CAIRO — Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab decreed the establishment of the High Council for Cyber-Security (HCC) on Dec. 16. The HCC reports directly to the Council of Ministers, and its official goal is to develop a strategy to counter cyberthreats, supervise its implementation, and keep that strategy up to date with fast-moving technological developments. This announcement of the council's creation has triggered a debate about whether it will be monitoring what activists and others write or send via the Internet and social media.
The HCC is headed by Minister of Communications and Information Technology Atef Holmi. Its members include representatives from the ministries of defense, foreign affairs, interior, petroleum and mineral resources, electricity, health, water resources and irrigation, supply, communications, the general intelligence service, the central bank and three technocrats. On Dec. 31, Mahlab announced that the Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC) would also be joining the HCC. The IDSC is the cabinet's think tank, providing advice to decision makers about economic, social and political issues.