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Secretive 'Five Eyes' club to speak openly about cyber threats

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GCHQ director Jeremy Fleming believes ingenuity is the UK’s strongest defence and most powerful weapon

Experts from the so-called Five Eyes intelligence agencies will appear together for the first time in the UK to discuss cyber threats.

The Five Eyes was once an almost entirely secret intelligence alliance in which the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand shared information.

Representatives from all five countries will speak openly together at Glasgow’s CyberUK conference on Wednesday.

It comes amid tensions in the close-knit group over how to deal with China.

There are reports Prime Minister Theresa May has given the go-ahead for the country’s telecoms giant Huawei to participate in building some “non-core” parts of a new 5G data network.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the decision was made by Mrs May despite concerns being raised by the home, defence and foreign secretaries.

The US has been campaigning hard for allies to exclude Huawei, with Australia already siding with Washington.

It has previously said it has “serious concerns over Huawei’s obligations to the Chinese government and the danger that poses to the integrity of telecommunications networks in the US and elsewhere”.

Huawei has always denied being controlled by the Chinese government, or that its work poses any risks of espionage and sabotage.

A spokesman for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said its review of the issue would report in due course.

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Opening the CyberUK conference, director of GCHQ Jeremy Fleming will warn that a technological revolution “brings new and unprecedented challenges for policymakers as they seek to protect citizens, judicial systems, businesses – and even societal norms”.

He will say that government wants to do more to take the burden of cyber-security away from the individual and to work with manufacturers and online companies to ensure they build security into their products and services at the design stage.

Mr Fleming will make the case that improving the cyber-security of the UK is only achievable if “we build a genuinely national effort – with more connections and deeper cooperation with the private sector and even closer working with our partners and allies”.

“To make this a success, our strongest defence and most powerful weapon will be our ingenuity – our ability to imagine what has yet to be imagined,” he will add.

“To see further into the future than anyone else.

“Our vision for the next stage of the UK’s cyber security strategy aims to do just that. The prize is great – a safer, more successful UK.”

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