107.77.201.122 SISS | Autistic Spectrum Disorder and Intelligence Services - MI6

Neurodiversity in the Intelligence world

Autistic Frauds, Agents, or Both?

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SISS  05 April 2020

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First off…forgive the brash ‘click bait’ title.  It should trigger immediate thoughts of surprise, a degree of irritation (if you are in the ASD camp), a bit of confusion, and for the more perceptive of you, an immediate understanding.  Feelings not uncommon for persons on various scales of the autistic spectrum. 

 

It has been said that many aspects of life and its success depend on balance.  No more so than when one is looking at Neurodiversity, in our opinion.  The ‘spectrum’ is by definition a scale. Within it however there are numerous further dissections, depending on which ‘condition’ the person has been labeled with. Labelling is often used in a disparaging context and we are guilty as charged too.  However, like it or not, it at least defines something.  A something which did not have a definition until relatively recently.  Certainly not in post-war Britain, even up to the Thatcher storm-trooper era.  So, labelling has as important place as a base, or a starting point if you will.  No doubt as time develops, and acceptance and more crucially understanding takes place, then we will see more precise categories and eventually, we suspect, a complete reversal.  These distinctions, levels, categories, sub-categories, and a preponderance to sometimes justify academic research grants over the bigger picture will in our view…. cease.  At the bare minimum.... less sub-categories please.  There comes a point where one has to look at the benefits to holders of those conditions and whether the ASD Machine is caught up in an endless cycle which, at the risk of critcism, is enough already....we get it.  How many years did we (society) spend trying to tell people that women were from Venus and men were from Mars...Or was it the other way around?  Endless discussions, research across all disciplines, on the differences between the sexes.  Much of course factual and essential of course.  We are different. That is fact. 

 

"Women are from Venus, Men are from Mars"

However, where are we now?  A world constantly striving toward homogeneity and sameness.  Not just in this area, but across many, for example the internet, communications in general, cultural levelling and dilution, removal of borders (metaphorically).  Clearly the fight for equality has been raging for much longer than the battle to accept and understand the Neurodiverse amongst us.  The most obvious difference between the two camps is that one is still 100% soundly based on biological, genetic differences and would not be questioned by any mainstreamers.  For those diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome or profound Autism, there is still debate about the causes and the determinants of those conditions, such as when they occur and why.  It does not seem to be as simple as suggesting genetic differences alone, although there are proven hereditary influences impacting the likelihood of developing those conditions.  So, these two camps do have obvious differences, however it is no huge speculative punt that we are likely to see things move in the same direction.  In the end, we may well be able to view a person with autism as an equal, in many environments, just as in the West we have with men and women.  As with both, perhaps then there is a better chance of truly harnessing the skills that may be inherently different but considered on merit not stigma.  This may well sound like a bit of drum beating which might give rise to street march and placards, but it is unlikely.  This has to be viewed logically and without prejudice and in a way so many organisations, such as GCHQ and other departments have picked up and carried the baton so far.  For those at the highly functional end of the spectrum, up to and including the savant for example (see also “NDE’s and Neural trauma” on the extreme - externally driven changes in ability), the ‘cream’ if you will – they will have been snapped up, studied and many fully employed without hesitation.  What of the tier two brigade who are representative of the bulk of the Neurodiverse?  These are the groups that should benefit and should be really nurtured and understood.  To play devil’s advocate for a moment, it might be harsh, but some will favour cherry-picking as some will not be considered fit enough to use.  It might be harsh, but the sentiment may well have some foundation, as there are simply so many people with such a severe condition there is no chance whatsoever of ever gaining meaningful employment.  So, we should make it abundantly clear that these are not the groups we are referring to. Many have profound learning difficulties and it would be extremely unhelpful and counterproductive to suggest otherwise.   Equally, we are not suggesting the someone having Asperger Syndrome is automatically going to get a job at GCHQ.  As with all people, some are more gifted than others.  If it was that simple, GCHQ would not have a HR Department at all...they would simply visit a local SENCO at any College."

 

 

For the highly functional, is there any difference?

