The government is exploring the commercial application of communications intelligence agency GCHQ’s expertise as part of the new UK Cyber Security Strategy.
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UK organisations will be able to tap into the expertise that GCH has developed in-house in tackling cyber crime.
The government plans to pilot public/private partnerships between defence, finance, telecoms, pharmaceuticals and energy sectors before including other sectors by March 2012.
Fifteen companies – including Barclays, BT, Vodafone and Centrica – have been developing a pilot scheme to share information with GCHQ on a formal basis, starting in December.
The move is in line with the strategy’s objective of promoting co-operation between the public and private sectors in countering cyber threats.
The plans could lead to the government being paid substantial sums for software developed by GCHQ, according to The Guardian. But the Cabinet Office insisted that GCHQ would not open a commercial arm.
Francis Maude, minister for cyber security, said the strategy heralds a new era of unprecedented co-operation between government and industry on cyber security, and will make the UK one of the most secure places in the world to do business.