back to article GCHQ goes all Cool Dad and tags the streets of Shoreditch with job ads

Spotted in Shoreditch, London's Hipster Central as well as the beating heart of Tech City, witness the labours of a GCHQ advertising team hoping to go viral. It's working, as you can see. Shoe-leather advertising Let's hope the tagging team avoids the mistake that IBM made in 2001 when it stencilled the streets of San …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Why not put up a few posters while your at it ?

    Like this one...

    Or this one...

    1. Graham Marsden
      Thumb Up

      Re: Why not put up a few posters while your at it ?

      Damn, you beat me to it!

      I was just about to quote the "Be a Government Informer..." poster from Red Dwarf.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why not put up a few posters while your at it ?

        Or this genuine TFL poster...

        1. JetSetJim Silver badge
          Big Brother

          Re: Why not put up a few posters while your at it ?

          Or even genuine police posters

  2. Ralph B
    Big Brother

    Our Next Double-Oh.

    "The name's Barley. Nathan Barley."

    1. Buzzword

      Re: Our Next Double-Oh.

      Yeah, I'd worry about the suitability of the recruits in Shoreditch. It's an area where having a loud personality counts, and the job description includes telling everyone who'll listen (and plenty who won't) how great your new TwatFace-integrated app is. That's not the personality you want in a top-secret agency.

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: Our Next Double-Oh.

        Maybe that's the plan.

        And while the hipster eejits are telling all and sundry about the all new top secret social media web app they're working on, the real work is being done somewhere else by someone else away from the distraction.

  3. tiggity Silver badge

    Maybe they should try a few Newcastle car parks

    For alternative talent hunting

  4. Stuart 22 Silver badge

    Enterprising Company ... ?

    "GCHQ-Careers.CO.UK".

    A private enterprise and not a government department any more? Or one that controls government as well as us rather than the other way round?

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Re: Enterprising Company ... ?

      "GCHQ-Careers.CO.UK".

      A private enterprise and not a government department any more? Or one that controls government as well as us rather than the other way round?

      There are two takes on that. The cynical take would be that it's GCHQ doing what it does best: avoiding the rules. To set up a .gov.uk takes a lot of paperwork to get approval, so true to form they simply avoided the rules.

      Take two, however is simpler: it's not GCHQ's domain but the recruiter's according to WHOIS.

      Domain name: gchq-careers.co.uk

      Registrant: Penna PLC

      Registrant type: UK Public Limited Company, (Company number: 1918150)

      Registrant's address:

      . 5 Fleet Place

      . London

      . EC4M 7RD

      . United Kingdom

      It is quite possible that there is some trouble in the make for the recruiters and not just for befouling the pavement. I recall working for a company which is mostly branding, and their brand managers got seriously pissed off with a recruiter who worked for them and registered <brand>-jobs.co.uk.

      As security manager of one of the new ventures I got a ping as soon as the ads appeared in the papers to hunt down this chap and have a stern word with him because it made it appear that the brand in question now started a recruitment arm. They made him sign over the domain and then closed it - he had to re-run the campaign under his own company name.

      1. JetSetJim Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Enterprising Company ... ?

        It's very unlikely, considering the actual content on the careers site and the media coverage of the grafitti, but it wouldn't surprise me to discover that it's an elaborate phishing scam, or even an exercise by foreign intel agencies to harvest some data about potential candidates applying to GCHQ...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Enterprising Company ... ?

      there's at least one other enterprising company - I was just (1 minute ago) browsing the front-page HTML source code of a main UK newspaper website and was surprised to find a coding job being offered to me!

      {!DOCTYPE html}

      {html id="js-context" class="js-off is-not-modern id--signed-out" data-page-path="/international"}

      {!--

      ##::::: ##: ########::::::: ###:::: ########:: ########:::: ##:::: ##: ####: ########:: ####: ##::: ##:: ######::

      ##: ##: ##: ##.....::::::: ## ##::: ##.... ##: ##.....::::: ##:::: ##:. ##:: ##.... ##:. ##:: ###:: ##: ##... ##:

      ##: ##: ##: ##::::::::::: ##:. ##:: ##:::: ##: ##:::::::::: ##:::: ##:: ##:: ##:::: ##:: ##:: ####: ##: ##:::..::

      ##: ##: ##: ######:::::: ##:::. ##: ########:: ######:::::: #########:: ##:: ########::: ##:: ## ## ##: ##:: ####

      ##: ##: ##: ##...::::::: #########: ##.. ##::: ##...::::::: ##.... ##:: ##:: ##.. ##:::: ##:: ##. ####: ##::: ##:

      ##: ##: ##: ##:::::::::: ##.... ##: ##::. ##:: ##:::::::::: ##:::: ##:: ##:: ##::. ##::: ##:: ##:. ###: ##::: ##:

      ###. ###:: ########:::: ##:::: ##: ##:::. ##: ########:::: ##:::: ##: ####: ##:::. ##: ####: ##::. ##:. ######::

      Ever thought about joining us?

      not sure how well, or if it will format here? (uselessly - at least the original is cool)

      1. TheOtherHobbes

        Re: Enterprising Company ... ?

        imgur were doing this years ago.

