Joint Operations Cell

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Joint Operations Cell is a unit of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the British intelligence agency, and the National Crime Agency (NCA), a United Kingdom national law enforcement agency.[1][2][3][4] It opened in November 2015 with the intention of tackling a range of crime on the Dark Web, initially focusing on child sexual exploitation,[5][6] but also including international sex trafficking[4] and the sale of drugs and weapons on darknet markets.[6] Its intelligence methods include analysis of data gathered through mass surveillance.[3] Joint Operations Cell is a collaborative effort of GCHQ and NCA, co-located in Warrington.[3][7]


In November 2013, UK Prime Minister David Cameron said UK and US intelligence agencies would help fight child abuse images on the Dark Web that is inaccessible to search engines.[8] He announced plans to create the Joint Operations Cell at the We Protect Children Online Global Summit in December 2014.[9][10] The opening of a co-located facility in Warrington in November 2015 was announced with a press release, quoting GCHQ director Robert Hannigan and then NCA director Keith Bristow.[1][3][7][8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "The UK Will Police the Dark Web with a New Task Force". National Crime Agency. 6 November 2015. Retrieved 10 November 2015. 
  2. ^ "GCHQ and NCA join forces to ensure no hiding place online for criminals". Government Communications Headquarters. 6 November 2015. Archived from the original on 9 November 2015. Retrieved 10 November 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d Whitehead, Tom (6 November 2015). "GCHQ and police set up paedophile hunting unit". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 10 November 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Fryer-Biggs, Zachary (8 November 2015). "UK's NCA and GCHQ launch new cyber unit". Jane's Information Group. Retrieved 10 November 2015. 
  5. ^ Munson, Lee (9 November 2015). "Tackling crime on the Dark Web with new Joint Operations Cell". Naked Security. Sophos. Retrieved 10 November 2015. 
  6. ^ a b Cook, James (9 November 2015). "The UK has created a new taskforce to crack down on paedophiles on the dark web". Business Insider. Retrieved 10 November 2015. 
  7. ^ a b Cox, Joseph (8 November 2015). "The UK Will Police the Dark Web with a New Task Force". Vice. Retrieved 10 November 2015. 
  8. ^ a b Ashford, Warwick (9 November 2015). "GCHQ and NCA join forces to police dark web". Computer Weekly. Retrieved 10 November 2015. 
  9. ^ Watt, Nicholas (11 December 2014). "'Dark web': GCHQ and National Crime Agency join forces in hunt for child abuse". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 10 November 2015. 
  10. ^ Osborne, Charlie (9 November 2015). "UK gov't tackles Dark Web with new cybercrime unit". ZDNet. Retrieved 10 November 2015.