British surveillance body seeks fresh talent despite on-going charges of malpractice.
GCHQ, the British government’s surveillance body, has backed a cyber battle contest to find recruits from the amateur hacking community.
The fifth Cyber Security Challenge (CSC) will see candidates battling with the fictitious organisation Flag Day Associates, the first time recurring characters have been introduced into the series.
Adam Kramer, of the National Crime Agency, who developed the challenge, said: "Whether it’s the creation and spread of malicious software, or attempting to steal banking details, those charged with investigating cyber crime need to have the technical ability, knowledge and understanding to defend the UK and its citizens from cyber related attacks."
Flag Day was revealed in a Youtube video at the end of a previous class run by CSC, in a parody of terrorism clips released during crime waves.
The announcement appears at a time of widespread criticism of the controversial organisation, recently subject to a legal complaint from Privacy International.
"Arbitrary powers such as these are the purview of dictatorships not democracies," Eric King, deputy director of Privacy International, said, in an interview with the BBC.
"Unrestrained, unregulated government spying of this kind is the antithesis of the rule of law and government must be held accountable for their actions."
In an interview with Al Jazeera, the journalist Glenn Greenwald recently confirmed that there many more revelations about the NSA/GCHQ spying programme still to be revealed.
Greenwald, who broke the Edward Snowden stories for the Guardian, has just released a book detailing the investigation, called No Place to Hide.
A spokesman from the NCA said they did not believe public outrage at the extent of government snooping would deter people from entering the competition.