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Regulate for e-security, urges former police chief

The government should regulate companies that operate parts of the UK's critical infrastructure to ensure they meet minimum...

The government should regulate companies that operate parts of the UK's critical infrastructure to ensure they meet minimum standards of IT security, the former chairman of the Metropolitan Police Authority will warn today.

The current system of co-operation between government and the private sector may not be enough to ensure that key services are protected against cyber attacks, Lord Harris will argue at today's Infosecurity Europe conference.

"For those parts of the critical national infrastructure that are maintained by the private sector, there is no mechanism for the government to enforce higher standards of information security," Harris told Computer Weekly.

He will use his Infosecurity speech to call on the next government to appoint a senior minister, to promote security in critical parts of the infrastructure.

The government's National Infrastructure Security Co-ordination Centre should be given legal powers to enforce minimum standards of security, Harris said.

His remarks are likely to generate controversy among the businesses responsible for the critical national infrastructure.

Jeremy Beale, head of e-business at the CBI, said cyber security needed to be pushed up the political agenda, but he warned that regulation to improve security could be counterproductive. "Waving a club at companies does not necessarily achieve the results you want. If the government got its own act together first, it would find it easier to tell industry what to do," he said.

Information security special report >>

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