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British Spy Chief Warns 'ISIS Has Embraced the Web'

Britain's top spy expressed concern over the "extra layers of security" offered by tech companies to protect user data.

One of Britain's top spies expressed concern over the "extra layers of security" offered by tech companies to protect user data, warning that it could make it harder for his agency to do its job. In an op-ed in the Financial Times, Robert Hannigan, director of GCHQ, wrote that terrorist organization ISIS has embraced the Internet in a way that Al Qaeda never had by using social media instead of hiding in the "dark places" of the Web. Tech companies "aspire to be neutral conduits of data," he wrote, but they have increasingly become "the command-and-control networks of choice for terrorists and criminals, who find their services as transformational as the rest of us." He wrote that "GCHQ is happy to be part of a mature debate on privacy in the digital age" but that "privacy has never been an absolute right." Last month, FBI Director James Comey complained that data encryption was like a "closet that can't be opened" after Apple and Google announced new privacy tools.

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