Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/06/17/mi5_warns_brits/

Brits abroad warned: Don't become enemy spy

MI5 warns Brits on the piss...

By John Oates

Posted in Bootnotes, 17th June 2005 14:34 GMT

Summer's here and the time is right to consult the internets for travel advice and holiday tips. There is a new entrant this year and it's not another pesky dot-com start-up but the UK's very own security goons MI5.

The secret service is warning Brits travelling abroad for work or holidays to be aware of the danger of being accidentally recruited into a foreign power's intelligence network. People working for high-tech companies are particularly at risk the website warns.

Top advice includes not taking too many classified documents with you, and if you do to look after them carefully. This advice might be taken more seriously from anyone but MI5 - which famously misplaced a laptop after a top-secret night out in a wine bar. They placed an advert in the Evening Standard to try and track down the machine which had been left in a taxi. The Ministy of Defence admitted in 2002 that it had lost about 600 computers since 1997.

In a blow for the traditional holiday romance business travellers are also reminded: "If you are required to report intimate relationships with the nationals of certain countries to your Security Co-ordinator, make sure you do so promptly and honestly."

Travellers should also look out for: "Lavish hospitality, flattery and the "red carpet" treatment" which are all recruitment stragies used by foreign intelligence services. Not to mention time share apartment salespeople. Presumably you will know if you are being recruited by British or American intelligence services because they will tie you to the ceiling and deprive you of sleep rather than seduce you with such luxuries.

And don't let you guard down once you get home. Watch out for, "requests for openly available information which, when received, is then rewarded with small gifts or payment" and "further requests over time for more sensitive information".

Bizarrely the MI5 website describes espionage as "the world's second oldest profession". Is this true? How is it related to the oldest profession? - drop us an email if you can shed any light on this mystery.

Register readers contemplating a trip across to the Continent or even further afield should get themselves over to this website immediately. Walls have ears.®

Related stories

MoD suppliers' laptop turns up on rubbish tip
MI5's computers will be over budget and under-powered
MI5 plugs in terror website
Ministry of Defence loses 594 laptops
MoD laptop thefts put the wind up the US