The UK’s new National Cyber Security Centre, a division of Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), is due to open this month (October 2016). The centre has been given the task of creating a “cyber force” and being the “authoritative voice on information security in the UK”.
One element of the centre’s defence against cyber attacks being considered is a “national firewall” to block incoming attacks. The idea was outlined by Ciaran Martin, GCHQ’s director general of cyber security, at the Billington CyberSecurity Summit in September 2016.
When national firewalls are mentioned, China is often the first jurisdiction than comes to mind. Such initiatives can start out with the most laudable of aims “in the national interest”. But over time the scope of what is in the national interest could be broadened to cover internet activities, like gambling, that are deemed not to be “good” for society.
If it is developed for the UK, a national firewall just makes it that bit easier for a future UK government to control the internet traffic its citizens can view.