Cybersecurity czar concept meets resistance in Britain

Calls from a Member of Parliament to appoint a British cybersecurity czar are being greeted with skepticism from the U.K. information technology industry.

Mark Pritchard, a Conservative MP for The Wrekin parliamentary constituency, is urging the government to name a cybersecurity czar to address the growing threat against online commerce and national security in the United Kingdom.

"The rise of the professional hacker has serious implications for the UK, particularly in relation to national defense," Pritchard said in a speech posted on his Web site. "I just wondered whether the Government would consider?appointing a cybersecurity czar and having a cybersecurity day or week, which would include the private and public sectors."

Pritchard also noted the danger of cyberattacks against key critical infrastructures such as energy, transport, finance, telecommunications and aviation. "A penetration of any of those networks would be a serious threat to national security?not least when it comes to the potential to access Britain's 14 nuclear power stations," Pritchard said.

Initial IT industry reaction to Pritchard's request appeared to be negative, with the argument that the United Kingdom already has a sufficient number of protections in place to protect the cyberenvironment.

"As security experts said on Tuesday, there are already plenty of organizations charged with protecting us online," stated a Dec. 1 editorial in ZDNetUK, an online IT publication.

Instead of a cybersecurity czar, the newspaper calls for stronger anti-cybercrime legislation, less red tape for reporting cybercrimes, and more resources for cyber law enforcement as more effective measures to strengthen cybersecurity.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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