Cayman Islands, Caribbeanand International News
Tuesday, Feb 07, 2023

MI6 must adapt to new technology to survive, says spy chief

MI6 must adapt to new technology to survive, says spy chief

Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, better known as MI6, must become more open in order to do its secret work effectively. That's according to its chief, Richard Moore, in his first major public speech since taking on the role in October 2020.

Artificial Intelligence (AI), quantum computing and digital technology have combined to completely transform the way human intelligence is gathered by spies, presenting MI6 with major challenges in the digital age.

Biometric data and facial recognition, for example, have made it far harder for intelligence officers to assume false identities in hostile countries without being recognised and exposed.

It was revealed in September that inside MI6 headquarters at Vauxhall Cross there is a real-life Q Section that works to provide Britain's spies with the latest gadgets to keep them safe and secret.

But on Tuesday, in addressing the London-based think tank the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), Mr Moore will admit that mastering human intelligence in this era of accelerating technology is not something his service can do in its own.

MI6 spies acquire secrets from overseas targets to help protect Britain's national security

Mr Moore, who has spent 34 years working for MI6, will tell his audience it "includes being more open, and partnering with the private sector to find new technologies".

He adds that "advances in quantum engineering and engineered biology will change entire industries".

Advances here and in data science in general will have attractions for malign actors, both nation-state and trans-national terrorist groups.

"I am paid," he says, "to look at the threat side of the ledger. MI6 deals with the world as it is, not as we would like it to be".

He describes the impact of all this revolutionary technical progress as "a white-hot focus for MI6".

So where exactly does he say these threats to the UK's national security are coming from?

Mr Moore lists China, Russia, Iran and international terrorism as the "Big Four" priorities for the (West's) intelligence world.

"Our adversaries are pouring money and ambition into mastering artificial intelligence, quantum computing and synthetic biology because they know... this will give them leverage".

Artificial intelligence has transformed the way information is gathered by spies

As one of Britain's three intelligence agencies, along with the Security Service (MI5) and GCHQ, MI6's role has always been to acquire secrets from overseas targets to help protect Britain's national security.

While human intelligence - old-fashioned spying - has been at the heart of its work, the MI6 chief points to his service's innovations over time. Examples he cites are "from the chemistry that enabled us to produce secret writing technologies in the early days, to the wireless and secure speech technologies we developed during the Second World War".

Today, he says, MI6 is a founding member of the UK's unified cyber command which counters state threats, terrorists and criminals and supports military operations.

This speech could perhaps be seen as a belated admission that if it is not careful, MI6 risks getting left behind by the breakneck speed of advances in digital technology.

"We cannot hope to replicate the global tech industry, so we must tap into it," he says. "

Through the National Security Strategic Investment Fund we are opening up our mission problems to those with talent in organisations that wouldn't normally work with national security."

But such a sea change in the way MI6 works will not go unnoticed by Britain's adversaries. Going into partnership with others outside the closed world of career spies, whose lifelong mantra has been secrecy, brings with it an inherent risk of leaks or worse, however thoroughly people are vetted.

MI6 may have no other choice but to go down this route - but it is still a bold move that could present the UK's enemies with some interesting opportunities.


Related Articles

2 earthquakes in Turkey killed over 2,300 people
Powerful Earthquake Strikes Turkey and Syria, Killing More Than 1,300 People.
Turkish photographer Ugur Gallenkus portrays two different worlds within a single image. Brilliant work
Tennessee Bill Would Imprison People for 3 Years If They 'Lie' About Rape to Get an Abortion.
Charlie Munger, calls for a ban on cryptocurrencies in the US, following China's lead
EU found a way to use frozen Russian funds
First generation unopened iPhone set to fetch more than $50,000 at auction.
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - US Memphis Police murdering innocent Tyre Nichols
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
What is ChatGPT?
Bill Gates is ‘very optimistic’ about the future: ‘Better to be born 20 years from now...than any time in the past’
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Opinion | Israel’s Supreme Court Claims a Veto on Democracy
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Who’s Threatening Israeli Democracy?
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
China's first population drop in six decades
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong urges British gov't to stop the biased and double standards Hong Kong report
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
Lisa Marie Presley, singer and daughter of Elvis, dies aged 54
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
UK chaos: Hong Kong emigrants duped by false prospectus
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Will Canada ever become a real democracy?
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
FTX assets worth $3.5bn held by Bahamas securities regulator
A Republican congressman-elect is under investigation in New York after he admitted he lied about his education and work experience.
Brazilian football legend Pele, arguably the greatest player ever, has died at the age of 82.
Hong Kong to scrap almost all its Covid rules
EU calls screening of travellers from China unjustified
US imposes Covid testing for visitors from China
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Addresses Joint Session of Congress - FULL SPEECH
If a country is denied the right to independence by another, it is not in a union. It is in a dictatorship.
Where is Rishi? Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's excuses about the UK's economic challenges just don't make sense
Former FTX CEO Bankman-Fried finally arrested in Bahamas after U.S. files charges