Policy

This ex-MI5 boss is a cool, calm & connected version of Amber Rudd

By Oliver Smith 11 August 2017
Former MI5 director general Jonathan Evans (right) on BBC Radio 4.
Summary

Jonathan Evans highlights just how little our politicians know.

Level-headed comments on cybersecurity in Britain are in surprisingly short supply.

Not a week goes by where Home Secretary Amber “real people” Rudd isn’t coming out with some bonkers comments: whether it’s understanding the “necessary hashtags” which terrorists are using or threatening to crack down on encryption because it’s ‘irrelevant to your average Joe‘.

That’s why former MI5 director general Jonathan Evans was such a breath of fresh air while speaking this morning on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Cool, calm, connected

Evans, whose impressive career in the secret service spanned over 30 years, said he supports encryption in messaging apps and online as a way for people to live their lives and for businesses to operate safely and securely.

“I’m not personally one of those who thinks we should weaken encryption because I think there is a parallel issue, which is cybersecurity.”

Evans says there actually are many other threats, outside of counter-terrorism, that need our attention.

The real threat

Instead, he points to our increasingly connected lives, from smart cars to connected dishwashers, as posing a significant future threat – we’ve already seen the smart home under attack.

“As our vehicles, air transport, our critical infrastructure is resting critically on the internet, we need to be really confident that we have secured that, because our economic and daily lives are going to be dependent on the security we can put in to protect us from cyber-attack.”

Wise words from the former spook, let’s hope Amber Rudd was listening.