back to article MoD 'How to stop leaks' guide leaks

A Ministry of Defence guide to preventing information leaking into the public domain has leaked into the public domain. The three volume, 2,300 page book includes information on dealing with investigative journalists, foreign agents and computer hackers as well as how to deal with typical approaches from Chinese and Russian …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does not Matter

    Everything Should of by now been migrated to the new speedy apparently less likely to embaress F network....

  2. MacroRodent Silver badge

    Security by pagecount

    "The three volume, 2,300 page book"

    That pretty much guarantees that those civil servents who would most benefit from information won't have the time for it. Or even most curious bystanders - I thought about downloading, but at 2300 pages, I'll skip.

    I suspect the only people reading it from cover to cover will be Russian and Chinese intelligence officers :-)

    Mine's the one with "The Spycatcher" in the pocket.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    omg lol

    You owe me a keyboard!

  4. bolccg

    Not a high classification...

    Restricted is the lowest of the security classifications (excluding things that aren't classified at all). Can't recall the exact definition of what should be restricted but it's relatively trivial stuff.

  5. Nigel Callaghan Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    How many pages?

    at 2,300 pages that's guaranteed not to be actually read (let alone remembered) by anyone - but which allows the powers-that-be to jump on some poor lowly drone and charge them with breaching the rules on page 1,769 subsection 3.

    Now, if they could condense it to 2 sides of A4 and turn it into a poster then it MIGHT actually get read and used.

    - and how much did the taxpayers pay for some waste of oxygen to write those 2300 pointless pages?

  6. TeeCee Gold badge

    Leaks on the internet?

    There's a guide for that.

  7. James 5

    "Theres more on the manual here"

    Not any more there isn't !

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @James 5

    Probably an editing goof in the article. You need quotation marks around "voracious" and "a mass ... businessmen" in the URL. Alternatively, type in UK espionage into the search box and it'll bring up the article. A couple more clicks gets you to the actual pdf.

  9. The Original Ash

    How to guarantee a document is leaked:

    Give it a security clearance level.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    @James 5

    yes there is.... use the https: version of wikileaks... I never thought anyone would have thought JSP440 worth leaking... oh well, takes all sorts I guess.

    AC cos well cos really.

  11. This post has been deleted by its author

  12. Matt 21

    The manual was probably......

    copy/pasted by some consultant from a publicly available book and the government was charge £200,000 for the privilege!

  13. Richard 102

    I wonder ...

    Could this somehow be intentional? I mean, surely such oppressive regimes like Russia, China, and the Chicago Board of Aldermen already have this. Could be like that line in Yes, Prime Minister:

    ARNOLD: Are you suggesting I leak highly confidential information?!

    HUMPHREY: No no! This is highly confidential DISinformation.

    ARNOLD: Ah. That's different.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    I don't like the very principle of this leak

    OK, this is a trivial document, but it *does* have a marking and should thus *not* be leaked. If you are trusted with certain information you should be able to honour that trust, and this document is not exactly creating the sort of ethical conflict where some *may* decide it's worth bypassing the rules initially agreed to (never been there, thankfully).

    Not impressed.

  15. Graham Marsden

    How to stop leaks...

    ... Rule 1: Don't leave your fucking laptops on the train!

  16. Adam Salisbury

    @ AC 11:23

    Awesome comment, if you've seen the calibre of technical expertise working on DII/F then you'll know that soon there will be nothing left to leak!

  17. MinionZero
    Thumb Up

    How not to hide stuff...

    @bolccg: "Can't recall the exact definition of what should be restricted but it's relatively trivial stuff"

    I'm guessing when its Top Secret, they don't print "Top Secret!" in great big red letters all over it to draw everyones attention to it ... or at least I hope they are not that stupid! ... then again, I have my doubts!

    Considering their past acts of astounding stupidity in the face of all reason, I would expect them to store Top Secret stuff on the floor, in an old torn floppy red cardboard box marked Top Secret under a bloody great red neon sign marked "Top Secret" that lights up like a fruit machine and plays "The Professionals" theme tune when anyone walks near it!

  18. Michael Fremlins

    2,300 pages?

    Nobody will ever read it.

    It makes me laugh. Seemingly every time that Whitehall makes a report or a document about something, it always runs to hundreds of pages. This guarantees that it won't be read. Perhaps that's the idea.

  19. John Edwards

    How to stop leaks no. 2

    Don't leave your laptop in a parked car.

  20. John Smith 19 Gold badge


    "I'm guessing when its Top Secret, they don't print "Top Secret!" in great big red letters all over it to draw everyones attention to it "

    Then you'd be guessing wrong in Jesusland, and I'm sure Lewis could comment on the practices of the MoD.

    The big red "Top Secret" is a *Warning* which should be read as "This document is Top Secret. If you are not authorised to read it, don't. If you find it some place it should'nt be (Empty train carriage, back of a cab, recentley vacated cubicle at "Bunny Adult Massage & Sauna" for examples) take it (or report it) to someone in authority to get it taken care of.


