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Old 11-10-2006   #1
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Default The International Terrorist Threat to the U.K.

Speech by the Director of the Security Service, Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, at Queen Mary's College, 9 November 2006:

Quote:
... I speak not as a politician, nor as a pundit, but as someone who has been an intelligence professional for 32 years...

We now know that the first Al-Qaida-related plot against the UK was the one we discovered and disrupted in November 2000 in Birmingham. A British citizen is currently serving a long prison sentence for plotting to detonate a large bomb in the UK. Let there be no doubt about this: the international terrorist threat to this country is not new. It began before Iraq, before Afghanistan, and before 9/11.

In the years after 9/11, with atrocities taking place in Madrid, Casablanca, Bali, Istanbul and elsewhere, terrorists plotted to mount a string of attacks in the UK, but were disrupted...

Last month the Lord Chancellor said that there were a total of 99 defendants awaiting trial in 34 cases. Of course the presumption of innocence applies and the law dictates that nothing must be said or done which might prejudice the right of a defendant to receive a fair trial...

What I can say is that today, my officers and the police are working to contend with some 200 groupings or networks, totalling over 1600 identified individuals (and there will be many we don't know) who are actively engaged in plotting, or facilitating, terrorist acts here and overseas. The extremists are motivated by a sense of grievance and injustice driven by their interpretation of the history between the West and the Muslim world. This view is shared, in some degree, by a far wider constituency. If the opinion polls conducted in the UK since July 2005 are only broadly accurate, over 100,000 of our citizens consider that the July 2005 attacks in London were justified.

What we see at the extreme end of the spectrum are resilient networks, some directed from Al-Qaida in Pakistan, some more loosely inspired by it, planning attacks including mass casualty suicide attacks in the UK. Today we see the use of home-made improvised explosive devices; tomorrow's threat may include the use of chemicals, bacteriological agents, radioactive materials and even nuclear technology. More and more people are moving from passive sympathy towards active terrorism through being radicalised or indoctrinated by friends, families, in organised training events here and overseas, by images on television, through chat rooms and websites on the Internet.

The propaganda machine is sophisticated and Al-Qaida itself says that 50% of its war is conducted through the media. In Iraq, attacks are regularly videoed and the footage downloaded onto the Internet within 30 minutes. Virtual media teams then edit the result, translate it into English and many other languages, and package it for a worldwide audience. And, chillingly, we see the results here. Young teenagers being groomed to be suicide bombers.

We are aware of numerous plots to kill people and to damage our economy. What do I mean by numerous? Five? Ten? No, nearer thirty - that we know of. These plots often have links back to Al-Qaida in Pakistan and through those links Al-Qaida gives guidance and training to its largely British foot soldiers here on an extensive and growing scale. And it is not just the UK of course. Other countries also face a new terrorist threat: from Spain to France to Canada and Germany...

But just consider this. A terrorist spectacular would cost potentially thousands of lives and do major damage to the world economy. Imagine if a plot to bring down several passenger aircraft succeeded. Thousands dead, major economic damage, disruption across the globe. And Al-Qaida is an organisation without restraint.

There has been much speculation about what motivates young men and women to carry out acts of terrorism in the UK. My Service needs to understand the motivations behind terrorism to succeed in countering it, as far as that is possible. Al-Qaida has developed an ideology which claims that Islam is under attack, and needs to be defended.

This is a powerful narrative that weaves together conflicts from across the globe, presenting the West's response to varied and complex issues, from long-standing disputes such as Israel/Palestine and Kashmir to more recent events as evidence of an across-the-board determination to undermine and humiliate Islam worldwide. Afghanistan, the Balkans, Chechnya, Iraq, Israel/Palestine, Kashmir and Lebanon are regularly cited by those who advocate terrorist violence as illustrating what they allege is Western hostility to Islam.

The video wills of British suicide bombers make it clear that they are motivated by perceived worldwide and long-standing injustices against Muslims; an extreme and minority interpretation of Islam promoted by some preachers and people of influence; and their interpretation as anti-Muslim of UK foreign policy, in particular the UK's involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Killing oneself and others in response is an attractive option for some citizens of this country and others around the world...

As I said earlier, I have been an intelligence officer for some 32 years. And I want again to describe what intelligence is and is not. I wish life were like 'Spooks', where everything is (a) knowable, and (b) soluble by six people. But those whose plans we wish to detect in advance are determined to conceal from us what they intend to do. And every day they learn. From the mistakes of others. From what they discover of our capabilities from evidence presented in court, and from leaks to the media.

