Intelligence in the Digital Age

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A lecture by Professor Sir David Omand GCB, Visiting Professor, Department of War Studies, King's College London.Professor Sir David Omand GCB

All intelligence communities are facing the challenge of balancing the demand for and supply of secret intelligence. New demands have been added since the end of the Cold War relating to the activities of malign 'non-state actors' - the dictators, terrorists, insurgents, hackers, cyber and narco-criminals, and serious and organised criminal gangs of all types who mean us harm.

The possibilities for supplying intelligence to government and to law enforcement by British and partner agencies overseas on the identities, financing, location,  movement and intentions of such targets has been greatly increased by the possibility of intercepting relevant digital communications and data-mining digital databases. For the democracies, a third challenge is to achieve the intelligence mission whilst behaving ethically in accordance with modern views of human rights, including the right to privacy for personal and family life.

In his lecture, Sir David Omand will look at how these three influences interact to determine the path intelligence communities will follow in the digital future, and how society can best be reassured that the powerful digital tools of the modern intelligence community cannot be misused. 

Professor Sir David Omand GCB was Intelligence and Security Co-ordinator in the Cabinet Office from 2002 to 2005, responsible for the counter-terrorism strategy (CONTEST). He was for seven years a member of the Joint Intelligence Committee and has served as Permanent Secretary of the Home Office and Cabinet Office, and has been Director of GCHQ and Deputy Under Secretary of State for Defence Policy in the Ministry of Defence. He is now a Visiting Professor in the War Studies Department at King’s College London, Vice President of the Royal United Services Institute and an Honorary Fellow of Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge. His latest book, Securing the State, was published by Hurst & Co in July 2010.

An optional £10 sandwich lunch shall be available from 1215.

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