Robert Hannigan, the new head of GCHQ, has complained that internet giants including Google, Facebook and Twitter have become the ‘command and control networks of choice’ for terrorists and criminals following a tightening of privacy controls in the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations.
The UK’s cyber security agency cited the media-savvy operation of Islamic State as a particular cause for concern, with members of the terror group embracing the web to recruit ‘would-be jihadis’ from around the world whilst also intimidating opponents.
Speaking to the Financial Times, Hannigan said: “Techniques for encrypting messages or making them anonymous which were once the preserve of the most sophisticated criminals or nation states now come as standard. These are supplemented by freely available programs and apps adding extra layers of security, many of them proudly advertising that they are ‘Snowden approved’. There is no doubt that young foreign fighters have learnt and benefited from the leaks of the past two years.”
Going further, Hannigan claimed that technology giants were facilitating ‘murder and child abuse’ and called for greater voluntary collaboration with intelligence agencies – under pain of new laws mandating cooperation