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MI5 to open new cyber crime unit in London

A secure Facebook for cyber threats.

The British Security Service, often known as MI5, is planning to open a new unit at an undisclosed location in London to protect the UK companies from the growing threat of cyber attacks from China, Russia and Iran.

Around 12 officers from the Government Communications Headquarters and MI5 will work with business representatives to monitor potential threats. GCHQ, part of the UK’s National Intelligence and Security machinery, will analyse data traffic across the world, while MI5 will examine state-sponsored and terrorist threats to the UK.

Some 160 companies, mostly listed on the FTSE 100 and responsible for managing Britain’s critical national infrastructure, are involved in the scheme, creating what officials are calling a secure Facebook group for cyber threats.

A senior Whitehall official told the Financial Times: “The operational centre will give us a much richer picture than we have had before of what is going on in cyber space. The security service representatives will be able to tell business what threats are emerging in cyber space. In turn, the businesses will be able to tell the security services when they have been subjected to attack.”

Meanwhile, the British government has refused to disclose the list of cyber threat countries. Experts, however, say that the UK companies have cyber threats from China, Russia, and Iran. All three countries have denied the accusations citing that they are themselves the victims of hacking.

The new unit was formally known as the Cyber Security Information Sharing partnership.

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No, David Cameron’s speech was not “left wing”

Come on, guys.

There is a strange journalistic phenomenon that occurs when a party leader makes a speech. It is a blend of groupthink, relief, utter certainty, and online backslapping. It happened particularly quickly after David Cameron’s speech to Tory party conference today. A few pundits decided that – because he mentioned, like, diversity and social mobility – this was a centre-left speech. A leftwing speech, even. Or at least a clear grab for the liberal centre ground. And so that’s what everyone now believes. The analysis is decided. The commentary is written. Thank God for that.

Really? It’s quite easy, even as one of those nasty, wicked Tories, to mention that you actually don’t much like racism, and point out that you’d quite like poor children to get jobs, without moving onto Labour's "territory". Which normal person is in favour of discriminating against someone on the basis of race, or blocking opportunity on the basis of class? Of course he’s against that. He’s a politician operating in a liberal democracy. And this isn’t Ukip conference.

Looking at the whole package, it was actually quite a rightwing speech. It was a paean to defence – championing drones, protecting Britain from the evils of the world, and getting all excited about “launching the biggest aircraft carriers in our history”.

It was a festival of flagwaving guff about the British “character”, a celebration of shoehorning our history chronologically onto the curriculum, looking towards a “Greater Britain”, asking for more “national pride”. There was even a Bake Off pun.

He also deployed the illiberal device of inculcating a divide-and-rule fear of the “shadow of extremism – hanging over every single one of us”, informing us that children in UK madrassas are having their “heads filled with poison and their hearts filled with hate”, and saying Britain shouldn’t be “overwhelmed” with refugees, before quickly changing the subject to ousting Assad. How unashamedly centrist, of you, Mr Prime Minister.

Benefit cuts and a reduction of tax credits will mean the Prime Minister’s enthusiasm for “equality of opportunity, as opposed to equality of outcome” will be just that – with the outcome pretty bleak for those who end up losing any opportunity that comes with state support. And his excitement about diversity in his cabinet rings a little hollow the day following a tubthumping anti-immigration speech from his Home Secretary.

If this year's Tory conference wins the party votes, it’ll be because of its conservative commitment – not lefty love bombing.

Anoosh Chakelian is deputy web editor at the New Statesman.