News Article

Director GCHQ makes his first Cheltenham Science Festival appearance

Last Updated: 23 Jun 2016
Robert Hannigan is interviewed by Times journalist and author Ben Macintyre in a sell-out event entitled 'For Your Eyes Only: the Secret Life of GCHQ' on 7 June 2016.

News article - 23 Jun 2016

The Director was introduced by BBC journalist Rory Cellan-Jones and interviewed by Times columnist, author and historian Ben Macintyre before taking questions from the audience. The hour long session covered a wide range of topics, including GCHQ’s view of the current debate surrounding online privacy; GCHQ’s work over 100 years to strengthen encryption and the need to prevent the abuse of it by those who seek do the country and the public harm, as well the work GCHQ is doing to protect the country from cyber-attacks.

The Director also spoke at length and answered a large number of questions about GCHQ's capabilities,  explaining the important role they play in keeping Britain safe and the strict legal framework the organisations operates within.  And he talked about the future challenges that technology will pose for the organisation, talking about the ‘Internet of Things’, artificial intelligence and quantum computing.

It wasn’t all heavy technical stuff though: the Director also talked about how his career led him to become Director of GCHQ, via the Northern Ireland Office, Cabinet Office and Foreign Office and he gave some insight into the inner workings of GCHQ and its workforce.

The small glimpse into life and working of the doughnut was unique.


All three men are on the stage after Robert Hannigan's interview.
© 2016


Both men are listening to a member of the audience posing a question
© 2016