassure us that they were reducing the vulnerability of the CNI to technical attack, we were not convinced.

We recommend that the threat to the UK?s Critical National Infrastructure and vulnerability to electronic and other attacks should be examined by the JIC and considered by Ministers."

There also needs to be actual real money and resources spent on things as fundamental as an audit of what exactly constitutes the UK's Critical National Infrastructure - most of it is under the control of private sector companies, not the Government.

Increasingly these private sector companies are not the handful of former state monopoly companies with which the civil service has been used to dealing with so cosily over the years, but are based overseas e.g. an attack on the Home Location Register computer of a mobile phone company in mainland Europe could easily compromise part of the UK's Mobile Phone Network.


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

  • schlüsseldienstwiesbaden: Just to let you know... your website looks extremely strange read more
  • schlüsseldienstwiesbaden: Hello everyone. I was just surfing the Internet for fun read more
  • schlüsseldienstwiesbaden: Im happy I located this blog page, I couldnt obtain read more
  • wiesbadenschlüsseldienst: Terrific piece of content, this is very similar to a read more
  • wiesbaden schlüsseldienst: nsightful thoughts here. Are you certain this is the best read more
  • wiesbaden schlüsseldienst: nsightful thoughts here. Are you certain this is the best read more
  • Jolene: This is a truly fantastic read for me, Must admit read more
  • schlüsseldienst wiesbaden: This is such a great resource that you are providing read more
  • CNA Certification: The new Zune browser is surprisingly good, but not as read more
  • CNA Certification: Sorry for the huge review, but I'm really loving the 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