- Exposing the truth THEY don't want you to know

Surveillance & Monitoring

Mentioned in the latest Jason Bourne movie blockbuster, the Bourne Ultimatum, Echelon is very real and actually exists. It's monitoring international email and telephone communications right now, as you read this. To find out more, do read on.

Nuked White HouseBy acting together, people can defeat government attempts to eliminate freedom and privacy by introducing their Constitution eroding new laws and dictatorial powers.

If EVERYONE installs and uses PGP encryption for all email communications, irrespective of how trivial or important they are, government eavesdrop projects will be flooded with unreadable and uncrackable messages from everyone, anywhere. Their powers will effectively be neutralised and made useless. PGP is FREE, relatively easy to install and compatible with all popular computer systems. Once you start using routinely for all email communications you can relax in the knowledge that the snooping agencies can no longer intercept or read your private messages.

American fascism is now going too far. People need to act. No longer can ordinary citizens sit and watch their freedom, privacy and democracy being systematically taken from them. IT'S YOUR DUTY TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

News from around the world
  • College IT departments told to deploy anti-terror dragnet - The government has told colleges to monitor web browsing for Islamic extremist sites and report students to police, drawing criticism from union chiefs that it could alienate muslim communities.The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) released a "toolkit" yesterday calling on IT departments to "prevent staff or students from accessing illegal or inappropriate material through college ICT systems, including having appropriate monitoring systems in place with recourse to police and other partners as necessary."
    Source: The Register [19th Feb 2009]
  • Hidden Spy Camera & Mic Found Inside Digital TV Box - A popular video circulating on You Tube shows the discovery of a spy camera and a microphone hidden inside a digital TV converter box. Such devices are part of a government and industry surveillance program that is undoubtedly connected to the forced digital TV switchover being rolled out in the UK and US.
    Source: Prison Planet [18th Feb 2009]
  • CIA tracking 4000 UK terror suspects - The CIA has begun an unprecedented intelligence-gathering operation in Britain to help MI5 monitor 4000 terrorist suspects.More than four out of 10 CIA operations to prevent attacks on US soil are now conducted against targets in Britain.This has led to friction between British and American spies, with some US intelligence officers irritated that resources are being diverted to gather intelligence on suspects in their closest ally's backyard. British intelligence officers do not know the identity of all the CIA informers and are uneasy about some of the uses to which the intelligence has been put.
    Source: The Age [7th Jan 2009]
  • Police set to step up hacking of home PCs - The Home Office has quietly adopted a new plan to allow police across Britain routinely to hack into people’s personal computers without a warrant. The move, which follows a decision by the European Union’s council of ministers in Brussels, has angered civil liberties groups and opposition MPs. They described it as a sinister extension of the surveillance state which drives “a coach and horses” through privacy laws. The hacking is known as “remote searching”. It allows police or MI5 officers who may be hundreds of miles away to examine covertly the hard drive of someone’s PC at his home, office or hotel room. Material gathered in this way includes the content of all e-mails, web-browsing habits and instant messaging.
    Source: The Times [5th Jan 2009]
  • Smith to crack down on councils' spy tactics - Jacqui Smith will today announce a crackdown on local authorities using surveillance powers to target trivial offences such as dog-fouling and infringements of local refuse rules.She will use a speech in London to launch an overhaul of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa), which governs the use of surveillance and intercept evidence by bodies from the security services to police and local councils.
    Source: The Independent [16th Dec 2008]
  • Home Office database is a step towards use of phone tap evidence in court - A controversial "Big Brother" communications database planned by the Home Office will be a stepping stone towards the introduction of intercept evidence in British courts. Whitehall sources have confirmed the new system - expected to cost billions of pounds - will be devised to comply with a possible future change in the law to permit intercepted communications, such as telephone taps, to be used by prosecutors.
    Source: The Telegraph [9th Nov 2008]