Moreover, intelligence is usually bitty and needs piecing together, assessing, judging. It takes objectivity, integrity and a sceptical eye to make good use of intelligence: even the best of it never tells the whole story. On the basis of such incomplete information, my Service and the police make decisions on when and how to take action, to protect public safety...

We are faced by acute and very difficult choices of prioritisation. We cannot focus on everything so we have to decide on a daily basis with the police and others where to focus our energies, whom to follow, whose telephone lines need listening to, which seized media needs to go to the top of the analytic pile. Because of the sheer scale of what we face (80% increase in casework since January), the task is daunting. We won't always make the right choices. And we recognise we shall have scarce sympathy if we are unable to prevent one of our targets committing an atrocity...

As I speak, my staff, roughly 2,800 of them, (an increase of almost 50% since 9/11, 25% under 30, over 6% from ethnic minorities, with 52 languages, with links to well over 100 services worldwide), are working very hard, at some cost to their private lives and in some cases their safety, to do their utmost to collect the intelligence we need.

The first challenge is to find those who would cause us harm, among the 60 million or so people who live here and the hundreds of thousands who visit each year. That is no easy task, particularly given the scale and speed of radicalisation and the age of some being radicalised.

The next stage is to decide what action to take in response to that intelligence. Who are merely talking big, and who have real ambitions? Who have genuine aspirations to commit terrorism, but lack the know-how or materials? Who are the skilled and trained ones, who the amateurs? Where should we and the police focus our finite resources? ...

On July 8 last year I spoke to all my staff. I said that what we feared would happen had finally happened. I reminded them that we had warned that it was a matter of when, not if, and that they were trained to respond - indeed many had been up all night, from the intelligence staff to the catering staff. I told them that we had received many messages of support from around the world, and that we, along with our colleagues in the police and emergency services, were in the privileged position of being able to make a difference. And we did. And we have done so since.

My Service is growing very rapidly. By 2008 it will be twice the size it was at 9/11. We know much more than we did then. We have developed new techniques, new sources, new relationships. We understand much better the scale and nature of what we are tackling but much is still obscure and radicalisation continues. Moreover, even with such rapid growth, we shall not be able to investigate nearly enough of the problem, so the prioritisation I mentioned earlier will remain essential but risky. And new intelligence officers need to be trained. That takes time as does the acquisition of experience, the experience that helps one with those difficult choices and tough judgements...

That brings me on to my final point. None of this can be tackled by my Service alone. Others have to address the causes, counter the radicalisation, assist in the rehabilitation of those affected, and work to protect our way of life...

Safety for us all means working together to protect those we care about, being alert to the danger without over-reacting, and reporting concerns. We need to be alert to attempts to radicalise and indoctrinate our youth and to seek to counter it. Radicalising elements within communities are trying to exploit grievances for terrorist purposes; it is the youth who are being actively targeted, groomed, radicalised and set on a path that frighteningly quickly could end in their involvement in mass murder of their fellow UK citizens, or their early death in a suicide attack or on a foreign battlefield...
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Old 11-27-2011   #2
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Default The British on intelligence: a collection (SIS, MI5, GCHQ & more)

London, Nov 25(ANI): UK Ministry of Defence(MoD) had over 280 computers lost or stolen in the past 18 months, according to official figures.
The figures indicated that 188 laptops, 99 desktops, 72 hard discs and 73 USB memory sticks went missing.
The MoD also lost 18 mobile phones, 10 BlackBerry phones,194 compact discs and 150 back-up tapes used to store information.
One thirty five other items, including USB tokens, radios, 3G cards and cameras, were also reported lost or stolen during the Coalition's tenure.
UK Defence Secretary Andrew Robathan said 21 laptops were lost in a single incident in Germany, and 20 laptops, that were reportedly lost in a separate incident, were traced.

http://in.news.yahoo.com/over-280-uk...GVzdAM-;_ylv=3
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Old 11-27-2011   #3
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Default Keep a sense of proportion

Sadly not the first time, although I do not recall other departments releasing such information.

