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Leonid Bershidsky

Spy Chiefs Launch Operation Social Media

The head of U.K. electronic intelligence has joined the intelligence community's highly public effort to convince the public that social networks are safe to use.
ISIS calling?
ISIS calling?

There is no doubt that Robert Hannigan, the newly appointed chief of the U.K.'s electronic intelligence agency, GCHQ, wants social networks such as Facebook and Twitter to cooperate more closely with his agency. The big question is why he wants to tell them that in public.

GCHQ has usually been an especially secretive service: Hannigan's predecessor, Iain Lobban, was its first head to speak publicly, and that just because he was called on to testify in Parliament. Hannigan took the unprecedented step of writing a newspaper article, for Financial Times, to say that "the largest U.S. technology companies that dominate the Web" are "in denial" about their role in fostering terrorism.