So, in the words of “Red; "...if you've come this far, maybe you're willing to come a little further".  Referring to the “click bait” comment about the Neurodiverse being fraudsters.  As a pre-cursor it might be worthwhile reading the section below on early skills of those children on the spectrum.  The key part to that as far as this section is concerned, focuses on the aim to ‘fit in’ as much as possible and find coping methods early on and then throughout life to often work at ridiculous speeds to compartmentalize, assess and adapt, prompted by a desire to remain anonymous and part of the crowd.  This is crucial, especially when viewed in the context of Intelligence, but also in many other areas, including crime. 

 

Some might gasp at the very notion that an intelligence operative might have the same skills as a successful criminal, or more pertinently a con-man and fraudster, but they do.  Honesty and integrity aside for one second.  As we mentioned above, a great deal is dependent on balance and degrees.  We may well explore the two in another article shortly.  This is because “balance” has two connotations and applications in this context. A well-functioning person with various autistic traits or learning difficulties will often spend a huge part of their life conducting a mental balancing act.  For example they may well ask question such as “he said that..so what should I say in response?  What is socially acceptable?  How do I make a joke? Is it appropriate?  How can I manipulate the situation to get from A to B? … A crowded room. Gulp…social setting.  Multiple personalities = multiple data sets = harder work (computational power required) = need better power supply (i.e. back-up, food, drink, friends, assets of any description to give an edge) …all sort of processes.  In essence, a constant risk analysis and almost never-ending.  Call it a “Probability Personality” …if that phrase doesn’t already exist, then feel free to steal it.  Visual cues, numerical cues, shapes, sounds, concepts, philosophical conundrums…. weighing up the odds.  The smart folk will probably say that is simply called “thinking”, so what is the big deal?  We hear them ask.  At the risk of repetition, it is degrees and scales.  Some ‘normal’ people will enjoy reading a book, learning, relaxing, working and thinking in depth about complex issues.  These same people will generally switch off at some point and will not then take the next somewhat obsessive leap to do the same at home.  Some of those on the spectrum at the more functional range will.  However, they will also relax and enjoy life’s pleasures but in a different way and crucially, will take comfort and security in probability and risk.  Slightly perverse maybe, but true.  Essentially, order.  A fairly commonly perceived trait among those within the Neurodiversity village.  Point being…is that a bad thing?  Does that difference render them worse, the same or better than anyone else?  For us, arguably it probably makes them better for certain jobs…just as anyone else.  Which is why the possibility of levelling the playing field to some extent is likely to happen in terms of employment in general. 

 

We would agree with the light-hearted comment made on this site previously that “if I was to go into a real Casino Royale, I would choose Raiman over James Bond every time”.  OK, they might not be as debonair when entering a bar to serenade a femme fatale, but they will probably have already determined within moments of walking into the bar, what material the surfaces are made from, likely manufacturers, number of people in the room with hair tucked behind the left ear, what version of Windows the PC with the POS software is using and how quickly can they get out to get back to their PC and do some work.  That said, they might spend time chatting up the aforementioned lady. After all it is good practice at social skill development and add more data to their ‘cloud’ in an almost 'Neo' fashion.  For some this might simply sound utterly exhausting for the person concerned.  That is unless they have adapted and learnt from an early age to develop the same skills a fraudster or con man would use too…the route they might have chosen to go down is certainly more nurture than nature in that case.  Have you ever noticed how many conmen or fraudsters pretend to be secret agents in order to gain something from the unsuspecting...usually money or kudos? Perhaps the route they chose to go down is more likely an issue of nurture over nature in that case.

 

Certainly on the face of it, Intelligence organisation’s around the world have recognised the benefits for some time in nurturing talent amonst the neurodiverse.  MI6, MI5, GCHQ and the CIA have been relatively vocal recently in their support for diversiry of all kinds.  AS far as concerns over social skills, lack of empathy or obsessive behaviour is concerned, if you were to ask the person on the street about people who can have those traits protecting them, their nation, and its security, what would they say?  We submit, they are likely to say something like “more obsessed the better mate…as long as they are obsessive about keeping me safe,  what’s the problem?”.  To conclude therefore, regardless of difference of any kind, it is simply about one thing…being the best at what you do to make sure that person’s safety, or their country’s security, comes first.  Now, that’s not rocket science is it?