  • Government black boxes will 'collect every email' - 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.
    Source: The Independent [5th Nov 2008]
  • Widespread cell phone location snooping by NSA? - If you thought that the National Security Agency's warrantless wiretapping was limited to AT&T, Verizon and Sprint, think again. While these household names of the telecom industry almost certainly helped the government to illegally snoop on their customers, statements by a number of legal experts suggest that collaboration with the NSA may run far deeper into the wireless phone industry. With over 3,000 wireless companies operating in the United States, the majority of industry-aided snooping likely occurs under the radar, with the dirty-work being handled by companies that most consumers have never heard of.
    Source: CNet News [27th Oct 2008]
  • Top prosecutor warns against growing state power - Urges caution on new surveillance powers - The country's most senior prosecutor has intervened in the gathering storm over the forthcoming Communications Data Bill by urging "legislative restraint" in coming months.Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announced last week that laws will be open to consultation in the new year. The security services are demanding massively expanded internet surveillance powers.
    Source: The Register [21st Oct 2008]
  • plans 'consensus' on PAYG phone registry - The Home Office insisted today it had taken no decision on whether to force Britons to present photo ID when they buy a pay-as-you-go (PAYG) mobile phone.However, it confirmed it does plan to "consult" on the issue in the hope of forcing building a "consensus", despite immediate opposition to the plan from the world's biggest mobile mobile operator outside China (Vodafone).
    Source: The Register [21st Oct 2008]
  • Home Office in revolt at Smith's plan for 'Big Brother' database - Senior Home Office officials have expressed concern about the Government's controversial plans to set up a new "Big Brother" national database, according to a leaked memo. The doubts among Home Office advisers put them at odds with the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) eavesdropping centre in Cheltenham, which is pressing for records of all telephone calls, emails and internet visits to be retained to help combat terrorism.
    Source: The Independent [20th Oct 2008]
  • Government will spy on every call and e-mail - Ministers are considering spending up to £12 billion on a database to monitor and store the internet browsing habits, e-mail and telephone records of everyone in Britain. GCHQ, the government’s eavesdropping centre, has already been given up to £1 billion to finance the first stage of the project. Hundreds of clandestine probes will be installed to monitor customers live on two of the country’s biggest internet and mobile phone providers - thought to be BT and Vodafone. BT has nearly 5m internet customers. Ministers are braced for a backlash similar to the one caused by their ID cards programme. Dominic Grieve, the shadow home secretary, said: "Any suggestion of the government using existing powers to intercept communications data without public discussion is going to sound extremely sinister."
    Source: The Times [6th Oct 2008]
  • Do Dell laptops (or other manufaturers for that matter) have covert government key-loggers installed in them? - This article, if true, gives some worrying indications into the level of spying governments will go into, with the aid of corporate business. There is photographic evidence, so I believe further investigation is required (Ed.)
    [21st Jul 2008]
  • Council snoopers access 900 phone bills - Councils have used laws designed to combat terrorism to access more than 900 people's private phone and email records in the latest example of Britain's growing surveillance state. Town hall spies found out who residents were phoning and emailing as they investigated such misdemeanours as dog quarantine breaches and unlicensed storage of petrol.
    Source: The Telegraph [5th Jun 2008]
  • 'Big Brother' database for phones and e-mails - A massive government database holding details of every phone call, e-mail and time spent on the internet by the public is being planned as part of the fight against crime and terrorism. Internet service providers (ISPs) and telecoms companies would hand over the records to the Home Office under plans put forward by officials.
    Source: The Times [20th May 2008]
  • Air Force Seeks Full Spectrum Dominance Over "Any And All" Computers"Dominant Cyber Offensive Engagement" plans announced - The U.S. airforce has announced plans for a two-year, $11 million project that will seek the capability to hack into, fully control and even destroy any form of computer or network there is, in its ongoing "national cybersecurity initiative".
    Source: US Government 'FBO' [14th May 2008]
