The House of Lords has raised a number of concerns about the UK's cyber security defence strategy, warning that greater knowledge of the sphere and more clear cut lines of responsibility are needed.
The Lords held a two-hour debate yesterday afternoon on how the UK can best protect itself against cyber attacks, directing a number of questions at Home Office security minister Baroness Neville-Jones, who attended the discussion.
The basis of the debate was the Protecting Europe report, published in May by the EU Subcommittee for Home Affairs, which recommended that the EU and Nato work together to defend member states against cyber attacks.
Lord Jopling asked Neville-Jones what steps the government had taken to increase collaboration between the two organisations, but Neville-Jones responded that "bigger issues" had prevented a Nato-EU partnership on cyber crime.
"We all know that there are bigger issues - or at any rate other issues - that prevent that from happening, which are wholly contrary to the interests of the member states of both organisations and the organisations themselves. That is one thing that we have not yet succeeded in cracking," she said.
Neville-Jones called for the private sector to co-operate with the government to protect the UK from cyber attacks.
"We are clearly not going to have an effective national platform which protects the operation of our society and gives us economic advantage internationally so that people decide to invest in the UK because they know that it has communications that they can trust, except in partnership with the private sector," she said.
"We need to have a partnership that does strategy and operational co-operation, whereby the government's technical expertise can be brought to bear to help to ensure that private sector operators and companies have the cyber security that they and the nation need for business continuity."
Neville-Jones also said that the UK population needs to be made more aware of the possibility of cyber attacks, and the government needs to encourage good security practice among ordinary citizens.
Meanwhile, the Lords raised their own cyber attack concerns. Lord Reid of Cardowan said that the House had to commit itself to fighting cyber attacks, even though many of its members were not up to speed with the latest technological developments.
"It is to be expected in a House like this, for all our wisdom, that we might not be as au fait with technological advances as the younger generation. However, we ignore this at our peril. It should be at the front of our considerations here," he said.
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