Best of all was this debacle in 2007:
Quote:
Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said he "profoundly regrets" the loss of 25 million child benefit records....includes names, dates of birth, bank and address details...
Link:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7104945.stm

Senior civil servants stated the HMRC data loss had a greater impact on public confidence in the state than the Iraqi WMD furore.
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Old 12-10-2011   #4
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Default MI5 rebuffed in court case over a Russian spy

An article commenting on a recent immigration court case in London, where the government tried to expel a Russian young lady, Katia Zatuliveter, based on a case assembled by the Security Service (MI5):
Quote:
The FBI’s investigation into the sleeper spy ring in the USA was an impressive intelligence operation, producing detailed, irrefutable evidence for the public record. The MI5 investigation into British parliamentary aide Katia Zatuliveter was quite different — superficial, speculative and spontaneous. Nick Fielding, an expert witness in Zatuliveter’s successful deportation appeal, believes serious questions must now be asked of the agency entrusted with Britain’s national security.
Link:http://www.opendemocracy.net/od-russ...tuliveter-case

Interesting comparison made with the Anna Chapman spy ring in the USA:
Quote:
On June 27, 2010, the FBI arrested 10 illegal agents of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, or SVR. This long-running foreign counterintelligence investigation was code-named Ghost Stories within the FBI. On October 19, 2011, Attorney General Eric Holder recognized the Ghost Stories team for its “exceptionally creative and tenacious multi-year investigation.” This release of Ghost Stories material includes documents, photos, and videos related to the activities and arrest of the SVR illegals.
Link:http://vault.fbi.gov/ghost-stories-r...rvice-illegals
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Old 01-23-2012   #5
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Default MI5 recruiting pre-screening quiz

The United Kingdom Security Service (MI5) has an interesting little quiz, to help pre-screen potential Intelligence Officer recruits:https://www.mi5.gov.uk/careers/inves...enge-quiz.aspx

A different way of attracting publicity, even recruits.

In a few days I shall post a commentary on the quiz.
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Old 01-24-2012   #6
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Well, not being one to brag it was recommended I consider joining

eight out of 8
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Old 01-24-2012   #7
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Well, well a rapidly digested thread, so best post the commentary now. It is from a blogsite that is IMO a critical friend:https://p10.secure.hostingprod.com/@...fficer_Quiz.pl
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Old 01-25-2012   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
Well, well a rapidly digested thread, so best post the commentary now. It is from a blogsite that is IMO a critical friend:https://p10.secure.hostingprod.com/@...fficer_Quiz.pl
David,
I think they are a little too paranoid for my taste, and, between all the e-mails I've sent to the Brit embassy and the MET, my IP address is well documented Anyone that can perform a right click on the site will get "view source" so not difficult (well, except for maybe you, David ).

But since the idea was to read about 5 paras in 10 minutes I decided not to cheat and take the exam as intended.

Hints: Read the HUMINT first and then go onto the people. Don't spend any amount of time concentrating on names, vehicle numbers and dates of birth as it is clear that the HUMINT has all that. Concentrate more on the theoretical scenario and think slightly as if you were in a former Soviet State and the remainder is easy !
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Old 01-25-2012   #9
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Default Result = 3

Thus, I'm not suited to be an FBI agent - damme

Interesting test - how do MI6 people test score on it ?

Regards

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Old 06-25-2012   #10
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Default Bletchley Park and After (SIGINT)

Bletchley Park was the centre for the WW2 British Empire code-breaking effort, often referred to as Ultra, which broke a large part of the encoded German Enigma radio traffic.

Alan Turing one of the key people there has come to the fore:
Quote:
This week sees the 100th anniversary of the birth of Alan Turing, a man regarded as one of the most influential mathematicians of the 20th Century. He is best known for his work cracking the Germans' secret codes during the Second World War. He is also regarded as one of the pioneers of computer technology.
Link to the many BBC stories:http://www.bbc.co.uk/search/news/?q=turing

Recently Warwick Business School hosted an event with three speakers, each using a different perspective:
Quote:
Chris Grey explores how Bletchley Park was made as an organisation. What was its culture and how was its work co-ordinated? Challenging many popular perceptions Chris examines the complexities of how 10,000 people were brought together in complete secrecy and yet worked as a team.
I've followed his work for a few years and he has made an important contribution to understanding what occurred at Bletchley Park. This is a short interview:http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/knowledge/culture/chrisgrey

Then two historians:
Quote:
Michael Smith an award-winning journalist and number one best-selling author; an expert on codebreaking, espionage and how spies operate.

