Hide Your Statuses! Here Come the Spooks

By Saeed Al-Rubeyi on at

Fresh from attempting to recruit amateur cyber defenders into its fold, GCHQ has dropped a morsel of its dastardly plans today -- it's interested in your social side.  It wants your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, even your Pintrest, and it plans to trawl through the data in an effort to "find meaningful patterns and relationships in large volumes of data." Sounds a bit like Google.

In a rare glimpse into the highly secretive workings of the organisation, a job posting appeared briefly last week with the following description:

"The work involves devising algorithms, testing them and general problem solving in the broad field of language and text processing. This pioneering research work is open to specialist in mathematical/statistics, computational linguists (eg speech recognition and/or language processing) and language engineering."

These algorithms will apparently be akin to the 'snooping tools' we hear so much about being used stateside by the NSA on the public to thwart the threat of terrorism. In actuality the GCHQ's main function is to monitor communications overseas, though they are permitted to work domestically with special permission. This leaves UK citizens theoretically open to these new practices sometime in the future, which is a scary thought for sure.

The good news? GCHQ is having trouble finding people to take up these roles as the private sector is willing to pay well above what the public sector can offer. Thank goodness -- more time to delete my, err, Beardspiration Tumblr. Wouldn't want the spooks to get the wrong idea. [The Guardian]

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