Recently in Wilson Doctrine Category

Another year, another brief Annual Report by a RIPA Commissioner

Interception of Communications Commissioner Annual Report for 2009 (.pdf) , the right hon. Sir Paul Kennedy.

As with all the previous RIPA reports, the statistics about the number of Interception warrants or about the number of Communications Data requests are deliberately not broken down into any meaningful level of detail and should be ignored, although there will no doubt be plenty of media articles which are based on the headline figures.

How many people do these figures represent ? One criminal suspect could have many mobile phones, one interception warrant could be used to capture millions or billions of email messages.

There should be a breakdown of Communications Data requests since not all Public Authorities are allowed to request the full set of subscriber details, "friendship tree" call or email patterns and location data. Revealing such figures would not prejudice ongoing investigations.

As before, there are a trivial number of minor reported procedural and form filling Errors by the Police and Intelligence agencies (Interception and Communications Data) and , to a lesser extent the hundreds of other Public Authorities who have Communications Data powers, mostly due to keyboard typing errors.

Fewer of these Errors are now even being reported, in order to reduce bureaucracy:

3.11 Accordingly I agreed to a change in the error reporting system whereby public authorities now only report errors which have resulted in them obtaining the wrong communications data and where this has resulted in intrusion upon the privacy of an innocent third party. Other errors are simply recorded.


As before, we challenge the claim that the public are in any way "reassured" by this RIPA Commissioner (or any of the other RIPA Commissioners):



The Agencies always make available to me the personnel and documents that I have asked to see. They welcome my oversight, as ensuring that they are acting lawfully, proportionately and appropriately, and they seek my advice whenever it is deemed appropriate. It is a reassurance to the general public that their activities are overseen by an independent person who has held high judicial office

National Technical Assistance Centre snooping infrastructure down for 3 days

The National Technical Assistance Centre was formerly under the Home Office / MI5 now it is under the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and GCHQ.

Amongst other things they operate the "black box" legally authorised snooping under RIPA infrastructure which taps into major telephone and internet company infrastructure (not the same as GCHQ's main interception infrastructure)

2.27 Three errors attributable to the National Technical Assistance Centre (NTAC) were reported during the period of this report, one of which I now explain. NTAC reported a technical fault within their infrastructure that resulted in the prevention of delivery of intercept related information to the intercepting agencies for three days. A project to prevent this type of error occurring has been initiated and is expected to deliver improvements in the system in 2010.

How much public money is now being spent on NTAC and its "black boxes" ?

No Interception of Communications Commissioner involvement with Encryption, again ?

Yet again, on RIPA Part III, whilst the boilerplate text explaining the legal section of the Act is copied from previous reports, there is no mention of the Interception of Communications Commissioner having been advised of any Section 49 Notices demanding access to cryptographic de-cryption keys or to the plaintext information which has been protected by encryption.

Were all the cases in the past year really dealt with by the Other RIPA Commissioners ?

There is no mention of any reports or inspections by the Inspectors or by the ICC himself into how well or how badly the Code of Practice is being adhered to regarding electronic information protected by encryption.

Mobile phones in Prisons

It is interesting to see that the ICC and his inspectors seem to have finally taken our suggestion regarding illegal Mobile Phones in Prisons, made in previous years, that whilst they are inspecting the procedures for Interception and Communications Data analysis in Prisons, something which technically they have no power to do under the RIPA, but which they have been asked to do by successive Home Secretaries.

4.12 The inspections have also revealed that an alarming number of Category B local prisons appear to have a very limited capacity to monitor prisoners who pose a real threat to good order and security and this is a cause for concern. The smuggling of drugs and illicit mobile telephones are serious problems for most prisons, irrespective of their security status, and if a serious incident were to occur, which could have been prevented through the gathering of intercept intelligence, then prison managers and staff could find themselves in an indefensible position. Regrettably on occasions my Inspectors still have to emphasise this point in a number their reports.

