Britain's GCHQ to take on Russia's COVID anti-vaccine trolls

Britain’s General Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has begun an offensive cyber-operation to tackle anti-vaccine propaganda being spread online by hostile states, The Times has reported.

This latest move by GCHQ, which gathers communications from around the world to identify and disrupt threats to Britain, is an attempt to counter disinformation activities linked to Russia, the Times said.

The British government considers tackling false information about immunisation as a high priority as the prospect of a reliable vaccine against the coronavirus draws closer.

A vaccine is seen as the world’s best bet for beating the COVID-19 pandemic that has led to more than 1.2 million deaths, roiled economies and disrupted billions of lives.

GCHQ is Britain’s main eavesdropping agency and has a close relationship with the U.S. National Security Agency, as well as the eavesdropping agencies of Australia, Canada and New Zealand in an intelligence alliance known as the “Five Eyes”.

“GCHQ has been told to take out antivaxers online and on social media,” the Times said, citing a source.

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