UK's GCHQ spy chief: We must broaden out and speed up to catch the future

LONDON, Oct 21 (Reuters) - The head of Britain's GCHQ eavesdropping agency said on Wednesday that the spy agency was seeking to engage more with business to harness top cyber talent behind programs to accelerate world-class technology.

"We have a whole range of accelerator programs ... and we're looking to do much more of that," Jeremy Fleming told the Atlantic Future Forum. "Defense becomes: how good are we at looking after our emergency technologies?"

"We are trying to create ecosystems that bring in academia. They encompass start-ups, they bring venture capital, they bring business expertise and from time to time they also bring deep technical covert knowledge from GCHQ," Fleming said.

Fleming, a former MI5 officer who has headed GCHQ since 2017, outlined a future that was heavily reliant on data and technology.

"We need to have a different debate with our publics, with our government, our parliament but also between allies on how we use that data and what privacy really means today," Fleming said.

He said his organization was not diverse enough, with far too few people from ethnic minorities.

"In my business, we are not nearly diverse enough," he said. "I'm interested in attracting a different set of minds."

Asked what kept him awake at night, Fleming, said one of his top concerns was that the security and defense services were able to organize themselves quickly enough to defend against the full range of modern security threats.

"I do worry that we are coming together quickly enough to produce the institutions, the global alliances that are going to take on the mantle from the (post-war) Bretton Woods system and really see us into this digital and technology age," he said. (Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Stephen Addison)

10/21/2020 14:00

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