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NLPWESSEX, natural law publishing

"I don't think  in the last two or three hundred years we've faced such a concatenation
of  problems all at the same time.... If we are to solve the issues that are ahead of us,

we are going to need to think in completely different ways."

  Paddy Ashdown, High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina 2002 - 2006

"Telecoms firms have accused the Government of acting like the East German Stasi over plans to force them to store the details of every phone call for at least a year. Under the proposals, the details of every email sent and website visited will also be recorded to help the police and security services fight crime and terrorism. But mobile phone companies have attacked the plans as a massive assault on privacy and warned it could be the first step towards a centralised ‘Big Brother’ database.   They have also told the Home Office that the scheme is deeply flawed. The criticism of Britain’s growing ‘surveillance culture’ was made in a series of responses to an official consultation on the plans, which have been obtained by The Mail on Sunday. T-Mobile said in its submission that it was a ‘particularly sensitive’ time as many people were commemorating the 20th anniversary of the protests that led to the collapse of ‘surveillance states in Eastern Europe’. Martin Hopkins, head of data protection and disclosure, said: ‘It would be extremely ironic if we at T-Mobile (UK) Ltd had to acquire the surveillance functionality envisaged by the Consultation Document at the same time that our parent company, headquartered in Germany, was celebrating the 20th anniversary of the demise of the equivalent systems established by the Stasi in the federal states of the former East Germany.’"
Telecom firms' fury at plan for 'Stasi' checks on every phone call and email
Mail, 27 December 2009



News Reports





"Telecoms firms have accused the Government of acting like the East German Stasi over plans to force them to store the details of every phone call for at least a year. Under the proposals, the details of every email sent and website visited will also be recorded to help the police and security services fight crime and terrorism. But mobile phone companies have attacked the plans as a massive assault on privacy and warned it could be the first step towards a centralised ‘Big Brother’ database.   They have also told the Home Office that the scheme is deeply flawed. The criticism of Britain’s growing ‘surveillance culture’ was made in a series of responses to an official consultation on the plans, which have been obtained by The Mail on Sunday. T-Mobile said in its submission that it was a ‘particularly sensitive’ time as many people were commemorating the 20th anniversary of the protests that led to the collapse of ‘surveillance states in Eastern Europe’. Martin Hopkins, head of data protection and disclosure, said: ‘It would be extremely ironic if we at T-Mobile (UK) Ltd had to acquire the surveillance functionality envisaged by the Consultation Document at the same time that our parent company, headquartered in Germany, was celebrating the 20th anniversary of the demise of the equivalent systems established by the Stasi in the federal states of the former East Germany.’"
Telecom firms' fury at plan for 'Stasi' checks on every phone call and email
Mail, 27 December 2009

"Scores of foxhunters can sit easier in their saddles on the biggest day of the sport’s calendar today after a judge cast doubt on the legality of covert filming by anti-hunt activists.  The ruling, in a case that cannot yet be reported, lays down that covert surveillance by third parties must be authorised in line with procedures in the Regulation of Investigating Powers Act (Ripa). The Home Office says that the Act must be used in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights. 'It also requires, in particular, those authorising the use of covert techniques to give proper consideration to whether their use is necessary and proportionate,' official guidance states. This suggests that the type of speculative surveillance carried out by some organisations and hunt monitors cannot be authorised because it is not necessary or proportionate for the prevention or detection of an offence under the Hunting Act. The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) is so anxious that forces may be acting unlawfully that it has asked for advice from the Crown Prosecution Service."
Judge casts doubt on legality of covert filming by anti-hunt activists
London Times, 26 December 2009

"A plan to allow phone tap evidence in courts was left in tatters today as a review said it was unworkable. In a victory for M15, Gordon Brown's proposal to introduce intercept evidence at criminal trials was quietly shelved as a report said it would cost billions. Critics said the decision marked another creeping extension of the Government's secret justice agenda. It means that potentially important information gained via phone tap recordings and email interceptions will not be available to juries. Civil liberty campaigners say the bar on intercept evidence will only be used as an excuse for more secret inquiries. Ministers have already forced through plans for secret hearings into controversial deaths to replace a jury inquest if sensitive intelligence information forms part of the evidence. It also means that authorities will have to continue using the secret Special Immigration Appeals Commission and control order hearings to keep tabs on suspects, who cannot be prosecuted as the intercept evidence against them cannot be put before a jury. Since 2007, the Government has been considering the use of covert surveillance intelligence in trials of terrorists and major crime bosses in a bid to secure more convictions. Legal and counter-terrorism sources believe that the extremist cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri could have been jailed for involvement in international kidnapping had intercept material been available to prosecutors. But the prospect of secret evidence ever being used in criminal courts in England and Wales appeared remote today as a review concluded it was not legally viable. A Whitehall official said storing all phone tap and email correspondence for use in criminal trials would require vast 'electronic warehouses', costing billions of pounds. An official report also warned that introducing such evidence would expose the techniques used in covert surveillance operations to terrorists and serious criminals.....Currently, police and the Security Service are not required to keep all the intercept material they record. Much of the conversation overheard through phone taps is not transcribed, with full records being kept only of key passages - none of which can be revealed to a jury in a suspect's trial. But evidence from phone tapping and other interceptions is widely used in other countries, including Australia and the United States, where it has been used to secure convictions against Mafia gangsters. Isabella Sankey, policy director at Liberty, said: 'The bar on intercept evidence is used by Government to justify a dangerous parallel legal system. 'Whether it’s control orders that bring punishment without trial, or ‘secret inquests’ for those killed on the State’s watch, the bar is used as excuse for ever more secrecy. 'We are the only common law country in the world to maintain such an illogical ban; its abolition is already long overdue.' MPs from across the political spectrum have urged the Government to reconsider. They argue that the use of intercept evidence, which is also supported by the former Director of Public Prosecutions Sir Ken Macdonald, could secure more terrorist convictions and reduce the need for some suspects to be placed under control orders. Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said: 'If Australia and the United States can both use intercept evidence in court without the world coming to an end, it cannot be beyond the realms of British ingenuity to do the same."
Tapped phone calls won't be allowed in court, as Brown's plan is defeated
Daily Mail, 10 December 2009

"Many government buildings are now ringed with security barriers, and most senior politicians have got used to having bodyguards or armed policemen outside their homes. The threat of terrorism has also justified the proliferation of CCTV cameras and the storage of credit card transactions, mobile phone records and email, all of which have been produced in court whenever there is a major terrorist trial....."
Al-Qaeda and a decade of terror
Daily Telegraph, 7 December 2009

"The CIA  is to be given broad access to the bank records of millions of Britons under a European Union plan to fight terrorism. The Brussels agreement, which will come into force in two months’ time, requires the 27 EU member states to grant requests for banking information made by the United States under its terrorist finance tracking programme. In a little noticed information note released last week, the EU said it had agreed that Europeans would be compelled to release the information to the CIA 'as a matter of urgency'. The records will be kept in a US database for five years before being deleted. Critics say the system is 'lopsided' because there is no reciprocal arrangement under which the UK authorities can easily access the bank accounts of US citizens in America. They also say the plan to sift through cross-border and domestic EU bank accounts gives US intelligence more scope to consult our bank accounts than is granted to law enforcement agencies in the UK or the rest of Europe. In Britain and most of Europe a judge must authorise a specific search after receiving a sworn statement from a police officer. This weekend civil liberties groups and privacy campaigners said the surveillance programme, introduced as an emergency measure in 2001, was being imposed on Britain without a proper debate. Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, said: 'The massive scope for transferring personal information from Europe to the United States is extremely worrying, especially in the absence of public debate or parliamentary scrutiny either at EU or domestic level.'.... The terrorist finance tracking programme mines thousands of transactions by sifting through records from the nerve centre of the global banking industry, a Belgian co-operative known as Swift. This routes about £3 billion between banks and other financial institutions each day. According to the EU information note, the United States can request “general data sets” under the scheme based on broad categories including 'relevant message types, geography and perceived terrorism threats'. The scheme is run out of the CIA’s headquarters in Langley, Virginia. The covert spying operation remained secret until 2006."
Brussels gives CIA the power to search UK bank records
Sunday Times, 6 December 2009

"Anyone who's a regular Google search user will know that the only way to avoid the company tracking your online activities is to log out of Gmail or whatever Google account you use. Not any more. As of last Friday, even searchers who aren't logged into Google in any way have their data tracked in the name of providing a 'better service'. The company explained: 'What we're doing today is expanding Personalized Search so that we can provide it to signed-out users as well. This addition enables us to customise search results for you based upon 180 days of search activity linked to an anonymous cookie in your browser.' However, if you've previously been a fan of the log-out method to avoid being tracked, there's still the option to disable the cookie by clicking a link at the top right of a search results page."
Google expands tracking to logged out users
TechRadar, 6 December 2009

"Yahoo isn’t happy that a detailed menu of the spying services it provides law enforcement agencies has leaked onto the web. Shortly after Threat Level reported this week that Yahoo had blocked the FOIA release of its law enforcement and intelligence price list, someone provided a copy of the company’s spying guide to the whistleblower site Cryptome. The 17-page guide describes Yahoo’s data retention policies and the surveillance capabilities it can provide law enforcement, with a pricing list for these services. Cryptome also published lawful data-interception guides for Cox Communications, SBC, Cingular, Nextel, GTE and other telecoms and service providers. But of all those companies, it appears to be Yahoo’s lawyers alone who have issued a DMCA takedown notice to Cryptome demanding the document be removed. Yahoo claims that publication of the document is a copyright violation, and gave Cryptome owner John Young a Thursday deadline for removing the document. So far, Young has refused....The price list that Yahoo tried to prevent the government from releasing to Soghoian appears in one small paragraph in the 17-page leaked document. According to this list, Yahoo charges the government about $30 to $40 for the contents, including e-mail, of a subscriber’s account. It charges $40 to $80 for the contents of a Yahoo group."
Yahoo Issues Takedown Notice for Spying Price List
Wired, 4 December 2009

".... it's important to distinguish between the government - the temporary, elected authors of national policy - and the state - the permanent bureaucratic and military apparatus superficially but not fully controlled by the reigning government..... If secrecy is necessary for national security and effective diplomacy, it is also inevitable that the prerogative of secrecy will be used to hide the misdeeds of the permanent state and its privileged agents.....  I suspect that there is no scheme of government oversight that will not eventually come under the indirect control of the generals, spies, and foreign-service officers it is meant to oversee."
W. W - In defence of WikiLeaks
Economist (Democracy In America Blog), 29 November 2010

"Plans to store information about every phone call, email and internet visit in the United Kingdom have in effect been abandoned by the Government. The Home Office confirmed the 'Big Brother' scheme had been delayed until after the election amid protests that it would be intrusive and open to abuse. Although ministers publicly insisted yesterday that they remained committed to the scheme, they have decided not to include the contentious measure in next week's Queen's Speech, the Government's final legislative programme before the election. The effect of this move could be to kill off the plans for years. The Conservatives have not ruled out reviving the idea but remain sceptical about the practicality of Labour's proposals....A Whitehall source told The Independent last night that the project, estimated to cost up to £2bn over 10 years, was 'in the very long grass'. Civil rights campaigners welcomed the move but warned that ministers were already responsible for introducing a range of databases and surveillance measures that breached basic liberties. The data retention proposals have been championed by the intelligence agencies and police as a vital tool for tracking terror plots and international crime syndicates....Civil liberties groups welcomed the shelving of the plan, but said basic freedoms remain under attack on a variety of fronts. Among the most controversial is the ID card scheme which has already been trialled at some airports. The scheme is set to be rolled out nationally by the end of the year, beginning in Manchester. Ministers now say that it will be voluntary."
Ministers cancel 'Big Brother' database
Independent, 10 November 2009

"All telecoms companies and internet service providers will be required by law to keep a record of every customer's personal communications, showing who they are contacting, when, where and which websites they are visiting. Despite widespread opposition over Britain's growing surveillance society, 653 public bodies will be given access to the confidential information, including police, local councils, the Financial Services Authority, the Ambulance Service, fire authorities and even prison governors. They will not require the permission of a judge or a magistrate to access the information, but simply the authorisation of a senior police officer or the equivalent of a deputy head of department at a local authority. Ministers had originally wanted to store the information on a massive Government-run database, but chose not to because of privacy concerns. However the Government announced yesterday it was pressing ahead with privately-held 'Big Brother' databases which opposition leaders said amount to 'state-spying' and a form of 'covert surveillance' on the public. It is doing so despite its own consultation showing there is little public support for the plans. The Home Office admitted that only a third of respondents to its six-month consultation on the issue supported its proposals, with 50 per cent fearing that the scheme lacked sufficient safeguards to protect the highly personal data from abuse. The new law will increase the amount of personal data which can be accessed by officials through the controversial Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), which is supposed to be used for combatting terrorism. Although most private firms already hold details of every customer's private calls and emails for their own business purposes, most only do so on an ad hoc basis and only for a period of several months. The new rules, known as the Intercept Modernisation Programme, will not only force communication companies to keep their records for longer, but to expand the type of data they keep to include details of every website their customers visit – effectively registering every click online. While public authorities will not be able to view the contents of these emails or phone calls – but they can see the internet addresses, dates, times and users of telephone numbers and texts. The firms involved in keeping the data, such as as Orange, BT and Vodafone, will be reimbursed at a cost to the taxpayer of £2billion over 10 years. Chris Grayling, shadow home secretary, said he had fears about the abuse of the data. 'The big danger in all of this is 'mission creep'. This Government keeps on introducing new powers to tackle terrorism and organised crime which end up being used for completely different purposes. We have to stop that from happening'. David Davis, the former shadow home secretary, added: 'What is being proposed is a highly intrusive procedure which would allow Government authorities to maintain covert surveillance on public use of telephones, texts, emails and internet access.' He added that the permission to access the data should be granted by judges or magistrates.....The latest figures on the use of the RIPA legislation by public bodies, show that state bodies including town halls made 519,260 requests last year - one every minute - to spy on the phone records and email accounts of members of the public. The number of requests has risen by 44 per cent in two years to a rate of 1,422 new cases every day, leading to claims of an abuse of using the powers for trivial matters such as littering and dog fouling. Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, said: 'The Big Brother ambitions of a group of senior Whitehall technocrats are delayed but not diminished....'"
Every phone call, email and internet click stored by 'state spying' databases
Daily Telegraph, 9 November 2009

"The Home Office says it will push ahead with plans to ask communications firms to monitor all internet use. Ministers confirmed their intention despite concerns and opposition from some in the industry. The proposals include asking firms to retain information on how people use social networks such as Facebook. Some 40% of respondents to the Home Office's consultation opposed the plans - but ministers say communication interception needs to be updated.  Both the police and secret security services have legal powers in the UK to intercept communications in the interests of combating crime or threats to national security. But the rules largely focus on communications over telephones and do not cover the whole range of internet communications now being used. The Home Office says it wants to change the law to compel communication service providers (CSPs) to collect and retain records of communications from a wider range of internet sources, from social networks through to chatrooms and unorthodox methods, such as within online games. Ministers say that they do not want to create a single government-owned database and only intend to ask CSPs to hold a record of a contact, rather than the actual contents of what was said. Police and other agencies would then be able to ask CSPs for information on when a communication was sent and between whom. In theory, law enforcement agencies will be able to link that information to specific devices such as an individual's smartphone or laptop. The proposals are technically challenging, as they would require a CSP to sort and organise all third-party traffic coming and going through their systems. The estimated £2bn bill for the project includes compensation for the companies involved....Christopher Graham, the Information Commissioner responsible for overseeing the protection of private information, told the Home Office that while he recognised that the police needed to use communication data to stop crime, this in itself was not a justification to collect all possible data passing through the internet. 'The proposal represents a step change in the relationship between the citizen and the state,' said Mr Graham. 'For the first time, this proposal is asking CSPs to collect and create information they would not have previously held and to go further in conducting additional processing on that information. 'Evidence for this proposal must be available to demonstrate that such a step change is necessary and proportionate."
UK surveillance plan to go ahead
BBC Online, 9 November 2009

