Archive for March, 2006

Strong language, strong feelings

Monday, March 27th, 2006

When Lord Armstrong rises to amend the government’s ID cards bill in the House of Lords tomorrow, a new stage will be reached in the epic struggle between the Lords and the forces of darkness in the House of Commons.

The former cabinet secretary is a crossbencher, and he takes his political neutrality seriously, so we can trust his constitutional instincts. His case simply concerns the issue of truth, and in effect he will propose that the Labour government must come clean with the British public about its intentions. And that can only be done by delaying the ID cards scheme until after a general election.

As things stand, Labour made a manifesto commitment to introduce the cards on a voluntary basis. Charles Clark went back on that promise by insisting that all those who apply for a new passport must submit 49 pieces of personal information to the national identity register. In practice, therefore, the scheme becomes compulsory for anyone wanting to apply for, or renew, a passport.

Lord Armstrong’s case is that this deception allows the Lords to ignore the Salisbury convention, which normally dictates that the Lords do not oppose the government on the second reading of a measure that was in its manifesto. In other words, the measures as presented last year at the election have changed radically because of this compulsion.

If the Lords have their way, it will mean the compulsory introduction will be delayed until 2011, well after a general election, which will give the public a second chance to examine and debate the proposals. This would not suit the government, because the public is gradually coming to understand the bill’s grave consequences for personal freedom.

Blair may decide to invoke the Parliament Act, the machinery that allows the House of Commons to overrule the Lords when the two houses reach an impasse on a bill. My bet is that he will do so, even though deception is involved, because the longer the ID card bill is delayed, the more people become familiar with its hidden purpose.

People are beginning to see that ID cards are not being introduced so that they can identify themselves but rather so that the government can identify them and keep track of every important transaction in their lives. […]

They will never pull this off. ‘Forces of Darkness’?! There has been a sea change in the media, the public is waking up slowly. They will not get away with this. Henry Porter is only one of the voices spelling out precisely what all of this means, and just how horrible it really is.

The Patron Saint of the Faintly Tainted

Monday, March 27th, 2006

Apparently The Glorious Benefactor finally wants to complete the reform the House of Lords in order that cloven-foot-&-mouth snakeoil salesmen like himself cannot use their business contacts to fill the Upper Chamber with supine cronies.
Whilst he may pretend that he has been committed to full reform for some time, it is demonstrable that his regime has been using the ‘unelected representatives’ as a handy stick for threatening the use of the Parliament Act in order to push through his treacherous legislation. Like all the other reforms related to Parliamentary procedures he only shows interest when his personal position is questioned and will no doubt only look at proposals as far as this is secured, or tread water until he resigns.

Rant Over.

Edited to add ‘badly painted’ picture:

2006 is the new 1984

Monday, March 27th, 2006

2006 is the new 1984

In 1948 George Orwell wrote 1984. He envisioned a nation whose citizens have no expectation of privacy under a dictatorial government that relishes in perpetual war. A state whose alliances are arbitrary, and where deviation from the party line is considered a lapse in loyalty that is subject to harsh retribution. Orwell’s city is a prison where there is no place to hide from a government that can track a persons every move and even read their minds. People live under constant scrutiny and must show I.D. to travel in their own town. The goal; to know everything about everyone. People randomly disappear, or are publicly kidnapped. If an error is made, history can be revised or erased by a propaganda machine that is subject to no restraint. When the year 1984 rolled around, people thought Orwell had got it all wrong. Now it looks like the only thing he got wrong was the date.
2006 is the new 1984.

Upping the stakes

Monday, March 27th, 2006

What does a ‘stakeholder society’ mean in terms of political powerplay?

By inducing people to use ‘stakeholder services’ provided by the State (or private companies tenbdering for public contracts) instead of private sector provision, there becomes an increased reliance on the State by the individual. If the State provides these services through general taxation and ‘Credits’ then it can increase it’s share of the market by the efffect of people having to pay twice for private provision – once for unused State services and once for the private services.

Stakeholder service provision goes beyond old style public service provision which is largely aimed at helping those with true hardships and begins to universalise State provision in mid/upper socio-economic groups – the bulk of the voters.

Increased reliance on the State will mean that people perceive they have more to lose in making the State unstable (they risk the loss of a stakeholder service or have to pay twice). By inducing the notion that people are reliant on the State when in fact they are simply giving money to government in order to receive it back in the form of ‘credits’ for leading life in the State sanctioned way.

Now an unpopular government could use this ‘dependency’ to leverage unpopular legislation upon stakeholders who are in a tenuous position for example a family requiring tax credits to send their


And ‘their’ I stopped.

