GCHQ chief ignites debate about government surveillance, tech giants and terrorists

The new head of GCHQ has piled the pressure on large tech firms including Google, Apple and Twitter to facilitate more open communications with government to shore up data privacy and security laws. Robert Hannigan wrote an article in the Financial Times suggesting that web giants including Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter have become "command-and-control networks... for terrorists and criminals.” This article marks the first public outing for Hannigan since he was appointed GCHQ’s new director in April. He insisted that terrorist groups like ISIL had infiltrated the internet and embraced the use of social media to target and recruit new members. "They [US technology companies and social networks] aspire to be neutral conduits of data and to sit outside or above politics,” Hannigan wrote. "But increasingly their services not only host the material of violent extremism or child exploitation, but are the routes for the facilitation of crime and


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