National Technical Assistance Centre

National Technical Assistance Centre (NTAC) was originally a Home Office agency, established in 2001[1] (originally as the Government Technical Assistance Centre - GTAC[2]), for data decryption and analysis. Within NTAC the Forensic Computing Team (Stored Data) are responsible for providing technical support to UK law enforcement and intelligence agencies in order to assist them gain access to protected data.[3] It initially cost £25 million to set up[4]

Since April 2006 GCHQ has had responsibility for the role of the unit[5]. It gives approval for the Section 49 Notices issued by police to demand data encryption under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000/Part III.

A 2010 document[6] leaked by Edward Snowden, gives the NTAC mission as

  • facilitate access to warranted voice and data interception
  • maintain secure interception networks (legacy voice systems / data networks)
  • advising agencies on exploitation
  • to process and make visible encrypted or protected data from seized computer media or lawful intercept

In August 2016[7] Joanna Cavan, former head of IOCCO became the new NTAC head.



  1. Head of National Technical Assistance Centre (NTAC) announced, 2001-03-30
  2. New web spy system is not up to the job, say the experts, Guardian, 2000-06-18
  3. Memorandum submitted by the National Technical Assistance Centre, Home Affairs Committee, 2006-01-26
  4. Hansard, 2001-04-02 "My right honourable friend the Home Secretary announced his intention to establish a Government Technical Assistance Centre, using £25 million of Capital Modernisation Funding, in written reply to the honourable Member for Coventry South, Mr. Cunningham, on 27 March 2000."
  5. National Technical Assistance Centre (NTAC) subsumed into GCHQ in April 2006 ?, Spy Blog, 2006-11-01
  6. NTAC Overview, 2010-06-22
  7. Wednesday 11th August 2016 – IOCCO Statement