A committee of UK MPs has urged the Prime Minister to appoint a minister for cybersecurity to cabinet, to take charge of efforts to improve the countries cyber security. The joint committee on national security strategy said that the UK’s current level of ministerial oversight was “wholly inadequate”.

Irra Ariella Khi, CEO of VChain, has commented on the importance of a proactive government strategy in enforcing the adoption of concepts such a privacy by design in critical infrastructure companies.

Irra Ariella Khi, CEO at VChain:

“Appointing a dedicated cyber security minister would bring much needed focus and resource to improve cyber defence and resilience in the UK and especially to critical infrastructure (such as our borders and airports). It would bring the UK closer to the approach of other countries where a national approach to cyber security is not just nice-to-have; it is a fundamental feature of the country’s approach to security. Currently, cyber security is too often an afterthought, and this has to change – especially where sensitive data is concerned.

“For critical industries – such as the airline industry that we work in – the approach of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” just doesn’t fly anymore. Organisations trusted with highly sensitive or personal data cannot continue to use old, flawed systems of ‘confidential’ centralised data storage and then just deal with the ramifications when these are inevitably breached. There needs to be a move in cyber security and data management towards privacy by design: using systems that are built from the outset to be secure, with privacy by design architecture built into the core of any sensitive data product.

“As these MPs have correctly identified, only strong leadership from the government can enforce this forward-thinking approach across critical infrastructure. Appointing a cybersecurity minister would demonstrate a proactive, preventative approach from government to secure the UK’s national assets, international borders, and the sensitive data of our citizens’

As a bit of background on VChain: VChain provides airlines with ultra-secure digital identity verification technology that improves both airport security and passenger experience. It works with airlines across the globe – most notably, British Airways’ parent company IAG, which also made an investment of several hundred thousand pounds into VChain in 2017. It is also a strategic partner of IATA,  the trade association for all of the world’s airlines.

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