As GCHQ, the Government Communications Headquarters, celebrates 100 years of protecting the UK, they gave an insight into their highly confidential work. GCHQ staff have been involved in everything from cracking the Enigma code during World War 2 to unravelling a Soviet spy ring at the heart of the British establishment. Science Museum curator Dr Elizabeth Bruton told Express.co.uk about one particularly intriguing fact related to the organisation’s disposal practices and how dust could blow national security secrets.
Unlike most traditional offices and homes, a normal bin or paper shredder will not do for GCHQ.
Any time the top secret agency wants to dispose of data or a machine, they have to undergo a slightly more elaborate process.
They fear that information they work on could fall into enemy hands or that equipment used could be replicated or studied by spying states.
As revealed by GCHQ, even a small polka dot could hide secret messages that can only be revealed under a magnifying lens.
GCHQ has protected the nation for 100 years - it so confident that even dust inside is classified (Image: GETTY)
GCHQ grinds equipment and data into dust to avoid secrets spilling into the wrong hands (Image: SCIENCE MUSEUM - GCHQ )
Dr Bruton, curator of Technology and Engineering, in London’s Science Museum discussed the work of the GCHQ and why their cautiousness is absolutely necessary.
She said: “So GCHQ have a way of destroying the technology that they work with to keep the tech secret and the content secret.
“They grind it down into a fine level of dust where it would be impossible to recover the technology or data stored on it.”
Despite giving an insight into GCHQ, one of the many mysteries not revealed was what they do with the dust after it is ground down.
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Microdots can be used to hide secret messages including this one found inside an envelope (Image: NSA)
One man using a device to help decode a secret message in 1987 (Image: GETTY)
Dr Burton went on to suggest some of the possible pieces that could have been destroyed to avoid any potential information leaks.
She said: “It could be absolutely any piece of electronic equipment used.
“From the top secret cryptographic systems or a telephone used for