The Government claims the move is in the interests of national security, with the likes of BT, British Airways and National Grid being asked to allow their data networks to be constantly analysed by GCHQ, the UK Government’s spy centre.
Under the plans, GCHQ could analyse network traffic judged as unusual, as well as plan any necessary action. Large businesses attended a Downing Street meeting to discuss the plans last month, according to reports.
BT has already bought into the plan, said a spokesman: “We already manage security solutions across the UK’s critical national infrastructure and we will be collaborating with the Government to share our expertise in protecting the UK against all cyber-threats.”
The Government fears that hostile states or terrorist groups could use the Internet to target communication networks, financial services, the electricity grid or air traffic control systems.
Security Minister Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones said “a significantly expanded” national cyber security hub at GCHQ will analyse streams of data from major communications, power and transport providers for evidence of hacking.
Baroness Neville-Jones denied suggestions that the plans would have privacy implications for customers of the major firms involved.
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