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UK GCHQ Chief Accuses US Tech Companies of Aiding Terrorism

Lucian Ciolacu

November 04, 2014

UK GCHQ Chief Accuses US Tech Companies of Aiding Terrorism

US tech companies have been accused of aiding terrorism by the newly appointed director of GCHQ, Robert Hannigan, according to The Telegraph.

Hannigan said Facebook and Twitter, even if in “denial,” are now “the command and control networks of choice” for criminals and terrorists.

“I understand why they [US technology companies] have an uneasy relationship with governments,” Hannigan said. “But increasingly their services not only host the material of violent extremism or child exploitation, but are the routes for the facilitation of crime and terrorism.”

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In his opinion, the ISIS terrorists have now “embraced the web,” using it to grow fear while still inspiring “would-be jihadis” to join them. He also suggested that, unless US technology companies find a way to co-operate with intelligence agencies to track terrorists, new laws will force them to do just that.

In its new form, GCHQ seems “officially” more open to privacy debates, even if in its opinion, Hannigan sees privacy not as an “absolute right.”

“But privacy has never been an absolute right and the debate about this should not become a reason for postponing urgent and difficult decisions.”

Hannigan was appointed in late October this year after a career as a senior diplomat that started in the early 2000s. His outspoken criticism comes amid the Snowden “revelations” on privacy and government surveillance.

GCHQ has a long history of involvement in government surveillance actions such as spying on WikiLeaks, the Pirate Bay, Privacy International (UK privacy advocacy group), intercepting Yahoo webcam feeds and even accessing the networks of the German telecom giant, Deutsche Telekom via the Treasure Map Program alongside its partner, the NSA.

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