"Vernon Bogdanor, the Professor of Government at the University of Oxford, argues in his book The New British Constitution that a series of measures including devolution legislation, the Human Rights Act and the abolition of the House of Lords have already replaced one constitutional system with another. The fundamental codes that govern our relationship with the state are being rewritten and we are supine. Yet increasingly the State’s tentacles strangle us with a sinister if well-intentioned paternalism. The fear of paedophiles and terrorists has made potential criminals of us all. We are watched by cameras, monitored by agencies, registered on databases. The State can eavesdrop on phone calls, spy on our bank accounts. British citizens can be detained without trial. We have no protection against Parliament, when the party that dominates it decides to dominate us. It is time for a written constitution, ratified by the people. Professor Bogdanor argues that one reason we have never codified our constitution is that statements of citizens’ rights typically mark a new beginning, a birth, or rebirth of a new state. Our tortuous relationship with Europe could be such a catalyst. Our country is being reborn as a satellite of Europe yet, as the revolution is a bloodless one, it passes without protest. We are alone among the member states in not having a written constitution. This makes us vulnerable to European creep, and the dribbling away of civil liberties."
How to protect ourselves from Eurocreep
London Times, 6 November 2009

"A mother took a council to court yesterday after it used surveillance powers designed to combat terrorism to establish whether she had lied to get her children into a 'good' school. Jenny Paton, her partner and three children were followed for nearly three weeks by officers from Poole Borough Council, using the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa). They wrongly suspected that she did not live in the school’s catchment area. Speaking before a two-day hearing of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, Ms Paton, 40, poured scorn on the council’s actions. She said: 'Some of the operational aspects are ludicrous and completely outrageous and I think we all need protecting from the way local authorities are using Ripa. This is about saying ‘no more’. Let’s have more safeguards and better scrutiny.' She asked why the officials, if they doubted her story, did not knock on her front door and speak to her....Ripa was introduced in 2000 to define when covert techniques, such as secret filming, could be used by police, local councils and benefit fraud teams. The powers have been used almost 50,000 times by public authorities such as local councils and the health service since 2002. After public alarm the Government is about to curb the powers that councils have gained under Ripa. Local authorities have used legislation intended to tackle terrorism and serious crime to deal with minor offences such as dog fouling. Conway council in Wales used the Act to spy on a worker who claimed to be sick, and Kensington and Chelsea council in London used it to monitor the misuse of a disabled parking badge. Under reform plans, set out yesterday, junior council officials will lose their power to authorise surveillance operations on behalf of local authorities. There are, however, plans to extend its use to allow officials to trace parents who refuse to pay child support. Investigators will be given access to the phone and internet records of thousands of fathers who do not co- operate with the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission."
School place dispute mother sues council over use of terror powers
London Times, 6 November 2009

"Councils are to have their powers to snoop on the public curbed under government plans aimed at addressing alarm at the expansion of the surveillance state. Local authorities have used legislation intended to tackle terrorism and serious crime to deal with minor offences such as dog fouling. Under the plans, published today, relatively junior council officials will lose their power to authorise surveillance operations on behalf of local authorities. Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary, will say that only council chief executives and officials at director level will have the right to order investigations involving techniques such as eavesdropping, tracking vehicles and secret filming..... But the proposals stop short of meeting demands from the Local Government Association for greater involvement by councillors and the public in authorising and overseeing Ripa powers. The association called for local people to be co-opted on to a committee overseeing surveillance and also for senior local councillors to be responsible for authorising surveillance."
Alan Johnson announces plans to curb excessive council surveillance
London Times, 4 November 2009

"When governments turn their minds to economic stimulus, they usually end up in well-ploughed furrows. A tax break here, a consumer spending voucher there, and a nice public-works binge to round it all off. China may be among the first to realise there may be a useful stimulus effect from scaring the bejeezus out of the international business community. A rich seam of paranoia is already there, waiting to be mined. A senior executive at a global car manufacturer recently told me he had been warned by 'a three-letter agency from Virginia' to use a separate set of personal electronics when in China: a second laptop, BlackBerry and mobile. Otherwise, the (American spook) adviser added darkly, 'they' (Chinese spooks) will steal everything from the secret plans for car door handles to that online birthday card from your auntie. I asked a 'risk mitigation' expert (ex-British spook) what he thought of this. 'Everyone should have two of everything; basic sense,' he explained. How handy for the Chinese electronics industry, which produces most of these gizmos and is desperate to rekindle exports."
Japanese advertisers adopt the sick bag
London Times, 21 October 2009

"An astonishing £380 a minute will be spent on surveillance in a massive expansion of the Big Brother state. The £200million-a-year sum will give officials access to details of every internet click made by every citizen - on top of the email and telephone records already available. It is a 1,700 per cent increase on the cost of the current surveillance regime. Last night LibDem home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne described the sum as 'eye-watering'. 'There is already enough concern at the level of Government snooping,' he said. 'In an era of tough spending choices, it cannot be a justified response to the problems we face as a country to lavish millions of pounds a year on state spying. ' The increase in money spent on tapping phones and emails is all the more baffling when Britain is still one of the few countries not to allow intercept evidence in court, even in terrorist cases.' State bodies including councils are already making one request every minute to spy on the phone records and email accounts of members of the public. The number of snooping missions carried out by police, town halls and other government departments has rocketed by 44 per cent in two years to a rate of 1,381 new cases every day. Ministers say the five-year cost of the existing regime is £55.61million, an average of £11million a year. This is paid to phone companies and service providers to meet the cost of keeping and providing private information about customers. The cost of the new system emerged in a series of Parliamentary answers. It is to cover payments to internet service providers so they can store mountains of information about every customer for a minimum of 12 months, and set up new systems to cope. The actual content of calls and emails is not be kept - only who they were from or to, when they took place and where they were sent from. Police, security services and other public authorities can then request access to the data as part of investigations. Some 653 bodies are currently allowed access, including councils, the Financial Services Authority, the Ambulance Service and fire authorities and prison governors. The new rules allowing access to internet records will be introduced by Parliament before the end of the year. They are known as the Intercept Modernisation Programme. Ministers had originally wanted to store the information on a massive Government-run database, but chose not to because of privacy concerns. Yesterday Alex Deane, director of campaign group Big Brother Watch, said: 'The Government is preparing to make British people pay through the nose so that they can track our movements online.'"
Big Brother Britain: £380 a MINUTE spent on tracking your every click online
Daily Mail, 21 October 2009

"The man who led the investigation into the Soham murders has attacked the Government’s new vetting scheme, which will force 11 million adults to have formal criminal record checks. Retired Detective Chief Superintendent Chris Stevenson said that 'no amount of legislation, record keeping or checking' could prevent future murders of children by paedophiles. He accused ministers of creating a state of paranoia after the deaths of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in 2002. Mr Stevenson said that he felt compelled to voice his criticism after being ordered to stop taking pictures of his grandson at a village football match. He said that efforts to keep paedophiles at bay had gone too far and needed to get 'back on an even keel'.... Writing in The Times today, Mr Stevenson says: 'The furore that has gripped the nation since [Soham] has made us all paranoid. Is it in the interests of children?.... Are we feeding the paranoia that stops a grandfather taking a picture of his nine-year-old grandson playing football? Surely this cannot continue, someone needs to put things back on an even keel.”
Soham police officer attacks Government’s new vetting scheme
London Times, 15 September 2009
"The fears of Diana, Princess of Wales, for her safety and her preoccupation with surveillance were 'entirely justified', Michael Mansfield says today. The QC, the best-known brief at the Bar, says that the predictions of the late Princess 'came to pass' and that Britain has slid seamlessly into George Orwell’s 'Big Brother' society. In an extract from his autobiography published in The Times today, the QC says that it was 'utterly reasonable for the Princess to suppose that Big Brother was looking over her shoulder, that her telephone communications were being tapped and her movements by car were being tracked'. She had a 'credible and understandable basis for her belief', he says in Memoirs of a Radical Lawyer.... In his book the QC, 67, who is stepping down from full-time work at the Bar, condemns the 'surreal proposals' for a centralised database monitoring every call or e-mail. 'That these surreal proposals should even be contemplated shows how far beyond Orwell’s worst fears we have travelled. 'The whole idea of Big Brother is now part of mainstream cheap light entertainment . . . this is both sinister and symbolic.It’s Jim Carrey’s film The Truman Show for real.'”
Diana was right to be worried, says top QC, Michael Mansfield
London Times, 2 September 2009
"Internet companies and civil liberties groups were alarmed this spring when a U.S. Senate bill proposed handing the White House the power to disconnect private-sector computers from the Internet. They're not much happier about a revised version that aides to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, have spent months drafting behind closed doors. CNET News has obtained a copy of the 55-page draft of S.773 (excerpt), which still appears to permit the president to seize temporary control of private-sector networks during a so-called cybersecurity emergency. The new version would allow the president to 'declare a cybersecurity emergency' relating to 'non-governmental' computer networks and do what's necessary to respond to the threat."
Bill would give president emergency control of Internet
CNet News, 28 August 2009
"The Home Office is unlikely to respond to an invitation to see how a UK identity card was cracked and cloned. A Home Office spokesman confirmed it had received an offer from Adam Laurie, an expert in radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, to demonstrate how he cloned a government-issued ID card with little more than a mobile phone and a laptop. The spokesman said the Home Office was developing an industry-wide approach to implementation and security issues associated with the card and could not respond to individual matters. He could not give details of how or when such an approach would be made.....Laurie told Computer Weekly that he was waiting for the Home Office to respond to his offer to disclose how he did it. He said it was normal among security researchers to give suppliers a chance to fix security breaches in their systems before taking the matter further. Laurie said he had been interested in security weaknesses with respect to the RFID technology used in the UK's e-Passports. He had wondered if there were similar weaknesses in the ID card, which is now being issued to foreign nationals. 'It turns out there are,' he said. Laurie corrected one aspect of earlier reports that he had changed and added information to the original card. 'What I did was use the information on the card as a template for a new card that I wrote my own data to,' he said. That data included a digitised picture of himself, his digitised fingerprints, and a message that read, 'I am a terrorist - shoot me on sight.' 'That data was read and accepted by the Golden Reader tool, which is the same reader used at border control to read the passports, and presumably by the readers that the Home Office has still to issue,' said Laurie. The Golden Reader tool was developed by secunet Security Networks AG for the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI). It is a piece of software designed to read passports securely. It supports extensive cryptographic methods and has been used widely to test the interoperability of ID systems. A German researcher, Lukas Grunwald, demonstrated at the 2006 Black Hat security conference how he used Golden Reader to clone an ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) e-Passport of the type issued in Britain."
Home Office unlikely to accept ID card cloner's offer of demonstration
Computer Weekly, 19 August 2009
"Twenty years ago today the world witnessed the power of the crowd. Hungary’s reformist communist Government permitted the pan-European picnic near the city of Sopron, on the border with Austria, as a symbol of its commitment to a united Europe. The border was to be opened so that about 100 dignitaries and officially approved picnickers could cross freely back and forth. But Hungary was crowded with thousands of East Germans desperate to escape to the West. Many camped near the site of the picnic, waiting for the crucial moment. When the border was opened at three o’clock they surged forward. The guards did not open fire. They stepped back and allowed the East Germans to break through. This, not the opening of the Berlin Wall in November, was the tipping point. August 19, 1989, accelerated a chain of events that brought down communism and the Soviet Union itself. Such is the power of the crowd. After 1989 Big Brother was no longer welcome in Budapest, Prague or Warsaw — he moved to London to be ever more warmly embraced by successive Labour administrations. The birthplace of political liberties, the home of the Magna Carta, is now one of the most intrusive democracies in the world. Labour governments have introduced surveillance and monitoring systems of which the communists could only dream. Of course, Britain is not a real police state. But it is certainly sliding further into authoritarianism.....supine citizens allow local and national government to intrude ever further into their daily lives, logging, tracking and recording everything from household waste disposal to mobile telephone use. These small changes seem to herald a more dramatic constitutional shift: the rewriting of the social contract under which citizens are apparently regarded not as active participants in society, but, at best as irritants to be monitored, and at worst as potential criminals to be pre-emptively arrested, just as George Orwell predicted in Nineteen Eighty-Four....When the communists [in Hungary] took over a town, for example, they did not appoint the mayor, but a deputy, to work behind the scenes and stealthily take control of the police and municipal administration. In my more cynical moments I imagine Labour ministers following a similar methodology. They would never say openly: 'We intend to criminalise public protest; to grant sweeping blanket powers of arrest to the police and change the very foundation of law, making citizens prove their innocence, rather than have the police and judiciary prove their guilt while demonstrating.'....changes are introduced stealthily, rarely debated by Parliament and are nodded through with the acquiescence of the Opposition, in the name of that useful catch-all 'security'. Whether by design or not, that seems to me to be happening.
Adam LeBor - Freedom is now flowing from West to East
London Times, 19 August 2009
"The extent of snooping in modern Britain is shocking. The scale of the state's prying was buried in the back of the annual report (pdf) from the interception of communications commissioner, Sir Paul Kennedy, one of a flurry of reports released by the government just before MPs broke for the summer recess. The report revealed that 504,073 requests for communication data were made by public bodies last year – a staggering 1,381 a day – one request for every minute of last year. Most of these requests were made by the police and security services. Many will be justified and proportionate. The sheer number of requests, however, is shocking. When requests first hit the half million mark in 2007, it was suggested that this was just part of the bedding-down process. In fact, surveillance seems to have settled at this level, 44% higher than the more modest numbers of 2006. Surveillance has soared even though the assessment of the terrorist threat has eased. State-sanctioned spying on one in every 78 adults every year cannot be a proportionate response to our problems. Neither the Home Office nor the commissioner have presented figures showing how useful such interceptions were in securing convictions, but we know that wholesale local authority use of physical snooping powers is often ineffective as well as intrusive. Only 9% of such surveillance helps with convictions. The argument in favour of such intrusion is always that those who have nothing to fear have nothing to hide, but that was also the argument that used to be made by the KGB in the Soviet Union to justify the recording of internal movements at every hour of the day and night. Free citizens should not have to justify themselves to their state, for it is the state that should serve the citizen. Privacy is a right in any civilised society. We have sleepwalked into a surveillance state without serious debate and without adequate safeguards. The government's infatuation with social control shows that it has misunderstood the lessons of George Orwell's 1984, which was a warning, and not a blueprint. We are not yet living under the Stasi, but we are living in a country whose proud liberal history is under threat. The requests for communications data were made under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. These 'Ripa' powers allowed the public bodies granted them the ability to authorise themselves to access 'communications data', details of when you sent or received an email or text or made a phone call, and to whom. The government promised when introducing them that these substantial powers would only be used to tackle terrorism and other serious crime. In reality, however, Ripa powers of physical surveillance have been used to spy on ordinary people for trivial offences, such as dog-fouling, over-filling their bins or lying about their children's school catchment area. It is the nature of bureaucratic creep: powers for one purpose prove handy for another. We can assume the same has happened with intercept. Originally, only nine organisations were authorised under Ripa powers, such as the police and the security services but now over 800 are, including all councils....The Liberal Democrats want better checks and balances. Leaving the power of issuing warrants for intercept communications with the home secretary, who is also in charge of the police, is like asking the fox to guard the henhouse. We must review the power to issue these warrants, restricting their use to serious crime or introducing extra checks by independent magistrates. The Conservatives, unbelievably, want to relax the rules governing the use of these powers for the police and the security services. The Labour-Tory consensus lives. Only the Liberal Democrats now stand four square against the surveillance state."
Chris Hune - Fighting the surveillance state
Guardian, Comment Is Free, 11 August 2009
"Britain has one and a half times as many surveillance cameras as communist , despite having a fraction of its population, shocking figures revealed yesterday. There are 4.2million closed circuit TV cameras here, one per every 14 people. But in police state China, which has a population of 1.3billion, there are just 2.75million cameras, the equivalent of one for every 472,000 of its citizens. from pressure group Privacy International said the astonishing statistic highlighted Britain's 'worrying obsession' with surveillance. 'Britain has established itself as the model state that the Chinese authorities would love to have,' he said. 'As far as surveillance goes, Britain has created the blueprint for the 21st century  non-democratic regime. 'It was not intended but it has certainly been the consequence.' It is estimated that Britain has 20 per cent of cameras globally and that each person in the country is caught on camera an average of 300 times daily."
Revealed: Big Brother Britain has more CCTV cameras  than China
Daily Mail, 11 August 2009