But I pick up the theme because reading the post below on ID cards I am minded to believe that tax credits will be authorised/audited against NIR records, this will mean that the government will be gaining leverage over the majority of parents, pensioners, in fact anyone who wishes to be a ‘stakeholder’ and receive tax credits, which if the Chancellor continues his current course will be practically everyone. I belive this is how the government will induce NIR registration (rather than relying on the ‘voluntary’ choice of renewing passports).

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Hark, Who Goes There – Digital Identification and the New World Order

Sunday, March 26th, 2006

According to CardTechnology Magazine, parts of southern Taiwan are trying out a contactless digital money card, branded by MasterCard, for bus passengers. Apparently, the card cannot be validated fast enough for subway use. The cards are also being used for purchases at stores.

The Taiwanese trial is one of many that are going on around the world. The Feb 2006 print issue of CardTechnology magazine asks the question “Will Banks and Transit Create A Common Contactless Card?” on the front cover. There is a move all over the world to force citizens to give up hard currency and printed identification in favour of digital forms. Besides making our lives more costly, there are many people concerned with the negative repercussions on our lives.

These types of cards are part of a wave of digital identification measures that make it easier to identify someone anywhere in the world. The Observer Guardian has a strongly cautionary article regarding the possible erosion of civil liberties due to national identity types of cards, and the scare tactics that the UK government is using in media campaigns urging people to get a card.

These cards, originally intended to be voluntary, seem to have become mandatory, or so the article suggests. Without it, the UK government suggests, you can’t do this or this or that. Apparently, you will not be able to get a job, drug prescriptions, or even an Internet account without it. In short, you need it.

Consider how difficult it would be for travellers new to a country to get around, purchase stuff, get medical attention, etc, without somehow being part of the process. Gone are the days when you could just get on a plane and visit somewhere. Now, if you’re not part of a tour package, you have to worry about having the right identification and even the right transit cards, etc.

If you’re coming from a country that no longer uses print passports, what happens when you go to another country? Can they use your digital passport? Do they still expect a print passport, or do they have a digital system as well – one that’s incompatible with your digital passport?

Anyone who can access your digital identity card(s), in any country, can find out a lot about you. As human beings, we are flawed, and in our youth, we may make mistakes on our path to wisdom. Some of these mistakes might be recorded for eternity, available to far more people than you’re comfortable with having access.

This and many other social issues need to be sorted out before citizens should accept such drastic changes to the way we live our lives. […]

An excellent and insightful piece snarfed from here.

It is clear that anyone with even the slightest amount of intelligence understands that all of this is a very bad idea. I have a feeling that it will be difficult for it to be pulled off, either in the short term (preferable) or the long term. Like the Soviet Union that all of this is based on, tyranny simply cannot survive. There will be an explosion of hate, or just as the Berlin wall fell, people will simply ignore the rules en masse, so that the system collapses completely. I just hope that it doesnt take seventy years like it did for the Russians. I think that it wont take that long, because the means to mass communicate to millions is in the hands of everyone.

…No this is not the new Home Office ID computer building. Spiegel Online have a nice virtual tour of Hitler’s Chancellery designed to intimidate his foreign visitors. The Führer would have loved to have got his hands on the sort of technology being proposed by theHome Office. In German the gradual erosion of civil liberties that happened in the Third Reich is known as Salami-Taktik, as in slices of salami. New Labour has got hold of the same idea. Tony Blair’s legacy will be a lot of bad legislation that little by little will push Britain towards the genteel fascism spoken of by George Orwell, the author of 1984. The proposed ID card database is a massive intrusion into our civil liberties by a government drowning in its own sleaze. The dream of total social control that already costs us 100,000 pounds every day and any illusion that this is going to be a voluntary scheme is a sick joke. And, to honour the memory of the Nürnberg Race Laws, Section 13 deals with the creepy “invalidity and surrender” of a person’s ID card, or the withdrawal of a person’s identity by the state. Without the card it will be impossible to function as a citizen in the UK. In spite of the cost the card will remain the property of the state. Die Untermenschen kommen wieder. […] 

You see?

The Mother of all lies responds

Sunday, March 26th, 2006

That anonymous email that has been spreading like wildfire has done so much damage to the government’s case for ID cards, that the undersecretary of state himself has stepped up to refute it. He doesn’t even get close however:

‘ID cards will not mean we are watching you’

Sunday March 26, 2006
The Observer

I find it hard to believe that Henry Porter has read the Identity Cards Bill. (‘This ID project is even more sinister than we first thought’, Comment, last week). If he had, he would be aware of the safeguards built in to the scheme to protect personal information.

The safeguards? Are these the same assurances that were given when the Terrorism bill was introduced, that its scope would be ‘very limited’? Now we see that over 40,000 people have been arrested using this legislation, one even inside the labour conference itself in front of the cabinet’s eyes. This brazen, venal government has proven that it can never be trusted, that is run by habitual liars, and that they will use any tool they can concoct to violate people’s rights, and that they prefer to do this on a massive scale rather than on a small scale.

