British MP calls for cybercrime tzar

A member of Parliament has called on the British government to take a lead from the U.S. and form a new national cybersecurity agency - with its own czar - to combat the threat of online crime.

Mark Pritchard, Conservative MP for The Wrekin, speaking in an adjournment debate said more action was needed to counter the effect cybercrime has on the nation's critical infrastructure.

He said there should be a unified national cybersecurity agency, "which would take a lead on their behalf and be a single point of cybersecurity information, guidance and advice for the nation."

Pritchard said that the rise in aggressive viruses and cybersecurity threats posed a danger to Britain's national security and economic well-being. He urged the government to strengthen laws to ensure that penalties are severe enough to act as a deterrent.

"Britain is the international hub for banking, finance houses and many other businesses, so if we get it wrong, it will have implications for many other countries as well as ourselves; yet we have no international treaty or convention to deal with cybercrime," said Pritchard.

Pritchard said that the National Infrastructure Security Coordination Centre (NISCC) only had an advisory role and that the cybersecurity threat should be managed more robustly.

The government said it took the matter seriously and would look into the suggestions made by the MP, but said it was not its role to "manage the internet, or regulate how business is conducted through it."

"We need to regulate to allow e-business to flourish and, through laws such as the Computer Misuse Act 1990, provide a deterrent to those who would seek to conduct crime online," said Barry Gardiner, parliamentary under-secretary of State for Trade and Industry.

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