National Security in the Quantum Age.

The Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) otherwise known as MI6 works secretly overseas, developing foreign contacts and sources of intelligence to make the UK a more prosperous and safer place. It works worldwide to counter terrorism, resolve international conflict and help stop the spread of nuclear and other non-conventional weapons.  Secret Intelligence Services (the 'SIte') is concerned with Information Collection and Analysis of UK and Foreign Secret Intelligence Organisations. Our goal is to identify historical facts, news and  innovation about Intelligence in general although our focus is primarily on UK and Western Organisations.  Secret Intelligence Services (the 'site') is not connected to any Government Organisation calling itself a Secret Intelligence Service.  Please take the time to read our terms and conditions.

14 April 2020

After AI comes Quantum AI...and then what?

When Google's Sycamore effectively moved us to the next step in AI it will become one of those defining moments...but how will Quantum Artificial Intelligence affect the Intelligence World?

21 March 2020

Neurodiversity & ASD within the Secret Intelligence Services

Some have gone as far as to say that the 'diverse' represent the next step in the evolutionary process.  Maybe.  But, ignore the Neurodiverse at your peril!

12 May 2020

A Government Department of Virus Safety

A Government run, uniform and credible safety certificate to be sued across the board, would benefit UK business greatly.

There are some very good, and more obvious reasons why the tap on the shoulder method of recruitment works. It has been used since the begining and will continue to be used in the future.  It works.  Why?

Apart from the obvious i.e the avoidance of "walk in's" which therefore eliminates the prospects of a double agent entering the organisation, there are less obvious, more subtle (less Policitcally Correct) benefits.  We recently wrote about the "Buddhist Spy" and highlighted how removing temptation from an Intelligence (or Operational) Officer as well as an Agent, was often critical in aiding autonomy in the field, as well as trust.  The process of targeting an asset for recruItment is of course completley different and conducted by entirely different people compared to those involved in the more 'vanilla' graduate recrutiment campaigns. 

The ubitquitous tap on the shoulder works  "Don't call us we'll call you".

How to be honest and diplomatic at the same time.  Recruiting an MI6 employee is relativley easy compared to keeping an MI6 employee,  or indeed within any intelligence service....maybe with the exception of MOSSAD (they may well have their own less liberal incentive structures). 

 

Think of an MI6 employee as a pilot in the Airforce.  The taxpayer spends millions on training them, they love the thought of flying and a good dogfight, serving their nation, they train for years, then end up flying charter aircraft for tourists to Tenerife every summer, retire with high blood pressure and wonder what the hell happened.  It's life  It will happen to most people in a hard profession.  Ideology is a luxury.  Having it, implies choice.  Not everyone has choice.  Joining for these reasons alone, will not keep you in MI6.  When ideology goes it has to be replaced with another luxury item.  Money? Ego? Power? Maybe even Revenge.  Cynical comments maybe, but quite possibly simply realistic ones.  Losing an MI6 employee of sufficient rank is a huge risk and one which has faced MI6 since its inception. 

An Intelligence Career - Is it what you really want?

The concept is not particularly new, but as with all concepts, it takes time for the technology to catch up.  In the 1960's the battle was on for Space.  Now, the battles are fought daily and in boardrooms and labs from East to West. 

 

With DARPA on the one hand facilitating research into Neurprosthetics in the US, on the other the "Military-Civil" fusion in China works on Research through the China Defence Universities, a concern for most Intelligence Agencies, and undoubtedly doing the same.  Somewhere inbetween, the 'cash-strapped' Russians play catch-up.  Of course the UK has had its own waterered down version of DARPA through Innovate UK (sorry...but it is).  This  is set to change and has been on the cards for many years, but on this occassion it looks like Boris Johnson will be the one to unveil the new entity. 