The government has admitted that they don’t even have a complete technical specifcaiton, so any guarantee that this man offers on that basis is simply a lie. Furthermore, all large scale IT projects rolled out by the government have been spectacular failures. They cannot do a job like this, even if it were right that they were trying to do it.

His article swallows the contents of a ridiculous, anonymous email and unquestioningly regurgitates it.

That email is not ‘ridiculous’. The fact that it is anonymous is irrelevant. Unlike its sexed up dossiers that are used to justify mass murder, this email contains only the facts, and was not compiled by stealing other people’s work, as a google search will demonstrate. They could learn from its author on the fine art of how to make friends and influence people.

The press unquestioningly regurgitates government pronouncements every day, but somehow, thats OK, but if this is done with something against their evil, it is not. This is pure hypocrisy in its most unaltered form.

Now come the astonishing doublespeak lies:

The scheme will not track your life’s activities. ID cards will be used when it is important to verify identity. That is not an everyday occurrence for the majority, while the use of credit cards and mobile phones, logged in itemised bills and statements, occurs daily. The log is a safeguard. It is important because instances where verification of identity is required tend to involve important transactions which could be open to abuse. That is why it is there – as a protection. It allows an individual to check where and when information about their identity has been checked and by whom.

This is of course, complete rubbish. The ID card WILL track your life’s activities, by design, and ‘The log’ is where your activities will be…logged! How stupid do they think we are?! If the log allows the individual to check, it allows ANYONE to check; that is the whole point of our opposition.

And if you think that you will be able to check wether M|5 or other departments has taken a peek at your records you are totally deluded; they will have special access that does not leave a trace. This means that anyone with the right connection can look at your details without your knowing. There will be all sorts of circumstance where this would be allowed, say in the middle of a criminal investigation, meaning that any policeman will need to have this back door un logged access.

“ID cards will be used when it is important to verify identity” That means every time anyone wants to check your identity. The examples of buying alcohol or cigarettes or prescription drugs are perfect; these are all instances where people will have their identites checked on a regular basis. Buying alcohol, ciggarettes and prescription drugs are a daily occurence for tens of millions of Britons every day. What this man has just done is tell a lie.

In the United States, this is already happening at places that sell alcohol, and they are using driving licenses to grant people access. Look at this article from The New York Times:

ABOUT 10,000 people a week go to The Rack, a bar in Boston favored by sports stars, including members of the New England Patriots. One by one, they hand over their driver’s licenses to a doorman, who swipes them through a sleek black machine. If a license is valid and its holder is over 21, a red light blinks and the patron is waved through.

But most of the customers are not aware that it also pulls up the name, address, birth date and other personal details from a data strip on the back of the license. Even height, eye color and sometimes Social Security number are registered.

”You swipe the license, and all of a sudden someone’s whole life as we know it pops up in front of you,” said Paul Barclay, the bar’s owner. ”It’s almost voyeuristic.”

Mr. Barclay bought the machine to keep out underage drinkers who use fake ID’s. But he soon found that he could build a database of personal information, providing an intimate perspective on his clientele that can be useful in marketing. ”It’s not just an ID check,” he said. ”It’s a tool.’ […]

This also proves catagoricaly another part of that email; private businesses will be able to build up databases containing your information, and patterns of behaviour. The visitors to bars like the one described above have their information stored in a privately owned database, which is valuable to the owner in that he can sell it to marketers who want to target people who frequent bars. That data will be sold again and again, then aggregated with other databases from other bars, until there is richly detailed information on every person who visits bars in the USA, on one hard disc that can fit in the palm of your hand. This is not speculation, this is a fact, and it is only possible because america has a defacto ID card; the driving license. A non machine readable ID card would make what is happening above impossible.

Next, we have the nonsense that ‘you already carry cards and are tracked’; it is a subtle deception. The fact that telephone companies and credit cards keep logs of your calls and purchases is actually irrelevant. Firstly telephone and credit card companies are not government organizations and the use of these services is not compulsory. Secondly you can also tailor these services to suit your needs; you can have a telephone number in any name that you like, or no name at all, to protect your identity. The same goes for credit cards; these are services provided for the benefit of customers, wheras compulsory, state issued ID cards exist for the benefit of government, not the citizen.

“It is important because instances where verification of identity is required tend to involve important transactions which could be open to abuse” This is another bare faced lie; buying alcohol, cigarettes or prescription drugs are not ‘important transactions’ except to the purchaser, who will not want anyone to know that he is taking an anti-venerial drug for example, or buying a half bottle of Stoli every lunchtime.

Under the bill, the Secretary of State can revoke a card under specific circumstances, aimed at the prevention of fraud and the protection of the cardholder’s identity.

