The cybersnoops are always one step ahead of ministers
Most people would assume – and certainly hope – that the emails of a serving Chancellor could not be read by a newspaper looking for a story.
Because if a journalist can access someone like Gordon Brown's personal correspondence just imagine what the Chinese are reading. During the past few years, the Government has invested millions of pounds trying to ensure its communications are as secure from interception as possible. But two glaring problems remain. The first is that while the Government can secure its own communications it cannot secure the communications of those it corresponds with.
Every time a minister writes an email to anyone outside Whitehall that correspondence is vulnerable from the moment it arrives in the recipient's inbox.
They do not have access to the kind of security available to members of the Government and are probably as lax with passwords and other basic precautions as the rest of us. The second security flaw is even more significant. Many ministers have started using their personal internet-based email accounts as a way of communicating beyond the reach of their civil servants and the Freedom of Information Act. We know Michael Gove used his personal email to correspond with his advisers about departmental business and anyone sending an email to David Cameron's adviser, Steve Hilton, gets an automatic response saying he does not use his government email. Given that Mr Hilton is a technology junkie, it makes you wonder how he is communicating.
All this makes ministers vulnerable to pretty basic interception. It also explains why the police are taking the allegations that Mr Brown's emails were intercepted so seriously. While the contents of such emails – perhaps discussing his relationship with Tony Blair, how to deal with the financial crisis or attack David Cameron – may only be of historical interest what is being written by ministers now has greater pertinence. A newspaper getting hold of it might be the least of their worries.
Israel-Gaza crisis: YouTube footage shows scale of destruction after 50 days of shelling
Keira Knightley topless: Conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
iPhone 6 'hidden code' could indicate sharper screens or bigger phones
Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
Ebola virus: It's ripped through towns – now the deadliest ever outbreak of the virus is heading for Africa's teeming cities
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
- 1 Unseen Charlie and the Chocolate Factory chapter deemed 'too subversive' released
- 3 Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
- < Previous
- Next >