Bristol maths boffins in pay of the military
The militarisation of education has even taken place within the Bristol University Maths Department. To stay ahead of the game, GCHQ at Cheltenham fund 50% of the salaries of about 30 staff working within Bristol Uni maths department. The staff are based at The Helibronn Institute near the BRI hospital. A major part of their work is encryption. Communication between computers, mobiles etc is kept secure by using encryption. The most famous cryptography machine was the Enigma machine used by the Germans in WW2.
GCHQ spies on everybody, using satellites and mass surveillance of mobile messages. Anybody deemed an enemy of the empire can be monitored. Also internal enemies are watched for. The police called for GCHQ assistance when they found the participants of the riots of 2011 were using Blackberry’s to communicate their movements. This was done in real time to keep up with the rapidly changing situation.
It was recently reported that GCHQ provides targeting information for US military drones to attack the Taliban.
Most of GCHQ’s work is secret and involves intercepting communications. A recent Times article reported that legal action is underway over GCHQ giving information to the US military which helps them target ‘insurgents’. Another part of the drone war being carried out by the military. An old Guardian article highlights the commercial value of encryption.
The Bristol Maths Department/cryptography has special expertise in an area known as side channel attacks. A category of attack that involves finding ‘leakages’ from what we probably think of as secure transactions. A mobile phone uses clever cryptology via a computer program that consumes power and emits electromagnetic signals. If you know how to ‘read’ the power consumption then you can decode certain pieces of information. This was well known to the military and in the 1970’s led to the construction of shielded rooms where communication could be carried out but without leaking electro-magnetic radiation. The rest of us were wide open until the late 1990’s says Elizabeth Oswald, Senior Lecturer at Bristol Uni.