4.13 The Category B local prisons, which were inspected during the reporting period, were asked to provide details of the numbers of illicit mobile telephones and associated equipment that had been seized in a six month period. Statistics from 25 prisons were collated and these revealed that 1,456 mobile telephones and 797 SIM cards were seized. Under the Offender Management Act 2007 and Prison Order 1100 dated 26 March, 2008 it is now a criminal offence to convey a mobile telephone or a component part of this equipment into a prison without the authorisation of the Governor and 11 of the prisons were making use of this legislation. However, the availability of such a large number of illicit telephones in the prison system is a serious cause for concern because prisoners can also use them to access the Internet.

4.14 Following the publication of the Blakey report in 2008 the Chief Operating Officer issued the Mobile Phones Good Practice Guide which was designed to help prisons minimise the number of mobile phones entering prisons and disrupt the number of mobile telephones that they were unable to find. Intelligence from the Pin-phones does help to prevent and detect attempts to smuggle them into the prison and this was part of the strategy. Clearly quite a number of the establishments are unable to implement the strategy fully because the resources and equipment are weighted far too heavily in favour of the offence related monitoring and this is a continuing problem. It is crucially important that prisoners are prevented from using mobile telephones to conduct criminal or illicit activity inside and outside the prison. Better use of the Interception Risk Assessments will eventually reduce the amount of offence related monitoring which needs to be conducted and this will in turn increase the capability to conduct more intelligence-led monitoring.

No mention of the Wilson Doctrine

There is no mention of the Wilson Doctrine in this year's public report, except for the background reference to current Prisons policy:



Communications which are subject to legal privilege are protected and there are also special arrangements in place for dealing with confidential matters, such as contact with the Samaritans and a prisoner's constituency MP

See the previous Spy Blog article: When will Prime Minister David Cameron re-affirm and extend the Wilson Doctrine on the protection from snooping on constituents' communications with their elected representatives ?

Still no progress on the use of Intercept Evidence in Court proceedings

2.10 Both the Advisory Group of Privy Counsellors and the government believe
that the potential gains from intercept as evidence justify further work in order to
establish whether the problems identified are capable of being resolved. The issues
involved are complex and difficult. I hope to be able to report on the progress
made on the planned further work in my 2010 Annual Report.

There are couple of positive bits of this report:

Parliament adjourns for a long summer break in less than 2 weeks. just over 3 weeks, from 27th July until 6th September 2010.

By that time, we are promised, the Identity Cards Act 2006 will have been repealed, all well and good. We will celebrate properly when the National Identity Register data is securely destroyed.

However, there are several things of interest to Spy Blog readers, which this Conservative / Liberal democrat coalition government has not yet done as they should have.

By convention, since 1966, each Prime Minister has re-affirmed the Wilson Doctrine, regarding the supposed ban on telephone and other interception of communications of Members of Parliament, especially with their constituents.

Sometimes they have hinted at slight changes in policy, in their short, bland, detail avoiding statements, which need heavy analysis by Downing Street kremlinologists.

Prime Minister David Cameron has not yet made any such statement.

If he does not want to appear just like his hated predecessor, then he will announce next week, a wider application of the Wilson Doctrine, as we wrote back in 2008:

The Wilson Doctrine should not be abolished, it should be clarified and extended

The Wilson Doctrine should be extended to cover not just Members of the House of Commons, and the Peers of the House of Lords, but also to the other equally democratically elected Parliaments and Assemblies, to the Scottish Parliament, the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Welsh Assembly, to the UK Members of the European Parliament, and probably to all foreign Members of the European Parliament as well.

In principle, the Constituency Communications of elected Local Authority Councillors should also be protected by the Wilson Doctrine.

The Wilson Doctrine is not about rights and privileges of elected politicians, it is about protecting the privacy of their communications with their constituents, who may very well be complaining or whistleblowing about the very Government departments and agencies and other tentacles of the State, who try to snoop on such communications.

Back in 1966, when the then Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson announced his policy, there were no direct dial international phone calls , let alone fax machines, mobile phones or internet email or WiFi communications etc.

See "Wilson Doctrine" - Prime Minister Harold Wilson answers Oral Questions in the House of Commons 17th November 1966 - transcript

The Wilson Doctrine should be extended to cover not just the interception of communications i..e. listening to phone calls or reading emails etc., but to the collection or analysis of Communications Traffic Data - who called or emailed who, when and where from etc.

