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Robert Hannigan: 'It is a privilege to lead GCHQ'

Foreign Secretary William Hague has today announced, that former counter terrorism adviser to the Prime Minister Robert Hannigan has been appointed as the new GCHQ Director.

Speaking in a statement Hague said:

I am delighted that Robert Hannigan has been appointed as the next Director of GCHQ. GCHQ’s world-class work is vital to the safety and security of the United Kingdom.

– Foreign Secretary William Hague

Robert Hannigan also told of his "privilege" to be asked to lead the GCHQ:

It is a privilege to be asked to lead GCHQ, an organisation which is so central to keeping the people of this country safe. I am excited about meeting the challenges of the coming years with them.

– Robert Hannigan, new GCHQ Director

Read More: Robert Hannigan appointed GCHQ director

Robert Hannigan appointed new GCHQ Director

Robert Hannigan has been appointed as the new GCHQ Director, Foreign Secretary William Hague announced today.

Robert Hannigan appointed new GCHQ Director Credit: Gov.UK

Robert Hannigan joined the FCO as Director General, Defence and Intelligence on 29 March 2010 and for a number of years he advised the Prime Minister on counter terrorism, intelligence and security policy.

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Clegg: Single watchdog for UK's intelligence services

Nick Clegg has said Britain's intelligence services should be overseen by a single watchdog in the wake of a series of privacy scandals.

He said the watchdog, dubbed the Inspector General for the UK intelligence services, would:

  • Have "reinforced powers, remit and resources"
  • Bring together the present Interception of Communications Commissioner and Intelligence Services Commissioner
  • Allow appeals against decisions of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal and publication of the reasons for rulings
  • Put a member of the opposition in charge of Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee "to avoid accusations that the committee is too cosy with the Government of the day"

Read: Clegg calls for 'revamp' of UK's intelligence data-gathering

Clegg calls for changes to intelligence data-gathering

The Deputy Prime Minister has called for a rethink of the way intelligence services collect data en masse following the revelations of US National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Writing in the Guardian, Nick Clegg set out a series of reforms he hopes his Conservative coalition partners will back.

Nick Clegg
Nick Clegg hopes to get the whole Government to agree on his proposed reforms. Credit: PA

These included annual reports on requests made to internet and telephone providers, changes to the intelligence and security commission and a website about the work of British security agencies.

The Liberal Democrat leader said a respected security think-tank had agreed to carry out an independent expert review of "big data" and privacy issues in a bid to secure consensus on other changes.

"It is in all our interests that the intelligence agencies are able to operate successfully. Their effectiveness, and ultimately our own safety, depends on their ability to command public trust," Mr Clegg wrote.

Yahoo! hits out at 'GCHQ violation'

A Yahoo logo is pictured in front of a building in Geneva. Credit: Reuters

Internet company Yahoo! has called claims that UK spy agency GCHQ intercepted and stored webcam images of millions of users as a "whole new level of violation".

In its latest report on files leaked by US whistleblower Edward Snowden, the Guardian newspaper claims a surveillance programme operated by GCHQ, collected still images of Yahoo webcam chats in bulk.

In a furious reaction to the report, a Yahoo spokeswoman said: "We were not aware of, nor would we condone, this reported activity.

"This report, if true, represents a whole new level of violation of our users' privacy that is completely unacceptable and we strongly call on the world's governments to reform surveillance law consistent with the principles we outlined in December.

"We are committed to preserving our users' trust and security and continue our efforts to expand encryption across all of our services."GCHQ declined to comment on the claims.

Read: UK spy agency 'intercepted Yahoo webcam images'

UK spy agency 'intercepted Yahoo webcam images'

UK intelligence agency GCHQ "intercepted and stored" the webcam images of internet users who were not suspected of any wrongdoing, the Guardian claimed, citing secret documents.

A generic view of the Yahoo! Homepage.
The newspaper claims GCHQ intercepted and stored images from Yahoo webcam chats Credit: Lewis Stickley/PA Archive

Files dated between 2008 and 2010 allegedly show a monitoring programme, known as "Optic Nerve", stored still images from Yahoo webcam chats and saved them to agency databases with the help of its US counterpart the National Security Agency.

GCHQ has consistently said its activities are necessary and "carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework”.

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Foreign Office: Lobban 'doing outstanding job' at GCHQ

Sir Iain Lobban appeared before the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee in November. Credit: PA

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "Iain Lobban is doing an outstanding job as director GCHQ.

"Today is simply about starting the process of ensuring we have a suitable successor in place before he moves on as planned at the end of the year."

Sir Iain has already had one extension to his tenure as director since his appointment in June 2008.

By the time he leaves, among the current crop of government department heads only Sir Nicholas Macpherson at the Treasury will have served for longer.

GCHQ: 'We do not comment on intelligence matters'

Responding to reports that UK and US intelligence agencies have been developing capabilities to take advantage of smartphone applications to gather users' private information, a spokesman for British intelligence agency GCHQ told the Guardian:

It is a longstanding policy that we do not comment on intelligence matters.

Furthermore, all of GCHQ's work is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework which ensures that our activities are authorised, necessary and proportionate, and that there is rigorous oversight, including from the Secretary of State, the Interception and Intelligence Services Commissioners and the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee. All our operational processes rigorously support this position.

– GCHQ spokesman

Read: British spies 'able to snoop on YouTube and Facebook'

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