Tag Archives: MI5

Call for Social Media Websites to Provide Data

The new head of GCHQ, Robert Hannigan, has called for social media websites to work more closely with intelligence agencies to help reduce the threat of terrorist organisations.

The GCHQ is an intelligence and security organisation which aims to keep Britain safe.

Hannigan believes that the use of social media websites have become one of the primary methods of communication that terrorist organisations use in an attempt to avoid surveillance due to the reluctance of many social media companies to work with surveillance organisations.

Hannigan stated, “However much they [tech companies] may dislike it, they have become the command and control networks of choice for terrorists and criminals, who find their services as transformational as the rest of us. The challenge to governments and their intelligence agencies is huge – and it can only be met with greater co-operation from technology companies.”

Hannigan added, “GCHQ and its sister agencies, MI5 and the Secret Intelligence Service, cannot tackle these challenges at scale without greater support from the private sector, including the largest US technology companies which dominate the web.”

Jamie Bartlett who is the author of the book The Dark Net: Inside The Digital Underworld, believes that it is a very difficult issue to deal with due to the sophisticated methods that the organisations use to try and avoid censorship.

Bartlett stated, “It is incredibly difficult for them [intelligence agencies] and the police and indeed on the big internet service providers to actually get a handle on just how much propaganda, how much material is being produced and shared by Islamic State and other terrorist groups on these platforms.”

Bartlett added, “What we’ve seen with Islamic State and indeed every other terrorist group is quite a sophisticated way of avoiding censorship. Islamic State has been really very good at creating hundreds of different accounts on Twitter and Facebook and every time they’re closed down, they simply start again.”

There will always be a problem with just how much information people and service providers believe is a suitable amount to provide intelligence and security organisations.

It is therefore very important that whatever information you provide to a social media website, that you are happy and understand that it may find its way to an intelligence and security organisation.

Do you think that social media websites should be made to work more closely with intelligence and security organisations?

NSA to Recruit via Twitter

The National Security Agency (NSA) has taken the unusual step of looking to recruit new employees through Twitter.

On Monday 5th May, the NSA released a tweet on its ‘@NSACareers’ account which appeared to be random letters and spaces. The tweet was ended with the following hashtags: #MissionMonday #NSA #News.

At first, Twitter users believed that the account had been hacked or that it was an NSA employee playing a trick on everyone. However, it soon became a realisation that it was actually a legitimate tweet and the start of a recruitment process.

Marci Green Miller who is a spokeswoman for the NSA confirmed that it was a legitimate tweet.

Marci Green Miller told the Daily Dot, “The NSA is known as the code makers and code breakers. As part of our recruitment efforts to attract the best and the brightest, we will post mission related coded Tweets on Mondays in the month of May.”

It didn’t take long for the code breakers to work their magic as the code was deciphered in a matter of minutes. The deciphered code read, “Want to know what it takes to work at NSA? Check back each Monday in May as we explore career essentials to protect our nation.”

It is expected that the codes will become more complex each week with its aim to whittle down the number of candidates to leave only those that may be of interest to the NSA recruiters.

This isn’t the first instance where intelligence agencies have used usual methods to recruit new members of staff. Britain’s intelligence services have placed cryptic adverts in newspapers and last year, MI5 advertised for a health and safety officer but didn’t actually provide any details about the job.

This method of recruitment that the NSA has undertaken is unusual but may pay dividends as it may unearth some code breakers who are completely unknown to them or those who would have never dreamt of working for the NSA.


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