UK spy agencies and arms manufacturers are teaching children, but not telling us what

And with local and national companies it shares the aim “of encouraging young people to engage with computer science and the application of cyber security in everyday technology.”

It may all seem reasonable, and GCHQ presents itself as a key hub in the protection of national security, but there are problems with this. Back in 2013, Edward Snowden showed that GCHQ had been secretly intercepting, processing and storing data on millions of people’s communications under the Tempora scheme. Five years later, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that such surveillance violated rights to privacy and freedom of expression.  

Furthermore, while some details of the GCHQ’s schools programme are in the public domain, Declassified UK’s attempts to explore further through the 2000 Freedom of Information Act were ruled invalid under a section of the act concerning bodies involved with security matters. 

Some of the world’s largest arms companies are also involved in the programme. They include the UK’s largest arms exporter, BAE Systems, as well as two US corporations, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon. The world’s largest arms company, Lockheed Martin is a part of it and has, according to Declassified UK, been awarded exclusive ‘associate’ status in the programme, with children able to gain work experience at a new cyber security facility in Gloucester

Raytheon is a substantial supplier of weapons used in Iraq and Yemen, and BAE Systems plays a major support role in the Saudi war in Yemen by maintaining Saudi Air Force planes, with Amnesty International arguing that both companies should be investigated by the International Criminal Court for complicity in war crimes

Lockheed Martin’s role is even more direct since it manufactures the Mark 82 bomb used by an attack by Saudi Air Force planes two years ago that killed 40 children on a school bus in Yemen. This is part of the company’s activity that might not figure in the work experience for schoolchildren in Gloucester.

Another element in GCHQ’s work with schools is a classic example of the revolving door. Two former staff members retired and then set up a company, Cyber Security Associates (CSA), that has hosted dozens of children in a work experience programme. CSA was incorporated just before the GCHQ schools programme was set up but did not respond to questions about whether this was with the blessing of GCHQ.

As Emma Sangster of ForcesWatch puts it:

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» UK spy agencies and arms manufacturers are teaching children, but not telling us what | Paul Rogers | Radio Free | https://www.radiofree.org/2020/06/08/uk-spy-agencies-and-arms-manufacturers-are-teaching-children-but-not-telling-us-what/ | 2021-12-05T14:04:41+00:00
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