This is utter nonsense and doublespeak; if you look at it carefully however its implications are frightening, and actually confirm the contents of the anonymous email and the other warnings of the anti ID camp. If the Home Secretary is going to revoke your card ‘for prevention of fraud’ this means that he is going to be asked to do this quite alot, meaning more than ten times a day. This means that there will have to be a special department set up to handle the revocation of cards. It means that there will be a point of entry for fraudsters to create new identites for themselves. It also means that there will need to be someone other than the home secretary making these determinations. That means an office full of people like the person below.

It means that your identity can be ‘shut off’ probably by a single phone call. All of a sudden, your card will stop working for no reason. You will not be able to withdraw money or buy your prescription or travel. Quite apart from this disruption, you will then have to enter a beaurocratic nightmare of the sort suffered by the people who are ground up by Lunar House, where immigration is processed.

Of course, you will have to pay fort the privilege of having your card replaced.

It has to be said also, that just because ID fraud is on the rise this is not a reason for HMG to create a huge, cumbersome, badly designed compulsory ID card system, that violates every citizen. It would be far better that industry tailors its products so that they meet the needs of customers; reducing fraud between private people is not a job for the state.

I note that, like other opponents of the scheme, Henry Porter fails to offer his readers any alternative means of safeguarding their identities. Identity fraud is a growing threat and we know that it enables other crime, including terrorism.
Andy Burnham
Under Secretary of State, Home Office, London SW1


Incredible. He couldn’t resist throwing in the terrorism line when this has now been admitted to be nonsense even by the government itself. It is yet another lie, in the vein of ‘if you repeat a lie enough times, it becomes the truth’.

Many people have put forward ideas for making documents more secure and have offered alternatives to ID cards; the government is not interested in them because they all return power to the user, and eliminate the opportunity to track ordinary people, which is the true and sinister purpose of this scheme.

Frankly, if this is the quality of person that is in charge of everything, we are in very serious trouble, and since he is at the top, can you imagine the untrammeled incompetence of the people who will be actually running the ID card programme should it not be stopped? It doesn’t bear thinking about. Here are some links of what ‘doesn’t bear thinking about’ means, lest we forget:

From The Blarchive

DVLA man helped animal activists

Barry Saul Dickinson

Dickinson used the DVLA’s computer records to find the addresses

A vehicle registration official who gave drivers’ addresses to animal rights activists has been jailed for five months. Barry Saul Dickinson, 34, of Manor Forstal, New Ash Green, Kent, was convicted at Stafford Crown Court of misconduct in a public office.

He had enabled protesters to find people connected to a guinea pig farm in Staffordshire.

A police spokesman said information had been used to “terrorise” families.

Insp Dave Bird of Staffordshire Police, said: “This was a breach of trust of the highest order – Dickinson abused his position as a public servant.

“Dickinson accessed DVLA computer systems to look up people’s registration numbers […]

And again:

On page 8 and 9 of the June 1st edition of MCN there is an article about 15 people who had the category ‘A’ section of their motorcycle licenses deleted when they either changed address or changed their paper driving licence to a photo card license.

This is a very important story, not only because it shows how government agencies cannot run simple databases, but it demonstrates the sort of attitude the ID agency will adopt if everyone in the UK is compelled to be entered into a ‘National Identity Register’.

The DVLA erased the motocycle ‘entitlement’ of an unknown number of riders, and had these responses to give when MCN questioned them about the mistakes:


MCN: Have you lost acategories from licences?
DVLA: The agency has no knowledge of any data loss occuring since its operations began in 1972, through instances such as the fire alluded to in your article (MCN, April 27)

MCN: Is it possible a category could have been deleted?
DVLA: When the driving records were converted from the local authorities to DVLA in the early ’70s, the details from some 18 million old-style ‘red-book’ licences were transferred to the DVLA database. Due to the scale and complexity of hte excersise inevitably some errors were made which could have resulted ini the driver’s entitlement being incorrectly recorded.

MCN: Are victims of errors entitled to compensation?
DVLA: If, during the course of any such investigations concerning incorrectly held data, it is established that the agency has been responsible for an error, then we consider any claims fo rcompensation.

MCN: Will the DVLA reinstate a category on a licence?
DVLA: If valid evidence of incorrectly held data is recieved from the data subjecte, the agency will, as a matter of course, take all steps to ensure that an individual’s record is updated, and, if appropriate, issue revised documentation.

MCN: Does the DVLA accept responsibility?
DVLA: The agency always emphasises the need for the driver to examine thier licence and to bring any discrepancy to its attention. […]

And so on, from The Blarchive. In these cases, simply replace ‘license’ with ‘ID card’. Once again this is not speculation, these two instances are FACT.

The anonymous email stands.

STRP Festival Eindhoven

Saturday, March 25th, 2006

I just got back from performing at the STRP Festival in Eindhoven; a new technology, music and arts event.

