Clouded Oversight

GCHQ-ALWAYS-LISTENING-TO-OUR-CUSTOMERS

The Intelligence and Security Committee is finally investigating what GCHQ has been up to and will report in due course that everything is fine. It always does.

GCHQ’s operations are technically complex, and during this week’s session with the Shadow Home Secretary one committee member displayed the sort of technical prowess that we’ve come to expect from the political guardians of our liberties from over zealous spooks. On distinguishing between “internal” and “external” interception under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, Lord Lothian (Michael Ancram), highlighted exactly the sort of insight you would expect from someone tasked with oversight of GCHQ, whose projects include the subtly named “Mastering the Internet” programme – the £1 billion digital mass surveillance programme that would have made Big Brother’s eyes pop with jealousy. Ancram has been thinking:

“I thought, until about three months ago, that I understood this, until suddenly I start reading about cloud and wondering whether anything sent to cloud, whether its from here or anywhere else, is actually external because cloud is based somewhere in California.”

How will GCHQ pull the wool over his eyes?


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Quote of the Day

Dr Alexander Kogan, the app developer who originally harvested the Facebook data, said…

“I think what Cambridge Analytica has tried to sell is magic and made claims this is incredibly accurate and it tells you everything there is to tell about you. But I think the reality is it’s not that. If you sit down and you really work through the statistics and you think what does a correlation of point three means, those claims quickly fall apart. And that’s something any person with a statistical background can go and do.”

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