It should also apply to all of the postal mail, public internet connections, private computer networks, email accounts, computers, fax machines and mobile phones etc. used by the elected representative or his office staff, provided that these are used for communications to and from the elected representatives constituents.

Given the scandal over the electronic bugging of an MP and his constituent in prison, who has not been charged with any crime in the UK, the Wilson Doctrine should also be made to cover face to face meetings with constituents. It should ban directed and intrusive surveillance of such face to face meetings and it should also ban the use of Confidential Human Intelligence Source informers to infiltrate an MP or other elected representatives offices.

Obviously where there are actual national security or serious crime investigations in progress, the Wilson Doctrine allows these to proceed, but this should be strictly limited and should require a formal warrant, not any kind of self authorisation by the investigating agency.

There must be no repeat of the appalling mess which the former Speaker of the House of Commons created over the police raid without a warrant of MPs offices.

The Wilson Doctrine should be made to apply not just to the three main UK intelligence agencies GCHQ, MI5 and SIS/MI6, but to any Police or Military units with the legal or technical capability e.g. Military Special Forces units, Association of Chief Police Officers units like NETCU and to any "quid pro quo" arrangements with Foreign Governments or agencies and also to any private sector companies or other non--governmental organisations as well.

If you cannot trust that your written or electronic communications or face to face meetings with your MP etc. is not being snooped on by state bureaucrats or private sector snoopers, then there is no elected democracy in the UK any more.

If the Government really means to restore public trust in the tainted institution of Parliament, then they should re-affirm and extend the Wilson Doctrine, something which will not even cost them any public money to do.

It is a measure of how inept the hated Labour party is in Opposition, that they have not bothered to table any Parliamentary Questions about the Wilson Doctrine, not even simply in order to put the current Government under political pressure, like a proper Opposition should.

Is it because the few Labour MPs who cared about democratic accountability of the powerful organs of the state, have retired or have not been re-elected, leaving behind only the creepy control freaks and apparatchiks ?

The Liberal Democrat and Conservative MPs who used to care about these issues are now on the Government side, but they should not let that stop them from raising Questions fundamental issues of liberty and democracy either.

The Home Office has published its summary of the responses to the public consultation Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000: Consolidating orders and codes of practice (1.7Mb .pdf) which ran from April to July.

The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000: consolidating orders and codes of practice - responses to the consultation (269Kb .pdf) says that:

The 222 respondents comprised:

  • 104 local authorities;
  • 9 local authority associations;
  • 10 law enforcement bodies;
  • 9 other public authorities;
  • 6 legal reform or scrutiny bodies;
  • 5 communications service providers;
  • 3 training organisations;
  • 2 housing agencies;
  • 2 oversight commissioners (the Chief Surveillance Commissioner and the Interception of Communications Commissioner);
  • 68 members of the public (of whom 27 had experience of working with RIPA); and
  • 4 other NGOs with interests in the prosecution of offenders, waste management, computing and children's rights.

Spy Blog raised the following issues in response to this public consultation, with little success:

1) Mandatory use of strong Encryption should be explicit in the Regulations and Codes of Practice

2) Automatic Number Plate Recognition data needs to be brought within the RIPA framework

3) Sub-division of "Communications Data" to now include a separate Location Based Services data category

4) All Local Authorities should have their Intrusive Surveillance and Covert Human Intelligence Source powers removed. Access to Subscriber Details should continue, but no LA access to Location Based Services data.

5) The abuse of Children as Covert Human Intelligence Sources

Buried amongst the flurry of Government publications on the last day before the deliberately extended Parliamentary Summer to Autumn Recess, was Prime Minister Gordon Brown's latest utterance on the Wilson Doctrine.

UPDATE: there were, by our count, an astonishing 1463 Parliamentary Written Answers published on this Last Day Before the Summer Recess. Are we seriously meant to believe that none of these Answers were ready for publication in the days and weeks beforehand ?

HC Deb, 21 July 2009, c1166W

Members: Surveillance

Prime Minister

Written answers and statements, 21 July 2009

David Davis (Haltemprice & Howden, Conservative)

To ask the Prime Minister whether any hon. Member has been subject to (a) official surveillance and (b) interception of communications in the last two years.

