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 (offially CSS) is accountable to the country's Foreign Secretary. The Intelligence Services are prepared for the "Fourth Industrial revolution" and committed to a new, forward thinking approach to recruitment. Please note, this site is not connected to the UK Secret Intelligence Service or endorsed by them, but rather a site detailing already publicly accessible information covering Secret Intelligence Services in general. More about SIS
European Union AI Regulation. Overall, a bad idea.
The EU revealed initial outlines on its new rules to control the use of technology and specifically Artificial Intelligence, and although it has been on the cards for some time, this is bound to cause some debate for a whole series of reasons. In some quarters, this will be, and currently is, beyond the debate stage and action is being taken. FANG (Facebook Amazon Netflix Google) are sitting relatively quietly and have adopted the 'keep your friends close....." strategy by the looks of things as they come to table in Brussels. One can't help feel they are not so much circling the enemy yet, rather spending the time to examine this new foe and see what it does. Looking at this with eyes wide shut, it appears to have the right sentiment behind it. Speak to anyone on the street and they will generally say the same thing ie. the machines are taking over, are we in a simulation, what happens when human lives are put at risk, or their jobs. The ethical questions will keep on rolling in and so they should; this is still a relatively new 'thing' and if the experts, scientists and think tanks are honest, no one really knows what the outcome will be. But that's an issue that in our opinion has more to do with the rate of change of exponential technological growth, a subject covered in-depth elsewhere in the site. With eyes wide open, this is a hugely poltiical move and involves sizeable ramifications financially for the tech giants in the US, China and inevitably the UK, as these rules will certainly target those groups. The EU has made some attempts to reassure, with statements that there will be a balance between ethics and technological advancement. But history does show that regulation in areas such as this generally does not work well if, as a species we are to push through the exponential envelope. That said, common sense must also prevail of course especially in repsect of extreme practices.. A cynic (or realist) might suggest this is actually only about two things; money and political power. No great shock there. The tax implications are a particularly interesting area of the new rules. But our only concern at this stage is that red tape does have a nasty habit of slowing progress, and for mankind, that's a bad idea. Are we being unduly critical? To answer that objectively, we have to start with the facts and therefore what the rules will entail. Free AI EU Rules Report.
The Human Stock Market
Replace “Human Being” with “Data Packet”. You may well have heard the oft used phrase that ‘data is now as valuable as Gold’. The question is how and if so, where is this heading? We will come on to that a little later, but for now it would be useful to familiarize ourselves with some other key issues in the world of human data first.
We have already written about the problem, and what will likely be, the increasing problem of Bio Spoofing or Bio Leaks. In short, this is the stealing of a person’s biological identity in order to gain illegal access to money, data, facilities etc. The most well-known forms are recognition systems which use retinal imagery, facial or fingerprint identity, and perhaps fewer known sources such as your veins, heartbeat speeds and the DNA from your blood. All these systems are currently either being used or are in the testing stage. The “Spoofer” is simply a person who will try to pass themselves off as you in order to assume your identity for various reason. Bio spoofing is a term which refers to slightly more specific forms of identity theft. In our opinion there are only a very few, select forms of identity recognitions systems which can provide high levels of security, and this will be covered another time. Put simply however, fingerprint, retinal imagery, voice and even blood identity recognition systems are vulnerable to some degree because ultimately, they are easy to steal. It sounds crude but chopping off a finger or forcing someone to use ‘it’ or even an eyeball is not particularly demanding. Although maybe not as common as some sci-fi films would have us believe. Possible, nonetheless. Our article on “Blood Leaks” also highlights the vulnerability there. The point of mentioning this, at this stage, is to highlight how data (personal information) security is not only important, it may well define the quality of data sold on the open market at some point. To continue the Gold analogy, or indeed any other precious metal or substance, the value can be determined by grading it, which in turn is dependent on quality. So, as Data becomes a tradable commodity, so will the methods used for grading its quality, hence its price. Almost everything that is tradeable, has to have a value attributed to it. Even in the traditional sense where stocks and shares are traded on the various stock markets. Their medium to longer term value is, in the main, determined by what they refer to as “fundamental analysis”. A process of analyzing a company by looking at its accounts, management, profit and trading forecasts and other factors. In doing so, the company is given a fair price, often calculated on its earnings, and called a yield which in turn has a ‘multiple’, allowing a level comparison against its peers. Pretty mundane stuff maybe, but it is how systems have worked for centuries and therefore, it is highly likely it will continue to do so in the future. So, in the new cyber world, the tradeable commodity will be you. Or more precisely your data. Who knows, maybe after the trading of your data becomes regulated or legalized, we will find analysts in some form who specialize in valuing niche areas of that market. For example, the NASDAQ is a US market trading stocks in Technology only companies. What if we have a “UKYME” or a UK Youth Market Exchange? Let the imagination run wild if you like, but the concept is there. A tradeable market in data focused on ages 16-24 for example. There might be a Car Market or even the development of another form of “off exchange” transaction like Bitcoin which will attract illegal trading of data through 100% anonymous Blockchain (they should have cracked it by then).