There were many superb performances. There were many fascinating installations and many sensor driven robots / things one of which was exceptional. Many runners ran on this one.

The staff were gracious and perfectly organized, the hospitality first class. The punters were of the highest intelligence and good taste.

The event took place in the former Phillips factory, Philips of course, being the inventors of the Compact Disc.

Many years ago, I wrote some essays on CD and digital audio which caused controversy and triggered accusations of ludditery against their noble author.

Now 14 years later, I perform a set of Fine Art Noise whose very nature is absolutely tied to and created from the specification of Compact Disc, in the very building that saw its initial development.

This was a great thrill for me; to enter this historic building, and to shock it from the inside with a mind destroying cascade of CD derived sound, in the place of CDs birth, the sound of the performance being a near echo of labor pangs that this factory felt as it unleahsed the idea and product that would totally change the way people consume music forever.

Another circle.

Withold your license fee

Saturday, March 25th, 2006

BBC in product placement shock
[….] ‘We would never knowingly insert the product of any company and try to pass it off as a news story’, said a source. ‘The BBC is an independent service for the British license payer. The only way a story like this could get onto our news site would be if there were internal corruption – someone taking massive backhanders.’ he continued. ‘Unless the story comes from Arslikhan PR, of course.’ […]

Hyshot III being launched

The Hyshot III was attached to the front of a conventional rocket

A new jet engine designed to fly at seven times the speed of sound appears to have been successfully tested.The scramjet engine, the Hyshot III, was launched at Woomera, 500km north of Adelaide in Australia, on the back of a two stage Terrier-Orion rocket.

Once 35km up, the Hyshot III fell back to Earth, reaching speeds analysts hope will have topped Mach 7.6 (9,000 km/h).

It is hoped the British designed Hyshot III will pave the way for ultra fast, intercontinental air travel.

An international team of researchers is presently analysing data from the experiment, to see if it was a full success.

The scientists had just six seconds to monitor its performance before the £1m engine crashed into the ground.

Rachel Owen, a researcher from UK defence firm QinetiQ, which designed the scramjet, said it looked like everything had gone according to plan.[…]

‘We’d hoped to get some coverage, but to be placed so highly on the BBC site is exactly what we needed, what with the recent share price slide. The BBC reports give us an air of respectability one just doesn’t get with the Queensland Daily Sheepskinner, for example. No disrespect, of course.’ […]^width=177&co_dimension^height=130&tiny_chart=1&co_border^set=-1

Teacher wins police DNA battle???

Thursday, March 23rd, 2006

A teacher accused of hitting a child with a ruler, but never prosecuted, has won a legal battle to have her DNA sample and fingerprints destroyed.

Philippa Jones, from Birmingham, was arrested in June last year following allegations she hit a boy aged eight.

The High Court said her DNA sample, fingerprints and photograph should have been destroyed within 28 days.

She will also receive £250 damages from West Midlands Police for false imprisonment and assault.

What the question now is: Have they been destroyed and who can verify that they have?

I’m under no illusions about the police will have, in all probability, retained this womans fingerprints and DNA on their database despite her ‘victory’ in the courts. In situations like this, who is independent of the Police and has the authority to actually check the PNC that this womans records have been destroyed?

Double Penetration

Thursday, March 23rd, 2006

Warning on Euro licences
By David Rennie in Brussels
(Filed: 22/03/2006)

A new Europe-wide driving licence could become “an identity card by the back door”, a British Euro-MP warned yesterday.

Transport ministers are expected to approve the single driving licence for 25 nations at talks next week.

The document, the size of a credit card and replacing 110 types of licence in use in the member states, will be phased in over 20 years between 2012 and 2032.

Britain is backing the move as a practical anti-fraud measure which will make it much easier to check valid licences across Europe.

But Ian Hudghton, a Scottish Euro-MP, called for safeguards to prevent the licence becoming, in effect, part of a Europe-wide identity card system.

He welcomed measures to make Europe’s roads safer, including a single driving licence to prevent drivers banned in one country obtaining a licence in another.

But he added: “If we are to have a Europe-wide driving licence scheme there must be safeguards. Otherwise it could herald a European ID card system by the back door.

“Many people would be unhappy about the prospect of a single EU identity card, just as they are unhappy about the prospect of identity cards being introduced by Tony Blair’s Government.


So. They are trying to get an ID card throught the front door, AND the back door.

It’s positively pornographic.

Imagine the WASTE this will produce; it is a pure sign of what this is really all about; the contracts to produce and manage identiy systems across the western hemisphere.

There is absolutely no need for an EU driving licence, and of course, the next document they will want to produce is a unified EU Passport.

