Tag Archives: Nick Clegg

Robert Hannigan begins director’s role at GCHQ

Robert Hannigan has now succeeded Sir Iain Lobban as director of GCHQ, his appointment made with the agreement of Prime Minister David Cameron and in consultation with Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister.

Robert Hannigan has been the Director General (Defence and Intelligence) at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) since 2010. Hannigan’s appointment (first announced back in April) at GCHQ was made following a recruitment process chaired by Sir Kim Darroch, National Security Adviser, that was open to crown and civil servants.

Foreign Secretary William Hague commented: “I’m delighted that Robert Hannigan has been appointed as the next Director of GCHQ. GCHQ’s world class work is vital to the safety and security of the United Kingdom. As well as his impressive personal qualities, Robert brings to the job a wealth of relevant experience in the fields of national security, counter-terrorism and international relations. I’d also like to thank Sir Iain Lobban for his consistently strong and professional leadership as Director of GCHQ since 2008.”

Commenting on his appointment, Robert Hannigan said: “It’s a privilege to be asked to lead GCHQ, an organisation which is so central to keeping the people of this country safe. I have great respect for the integrity and professionalism of the staff at GCHQ and for what they have achieved under the outstanding leadership of Sir Iain Lobban. I’m excited about meeting the challenges of the coming years alongside them.”

Robert Hannigan: the new Director of GCHQ

Robert Hannigan: the new Director of GCHQ

Sir Kim Darroch stated: “I’m delighted Robert Hannigan has been appointed Director of GCHQ. He will bring energy, flair, deep knowledge and extensive experience to the role, and I look forward to working closely with him. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Sir Iain Lobban. Iain has been a close friend and colleague over my time as National Security Adviser, and has done an absolutely outstanding job at an exceptionally testing time for the organisation.”

Robert Hannigan: the Curriculum Vitae

Robert Hannigan joined the FCO as Director General (Defence and Intelligence) on 29 March 2010. For a number of years he has advised the Prime Minister on counter-terrorism, intelligence and security policy.

Hannigan joined the Civil Service from the private sector, becoming Director of Communications for the Northern Ireland Office. He was then appointed to be principal adviser to (then) Prime Minister Tony Blair and various Secretaries of State for Northern Ireland on the peace process, assuming responsibility for negotiations with the political parties and other groups in addition to liaison with the Irish Government and US Administration.

Hannigan was also the Prime Minister’s Security Adviser and Head of Intelligence, Security and Resilience in the Cabinet Office from 2007 with responsibility for the UK’s National Security Strategy.

Hannigan has been a member of the Joint Intelligence Committee for many years and was responsible (in the Cabinet Office) for the funding of the three UK intelligence agencies. He has regularly chaired ‘COBR’ meetings on terrorist incidents.

He was also responsible for the UK’s first Cyber Security Strategy and oversaw the first National Security Strategy.

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Queen’s Speech: crime-fighting measures announced by UK Government

An Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill has been announced by the Queen in her annual speech to Parliament.

The Home Office will introduce an Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill to create new and simpler powers for the police service such that officers can deal with antisocial behaviour, cut crime and continue police reform.

The Bill would tackle the use of illegal firearms by gangs and organised crime groups and provide better protection for victims of forced marriage.

It would also encourage responsible dog ownership by strengthening the law for tackling dogs that are dangerously out of control.

Additionally, it would continue the coalition Government’s programme of police reform by extending the powers of the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Communications Data Bill: what next?

The Queen’s Speech had been due to include the Communications Data Bill. Dubbed the ‘Snooper’s Charter’ in some quarters by opponents, this would have allowed the monitoring of UK citizens’ online and mobile communications.

However, the plans published by Home Secretary Theresa May were recently blocked by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg on civil liberties grounds despite warnings such legislation is desperately needed to help detect terrorism plots.

BBC News states: “The Government is now considering forcing Internet service providers and mobile phone companies to store more data about the devices from which e-mails, Skype calls and other messages are sent to help police identify the sender, if necessary. The Home Office had previously rejected this option (which may not need new legislation in order for these plans to be implemented) on technical and cost grounds.”

The BBC continues: “Fresh proposals to investigate crime in cyberspace are being promised…” to “…help protect the public and the investigation of crime in cyberspace.”

The major strand of this plan is to find a way to more closely match Internet Protocol (IP) addresses to individuals in order to identify who has sent an e-mail or made a call.

The BBC states: “Despite Nick Clegg’s objections to the Communications Data Bill, the Home Office has said action is needed to reflect the fact criminals are increasingly using Internet phone calls or social media websites to communicate.”

Helping to keep the public safe

The BBC report continues: “In the Briefing Notes on the Queen’s Speech, the Government makes clear it remains ‘committed to ensuring that law enforcement and intelligence agencies have the powers they need to protect the public and ensure national security'”.

“These agencies use communications data – the who, when, where and how of a communication, but not its content – to investigate and prosecute serious crime,” say the Briefing Notes.

“Communications data helps to keep the public safe – it is used by the police to investigate crimes, bring offenders to justice and to save lives.”

“This is not about indiscriminately accessing the Internet data of innocent members of the public.”

“The proposals to be brought forward would address the fact the police – who can already tell when, where and who made a mobile phone call or sent a text message – cannot always trace the origin of an e-mail, a message sent via instant messaging or a phone call made over the Internet.”

“The Government says one problems is that IP addresses are shared between a number of people, or devices.”

“In order to know who has actually sent an e-mail or made a Skype call the police need to know who has used a certain IP address at a given point in time,” says the Government.

“The Government says it is ‘looking at ways of addressing this issue… it may involve legislation'”.

“There have been questions raised about how, or whether, it might be possible to achieve the goal of matching IP addresses more closely to devices or individuals.”

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