Visual Neuroprosthetics - Let's see what's in store for us

The anonyminityy aspect of Cryptocurrency was certainly mis-sold to quite a large degree on inception.  At the very least it was exaggerated. Of course even with blockchain, onion routing, ring signatures and public ledger obscurity, law enforcement got access and by-passed them all.  So, the war on data continues. They want privacy, we don't want them to have it (well, not officially any way).  In the same way it did with drugs, there will always be an element of 'tail catching'.  If you can't stop a war and the sheer existence of the goal perpetuates it, then accept it.  Perhaps settling to steer its direction is more achievable and resource saving insread?  If a party is private, and it is going to happen regardless, then isn't it better to get an invitation, meet the guests, see who's who, but still enjoy the odd amuse bouche? Monero and Zcash are the latest entrants, which almost certainly means they are already old hat. In any event, the money transfers that really need to be kept private...are kept private, Read More.

Exponential Intelligence¹ is a term we coined to represent the application of current models of Exponential Digitization and the 6 D's, to specific practical use within the Intelligence Services.  More pertinently perhaps, our studies have allowed us to develop a clearly defined process which builds on mainstream models but applies to the future of secret intelligence and how to be better armed.  Stacking the odds in your favour, is one way of describing it.  Some will argue that Exponentialism is not a concept the human mind can truly comprehend, however, 'we' do understand process and ironically for us, historically, predicitve tools have always been based on linear thinking. Put simply, if we know that exponential growth is unpredictable given its rate of change, we can atleast start with the basic truth, that future growth will be unpredicatble and will not be defined so greatly on past events.  From that vanilla premise, we can build.  And we have. That is what we refer to as Exponential Intelligence (EXINT). 

Click to expand full report

.....

 

Biometric ID's and Biospoofing..

with one comes the other.

Would you give your bank card PIN number to a nurse or a receptionist at your local GP’s surgery?  If you were involved in an accident, apart from the doctors and nurses who help you, what about the people who clean the debris off the road or the ambulance driver? 

 

What if you were in a crowded place and felt a small pin prick sensation on your arm? Maybe this all sounds a bit too far-fetched?  The problem is, if someone has thought about it, then the chances are it’s already being planned and dealt with.  What if any one of these examples is tantamount to giving potential hackers direct access to you bank account? 

 

At any point in time human beings rely on ‘currency’ in some form or another i.e. having something you do not just own, but have in your possession, that is of value to someone else.  Furthermore, a currency does not just rely on physically having control of a possession of value, it is useless without transportation of some description.  That is to say, if you have an item, whether it is a £50 note, a computer you’re looking to sell, or even an online account with funds in it; it is all worthless unless you can transport, or transfer, ownership to someone else.  To take an extreme example, if you want to sell your house to release some capital, having the house and agreeing to sell it is pointless unless you sign on the dotted line and exchange deeds.  It seems obvious right? Well it sort of is, at least the problem is.  The solution is a little more complicated.

So, going back to those graphic examples at the beginning, the development of biometric systems will mean your blood could easily satisfy the definition of a currency just like any other.  Think about it, we know it can be transported, so that’s the first box ticked, and if we assume most people have a bank account with money in it, then it is also valuable.  That is, if your bank account can be accessed using biometric data from your DNA or blood samples.  Which if it isn’t now, is certainly going to be in the not too distant future in some form or another.

 

These concerns have given rise to various schools of analysis covering a topic of something now called “biometric spoofing”.  It is as the name suggests.  It is the use of biometric data gathered from sources such as fingerprints, facial recognition, blood samples and iris recognition (to name just a few), to securely identify an individual and verify access.  Academic studies both here and in the US as well as countries in Europe such as Sweden are trying to analyse the potential consequences of security breaches which may well ensue.  At the same time, the enemy they are fighting is not just the ‘spoofer’ or the ‘hacker’, it is time itself.  As technology grows at a faster and exponential pace, then scientists and strategists are going to struggle to keep pace with these changes.  In industries or organisations where security is paramount to human safety, it is not enough to analyse the consequences of the steep exponential growth curve.  Instead, it must do all it can to stay ahead of it.  In this article we examine some of the relevant data associated with this topic and the possible implications. Read More.

The Private Intelligence Agency - A U.S Phenomenon?

According to a New York Times article, 70% of the USA’s intelligence budget now goes to private sector intelligence companies.  This is a relatively new phenomenon and does not hold true in the UK to that degree. Most people spend many years working in intelligence in the public sector, including typical agencies such as the CIA or MI6 but also military or police operations, before transferring to the private sector.  The private intelligence sector can be harder to break into than public intelligence and most people break into the private sector first having worked publicly, although there are entry-level jobs as well. Intelligence requires very specific personalities. Much, if not most, of the work is research based. These jobs will often involve some travel and an extensive amount of regional and country knowledge. Find out more about job opportunities.  Read More. 

