It has been reported that the government is considering offering the services of the GCHQ intelligence service to private businesses.
According to the BBC, Security Minister Dame Pauline Neville-Jones commented that the matter is “a live issue”, when questioned about the possibility of the GCHQ offering its services to the private sector by the Commons Science Commitee.
The security minister further commented: “There are many ways of tackling the whole question of whether, for instance, Cheltenham were to supply a service to the private sector how that might be funded and what the financial relationship might be".
Neville-Jones was unable to elaborate how exactly the security service will work with the private sector.
The GCHQ, which is based in Cheltenham, is used to monitor telephone and email traffic and is staffed by scientists and cyber-security experts.
GCHQ is not the first organisation to allow the private sector to access its facilities. The previous government privatised the Defense Evaluation and Research Agency in 2006, relaunching it as Qinetic.