This one from my old Daily Mail clips that I thought was interesting but filed in the wrong brain folder for weeks. Anyway, it appears according to Ryan Kisiel that UK spies are expected to use wi-fi and be net-savvy or be included in MI5’s “redundancy programme.” Almost sounds like an afternoon performance, it’s not. Excerpt below:
For James Bond, high-tech once meant scrambling his telephone to stop the enemy listening in. But today’s real-life spies are expected to be much more savvy to counter the threat from terrorists. MI5 is making dozens of its older staff redundant as they do not have the computer skills to use social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Intelligence chiefs say the main terrorism threat now comes from Islamic extremists who use the internet to plan their attacks. The fanatical young terrorists use social networking websites to communicate and officers need to be able to monitor their posts. Officials have also highlighted the need to use technology to defend against the threat of cyber attacks from rogue states which could cripple Britain during high-profile events such as the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
MI5 is making older staff redundant as they do not have the computer skills to use social networking sites. A recruitment drive for younger officers who have computer degrees has also replaced the previous ‘old-boy’ network method of the discreet chat with candidates in the junior common rooms of Oxbridge colleges. Mr Evans told Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee last month there was concern some older secret agents’ computer skills were not up to scratch. He said: ‘I think some of the staff perhaps aren’t quite the ones that we will want for the future.’ Mr Evans added that the programme would include both ‘ voluntary and compulsory redundancies’ believed to affect mainly senior spies.
Whitehall officials have said the MI5 redundancy programme was aimed at altering the skills profile of the organisation and increasing the number of staff which can be deployed on counter-terrorism operations. The number of redundancies is expected to run into dozens and will be made across the organisation and not confined to specialist IT staff.
Patrick Mercer, chairman of the Parliamentary sub-committee on counter-terrorism, said: ‘As terrorism changes, counter-terrorism officers have to adapt to keep up. ‘Our enemies use every available method to attack including using technology. We have to be aware of the imminent threats of cyber attacks and the old generation of MI5 have to be completely comfortable using computers and the latest technology. ‘There is no room now for the old school tie or recruitment from just certain Oxbridge colleges. ‘We need people from all walks of life who can speak a range of languages and possess certain technical skills.’