Former Labour minister David Blunkett revealed today that French president Nicolas Sarkozy had admitted that France was tapping UK government emails while he was Home Secretary.
Speaking at the McAfee Focus security event in London today, Blunkett said that the conversation took place during talks around the movement of refugees from France to England.
"Sarkozy was interior minister for France at the time," said Blunkett.
"We were negotiating how many refugees the UK would accept, and Sarkozy told me he already knew my bottom line. He then told me it might be wise to encrypt the emails we send to our embassy in Paris.
"They were tapping us," he concluded.
He added that governments are notoriously bad at cyber security, wryly drawing reference to the large number of incidents of public figures accidentally leaving documents and devices containing official information in public places.
"You don't need to hack into government, they'll just leave the data for you on the train."
Earlier this month, Cabinet Office minister Oliver Letwin was reprimanded for dumping official documents in a public bin.
Blunkett also called for the creation of a new international body to fight cyber crime.
"Cyber crime constitutes not just a military but an economic threat," he said.
"We need a new Nato, with the involvement of business, governments and law enforcement to bolster it. We need to unify these sectors across the world."
He explained that understanding where threats are coming from is an important defensive measure.
"Predicting the threats and taking preventative measures is crucial to business.
"People are still going about their business without any idea of what is about to hit them. We need to skill up and build understanding in employees, and ensure that the threats are taken seriously at board level."
Does Google know too much about you?
The trend towards non-desktop-based devices is enabling more flexible working practices and behaviours
Date: 29 May 2013
THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED DUE TO ILLNESS. Business intelligence is enjoying an upsurge of interest. In an era in which businesses and organisations...
Date: 11 Jun 2013
The enterprise mobility summit will examine how organisations can manage the increasing array of endpoints which are enabling mobile computing in business....