"A proposal to allow Cheltenham listening post GCHQ to monitor any email, phone call or website visit of people in the UK has been condemned by internet firms. The London Internet Exchange, which represents more than 330 companies, including BT, Virgin and Carphone Warehouse, says the Government's surveillance proposals are an 'unwarranted' invasion of people's privacy. The £2 billion project, pioneered by former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, would allow the Benhall-based intelligence headquarters access to the records of internet providers in an effort to maintain its defences against terrorism. The firms will be asked to collect and store vast amounts of data, including from social networking sites such as Facebook, although intelligence workers will not be able to view the actual content of emails and phone calls. But the companies, who would have to co-operate with ministers for the scheme to be implemented, say the Government has misled the public about the extent to which it plans to monitor internet activity. A private submission from the London Internet Exchange to the Home Office said: 'We view the description of the Government's proposals as maintaining the capability as disingenuous – the volume of data the Government now proposes we should collect and retain will be unprecedented.'This is a purely political description that serves only to win consent by hiding the extent of the proposed extension of powers for the state.' The criticism is the latest blow to the scheme. Ms Smith was forced to abandon plans for a giant database of internet records in April following privacy concerns. She tried to salvage the project by announcing £2 billion of public money would instead be spent on helping internet providers to retain information for up to 12 months. But the London Internet Exchange said the proposals were unworkable. It said: 'We aren't aware of any existing equipment (an internet firm) could purchase that would enable it to acquire and retain such a wide range of data.'In some common cases it would be impossible in principle to obtain the information sought. A spokesman for GCHQ said: 'The Home Office has consulted publicly on its proposals. 'It recognises that this is a complex and sensitive subject with a fine balance to be made between protecting public safety and civil liberties. 'GCHQ is providing technical advice and support to the Home Office and has no plans to monitor all internet use and phone calls in Britain.'"
Internet firms condemn plans for GCHQ email access
This Is Gloucestershire, 4 August 2009

"Last year Gordon Brown proposed limited use of intercept evidence, gathered by intelligence agencies, in the courts.... Sir Paul Kennedy, the Interception of Communications Commissioner, who inspects intelligence and law enforcement agencies to ensure that intercept operations conform to the terms of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act...recommended in his annual report that the Wilson doctrine — a 1966 ruling that MPs should never be subject to telephone bugging — should be abandoned. 'Why should MPs not be in the same position as everyone else?' Sir Paul said....many senior police and intelligence officials have serious concerns that disclosure of intercept material will benefit criminal and terrorist organisations by exposing human sources and revealing the sophisticated technology that they use in covert surveillance....Last year Downing Street asked Sir John Chilcot, who will chair the inquiry into the Iraq war, to examine the issues and he devised conditions under which intercept evidence might be introduced. Mr Brown said that it should be possible to find a way to use some intercept material as evidence, but added that key conditions on safeguarding national security would have to be met. Sir Paul said in his report that those conditions — which include agencies such as MI5 retaining control over the intercepted material — could not be met....In another report published yesterday, the Chief Surveillance Commissioner complained that senior police officers and public officials with powers to authorise covert surveillance did not understand their powers and were unwilling to be trained. Sir Christopher Rose said that he had been disturbed that one police force that was recommended to have training in the operation of surveillance legislation had asked for a two-day course instead of the required five days."
Gordon Brown's plans to use phone tapping evidence in court thrown into chaos
London Times, 22 July 2009
"A police force has suspended searches of people under controversial anti-terror laws after figures exposed the futility of the legislation. Hampshire Police conducted 3,481 stop and searches under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act in 2007/8 – but arrested no one in connection with terror. The statistics marked a huge increase on 2004/5, when the force carried out 275 stop and searches under Section 44, and a large jump from 2006/7 when there were 580. They are in sharp contrast to the similarsized neighbouring force, Thames Valley, which used the stop and search powers 244 times in 2007/08, making 40 arrests unconnected to terrorism. The decision to stop implementing the anti-terror laws was welcomed by civil liberties campaigners. Last month Lord Carlile, the independent reviewer of terror laws, accused police of making unjustified and ‘almost certainly’ illegal searches of white people to provide ‘racial balance’ to Government figures. In remarks which deepened the controversy surrounding the powers, Lord Carlile said he knew of cases where suspects were stopped by officers even though there was no evidence against them. Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 gives police the right to stop and search anyone in a defined area without having grounds of ‘reasonable suspicion’."
Police force calls time on stop and search - after using power 3,400 times but failing to make single terror arrest
Daily Mail, 16 July 2009
"CCTV, RFID tags and GPS-enabled phones are among the technologies that can be used to keep track of your movements. The furore around the Chinese government’s Green Dam software has raised the issue of the way modern technology is used to monitor our daily lives. Here, we list seven of the technologies that can be used to keep track of your movements....Radio frequency identification chips are already widely used in supermarkets and shops for the purpose of stock control, but some people fear their use could be widened to monitor the habits and behaviour of ordinary citizens. At the moment, these tags, which are little bigger than a grain of sand, are embedded into pints of milk and library books. When paired with an RFID reader, the tags can help to provide detailed information about items, such as their location, or how many there are. Although most people are happy for RFID tags to be used in stores to monitor stock levels, they’re less happy about the idea of the chips still sending out a signal once they leave the shop. On a benign level, such tracking capabilities would mean a store would know that people in Hertfordshire prefer blue cashmere jumpers, while those in Aberdeen favour the brown versions. But on a more sinister level, it could also enable them to glean an unprecedented insight into our personal lives, and target their brands to us accordingly. To those people who fear a 'surveillance culture', the ability to tag and track everything from our food to our clothes would be the next step on an already slippery slope.... It now appears that some of the technology the Iranian authorities have been using to listen in on phone calls made on fixed-line phones and mobile handsets was sold to the government by Nokia Siemens, a joint venture between the Finnish phone maker and the German technology giant. Nokia Siemens said it believed the product was being used by the government to monitor calls, but some experts have speculated that it could also be used for a practice known as 'deep packet inspection' – a process that enables agencies to block communications, as well as monitor the nature of conversations and even covertly alter this for the purpose of propaganda and disinformation. Nokia Siemens, rocked by this association with a repressive regime, have pointed out that Iran is not the only country using its monitoring technology – many Western governments, including the UK and US, apparently use it for 'lawful intercepts'... Gunwharf Quays shopping centre in Portsmouth shot to fame last year when it was revealed that surveillance software was monitoring the signals given off by shoppers’ mobile phones to track their movements. The technology allowed researchers to tell when someone entered the shopping centre, what stores they visited, how long they spent in each one, and what time they left. It could even tell what route they took, and the country they were visiting from."
Big brother is watching: The technologies that keep track of you
Daily Telegraph, 2 July 2009
"A secret NSA surveillance database containing millions of intercepted foreign and domestic e-mails includes the personal correspondence of former President Bill Clinton, according to the New York Times. An NSA intelligence analyst was apparently investigated after accessing Clinton’s personal correspondence in the database, the paper reports, though it didn’t say how many of Clinton’s e-mails were captured or when the interception occurred. The database, codenamed Pinwale, allows NSA analysts to search through and read large volumes of e-mail messages, including correspondence to and from Americans.  Pinwale is likely the end point for data sucked from internet backbones into NSA-run surveillance rooms at AT&T facilities around the country. Those rooms were set up by the Bush administration following 9/11, and were finally legalized last year when Congress passed the FISA Amendments Act. The law gives the telecoms immunity for cooperating with the administration; it also opens the way for the NSA to lawfully spy on large groups of phone numbers and e-mail addresses in bulk, instead of having to obtain a warrant for each target. The NSA can collect the correspondence of Americans with a court order, or without one if the interception occurs incidentally while the agency is targeting people 'reasonably believed' to be overseas. But in 2005, the agency 'routinely examined large volumes of Americans’ e-mail messages without court warrants,' according to the Times, through this loophole. The paper reports today that the NSA is continuing to over-collect e-mail because of difficulties in filtering and distinguishing between foreign and domestic correspondence. If an American’s correspondence pops up in search results when analysts sift through the database, the analyst is allowed to read it, provided such messages account for no more than 30 percent of a search result, the paper reported. The NSA has claimed that the over-collection was inadvertent and corrected it each time the problem was discovered. But Rep. Rush Holt (D-New Jersey), chairman of the House Select Intelligence Oversight Panel, disputed this. 'Some actions are so flagrant that they can’t be accidental,' he told the Times."
NSA Secret Database Ensnared President Clinton’s Private E-mail
Wired, 17 June 2009

"All internet and phone traffic should be recorded to help the fight against terrorism, according to one of the UK's former spy chiefs. Civil rights campaigners have criticised ministers' plans to log details of such contact as 'Orwellian'. But Sir David Pepper, who ran the GCHQ listening centre for five years, told the BBC lives would be at risk if the state could not track communication. Agencies faced 'enormous pressure' to keep up with technology, he said. 'It's a constant arms race, if you like. As more technology, different technology becomes available, the balance will shift constantly.' The work of GCHQ, which provides intelligence on foreign and domestic threats, is so secretive that until the 1980s the government refused to discuss its existence....Last year, then Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announced plans for a database to record details of the times and dates of messages and phone calls but said the content of conversations would not be kept. She said such data was used as 'important evidence in 95% of serious crime cases' and in almost all security service operations....Details of the times, dates, duration and locations of mobile phone calls, numbers called, website visited and addresses e-mailed are already stored by telecoms companies for 12 months under a voluntary agreement. However, the Liberal Democrats said the government's plans were 'incompatible with a free country and a free people'. In February, the Lords constitution committee said electronic surveillance and collection of personal data had become 'pervasive' in British society. Its members said the situation threatened to undermine democracy."
UK 'must log' phone and web use
BBC Online, 7 June 2009

"The use of closed-circuit television in city and town centres and public housing estates does not have a significant effect on crime, according to Home Office-funded research to be distributed to all police forces in England and Wales this summer. The review of 44 research studies on CCTV schemes by the Campbell Collaboration found that they do have a modest impact on crime overall but are at their most effective in cutting vehicle crime in car parks, especially when used alongside improved lighting and the introduction of security guards. The authors, who include Cambridge University criminologist, David Farrington, say while their results lend support for the continued use of CCTV, schemes should be far more narrowly targeted at reducing vehicle crime in car parks. Results from a 2007 study in Cambridge which looked at the impact of 30 cameras in the city centre showed that they had no effect on crime but led to an increase in the reporting of assault, robbery and other violent crimes to the police. Home Office ministers cited the review last week in their official response to the critical report from the House of Lords constitution committee on surveillance published earlier this year. The peers warned that the steady expansion of the 'surveillance society', including the spread of CCTV, risked undermining fundamental freedoms, including the right to privacy....The Campbell Collaboration report says that CCTV is now the single most heavily-funded crime prevention measure operating outside the criminal justice system and its rapid growth has come with a huge price tag. It adds that £170m was spent on CCTV schemes in town and city centres, car parks and residential areas between 1999 and 2001 alone. "Over the last decade, CCTV accounted for more than threequarters of total spending on crime prevention by the British Home Office,' the report says. The Lords report said that £500 million was spent in Britain on CCTV in the decade up to 2006, money which in the past would have gone on street lighting or neighbourhood crime prevention initiatives."
CCTV schemes in city and town centres have little effect on crime, says report
Guardian, 18 May 2009

