IPCO to investigate IT contractors’ access to GCHQ systems

The Investigatory Powers Commissioner is investigating several security arrangements that GCHQ entered into with private IT contractors, enabling the latter to enjoy administrative access over databases that contained sensitive details of millions of citizens.

GCHQ recently admitted in court that many private IT contractors have been given privileged user access to several sensitive databases, thereby giving rise to concerns that such contractors could misuse their access to leak citizens' details.

Appearing before the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) in a suit filed by Privacy International, a GCHQ witness recently confirmed that external IT contractors contracted by GCHQ are given administrative and privileged access to systems owned by the organisation so that they can support IT-related issues faced by the systems.