Mark Collins – MI6: UK HUMINT Spooks Going Cyber, Including Social Media

It’s a brave new espionage world:

MI6 to recruit hundreds more staff in response to digital technology
Worldwide intelligence agencies increasingly rely upon internet and social media rather than running of agents

mi6.jpg
The government announced last year the security services would be given 1,900 additional staff – MI6 is the main beneficiary. Photograph: Tim Ireland/PA

The UK’s overseas intelligence agency is to recruit hundreds more staff over the next four years in response to the pace of change in digital technology.

MI6 [website here], which employs 2,500 people at present, deals with intelligence-gathering and operations abroad, while MI5 is responsible for security within the UK.

The government announced last year that the security services would be given 1,900 additional staff – and MI6 is the main beneficiary. BBC’s Newsnight put the rise in staff for MI6 at 1,000 but it is believed to be fewer than that, though still substantial.

There is increasing reliance by worldwide intelligence agencies upon the internet, social media and changes such as facial recognition; rather than the running of agents as in the past.

One fear is that easier access to information, tracking and cross-checking can also be used against MI6 operatives.

The head of MI6, Alex Younger [more here and here], speaking in Washington DC on Tuesday [Sept. 20], said: “The information revolution fundamentally changes our operating environment. In five years’ time there will be two sorts of intelligence services: those that understand this fact and have prospered, and those that don’t and haven’t. And I’m determined that MI6 will be in the former category.

“The third and most important part of British intelligence is the surveillance agency GCHQ, which in partnership with the US National Security Agency, is responsible for scooping up most of the intelligence through tracking phone calls, emails, chat lines and other communications.”..

Related:

UK Security Services’ Successful Bulk Data Collection; Need More Powers (Canada?)

Issues concerning the increasing operations abroad of CSIS, Canada’s–primarily domestic–security intelligence service, are considered here:

“Canada’s Security & Intelligence Community after 9/11: Key Challenges and Conundrums”

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Advertisements

One thought on “Mark Collins – MI6: UK HUMINT Spooks Going Cyber, Including Social Media”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s