".... passports from 2011 will have the same things as ID cards. They'll have a chip containing a facial picture, and also a fingerprint. Now the computer system has to be upgraded because apparently it's out of date. And most of that money is going to be spent on that. ID cards only represents just over a billion pounds of the overall cost... [The Tories] can certainly scrap the little plastic card which calls itself a British ID card. However, what they can't scrap is the database because that's going to used to store details of people who have got passports, to keep passports secure. And effectively if you wait ten years after 2011 you will have 80% of the population with their details on a database - whatever you call it - and stored in the same way that you would have with ID cards."
Rory Maclean - Reporter
BBC Radio 4 Today Programme, 6 May 2009 - 06:32 am
"Spy chiefs are pressing ahead with secret plans to monitor all internet use and telephone calls in Britain despite an announcement by Jacqui Smith, the home secretary, of a ministerial climbdown over public surveillance. GCHQ, the government’s eavesdropping centre, is developing classified technology to intercept and monitor all e-mails, website visits and social networking sessions in Britain. The agency will also be able to track telephone calls made over the internet, as well as all phone calls to land lines and mobiles.....The £1 billion snooping project — called Mastering the Internet (MTI) — will rely on thousands of 'black box' probes being covertly inserted across online infrastructure. Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, said Smith’s announcement appeared to be a 'smokescreen'. 'We opposed the big brother database because it gave the state direct access to everybody’s communications. But this network of black boxes achieves the same thing via the back door,' Chakrabarti said. Informed sources have revealed that a £200m contract has been awarded to Lockheed Martin, the American defence giant. A second contract has been given to Detica, the British IT firm which has close ties to the intelligence agencies..... An industry insider, who has been briefed on GCHQ’s plans, said he could not discuss the programme because he had signed the Official Secrets Act. However, he admitted that the project would mark a step change in the agency’s powers of surveillance. At the moment the agency is able to use probes to monitor the content of calls and e-mails sent by specific individuals who are the subject of police or security service investigations. Every interception must be authorised by a warrant signed by the home secretary or a minister of equivalent rank. The new GCHQ internet-monitoring network will shift the focus of the surveillance state away from a few hundred targeted people to everyone in the UK.... Ministers have said they do not intend to snoop on the actual content of e-mails or telephone calls. The monitoring will instead focus on who an individual is communicating with or which websites and chat rooms they are visiting.....GCHQ said it did not want to discuss how the data it gathered would be used."
Jacqui Smith's secret plan to carry on snooping
Sunday Times, 3 May 2009
"Police who arrested the Conservative frontbencher Damian Green trawled his private e-mails looking for information on Britain’s leading civil liberties campaigner. Officers from Scotland Yard’s antiterror squad searched the computer seized from his parliamentary office using the key words 'Shami Chakrabarti' – even though the Liberty director had nothing to do with the leaking of Home Office documents that prompted the investigation. In an interview with The Times, Mr Green warned that his arrest and the raids on his Commons office and homes smacked of a 'police state'.... Mr Green said serious questions remained about the handling of the case by the police and the Government. 'This was the first time since we became a democracy that an opposition MP had been arrested for political work,' he said. 'Arresting opposition politicians is something you associate with police states. We should be very vigilant that we don’t take steps towards that and this was quite a significant step towards it.' Mr Green said he found it surprising that the police had not informed the Home Secretary that they were about to arrest a Shadow frontbencher. 'I have spoken to former senior ministers of both parties and everyone says, ‘Of course we would have been told’ ' he said."
Shami Chakrabarti was target in police search
London Times, 18 April 2009
"A fortnight ago, I received an unexpected seasonal greeting via email. 'Chag Sameach, Hilary,' it read - to translate, that's Hebrew for 'Happy holiday'. Last week saw the start of the Jewish festival of Passover. How kind, I thought, at first. But this was no ordinary greeting. It didn't come from a friend, relative or even a colleague. It came from Ocado, the delivery partner of Waitrose. And, rather than being a thoughtful gesture, it was actually an invitation to spend my hard-earned cash on Passover groceries. Call me paranoid, but this direct - and ethnic - marketing ploy made me feel slightly uneasy. How on earth, I wondered, did Ocado know I was Jewish? After racking my brains, I decided that Ocado could only have concluded I was Jewish because I have occasionally bought fried gefilte fish balls, a Jewish delicacy, as part of my monthly shop. Now, you don't have to be Jewish to enjoy fishballs, but it helps. My non-Jewish husband finds them repellent. Though I'm not a practising Jew, I am proud of my identity and have no wish to conceal it. Yet, it concerns me that a shop should mark me out as Jewish because I occasionally enjoy Jewish food. Had I bought a curry, would Ocado assume I was Indian and send me 'Happy Diwali' greetings? And what else could they have concluded about me, by recording what I buy? Does the supermarket think that because I like Jewish food I must fit other racial stereotypes? Will it only be a matter of time before it sends me special offers on Woody Allen DVDs and self-help books? As the grandchild of German Jews persecuted by the Nazis and forced to wear yellow stars before they fled to safety in Britain, being listed on any database as a Jew doesn't sit comfortably with me. What if this information were to fall into the hands of nationalists or extremists? Or what if a future government decided that people who eat fishballs are undesirables? You might think I'm over-reacting, but supermarket ethnic profiling has reportedly been used by the authorities to mark out individuals for observation. Following the September 11 attacks, U.S. federal agents were said to have reviewed the shopping records of the terrorists involved to create a profile of ethnic tastes and shopping patterns associated with extremism."
Supermarket Big Brother: The spy in your shopping basket... but how DOES Ocado know I'm Jewish?
Daily Mail, 16 April 2009
"Fears that Britain was slipping into a surveillance society were heightened yesterday as Brussels initiated legal action after declaring that UK laws guaranteeing data protection were 'structurally flawed' and well below the European standard. The criticism arose after the European Commission investigated the use of 'behavioural advertising technology' by British internet service providers, which it found was illegal under European — but not British — law. 'I call on the UK authorities to change their national laws and ensure that national authorities are duly empowered and have proper sanctions at their disposal to enforce EU legislation on the confidentiality of communications,' Viviane Reding, the European Commissioner for Information Society and Media, said. A Commission statement yesterday said that Brussels had sent several letters to the British authorities since last July asking why the Government had not taken action against BT after the company used Phorm technology — a covert method of targeting advertising based on user browsing habits — to secretly monitor the internet activity of 30,000 broadband customers in trials between 2006 and 2007....Richard Thomas, the Information Commissioner, does not have any power to enforce the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, which governs interception, and the Office of the Surveillance Commissioners can only investigate interceptions by public authorities. In February Mr Thomas told The Times that his office required more powers to investigate private companies suspected of data breaches. He also criticised the Government for introducing a series of laws that risked 'hard-wiring surveillance' into the British way of life. The Government has two months to respond to the 'infringement proceedings' — the first stage of a legal process that could end up in the European Court of Justice for an alleged breach of the EU Data Protection Directive. Despite complaints from those affected by the trials, and privacy campaigners, the Government took no action against BT or Phorm. City of London Police dropped its investigation last year, saying the scheme was legal as customers had 'implicitly consented' to be monitored."
Britain in the dock over secret tracking of internet accounts
London Times, 15 April 2009
"If the Conservatives win the next General Election and cancel ID Cards, there will be little in effect to cancel. The IT infrastructure for passports is being combined with that of ID Cards. So the £650m worth of contracts which were awarded this week to CSC and IBM for new ID Cards and passports IT will remain largely intact....The Treasury requires that the Identity and Passport Service is self-funded. But it's not possible yet to split the costs of the infrastructure between ID Cards and passports. So ID Card costs will be mixed into passport fee increases. Already passports cost up to £114 - and officials don't deny that we're heading towards the £200 passport."
Heading for the £200 passport to help pay for ID Cards?
ComputerWeekly (Blog), 8 April 2009
"Internet service providers (ISPs) are required to store details of user e-mails and net phone calls from Monday as a European Union directive comes into force. Governments say it will protect citizens but civil liberty campaigners are not so sure. To whom did you send your first e-mail today? I ask, because from today ISPs inside the EU are legally required to store details of that e-mail for up to a year. And the same goes for any internet phone call you make or website you visit. This so-called communications data is now being held on the ISPs' servers just in case the authorities want to come and look at it. Many ISPs have actually been holding on to this kind of data as a matter of course - to help defeat spam, to monitor and manage their own networks and because governments have asked them to do so voluntarily. The difference now is that it is a legal requirement. To be clear, the contents of the e-mails are not logged, nor are the contents of any net phone calls. This is about connections between people and organisations. Governments believe that they can look for patterns in these relationships that would help them flag potentially dangerous individuals or organisations....'Technology makes it very easy to collect, store and process data,' said Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group. 'The problem is there is a growing temptation from the security services and police to say we want more, we want to do more and keep more of our data.' He said the problem with traffic pattern analysis was that we became 'judged on our past mistakes'. 'There is a basic risk we become a mere data trail - that rather than being able to exercise choice we become who we are based on our history.' Mr Killock said the legislation could also have the opposite effect to the one intended by governments. 'People who really do want to do obnoxious things will simply hide themselves away - using encryption techniques and anonymisers. 'It will make it harder for the security services that actually monitor the people they think are a risk."
Campaigners warn of user data creep
BBC Online, 6 April 2009
"Millions of us are unwittingly signing away our rights to privacy when we upgrade to flashy new mobile phones, warn campaigners. The latest handsets are so advanced they can reveal the location of the owner to within a few yards - along with their internet shopping habits, their interests and the names and addresses of their friends. Although phone providers are not supposed to pass on this 'Big Brother' data without permission, a 'worryingly large number' of people give consent for the information to be sold to marketing companies, campaigners say. Simon Davies, of human rights group Privacy International, said the danger came when customers signed up to contracts or downloaded new mobile phone applications without reading the small print. One of the most potentially intrusive applications is Google Latitude, which lets mobile phone owners 'share' their location with anyone in the world. Mr Davies added that the risks of such snooping software on these 'smart phones' were far more sinister than Google's controversial-Street View service. 'People are giving consent for mobile phone companies to pass on this information without realising the consequences,' he said. 'Ninety per cent are mesmerised by the shiny new phone and don't understand the implications of signing away rights they would normally have under the Data Protection Act. 'People should care because this sort of information can be passed to a third party such as a credit provider or a credit reference company. It provides an enormous database that could be cherry-picked by the Government or police. 'It provides a remarkable insight into who you are, what you do, who you know and where you have been. Unless regulators get to grip with this we are all doomed.' Records of website visits, messages, phone calls and even real-life locations visited can be stored by a mobile phone company. Although each application is relatively harmless on its own, combining data from several is potentially lucrative. Glyn Read, a former marketing director of SAS Institute, a leading behavioural analysis company, said the ‘real worry’ would come when governments start to demand access to the data.‘What is going on at the moment is the opening of a barn door in your personal habits,’ he told the Guardian. ‘The value of understanding people's personal information is enormous - this will allow a form of subliminal advertising.'...Neil Andrew, head of portal advertising for the mobile phone company 3, said his company would only pass on information with the consent of a customer. But he conceded: ‘Mobile is the key to understanding where a person is and what they have been browsing.’"
'Privacy risk' of new mobiles that give away location and stored details to marketing firms
Daily Mail, 3 April 2009
"Should President Obama have the power to shut down domestic Internet traffic during a state of emergency? Senators John Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) think so. On Wednesday they introduced a bill to establish the Office of the National Cybersecurity Advisor—an arm of the executive branch that would have vast power to monitor and control Internet traffic to protect against threats to critical cyber infrastructure. That broad power is rattling some civil libertarians. The Cybersecurity Act of 2009 (PDF) gives the president the ability to 'declare a cybersecurity emergency' and shut down or limit Internet traffic in any 'critical' information network 'in the interest of national security.' The bill does not define a critical information network or a cybersecurity emergency. That definition would be left to the president. The bill does not only add to the power of the president. It also grants the Secretary of Commerce 'access to all relevant data concerning [critical] networks without regard to any provision of law, regulation, rule, or policy restricting such access.' This means he or she can monitor or access any data on private or public networks without regard to privacy laws....The cybersecurity threat is real,' says Leslie Harris, head of the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), 'but such a drastic federal intervention in private communications technology and networks could harm both security and privacy.' The bill could undermine the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), says CDT senior counsel Greg Nojeim. That law, enacted in the mid '80s, requires law enforcement seek a warrant before tapping in to data transmissions between computers. 'It's an incredibly broad authority,' Nojeim says, pointing out that existing privacy laws 'could fall to this authority.' Jennifer Granick, civil liberties director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, says that granting such power to the Commerce secretary could actually cause networks to be less safe. When one person can access all information on a network, 'it makes it more vulnerable to intruders,' Granick says. 'You've basically established a path for the bad guys to skip down.'"
Should Obama Control the Internet?
Mother Jones, 2 April 2009
"Drivers face having their every move tracked by a 'spy in the car' black box. The system will constantly check a vehicle's speed - making cameras redundant - and allow for pay-as-you-go tolls. The £36million EU project is partly funded by the UK Government and backed by car makers and the telecoms industry. It will be unveiled later this year with a view to its integration into future cars. Manufacturers suggest this could be as early as 2013. Vehicles fitted with the system will emit a constant 'heartbeat' pulse revealing their location, speed and direction of travel. EU officials believe the technology will significantly reduce road accidents, congestion and carbon emissions. But civil liberties campaigners say it will have profound implications for privacy by creating a Europe-wide system of Big Brother surveillance. The European Commission has already   asked governments to reserve a radio frequency for the system to operate on. Engineers say the system will be able to track cars to within a yard, making it significantly more accurate than existing satellite navigation technology....The Department for Transport said there were no plans to make the system mandatory in new cars. Its introduction will be on a voluntary basis, according to Paul Kompfner, manager of the Cooperative-Vehicle-Infrastructure Systems project....Simon Davies, of Privacy International, a watchdog, said: 'If you correlate car tracking data with mobile phone data, which can also track people, there is the potential for an almost infallible surveillance system.'"
The black box that tracks every mile you drive and will make speed cameras obsolete
Daily Mail, 1 April 2009
"Privacy campaigners expressed alarm today over government plans to monitor all conversations on social networking sites in an attempt to crackdown on terror. A Home Office spokesman said that the internet eavesdropping plan, which would be set out in the next few weeks, would cover any social network that allows people to chat to one another, including Facebook, MySpace, Bebo and Twitter as well as internet calls on Skype. He said the proposal would update existing plans to store information about every telephone call, email, and internet visit made by anyone in the UK on a central database. 'We have no way of knowing whether Osama bin Laden is chatting to Abu Hamza on Facebook. Or terrorists could be having a four-way chat on Skype,' he said. He said the government was not interested in the contents of the communication: 'What we want to monitor is that so-and-so is logged on to that site and spoke to so-and-so. It's the who, when and where, not the content.' But he conceded that in 'high-profile cases' the police would want to examine the contents of social network chatter. 'The security service would want the ability to capture information that could lead to conviction,' he said. Under the new proposals, the sites that host social networks could be required to hold data about who users correspond with for up to a year....Privacy campaigners criticised the plan, saying it would be another unwieldy, costly and unnecessary failure. Shami Chakrabarti, director of human rights group Liberty, said: 'The widescale use of social networking websites highlights the enormity of government ambitions for a centralised communications database for the surveillance of the entire population … Technological development is used as an excuse for centralised snooping of a kind that ought never to be acceptable in the oldest unbroken democracy on earth.'"
Home Office defends plan to monitor social network conversations
Guardian, 25 March 2009

"Not happy with pushing the EU Data Retention Directive which would make ISPs store communication data for 12 months Vernon Coaker, the U.K. Home Office security minister, now wants all social networking sites and IM messaging service monitored as well. The Interception Monderisation Programme (IMP) is the government proposal for legislation to use mass monitoring of traffic data as an antiterrorism tool. The IMP has two objectives; that the government use deep packet inspection to monitor the Web communications of all U.K. citizens; and that all of the traffic data relating to those communications are stored in a centralized government database. The problem is that social networking sites aren’t covered by the directive. There is some opposition to this move but given the country’s predilection to treating everyone as a subject of surveillance it is hard to see this not happening."
The U.K. wants your Twitter chatter under surveillance
The Inquisitr, 19 March 2009

"From time to time, when low in spirits, I find solace in websites on 'How to Disappear'. It is not an urge to deceive loved ones and insurance companies like the appalling canoe man, but merely to toy with the idea of slipping below the official radar. Imagine walking cheerfully through the world: harmless and innocent, untraceable, unlisted, unfollowed, private. The guides make it clear how hard this is. It is not only CCTV and biometric passports that betray our whereabouts but also banking, bills, phones, cars, laptops (how ironic , just as you completed your escape, to be outed by web records showing you surfing for advice on how often to throw your prepay phone in the river). As technology moves on, not only fingerprinting but facial scanning may betray you, and if - while remembering your gloves and refraining from sneezing your DNA - you take your sunglasses off to see the cash machine screen on your secret bank account, then iris-recognition technology will get you, snap! Oh yes, we have all watched Spooks. Well, it is a pleasantly paranoiac way to pass a depressed half-hour, and there is a thrill in switching off the mobile, taking the bus to somewhere without CCTV and paying cash for your tea. You and your innocence can spend an afternoon alone together, unseen by officialdom. There is something fundamentally unnerving about being watched. After the fall of Ceausescu, our Romanian friends said that one of the worst things under his regime was not lousy housing, shortages or even fear of arrest but that 'They knew everything, they knew where you went'....'But,' splutters government when we jib at this, 'it's for your own good! We're protecting you!'. The same tone of hurt ministerial outrage will be heard more and more as people come to realise exactly what is involved in the vast new 'e-borders' system, currently being set up to track everybody's international travel just because a tiny minority are up to no good. A huge new database near Manchester will hold your personal travel history and mine for up to ten years. A pilot is already running on 'high-risk' routes; by the end of April 100 million will be tracked, by next year all rail, air and ferry travellers; by 2014, everyone. And what will they know? Who you are, where you live, how you paid, your phone and e-mail, where you're going, who's with you, where you plan to stay and when you'll be back. In most cases they want your intentions logged a full day in advance. We may be forced to be 'EU citizens' in a hundred other ways, but there'll be no more casual booze-cruises or spontaneous hops to the Normandy gîte or Frankfurt office; not without telling Nanny. .... [there will be a] a £5,000 fine for not notifying your movements online 24 hours early.... Opposition voices have pointed out the complexity, the cost, the paucity of consultation, the extraordinary power given to the UK Border Agency by statutory instruments without parliamentary scrutiny. Given the cases of councils already using anti-terrorist powers to catch litterbugs and school admissions cheats, there is a real fear that e-borders will be used to trump up tax claims or detect petty infringements like taking your children abroad in the school term. And there is something profoundly dispiriting in the principle of us all being suspects: universal surveillance rather than targeted concentration on known criminals and murderous creeps with terrorist ambitions. All this began when Tony Blair was embarrassed by a question about how many failed asylum seekers were here, and when it became clear that UK immigration control is ludicrously ineffective in an enlarged, porous EU. The depressing thing is that there used to be a reasonable system for knowing who was here - exit checks on passports. These were largely abandoned in 2004 to save money.  Under e-borders, the idea is that the pendulum will swing back until they know everything about everyone. And having so much information, they will become even more confused and give your plans to some cowboy IT contractor, who will leave it on a train seat to be picked up by grateful burglars, blackmailers and gossips.   They'll write in saying this is a caricature. It's not. It's an extrapolation, based on experience."
Libby Purves - E-borders - the new frontier of oppression
London Times, 16 March 2009