Autism and the Special Spies

Secret Intelligence - Autism
SISS  August 2018

Some people say that being on the Autistic Spectrum is a natural 'next step' in the evolutionary development of the human race.  A little 'tongue in cheek' maybe, but having the ability, like our predatory ancestors, to strip out emotion in favour of survival, may actually lend some truth to the statement after all. 

 

By throwing the curved ball on AI in the mix, then who knows, perhaps the Neurodiverse will prove to be the link between average humans and the 'thinking AI machines'.  Perhaps not such a crazy notion after all.  So for now, are those people who previously sat on the fringes of society, destined to be the shapers and conductors of exponential thought? 

 

Pretty bold statements indeed, but for those in the know, is 'learning difficulty' really an appropriate term to describe a large section of the community where learning is far from difficult, but sometimes a  little too easy?  Where 'special needs' more accurately refers to a need for more information or colour on a canvas in what is an otherwise monochrome landscape? 

 

They might not be able to integrate well in society, but they can, and do, help to protect it.   Being on the Autistic Spectrum, highly functional people with Autism, those with Aspergers and the Savant, can and do offer the intelligence services incredible talents. 

 

There is a definition of an entrepreneur that goes "an entrepreneur is a person who is alert to opportunities that other people ignore".  On that basis, someone with ASD could be someone who is 'alert to details that other people ignore".

"Daring to think differently and be different"  Article published by GCHQ - 29 Mar 2017

 

To mark World Autism Awareness Week, we hear from James*, a GCHQ member of staff with Asperger syndrome.  I think that it was down to GCHQ that I ever got diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, as my school, university and other jobs had serially failed to spot it for many years.  I just got labelled as "doesn’t suffer fools gladly", "can be a little blunt, especially in emails", "isn’t very sociable and rubs folk up the wrong way" and so on.

 

Interestingly, while people may have in hindsight attributed bad things to Asperger syndrome, it is very rare that anyone seems to make that connection with more positive behaviours.

 

The positive aspects are often things like:

  • Very good attention to detail, can spot patterns, anomalies and trends easily.

  • Very good focus on a task and determination to complete it, perhaps even explore wider context to it and innovate.

  • Very good, logical, science-based decision making without the often distracting emotional baggage many people have this. So able to make independent, unbiased decisions.

 

As you can imagine, all these things are crucial to GCHQ's work! This could be one of the reasons why we have always attracted a high number of neurodiverse staff, stretching back to Bletchley Park and beyond.

As our Director Robert Hannigan has said: "To do our job, which is solving some of the hardest technology problems the world faces for security reasons, we need all talents and we need people who dare to think differently and be different." 

 

I was encouraged to seek diagnosis by GCHQ's Neurodiversity Adviser, which turned out to be quite easy and painless. GCHQ has had a specialised neurodiversity support service for 20 years and has training and detailed guidance available for all staff. 
 
One of the things it offers are awareness sessions for managers. Good management makes a big difference to how well you cope. 

  • A good manager will help you to put in place coping mechanisms and make reasonable adjustments while you get these working.

  • A good manager will recognise what work you will do well and what work would be really challenging.

  • A good manager will make other workplace adjustments to minimise aspects of work that make an 'Aspie' anxious, such as business travel in my case. 

  • A good manager will recognise that Asperger syndrome isn't curable but that you can employ coping mechanisms and practise the hard things in graded steps.

  • A bad manager can ruin your confidence, career and make you totally unproductive.

My experience could have been a different story if I hadn't have found myself working for an employer who not only helped me diagnose my syndrome but also saw the positives. I’ve experienced how we are consistently striving to be even better at supporting neurodiverse staff.   It is great to see the department leading the way with education and looking for more opportunities to deploy neurodiverse staff in a way that ensures their skills are best employed.  GCHQ is a 'Disability Confident' Level 3 employer committed to supporting all our staff with disabilities, including those with neurodiverse conditions. We are actively ensuring our recruitment campaigns are accessible and that there are no barriers to the recruitment and continued professional development of neurodiverse staff.

