David, G8UOD gave a well researched and presented history of this country’s security services now celebrating one hundred years of keeping us safe. The history began just after the First World War and detailed the setting up of the Security Service as a government department.
On 1 November 1919 the GC&CS (Government Cipher and Code School) was formed. The duties assigned included cryptographic service, Naval code breakers and monitoring of messages by cable companies. In 1921 the Foreign Office took control of GC&CS with an increased workload including the inception of machine generated ciphers in 1925. The service’s remit included the censorship of news papers and books being published that included possible sensitive material from the war.
Included in the overall structure of the organization in 1924 were overseas radio and communications monitoring stations. At about this point in time, the Rotor Cipher machines were invented, the most widely known was the Enigma machine which the Germans improved in the early thirties. Other countries, including Poland and France, began working on methods to break the code. During the build up of hostilities in the 30s, the GC&CS moved out of London to Bletchley Park.
Other parts of the service had grown and also moved out of London to larger sites. David explained various early computers and organisations working on post war signals intelligence.
In more modern times, GCHQ have been working on Cyber Crime in connection with government departments, financial Institutions, and banks.
On 14 Feb 2019, the Queen unveiled a plaque during a visit to Watergate House in London celebrating the 100th anniversary of the intelligence service. The plaque is said to contain secret coded messages!