"The travel plans and personal details of every holidaymaker, business traveller and day-tripper who leaves Britain are to be tracked by the Government, the Daily Telegraph can disclose. Anyone departing the UK by land, sea or air will have their trip recorded and stored on a database for a decade. Passengers leaving every international sea port, station or airport will have to supply detailed personal information as well as their travel plans.... Even swimmers attempting to cross the Channel and their support teams will be subject to the rules which will require the provision of travellers' personal information such as passport and credit card details, home and email addresses and exact travel plans....By the end of the year 60 per cent of journeys made out of Britain will be affected with 95 per cent of people leaving the country being subject to the plans by the end 2010.... In most cases the information will be expected to be provided 24 hours ahead of travel and will then be stored on a Government database for around ten years. The changes are being brought in as the Government tries to tighten border controls and increase protection against the threat of international terrorism. Currently passports are not checked as a matter of routine when people leave the country....Britain is not the only country to require such information from travel operators. The USA also demands the same information be supplied from passengers wishing to visit America. But the scale of the scheme has alarmed civil liberties campaigners. 'Your travel data is much more sensitive than you might think,' Phil Booth of the privacy group, NO2ID said. 'Given that for obvious reasons we're encouraged not to put our home address on our luggage labels, and especially given the Government's appalling record on looking after our data, it just doesn't seem sensible for it to pass details like this and sensitive financial information around.' 'It is a sad refection of the times that the dream of freedom of movement across Europe has had to take second place to concerns about national security,' said Edmund King, the AA's president.....The changes would mean that Eurostar, Eurotunnel and ferry companies will now have to demand passport details from passengers at the time of booking, along with the credit card information and email address which they would have taken at the time of the reservation."
All travel plans to be tracked by Government
Daily Telegraph, 14 March 2009
"An increasing number of today's schoolchildren are forgoing the humiliating daily name call of registration, and are instead having to 'fingerswipe' in and out of class, or to give it its proper name: biometric registration. According to campaign group LeaveThemKidsAlone, schools have fingerprinted more than two million children this way, sometimes even without their parents' consent. A statement on its website claims: 'It's part of an enormous softening-up exercise, targeting society's most impressionable, so they'll accept cradle-to-grave state snooping and control.' Hard-pressed schools and local councils with tight budgets are being enticed by a new generation of software that promises to cut administration costs and time. In the last 18 months, several Guardian readers have written into the paper expressing concern at this new technology being trialled on their children. Everything from 'cashless catering schemes' to 'kiddyprints' instead of library cards is being introduced by stealth into the nation's schools, it is claimed....The implications are vast – the nation's schools aren't exactly the safest place for the storage of this sensitive data – and anyone with access to the system and a mobile SIM card can download the information from a computer, increasing the chances of identity theft. Unless the computer system is professionally purged, before this data has a chance to be leaked, it can remain in cyberspace for eternity to be retained for all sorts of dubious purposes. It's odd that this drive towards fingerprinting children coincides with the government's keenness to expand the national DNA database – we already have one of the largest in the world – with more than four million people on file, including nearly 1.1 million children. Odd too that VeriCool is reported to be part of Anteon, an American company that is responsible for the training of interrogators at Guantánamo and Abu Gharib. The implications are vast – the nation's schools aren't exactly the safest place for the storage of this sensitive data – and anyone with access to the system and a mobile SIM card can download the information from a computer, increasing the chances of identity theft. Unless the computer system is professionally purged, before this data has a chance to be leaked, it can remain in cyberspace for eternity to be retained for all sorts of dubious purposes. It's odd that this drive towards fingerprinting children coincides with the government's keenness to expand the national DNA database – we already have one of the largest in the world – with more than four million people on file, including nearly 1.1 million children. Odd too that VeriCool is reported to be part of Anteon, an American company that is responsible for the training of interrogators at Guantánamo and Abu Gharib. It seems that in the blink of an eyelid (or iris scan), our children are losing the civil liberties and freedoms we are fighting so hard to preserve."
Why are we fingerprinting children?
Guardian, Comment Is Free, 7 March 2009
"Privacy advocates are issuing warnings about a new radio chip plan that ultimately could provide electronic identification for every adult in the U.S. and allow agents to compile attendance lists at anti-government rallies simply by walking through the assembly. The proposal, which has earned the support of Janet Napolitano, the newly chosen chief of the Department of Homeland Security, would embed radio chips in driver's licenses, or 'enhanced driver's licenses.' 'Enhanced driver's licenses give confidence that the person holding the card is the person who is supposed to be holding the card, and it's less elaborate than REAL ID,' Napolitano said in a Washington Times report. REAL ID is a plan for a federal identification system standardized across the nation that so alarmed governors many states have adopted formal plans to oppose it. However, a privacy advocate today told WND that the EDLs are many times worse....Participants could find themselves on 'watch' lists or their attendance at protests or rallies added to their government 'dossier.' She said even if such license programs are run by states, there's virtually no way that the databases would not be linked and accessible to the federal government. Albrecht said a hint of what is on the agenda was provided recently by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The state's legislature approved a plan banning the government from using any radio chips in any ID documentation. Schwarzenegger's veto noted he did not want to interfere with any coming or future federal programs for identifying people."
Radio chip coming soon to your driver's license?

WorldNetDaily, 28 February 2009
"Fraudulent bankers are more of a danger to society than terrorists and the failure to reassure people that their money is safe is an 'absolute failure of public policy', a former Director of Public Prosecutions says today. Writing in The Times, Sir Ken Macdonald says that the systems for regulating markets and for prosecuting market crime have completely broken down...In his article, Sir Ken lambasts the 'liberty-sapping addictions' of the Home Office and the 'paranoiac paraphernalia of national databases and ID cards'. He also attacks the rush to 'bring in lots of terror law, the tougher the better'. Rather than ensuring that people's money and financial security 'will not be stolen from them', legislators wanted 'criminal justice to be an auction of fake toughness', he says. Sir Ken has previously criticised government plans to extend the time that terrorism suspects could be held without charge beyond 28 days; and, recently, plans for increased surveillance and data retention."
Sir Ken Macdonald rounds on Britain's banking robbers
London Times, 23 February 2009

"A former head of MI5 has accused the government of exploiting the fear of terrorism and trying to bring in laws that restrict civil liberties. In an interview in a Spanish newspaper, published in the Daily Telegraph, Dame Stella Rimington, 73, also accuses the US of 'tortures'....Dame Stella, who stood down as the director general of the security service in 1996, has previously been critical of the government's policies, including its attempts to extend pre-charge detention for terror suspects to 42 days and the controversial plan to introduce ID cards. 'It would be better that the government recognised that there are risks, rather than frightening people in order to be able to pass laws which restrict civil liberties, precisely one of the objects of terrorism - that we live in fear and under a police state,' she told the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia....Dame Stella's comments come as a study is published by the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) that accuses the US and the UK of undermining the framework of international law. Former Irish president Mary Robinson, the president of the ICJ said: "Seven years after 9/11 it is time to take stock and to repeal abusive laws and policies enacted in recent years. 'Human rights and international humanitarian law provide a strong and flexible framework to address terrorist threats.' The BBC's security correspondent Frank Gardner said the ICJ report would probably have more of an impact than Dame Stella's remarks because it was a wide-ranging, three-year study carried out by an eminent group of practising legal experts....Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman Ed Davey said: 'This is damning testament to just how much liberty has been ineffectually sacrificed in the 'war on terror'.' Dame Stella became the first female head of MI5 in 1992."
Ministers 'using fear of terror'
BBC Online, 17 February 2009

"For most of the past century, Britain's secret state bugged, blacklisted and spied on leftists, trade unionists and peace campaigners, as well as Irish republicans and anyone else regarded as a 'subversive' threat to the established order. That was all supposed to have been brought to a halt in the wake of the end of the cold war in the early 1990s. MI5 now boasts it has ended its counter-subversion work altogether, having other jihadist fish to fry (it will have soon doubled its staffing and budget on the back of the 9/11 backlash).Whether those claims should be taken at face value must be open to question. But it now turns out that other arms of the secret state have in any case been stepping up to the plate to fill the gap in the market. The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) insists that its confidential intelligence unit – reported last week to be now coordinating surveillance and infiltration of  'domestic extremists', including anti-war protesters and strikers – is not in fact a new organisation, but has been part of its public order intelligence operations since 1999, liaising with MI5 and its 44 forces' special branch outfits across the country. But yes, Acpo's spokesman tells me, it is in the business of targeting groups such as those involved in the recent Gaza war protests, trade unionists taking part in secondary industrial action and animal rights organisations – though only if they break the law or 'seek to break the law'. Now, that qualification could be used to cover a very wide group of political and industrial activists indeed: including all those students who have been occupying university buildings since the new year in protest at Israel's carnage in the Palestinian territories; all those engineering construction workers who staged mass walkouts at refineries and power stations over the past couple of weeks; and all those who blocked streets – or threw their shoes at police – around the Israeli embassy in London at the height of the Gaza bombardment in January. Add to that the fact that Acpo, and the government as a whole for that matter, bandies around the term 'extremism' without being able to make even a face-saving stab at what it actually means – 'there doesn't seem to be a single, commonly agreed definition', Acpo's spokesman concedes – and you have a recipe for a new lease of life for the harassment and criminalisation of legitimate dissent, protest and industrial action. In case there were any doubt about the kind of thing this intelligence outfit is up to, a recent advertisement for its new boss specified that the unit would be specifically working with government departments, university authorities and private corporations to 'remove the threat' of 'public disorder that arises from domestic extremism' using 'secret data' and 'sensitive source material'. But since Acpo operates as a private company outside the Freedom of Information Act – and the budget and staffing of its confidential intelligence unit are, well, confidential – who's going to hold them to genuine account?"
Seamus Milne - We are all extremists now
Guardian, Comment Is Free, 16 February 2009
"Forget about those old-school spy devices planted under phones and inside vases. For the most covert spy operations, the U.S. government is planning to create cyborg insects with micro-scopic sensors, video surveillance cameras, and global positioning systems to aid the Department of Defense. A 'solicitation notice' from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) explains how HI-MEMS (hybrid insect microelectromechanical systems) will introduce nanoscale electronics in moths and other insects during their early stages of metamorphic development. New tissue growth would accommodate the MEMS implants in later metamorphic stages. The proposal also suggests the use of swimming and hopping insects with embedded microphones for recording conversations and gas sensors for detecting new chemical warfare testing. 'We are currently supporting three research teams at the University of Michigan, MIT, and Boyce Thompson Institute,' says Jan Walker, a DARPA spokesperson. 'The insect species being investigated include large moths and horned beetles.'"
Future Watch: This Room is Bugged
PC Magazine, 10 February 2009
"A ‘Big Brother’ database is being built by the Government to store details of millions of our international journeys for up to ten years. The computer system, housed at a secret location on the outskirts of Manchester, will record names and dates of every movement in and out of the UK by air, sea or rail. Reservation and payment details, addresses and telephone numbers, names of travelling companions and even details of luggage carried will also be stored. Ministers insist the database, part of the Government’s ‘EBorders’ project, is vital to the fight against terrorism, illegal immigration and organised crime. But as details emerged yesterday, opponents warned that the spy system – which will track the 250million journeys in and out of the country each year – amounted to another building block in Britain’s growing surveillance society."
Beware, Big Brother is watching your trips abroad: Government plans to store details of ordinary people's journeys into and out of UK
Mail On Sunday, 8 February 2009
"Billions of times a day, people entrust Google with the details of their lives. Every time you enter 'acne', 'coffin' or 'new car' into the Google search bar, you are telling the Googlebots a tiny part of what you are up to. Many people, I suspect, don't think about this and when they do, they don't care enough to change to a different search engine. The reason is because, by and large, people trust Google not to do anything evil with their anonymised personal information. So far, Google has earned that trust....what worries people is that we have to take it on trust that Google will not use all that personal information in a way we object to in the future."
Sure, the Googlebots know your deepest secrets - but it's worth it
London Times, 6 Febuary 2009

"Electronic surveillance and collection of personal data are 'pervasive' in British society and threaten to undermine democracy, peers have warned. CCTV cameras and the DNA database were two examples of threats to privacy, the Lords constitution committee said. It called for compensation for people subject to illegal surveillance....Civil liberties campaigners have warned about the risks of a 'surveillance society' in which the state acquires ever-greater powers to track people's movements and retain personal data.... According to a 2004 European Commission report, Britain has the highest density of CCTV cameras in Europe. It found 40,000 cameras monitored public areas in 500 British towns and cities, compared to fewer than 100 cameras in 15 German cities and no open street CCTV at all in Denmark.....'The huge rise in surveillance and data collection by the state and other organisations risks undermining the long-standing tradition of privacy and individual freedom which are vital for democracy,' Lord Goodlad added. 'If the public are to trust that information about them is not being improperly used, there should be much more openness about what data is collected, by whom and how it is used.'... Human rights campaigners Liberty welcomed the report. Director Shami Chakrabarti said: 'Liberty's postbag suggests that the House of Lords is more in touch with public concerns that our elected government. 'Over the past seven years we've been told 'nothing to hide, nothing to fear' but a stream of data bungles and abuses of power suggest that even the innocent have a lot to fear."
Warning over 'surveillance state'
BBC Online, 6 February 2009

