Australia should appoint cyber security czar

Yahoo!7, ninemsn and Microsoft Australia say cyber security czar or ombudsman could better coordinate government and industry activities

The creation of an Australian cyber security czar or ombudsman is needed, but would be of limited use in the promotion of greater online security, a Senate inquiry has heard.

Ninemsn's compliance, regulatory and corporate affairs director, Jennifer Duxbury, told a committee hearing into cyber safety that there were already government agencies responsible for cyber safety issues, such as the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

“If there was to be an [cyber safety] ombudsman, one of the challenges would be the fact that a lot of cyber safety issues can be offshore, so there is a jurisdictional challenge there as to how an ombudsman would actually deal with complaints which deal with, for example, inappropriate offshore material,” she said.

Microsoft Australia chief security advisor, Stuart Strathdee, said a lot of work was already being carried out on cyber safety but an ombudsman or czar could contribute to greater direction and coordination of existing efforts.

“I think leadership is what’s critical, so we need to get a body or individual in place which demonstrates that they have pulled all of the data together and they are going to focus on two or three key areas and really demonstrate leadership,” he said.

Yahoo!7 legal and policy director, Samantha York, said having a central point of contact through which industry could channel its energy would be beneficial.

“I’d like to avoid yet another person being empowered to deal with these issues without addressing the fact there is already a number of disparate work streams taking place,” she said.

“I hope the aim of creating such a role would be to coordinate all those efforts across departments.”

The idea of a cyber security czar has been floated for some time.

In late 2009, Symantec’s global CIO, David Thompson, said such a role could be of major benefit to the Australian government as it looks to increase the security of government infrastructure and data.

“Government leaders need to take responsibility for making [security] a top priority and protecting their infrastructure,” he said at the time.

“Also, appointing individuals to head those initiatives up, otherwise your efforts are spread so thin across so many areas that your really don’t get the value.

"It’s an area that needs increased focus, but also increased spending to secure and manage our government entities.”

Follow Tim Lohman on Twitter: @tlohman

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

Join the Computerworld Australia group on Linkedin. The group is open to IT Directors, IT Managers, Infrastructure Managers, Network Managers, Security Managers, Communications Managers.

More about: Australian Federal Police, Federal Police, Microsoft, Ninemsn, Symantec, Yahoo
References show all

Comments

iggi59

1

There is a big difference between an ombudsman and an Obama style czar. An ombudsman is a greivance resolver of the last resort for the public. A czar has extra-juridical powers acting in the interest and service of a central authority. Presenting the two as interchangeable glosses over this significant diference.

iggi59

2

There is a big difference between an ombudsman and an Obama style czar. An ombudsman is a greivance resolver of the last resort for the public. A czar has extra-juridical powers acting in the interest and service of a central authority. Presenting the two as interchangeable glosses over this significant difference.

David Despairing

3

The industry continues to ignore the obvious, it it trying to keep the poison in the same packet as the goods. Having a czar is irrelivant, an ombudsman that has no power or capacity to make decisions is pointless and is much like taking a teady bear to bed. It wont keep the boogy man at bay, just make people feel that they have some security.
To fix the problems of the internet address the real issues :- Remove the anticompetitiveness, Establish a unfied system, Stop change for the sake of change, and Accept that the internet is a common medium for the facilitation of fair exchange of ideas, information & data.

kaf

4

What they fail to tell us is that by 'safety' they mean their safety, not ours.

We think of cyber safety as "let no one hurt me by using the internet".

The government thinks of it as "we must control everything and everyone and this interwebs thing is letting people freely exchange ideas, information and data without our permission! We must control it! Let's take away our peoples freedom!"

Who's going to protect US from this cyber security czar....

socrates

5


@kaf, now don't you worry about that.

Senator Conroy, like that other Senator of Irish descent, Joseph McCarthy, has just the thing in mind to make us hear, say and do only what he wants us to.

With Conboy, it's imposing secret government censorship, and with McCarthy it was star chamber tactics 'investigating' secret allegations against people, but the twisted mindset seems very similar.

Both of them would have loved to have an all-powerful 'tsar' (appointed by them, of course) to control what people were allowed to hear and think.

Comments are now closed.
Related Coverage
Related Whitepapers
Latest Stories
Community Comments
Tags: ninemsn, security, Yahoo!7, cyber security, Microsoft Australia
Whitepapers
All whitepapers

Securing the Internet of Things in a connected world

READ THIS ARTICLE
DO NOT SHOW THIS BOX AGAIN [ x ]
Sign up now to get free exclusive access to reports, research and invitation only events.

Computerworld newsletter

Join the most dedicated community for IT managers, leaders and professionals in Australia