Prague, Oct 5 (CTK) – The Czech military intelligence will become responsible for the cyber security of the country under a bill that the cabinet approved on Wednesday and that still needs to be passed by both houses of parliament.

“This concerns the protection of nuclear power plants, hospitals, the key infrastructure, all this may be threatened,” Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky told journalists after the cabinet meeting.

He said the bill will make the army capable of developing protection against cyber attacks, including an effective tool aimed against the source of the attack.

In extreme cases, the bill expects the army agents to launch a cyber counter-attack.

Stropnicky said the bill will not open door to violating privacy, such as monitoring private e-mail boxes.

Present legislation does not deal with the cyber security of the Czech Republic.

Thanks to the bill, the military intelligence should be authorised to add its own technology for cyber defence to the facilities of operators of networks for electronic communications. This technology should provide the intelligence with sufficient information on what is going on in the network, but it should not monitor communication of individuals. If the agents wanted to focus on an individual, it would have to ask a judge for permission to do so, same as it is now.

For security reasons, the bill does not provide more detailed information about the technology and its application.

Many state bodies had critical comments on the original bill, which were negotiated about and possibly incorporated into the new bill, the Defence Ministry said.

The authors of the bill expect it to take effect in the first quarter of next year. However, it will depend on how long the parliamentary discussion on the bill will take.

The military intelligence estimated the annual costs of cyber security at 300 million crowns.

Cyber security in the country is also monitored by the National Security Office. It deals with cyber security, but not cyber defence.