"New software that allows people to track friends, partners and children has triggered privacy and safety concerns. Google Latitude, launched yesterday by the internet search engine company for use with its Google maps software, allows users to activate tracking software on their mobile phone or wi-fi device. That enables them to appear on home computer maps so their friends and loved ones can see where they are. But the technology has raised concerns that people will be able to spy on their partners from home – and fears that it could potentially place children at risk from paedophiles. Helen Hughes, a family lawyer, said she feared that the device would be used by people to track their partners. 'In abusive relationships there is an element of control. You will see people checking receipts to find out when their partner was at the shops. This could be abused by people seeking to control their spouses.' The software is extremely precise as it uses the Global Positioning System which can calculate a person's location within yards.Dr Andreas Komninos, a computing expert with Glasgow Caledonian University, said the information could possibly be misused in the future. 'Google are always gathering data; the problem is now this information is very personal. A phone number is very specific to an individual,' he said. Google has stated it will not retain any information about users' movements. But Dr Komninos said: 'I would take Google's promise with a pinch of salt. I can foresee a situation in the future where agencies could force the company to store the data, possibly for police or anti-terrorist use.' Dr Komninos has also warned parents to be watchful of their child's use of the new software. 'In theory, it is a possible security risk,' he said."
Fears over Google phone tracking
Scotsman, 5 February 2009
"With Google’s Latitude, parents will be able to swoop down like helicopters on their children, whirr around their heads and chase them away from the games arcade and back to do their French verbs....However Orwellian it sounds, don’t worry. The police and security services can already track you down from your phone without any help from Google..."
Sloping off could soon be a thing of the past
London Times, 5 February 2009
"Privacy critics are panning Google's new Latitude application, which allows users to track friends via GPS on their mobile phones, saying the application could be abused by suspicious partners and paedophiles.... Critics have said the application is a 'privacy minefield' and could be abused by overzealous employers, jealous spouses or paedophiles. Others say it could be misused in the future by police or government organisations to illegally track wanted individuals....Last year Google was signed up by US intelligence agencies to help them better handle and share information gathered about terrorist suspects. According to reports in the San Francisco Chronicle the search giant is working with agencies such as the National Security Agency."
Google's mobile phone tracking service under fire from privacy critics
Brand Republic, 5 February 2009
"Since last autumn, BT – under the 'Webwise' banner – has been trialling a technology called Phorm, which dials direct into your internet service provider's network and intercepts communications between you and the websites you visit, using information about the sorts of things you are viewing to serve you targeted ads....should we tolerate Phorm? Thanks to hard work from campaigners at the Foundation for Information Policy Research and the Open Rights Group, and activists at and, we now have that choice. The Information Commissioner's Office has ruled that BT must ask the explicit permission of its customers to 'opt in' before enrolling them into its Webwise trial (rather than the pernicious 'opt out' clauses so beloved of marketers and junk mail operatives). ....Like the MP, the journalist, the doctor and the priest, ISPs have the power to know the intimate details of our lives. They should be prevented from abusing that power, and shielded from the power of those (like the Home Office, with its widely reported plans to 'modernise' the state's interception capability) who would seek to force them to break their confidence with us. If this does not happen, it is not only the digital economy that will suffer, it is modern liberty itself."
Your ISP is watching you
Guardian, Comment Is Free, 2 February 2009

"It has taken less than 24 hours after the Bush presidency ended for a former analyst at the National Security Agency to come forward to reveal new allegations about how this nation was spied on by its own government, exclusively here on COUNTDOWN. Our third story tonight, Russell Tice has already stood up for truth before this evening as one source for the revelation in 2005 by the 'New York Times' that President Bush was eavesdropping on American citizens without warrants.   Tonight, the next chapter for Mr. Tice, a chapter he feared to reveal while George Bush occupied the Oval Office, that under the collar of fighting terrorism, the Bush administration was also targeting specific groups of Americans for surveillance, non-terrorist Americans if you will.  Mr. Tice prepared to name one of those groups tonight.   The NSA was already estimated to have collected millions of transmissions, e-mails and phone calls of average Americans simply by patching into the networks of cooperative telecommunications companies.  You will recall the infamous room 641A at the AT&T Folsom Street facility in San Francisco, in which the whole of AT&T‘s portion of the Internet was duplicated inside a room accessible only to the NSA.  Mr. Tice, however, was also involved in another program and told us that he was first directed to focus on these specific groups in order to weed them out from legitimate surveillance targets, but ultimately concluded that the weeding out was actually an internal NSA cover story for a real goal, which was simply spying on those Americans.  Initially, Mr. Bush told the nation all his surveillance was legal."
'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Wednesday, 21 January 2009
MSNBC, 22 January 2009

"A leading Chinese dissident who worked as an MI6 informant was convicted yesterday of murdering a millionaire author to steal his identity....Most of the evidence was heard in secret after MI6 requested that the press and public be excluded for almost all of the case. Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, agreed to a Public Interest Immunity certificate, making it the first murder trial covered by a secrecy order on the ground of national security."
MI6 informant Wang Yam found guilty of killing millionaire author to steal his identity
London Times, 17 January 2009

"A secrecy law frequently invoked by the federal government in terrorism cases has been declared unconstitutional by an Ontario Superior Court judge, amid fears a sprawling Toronto conspiracy case risks 'bogging down and becoming unmanageable.' The landmark decision strikes down a portion of the Canada Evidence Act, a controversial law passed by Parliament after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The law effectively directed debates involving government secrecy claims away from open trials and toward specialized hearings in other courts....The invariable effect of the law has been to take secrecy arguments away from main-stage proceedings to a secretive side stage at the Federal Court of Canada, whose judges have specialized national security training and, until now, exclusive jurisdiction of all Canada Evidence Act matters. Judges pondering the overall cases have been forced to await the outcome of protracted Federal Court legal debates to determine what information would be in play."
Ontario judge declares secrecy law unconstitutional
Globe and Mail, 16 January 2009

"A U.S. Foreign Intelligence court released a ruling Thursday upholding the right of the president and Congress to wiretap private international phone conversations and intercept e-mail messages without a court-issued warrant...While the court released the once-secret opinion, Attorney General-designate Eric Holder was answering questions about the legality of the nation’s controversial warrantless surveillance programs during his Senate confirmation hearing. During his time in the Senate, President-elect Barack Obama endorsed the latest version of the current administration’s surveillance policy. That means that Holder now must gingerly evaluate how the warrantless program came about, whether it is working to its fullest extent, whether and to what extent it reaches too far in infringing constitutional privacy rights, and what can be done if it does. On Thursday morning, Holder was clear in telling the Senate Judiciary Committee that he believes the president has power within Article II of the Constitution (like the power to eavesdrop) that the Congress may not take away, writes Cohen."
Federal Court Upholds Wiretap Law
CBS News, 15 January 2009
"Over the past few days, at trade fairs from Las Vegas to Seoul, a constant theme has been the unstoppable advance of 'FRT', the benign abbreviation favoured by industry insiders. We learnt that Apple's iPhoto update will automatically scan your photos to detect people's faces and group them accordingly, and that Lenovo's new PC will log on users by monitoring their facial patterns....So let's understand this: governments and police are planning to implement increasingly accurate surveillance technologies that are unnoticeable, cheap, pervasive, ubiquitous, and searchable in real time. And private businesses, from bars to workplaces, will also operate such systems, whose data trail may well be sold on or leaked to third parties - let's say, insurance companies that have an interest in knowing about your unhealthy lifestyle, or your ex-spouse who wants evidence that you can afford higher maintenance payments. Rather than jump up and down with rage - you never know who is watching through the window - you have a duty now, as a citizen, to question this stealthy rush towards permanent individual surveillance. A Government already obsessed with pursuing an unworkable and unnecessary identity-card database must be held to account."
Let's face it, soon Big Brother will have no trouble recognising you
London Times, 13 January 2009
"Police have been given the power to hack into personal computers without a court warrant. The Home Office is facing anger and the threat of a legal challenge after granting permission. Ministers are also drawing up plans to allow police across the EU to collect information from computers in Britain. The moves will fuel claims that the Government is presiding over a steady extension of the 'surveillance society' threatening personal privacy. Hacking – known as 'remote searching' – has been quietly adopted by police across Britain following the development of technology to access computers' contents at a distance. Police say it is vital for tracking cyber-criminals and paedophiles and is used sparingly but civil liberties groups fear it is about to be vastly expanded. Remote searching can be achieved by sending an email containing a virus to a suspect's computer which then transmits information about email contents and web-browsing habits to a distant surveillance team. Alternatively, 'key-logging' devices can be inserted into a computer that relay details of each key hit by its owner. Detectives can also monitor the contents of a suspect's computer hard-drive via a wireless network. Computer hacking has to be approved by a chief constable, who must be satisfied the action is proportionate to the crime being investigated. Last month European ministers agreed in principle to allow police to carry out remote searches of suspects' computers across the EU."
New powers for police to hack your PC
Independent, 5 January 2009
"Activists in Pennsylvania say they're pressing ahead with a lawsuit to ban touch-screen voting machines in the state's 67 counties. The suit alleges the machines are vulnerable to computer hackers, don't leave a paper trail to verify votes are accurately recorded and don't always work properly, said the League of Women Voters. Joining the league in the suit are the NAACP, Public Interest Law Firm of Philadelphia and incoming state Treasurer Rob McCord of Bucks County, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Monday. The state Supreme Court last week gave the plaintiffs the OK to proceed with the suit against the machines, which already are being used in 50 of the state's counties, the Post-Gazette said."
Activists sue to ban voting touch screens
United Press International, 22 December 2008
"When police raided Tory MP Damian Green’s home, they ‘sheepishly’ asked whether children were present before ransacking it. His wife assumed they were being polite. But, under sinister new guidelines, officers must assess all children they encounter – including while ‘searching premises’ – for a police database called MERLIN. This, in turn, feeds into a giant new Whitehall database on Britain’s children, Contact Point, which goes live nationally in January. The Tories have vowed to scrap it, arguing that it threatens family privacy and children’s safety. But civil liberties campaigners say we must resist it now, before it is too late. Since April 1, hundreds of thousands of State employees, from police to teachers, youth and nursery workers, social workers and sports coaches, have been entitled to interrogate children aged up to 19, using the ‘Common Assessment Framework’ (CAF), a creepy, eight-page, 60-section questionnaire. CAF includes eyewateringly intimate questions about children’s sexual behaviour, their family’s structure, culture and religion, their views on ‘discrimination’, their friends, secret fears, feelings and family income, plus ‘any serious difficulties in their parents’ relationship’.How has such a terrifying intrusion into private life crept, almost unnoticed, under the radar? The answer is New Labour has cleverly packaged CAF as an aid to ‘child protection’ and delivering better services as part of its Every Child Matters project (ECM). The £224million programme has been beset by delays, incomprehensible acronyms and New Labour gobbledegook. But let us not be deceived – it is about control, not care, and spying, not safety.... Tragically, Britain, the cradle of parliamentary democracy, is becoming notorious worldwide for snooping on its citizens. Professor Nigel Parton, NSPCC Professor of Childhood Studies at Huddersfield University, warned a recent international conference in Finland that the Every Child Matters agenda means what we are witnessing is the emergence of the ‘preventive-surveillance state’, with ‘major implications for the civil liberties and human rights of the citizen, particularly for children and parents’. Once, people who warned of a growing police state seemed paranoid. The Damian Green raid was a wake-up call. Let us now protect our children, our and our country’s future, with all our might."
Has your child been CAFed?  How the Government plans to record intimate information on every child in Britain
Mail, 7 December 2008
"State officials are to be given powers previously reserved for times of war to demand a person's proof of identity at any time. Anybody who refuses the Big Brother demand could face arrest and a possible prison sentence. The new rules come in legislation unveiled in today's Queen's Speech. They are presented as a crackdown on illegal immigration, but lawyers say they could be applied to anybody who has ever been outside the UK, even on holiday. The civil rights group Liberty, which analysed clauses from the new Immigration and Citizenship Bill, called them an attempt to introduce compulsory ID cards by the back door. The move would effectively take Britain back to the Second World War, when people were stopped and asked to 'show their papers'. Liberty said: 'Powers to examine identity documents, previously thought to apply only at ports of entry, will be extended to criminalise anyone in Britain who has ever left the country and fails to produce identity papers upon demand. 'We believe that the catch-all remit of this power is disproportionate and that its enactment would not only damage community relations but represent a fundamental shift in the relationship between the State and those present in the UK.' One broadly-drafted clause would permit checks on anyone who has ever entered the UK - whether recently or years earlier....No reasonable cause or suspicion is required, and checks can be carried out 'in country' - not just at borders. The law would apply to British citizens and foreign nationals, according to Liberty's lawyers. The only people who would be exempt are the tiny minority who have never been abroad on holiday or business....Currently, police are allowed to ask for identity documents only if there is a reasonable suspicion that a person has committed an offence. During the Second World War, ID cards were seen as a way of protecting the nation from Nazi spies, but in 1952 Winston Churchill's government decided they were not needed in peacetime. They were thought to be hindering the police because so many people resented being asked to produce them. Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti said last night: ' Sneaking in compulsory identity cards via the back door of immigration law is a cynical escalation of this expensive and intrusive scheme.' .... LibDem spokesman Chris Huhne said: 'Ministers seem to be breaking their promise that no one would ever have to carry an ID card. This is a sly and underhand way of extending the ID card scheme by stealth.'  There was also concern last night that the Government is seeking to revive controversial plans for secret inquests. The measure  -  which would have let the authorities hold a hearing like the Jean Charles de Menezes inquest behind closed doors  -  was removed from counter-terrorism legislation earlier this year. But it could be re-introduced as part of a Coroners and Death Certification Bill."
Big Brother police to get 'war-time' power to demand ID in the street - on pain of sending you to jail
Daily Mail, 3 December 2008
"On Tuesday last week a judge at Kingston-upon-Thames Crown Court threw out a case against Sally Murrer, a journalist charged with aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office — the same charge that the Met wants to pursue against Mr Green. The Murrer case turned on Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the right to freedom of expression. The court ruled, as courts across Europe have ruled, that leaks to journalists are not criminal unless they involve matters of national security or impair the investigation of serious crime. The evidence against her — gained by planting bugging devices and raiding her home and her office (sound familiar?) — was ruled to have been obtained unlawfully."
In light of Sally Murrer’s case, Damian Green's arrest was absurd
London Times, 1 December 2008
"The House of Commons office of Damian Green, the Tories' immigration spokesman, is routinely swept for electronic bugging devices, along with other offices belonging to senior Conservatives, amid fears of covert monitoring, The Independent on Sunday has discovered. Anger surrounding the shadow immigration minister's arrest last week escalated dramatically last night over suspicions of a major bugging scandal inside the Palace of Westminster. The IoS understands that even before his surprise arrest on Thursday Mr Green was aware that his Commons office, phone calls and emails could be under surveillance because of the sensitive nature of his job. The fresh revelations rocked the Commons just days before the high point of the parliamentary calendar, the Queen's Speech, which takes place on Wednesday. Tory leader David Cameron last night said the Prime Minister must denounce the arrest of Mr Green or risk charges of hypocrisy because he 'made his career' from Whitehall leaks. Writing in the News of the World, Mr Cameron added: 'If this approach had been in place in the 1990s, then Gordon Brown would have spent most of his time under arrest.' Several offices within the Commons and Portcullis House belonging to senior Tory MPs and officials are checked regularly by security experts for listening devices and other surveillance equipment. The IoS has learnt that there are 'major concerns' at the highest levels of the Tory party over suspected monitoring by the authorities. Any such monitoring may not be illegal but would be hugely controversial. Last night, a Conservative MP wrote to Gordon Brown demanding an urgent review of the Wilson doctrine, the convention that protects MPs from phonetapping but does not cover other surveillance techniques. It is not known whether a covert device has ever been found during searches. But if the suspicions are proved right, it would have major implications for the protection of parliamentary privilege. Ben Wallace, the Conservative MP for Lancaster & Wyre, said the Wilson doctrine, which dates back to 1966, needed to be changed to cover all forms of surveillance, not just intercepting of calls. He said: 'It is disturbing that the authorities may have exploited the difference between surveillance and intercept in order to pursue Members of Parliament over the past 10 years.'"
Bugging scandal inside the Commons
Independent On Sunday, 30 November 2008
"The practice of using a brown envelope to pass on information is commonplace in Westminster. At any one time, there are hundreds of MPs, researchers, journalists and visitors at Portcullis House, and the handing over of an ordinary envelope would rarely be noticed. As the IoS reveals today, the practice stems from a real concern that their movements are being monitored by MI5 or Special Branch. Last Thursday's raid by nine anti-terrorist police officers on Mr Green's office, just off the Portcullis House atrium, has triggered accusations of contempt of parliamentary privilege. In four co-ordinated raids at his home and offices, anti-terror police seized the MP's computers, mobile phone, BlackBerry and bank statements – as well as rifling through old love letters between Mr Green and his wife. But the revelation that the offices of senior frontbenchers are routinely swept for bugs will send shockwaves through Westminster. It has serious repercussions for the operation of the Wilson doctrine, the convention that protects MPs from phone-tapping. In 1966, following a series of allegations of bugging of MPs' telephones, the Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, ordered a ban on phone-tapping on all MPs. Yet the doctrine has failed to keep pace with modern technology, and MPs fear there is a 'wide-open door' to security services listening to the conversations and reading the content of their emails, perfectly legally. The doctrine covers only the intercept of communications – tapping phone lines or snatching data from mobile phone conversations, as well as the intercept of unopened emails and post. What is not covered are already opened emails and post, and, crucially, listening devices planted in an MP's office. One intelligence expert said it was possible for legally available software to be planted on a computer that copies all emails sent from that address....A Westminster source said last night: 'MPs need to take precautions. The Damian Green case shows they are vulnerable to arrest, even if the information is not a threat to national security. Sweeping of offices for bugs may be one precaution, but if something is of great sensitivity, it is safer to pass things on in person.'"
MPs fear security services now have 'open door' to snoop
Independent On Sunday, 30 November 2008
"I was born in Milton Keynes when it was a village. I completed my journalistic apprenticeship on one local newspaper and I was still there, 32 years later, on another. I'd worked part-time for 20 years to fit in with the needs of my autistic son James, but I knew the town inside out. My dog-eared contacts book bulged with trusted names and numbers. There were councillors, local dignitaries, gossipy hairdressers, teachers ... and, of course, police officers. That sun-soaked morning last year, there was no flicker of premonition that my world was about to be torn apart in a frenzy of police officers, criminal investigations and court proceedings that would threaten not just my own family life but the country's perception of Press freedom. I hadn't a clue, as I shopped in Laura Ashley, that eight plainclothes police officers were poised to arrest me, lock me in a cell, interrogate me, strip-search me and finally put me in the dock for a multi-million-pound Crown Court trial after which I could technically be sent to prison for life. I had no understanding of what heinous crime they thought I'd committed. Officially, I was charged with three counts of the ancient common-law offence of aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office - the same charges levelled at Shadow Immigration Minister Damian Green last week when he was arrested over claims he had leaked confidential Government documents....It was only afterwards that it dawned on me what sinister implication this case could have for journalists all over Britain.... Technically, thousands of my media colleagues could be arrested just like me.....At the time I simply felt violated. How dare these people bug my conversations and even download texts from my daughters?......What I discovered was shattering. I came to realise that the case wasn't about me at all, but the rights of every journalist in the country.My defence barrister, Gavin Millar QC, told the court that, under Article 10 of the Human Rights Convention, my right to freedom of expression had been breached by the State. Thames Valley Police had no right to have bugged my conversations with Mark, a confidential source, and my arrest was also unlawful.....Millar went on to argue that journalistic privilege, unless it posed a genuine threat to national security, must extend to a reporter's sources, otherwise no confidential source would ever again speak to a reporter. His argument, which ran for eight-and-a-half hours, was described by Judge Richard Southwell as a masterclass on journalistic human rights and the freedom of the Press....When I heard about the arrest of Conservative MP Damian Green last week, I was amazed at the parallels between his experience and my own....".
Sally Murrer - I faced life in jail ... just for writing about Milton Keynes
Daily Mail, 29 November 2008
"A Tory frontbencher was questioned by police last night after being arrested as part of a leak inquiry. Damian Green, the Shadow Immigration Minister, was arrested in Kent and had his home, constituency office and Commons office searched by counter-terrorism officers. He may be charged for receiving documents allegedly passed by a male Home Office official who was also arrested. Conservative sources said that David Cameron was furious about the treatment of one of his team and described the arrest as 'Stalinesque'.....Mr Green, the MP for Ashford, is facing questions about four leaks to the media between November last year and September this year. They include a letter from the Home Secretary to Mr Brown over the economic downturn’s impact on crime. It is understood that the Home Office and Whitehall were alarmed at this disclosure because it was circulated among so few people. Other damaging stories include a list, prepared by Labour whips, of MPs’ likely voting intentions on legislation to extend to 42 days’ detention without charge. Mr Green was released and bailed to return to the police station in February. Speaking outside the House of Commons early today, he said: 'I was astonished to have spent more than nine hours under arrest for doing my job. I emphatically deny I have done anything wrong. In a democracy, opposition politicians have a duty to hold the Government to account. I was elected to the House of Commons precisely to do that and I certainly intend to continue doing so.'”
Tory frontbench MP Damian Green arrested over le
London Times, 28 November 2008
"Earlier this year the saga took a twist when it was revealed in Mr Kearney's statement that he had been pressurised by the Metropolitan Police to bug Labour MP Sadiq Khan while he met a constituent, Babar Ahmad, who was being held in the prison pending extradition to the US. That led to a huge row about the bugging of MPs."
'They said I would go to jail for life'
BBC Online, 28 November 2008

