MI6 boss: ‘UK is in tech arms race with hostile states’

MI6 head Alex Younger made a rare speech this week to highlight how the UK is in a technological arms race with hostile states who are using the tools of the information age to challenge Britain’s national security.

Speaking at the University of St Andrews, Mr Younger said British intelligence agencies need to “innovate faster than they can” in response to the country’s adversaries resorting to cyber attacks and disguised use of military force to undermine Britain’s institutions and defences.

In comments published by the Guardian, the MI6 boss seemed to be primarily concerned with Russia, before admitting there are emerging issues over China’s dominant position in the development of game-changing new technologies.

“Power, money and politics [are] going east, it is all getting more complicated,” Mr Younger told the room in just his second speech since becoming “C” four years ago at the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS).

He went on to say that he had “witnessed the damage new technologies can do in the hands of a skilled opponent unrestrained by any notion of morality”.

Mr Younger added: “We have to keep adapting. We are evolving again to meet the threats of the hybrid age. Our task now is to master the covert action of the data age.

“Much of the evolving state threat is about our opponents’ increasingly innovative exploitation of modern technology. So put simply we’ve got to innovate faster than they can.”

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