So, these are just ideas of what may or may not happen. Some however are really almost there already. We only have to look at what has been in the press on the last few years with controversies surrounding Cambridge Analytica, and general fears over privacy brought to our attention by Messrs. Snowden and Assange. Looking at how things stand now however, one can already map out good quality or bad quality data based on the various commonly used sources such from the FANG consortium (Facebook Amazon Netflix Google). OK throw in Instagram, Twitter and YouTube for a better acronym (answers on a postcard please). By constructing a detailed map of personal data flow, it is fairly easy to attribute value to the quality of the data, or in these cases, the quality of the algorithms. So, as well as seeing the stocks of Google and Facebook trading on the exchanges, we could easily see their data traded (spun off) separately. When it comes to the illegal market for trading the commodity of privacy then, in the same way to how heroin might be graded, the ‘cut’ of the data will be valued too (as well as demand and supply of course). Will we have Data Quality Certificates in the near future? It might seem unlikely because it would depend on acceptance by the public that this is ok. In reality that is the easy part. One only needs to look at the re-legalization of alcohol after prohibition or marijuana in Europe and some US states. Liberalization is such that it will sit well alongside the factual arguments for legalization and regulation. Once people accept that having their data traded underground is bad for them and society, it will be an easy sell to have them accept regulated data selling. It is after all already happening anyway. It is just that the conglomerates and governments have to be discreet and more covert in doing so. That will not continue for much longer. There is one simply reason why exchanging private data will never stay private and remain a process carried out behind closed doors…. that reason is money flow! It is generally how nearly all markets of some description, over time, have started out. By commoditizing data, giving it a grade, and therefore a price, market forces will determine fair values. It will create a new source of liquidity that will be of use to all…especiallythe intelligence agencies. We all know the best lies are the ones that are nearly all based on truth….so credibility is the intelligence agencies (and therefore the criminals) best friend.
We have produced a comprehensive report on the methods for valuing data for the purposes of sale titled "The prospect of a Human Stock Market - Valuations and Market Practice".. For a free copy of the report please click here.
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 Intelligenvce 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. Whatever form it takes, it really needs to ensure the seals are tight on this one, as there are no room for leaks in todays Innovation Wars. The real challenge as we see it is in succesfully coordinating the vast number of current projects. The 'visionaries' will have to harvest the key successes in a variety of fields and squeeze the very best out of each, to suit their purposes.
For Intelligence Orgnisations such as the CIA or MI6, this will focus on linking communications technology, data in secure cloud based environments maybe using advanced blockchain tech, financial technology (to securely and 'discreetly' fund the research) and of course the science itself. These do not even scratch the surface on what is involved. The marketing, not forgetting that sometimes looking as though we are ahead of the game, can be just as important as actually being ahead. The thorough Legal processes involved such as patent protection (also including diversion), the Political ramifications in terms of developing succesful cross-border partnerships etc. The list is almost endless so the task would daunting to even the most accomplished Project Manager (no wonder MI6 is expanding the sc-called 'Change Management' department. The prize however is a huge 'leg-up' in the next war(s) where, as Mr Younger puts it, Espionage 4.0 will play a pivotal role. How our friends the Amercians, and their sisters MI6 will meet this challenge, will be interesting indeed.
