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UK Spy Chief Urges Intel Services to 'Tap Into Global Tech' to Address 'Changing Nature of Threats'

Sputnik News

Setlana Ekimenko

In an interview ahead of his first major public speech in London since taking on the role as head of MI6, Richard Moore also argued the case for closer links with tech giants and recruiting tech-savvy experts.

Chief of the UK Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) Richard Moore has urged the nation's spy agencies to partner with tech firms to become better armed to fight hostile states, criminals, and extremists.

In a public address on Tuesday at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, he warned that Britain's adversaries were channelling "money and ambition into mastering artificial intelligence, quantum computing and synthetic biology."

"We cannot hope to replicate the global tech industry, so we must tap into it. I cannot stress enough what a sea-change this is in MI6's culture, ethos and way of working, since we have traditionally relied primarily on our own capabilities," said Moore, who took over as head of MI6 in October 2020.

He warned that cyber-threats were growing "exponentially."

"We may experience more technological progress in the next 10 years than in the last century, with a disruptive impact equal to the industrial revolution. It is a white-hot focus for MI6," he underscored.

Moore singled out China, Iran, and Russia as states of particular concern, and adapting to the "rise of China" was a priority for MI6, he said: "The Chinese intelligence services are highly capable, and continue to conduct large-scale espionage operations against the UK and our allies. Beijing believes its own propaganda about Western frailties and underestimates Washington's resolve. The risk of Chinese miscalculation through overconfidence is real."

Before giving his speech on Tuesday, speaking on BBC Radio 4 Moore accused China of wielding "debt traps and data traps" to achieve global influence.

The MI6 chief was referencing China ostensibly extracting concessions from countries when they default on loan repayments.

"The data trap is this: that, if you allow another country to gain access to really critical data about your society, over time that will erode your sovereignty, you no longer have control over that data," said Moore.

These accusations have been dismissed by Beijing. Zhou Liujun, vice chairman of China's International Development Cooperation Agency told reporters in Beijing in October that "facts and data fully show that this accusation is purely politically driven."

Regarding Iran, Moore vowed that intelligence services would continue "contesting Iran's development of nuclear technology, which has no conceivable civilian use."

He also hoped for a "diplomatic outcome" to talks in Vienna aimed at reaching a revival of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) deal. ran has repeatedly insisted that its nuclear programme was entirely peaceful.

In his Tuesday speech, Moore warned that Russia remained an "acute threat" and he cited alleged actions on the border with Ukraine.

"We have no desire to be adversarial towards Russia to undermine or encircle it. But we will do whatever it takes to keep our country safe and to deter and defend against the full spectrum of threats Moscow poses," added Moore.

Addressing the allegations of Moscow "escalating" the situation on the Ukrainian border, the Russian Foreign Ministry has been stressing that Russia's actions are "of a purely defensive nature." Russian President Vladimir Putin, in turn, has expressed Moscow's concerns regarding the military drills taking place near the Russian border.

© Sputnik

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