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Government wants to remain in EU cyber security club after Brexit

The UK government wants to maintain deep links with the European Union’s cyber security working groups following Britain’s exit from the bloc in 2019

The UK government will seek to continue to collaborate in-depth with its former European Union (EU) partners on cyber security matters after Brexit.

It hopes to maintain Britain’s participation in the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security’s (Enisa’s) Cybersecurity Incident Response Team (CSIRT) Network and Network and Information Security (NIS) Cooperation Group, according to recently released position paper on foreign policy and defence.

In the document, the government set out a wide range of proposals offering the EU a “deep security partnership” as the region faces a number of significant global threats such as illegal immigration and terrorism, and even raised the prospect of the UK continuing to make financial contributions to EU defence operations.

“The cyber threat the UK and its European allies face from state actors and non-state actors remains significant,” wrote the paper’s authors.

“This threat knows no international boundaries and the UK and European partners operate in a single cyber space. We collectively get stronger when each country improves its cyber defences. But we are vulnerable to attacks on parts of the networks that are essential for the day-to-day running of our countries and economies.”

The UK is already a global leader in the cyber security field, said the government, with last year’s National Security Cyber Strategy reiterating a previous commitment to splash £1.9bn on the UK’s cyber security capabilities.

It said the UK was one of the first nations to make these capabilities available to support Nato operations, with 22 EU member states also being members of the Nato alliance.

The UK has worked consistently with EU partners and other allies on the application of international and human rights law in cyber space and diplomatic efforts to counter malicious online activity, among other things.

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“Cyber security is a key element of protecting European security and values, and to ensure that European nations remain at the forefront of technology. It will continue to grow in importance,” said the paper.

“The UK is a world leader in cyber security and seeks to maintain the broadest possible cooperation to address the shared cyber security threats that the UK and its European partners face.”

Besides retaining the UK’s participation in the CSIRT network and Cooperation Group, sharing threat information, conducting joint analysis and coordinating investigations into cyber attacks, the government set out a number of other objectives that it will seek to secure agreement on during the ongoing Brexit negotiations.

These include the continuation of collaboration to promote frameworks for conflict prevention, cooperation and stability in cyber space, to support “common prosperity and social well-being”; the continuation of work on developing effective cyber security legislation and international standards and a consistent and robust stance to deter harmful activity; and the continuation of work to encourage the development of the cyber security industry across borders.

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