*Name changed to protect his identity

At SIS the challenge for the Recruitment Team will be to find "ordinary people with extraordinary minds and skills".  Those with the variety of conditions that are grouped under the banner "Neurodiversity", namely dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, ADHD, Asperger’s and autism, often struggle to land jobs because of negative stereotypes. Full-time employment rates among members of the National Autism Society, for example, stand at only 15 per cent. Yet when it comes to being recruited as spies, those “problems” become pluses.

"GCHQ even has its own Neurodiverse Support Group. Its chairman (who naturally wants to be identified only as “Matt”) explains the thinking: “What people don’t realise is that people with neurodiversity usually have a 'spiky skills’ profile, which means that certain skills areas will be below par and others may well be above.”

GCHQ is not the only employer to spot this opportunity. Three quarters of the workforce of the Danish software company Specialisterne is made up of those on the autism spectrum. It argues that a diagnosis of autism can often point to enhanced perceptual functions and a greater-than-average ability to pay attention to tiny, apparently insignificant details. And that is precisely what is in short supply in the industry.

 

But does that neat fit between “neurodiversity” and spying stretch much beyond a genius with software, the sort of work that is more Q’s department than 007’s globetrotting high jinks? What about solving mysteries and tracking down criminals? Surely that same attention to detail could pay dividends in a secret agent or high-profile detective."

 

The many websites aiming to crush the myth that dyslexia is any obstacle at all to being a world-beater are full of the names of those who have thrived with it – inventors (Alexander Graham Bell), entrepreneurs (Richard Branson), virtuoso musicians (Nigel Kennedy), writers (F Scott Fitzgerald) and Renaissance men (Leonardo da Vinci). But I can find none with a special category for spies and detectives (with special thanks to Peter Stanford of The Guardian newspaper).

So, let's assume that in the real world the use of the phrase 'learning difficulty' is probably another one of those terms that will one day take a seat next to the latest politically incorrect phrases to describe a minority.  Closely followed by 'special needs' and joining  'police person', a 'person hole' cover or 'non-specific' genders as other reminders of changing societal pressures.  In essence, the majority of 'those' people with some exceptional skills at their disposal, have learnt how to deal with such pressures from an early age, and in many cases, developed coping mechanisms to deal with certain uncomfortable situations.  Just developing those skills in themselves requires a development and cerebral workout that most simply do not have to endure.  Being a highly functional, left handed, seemingly normal, outgoing and emotionally mature member of society is no mean feat and those people armed with the ability to not only survive, but thrive in those circumstances, have an ability that organisations such as GCHQ and SIS can harness.  In fact, one could easily say that in order to have created a so-called 'normal' persona and one which has had to sometimes live with the monotony a school curriculum has to offer, and at the same time 'flesh out' what to some would appear a highly popular person, is already well versed in the art of creating a 'legend' and false identity.  Survival skills like that, learnt from an early age, can sometimes take many months if not years to teach the 'normal' SIS recruit.  A thin line between madness and genius indeed.   But, if you place yourself in the shoes of a child who has had some profound differences growing up, and has then managed to sell themselves as being just like everyone else and actually sit comfortably in the upper percentiles, imagine how useful such a chameleon could be to the intelligence services.  It is innate, and the complex neural networks were busy finding ways to by-pass various synapses whilst others in the classroom were living a relatively charmed life of normality.

Of course, there has to be a price to pay, and in many circumstances this can be in the form of some quite profound mental health problems for individuals at the less functioning end of the spectrum.  That said, as studies of psychology and spectrum disorders such as autism, aspergers ADHD etc continue to develop from what was until very recently nothing at all, the exceptional talents people with these condition have, can be used to add value in most organisations.