        Their download code didn't always work. If you looked at the source to find the original image link you'd see a "We're hiring!" message.

        The Guardian were doing something very similar recently. I discovered it while adblocking their anti-adblock banner.

    3. KA1AXY

      Re: Enterprising Company ... ?

      Outsourcing, mate. It's happening everywhere.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Optional

    I thought that a while ago someone else had done this and instead of using chalk they cleaned the street by pressure washing though a stencil. When the council took them to court, the council lost as cleaning the streets wasn't a crime. Looking at the picture I think the same has happened here, as the chewing gum doesn't seem to change colour in or out of the letters.

    1. theModge

      Re: Optional

      I came here to post the same: that is how the companies that do this advertise.

      e.g. http://www.streetadvertisingservices.com/frequently-asked-questions/clean-advertising#collapse5

    2. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Re: Optional

      I thought that a while ago someone else had done this and instead of using chalk they cleaned the street by pressure washing though a stencil. When the council took them to court, the council lost as cleaning the streets wasn't a crime

      LOL, I didn't know that. Brilliant - how to use grime to your advantage. Not such good advertising for the state of pavements, but that's maybe part of the motivation to start in Shoreditch :)

      1. JetSetJim Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Optional

        It'll be interesting to see how this pans out then, looks like Hackney have taken offence:

        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3336683/They-didn-t-coming-GCHQ-threatened-fine-spraying-graffiti-messages-pavements-bid-recruit-hipsters.html

  6. K

    $100k fine.. thats a bargain

    Even if they only managed to recruit a few people, thats still a darn site cheaper that the usual recruitment agency fees.

    Then chuck in the free publicity.. IBM's marketing, HR and Finance teams must have laughed all the way to the bank.

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Re: $100k fine.. thats a bargain

      Even if they only managed to recruit a few people, thats still a darn site cheaper that the usual recruitment agency fees.

      Judging by the WHOIS it IS a recruitment agency. Makes sense to keep that part of the process at arms length.

  7. Martin hepworth

    Salaries

    folks might be put off by the difference in salaries from the boys in Cheltanham

  8. Christoph

    Don't go near this

    So you apply for this, prove that you're really great at code cracking, but then fail positive vetting on some trivial detail.

    You've proved to them that you're an expert code-cracker who can't be trusted.

    They are going to keep an eye on you for the rest of your life.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Re: Don't go near this

      And that makes them different that the rest of us how?

    2. d3vy

      Re: Don't go near this

      So you apply for this, prove that you're really great at code cracking, but then fail positive vetting on some trivial detail.

      Actually if you read the site you would see that there is a vetting process before the technical filtering - so you wont do any technical tests if you fail vetting - of course this vetting will not be that in depth at that stage - and I'd imagine that they would want you at least SC cleared before actually starting work - probably VD... But realistically is anyone who is likley to fail an SC check going to bother applying?

      1. Hans 1

        Re: Don't go near this

        >But realistically is anyone who is likley to fail an SC check going to bother applying?

        I might, always wanted to take the piss out of them ... ;-)

        1. Roq D. Kasba

          Re: Don't go near this

          There's a (mistaken) school of thought that the services want the squeaky clean. Truth is they want humans, and humans come with baggage - what they care more about (and the point of vetting) is that you cannot be blackmailed as your employers already know it all.

          If you've a nefarious past and fancy a bit of sigint, give them a try - your nefarious past may anguish make you a better candidate for certain campaigns!

          1. Triggerfish

            Re: Don't go near this

            Having been volunteered by a friend to talk to some men in gray for his vetting and having being vetted. I agree, they did not care about past minor misdemeanours after all it's hard to be a squaddie then a student and not get up to some shenanigans.

            It's struck me it was more about how accessible the subject would be to blackmail, or some other soft technique. They really did not give a crap about the odd joint being smoked as a twenty year old doing a degree, it's was far more stuff along the lines of womanising, gambling habits, things like that. Likewise if you were honest about things like having a smoke, or being a bot of a rave kid then you were generally ok, (less duplicity less blackmail chances I guess).

  9. phil dude
    Joke

    Banksy...

    ..not up to his usual standard, is it?

    P.

  10. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Technical oppertunities. Really? Technically knowing the right end of broom. The job is for someone who walks around all day, looking to clean floors. Possibly wiping up the mess of certain incoming laws.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      yes

      But you have to know how to hold the broom properly so that the embedded video camera always has a 360degree view of the room.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hey! Got a beard? Ride a fixie? Serve expensive coffee? Tap on a Mac?

