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


  1. 1.0 1.1 "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. Retrieved 10 November 2015. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Whitehead, Tom (6 November 2015). "GCHQ and police set up paedophile hunting unit". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 10 November 2015. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 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. 6.0 6.1 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. 7.0 7.1 Cox, Joseph (8 November 2015). "The UK Will Police the Dark Web with a New Task Force". Vice. Retrieved 10 November 2015. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 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.