The government in Australia is mulling new plans to force internet service providers and telecoms companies to block malware and other online threats by law.
The ideas are being pushed by Dan Tehan, Australian government minister assisting the Prime
Minister for cyber security. He is, coincidentally, in the UK this week to liase with GCHQ over signals intelligence, including "measures to safeguard against electronic efforts to interfere in the British elections", according to The West Australian newspaper.
In an op-ed for the newspaper, he suggested that ISPs ought to be as responsible for protecting people's and organisation's information from malware as banks are for looking after money.
"Just as we trust banks to hold our money, just as we trust doctors with our health, in a digital age we need to be able to trust telecommunications companies to protect our information from threats," Tehan
But Tehan denied that what he was suggesting amounted to web filtering. "When I met representatives of Australia's small business community recently it was clear that obtaining additional security products through their internet service providers (ISPs) would help them manage cybersecurity risks," he wrote.
He continued: "Technology should improve our online experience, like stopping spam emails and providing SMS authentication for your banking services. We are calling on businesses to provide enhanced cybersecurity services to provide greater choice for users who wish to protect themselves online."
However, John Stanton, CEO of telecoms industry body the Communications Alliance, told Australian IT magazine IT News that he'd not had any contact from the government about its intentions. He suggested that many security problems were nothing to do with ISPs and more to do with people failing to protect themselves with available products and services.
The West Australian, though, suggested that Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull had met telecoms companies last week, when he told them that the government expected them to do more to shutdown or block websites associated with malware and scams.
Join Computing in London on 4 May for the Cyber Security Strategy Briefing 2017 for the Financial Sector.
Speakers include Adam Koleda, IT director of insurance firm BPL Global; Peter Agathangelou, associate director of Hamilton Fraser Insurance; and, Dr Kuan Hon, consultant lawyer at law firm Pinsent Masons.
Attendance is free to qualifying IT professionals and IT leaders - register now!
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