Cyber Security Practitioner
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Volume: 3 Issue: 12
(December 2017)

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uk government publishes policy paper interim cyber security technology strategy uk government published policy paper 30 november 2017 entitled

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UK Government publishes policy paper on interim cyber security technology strategy

The UK Government published a policy paper on 30 November 2017 entitled ‘Interim cyber security science and technology strategy: future-proofing cyber security,’ in which the Government aims to identify developing areas of technology that will impact cyber security, develop initial policy responses to such areas, and assess whether the Government’s standard of response to cyber security science and technology developments is sufficient.

The Interim Strategy identifies emerging technology areas that are identified as ‘game changers’ for cyber security, which include the Internet of Things; Smart Cities; data and information; automation, machine-learning and artificial intelligence; and human computer interaction. The cyber security challenges specific to each area of technology are then listed, as well as more general risks and opportunities presented by the use of emerging technologies in the context of cyber security. “One area that I would have expected to see included is FinTech,” said Antonis Patrikios, Partner at Fieldfisher. “The Interim Strategy clarifies that the Government has consciously excluded it from its scope because it anticipates that the market will deliver solutions. This may be true, but it’s questionable whether that would be enough to sufficiently secure the sector.”

Part 2 of the Interim Strategy outlines the Government’s initial, non-exhaustive policy responses to these emerging technology trends and the challenges identified, including being cognisant of emerging technologies when delivering cyber security growth, making technology ‘secure by default,’ maintaining the skills pipeline, informing the public and businesses about cyber crime protection through the Cyber Aware brand, and securing Government data. “The potential for AI to be of significant importance in the future is identified, but I don’t feel that the risks associated with that have been adequately addressed and this will be important,” comments William Richmond-Coggan, Partner at Pitmans. “I would also have liked to see specific acknowledgment of the overlap of legislative provisions such as the NIS Directive, because if the approach to regulation in those essential areas is not harmonised it is simply going to impose yet another layer of regulatory burden on those seeking to protect the most essential parts of our national infrastructure.”

The Interim Strategy also includes a focus on creating a single authoritative UK Government voice for cyber security science and technology, which includes new responsibilities and processes for the National Cyber Security Centre (‘NCSC’) and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (‘DCMS’). The NCSC will be responsible for identifying science and technology developments with implications for cyber security, issuing regular advice on emerging technologies, taking advice from experts and helping inform policy making, and the DCMS will collaboratively develop a Cyber Security Research Plan, which will set out priority areas for Government-supported research in the national interest. “We can expect that, gradually, NCSC guidance will be seen by the market and regulators as indicative of what the legal term ‘appropriate technical security measures’ means exactly in the context of protecting new technologies from cyber threats,” concludes Patrikios.

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