MP condemns Guardian revelations on efforts to combat organised crime online

Julian Smith has condemned the Guardian’s revelations about techniques used to combat organised crime.

Speaking in House of Commons Business Questions, the MP said that the newspapers’ reporting of efforts to deal with criminals who use the online anonymity tool, Tor, undermined attempts by police and the security services to discover terrorist, cybercriminal and human trafficking activity.

Former Head of GCHQ, Sir David Omand, said the Guardian’s revelations highlighted “an intelligence technique which should have remained secret” in an interview with The Times earlier this month in which he also said they were the "most catastrophic loss to British intelligence ever".

Mr Smith said:

“On 4 October, The Guardian published in minute detail the techniques used by the intelligence services to apprehend those who use the Tor network—the so-called dark internet—to commit, anonymously, serious online crimes, including crimes involving child pornography. May we have a debate on the impact of those Guardian reports on the combating of serious crime in the United Kingdom?”

In response, Leader of the House Andrew Lansley, said:

“My Honorary Friend has been rightly assiduous in pursuing this issue. I entirely share the Prime Minister’s view that The Guardian not least, but others as well, should reflect on the damage that could have been done to the UK’s safety and security by the undermining of those whose job is to keep us safe.”