The government made the right decision by ruling out a single, central database to store all communications data in the UK, former home secretary David Blunkett said today.
Technology is not there yet to guarantee the kind of security required for this kind of information on a single database, he said speaking during the Infosecurity Europe show 2009 in London.
There is no question about the need to store this kind of information to improve security in the UK, but a decentralised approach at this stage was better, he said.
This is the kind of data storage project that needs to be taken one step at a time, he said, emphasing the need for proper authentication and verification processes.
There needs to be proper rules and processes around who hold and accesses what information for what purposes, said Blunkett.
Blunkett said a joined-up approach is need to protect the critical national infrastuctures and events such as the 2012 Olympics from cyber attacks.
At the highest levels there needs to be a pulling together of all the agencies involved to ensure each can make a contribution, he said.
This will enable each agency to focus on particular areas that need attention, he said, so that the overall defensive effect is greater than the sum of its parts.
Blunkett praised the initial successes of the Police Central e-Crimes Unit, PceU, saying it was doing a good job on a limited budget.
The PceU's proactive approach to engaging all the stakeholders needs to be replicated in dealing with the threat of cyber attack, he said.
Although Blunkett conceded there was a risk of causing alarm by highlighting the enormous potentail cyber threat to events like the Olympics, he said a failure to raise awareness and prepare would be complancency of the worst order.