Gordon Brown (Prime Minister, No Department; Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath, Labour)

The Wilson doctrine continues to apply to all forms of surveillance and interception that are subject to authorisation by Secretary of State warrant.

Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson's original Wilson Doctrine covered all telephone interception / phone tapping / bugging of Members of Parliament.

The Sadiq Khan MP / Babar Ahmad electronic bugging in Prison affair saw Gordon Brown's henchmen Jack Straw (Justice) and Jacqui Smith (Home Office) slither around the Wilson Doctrine, because, under the Police Act 1997 Part III, there is no need for a Warrant signed by a Secretary State. The self -authorisation for such intrusive surveillance is done at the Superintendent / Deputy Chief Constable level. - see: "Report on two visits by Sadiq Khan MP to Babar Ahmad at HM Prison Woodhill" - Rt. Hon. Sir Christopher Rose finds no illegality

Since all Government statements about the "Wilson Doctrine" are deliberately vague and evasive, you have to read them as if they came from the Soviet Politburo, and see what they do not explicitly say or mention.

"all forms of surveillance and interception that are subject to authorisation by Secretary of State warrant" only applies to:

  1. Interception of Communications (electronic or postal) under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 Part 1 Chapter 1., which requires a Warrant or a Certificate signed by a Secretary of State (either the Home Secretary or the Foreign Secretary, usually)

  2. A property interference and / or interference with wireless telegraphy warrant under the Intelligence Services Act 1994 sections 5 to 7

The "Wilson Doctrine" is important, not because it might allow a minority of Members of Parliament should be able to hide any shady business dealings or scandalous private lives, but because it should prevent the over powerful tentacles of the Government and State bureaucracy from snooping on their political opponents (within their own political party and the opposition parties) and breaking the anonymity and confidentiality of meetings, correspondence and electronic communications between a Member of Parliament and his or her Constituents, or other members of the public, who they are elected to serve, and champion against the Government and the bureaucracy etc. if necessary.

However, by restricting it to the two legal requirements listed above, it does mean that Members of Parliament and their constituents have may have been snooped on by:

  • GCHQ or any other public body authorised to intercept electronic communications, not via a Warrant but via a more general Certificate (e.g. for snooping, in bulk, on transatlantic fibre optic cables or satellite communications)

  • Police units using the Police Act 1997 Part III powers

    • Property Interference i.e. authorised breaking and entering into homes or vehicles, usually to plant electronic bugging or tracking devices.

  • Police or intelligence agency units using the rest of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 for: the various kinds of Surveillance:

    • Directed Surveillance

    • Covert Surveillance

    • Intrusive Surveillance

    • The use of Covert Human Intelligence Sources (CHIS) - informants and infiltrators
    • Seizure of cryptographic keys and / or de-crypted plaintext.

    • Communications Data:

      • Subscriber Details - Name and Address of land line or registered mobile phones<

      • Location Based Services Data (instantaneous and historical tracking of mobile phone handsets)

      • Communications Traffic Data (itemised phone bills, who called who and when "friendship trees", email server logfiles, internet access log files etc.

The Police or Military covert surveillance units (but not the Intelligence Agencies, without a Warrant) could also use the Counter Terrorism Act 2008 section 18 Material not subject to existing statutory restrictions

  • DNA or fingerprint samples obtained in secret, through Property Interference or by Confidential Human Intelligence Sources

There are "official surveillance" techniques and Databases which are not covered by RIPA e.g.

  • Automatic Number Plate Recognition (the Metropolitan Police have access to all of the Transport for London Congestion Charge ANPR data "in bulk, in real time", exempt from the Data Protection Act).

