HL Deb 19 April 1999 vol 599 c137WA
Lord Kennet

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they intend to set up a body similar to the United States Defence Computer Forensics Laboratory (Aviation Week, 22 March, page 82); and, if not, why not. [HL1843]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn)

The Government are fully alert to the risks of electronic attack and are working closely with key players in the private sector and with our partners internationally, in particular the United States, to ensure that the protection of the critical national infrastructure, including defence, is as robust as possible.

The Government do not expect to have identical arrangements to those in the United States, as the situation in the United Kingdom differs greatly. Therefore we have no plans to set up a similar body to the Defence Computer Forensics Laboratory. The main problem for the United States is their dependency on the Internet; this is less true in the United Kingdom, as we do not allow sensitive information to be passed on the Internet. However, the Government accept that this is a fast moving area and realise that we cannot be complacent. For example, the resources of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) provide technical support to the Ministry of Defence and other government departments as necessary in developing information security tools, including computer forensics.

I can therefore state that, although not necessarily following the same structure as the United States in meeting the threat from electronic attack, we are actively protecting all of our critical national infrastructure within both the private and public sectors.