back to article New GCHQ unit: Psst, breached biz bods. We won't rat you out to the ICO

The new National Cyber Security Centre is pitching itself to CEOs as a friendly government organisation which won't get the regulators involved after data breaches. Those gathered this morning on the 18th floor of 125 London Wall heard one of the NCSC's deputy directors address CEOs on how they should lead their businesses' …

  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Obvious, really.

    When it comes to personal data you can't expect a branch of GCHQ to be on the same side as the ICO. Apart from anything else there's always the possibility of picking up a little more personal data when they investigate the breach.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Far off the topic, but I had to..

    Lured by the pretty girl in the photo (yes, I know, I'm a caveman) I was devastated to note her five-o'clock foundation beard and appallingly filthy nails. Surely you can ask for a refund from Shutterstock, or is there a subtle message in her appearance?

    1. Peter X

      Re: Far off the topic, but I had to..

      I noticed that too. Can't believe it's accidental though. But, WHAT DOES IT MEAN?!!!

      1. Wiltshire

        Re: Far off the topic, but I had to..

        What does it mean?

        GCHQ's fingers go into dirty places.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Far off the topic, but I had to..

      " five-o'clock foundation beard"

      Like the old saying; on the internet all men are men, all women are men and all the children are FBI agents.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Far off the topic, but I had to..

      the high-rez version seems to be here(*), less jpg artefacts, less beard - nails still ukky but a steganographic message in cyrillic no-less on the ring? hence obviolustly gov infosec related


      stegano revealed as J.C SHOW ME MERCY but it probably has a double meaning, as I just watched something called "Inferno" yesterday

    4. Dom De Vitto

      Re: Far off the topic, but I had to..

      You've had worse.....

  3. M7S

    “If you haven't phoned me and told me about it, I will phone you"

    How does a relatively secret organisation prove who they are on the phone?

    Separately, if you don't get a phone call following a breach does that mean that either:

    1) you are insignificant/unimportant in the eyes of our political masters or

    2) that might indicate that said breach was done on behalf of one of "our friends"

    Lastly, whilst I appreciate the sentiment of non-disclosure in the interest of free discussion and the dilemma around this topic, it does suggest a certain institutionalised contempt for the ICO, and also may provide a refuge for certain "less than entirely forthright" companies who, when breached, may go to this organisation whilst publicly denying anything has happened, and later trying to use that as protection against redress claiming some spurious "national security interest"

    1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

      Re: “If you haven't phoned me and told me about it, I will phone you"

      While I strongly support the ICO (and, indeed, the public) being informed of all data breaches it does seem reasonable that this organisation would say "you have a duty to report that to the ICO, but we are not going to get involved in that". There is a role for an expert group who can advise companies without insisting they make the report.

      Of course, these sorts of chinese walls, for the public good, are exactly what the government seem determined to break down in our personal lives. I see no reason why companies should be able to get the benefit of good advice while possibly breaking the law and yet individuals do not have the option to keep data required by one government department separate from data supplied to another.

      For example, it is in the public interest that people get prompt treatment for possibly communicable illnesses so we need to make sure that doesn't mean they will be grassed up to other government depts.

    2. You aint sin me, roit Silver badge

      Re: “If you haven't phoned me and told me about it, I will phone you"

      Of course he will - he will want to advise you on some "no backdoor, honest guv" crypto.

      And he'll know about your breach because his mate down the road in Cheltenham did it. It's called "drumming up business"...

    3. Tom Paine

      Re: “If you haven't phoned me and told me about it, I will phone you"

      it does suggest a certain institutionalised contempt for the ICO

      How much respect is appropriate for a chocolate teapot?

  4. Mike Shepherd

    "a friendly government organisation"

    This does not compute.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is just a rename of the now-defunct CESG isn't it?

  6. Chris G Silver badge


    The detail is in what they are not saying, while they are saying they won't report breaches that may have broken regulations to the ICO, they are not saying what they may do with that information later.

    The world of spookery in general is about misdirection and often not saying all there is to say or downright lying and sometimes blackmailing for their own benefit, I doubt if any part of GCHQ is any different.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don Corleone would be proud

    Or am I the only one to whom this feels like a way of getting companies into debt with the spooks?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Government Buildings

    Talking of the subtlety of said brown fingers used in the photo, I always wondered if the SIS MI6 building in Vauxhall metaphroically represented a Square Peg and the GCHQ Doughnut in Cheltenham represented the round hole.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Government Buildings

      Possibly closer to the truth than anyone would be prepared to admit.

      BTW, how come that MI6 and GCHQ got new buildings while MI5 had to make do with a hand me down from ICI?

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