New Cybercrimes Act to be debated today

News post October 13, 2015

Minister of State in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Julian Robinson holds up a copy of the National Cyber Security Strategy while addressing a Jamaica Information Service Think Tank on Friday, October 9 at the agency’s headquarter in Kingston.

KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) – The new Cybercrimes Act, which seeks to protect the country from cyber criminal activities, is to be debated in Parliament today.

The new Act, which will replace the 2010 legislation, incorporates new offences such as computer-related fraud or forgery; the use of computers for malicious communication; and unauthorised disclosure of investigation.

“The new Cybercrimes Act has a number of critical updates including covering things like what is termed cyber bullying, where persons use online means to harass and intimidate persons, ” said State Minister in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Julian Robinson at a recent JIS Think Tank.

“We have also strengthened the fines and the penalties for persons, who are engaged in cyber criminal activity,” he informed.

The Technology State Minister told JIS News that the Government is committed to creating a robust cyber security framework to protect Jamaica’s online space.

He noted that a number of developments have taken place since the launch of the National Cyber Security Strategy (NCSS) in January of this year.

These include the contracting of Jamaica’s first Chief Information Officer to oversee administration of the newly established e-government (e-gov) agency; and the establishment of a unit for cybercrimes in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

The Government has also sought to create a uniformed cyber security standard across Ministries, Agencies and Departments. This will be complemented by the training of all Management Information System (MIS) officers in Government entities, which is already underway.

In the meantime, the Ministry will be embarking on a public awareness campaign dubbed ‘Stop Think Connect,’ which will sensitise Jamaicans about the threat of cybercrimes. Robinson said emphasis will be placed on protecting children.

“It is an area that we are conscious of and the public education campaign will definitely focus a lot on that, because, at the most basic level, everybody texts, everybody uses whatsapp. Many of our students are on social media and I know it’s a concern for parents because the parents don’t always have full access to who (their children) are speaking or interacting with,” Robinson said.

Technical Advisor in the Ministry, Dr Moniphia Hewling, told JIS News that ‘Stop Think Connect’ is part of an international campaign. Under the initiative, posters to warn and inform students about cyber security, will are disseminated in schools.

Dr Hewling also informed that a website has been created for the campaign, and will become operational during Cyber Security Awareness Month, which is being observed globally in October.

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