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Reg Lectures

Duncan Campbell: GCHQ and me and a roomful of Reg readers

Long suppressed video finally makes it onto the web

By Joe Fay

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Reg Lectures Veteran investigative journalist Duncan Campbell detailed his long time entanglements with GCHQ and the Echelon project in a long-form article in The Intercept yesterday – but a select group of Register readers heard the full story from the man himself, last year.

Duncan used his Register Christmas Lecture to give a deep dive on how his involvement with the UK’s secret state began even before he was born, when his mathematician mother worked at a secret government facility during WWII with “a gangly fellow with a stutter who loved long-distance running and mushrooms”. Yes, of course it was Turing.

In the 1970s, Duncan became the first journalist to reveal the extent of GCHQ’s eavesdropping activities - and ended up charged with espionage under the Official Secrets Act.

Since then, he has continued to uncover the mysteries and secrets of the UK and US intelligence services, including the existence of Echelon, the first automated mass surveillance system.

You can gain a unique insight into what makes him, and the surveillance state, tick by watching our just released video of last December’s talk. (Yes, it's a bit shadowy, but perhaps that's appropriate given the subject matter)

Let's face it though, after 40 years of revelations from Duncan the biggest mystery might be that people are still so surprised by how wide-spread state sponsored eavesdropping is. ®

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