  • A Face Is Exposed for AOL Searcher No. 4417749 - Buried in a list of 20 million Web search queries collected by AOL and recently released on the Internet is user No. 4417749. The number was assigned by the company to protect the searcher's anonymity, but it was not much of a shield.
    Source: New York Times [3rd Apr 2008]
  • CIA and Google Team Up Again For More Spying - Google is supplying the software, hardware and tech support to US intelligence agencies who are in the process of creating a vast closed source database for global spy networks to share information. Google is selling storage and data searching equipment to the CIA, the FBI, the National Security Agency, and other intelligence agencies, who have come together to build a huge internal government intranet.
    Source: Info Wars [31st Mar 2008]
  • Tax man given web snooping powers - Tax inspectors are to be given intercept powers under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) that were originally intended to assist in the war against terror.
    Source: Computing [11th Feb 2008]
  • Hundreds of lawyers 'bugged on prison visits' - The full scale of a nationwide policy to bug British jails can be disclosed today after a whistleblower revealed that hundreds of lawyers and prison visitors had been secretly recorded.
    Source: The Telegraph [9th Feb 2008]
  • Phones tapped at the rate of 1,000 a day - Britain is in danger of becoming a "surveillance state" as authorities including councils launch bugging operations against 1,000 people a day. Councils, police and intelligence services are tapping and intercepting the phone calls, emails and letters of hundreds of thousands of people every year, an official report said.
    Source: The Telegraph [29th Jan 2008]
  • Bush Order Expands Network Monitoring - President Bush signed a directive this month that expands the intelligence community's role in monitoring Internet traffic to protect against a rising number of attacks on federal agencies' computer systems.
    Source: Washington Post [28th Jan 2008]
  • Home Sec in anti-terror plan to control entire web - UK Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has decided to mount a push against cyber terror, in which the internet itself will somehow be modified to prevent people using it for terrorist purposes.
    Source: The Register [18th Jan 2008]
  • UK spooks deliberately leaked 'Squidgygate' tapes - The infamous "Squidgygate" tapes of Princess Diana speaking intimately with an alleged lover were recorded by the Government Communications Headquarters and deliberately leaked over the public airwaves, her former bodyguard told an inquest panel looking into her death.
    Source: The Register [10th Jan 2008]
  • The 2007 International Privacy Ranking - Each year since 1997, the US-based Electronic Privacy Information Center and the UK-based Privacy International have undertaken what has now become the most comprehensive survey of global privacy ever published. The Privacy & Human Rights Report surveys developments in 70 countries, assessing the state of surveillance and privacy protection.
    Source: Privacy International [31st Dec 2007]
  • Campaigners hit by decryption law - Animal rights activists are thought to be the first Britons to be asked to hand over to the police keys to data encrypted on their computers.
    Source: BBC News [22nd Nov 2007]
  • NSA has backdoor access to Windows Mobile smartphones - "This includes wireless wiretapping of 'smart phones' running Microsoft Mobile.Microsoft remote administrative privileges allow 'backdooring' into Microsoft operating systems via IP/TCP ports 1024 through 1030."
    Source: Cryptome [1st Nov 2007]
  • Democratic Concessions Are Expected on Wiretapping - Two months after vowing to roll back broad new wiretapping powers won by the Bush administration, Congressional Democrats appear ready to make concessions that could extend some of the key powers granted to the National Security Agency.
    Source: New York Times [11th Oct 2007]
  • UK police can now force you to reveal decryption keys - Users of encryption technology can no longer refuse to reveal keys to UK authorities after amendments to the powers of the state to intercept communications took effect on Monday (Oct 1). The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) has had a clause activated which allows a person to be compelled to reveal a decryption key. Refusal can earn someone a five-year jail term. (yeah right, over my dead body!! - Ed.)
    Source: The Register [7th Oct 2007]
  • FBI's Secret Spyware Tracks Down Teen Who Made Bomb Threats - FBI agents trying to track the source of e-mailed bomb threats against a Washington high school last month sent the suspect a secret surveillance program designed to surreptitiously monitor him and report back to a government server, according to an FBI affidavit obtained by Wired News.
    Source: Wired [6th Oct 2007]