    "Well, here at GCHQ we need you and your preposterous trousers to be idiot cannon fodder for your country. Get poisoned for Her Majesty! It'll be just like in Spectre, except without the cars and women and with more beards. Drop one dude!"

    This will not end well.

  12. Larner

    Copywriter required

    GCH YOU?, surely?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Copywriter required

      No, its meant to be "GCH-WHO?" - its a recruitment campaign by UNIT!

  13. Danny 2 Silver badge

    Too much good TV on El Reg lately

    Recently a TV exec complained there was too much good TV lately, his argument is nobody has time to watch them all.

    It struck me as a bizarre, insider view at the time, but frankly lately there have been far too many excellent articles on The Register. I have too much time on my hands and even I struggle to read them all and make my silly comments. Won't somebody think of the workers? How is anyone with a job and a family expected to keep up with this quantity of quality articles? They can't, they won't, and the UK's IT and security sector will inevitably suffer as readers struggle to keep up with this extra burden.

    Tone it down just a wee bit El Reg, or at least try to get some of these excellent articles into mainstream newspapers. Your recent excellence is blowing minds, surely a terrorist offence worthy of a government clampdown.

    1. Martin 47
      Joke

      Re: Too much good TV on El Reg lately

      You got a link to this other el reg site your on about?

      1. Midnight

        Re: Too much good TV on El Reg lately

        Of course, but who has time to share it?

    2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Too much good TV on El Reg lately

      It's nice to see El Reg leading the New Way.... and with Quantum Communication Waves in IT, too, Danny 2.

  14. JimmyPage
    FAIL

    Can I work from home ?

    No.

    So they're already recruiting from a shrinking pool. Because civil service working practices trump catching terrorists.

    Makes you wonder how real the "war on terror" is, doesn't it ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Can I work from home ?

      Makes you wonder how real the "war on terror" is, doesn't it?

      Not all of it, I think.

    2. phil dude
      FAIL

      Re: Can I work from home ?

      If we start calling the perpetrators "criminals" instead of "terrorists" because they have publicity needs, and it makes it all look a lot clearer.

      We live in the age of the "media mega meme", synchronised news headlines across the internet....

      P.

  15. Amorous Cowherder
    Facepalm

    This is the best art they could do?

    Then again all the decent street artists who paint in Shoreditch would probably give GCHQ a wide berth as would any sane person!

    1. Christian Berger

      Re: This is the best art they could do?

      Yes, but what if it's the only job you can get?

  16. Christian Berger

    It almost sounds like a strategy...

    Please allow me to put on my conspiracy theory hat. :)

    You first make sure that the country is in deep trouble by privatizing infrastructure and bailing out banks, then you invest into surveillance to suppress the masses rightfully demanding a piece of the cake. Then, since there's mass unemployment, it gets much easier to find people for suppression.

    Seriously enjoy one of the few good parts of Europe while you can. Europe allows you to simple work everywhere within the EU. Particularly in IT most of your new colleagues will speak English so you can start with just a basic understanding of the local language.

    Here's one example:

    http://www.hfo-telecom.de/karriere/stellenangebote

    They are searching for a software developer full time.

  17. Chris G Silver badge

    Good luck with the vetting

    If a friend of mine is anything to go by, it has taken over 15 months to positively vet him and he has worked in a number of high security positions for the gov before.

    He was seriously checking his retirement options it was taking so long.

    For the Shoreditch crowd, by the time they actually get the job, the birds nest fungus, dopy Japanese haircut and fixies will be out of fashion.

    Though the company Aston will be better than a bike anyway.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Good luck with the vetting

      In the past the biggest annoyance about having a relative positively vetted was that they tapped your phone as well, and the primitive equipment of the day caused a lot of line noise. But now they're listening to everybody, so at least that won't be a problem.

      They tapped my phone twice; once when said relative was positively vetted, the second when he decided to leave suddenly for the US and big bucks, without leaving a forwarding address. I got so annoyed I would pick up the phone and say "I'm just going to look for a different call box to phone the KGB".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Good luck with the vetting

      To positively vet him?

      Do you mean DV - not heard of positive Vetting in a while?

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They're not afraid of a fine

    IBM tried something similar in 2001, and copped a fine

    IBM doesn't have a detailed list of blackmail material, evidence, and the ability to use it against pretty much every judge and legal professional around Shoreditch (and the UK) though.

    They're not going to get a fine.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    shoreditch???

    The spooks must be short of web developers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: shoreditch???

      So who is injecting all that malware into ad servers?

      The people who invented Stuxnet might equally think that was a good idea.

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