The UK Defense Secretary only just admitted, in a rather dramatic fashion, that the retreat from overseas entanglement by the US, now keeps him awake at night. That is probably doubtful and is probably merely another political soundbite to ring loudly at the next funding drive. It did however highlight the more serious point that the UK has been beholden to the US for far too long and especially in the air, and also in matters of intelligence. So, as always when a poorer, less celebrity laden team comes to the pitch, the owners have to spend wisely and ensure that every pound spent is carefully considered if they (we) stand a chance. We are in the same game now. So, although it might be nice PR and propaganda to talk of increasing troops and increased spending on tanks and hardware etc., the real victory will depend on which technologies the UK can harness control of faster and more effectively than its foes. To continue the sports analogy, the UK is simply not in a position to buy all the top strikers around today. It has to look way beyond and look at toddlers with technique and take a considered gamble on what technology will prove the most valuable in the future. One area we are particularly focused on at the moment are applications available from visual neuroprosthesis technology. This technology is not the next step, and maybe not even going to be of any real benefit the step beyond that. However, looking three steps ahead and this is where we are heading. If the age old innovation/imitation battle between the Western inventors and their Chinese counterparts is anything to go by, then nothing much will change. The idea itself is not particularly recent. In 2014 for example, the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering carried our work for DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) on a project aimed at developing a wireless, implantable brain device that could help restore lost memory function in individuals who have suffered debilitating brain injuries. So, aside from the more well known hearing aid implants, the work on other implants, to work on other functions, has been widespread in several private, government and academic science labs. What we are seeing now, is advancement in the practical application and success of neural implants which are having profoud effects on congitive functions. Regular readers may recall our articles 18 months ago which focussed on another element i.e sub-cutaneous chip research, in which we also referenced the digitzed manipulation of the Amygdalla (the brains 'emotion' regulator) and the potential implications on patients with severe psychopathy. It was and is representative of a pattern of growth which has developed for some time and brought us where we are now.
Bringing the focus back on the battle between competing countries however, for the UK, industrial espionage will continue to feature highly on its agenda both in terms of defender and aggressor. The dilemma is, does the UK feed off the US (who seem to be distancing themselves in various ways) and leave the funding of this innovation in the hands of the US Government, or does it do it itself? If it is the latter, then secrecy and IP protection (for what its worth) will be key factors in protecting their investment and also the security of the nation. We certainly have the talent and know how and pedigree to compete against the likes of Huawei or, more pertinently, the companies already being groomed by the Chinese State to step in as Huawei 2.0, 3.0 and so on. So the hope is that the current blip caused by a temporary 'off the hip' Trump administration, is very much just that, and plans will have been in place well before now to have planned for such events. Although the politicians might have us believe there is trouble at the ranch, the financial ties and intelligence bonds go far beyond the 'hype'. Trump and the US are unlikely to "fire" the UK just yet and for us, the canary in the mine is his hairdresser. Whilst she has a job, we know we are safe.
So, what is a visual neuroprosthetic? The audio version is probably more well known as the Cochlear Implant i.e. a relay between the hearing aid and neural network in the Cochlear to aide hearing. The same is the case with a visual neuroprosthetic. It is an artificial way (at the moment) of stimulating the visual pathways present in the eye and the visual sensations in the brain. In doing so, it opens up the possibility of removing artificial devices such as lenses altogther. Rather than having a prosthetic implant to improve or restore vision, its purpose will be to enhance already perfect vision and add further information directly to the retina. Scientists in The US and Netherlands have already experiemented with implanted chips to regulate the release of chemicals to the Amygdalla. Sub-cutaneous chips have been available and tested now for many years in order to transmit information to externally and via cloud technology. Combining visual neural systems with AI and IOT systems, will expedite intuitive and command driven action through prosthetics.