  • Passenger Name Records, credit card and email details data slurped from Airline, Train and Ferry Booking Systems

  • Transport for London Oyster Travel Smart Card data

  • The planned National Identity Register / ID Card scheme

  • Literally millions of CCTV surveillance cameras and recording devices

There are also other Government Departments which have granted themselves snooping powers, which fall outside of the RIPA or Intelligence Services legal frameworks:

None of the above, apart from items 1 and 2, "are subject to authorisation by Secretary of State warrant"

The Guardian has a follow up article giving some details of the mechanics of the unsuccessful "Hotmail plot" by the anti-Gordon Brown faction of Labour Members of Parliament

Why plot to oust Gordon Brown failed

The rebels switched from email to texts on a disposable mobile but bid to oust PM was doomed

* Allegra Stratton, political correspondent
*, Wednesday 10 June 2009 21.48 BST

At 3pm on Monday 8 June, 15 people met in an MP's office in the House of Commons to agree that, for the time being at least, the Hotmail Plot had failed.


"The difference between getting 50 and the necessary 70 will be the disloyalty factor," one told the Guardian when the plot was in full swing. The Hotmail Plot -- so called because of the email address,, which MPs were asked to sign up to, calling for Brown to go, remained undetected for days until the Guardian revealed it at noon, shortly after Blears had resigned.

By Wednesday evening, the covert tactic unravelled as thousands of emails arrived. Apart from the odd one from genuinely sympathetic MPs, spoofs, foreign emails, and junk emails flowed in.

Exactly as predicted in the Spy Blog article - The Email Address Most Likely To Be Snooped On ? - Labour in crisis: the Hotmail conspiracy

One rebel said: "We got one email from [the email address of the chief whip]. It might be that they were hoping we'd publish a list and not notice his name was in it and then he could show all the names were ridiculous."

Did they check the full email headers to see if it was sent from the parliamentary email servers e.g., etc. and the outsourced anti-spam and anti-virus email service run by , or was it simply a trivially spoofed email return address ?


Instead, the rebels adopted a tactic favoured by organised criminals and bought an untraceable pay as you go mobile, encouraging sympathetic colleagues to get in touch that way. It became a text message plot.

The use of SMS text messages was suggested in the previous Spy Blog article above.

It is wrong to imply that only organised criminals have a need for an "untraceable pay as you go mobile" - there was nothing illegal in this anti-Gordon Brown faction's attempt to gather support, and certainly no justification for any police or intelligence agency snooping, but. since knowledge is power, the temptation to do so without proper authorisation,or on some flimsy excuse invoking "national security" or "the prevention, detection or prosecution of crime", might be too great, and we the public, have no way of checking up on this.

Why did the anti-Gordon Brown faction not use SMS text messages right from the start, before the Hotmail email idea ?

Each of the core "plotters", should have obtained at least one such mobile phone.

Did these MPs claim the cost of these mobile phones from their office expenses ?

Perhaps they should read our Technical Hints and Tips for protecting the anonymity of sources for Whistleblowers, Investigative Journalists, Campaign Activists and Political Bloggers etc. (and anti- Gordon Brown factions in the Labour party)

One cabinet minister due to meet a rebel for dinner had their meeting cancelled - there simply wasn't a restaurant in London discreet enough.

That simply is not true, unless the Cabinet Minister's police protection team cannot be trusted not to blab.

Does the anti-Brown faction believe that they were/are under surveillance ?

Instead, that evening they would have the first of three phone calls. The cabinet minister was interested in the nature of names, irrespective of whether they had arrived by email, text or carrier pigeon.

Remember that the Wilson Doctrine regarding the Interception of the phone calls of Members of Parliament, does not seem to apply to Communications Traffic Data snooping on mobile phones or landlines i.e. who called or sent SMS text messages to whom, and when, which would reveal most of what is of interest in this scheme, to people within the Downing Street bunker, or those who might be trying to curry favour and influence there.


On Monday at 3pm the rebels met. All their info was collated on a five-page spreadsheet across which names, mobile phone numbers, "other telephone numbers" and personal non-parliamentary email addresses were set out horizontally along with the initials of the rebel MP who had brought them on board and vouched for them.

Zealots who wanted Brown out were given the number zero and those newly persuaded the number one. Zero zealots made up most of the first page; ones extended onto the second and together they came to 54. Short of the 71 crucial figure but over the 50 they had briefed journalists would trigger publication.


But there were other categories on that spreadsheet. Number four indicated friends of Brown and category three were people whose opinions were not known.

The category that was by far the longest, stretching to about 120 was number two (yesterday one rebel rang to say: "I've just seen that two of our number twos have got jobs with the government. Patronage is a big problem for plots".) The number two denoted: "Possibles, if..."