Why should there be an EU driving licence when passports from different countries are accepted without question? Because cars are a fantastic source of revenue; if they can consolidate the driving licences and all the car registrations in a new EU car registration structure, they will have a huge revenue resource. Any car in your country can be taxed and each member state will be able to fleece the driver as he crosses borders, whereas now, this cannot happen.

And finally, there is no need for any of this. All they need to do is to allow each authority access to the other authorities systems through a single interface. This would cost much less, whilst having the same effect of wiping out everyone’s jurisdictional insulation.

Snarfed from here.

English Bill Of Rights of 1688 Full Text

Thursday, March 23rd, 2006

“Bill of Rights 1688”

An Act Declareing the Rights and Liberties of the Subject and Setleing the Succession of the Crowne

Whereas the Lords Spirituall and Temporall and Commons assembled at Westminster lawfully fully and freely representing all the Estates of the People of this Realme did upon the thirteenth day of February in the yeare of our Lord one thousand six hundred eighty eight present unto their Majesties then called and known by the Names and Stile of William and Mary Prince and Princesse of Orange being present in their proper Persons a certaine Declaration in Writeing made by the said Lords and Commons in the Words following viz

Whereas the late King James the Second by the Assistance of diverse evill Counsellors Judges and Ministers imployed by him did endeavour to subvert and extirpate the Protestant Religion and the Lawes and Liberties of this Kingdome

1. By Assumeing and Exerciseing a Power of Dispensing with and Suspending of Lawes and the Execution of Lawes without consent of Parlyament.

Bringing EU law into UK law.

2. By Committing and Prosecuting diverse Worthy Prelates for humbly Petitioning to be excused from Concurring to the said Assumed Power.

3. By issueing and causeing to be executed a Commission under the Great Seale for Erecting a Court called The Court of Commissioners for Ecclesiasticall Causes.

4. By Levying Money for and to the Use of the Crown by pretence of Prerogative for other time and in other manner than the same was granted by Parlyament.

Spending money for War without permission of the population.

5. By raising and keeping a Standing Army within this Kingdome in time of Peace without Consent of Parlyament and Quartering Soldiers contrary to Law.

Military industrial complex.

6. By causing several good Subjects being Protestants to be disarmed at the same time when Papists were both Armed and Imployed contrary to Law.

Banning guns after a single incedent.

7. By Violating the Freedome of Election of Members to serve in Parlyament.

Postal Ballots.

8. By Prosecutions in the Court of Kings Bench for Matters and Causes cognizable onely in Parlyament and by diverse other Arbitrary and Illegal Courses.

Secret court sessions; terrorism act.

9. And whereas of late years Partial Corrupt and Unqualifyed Persons have been returned and served on Juryes in Tryalls and particularly diverse Jurors in Tryalls for High Treason which were not Freeholders.

Ending trial by jury. Introducing double jeopardy.

10. And excessive Baile hath beene required of Persons committed in Criminall Cases to elude the Benefitt of the Lawes made for the Liberty of the Subjects.

Tagging of prisoners.

11. And excessive Fines have been imposed.

Taxes taxes and more taxes, and fines.

12. And illegall and cruell Punishments inflicted.

Rendition. Guantanamo.

13. And severall Grants and Promises made of Fines and Forfeitures before any Conviction or Judgement against the Personsupon whome the same were to be levied.

‘Criminals’ can now have their assets siezed without reason. Transfers of cash must now be reported to government if they are ‘too big’.

All which are utterly and directly contrary to the known Lawes and Statutes and Freedome of this Realme. […]

We have been here before it seems.

Parliament must be completely reformed and made into a tool whose sole purpose is to serve the population. That means they must be made into street sweepers and ditch clearers. International shenanigans, intrigue, nation building, border drawing –  none of this has anything to do with clean streets and our rights.

The Final Powergrab: the power to make law at will

Thursday, March 23rd, 2006

What’s The Problem?

The boringly-named Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill is in fact a very dangerous piece of legislation. It grants any minister the ability to amend, replace, or repeal existing legislation. The frightening thing is this: they would be able to make major changes to the law without Parliament being able to examine it properly, taking away the ability of Parliament to meaningfully represent the citizens of this country.


The only limitations are that the changes may not:

  • impose new taxes,
  • create new criminal offenses with a sentence of more than 2 years, or
  • authorise forced entry, search or seizure, or compel the giving of evidence.

This means that if a minister got up in a bad mood, he could decide to make laughing in public punishable by 2 years in prison by amending the Serious Organised Crime Act. Or if he was late to work, he could arbitrarily do away with speed limits by amending the Road Traffic Act.

More worryingly, the minister involved can amend any existing legislation; nothing is protected. So, as was pointed out in The Times by 6 law professors from Cambridge, a minister could abolish trial by jury, suspend habeas corpus (your right not to be arbitrarily arrested), or change any of the legislation governing the legal system.