In terms of visual technology and where we stand with mainstream innovation at the moment, it is fairly well known what is on offer from Google and a growing fraternity of augmented reality/virtual reality firms and their glasses (called ‘smart glasses’). They are cheaply priced and will probably feature well in the Christmas stockings of many teenage gamers. The next step which firms such as Virtualenses (the VL Project ) and others are working on, are digital contact lenses. The technological link from glasses to the third-generation wear of neurologically based enhancements. The race is on for sure. With digitized contact lenses, google enabled, recordable, cloud linked and fully interactive already being tested, the race is on for the neurological link between man and machine in the form of a prosthetic. The potential uses, even with just digital contact lenses or military grade glasses, is exceptional. The advantage will be, as with all future moves in technological development for the intelligence community, in more accurate targeting. Transforming 2D maps into 3D real world imagery containing millions of data points all converging and integrating in an intelligence/military ‘cloud’ to instantly disseminate visual information. Those of you of a certain age will recall the war films where planners turned building plans into actual buildings in warehouses to train their soldiers and provide as much realism as possible. The warehouse is gone now, and the maps are instantly relayed into screen fed information to the recipient. When the neuroprosthetic technology comes online, it will remove the need altogether for both learning about the target as well as even having to physically be at the target. The symbiosis between human, biological and physiological, and the cloud-based world will be seamless. It may well represent the final steps before the AI journey reaches its singularity and when the games really begin. But that’s another story. For now, it is a race and a race the UK is going to have to compete in on its own. The roots of the tree run deep and have many twists and turns. Funding will continue to be an important element but will still only be one of the branches of the whole tree. That has always been the case. The fight against the money launderers will continue, or should we say, appear to continue to rage. Overall however, the actual objective of ensuring the right funds hit the right accounts will be crucial in feeding the roots which will eventually allow the UK to blossom in full, with or without the US.
See a demonstration of how Visual Neuroprosthetics linked with IOT technology, will tranform even basic Intelligence Surveillance and Counter Surveillance operations for organisations like MI6. Click.
OSINT and HUMINT Software..Why wait...start 'panning' now!
Open Source Intelligence and Human Intelligence are two data gathering sources the intelligence services use to find relevant information. As the name implies, OSINT will consist of data sets normally found in sources freely available, and more specifically, on the web. Connectivity and cross-analysis are also terms synonimous with these methods of intelligence gathering and the aim of the Intelligence Officer will be to join the dots to increase the probability of relationships existing and having greater statisitical significance.
If you are considering a career in Intelligence, and specificlly in a role as a Data Analyst or Intelligence Officer for MI6, then start becoming familiar with OSINT software, for example Maltego 4.2. It doesn't have to be that one in particular, but Paterva have designed a highly functional platform here to really drill down the data sets, and find maps and graphs that are easily interchangeable and allow useful visual cues as to the importance of different variables in an investigation. So, our advice would be to START NOW. You will need to do as much as you can to put yourself ahead, so speaking several languages and wanting to change the world may not simply be enough. Graduates are a fiercely competitive bunch and so if this is a career you are serious about, then start familiarising yourself with some of the basic tools. Of course as you enter through the gates of the Vauxhall building (or Manchester or wherever you are stationed), you will of course eventually get access to the Aladdins cave of analysts treasure in the form of closed sources of intelligence. MI6's own vault containing the really interesting data and tools for assessment. But, baby steps, and no more so than starting with the wide array of intelligence gathering software already available on the market. Take your time to research what you want to use and most importantly, what it is you want to get out of the software.
In essence, the goal should be to seemlessly bridge the gap between human sourced intelligence (HUMINT) and the mountains of data you have available. If the future is data, and data really is more valuable now than gold, then think of using these sources and software as panning for gold. It will sift away the dirt and useless material and leave you (hopefully) with something that will assist you and your fellow officers to achieve your goals. For the 'developers' out there, this is an ever expanding area, full of demand for new ways of improving the software available as processes and technologies change. So, familiarity with what is available now on the open market (in essence the already 'old stuff') can do no harm.
The privacy 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.
