How GCHQ has evolved over 100 years of service

Rapid changes in technology are posing 'unique challenges' to the security services which will face 'enormous complexity' in the future, the boss of GCHQ has said.

Speaking 100 years since Government Communications Headquarters was formed, director Jeremy Fleming described society as being in a 'period of accelerated change' with technological advances leaving the spy agency needing to alter the way it works.

GCHQ, which rarely speaks publicly about its work but has tried to become less secretive in recent years, is marking its centenary with a series of events including an exhibition at the Science Museum in London.

Mr Fleming said: 'We're living through a period of accelerated change in terms of technology: that comes with huge advantages and unique challenges for society. It means the way we work is changing.

'But throughout our history we have always tackled developments in communications to stay one step ahead.

'We have always risen to the challenge that change brings.'

GCHQ: The key facts 

  • GCHQ was formed on November 1 1919, under the original name of the Government Code & Cypher School, by merging Room 40 (naval intelligence) and MI1(b) (military intelligence). 
  • The Queen has been receiving GCHQ intelligence reports for longer than anybody else in the world.
  • Its apprentices are three to four times more likely to have dyslexia than the national average. 
  • Sigint, intelligence gathering by interception of signals, began in 1914 to support the UK's military. 
  • Bletchley Park in M....
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