That’s 700 years of democracy and the rule of law, thrown away in a heartbeat. What’s left of the Magna Carta, the foundation of just about all modern democracies, would be finally gone, and our Parliament, which has influenced democratic systems all over the world, would just be a footnote in history.

What Is It For?

Ministers claim that the bill is needed to allow them to cut down on red tape, to help eliminate unnecessary regulation and bureaucracy without having to go through Parliament, thus speeding up the whole process and making it more efficient.

However, there is nothing in the bill that restricts it only to that use. It can be used to change any legislation, without exception. Moreover, the government has actually rejected amendments that would have limited the power of the Bill.

Rigorous Safeguards

The government has referred to the protection provided by the “rigorous safeguards” that are built into the bill. However, these are in fact far from rigorous. The only safeguard is that the minister who is making the order should be convinced that:

  1. the policy objective intended to be secured by the provision could not be satisfactorily secured by non-legislative means;
  2. the effect of the provision is proportionate to the policy objective;
  3. the provision, taken as a whole, strikes a fair balance between the public interest and the interests of any person adversely affected by it;
  4. the provision does not remove any necessary protection;
  5. the provision does not prevent any person from continuing to exercise any right or freedom which that person might reasonably expect to continue to exercise.

These are vague at best, and seeing as only the minister involved has to be satisfied with the answers, these safeguards give no protection at all. Even senior government figures have called the safeguards “inadequate”.


The Bill also allows ministers to give the power to pass laws to other individuals, who are not necessarily ministers. This delegation means that unelected officials, or even people outside government, could easily end up with the power to make laws that bind us all.

For instance, an order could be passed that allowed police superintendents to retrospectively create new offences, which could be punishable by up to 2 years’ imprisonment. This would make policing “more efficient” as it would avoid losing cases on legal technicalities. The Bill is unclear on whether these delegated orders would have to go before Parliament at all!

We Have Their Word

When presenting the bill, Jim Murphy MP, who seems to have the job of getting this bill passed, said:

I give the House clear undertakings, which I shall repeat in Committee, that the orders will not be used to implement highly controversial reforms.

This is not enough. The current government can promise not to abuse its power all it likes, but can it speak for every government that will exist after it? If the bill should not be used for “controversial reforms”, then that limitation should be written into the bill. As it stands, the bill can modify any existing legislation, without exception.

Do you trust the current government with that kind of power? Even if you do, do you automatically trust every future government with that same power?

Self Modifying

One of the most dangerous aspects of the Bill is that it also applies to itself. This means that even the few safeguards and limitations that are built into the bill could be removed without Parliamentary scrutiny.

Rushed Through

On top of all its problems, the bill is being rushed through Parliament very quickly. This bill has massive significance for the constitution of the UK, and yet Parliament will have only one hour in which to debate it during its third reading.

The bill recently completed its progress through the Committee Stage of the House of Commons without any major changes, so this bill is in serious danger of going all the way without being stopped!

Next: What Can I Do?

As I have said before; we are long past the time where we should not have to keep looking over our shoulder because new law is coming over the horizon. In order for this populatoin to be free, legislation needs to be constantly removed from the statues, not added. Parilament should be instructed only to remove legislation, and not to introduce new legislation.

US wants to hold up Canadian traffic

Thursday, March 23rd, 2006

Canadian diplomat says new U.S. border security measures are onerous 

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) – Canada’s top representative in New England came to Vermont on Wednesday to plead for help in opposing tough new border security measures planned by Washington on the U.S.-Canadian border.

Stan Keyes, the consul general at the Canadian Consulate in Boston, made his pitch at a luncheon with members of the general affairs committees of the state House of Representatives and Senate, where he had a sympathetic audience.

Keyes sought to emphasize Vermont and the United States’ long-standing trade relationship with Canada, and argued that both international trade and tourism could be severely hurt if the U.S. administration pushes ahead with its plan.

Rules crafted by the State and Homeland Security departments, designed to implement legislation passed by Congress in 2004, will require passports for air and sea travel between Canada and the U.S. and between other Western Hemisphere countries and the U.S. They take effect at the end of this year.

Effective Dec. 31, 2007, crossing land borders into the U.S. also will require a passport or a specially designed “PASS card,” which would not be usable at air or seaports. New rules designed to bring more scrutiny to truck traffic and other commerce also are being developed, said Jarrod Agen, spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security in Washington.

The new rules will “seriously impede some $1.1 billion in trade and hundreds of thousands of travellers who cross the U.S.-Canadian border every day,” Keyes said.

Keyes said Canada’s desire for a go-slow approach to the new rules had won support from governors around New England and in other border states, and that several state legislatures were working on or had passed resolutions containing the same message.

He said he hoped Vermont legislators would pass a currently pending joint resolution that would put them on record as opposing the new rules.