Zero Zealots ?

Who would be likely to use such a logical computer programming style, yet utterly inhuman, numbering system starting from 0, to categorise the people on the list ? Charles Clarke has a degree in Mathematics and Economics, but that does not necessarily signify much.

Another way to snoop indirectly on these Zero Zealots, would be to target The Guardian
journalists who have been given access to these details.

The House of Commons, collectively, and, the Speaker of the Commons in particular, is failing to make clear to the public, exactly what correspondence and communications , including electronic communications, between a Member of Parliament and his or her Constituents, or other MPs or whistleblowers, is protected under Parliamentary Privilege.

The latest Statement by the Speaker and the subsequent Points of Order on Thursday 5th February 2009, seem to show that Speaker Michael Martin has, failed yet again, to bother ask an MP for his side of the story in private, before issuing a public statement, which seems to take the side of the Police and the Executive branch of Government.

The Speaker of the House of Commons and his staff should be protecting the rights of MP's Constituents from the Executive branch of Government and its attempts to cover up up various politically embarrassing whistleblower revelations, and not aiding and abetting them.

Why has none of this been referred to the Standards and Privileges Committee ?

See the House of Commons Hansard transcripts below:

The Metropolitan Police Service appears to be trying to get hold of email correspondence between Members of Parliament, without first getting a warrant.

2 Feb 2009 : Column 590

Points of Order

4.11 pm


2 Feb 2009 : Column 591

David Davis (Haltemprice and Howden) (Con): Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. I seek further clarification because my hon. Friend the Member for Ashford (Damian Green) has been approached by the Metropolitan police and asked for access to e-mails between him and me as Front Benchers of Her Majesty's loyal Opposition. Has the Serjeant at Arms been notified of this, and does it come under your ruling that such requests will require a warrant and will be referred to you for your personal decision?

Mr. Speaker: Is the right hon. Gentleman saying that, since the occasion on which the office of the hon. Member for Ashford (Damian Green) was searched, approaches have been made to the right hon. Gentleman and the hon. Gentleman to release certain information?

David Davis: That is exactly correct. I understand that a request has been made for electronic communications--e-mails--between me and my hon. Friend, presumably relating to the time when he worked under me on the Front Bench of the loyal Opposition.

Mr. Speaker: I thank the right hon. Gentleman for bringing this matter to my attention. This is news to me, and I will investigate whether the proper protocol and the procedures that I have laid down for situations without a warrant have been gone through. I will report back to the right hon. Gentleman and, indeed, the House.

Have the Metropolitan Police Service already been given access to the Communications Traffic Data logfiles regarding this , and other email correspondence by these two MPs , by the Parliamentary IT systems people, or by their upstream Internet Service Provider Colt Telecom and/or their anti-spam and anti-virus rmail subcontractor Message Labs ?

Have the Metropolitan Police been trawling through all of the Communications Traffic Data of MPs and their constituents and others, since they are allowed to self authorise themselves to do this, and do not require any "warrant signed by the Home Secretary", let alone a search warrant signed by an independent Judge, in order to do this ?

Will the Speaker of the House of Commons and MPs as whole finally make clear, to the public and to the police, the extent and limits of the supposed protection of Parliamentary Privilege, with regard to the contents of landline telephone conversations , mobile telephone conversations, SMS text messages, facsimile transmissions, emails, instant message chats etc.?

Will they do the same for the collection and access to any Communications Traffic Data, relating to any of the above, or similar, methods of electronic communication ?

Remember the point of Parliamentary Privilege and of the Wilson Doctrine, is to allow Members of Parliament to conduct their democratic duties properly, and to scrutinise and challenge the Executive branch of Government, .This certainly requires that communications between MPs and their Constituents, or communications between themselves and other MPs, which may well be critical of or politically embarrassing to the Government or the Police or any of the other tentacles of the State or any other powerful lobbies and interests outside of Parliament, must be protected from being snooped on.

The Police or intelligence agencies or any other public bodies simply must not be allowed
trawl through Parliamentary emails without a warrant.

