#CyberFLASH: Ottawa should create cyber threat advisory committee, says security lawyer

keyboardThe federal government should follow Washington’s lead and create an advisory committee of experts on national cybersecurity — announced yesterday — including both the public and private sector, says a security lawyer.

“I do believe that Canada would benefit from a similar setup where the Minister of Public Safety, the Minister of Defence and the Prime Minister could get input and recommendations from a panel made up of experts/stakeholders from the private, public, law enforcement and academic sectors,” Imran Ahmad of the firm Cassels Brock, who also sits on the advisory board of the Canadian Advanced Technologies Alliance’s (CATA) Cyber Security Council, said in an interview.

Ottawa “would benefit from a holistic view on cybersecurity threats to Canada that are affecting Canadians on a daily basis and that go beyond a narrow national security lens.

His view was echoed by Kevin Wennekes, CATA’s chief business officer, who said creating a public-private sector advisory committee is “long overdue,” he said. The security industry “is the the first to know of the threats,” he said.

Satyamoorthy Kabilan, director of national security and strategic foresight at the Conference Board of Canada, said such a commission could be a good idea here. But he added, it wouldn’t be as easy as in the U.S. or Britain, where the public and private sectors are closer. Before coming to Canada Kabilan helped develop the U.K.’s National Counter Terrorism Strategy and has worked on security with other allies and knows how this country compares. “We haven’t even broken the ground to enable looking at the potential for something like that, because those relationships and the ability of the private sector to be a part of all of these discussions and part of the input into policy and decisions in the security sphere is not quite as well developed in Canada.”

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