    It could be booby trapped in order to catch any potential spies out.

  21. RW

    Those 2,300 pages

    Like other commentators, one can only do an eye-bulging stare at the audacity of the bureaucracy in issuing *any* document that long.

    As for violating rule 2882(A)(b)(1.2)(subsection D) on page 1182, it seems to me a valid defense would be that the document is infeasibly long to read & comprehend and cannot represent any actual rules. It's just a set of pretend rules to allow victimization of selected workers at will.

    The bureaucrats responsible for this nonsense will, of course, dispute this analysis, but whether intentional or not, that's the net effect.

    It's a legal maxim that "ignorance of the law is no excuse" but with as many laws on the books as there are these days and as complex and detailed they are, it's time for some bold judge to accept that argument. Historically, statute law was little more than the codification of what everyone agreed was "the law" - don't rape, steal, or murder, and pay your taxes. But a great deal of modern legislation enforces principles for which there is no such consensus. Perhaps this is the great fault of NuLabour: that they have brought in law after law after law for ideological reasons, in the face of both reasoned and unreasoning opposition. Doesn't work, lads - anymore than any 2300 page book of rules works.

  22. N2 Silver badge

    The leakers guide to leaking

    i cant imagine anyone wanting to read 2300 pages of bollox

    cant they do anything without felling a rain forest?

  23. Anonymous Coward

    @ bolccg

    There's a level below Restricted, labelled Protect.

    But I agree with the other posters, this is protectively marked information, and as such should not have been leaked. Hopefully someone will lose their clearance over this.

  24. Simon C

    How to stop leaks no. 3

    Dont handover documents to the journo doing an investigative piece of behalf of the WIKI Observer.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Big red label

    I've worked there in the past to DV strap level, yes they have big stickers with TOP SECRET in red, also For Your Eyes Only, NOt to be Removed and other laughable stickers toplace all over the office world buff yellow couldnt make this stuff up, warning labels like "do not read this, if found hand it in to the nearest police station"

    AC cos i want to stay alive

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Well, someone as to say it

    As far as most folks working for the powers that be, the internet is just a bunch of pipes anyway. It is bound to develop some leaks now and then ...

  27. Lupus
    Thumb Up

    Ho ho!

    "A Ministry of Defence guide to preventing information leaking into the public domain has leaked into the public domain."

    That's made my day, that has!

  28. A J Stiles

    @ N2

    Paper is made from evergreen trees. Rainforests are deciduous.

  29. ZedsDead

    @Not a high classification

    Actually there is a newer classification that is lower than RESTRICTED and is called PROTECT and was implemented on 28th Feb 2007.

    PROTECT is generally for stuff not as sensitive as RESTRICTED information, and means it can travel via fax and email whereas RESTRICTED information cannot.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    When I was in the Civil Service (a long time ago) "RESTRICTED" meant don't take it home, and don't give it to the Press.

    So an epic fail there then...

    AC, because I signed Section 2, Sub section 2 paragraph c of the Official Secrets Act.

  31. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    How many pages ...

    ... came from a travesty generator?

    Did amanfromMars contribute?

  32. kurucu

    It is still restricted

    "Trivial" or not, a classification is a classification, and by being marked as such indicates that the document is not for general public release. How precisely does the release of this information on WikiLeaks help towards a safer public? Truthful it may be, but there is a reason why some documents are kept out of the public domain. Indeed, Restricted does not necessarily mean that the public can't see it - just that they should not tell people about it who do not need to know.

    I don't suppose that this document has everything we suspect/know about the Chinese and other foreign intelligence agencies, but either way the less they know about what we know the better. We are talking about our national security here, and while most of the information this might give them access to (by knowing how not to ask) might be relatively 'trivial' or useless to them, it's that one important thing (perhaps that no one thought of) that this document and the classification system was designed to protect.

    Woe betide the employee who let it slip. But no one is immune to prosecution for this - it is your obligation as a British citizen to return it to its owner, which would have been very clear on the front of the document. I find it depressing that we have so little pride or respect for ourselves, that we laugh about this sort of mistake rather than get angry.

  33. Anonymous Coward

    Out of date

    look at the title, it says 2001, so thats what... 8 years old. Friend working in MOD says its just one volume now and they put out a new issue every year. So hardly think anything in it is going to be news to anyone! Fail..says it all!

  34. This post has been deleted by its author

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    This is basically an over-zealous implementation of ISO27001 - Information Governance stuff. It's what the NHS and loads of other businesses have been using for years! In fact, it's obvious it's based on ISO27001 in the first few pages - it mentions Confidentiality, integrity and availability!

    That said, our manual makes the certifiable grade at 55 pages, I can't for the life of me figure out how they stretched it to >2,000 pages!!


    Must Be Read Into Holes?