Cultural Intelligence is an aspect of our work that is going to become increasingly important. There is something of a paradox at play in the tech and fintech world at the moment which means that we are bound to see borders (geographical and metaphorical) blurred more and more as markets promote decentralisation. At the same time, the nature of technology is going to then create individuals who are essentially technological and data driven power houses. As decentralisation develops and we see banks and other previously important organisational structures fall quickly by the wayside, each individual will become their own bank, their own marketing suite, their own ID and data facility. It will result in a paradigm shift and one which ironically will in essence move things towards a 'culture', not necessarily in the typical sense however. If one takes the definition of culture as being "the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society" what we will actually see is the ideas, customs and social behaviour of a person grow to then become a society of 2, 3, and 4 etc. The side effect will also be a pull back towards individual culture and society as groups inevitably become insular in many ways whilst at the same time having the ability to cross technological and social frontiers like never before. So, this is something we are seeing already especially on a macro perspective and even politically. Our job at Patrium is to be prepared for these changes and rather than blindly steer focus towards what many expect will be homogeneity, we maintain our cultural links and local expertise. Right or wrong, it has stood the test of time, and our uniquely diverse group of staff and external contacts have a detailed cultural knowledge or 'cultural intelligence' which means we can work with a wide group of people and do so, well. Our cultural intelligence sits well alongside our network of local contacts and resources available on the ground. 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). So where we have had the 6 D's to thank for where we are at the moment (see below) perhaps EXINT is the next step, or 8 D? (and that was not a typo).
To understand how our EXINT models are developed, one has to begin with the basic principles espoused by current thinkers. Exponential Growth in technology has certainly gained traction in the corporate world over the last two to five years. Peter Diamandis and his colleagues at The Singularity University, and fellow innovationist's have laid comprehensive foundations from which each person, entity or government can build and personalise their own structure. Where Mr Diamandis et al have been so insightful and influential in our view, has been in creating a method and way of thinking to explain and prepare people to the possibilities of digitization and exponential growth, that is scalable and applicable to almost any entity. To understand how best to over-lay these core concepts onto a new organisation such as an intelligence gathering one, and to understand the likely future impact, we need to be certain we understand the basic principles.
Our studies on this subject start by focusing on some key basic principles with the aim of providing some tangible link to the structure and operations of intelligence gathering agencies such as Patrium Intelligence and others. From this we can ascertain how an intelligence organisation can harness and best take advantage of becoming an Exponential Organisation (EXPORG). Read More
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. A diplomat respresenting the FCO in Brussels has to know how to hold a fork after all, and shoot the breeze in a number of topics. By the same token, an agent or operational officer might have precise local knowledge of negotiating a fair rate at a Warsaw brothel or bottle of Wyborowa, or how to lap dance for a visiting Easten dignitary. All visions from a Le Carre novel of course, but you get the point. It takes all sorts. St Andrews and Oxford (generally) offer a middle class elite who might have the family treasure chest to fall back on, so short term financial gain may not be foremost in their minds. They might be used to discipline and harsh treatment but no more so than the teenage street smart facebook manipulator who has lived a little. So, what is the key draw to the tap on the shoulder? The two things any Intelligence Service values very highly, Control and Trust. It gives the organisation control of the process and is therefore more likley to facilitate trust. In this writers view, paranoia and a deep basic level of mistrust are fundamental and desired attributes in this profession. What people consider the 'norm' and healthy in everyday life, may have no place in the IC (or atleast certain parts of it). Taking the topic 'off piste' slightly, some might say the best field agents are slightly mad (methodically mad) highly creative (preferably left handers), magnets for pressure, highly manipulative (exceptionally important and a characteristic too often critisised in people), alone, resourceful,possibly on the spectrum, and have a knack of seeing things others do not. An intelligence officer on the other hand, straight from University is a different animal. That person may not have drink Vodka out of punnets with a Ukrainian Assassin on farms in the Urals, but his job means he will probably find the right person who has. Finding someone who has the skills to work in both roles would however be, apart from unusual, very useful (ahem). The word 'recruitment' means completely different things in different departments. For example, there are a myriad of situations and scenarios when it comes to targeting and recruiting an asset, especially one where they are