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[] MI5 website will analyse threat of terrorist attack,

NATIONAL NEWS: MI5 website will analyse threat of terrorist attack By 
Mark Huband, Security Correspondent
Financial Times; Nov 18, 2003

MI5 is to launch a web-based service setting out information on the 
terrorist threat.

The service, which will be launched by March 2004, will analyse the 
threat and suggest preparations to mitigate the impact. The launch will 
draw the Security Service further into the public arena.

Although there is already a substantial amount of advice and information 
on terrorism on the Home Office website, Whitehall felt it was not being 
fully used.

"People are not looking at websites unless they are directed to," said a 
Whitehall official. "Security concerns are far down the food chain of 
companies, and they need to treat terrorism as they treat other kinds of 
corporate risk."

Most of the Home Office material related to security issues is written 
by MI5 but Whitehall hopes more people will be drawn by allure of the 
agency's Security Service stamp. The Home Office will remain solely 
responsible for issuing alerts, while the MI5 service will explain how 
to understand the threat.

The strategy is part of a process to raise MI5's public profile and 
prevent complacency about the threat of terrorism. There is also the 
realisation that a better-informed public and more security-conscious 
business sector are main elements in the government's counter-terrorism 

In a recent speech to London police officers, Eliza Manningham-Buller, 
MI5 director-general, said: "I firmly believe that the public are 
sensible and realistic in their expectations of both the Security 
Service and our partners in countering this threat. We need to continue 
to tell them about the threat, explain the nature and extent of it and 
be clear about what can be expected of us by the public. We need and 
rely on public co-operation and support for our work."

Public knowledge of what MI5 does has remained limited, however, and 
expectations of the service are probably not as clear as the MI5 head 
suggests. The aim of the service's decision to adopt a higher profile is 
to create a direct link with the public.

The aim of the web service is to provide "authenticated descriptions of 
the threat", said the Whitehall official. The service intends to be- 
come the definitive source of information, based on 
intelligence-gathering. "The information isn't going to be specific 
because it couldn't be done without endangering sources. But it will be 
authoritative," he added.

Andreas Dietl

EU Affairs Director
European Digital Rights

T: +32 2 660 47 81
M: +32 498 34 56 86
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