    When Country is in Danger, or a "Guide on How to Meet Local Counterintelligence Interrogator for Primary Group of Risk for the Nation: Agents, Journalists and Hackers".

    You will hear a scratching metal-to-bone noise inside your crank on page about nearly 2000, I suppose, but the knowledge of whose hand holds this spoon will be in the eaten out location already.

    Just to digitize and put all these pages together, if there are scanned papers, not just txt... Das Man Kann... Somehow nearly Voganic.

    Somebody who already clicked on , is the Guide really in pdf?

    Article +, Reg rocks as always with headline.


  37. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    I'm downloading it

    I may live to regret it but I’ve downloaded it. The way I see it, I have a right to know what the hell the governments departments are up to. Especially when I had no option to vote for our current One Eyed Scots Git of a leader (why does California Über Alles spring to mind?). Especially when all of our M.P.s and Lords have their fingers in the till.

    What am I going to vote next election, well if Madam Guillotine is running, I’ll vote for her. The rest, I don’t trust as far as I can spit.

  38. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  39. ZenCoder
    Big Brother

    Its all a conspiracy ...

    The real plan is to leak this 2300 page monstrosity with the hope the the Chinese will steal it and adopt it within their own intelligence community. The hope being that they will then actually waste countless man hours studying the manual and then faithfully implement its every directive. Their intelligence gathering activities will slowly grind to a halt under a mountain of paperwork.

    Or maybe they created an algorithm to carefully rearrange the sentence structure of pages 2100 to 2200 so that each copy contains a stenographic serial number.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    I wonder if..

    It says anything about *fully* checking the qualifications that your cleaning staff actually hold, not just what they've presented you with at the interview. (that is cleaners with mops'n'buckets'n'stuff, not the other sort..)


    It's amazing what cleaners get access to, like, oh, for, example a cleaner from Indistan with a doctorate in physics working in a Uni physics department., or the SEasian guy who couldn't speak much english,just engrish (then overheard when on the phone to someone, speaking near perfect english) or the cleaners employed by a london council/DHSS dept who were screwing the system by stealing appropriate blank forms for things like housing benefits etc, filling them in, and placing the completed forms back in the appropriate trays in both locations etc.,

    you get the idea..

    Or even contract security, especially those you find fiddling with computers when you pay an unexpected visit to yr place of work in the wee wee hours..

    I *like* security manuals, they're moderately amusing..(sad, I know, but IT security used to be my thing for a while, I no longer do it (or any IT work), but maintain a passing interest)

    a couple of thousand pages of Civilservice-MODspeak might whittle away a few boring hours, hell, its about twice as long as the LOTR trilogy, and (hopefully) there's no chance of it containing any bloody hobbits,elves or whatever reciting naff poetry or breaking into bloody twee songs...Damn, just given it a quick scan through, apart from the occasional tendency to degenerate into acronym soup its actually..readable..and sensible in places..ah well..

    Black Helicopters?, well, I'm not too worried there (see El Reg articles passim and re MOD whirlybirds and how naff they are..)

  41. Anonymous Coward

    @Does not matter

    HaHaHa thanks haven't laughed that hard for a while now.

    I'm still smerking now.

  42. Anonymous Coward

    I am not able to download neither pdf

    ... ("file is damaged and cannot be repaired") nor as txt (wikisomething says that they need a donation because they are overwhelmed by requests)....

    mmmh, now that you make think the second reason start to make sense, maybe "the leaker" of the document actually, you know, kinda get a commission :-D

    ah, by the way, from sociological point of view this thread explains why there in UK you have such a government.. it is possible to read comments of people truly worried about the leak...

    I mean, ask another average EU citzien how much would care about such a thing involving his/her own country...

  43. Anonymous Coward

    This page is intentionally left blank

    those seem to be the most meaningful pages I've found thusfar :)

    Example statement of the obvious:

    It is a fundamental tenet of Operations Security (OpSec), that nothing should be revealed to unauthorised persons that could either be of interest to any enemy, or of advantage to an attacker.

    Apparently, you might have admin rights on your MOD Windows system and you should not install illegal software:

    MOD cannot condone the illegal copying of software for use on a MOD system. All civilian and military personnel making, acquiring or using unauthorized copies of software expose themselves to internal disciplinary action and possible criminal prosecution.

    Thankfully, if the island goes down, I won't be on it :)

  44. Anonymous Coward

    Ha ha ha ha

    You're all so funny... 3 volumes (so a woefully incomplete set) of a version of JSP 440 nearly 9 years old makes it in unverifiable form onto the Internet, and you all think you have seen something worth seeing. Do grow up.

  45. Jason Yau


    This is it.

  46. not.known@this.address Bronze badge

    @"I wonder if..."

    Excellent!! I haven't laughed so hard at something on the 'Net for quite a while now... especially your critique of LOTR.

    Lucky my coffee is still downstairs waiting for me to go get it...

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