Taxpayers foot multimillion pound GCHQ bill for better protecting the UK in cyberspace
GCHQ is splashing £6.5 million on cyber security research to better protect the UK in cyber space.
Called CyberInvest, the scheme looks to help the security industry use the “expertise” of GCHQ and security academics in protecting the UK from threats by pumping cash into “strategically important research areas”.
The scheme was announced today at IA15, the British Government’s flagship event for cyber security.
MP Ed Vaizey MP, Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy, said at the announcement today: “CyberInvest is an exciting initiative which brings industry, Government and academia together, and builds on the UK’s reputation as a global leader for cyber security research.
“Over the last 4 years we have invested over £20 million in UK cyber security research, and the new CyberInvest scheme will play an important role in our ongoing work to help protect UK citizens and businesses online.”
The scheme is in association with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and also draws on expertise from the UK’s EPSRC (The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council).
The announcement comes one week after Home Secretary Theresa May outlined the proposed Investigatory Powers bill in parliament last week.
The proposed bill, dubbed the Snooper’s Charter by critics, will force Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to store the details of people’s online activity for a year, under the government’s proposed new spying laws that will be published today.
The Home Secretary claimed that the new bill would no longer require communications service providers to store Internet traffic from companies abroad, and she insisted it includes “strong” warrant authorisation requirements for authorities wanting to gain access to a user’s detailed Internet browsing history.
Yet despite this government assurance of strict safeguards, including a ban on councils accessing people’s internet records, there remains plenty of highly controversial aspects to the new bill.
Campaigners fear that the legislation will give security services’ carte blanche to hack, bug and spy on people’s online habits, with judicial oversight that is still to be determined.