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Empty streets make spies' jobs harder, says MI5 chief

October 15, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

The pandemic has changed the way millions of people work -- and even spies aren't exempt.

London (CNN)The pandemic has changed the way millions of people work -- and even spies aren't exempt.

Near-empty streets caused by fewer people traveling into city centers can make it difficult for Britain's spies to track suspects, the new head of MI5, the UK's domestic security service, has said.

Ken McCallum told journalists Wednesday that his agents have adjusted the way they work as a result of the coronavirus crisis, after crowds thinned in public spaces.

"You wouldn't expect me to get into detail, but common sense will tell you that covert surveillance is not straightforward on near-empty streets," McCallum said while addressing the impact of the events of 2020 on the intelligence agency.

In his first engagement with reporters since taking the job in March, McCallum also said terrorists have adjusted their targets as a result of the pandemic.

"The big shifts in everyone's lives -- reduced travel, more online, and the rest -- mean shifts in how our adversaries are operating," he said.

"Fewer crowds mean terrorists look at different targets; online living means more opportunities for cyber hackers; and so on. "

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