UK college offers espionage degree to decode modern threats to world

WION Web Team
Delhi, India Published: Oct 02, 2018, 08:48 PM(IST)

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The issues covered in the course include modern challenges of terrorism, a possible new Cold War between Russia and the West, and cyber threats. 

At the University of Buckingham, a course has been designed to teach would-be spies about the new global dangers. From January, students can get a Bachelor’s degree in security, intelligence and cyber threats. WION’s Mandy Clark travelled to Buckingham to find out more. 

The University of Buckingham has created the first undergraduate degree in understanding international espionage. It’s run by Julian Richards, an expert on Pakistan who spent nearly 20 years working in the intelligence field -- but just don’t call his course a spy school. 

"So, first of all, this is not a training programme for people going into the world of espionage. This is about these issues rather than training to do these things. The intelligence agencies train their own spies, we don’t do that here in the Universities, they pick the brightest people that they want and then they train them accordingly,” Richards notes.
 
The issues covered in the course include modern challenges of terrorism, a possible new Cold War between Russia and the West, and cyber threats. 
 
The goal of this course is to understand modern threats to the modern world. But you don’t have to cast away all thoughts of James Bond and his gadget inventor Q. 

“Q is not entirely fictional in a way. Technology is an important part of this whole business, not just in governments but in commercial organisations as well. Things like autonomous technology, biomedical technology, the miniaturisation of surveillance devices, drones are the things we need to think about. We need to think about how they look, how they are going to be used, what are the ethical and legal considerations about these things not, just in governments, but across all sorts of organisations. We are not training people to be Q’s or to be James Bonds but we are equipping them with the consideration of what these things will mean and how we will have to develop strategies and policies to deal with it,” Richards added. 


What the course doesn’t do is reveal how spies do what they do. That’s a secret, WION's Bureau Chief, London, Mandy Clark reported. 

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