According to Chancellor George Osborne, who will later today visit GCHQ’s listening station in Cheltenham, the British government has evidence that the Islamic State is working hard to develop the necessary skills to launch serious cyber attacks on British infrastructure. For this reason, the British government has announced that it will be increasing funding to the UK’s intelligence agencies following Friday night’s tragic events in which alleged ISIS fighters killed 129 people in Paris.
The terrifying attacks, which some experts are claiming may have been coordinated via the Playstation 4 network, will, according to the UK’s Prime Minister, David Cameron, mean that an intensification of the British intelligence agencies’ powers is necessary. For that reason, he has announced funding for an extra 1,900 security and intelligence officers at MI5, MI6 and GCHQ. Overall the UK will increase funding for cyber crime prevention to £1.9 billion by 2020; the government has said.
In what appears to be classic post-traumatic scare-mongering tactics (being seized on by the Conservatives to justify their ridiculous over-reaching investigatory powers bill) Osborne is claiming that if successful ISIS could take control of vital UK services such as the nation’s electricity supply, air traffic control systems or hospitals.
Osborne says that the Islamic State has already proven that it can use the internet for the purposes of propaganda and radicalization. Evidence, he claims, that ISIS will continue to develop ways to hurt the UK via the internet – a cyber problem that he believes could lead to British loss of life.
Plans for the government’s increased funding include the creation of a new National Cyber Centre, where the UK’s cybersecurity experts will unite to discuss national security strategies. Additional investment for a new Institute For Coding, extended funding for the existing National Cyber Crime Unit, and increased investment to help young people get apprenticeships with cyber-security specialists.
In what can only be described as ruffling the nation’s feathers, Prime Minister David Cameron last night said that Britain would need to show the same kind of determination, and resolve, that it exhibited during the Blitz in the second world war. Also promising that he would hold firm on his decision to invest 2% of the nation’s GDP on the armed forces – a decision that he believes will bolster special forces such as the SAS,
‘You do not protect people by sitting around and wishing for another world. You have to act on this one. And that means being prepared to use military force where necessary,’ said Cameron. Also adding that the extended military funding would allow ‘more money’ to be spent on special projects such as an increase in (dangerous and often criticized) armed drones.
Unsurprisingly, the government is using Friday’s attacks to sensationalize the need for the snoopers charter – surveillance legislation that had until now been suffering under a mass of criticism. Sadly, in a format that we are all becoming far too familiar with – the war on terror (used as a primary reason to involve both the US and Britain in the second gulf war) – is now being posited as a reason to rush through the loathed and privacy-invading legislation.
The average British citizens’ right to privacy a just sacrifice according to Westminster, in the wake of the terrifying possibility of terrorist attacks. Attacks that experts from all over Europe had warned about for months, following the mass immigration of refugees from Syria which it was feared had been infiltrated by radicalised Islamic State militants hell-bent on causing chaos in Europe.
‘I and other politicians want this Bill to be expedited, so that rather than becoming law by the end of 2016, which is the plan, it should become law as soon as possible,’ Lord Carlile (a member of the House of Lords) has said.
This view was backed up by Mayor of London Boris Johnson, who has ridiculously blamed whistleblower Edward Snowden (only last week voted a ‘Human Rights Defender’ by the EU Parliament for his role bringing to light the NSA’s and GCHQ’s surveillance) for the French authorities inability to prevent Friday’s attack,
‘First of all we need to catch the b******s before they strike; and I am afraid that I have less and less sympathy with those who oppose the new surveillance powers that the government would like to give the security services,’ he said, before claiming that Snowden had somehow educated terrorists,
‘To some people the whistleblower Edward Snowden is a hero; not to me. It is pretty clear that his bean-spilling has taught some of the nastiest people on the planet how to avoid being caught.’
Despite all the hot air, privacy advocates have been quick to point out that despite France already having far more stringent surveillance powers than the UK, authorities completely failed to stop the coordinated attack. Much in the same way that the US completely failed to stop the World Trade Center being brought down in 2001, despite the fact that the NSA was using PRISM to intercept everyone’s communications.