There is no point in Parliamentary Privilege applying to just to direct correspondence between an MP and a constituent, or other member of the public, if it does not also protect any later quotation or forwarding of some or all of the original correspondence, especially the identifying Communications Traffic Data, which may very well be enough to betray the identity or location of a whistleblower or complainant.

If members of the public feel inhibited from corresponding freely and confidentially with Members of Parliament, because of disproportionate or political snooping by the Government or the supposedly politically neutral police or intelligence agencies, or foreign government or criminals, then we no longer live in a free, democratic society, and the terrorists will have won.

A couple of technical suggestions:

  • Members of Parliament should publish, and use, their own PGP Public Encryption keys to help to protect the confidentiality of their electronic correspondence with their constituents, and with whistleblowers.

  • The Parliamentary email systems should be re-configured to allow the use of the standard STARTLS opportunistic email encryption to and from, other email systems which support it.

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

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

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

This will months or years into the future.

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

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

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


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

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

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

[Hansard URL available tomorrow morning]:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4 Dec 2008 : Column 143

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


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

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

4 Dec 2008 : Column 151

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some people refer to the unpopular Labour Government as "New Labour" or "NuLabour", or, to draw parallels with the evil dictatorship of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe as "ZANU Labour".

Most people with an interest in politics in the UK take this joke / mild insult in their stride, but surely even members of the Labour party must feel scared by the news that the Conservative MP Damian Green, their frontbench Home Affairs spokesman on Immigration, has been arrested by the Metropolitan Police, and has had his homes and offices searched, including his office at the Palace of Westminster, by "Counter Terrorism Police".

Counter-terrorism police arrest Conservative frontbencher

The police action followed the arrest 10 days ago of a government employee who had allegedly leaked four documents to Green, who in turn passed them to the press. They were:

• A home office memo, which appeared in the Daily Mail on 13 November 2007, which showed that the home secretary Jacqui Smith had been warned four months earlier that thousands of illegal immigrants had been cleared to work in sensitive Whitehall security jobs. The memo emerged days after the Sunday Mirror disclosed that at least 5,000 illegal immigrants had been cleared by the Security Industry Authority to work sensitive Whitehall locations.

• An email to the then home office minister Liam Byrne in February this year which showed that he was informed about an illegal Brazilian immigrant who faked an identity pass to working parliament. The memo, which was published in the Sunday Telegraph on 10 February this year, said Byrne was informed on 31 January. Byrne was accused of a cover up.

• A list of Labour MPs who were likely to rebel against the government's plans to detain terror suspects for up to 42 days without charge. This appeared in the Sunday Times on 20 April 2008.

• A letter from Jacqui Smith to Gordon Brown warning that a recession would lead to a rise in crime. This appeared in will papers, including the Guardian, on 1 September this year.

None of these stories involved any breach of security, only political embarrassment for the incompetent Labour party politicians.

The BBC in that intensely annoying way of theirs, have almost completely re-written their report of this story, but kept the URL the same Senior Tory arrested over leaks - new window">Senior Tory arrested over leaks

They quote a statement from the Metropolitan Police Service (which does not, of course, appear on the Met's website):

"The investigation into the alleged leak of confidential government material followed the receipt by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) of a complaint from the Cabinet Office.

"The decision to make today's arrest was taken solely by the MPS without any ministerial knowledge or approval."

There was no need to waste scarce "Counter Terrorism Police" resources on this blatantly political investigation. Are ordinary Policemen no longer capable of searching an office ?

It is irrelevant whether or not Gordon Brown or any other senior Labour politicians were aware of Thursday's arrest beforehand, or not, they are to blame politically.

This affair also reflects badly on Sir Paul Stephenson, the deputy to Sir Ian Blair, who is taking over as Acting Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service. If he is seen to be continuing Sir Ian Blair's NuLabour political policing style, then he must not be allowed to be promoted into that job full time.

We strongly suggest that any other Home Office or Treasury etc. whistleblowers, and any investigative journalists, bloggers or opposition politicians should read our Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers and Political Activists - Technical Hints and Tips for protecting the anonymity of sources for Whistleblowers, Investigative Journalists, Campaign Activists and Political Bloggers

Some Obvious Questions:

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