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GCHQ director blasts free market, says UK must be 'sovereign cryptographic nation'

Hannigan also denies spy agency ever wanted backdoors

GCHQ & NCA – Cyberfriends

It was announced last year that GCHQ and the National Crime Agency (NCA) would be teaming up to deal with criminals protecting themselves through the Tor network.

Using our elite Vulture journalist skills, we infiltrated an NCA talk at the Cloudsec event in London earlier this year – which the media had supposedly been banned from attending.

Speaking at the conference, Oliver Gower, head of strategy, partnerships, and transformation for the NCA's National Cyber Crime Unit, stated that co-locating with private cybersecurity businesses would help in the fight against cybercriminals.

Last Friday, the agencies announced that an NCA and GCHQ co-located Joint Operations Cell (JOC) was officially opening. The cell was said to bring together “officers from the two agencies to focus initially on tackling online child sexual exploitation.”

Speaking on the launch, GCHQ's Hannigan said the JOC would "increase our ability to identify and stop serious criminals, as well as those involved in child sexual exploitation and abuse online. This is a challenging task as we must detect them while they attempt to hide in the mass of data."

We are committed to ensuring no part of the internet, including the dark web, can be used with impunity by criminals to conduct their illegal acts.

The NCA's head, Keith Bristow concurred, stating that "the explosion in online communication channels has brought huge benefits for society. It has also significantly expanded the means by which criminals can share information, plan crimes including the sexual exploitation of children, and target victims."

The JOC is a genuinely innovative development, using the best of our respective agencies' skills to tackle the most complex cases and the most dangerous offenders online.

The Register has contacted the Tor Project for comment regarding the security the network provides to those trafficking child abuse images. We will update this article when we receive a response. ®

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