being asked to provide information about their own organisation or government. There are literally dozens of methods used and it is highly experienced Intelligence Officers and their teams who are responsible for turning or manipulating an asset. Essentially it is still recruitment, but a far cry from the milkrounds around University campuses. Being in an operation can often require skills generally more associated with a con man or fraudster, especially where a cover is being maintained. However, the point man (or woman) in this case has a huge supporting army of highly trained, professional staff back at Section 6. Without each other, and without faith in each others skills, they simply would not be effective. And don't think that these operatives and teams within the hierachy are simply focussed on terrorist organisations. Certainly in the nineties, most of the larger City trading floors had one or two MI5 recruits on stand by. The 'territorial army' equivalent of Intelligence staff if you will. IN the eighites of course htere were the Unions, more recently officers can be found in numerous Government bodies such as HMRC or the Financial Conduct Authority. The reach in endless and always meticulously planned. Going back to the role of an IO, you will be required to demonstrate those skills also associated with typical management positions as well as desired traits such as lateral thinking, risk assessment or specific technical knowledge. As a payroll employee you will have to jump through the HR hoops to a larger extent nowadays than pre-1996. Everyone is accountable of course. If you see a career in the business and maybe eventually within the private intelligence arena, then this will be the path for you. Later in the 'Recruitment' sections we will highlight some well known and not so well known methods of recruting assets. In our view the success and consistency of any intelligence service is fundamentally down to recruitment, specifically targeting and using human assets to deliver precise and valued intelligence. If they cannot be found, or cannot be converted or recrutied, then the whole organisation will suffer. So, being recrutied for a role in recrutiment within MI6 is an extremely important function. And of course, exciting and rewarding beyond many conventional professions.Read More
Ignore the Neurodiverse at your peril...
Still so many loopholes!
Despite the efforts of law enforcement agencies across the globe, the sheer scale of the ML problem is a strain on resources. Therefore we have to rely on targeted and efficient intelligence to lighten the load as well as now Artificial Intelligence systems which will eventually leave the criminal penniless. Lets start with the basic loopholes in the current UK system. Read More
Control of emotion and symbyosis between AI technology and Biological interfaces may indeed be perplexing from a philosophical perspective, but we are not good at emotion. So, lets examine the facts. Can current interfaces grow quickly enough to cope with the bandwidth demand? In terms of control, sub-cutaneous micro-chips are a little "yesterday" but where will the borders of control lie and who will decide? Read More
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.
Huawei and China - "The Long Game"
Those of a certain generation will remember a BBC programme called 'Threads' which tapped very effectively into the public paranoia about Nuclear threats from the East. Now, documentaries propagate similar fears about 5G, China and Huawei and possible global control over the Internet of Things (IOT). The hoo-ha has also had serious political repercussions, not least a recent Ministerial exit and strained relationships across the pond. The question is, after a report and public remarks from the National Cyber Security Centre, is recent media coverage representative of the facts, and exactly who are Huawei? Can we become the imitators? Coordinated stress testing might help. 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
Sir Jeremy Heywood
Code Breaking & Encryption
Security Service (MI5)
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.
The Iconic Vauxhall building is often referred to as the Ziggurat. An ancient architectural design from the region of Mesopotamia by early Babylonians. Parts of an area more recently referred to as the middle east, covering Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Iran. Was the construction of the building designed in that way by Farrell in the nineties coincidentally emblematic of architerural history in that region of Babylon? Or was there some thought given to this, knowing that references would be drawn to the Ziggurats origins of design? Was this symbolism being used to link the mutlutude of Mesopotamian rivers, to the grand old River Thames? Given the nature of the beast and a general feeling that events are on the whole, not coindicences, then perhaps it was the latter. According to much more revered and esteemed experts the design has received some criticism and that its inspiration came from the Mayan or Aztec regions and may even have been inspired by buildings such as the Battersea Power Station. But that wouldn’t be anything quite as romantic as this idea now would it? Come on we can do better than that. Think of the top as a shrine, not a platform for sacrifice... hmmm? We have a structure in the middle of our capital, arguably inspired by a design from the original “fertile crescent” and sitting on our very own fertile crescent, the Thames. What better nod to our apparently adversarial cultures than to plonk a clearly middle eastern, Babylonian inspired design in the heart of London. Or is that one idealistic sentiment and overly romantic thought too far? You decide.....