"Ubiquitous computing will be enabled by widespread tagging and networking of mundane objects (the Internet of Things) such as food packages, furniture, room sensors, and paper documents. Such items will be located and identified, monitored, and remotely controlled through enabling technologies—including Radio Frequency Identifications, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvesters—connected via the next-generation Internet using abundant, low cost, and high-power computing."
Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World
US National Intelligence Council, November 2008

"Britain's intelligence chiefs want to crack down on the country's media and are pursuing a law that would ban publication of 'sensitive' stories about the services, according to a report from Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin. The request came at a recent secret meeting with the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee, a team of members of Parliament who serve as watchdogs for the country's intelligence services. The meeting appropriately was held in the Cabinet Office complex adjoining Downing Street, a security facility at the heart of Whitehall known as has emerged of the MI5 and MI6 joint request, which could lead to a dramatic shift in the relationship between government and the media. The request comes at a time when Britain and its media are the most spied on nation in the West. More than four million CCTV cameras keep round-the-clock watch on citizens who are photographed on average over 400 times a day. A complex infrastructure of laws already ensures 'sensitive' stories are protected – on the grounds they can 'put national security at risk.' Those who violate the Official Secrets Act can get heavy prison sentences. Others come under a group of laws collectively known as D-Notices. They cover publications of details ranging from the home addresses of a security chief and decisions on the design of nuclear weapons stored at Harwell to specific research work done at Porton Down – Britain's Chemical-Biological Research Center – and naming field agents."
'Sensitive' news reports face crackdown
WorldNetDaily, 18 November 2008
"Britain's security agencies and police would be given unprecedented and legally binding powers to ban the media from reporting matters of national security, under proposals being discussed in Whitehall. The Intelligence and Security Committee, the parliamentary watchdog of the intelligence and security agencies which has a cross-party membership from both Houses, wants to press ministers to introduce legislation that would prevent news outlets from reporting stories deemed by the Government to be against the interests of national security. The committee also wants to censor reporting of police operations that are deemed to have implications for national security. The ISC is to recommend in its next report, out at the end of the year, that a commission be set up to look into its plans, according to senior Whitehall sources. The ISC holds huge clout within Whitehall. It receives secret briefings from MI5, MI6 and GCHQ and is highly influential in forming government policy. Kim Howells, a respected former Foreign Office minister, was recently appointed its chairman. Under the existing voluntary code of conduct, known as the DA-Notice system, the Government can request that the media does not report a story. However, the committee's members are particularly worried about leaks, which, they believe, could derail investigations and the reporting of which needs to be banned by legislation. Civil liberties groups say these restrictions would be 'very dangerous' and 'damaging for public accountability'. They also point out that censoring journalists when the leaks come from officials is unjustified. But the committee, in its last annual report, has already signalled its intention to press for changes. It states: 'The current system for handling national security information through DA-Notices and the [intelligence and security] Agencies' relationship with the media more generally, is not working as effectively as it might and this is putting lives at risk.' According to senior Whitehall sources the ISC is likely to advocate tighter controls on the DA-Notice system – formerly known as D-Notice – which operates in co-operation and consultation between the Government and the media."
MPs seek to censor the media
Independent, 10 November 2008

"Government claims of widespread public enthusiasm for ID cards 'beggar belief', critics have said, as it emerged the cost of cards may double.   Remarks by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith that people 'can't wait' for cards to be introduced would 'haunt' her in the future, campaign group No 2 ID said. The fresh criticism came amid concerns about the cost of providing biometric data and fingerprints needed on cards. This requirement could add an estimated £29 on top of the £30 cost of the card.  Applicants will have to foot the cost of supplying their fingerprints and biometric data such as an iris scan....The first biometric cards are being issued to students from outside the EU and marriage visa holders this month. Cards will then be issued on a voluntary basis to young people from 2010 and for everyone else from 2012. But speaking on Thursday, Ms Smith said there is strong public demand for the cards and she has been 'regularly' approached by people who say they do not want to wait several years to register. People applying for cards and passports from 2012 will have to provide fingerprints, photographs and a signature....Arguments over the cost of ID cards continue to dog the initiative, with the Tories and Lib Dems calling for them to be scrapped. The overall cost of the scheme over the next 10 years has risen by £50m to £5.1bn in the past six months, the government's latest cost report has indicated."
Smith ID comments 'beggar belief'
BBC Online, 7 November 2008