  • Point, Click ... Eavesdrop: How the FBI Wiretap Net Operates - The FBI has quietly built a sophisticated, point-and-click surveillance system that performs instant wiretaps on almost any communications device, according to nearly a thousand pages of restricted documents newly released under the Freedom of Information Act. The surveillance system, called DCSNet, for Digital Collection System Network, connects FBI wiretapping rooms to switches controlled by traditional land-line operators, internet-telephony providers and cellular companies. It is far more intricately woven into the nation's telecom infrastructure than observers suspected.
    Source: Wired [6th Oct 2007]
  • Justice Official: Details of Surveillance Program Tightly Guarded - Only four top officials at the Justice Department were given access to details about a warrantless surveillance program that Justice lawyers ultimately determined was partially illegal, a former department lawyer testified today [2nd Oct 2007].
    Source: The Washington Post [2nd Oct 2007]
  • Big Brother Britain: Government and councils to spy on ALL our phones - Officials from the top of Government to lowly council officers will be given unprecedented powers to access details of every phone call in Britain under laws coming into force tomorrow. The new rules compel phone companies to retain information, however private, about all landline and mobile calls, and make them available to some 795 public bodies and quangos.
    Source: Daily Mail [30th Sep 2007]
  • Iraq fiasco creeps into NSA surveillance controversy - The battle over domestic electronic surveillance returned to prominence last week with fresh hearings in Congress and the usual Cheney administration demagoguery. In a clear attempt to shape the debate, on Wednesday the President took to the bully pulpit at NSA headquarters in Fort Meade to demand that Congress stop pussy-footing around and make the six month FISA statute passed in August permanent. Chop, chop.
    Source: The Register [25th Sep 2007]
  • NSA to defend against hackers - or in other words, take over the internet... - From electricity grids to subways to nuclear power plants, the United States depends more than ever on Internet-based control systems that could be manipulated remotely in a terrorist attack, security specialists say. The plan calls for the NSA to work with the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies to monitor such networks to prevent unauthorized intrusion, according to those with knowledge of what is known internally as the "Cyber Initiative." Details of the project are highly classified.
    Source: Baltimore Sun [23rd Sep 2007]
  • Collecting of Details on Travelers Documented - The U.S. government is collecting electronic records on the travel habits of millions of Americans who fly, drive or take cruises abroad, retaining data on the persons with whom they travel or plan to stay, the personal items they carry during their journeys, and even the books that travelers have carried, according to documents obtained by a group of civil liberties advocates and statements by government officials.
    Source: Washington Post [22nd Sep 2007]
  • Bush prods Congress to extend domestic spying law - President George W. Bush urged Congress on Wednesday to expand the government's domestic spying powers permanently, saying a failure to do so would leave the country vulnerable to another terrorist attack.
    Source: Reuters [19th Sep 2007]
  • Bush Gets 6 Months Big Brother Dictator Powers - 6 month window gives government carte blanche to impose any surveillance policy and for it to remain legal in perpetuity [Aug 6th 2007]
  • New Law Gives Government Six Months to Turn Internet and Phone Systems into Permanent Spying Architecture [Aug 6th 2007]
Local articles
Defeat Government Snooping - Install and Use PGP Encryption Now!
Installing and Using PGP and Gnu Privacy Guard to protect your emails
Links to third-party websites
"Path Intelligence"/Mobile Phone Tracking

Customers in the Gunwharf Quays shopping centre in Portsmouth, Hampshire (UK) are being tracked without their knowledge via the mobile telephone in their pocket or handbag. The system was developed by UK company Path Intelligence, based at Port Solent, Portsmouthand formed in July 2004. There is some controversy over the privacy of the system, especially since Chief Operating Officer Sharon Biggar likened the system, in this article, "to the way that internet users can be tracked via an IP address without it being revealed who they are." Doh!! An IP address can indeed precisely identify a person, so we think Sharon ought to do a quick course in I.T.

There is also speculation as to whether or not the system contravenes the Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006, for using unlicenced radio receiving equipment on strictly the strictly controlled mobile phone frequencies. After all, the scanning range of the installed equipment appears to overlap private residences as well as shops. There may be scope to complain to Ofcom.

Defeat Echelon