In an earlier comment to a post I talked about something like this, and sure enough here you go. What this ambassador fails to understand is that the US wants to do this to the entire world. The fact it does a lot of trade with us is irrelevant, the fact that many businesses and families rely on the (perfectly reasonable) easy border-cross is meaningless. I think it’s quite clear the US simply wishes to make it very difficult for any travel over its borders, in either direction, because it wants to establish some kind of psychotic police state (we’ve talked about that ad nauseum…). In this case, it really doesn’t matter if everyone involved “opposes the new rules.” Everyone benefits from how things are right now. I know I benefit from it in some way, and would even more if for some (ludicrous) reason I wanted to cross the border. That doesn’t matter. Homeland Security is not about making advantageous decisions… can’t people see what its real agenda actually is? Sheesh.

gpg flaw

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006

GnuPG does not detect injection of unsigned data
(released 2006-03-09, CVE-2006-0049)


In the aftermath of the false positive signature verfication bug
(announced 2006-02-15) more thorough testing of the fix has been done
and another vulnerability has been detected.



Signature verification of non-detached signatures may give a positive
result but when extracting the signed data, this data may be prepended
or appended with extra data not covered by the signature. Thus it is
possible for an attacker to take any signed message and inject extra
arbitrary data.

Detached signatures (a separate signature file) are not affected.

All versions of gnupg prior to are affected.


GPG [announce]

Those of you using earlier versions of GPG will no doubt want to upgrade.

They must be on drugs!

Tuesday, March 21st, 2006

Dutch coffee shops introduce fingerprint ID

Jan Libbenga / The Register | March 21 2006

Some Dutch coffee shops, which sell marijuana in small quantities for personal use, are introducing fingerprinting technology to check the age of customers.

The shops are not allowed to sell to anyone under the age of 18. Coffee shops currently require photographic ID for proof of age.

The first coffee shops to use turnstiles with built-in fingerprint sensors are Inpetto in Rotterdam, Birdy in Haarlem, and ‘t Rotterdammertje in Doetinchem in the east of the country. Customers must first register with the shops, but personal details will not be stored.

The technology has been developed by FingerIdent, a company owned by Gerrie Mansur, one of the members of legendary Dutch hacking group Hit2000. According to Mansur, the system can match 35,000 fingerprints in less than a second. […]

Heh…’I couldn’t resist’: the new catchphrase!

The lady doth protest too much, methinks

Tuesday, March 21st, 2006

The more the pigs squeal about how good things are, the more shit you know must be piling up.

The bigger the pig, the louder the squeal, the smellier the shit.

Blair is fundamentally wrong.

Bush is clueless.
Steve Bell is right on the money.

present and incorrect

Tuesday, March 21st, 2006

A NATIONAL identity card scheme will be a “present” to terrorists, criminal gangs and foreign spies, one of Britain’s most respected former intelligence agents has told ministers.


Baroness Park, who was made a peer by Margaret Thatcher, passed a withering verdict on the proposed cards, ridiculing ministers’ suggestions that the system will make people safer. In fact, she said, the complete opposite is true.

“The very creation of such an enormous national identity register will be a present to terrorists; it will be a splendid thing for them to disrupt and blow up [!!!-mm],” she said.

“It will also provide valuable information to organised crime and to the intelligence services of unfriendly countries. It will be accessible to all of these,” she said.

[via bribery and database cracking, but of course peoples lives will be disrupted by ‘functionally fit’ false ID without the need for accurate NIR information – because some companies or institutions will accept the cards at face value]

The warning about the risk of foreign spying comes at a time when MI5, the domestic security service, has cut its counter-espionage budget, prompting concerns among MPs who oversee the UK intelligence services.

Baroness Park concluded: “I find it extraordinarily difficult to believe why anyone would voluntarily and enthusiastically come forward and say: ‘Do let me join this dangerous club’.”

Baroness Park is not the first former intelligence officer to question the value of a national ID card. Dame Stella Rimington, the former head of MI5, last year said she did not believe the cards would make Britain any safer from terrorist attack; they would quickly be copied, she said.

Whereas Dame Stella’s background was in combating internal threats, especially the IRA, Baroness Park has extensive experience of foreign intelligence operations.


From The Scotsman

In other news another government IT project has failed it – but this time due to ‘user non-compliance’, ;

At the meeting, the head of the watchdog, Sir John Bourn, said his report will say the government project had failed to win the “hearts and minds” of the NHS staff required to use it.
The project’s failure to “take the people in the National Health Service with them” meant it had become a “focus of dissension” amongst GPs and consultants.

And of course I mean;

At the meeting, the head of the watchdog, said her report will say the NIR project had failed to win the “hearts and minds” of the public required to register.
The project’s failure to “take in the people of the country” meant it had become a “focus of dissension” amongst Citizens and Residents.