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Professor Robert Dover. Big Brother’s Little Brother: The Future of Intelligence in the UK

About Professor Robert Dover. Big Brother’s Little Brother: The Future of Intelligence in the UK

The Inaugural Lecture by Professor Robert Dover.

The public understanding of secret intelligence has radically changed from 1989 (and the Security Services Act) to the present day. The absolute secrecy that characterised the pre-89 era has given way to Director Generals giving interviews, Agency Twitter/X accounts, television adverts and the development of popular cultural portrayals. This lecture highlights the changes in government intelligence from a Cold War era to one that is increasingly focused on data-warehousing and analytics, and the surprising revival of human intelligence as an activity of crucial importance. The lessons from intelligence engagement in Web2.0 and the rapidly approaching Web3.0 highlights how difficult it is for friends and adversaries alike to maintain cover and operate effectively: offering considerable opportunities, but also an unprecedented level of threat. The lecture concludes by pondering the future of secrecy itself, and whether superiority in intelligence really comes from technological sophistication.

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