Richard Aldrich, Professor of International Security at the University of Warwick who is an expert in the technology of secrecy. He talks about what happened to Bletchley Park after the end of the Second World War and how it transformed into GCHQ..
Podcasts and PPT slides available on:http://www.wbs.ac.uk/news/features/2...chley/Park/and
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Old 08-31-2012   #11
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Default Margaret Thatcher and intelligence

A fascinating snapshot of Mrs T and UK intelligence based on her initial encounter with the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), which appears on the website of:
Quote:
Number 10 Downing Street
Link:http://www.number10.gov.uk/history-a...nce-committee/

Hat tip to Kings College War Studies Tweet @warstudies.

A very short explanation of the JIC:
Quote:
..the Joint Intelligence Committee supported by the Joint Intelligence Organisation assesses the raw intelligence gathered by some of the Agencies and presents it to ministers to enable effective policy making.
Link:http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/reso...ence-machinery

Incidentally Annex A is the best explanation of intelligence work I know:http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/site...vember2010.pdf

For US readers this is the closest officialdom will get to saying - someone like the London CIA Head of Station sits in the JIC meeting's opening part:
Quote:
Also in attendance, as was normal, were representatives of the UK’s closest allies, who were present for the discussion of current intelligence and then withdrew.
The others are expected to be Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
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Old 09-12-2012   #12
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Here's a different C-i-C approach


http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinio...4e1_story.html
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Old 11-22-2012   #13
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Default Social Media Intelligence

In April 2012 a London-based left of centre think tank, Demos, published a report; which I read and forgot to post here The three authors include Sir David Omand, one of Whitehall's respected intelligence guru's; which made it more interesting to read.

Link:http://www.demos.co.uk/publications/intelligence

Quote:
The growth of social media poses a dilemma for security and law enforcement agencies. On the one hand, social media could provide a new form of intelligence – SOCMINT – that could contribute decisively to keeping the public safe. On the other, national security is dependent on public understanding and support for the measures being taken to keep us safe.
Social media challenges current conceptions about privacy, consent and personal data, and new forms of technology allow for more invisible and widespread intrusive surveillance than ever before. Furthermore, analysis of social media for intelligence purposes does not fit easily into the policy and legal frameworks that guarantee that such activity is proportionate, necessary and accountable.

This paper is the first effort to examine the ethical, legal and operational challenges involved in using social media for intelligence and insight purposes.
A "lurker" who works in this field commented:
Quote:
a thoughtful analysis...they avoid that can of worms as they are keen to discuss the ethical / legal framework that would be needed to support this
The Frontline Club, London held a discussion evening after the launch, rightly the title was 'Cyber-snooping a threat to freedom or a necessary safeguard' and is available on a podcast:http://www.frontlineclub.com/events/...safeguard.html
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Old 12-25-2012   #14
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Default Bletchley’s forgotten heroes

A short press article:
Quote:
While Alan Turing has been justly celebrated in his centenary year, there were other brilliant codebreakers
Link:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/w...en-heroes.html

The British have a way of not rewarding those who make a valuable, no invaluable contribution to national success, although this came as a surprise:
Quote:
Bill Tutte became a fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, then went to Canada to become professor of mathematics at Waterloo. He never received any official recognition of his war work. Tommy Flowers was awarded £1,000 (less than he had personally spent on Colossus’s development) and given an MBE. He stayed at the GPO, working on electronic telephone exchanges and Ernie, the Premium Bonds computer. He was unable to use the success of Colossus to give weight to his advanced ideas and was left to watch America’s electronics industry move ahead of Britain’s.
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Old 12-25-2012   #15
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Default The best book GCHQ and more

Richard Aldrich has written a historical tome 'GCHQ: The Uncensored Story of Britain's Most Secret Intelligence Agency', which has been well reviewed:http://www.amazon.co.uk/GCHQ-Richard...mm_pap_title_0 and for the USA:http://www.amazon.com/Gchq-Uncensore...ligence+Agency

There is also a sub-website on his book plus other sources:http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/pa.../lectures/gchq
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Old 12-26-2012   #16
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http://www.amazon.com/Codebreaker-Fa.../dp/0192803867

Alan Stripp's work is a short, but interesting book that adds to the explanation of Bletchley Park.