SIS MISSION STATEMENT

The Secret Intelligence Service works secretly overseas, and develops foreign contacts to gather intelligence that makes the UK safer and more prosperous. SIS helps the UK pick out and develop opportunities as well as manage risks to national security, military resources and the economy.

 

SIS works worldwide to counter terrorism, resolve international conflict and help stop the spread of nuclear and other non-conventional weapons. SIS is here to help protect the UK’s people, economy and its interests.

In terms of its Mission, the Secret Intelligence Service describes it as:

"Our mission is to provide Her Majesty's Government with a global covert capability. We collect secret intelligence and mount operations overseas to prevent and detect serious crime, and promote and defend the national security and economic wellbeing of the United Kingdom. We work closely with the MI5 and GCHQ, and the secret nature of our work means we operate within a strict legal framework and report to government ministers. It takes people from a wide range of backgrounds with a variety of different skills to help counter the increasing number of threats to the UK. But they all share the same mission – to protect the country, its people and interests."​

THE SECRET INTELLIGENCE SERVICE

To echo the words of the Chief Mr Alex Younger, SIS is working hard to prepare for the next generation of intelligence work in an ever changing technology driven world.  Artificial Intelligence, 3D Printing, Robotics, Bio-metric systems, driverless cars and a global eco-system are all examples of the key areas of development growing at exponential rates.  The seemingly seamless secret shift to singularity?  Maybe we are not quite there yet, but the success of global intelligence rests on truly understanding and harnessing the potential of exponential, digitised, growth.  Unlike corporate counterparts, intelligence agencies are going to become increasingly reliant on firstly, accurately measuring the rate of exponential growth and its direction, and secondly, being able to stay ahead of the 'exponential curve' in what is an unforgiving business.  Read more about how SIS can reserve its seat on the inevitable journey towards singularity as it uses all its resources to keep our country safe and prosperous. 

UK Government & Intelligence Structure

THE UK INTELLIGENCE NETWORK

MI5 - Military Intelligence (Section 5)

Director General - Andrew Parker, reports to Home Office Minister Sajid Javid

MI5's states that its "mission is to keep the country safe, both now and in the future. The organisation's values contribute to that mission: Its singular focus on the mission, striving for real results that make the country safer.

 

Working as one as MI5, bringing together in common purpose the best that everyone can give, supporting colleagues and treating each other with respect, and forging close partnerships and teams with others we depend upon." It operates under the highest standards of integrity, objectivity and sense of proportion, using great skills, expertise and experience; to produce high quality information management, a strong security culture and commitment to the rule of law.  Ethical conduct, accountability and compliance within its own procedures, is a cornerstone of MI5's mission and culture.  The service is constantly seeking new ideas and different approaches to advance its capabilities, improve its ways of working, and overcome obstacles to its success. Learning and development and sharing knowledge is embedded in this culture and is vital towards the success of MI5.

MI6 - Secret Intelligence Service (Section 6)

Chief - Alex Younger CMG, reports to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

 

The Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), commonly known as MI6, is the foreign intelligence service of the government of the United Kingdom, tasked mainly with the covert overseas collection and analysis of human intelligence (HUMINT) in support of the UK's national security. SIS is a member of the country's intelligence community and its Chief is accountable to the country's Foreign Secretary.

 

Formed in 1909 as a section of the Secret Service Bureau specialising in foreign intelligence, the section experienced dramatic growth during World War I and officially adopted its current name around 1920.  The name MI6 (meaning Military Intelligence, Section 6) originated as a flag of convenience during World War II, when SIS was known by many names; it is still commonly used today. The existence of SIS was only officially acknowledged in 1994 with the introduction of the Intelligence Services Act 1994 (ISA), which placed the organisation on a statutory footing for the first time and provides the legal basis for its operations. Today, SIS is subject to public oversight by the Investigatory Powers Tribunal and the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee.