As mentioned above, this adoption of the neuro-diverse within GCHQ already attributes value.  Of course, the less emotionally developed within the spectrum may find certain tasks restrictive, but then again doesn't everyone?  The often repeated mission statement, that the intelligence services are 'made up of diverse individuals to more closely represent the diverse society they protect' can be applied in this case.  Indeed, scaling back feelings of empathy, emotion or other external influences out of decision making in favour of logic, proof and testing, is an important contributor for organisations such as GCHQ.  Which is why they have been ahead of the curve in recognising this subject and treating it with the respect it deserves. 

It is estimated that over 30%, and indeed maybe even as high as 53% of individuals working at GCHQ could legitimately have a place on the Autistic Spectrum (ASD). 

Secret Intelligence - Politics
SISS  22.03.20

There have been many many articles written on this subject, and documentaries made.  It will sell until the cows come home for one reason.  It is about us.  Attempts have been made, some more for appearance, in assessing the dangers of another US election being affected.  Many meetings have been held at senior levels and suggestions made as to how we can avoid it happening again.

 

Here’s one hypothesis.  It will never stop happening.  It is far too late for that.  Cruz was the loss leader, the one the pushers used to get the US hooked on the data drug, and the Trump administration piled in.  The relationship between money, greed and power (and therefore information) has probably been around since the beginning of time.  Why on earth would we be surprised if this continued, and not only continued, but got more sophisticated?  Julian Wheatmand, the former CEO of Cambridge Analytica was recently quoted as saying “I’m pretty sure nobody’s thinking of trying to start it up again under a different guise”.  The word that stands out there is “pretty”.  Come on Julian, who are you trying to kid?

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Institute for Economics & Peace. Global Terrorism Index 2019: Measuring the Impact of Terrorism, Sydney, November 2019. Available from: http://visionofhumanity.org/reports

The latest Global Terrorism Index data shows Incidents of far-right terrorism have been increasing in the West, particularly in Western Europe, North America, and Oceania and the three largest politically motivated terrorist attacks in the West in the last 50 years have been perpetuated by far-right extremists.Full Report

The current environment will open up opportunities for leaders, corporations and individuals to oush through hidden agenda..In plain sight, yet not seem.

 

Where the virus came from and why it happened when it did, is so far an unanswered question.  At this stage however, those sorts of questions are secondary.  The focus has to be on what is happening now and ensuring the pandemic protocols are being adhered to whilst at the same time, flexible enough to allow for unexpected events.There seems to be a consensus in the medical world that this was not a result of any advanced bioweapon designed at the bio level super laboratory in Wuhan.   Without the facts, it is simply speculation. What has been concerning is witnessing how different sections of the hugely influential social media are dealing with this.  In an age of ever-increasing mistrust, especially from the younger generation and their view of Government, social media companies including Facebook take on board a social responsibility, albeit unaccountable. 

AML Loopholes - Update

We are pleased that Paxful, the company we mentioned in our reports, some 18 months ago, seem to have filled in the AML gaps in their processes.  We had highlighted the ease with which anyone could simply purchase gift cards (in reasonable size) and convert them to bitcoin through their peer-to-peer software. It was 100% untraceable if done correctly.  There are still other methods being used out there, but Paxful have added a simple additional, needed layer, to confirm ID.  So well done Youssef, this was something they had not done before. Paxful (Youssef) began not as silicon valley entreprenneurs, but more socially conscious Robin Hoods.  Now with stricter AML in place, they don't have to do business with the Sherrif of Nottingham any  more.

The Snowden Assange Legacy..

If they managed to get the US Govt. to do one thing following the mass surveillance watershed, it was to kick-start a rise of PIA's and specilaist firms such as Cambridge Analytica, to do what they could no longer get away with.  But,  apart from the 'consent' technicality, was data gathering on indivduals really that bad?  Wasn't it just scaled up market research?