My copy is yours if you like David, in payment for your help with my research.
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Old 12-29-2012   #17
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Default The last survivor gets a "gong"

A couple of days ago, in Post No.2, I remarked:
Quote:
The British have a way of not rewarding those who make a valuable, no invaluable contribution to national success....
In the New Year Honours List:
Quote:
A Bletchley Park codebreaker who has been appointed MBE in the New Year Honours said he still hopes his whole team will one day be recognised. Raymond "Jerry" Roberts, 92, receives the honour for services to the WWII decryption centre and to codebreaking.... was among four founder members of the Testery section tasked with breaking the German High Command's Tunny code. The decrypts are credited with helping shorten the war by at least two years.

He is now the last survivor of the nine cryptanalysts who worked on Tunny, and has spent the past four years campaigning for acknowledgement of his colleagues.
Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england...herts-20859561 and a BBC radio interview:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20863205
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Old 02-12-2013   #18
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Default The First Intelligence Prime Minister

A rather surprising way of making an impact.

An essay on 'The first intelligence prime minister: David Lloyd George (1916-1922)'; who dealt with the 'Great War' (WW1) and a few 'small wars', notably Ireland:http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/site...orge-as-PM.pdf

The essay ends:
Quote:
Yet the way in which Lloyd George used intelligence was—like later prime ministers—a reflection of his own personal style and personality. Lloyd George approached intelligence in the same way that he
approached everything else—with a keen eye for politics. Lloyd George was not as interested in intelligence as have been other prime ministers, nor did he often use intelligence particularly well. Certainly Churchill outranks Lloyd George in both respects. Yet, unlike any of his predecessors, intelligence formed an important part of Lloyd George’s premiership. For that reason, he rightfully earns the distinction of called being Britain’s first intelligence Prime Minister.
An explanation for the essay:
Quote:
In 2012, as part of a competition, post graduate students were invited to submit an article under the heading Prime Ministers and their use of intelligence. The following article was originally intended for a wide popular audience rather than being written as a scholarly piece. In the event it was decided not to go forward with the competition and the article is reproduced here.

Daniel Larsen is a Junior Research Fellow-Elect at Trinity College, Cambridge, 2013-2017. He is currently completing his PhD at Christ's College, Cambridge, and has a number of articles published or forthcoming in scholarly journals, including Intelligence and National Security, the International History Review, and Diplomatic History. His primary research interests are in the foreign polices of the United Kingdom and the United States in the early twentieth century, with a special focus on the role intelligence.
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Old 03-02-2013   #19
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Default Spies tempted to cut corners, says MI5 boss

A newspaper story based on a forthcoming BBC Radio programme and a rare interview of Jonathan Evans, the Director of the Security Service (MI5):
Quote:
One of the things I say always to new members of the Service is that there may be a temptation to cut those corners but in the longer term that will be a real problem to us....We depend on the support of government and ultimately on the support of the British people to do the sort of things that we do. They have a right to be confident that we will be doing this in a way which is legal, which is proportionate and which is done in accordance with high ethical standards.
In the two-part series, In Defence of Bureaucracy, Mr Evans insists that bureaucracy helps MI5 officers to do their jobs:
Quote:
It means that officers can act with confidence that what they are doing is appropriate and proportionate and that there are those checks and balances in the system.
Link:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ukne...-MI5-boss.html
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Old 09-29-2013   #20
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Default Snooping and Trust

This week The Guardian published a commentary by Sir David Omand, an ex-GCHQ Director and now a War Studies Professor @ Kings College. He ends with:
Quote:
Even so, some damage to our security could still inadvertently have been done, since journalists are not best placed to know exactly what detail may complete the jigsaw puzzles of our adversaries. Instead of more revelations the Guardian should focus on a principled debate on how to allow intelligence agencies and law enforcement to do their job in keeping us from harm whilst preventing unjustified snooping by public or commercial sectors.
Rightly he asks:
Quote:
The real debate we should be having on the back of the Snowden case is about what privacy in a cyber-connected world can realistically mean given the volumes of personal data we hand over to the private sector in return for our everyday convenience, and the continued need for warranted access for security and law enforcement.

Whatever view we take on where as a society we want the balance between our right to privacy against our right to live in security, we all need to have confidence that in the hands of our authorities these powerful tools of interception are not being abused.
Link:http://www.theguardian.com/commentis...-cyber-attacks

I have looked at the follow-on comments and they do not help.
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