GCHQ - Government Communications Headquarters

Director - Jeremy Fleming, reports to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

The Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) is an intelligence and security organisation responsible for providing signals intelligence (SIGINT) and information assurance to the government and armed forces of the United Kingdom. Based in "The Doughnut" in the suburbs of Cheltenham, GCHQ is the responsibility of the country's Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, but it is not a part of the Foreign Office and its director ranks as a Permanent Secretary.  GCHQ was originally established after the First World War as the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) and was known under that name until 1946. During the Second World War it was located at Bletchley Park, where it was responsible for breaking of the German Enigma codes. Currently there are two main components of the GCHQ, the Composite Signals Organisation (CSO), which is responsible for gathering information, and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), which is responsible for securing the UK's own communications.

GCHQ is led by the Director of GCHQ, currently Jeremy Fleming, and a Corporate Board, made up of executive and non-executive directors. Reporting to the Corporate Board is:​

 ​​​​​​​​​
  • Sigint missions: comprising maths and cryptanalysis, IT and computer systems, linguistics and translation, and the intelligence analysis unit

  • Enterprise: comprising applied research and emerging technologies, corporate knowledge and information systems, commercial supplier relationships, and biometrics

  • Corporate management: enterprise resource planning, human resources, internal audit, and architecture

  • Communications-Electronics Security Group​​

DIS - Defence Intelligence Staff

Chief - Air Marshal Philip Osborn, reports to Ministry of Defence and Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt

Defence Intelligence (DI) is an organisation within the United Kingdom intelligence community which focuses on gathering and analysing military intelligence. It differs from the UK's intelligence agencies (MI6, GCHQ and MI5) in that it is not a stand-alone organisation, but is an integral part of the Ministry of Defence (MoD). The organisation employs a mixture of civilian and military staff and is funded within the UK's defence budget. The organisation was formerly known as the Defence Intelligence Staff (DIS), but changed its name in 2009.

 

The primary role of Defence Intelligence is that of 'all-source' intelligence analysis. This discipline draws information from a variety of overt and covert sources to provide the intelligence needed to support military operations, contingency planning, and to inform defence policy and procurement decisions. The maintenance of the ability to give timely strategic warning of politico-military and scientific and technical developments with the potential to affect UK interests is a vital part of the process. DI's assessments are used outside the MoD to support the work of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) and to assist the work of other Government departments (OGDs) and international partners (such as NATO and the European Union). It is this 'all-source' function which distinguishes Defence Intelligence from other organisations such as SIS and GCHQ which focus on the collection of 'single-source' Human Intelligence (HUMINT) and Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) respectively. As such Defence Intelligence occupies a unique position within the UK intelligence community.  Defence Intelligence also performs an intelligence collection function, primarily through the military capabilities lodged within the Joint Forces Intelligence Group (created in 2012 from what was formerly known as the Intelligence Collection Group or ICG).

Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC)

Chair - Charles Farr

 

The Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) is an interagency deliberative body responsible for intelligence assessment, coordination and oversight of the Secret Intelligence Service, Security Service, GCHQ and Defence Intelligence. The JIC is supported by the Joint Intelligence Organisation under the Cabinet Office.

The JIC is responsible for:

  • assessing events and situations relating to external affairs, defence, terrorism, major international criminal activity, scientific, technical and international economic matters and other transnational issues, drawing on secret intelligence, diplomatic reporting and open source material

  • to monitor and give early warning of the development of direct and indirect threats and opportunities in those fields to British interests or policies and to the international community as a whole

  • to keep under review threats to security at home and overseas and to deal with such security problems as may be referred to it

  • to contribute to the formulation of statements of the requirements and priorities for intelligence gathering and other tasks to be conducted by the intelligence agencies

  • to maintain oversight of the intelligence community’s analytical capability through the Professional Head of Intelligence Analysis

  • to maintain liaison with Commonwealth and foreign intelligence organisations as appropriate, and to consider the extent to which its product can be made available to them

 

The JIC has three functions:

  • Advising the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers on intelligence collection and analysis priorities in support of national objectives.

  • Periodically scrutinises the performance of the Agencies in meeting the collection requirements placed upon them.

