MP to press for action over PowerGen debacle in Commons

This house believes heads should roll

Labour MP Derek Wyatt is planning to quiz ministers in the House of Commons next week on Web security.

Wyatt - who also heads The Associate Parliamentary Internet Group (APIG) - will table questions on Monday regarding this week's security blunder at PowerGen. He also plans to probe the government on why no-one is accepting responsibility for investigating this cock-up, which exposed the personal details and credit card numbers of thousands of customers on the company's Web site.

Today he told The Register: "There doesn't seem to be a government minister responsible for this area. Why is that?

"If Britain is supposed to be leading the world in e-commerce, someone has to take responsibility."

Wyatt's comments follow the apparent slow response to the PowerGen debacle from the Data Protection Commissioner Elizabeth France - who today said the organisation had written to Powergen informing them there would be an investigation, the utility regulator Ofgem or the Department of Trade and Industry.

"It's important we get this tied down as to which minister in which department is responsible," he added.

When asked who he thought this should be, he suggested either Competition and Consumer Affairs Minister Kim Howells, E-commerce Minister Patricia Hewitt or Home Secretary Jack Straw.

According to Wyatt, the PowerGen security breach highlights the weaknesses of ventures such as TrustUK - the government-backed e-hallmark launched this week. "It's simply not strong enough, is it - if it cannot stop incidents like this?"

"The issue is confidence on the Net, and confidence in e-trading," he said.

Wyatt's questions are due to get an airing during Wednesday's Commons debate on the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (RIP) Bill. ®

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