"Home secretary Jacqui Smith has insisted biometrics taken from people in high-street businesses will be secure. While anti-ID campaigners have said it will be almost impossible to lock fingerprints to biographical details in a secure manner if those biometrics are taken in a high-street business, Smith said on Thursday that the process would be secure. 'It is clearly important, and part of the work we are doing and the plans we have in place, to ensure the secure, controlled transfer of any biometrics,' Smith told ZDNet UK at a press event. 'I believe it is technically possible to do that. I don't see the challenge is greater because more people are accredited to do it.' Smith added that accredited businesses would have a strong competitive reason to ensure that the biometric transfers they perform are secure, as failure to do so would have an impact on their reputation. However, so far the Home Office has given no precise information as to how fingerprints would be linked to biographical data, or any details about how the National Identity Scheme would be implemented....Conservative shadow home secretary Dominic Grieve told ZDNet UK in an emailed statement that his party would discontinue the scheme, a move he said would benefit security. 'We would scrap this expensive white elephant and use the savings to do things that would actually improve our security,' Grieve said. 'The home secretary should stop kidding herself, admit this project is dead and devote her energies to carrying out her primary responsibility, which is ensuring the safety of the citizens of this country.' Anti-ID card campaigner Phil Booth said that far from increasing security, ID cards would be a risk. 'They are not introducing security and convenience, they are doing exactly the opposite,' Booth told ZDNet UK. 'Enrolment in the high street will introduce security holes a mile wide. People will link biometric details to false biographical details, while the system will be plagued by systems errors.' The campaigner added that biometric passports, drivers' licences and other forms of identification would not be affected if ID cards were scrapped. 'This has nothing to do with passports, driving licences, or anything else,' Booth said. 'Get rid of the ID cards scheme and all the issues go away. There will be no 'black hole' left anywhere.'"
Home secretary defends high-street biometrics plans
ZDNet, 7 November 2008
"The cost of new soon-to-be-launched UK ID card is set to skyrocket to nearly £60 as the cost of capturing biometric data and fingerprint amounts to almost as much as the cost of the card holding them. The Press Association understands that this hidden charge will now be outsourced to external providers that could include the post office, high street stores or even supermarkets. The Home Office secretary, Jacqui Smith, said that the 'market' for providing the data collection service would be worth around £200 million for the 7 million or so adults expected to sign for the new card. The card, which will become compulsory for foreign nationals as early as next year, will replace bank statements, driving license and other documents that can be used as proof of identity. The estimated cost of rolling out the highly controversial scheme has increased several times over the last decade and is currently standing at more than £4.7 billion according to the latest estimates. Similarly, the cost of passport has risen from £18 back in 1997 to £100 today when the cost of capturing biometric data is factored in. Speaking at the Social Market Foundation in London, Ms Smith said that the new ID card could eventually be used to replace the "dictionary of different passwords", which would pave the way for a massive roll-out of stand alone and embedded ID card readers."
Home Office Enlists Help Of Supermarkets, Post Office As ID Card Costs Double
SecurityPortal, 7 November 2008
"Hundreds of drivers are being recruited to take part in government-funded road-pricing trials that could result in charges of up to £1.30 a mile on the most congested roads. The test runs will start early next year in four locations and will involve fitting a satellite-tracking device to the vehicles of volunteers. An on-board unit will automatically deduct payments from a shadow account set up in the driver’s name....The on-board unit could be used to collect all road charges, such as congestion charges in London and Manchester and tolls for crossing bridges and using new lanes on motorways. In the longer term the technology could be used to introduce pricing on all roads, with the price varying according to the time of day, direction of travel and the level of congestion. Drivers would use the internet to check all their payments on a single bill. They would choose whether the bill showed where they had travelled or simply the amounts they had paid. Ministers hope to overcome concerns about loss of privacy by allowing drivers to instruct the on-board unit not to transmit locations to the billing centre but simply the number of miles driven at each charging rate."
National road toll devices to be tested by drivers next year
London Times, 5 November 2008
"Internet 'black boxes' will be used to collect every email and web visit in the UK under the Government's plans for a giant 'big brother' database, The Independent has learnt. Home Office officials have told senior figures from the internet and telecommunications industries that the 'black box' technology could automatically retain and store raw data from the web before transferring it to a giant central database controlled by the Government. Plans to create a database holding information about every phone call, email and internet visit made in the UK have provoked a huge public outcry. Richard Thomas, the Information Commissioner, described it as 'step too far' and the Government's own terrorism watchdog said that as a 'raw idea' it was 'awful'. Nevertheless, ministers have said they are committed to consulting on the new Communications Data Bill early in the new year. News that the Government is already preparing the ground by trying to allay the concerns of the internet industry is bound to raise suspicions about ministers' true intentions. Further details of the database emerged on Monday at a meeting of internet service providers (ISPs) in London where representatives from BT, AOL Europe, O2 and BSkyB were given a PowerPoint presentation of the issues and the technology surrounding the Government's Interception Modernisation Programme (IMP), the name given by the Home Office to the database proposal. Whitehall experts working on the IMP unit told the meeting the security and intelligence agencies wanted to use the stored data to help fight serious crime and terrorism, and said the technology would allow them to create greater 'capacity' to monitor all communication traffic on the internet. The 'black boxes' are an attractive option for the internet industry because they would be secure and not require any direct input from the ISPs. During the meeting Whitehall officials also tried to reassure the industry by suggesting that many smaller ISPs would be unaffected by the 'black boxes' as these would be installed upstream on the network and hinted that all costs would be met by the Government. 'It was clear the 'back box' is the technology the Government will use to hold all the data. But what isn't clear is what the Home Secretary, GCHQ and the security services intend to do with all this information in the future,' said a source close to the meeting. He added: 'They said they only wanted to return to a position they were in before the emergence of internet communication, when they were able to monitor all correspondence with a police suspect. The difference here is they will be in a much better position to spy on many more people on the basis of their internet behaviour. Also there's a grey area between what is content and what is traffic. Is what is said in a chat room content or just traffic?' Ministers say plans for the database have not been confirmed, and that it is not their intention to introduce monitoring or storage equipment that will check or hold the content of emails or phonecalls on the traffic."
Government black boxes will 'collect every email'
Independent, 5 November 2008
"Google gathers so much detailed information about its users that one critic says some state intelligence bureaus look 'like child protection services' in comparison. A few German government bodies have mounted a resistance.....Google's Internet empire has become a political issue here. And only a fraction of the company's data comes from the car-mounted cameras. There’s also the popular Gmail service ("Google Mail" in Germany), the YouTube video portal, a social network called Orkut, and the Google Desktop program, which allows users to search their own computers. The company has also introduced its own browser, called Chrome. And it's entered the world of mobile communication with a new cell phone operating system called Android. The first Android-compatible phones all but sold out before the official market launch in the US last week, with 1.5 million advance orders. With its services, Google has established itself as a global online power in just a decade. Through massive acquisition of Internet services -- like YouTube -- it has built itself into a data-collection empire. One click by a user lets Google take search data, along with a date and time, as well as specific details like IP addresses, the type of browser used, language settings and even log-in user names.....It’s also well-known that Google checks for keywords in the content of e-mails sent through its mail program, then displays relevant advertisements in a sidebar. This clever exploitation of information for direct advertising has turned Google into a multi-billion-dollar organization. The company brought in over $16 billion in revenue last year. This is what makes the debate in Germany such bad news for the corporation. Denying Google data cuts to the heart of its business model. More and more customers are wondering: What does Google know about me? Well, compared to what Google knows about us, many intelligence agencies look 'like child protection services,' says Hendrik Speck, professor at the applied sciences university in Kaiserslautern, a southwestern German city. Theoretically, he says, Google could record a query for pregnancy tests, then nine months later provide advertisements for diapers. Or -- six years later -- it could show offers for after-school homework help. 'The more data Google collects from its users, the higher the price it can ask for advertisements,' says Speck..... As the company’s head of data protection, Fleischer is in charge of protecting hundreds of millions of users' data -- 29 million in Germany alone. It’s also his job to assuage the growing unease on the part of many users and politicians about the Google 'data monster.' The Molfsee citizens' concerns are just as unfounded, Fleischer says, and for the same reason: 'We collect a lot of data, but nothing that identifies any particular person,' he insists.For Gerald Reischl, author of a book in German called 'The Google Trap,' such assurances aren't enough. The corporation's 'machinations, hunger for power and dominance need to be scrutinized,' says Reischl. Even those few Internet users who don’t regularly access Google sites end up with their data accessible to the company anyway, thanks to a program called 'Google Analytics.' Google Analytics is a free program for web site owners to keep track of usage patterns on their site. The data is also saved by Google. Some sites don’t even mention this to their users. 'Analytics is Google's most dangerous opportunity to spy' says Reischl. According to some estimates the software is integrated into 80 percent of frequently visited German-language Internet sites. SPIEGEL ONLINE no longer uses Google Analytics. 'We want to ensure that data on our users’ browsing patterns don't leave our site,' says Wolfgang Büchner, one of SPIEGEL ONLINE's two chief editors.....According to Fleischer... 'We don't know our users,' he says, 'nor do we want to.' He says Internet logs aren't related to individuals, and stored IP addresses are nothing but numbers that connect computers to each other. Under no circumstances, says Fleischer, would data from a conventional Internet search be combined with the personal information saved through a service that requires a login, such as Gmail....Thilo Weichert, head of Schleswig-Holstein’s Independent State Agency for Data Protection, based in Kiel, can relate experiences to the contrary....Google’s German headquarters tends to react negatively to Weichert’s name. He doesn’t give them an easy time: The data protection specialist from northern Germany has already issued a public warning on the Analytics program. 'Most users of the product aren't entirely aware that by operating Google Analytics they're utilizing a service that transfers data to the United States, to be broadly used and exploited,' he has written. 'This violates the data privacy laws protecting those who use the Web sites.' Google reacted with a letter to the governor of Schleswig-Holstein, warning of economic losses and demanding that Weichert be called off his attack. Such reactions only incite Weichert. 'The company operates in an unacceptably non-transparent manner,' he says. 'Their users are basically standing naked in front of them, and Google itself discloses only what is absolutely necessary about its data handling strategy, and then only under pressure.'....Meanwhile, a top data protection specialist at Google named Peter Fleischer likes to talk about what’s to come. “Google Health” is a databank where patients can store their medical records and retrieve them over the Internet. This service could radically change the nature of the health system -- and it could change Google itself as well. When the topic turns to health, most users are likely to sit up and take notice. They start asking what happens with their data."
Does Google Know Too Much?
Der Spiegel, 30 October 2008
"It's not insane to be paranoid. That is the comforting message I took from the speech given this week by Sir Ken Macdonald, the Director of Public Prosecutions, who warned the Government not to abuse its 'enormous powers of access to information'. In a direct hit on the Home Secretary's desire to record on an Orwellian database every e-mail, phone call and website visited, he said that 'freedom's back is broken' if ministers give in to the pressures of a State that is insatiable.....The same problems beset the terrorist issue. The Government has been unable to point to a single case where 42-day detention, or increased surveillance powers, would have made us safer. Police officers can already get information on most suspects' phone calls and e-mails from network providers. The suspicion is that the Government wants to hold that data centrally only to mount fishing expeditions, looking for patterns of behaviour. 'We should take very great care to imagine the world we are creating before we build it,' Sir Ken said. 'We might end up living with something we can't bear.'”
Camilla Cavendish - I may be paranoid, but they are watching us
London Times, 24 October 2008
"This year’s Privacy International survey put Britain bottom of the European league for surveillance and civil intrusion, a miserable state of affairs for the home of Magna Carta. [Home Secretary Jackie] Smith’s GCHQ 'interception modernisation programme', reportedly at a staggering £12 billion, will run alongside the ID card register, the driving licence centre, the numberplate recognition computer and the CCTV network in a 'pentagon' of control. Its data bank will one day and for sure fuse with banking and employment records and that stumbling giant, the National Health Service personal records computer, each polluting the other with crashing terminals, uncorrectable inaccuracies and false trails. We know from Russian hacking services that such information will be freely available because it cannot be kept secret from intruders, thieves or the laptops of careless officials. That is why the pages of Computer Weekly are crammed with snake-oil salesmen claiming 'total security' packages. I remember a shack in a Bangalore suburb offering to 'break all computer encryptions known to man'. The spider at the centre of this web of control, GCHQ’s Iain Lobban, appears to have so mesmerised Smith that officials at the Home Office last week leaked a warning that his demands were 'impractical, disproportionate, politically unattractive and possibly unlawful'. Smith was unmoved. Like every home secretary, she wants, at the flick of a switch, to know who is doing what, when and where anywhere in Britain and in real time. This is truly Big Brother stuff. Since 9/11 there has sprung into being a war-on-terror version of the 'military-industrial complex', against which Eisenhower warned Americans as the cold war developed in the 1950s. The complex roams seminars and think tanks with blood-curdling accounts of what Osama Bin Laden is planning. Visitors need go no further than the biennial defence sales exhibition in London’s Docklands to see Eisenhower’s monsters on parade. They feed on the politics of fear, a leitmotif of this government. The entire nation is regarded as under suspicion. Never was the adage of Louis Brandeis, the US justice, more relevant: free men are naturally alert to the wiles of evil-minded rulers but 'the greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachments by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding'. Last week GCHQ lobbyists took to the press declaring that any opposition to Smith’s surveillance plan would be 'disastrous' for national security. They even wheeled out the familiar back-up argument for those who might regard £12 billion as a ludicrous overreaction to terrorism alone. Without the 500,000 intercepts placed on mobile phone calls each year, The Times reported, 'we could not begin to solve any kidnap whatever'. Likewise the proponents of ID cards call them 'vital' for public services and those of the NHS computer 'a life saver' for accident victims. They are nothing of the sort. A feature of this campaign is its sheer mendacity. Smith last week promised that her surveillance regime would cover only details of electronic communication, not contents. This is incredible. It reminds me of the old Home Office lie that all phone taps 'require the home secretary’s personal authority'. Smith’s apparatchiks want to read the lot. A similar line was spun last year by James Hall, the head of Home Office 'identity and passport services', in claiming that identity details would be safeguarded and not sent abroad. At the last Lisbon conference, European Union members agreed to 'cross-border interoperability . . . highlighted in electronic identity and e-procurement', with Lady Scotland, the attorney-general, in active participation. Hall must have known this. ID cards were defended by David Blunkett, a former home secretary, as to 'protect identity'. He knew they would be churned out from a Bombay back street at £5 a time. The government does not know the meaning of the term 'safeguard'. A year ago all 25m recipients of child benefit were told their personal details, addresses and bank accounts had been handed to contractors and lost. Smith parrots the totalitarian’s answer that 'the innocent have nothing to fear'. But they do. They know from experience that government cannot be trusted with private information. In addition, any errors in that information are almost impossible to correct. Ask anyone whose credit rating has been falsely challenged by a bank computer."
My farewell plea to MPs: defend liberty
Sunday Times, 26 October 2008
"....there’s only been three books on NSA, and I wrote all three....NSA specializes in SIGINT, which is signals intelligence. And what that is is eavesdropping. And that’s actually where the US gets most of its gets most of its intelligence from eavesdropping on communications, whether it’s telephone calls or email or faxes, computer transfers of information between computers, any kind of information like that, instant messages. It intercepts it. So NSA is the big ear. And the way it works is, it picks up communications from satellites, it taps undersea and underground fiber-optic cables, it gets information any way it can...This company, Narus, which was founded in Israel and has large Israel connections, does the—basically the tapping of the communications on AT&T. And Verizon chose another company, ironically also founded in Israel and largely controlled by and developed by people in Israel called Verint. So these two companies specialize in what’s known as mass surveillance. Their literature—I read this literature from Verint, for example—is supposed to only go to intelligence agencies and so forth, and it says, 'We specialize in mass surveillance,' and that’s what they do. They put these mass surveillance equipment in these facilities. So you have AT&T, for example, that, you know, considers it’s their job to get messages from one person to another, not tapping into messages, and you get the NSA that says, we want, you know, copies of all this. So that’s where these companies come in. These companies act as the intermediary basically between the telecom companies and the NSA...this is a company that the US government is getting all its tapped information from. It’s a company that Verizon uses as its tapping company, its eavesdropping company. And very little is known about these companies. Congress has never looked into any of this. I don’t know—I don’t think they even know that there is—that these companies exist. But the company that Verizon uses, Verint, the founder of the company, the former head of the company, is now a fugitive in—hiding out in Africa in the country of Namibia, because he’s wanted on a number of felony warrants for fraud and other charges. And then, two other top executives of the company, the general counsel and another top official of the parent company, have also pled guilty to these charges. So, you know, you’ve got companies—these companies have foreign connections with potential ties to foreign intelligence agencies, and you have problems of credibility, problems of honesty and all that. And these companies—through these two companies pass probably 80 percent or more of all US communications at one point or another. . And it’s even—gets even worse in the fact that these companies also supply their equipment all around the world to other countries, to countries that don’t have a lot of respect for individual rights—Vietnam, China, Libya, other countries like that. And so, these countries use this equipment to filter out dissident communications and people trying to protest the government. It gives them the ability to eavesdrop on communications and monitor dissident email communications. And as a result of that, people are put in jail, and so forth....These conversations are transcribed. They’re—and then they’re recorded, and they’re kept forever. There’s a big building in Texas that’s being built in San Antonio that’s going to be used to house a lot of these conversations. NSA is running out of space at Fort Meade, their headquarters, so they had to expand, and they’re building this very big building. It’s reportedly going to be about the size of the Alamodome down there, to store all these—this huge amount of data communications. And when you think how much information two gigabytes could be put on a small thumb drive, you can imagine how much of information could be stored in a data warehouse the size of—almost the size of the Alamodome....the overall big problem is that there is a tremendous amount of eavesdropping going on. It’s all being stored, it’s all being analyzed, either electronically or by a human. And the public really doesn’t have much of—knowledge of all this that’s going on right now."
James Bamford, author of The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America
Democracy Now, 14 October 2008

"Despite pledges by President George W. Bush and American intelligence officials to the contrary, hundreds of US citizens overseas have been eavesdropped on as they called friends and family back home, according to two former military intercept operators who worked at the giant National Security Agency (NSA) center in Fort Gordon, Georgia. The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), called the allegations "extremely disturbing" and said the committee has begun its own examination. 'These were just really everyday, average, ordinary Americans who happened to be in the Middle East, in our area of intercept and happened to be making these phone calls on satellite phones,' said Adrienne Kinne, a 31-year old US Army Reserves Arab linguist assigned to a special military program at the NSA's Back Hall at Fort Gordon from November 2001 to 2003. Kinne described the contents of the calls as 'personal, private things with Americans who are not in any way, shape or form associated with anything to do with terrorism.' She said US military officers, American journalists and American aid workers were routinely intercepted and 'collected on' as they called their offices or homes in the United States. Another intercept operator, former Navy Arab linguist, David Murfee Faulk, 39, said he and his fellow intercept operators listened into hundreds of Americans picked up using phones in Baghdad's Green Zone from late 2003 to November 2007. "Calling home to the United States, talking to their spouses, sometimes their girlfriends, sometimes one phone call following another," said Faulk. The accounts of the two former intercept operators, who have never met and did not know of the other's allegations, provide the first inside look at the day to day operations of the huge and controversial US terrorist surveillance program.... Faulk says he and others in his section of the NSA facility at Fort Gordon routinely shared salacious or tantalizing phone calls that had been intercepted, alerting office mates to certain time codes of "cuts" that were available on each operator's computer. 'Hey, check this out,' Faulk says he would be told, 'there's good phone sex or there's some pillow talk, pull up this call, it's really funny, go check it out. It would be some colonel making pillow talk and we would say, 'Wow, this was crazy'," Faulk told ABC News. Faulk said he joined in to listen, and talk about it during breaks in Back Hall's 'smoke pit,' but ended up feeling badly about his actions. 'I feel that it was something that the people should not have done. Including me,' he said.... Both Kinne and Faulk said their military commanders rebuffed questions about listening in to the private conversations of Americans talking to Americans. 'It was just always, that , you know, your job is not to question. Your job is to collect and pass on the information,' Kinne said.... Both former intercept operators came forward at first to speak with investigative journalist Jim Bamford for a book on the NSA, 'The Shadow Factory,' to be published next week. 'It's extremely rare,' said Bamford, who has written two previous books on the NSA, including the landmark 'Puzzle Palace' which first revealed the existence of the super secret spy agency. 'Both of them felt that what they were doing was illegal and improper, and immoral, and it shouldn't be done, and that's what forces whistleblowers.'"
Exclusive: Inside Account of U.S. Eavesdropping on Americans
ABC News, 9 October 2008


'We need a new way of thinking' - Consciousness Based Education



".... if you look around and see what the world is now facing I don't think  in the last two or three hundred years we've faced such a concatenation of  problems all at the same time.....[including] the inevitability, it seems to me, of resource wars....  if we are to solve the issues that are ahead of us,
we are going to need to think in completely different ways. And the probability, it seems to me, is that the next 20 or 30 years are going to see a period of great instability... I fear the [current] era of small wars is merely the precursor, the pre-shock, for something rather larger to come... we need to find new ways to be able to live together on an overcrowded earth."
Paddy Ashdown, High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina 2002 -2006

BBC Radio 4, 'Start The Week', 30 April 2007

"Individual peace is the unit of world peace. By offering Consciousness-Based Education to the coming generation, we can promote a strong foundation for a healthy, harmonious, and peaceful world.... Consciousness-Based education is not a luxury. For our children who are growing up in a stressful, often frightening, crisis-ridden world, it is a necessity."
Academy Award Winning Film Producer David Lynch (Elephant Man, Blue Velvet, etc)
David Lynch Foundation


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