  • Assuring the professional standards of civilian intelligence analysis staff across the range of intelligence related activities in Her Majesty's Government.

...loading

Alright so "Scrum Master" is quite possibly the most middle class job title in the UK, and may not quite fit in with moves to 'get hip' and align MI6 more closely with the youth of today.  It does appear however, to be an area of growth in many Central & Eastern European countries at the moment.  The role involves more than simply acting as a Chairman or the Social Secretary of your 'house'.  Despite the unfortunate title, at its core is an Agile approach to developing team performance.  One wonders what the MOSSAD or SVR counterparts calls themselves.

The short and accurate answer is YES, and the impact on Intelligence Services will be profoud...it's the game changer.

https%20-%20Copy_edited.jpg

Now the Quantum Genie is out...is Cryptography and Security as we know it, dead?

The 'tap on the shoulder works'. Don't call us, we'll call you.

There are some very good, and more obvious reasons why the tap on the shoulder method of recruitment works. It has been used since the begiining and will continue to be used in the future.  It works.  Why?  Apart from the obvious i.e the avoidance of "walk in's" which therefore eliminates the prospects of a double agent entering the organisation, there are less obvious, more subtle (less Policitcally Correct) benefits.  We recently wrote about the "Buddhist Spy" and highlighted how removing temptation from an Intelligence (or Operational) Officer as well as an Agent, was often critical in aiding autonomy in the field, as well as trust.  The process of targeting an asset for recrutiment is of course completley different and conducted by entirely different people compared to those involved in the more 'vanilla' graduate recrutiment campaigns.  That said, there are some cross-overs.  There are also some serious deficiencies and limitations to the more exclusionary Oxbridge focussed pool of candidates.  In essence there is no one way.  There are lots of types needed to fit into an organisation like MI6 or MI5, and representatives from all walks of life and parts of society will be included.  The days of Kim Philby certainly highlighted how 6 can get caught with their draws down in Oxford and Cambridge, and indeed they did...in some cases literally.  Things probably have not changed that much and there will still be the ususal contingent of 'Russian Reps' walking the cobbled paths of Trinity.  It all depends on the job in hand. 

Click to expand full report

.....

What do the current versions of Cambridge Analytica look like now?

April 13, 2020

Serviced offices full of a dozen people scouring data?  Teams of social media moles?  Slick marketing/PR executives selling their wares to Political candidates?  Not any more.

 

Cambridge Analytica caused them to disperse rapidly.  Try individuals or groups of no more that three, dotted around, and many of them.  Independent.  Not an office to speak of, but processing powers growing at rates proponents of Moore's Law would understand. Not hackers, not illegal (at worst...very close) and plausibly deniable.  And let's not forget...Pandemic safe and isolated.  The future.

library-2414380 - Copy.jpg

After AI comes

Quantum AI...and then?

When Google's Sycamore effectively moved us to the next step in AI it will become one of those defining moments...but how will Quantum Artificial Intelligence affect the Intelligence World?

universe-4027609_1280%20-%20Copy_edited.

Assuming AI and a Viral Life will live together hand in hand - for the time being at least. What will replace the Internet and the key transporter of the most important resource on the planet - Data? What could possibly come after AI?  The answer is, it has already been replaced.  Only a few years ago, the idea of Quantum Computing was destined to be forever theoretical, now it has been done.  The nexts steps in Quantum Field Theory are a little more complex to say the least.  But could Quantum Gravity (aka 'String Theory', be the bridge, or a Planck (for the nerds out there) that joins the impossible?  Quantum Computing and Einsteins Theory of Relativity.  To make such as leap was madness to even contemplate, but now, not so much?  Imagine the implications...

"Anyone who thinks they understand Quantum Secret Intelligence, doesn't understand Quantum Secret Intelligence"

Finding one person or one nation to blame is just going to waste time.  Focus is on the here and now, and then recovery.

At times like these, finding someone to blame or accusing various Governments or Organisations of acting too late or irresponsibly is a luxury one can only afford in times..... not like these.  Of course, there will be criticisms, there will conspiracy theories and who knows, maybe some of them might be true.  But what remains, is what it is.  So the UK Government will be trying to find a fair balance between delivering some positive soundbites (the 'noble lies' we referred to) and keeping order, and the mammoth task of committing resources at the right time and in the right places.