Secret Intelligence - Politics
SISS  22.03.20

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.  In todays climate, ideology is watered down when compared to the sheer 

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Secret Intelligence - Politics
SISS  22.03.20

Ask the man (or woman) on the street what the Internet Society is and what it does.  It might go quiet. There are a handful of companies globally that influence the direction of internet and telecommunications, for example, the Project Coordination Group (PCG) is one, and of course, the Internet Society est. 1991 whose motto is "The internet is for everyone". Well ok that’s not strictly true though is it.  Ask the 100’s of people banished from Twitter for ever, for seemingly innocuous non-pc comments.  Nestled only 2Km from the Penatgon, the IOS states its aim (as with many non-profit organisations) is to develop leadership in internet-related standards, education, access, and policy.  But it only has 65,000 members and according to Wikipedia it has $1.1bn in cash holdings (unaudited) and a hefty $42m endowment from numerous sources.  So there is a very large amount of money, which presumably has some flow through it too, but with a membership base which is not exactlyvery representative.  Also, The Internet Society is a U.S. 501(c)3 tax-exempt charitable organization.  So, we have money in size.  We have flow¹, presumably in size too, a relaitvely non-accountable body, charged with shaping the future of the internet, next door to the US Goverment and CIA .  What could possibly go wrong?  In the interests of well thought out research and objective work, let’s remove the head gasket and work our way down to the pistons of this particular machine. Full Article

¹ The term 'flow' refers to the flow of money or assets, generally in size.  Flow is sought out by larger instituional investors on the global markets for legitimate pruposes eg. to enter or exit a market or investment without having problems with placement or prices quoted.  It is often a sign of a healthy market and economy.  That said, criminal organisations also require flow in order to 'hide' their transactions so they appear inconsequencial, or 'remora like' i.e people use flow to hide in the shadows.

Is this a taster before the main course?

SISS  22.03.20
Secret Intelligence - Politics

Being cynical is not attractive.  It's certainly not a character trait most politicians would choose to display publicly.  No one likes a dull, gloomy politician after all, especially one who is only interested in facts, tangible evidence, logic and is a team player.  That is why there is a civil service which, although not the core ‘check or balance’ of the executive, is in reality a crucial layer that stands between ego and the manifestation of that ego, which is normally influenced by populism.  Without the cynics, realists, skeptics, what ever you want to call them, the machine really would grind more slowly in times of trouble like these.  Being the ever cautious type might result in being wrong nine out of ten times, but when the type of decisions being talked about are so monumnetaloly important, one would settle for being right just one of those times.  Rather a bruised ego for only getting one out of ten, but a fair price given the reward.  From such characteristics contingency plans are born.  Which is one reason we cannot hand on heart, or even with a responsible logical  head on, discount the prospect that atleast some element of this may have been orchestrated and then simply got out of control

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Either way whatever your position, one cannot help but feel this is the ‘warm up’ act.  Without wanting to sound flippant, if this was the ‘amuse bouche’ with the main course still yet to come. Then what lessons are being learnedt?  Given that nearly every corner of the world has had the success or failure of its contingency arrangements tested, then the answer would have to be, a great deal.  This particular strain of Corona is new for sure and is said to be 10-15 times deadlier than seasonal flu, but compared to other pandemics, the fatality rate is still relatively low.  A politician would never be heard saying that though.  Instead, all measures must be put into action to help the weakest members of society, and even the stronger and younger members, to ride through this.  But let us not kid ourselves.  You can guarantee that, as in all wars, collateral damage has been factored in and any emotion or sentiment has to be put aside.  Such is the job of ‘those in charge’.  With that in mind, the most valuable outcome of the COVID-19 virus will be data.  Invaluable data which will be used for the ‘big one’.  May be this writer is cycnial and skeptical and even the mere suggestion things are not as they seem is tantamount to irresponsibility.  But hopefully the corridors of power both here and throughout most sane responsible governments around the globe are filled with people who question, question, and then question some more.  To answer those questions requires a steady hand and most importantly of all, intelligence and data. 

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

Secret Intelligence - Politics
SISS  22.03.20

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. 

The Human Stock Market....

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SISS  22.03.20
Secret Intelligence - Politics

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. 

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

Secret Intelligence - Politics
SISS  22.03.20

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

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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. 

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Secret Intelligence - Politics
SISS  22.03.20
Secret Intelligence - Politics
SISS  22.03.20
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