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The Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) is the U.K.'s electronic intelligence collection agency. GCHQ has two important missions — Signals Intelligence (known as SIGINT) and Information Assurance (IA) — both missions sharing the challenges of modern communications and working together. It is answerable to the Foreign Office and intercepts communications using ECHELON through its Composite Signals Organisation stations in the UK and elsewhere.
Historically its role has been the collection of intelligence information but its statutory duties include monitoring or interferring with electromagnetic, acoustic and other emissions and any equipment producing such emissions and to obtain and provide information derived from or related to such emissions or equipment and from encrypted material.