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  1. ITV Report

Britain in 'technology arms race' against terrorists, MI6 chief warns

Alex Younger, the head of the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6).

Britain is engaged in a "technology arms race" with terrorists, cyber criminals and others who are determined to cause the country harm, the head of MI6 has warned.

Alex Younger said agencies were battling opponents "unconstrained by consideration of ethics and law", who were exploiting internet technology to "put our people and agents at risk".

He said while technology had offered agencies new opportunities to better protect the country, it had also created new vulnerabilities which criminals could exploit.

Using data appropriately and proportionately offers us a priceless opportunity to be even more deliberate and targeted in what we do, and so to be better at protecting our agents and this country.

The bad news is the same technology in opposition hands, an opposition often unconstrained by consideration of ethics and law, allows them to see what we are doing and to put our people and agents at risk.

So we find ourselves in a technology arms race. Contrary to myth, human intelligence operations are not an alternative to technical operations - the two are interdependent and set to become more so.

– Alex Younger

Mr Younger was making his first public comments since taking over last year as Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) - more commonly known as MI6.