China: IDS calls on UK to 'cut trade' over Uighur labour
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GCHQ’s director general Jeremy Fleming issued the warning during a speech at the Imperial College Vincent Briscoe annual security lecture. He said: “We are now facing a moment of reckoning.
“In the natural world, during a period of rapid change, the only option is to adapt. And it’s the same for us.”
Mr Fleming feared the cyber threats could control a whole “global operating system”.
The British spy chief insisted that new innovations could be used to control individuals in future smart cities – which collect large amounts of data.
He said: “Previously, I and others have pointed out that in terms of our national security, Russia is affecting the weather, whilst China is shaping the climate.
“That remains the case. But when it comes to technology, I’ll use another analogy.
“The threat posed by Russia’s activity is like finding a vulnerability on a specific app on your phone — it’s potentially serious, but you can probably use an alternative.
“However, the concern is that China’s size and technological weight means that it has the potential to control the global operating system.”
Mr Fleming is worried that if Britain does not take action, the cyber risks from Russia and China could threaten the design and freedom of the internet and security of future technologies including smart cities as an example.
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The British spy chief said although the UK is currently a “big animal in the digital world” it cannot assume this will continue.
Britain must constantly reinvent in order to face the cyber challenges ahead, he explained.
Mr Fleming added: “Smart cities are a case in point. They provide great promise to make urban areas more efficient and less polluting through the use of data.
“They should help you navigate life, not track your movements.
“But unchecked, or implemented in the wrong way, there’s a risk that we will import technology which hardwires data collection in ways that go against the interests and values of open, democratic societies.”
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