 

Of course, this is a war.  It is a war we have been preparing for and a war which unlike in previous years

Click to expand full report

.....

Blockchain. Crypto was the warm up....how tech development works in the real world.

Blockchain technology is now entering its teenage years, and yet the general public still either knows very little about it, or assumes it is "something to do with bitcoin". (that's the most common one).  The exact origins will probably never be known for sure, but its application in numerous other industries and systems is more certain.  If we simply follow the money, we can see where the investment is currently taking place and it is not just financial markets.  Plans are already in the pipeline for the next generation where blockchain laid the foundations, and where aspirations go somewhat higher than just bitcoin. 

Politcal but more importantly, public, changes in Europe, notably Italy, Poland, Germany and others over recent years are causing increasing concern.  The rise of the far right 'neo-fascist' movements is gathering momentum and the usual diplomatic routes to entry are not having enough success.  When compared to the US, Europe in terms of size and number of (federal' like countries) is tiny.  However, the difference in political ideology goes much further than any Route 66.  Their brains tick differently and their histories are such, that even the closest of their neighbrours, struggles to learn what drives them, although clearly in the case of Poland, religion is a huge driver.  One well known far right rperesentative recently told his members that the reason Poland did not have much in the way of terrorism was because of their belief in God and more importantly, their family values.  Seemingly in a time warp, these are commonly held views and ones that will drive the current movements.  On the flip side, the country is riddled with alchoholism, drug related crime and (as with nearly all mainly Catholic countries) has a burgeoning and influential organised crime network.  Which is quite possibly more responsible for low terrorism levels than God himself?  Either way, there is a vast difference between Poland and even its more tech savvy neighbour Estonia and friends across the river in Helsinki.  Many of their neighbours are moving forward and constantly looking to reform and develop, as opposed to the Poles who remain very much a defensive nation.  One, which quite understandably, still bears the scars of both wars.  So, in these sorts of countries, especially ones with such strategic geo-political importance, intelligence gathering on the ground will prove more successful than current conventional cyber strategies.  Let's not forget also, it was not that long ago that the UK had its own issues with the trade unions and, in our case, far left movements which also required physical infiltration, a long time before cyber-surveillance.  So there are comparisons.  If the time bombs are ticking in countries like Italy, Germay and Poland, then the Intelligence Agencies will have planned and prepared for these events well before now. Read More

Is knowing how to nearly break the Law is an important skill

Disclaimer

The secretintelligenceservice.co.uk (Secret Intelligence Services) website is available for your personal use and viewing. Access and use by you of this site constitutes acceptance by you of these Terms and Conditions that take effect from the date of first use. You agree to use this website only for lawful purposes, and in a manner that does not infringe the rights of, or restrict or inhibit the use and enjoyment of this site, by any other third party.​ Please read the Terms and Conditions and GDPR & Privacy Policy carefully before using the Site as they affect your rights and liabilities under the law. If you do not agree to these Terms and Conditions please do not register for or use the Site or coninue to use it as continued use will be an indication of your agreement to our Terms and Conditions.  In these Terms and Conditions and in our Privacy Policy "we ", "us" and "our" means by secretintelligenceservice.co.uk (SISS) and "you" means the individual who is using the Site.  Any questions concerning our use of Company or Government logos and graphics which are publicly accessible, please refer to our policy on 'Fair Use' as defined in UK Copyright Law, specifically  Sections 29 and 30 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 and our acknowledgement of sources.  The Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) otherwise known as MI6 works secretly overseas, developing foreign contacts and sources of intelligence to make the UK a more prosperous and safer place. It works worldwide to counter terrorism, resolve international conflict and help stop the spread of nuclear and other non-conventional weapons.  Secret Intelligence Services (the 'SIte') is concerned with Information Collection and Analysis of UK and Foreign Secret Intelligence Organisations. Our goal is to identify historical facts, news and  innovation about Intelligence in general although our focus is primarily on UK and Western Organisations.  Secret Intelligence Services (the 'site') is not connected to any Government Organisation calling itself a Secret Intelligence Service.  Please take the time to read our terms and conditions.