London, Nov 13 (ANI): The rise of the web and Google means that spies in the UK need to work really hard to produce genuinely secret intelligence, former director of the country's intelligence agency has said.
Former chief of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) Sir David Pepper pointed out that "the Google effect" of so much information being readily available online had "very substantially" raised the "threshold for producing intelligence" for MI5, MI6 and GCHQ.
"Nobody wants the easy stuff anymore and there is no point spending effort and money collecting it," the Telegraph quoted Sir David, as saying.
"Many of the sort of things for which (officials) once would have turned to the intelligence agencies are now readily available to them online," he added.
Sir David said that with the help of technologies like Google Maps and Streeview anyone could now see photographic detail of far away countries, which hitherto would have been available only through secret and highly sophisticated national satellites.
"Intelligence producers have had to become very sensitive to this phenomenon and very careful not to put effort into producing intelligence that purports to be secret which is in fact not secret at all," he added.
Sir David also said "the Google effect" meant that officials who use secret intelligence were demanding it quicker than ever before.
"If the intelligence readers are used to getting information online very fast they're going to expect the intelligence agencies to be able to do much the same thing," the paper quoted him, as saying.
But online information was offering opportunities as well as challenges to those in the espionage trade, Sir David said.
"You can find out a lot about potential spies without ever meeting them, simply by looking at their online footprints," he added. (ANI)