Committee Starts Drafting Cyber Crimes Bill


A committee has been set up to begin drafting a Cyber Crimes Bill to deal with offences over the Internet.The committee which met for the first time on March 3, comprises representatives from the Tax Assessment and Audit Department, Jamaica Customs, the Bank of Jamaica, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Finance and Planning, Justice, National Security, Commerce, Science and Technology, the Central Information and Technology Office (CITO), the Director of Public Prosecution, the Attorney General’s Department and the Chief Parliamentary Counsel.
Senior Legal Officer in the Ministry of Commerce, Science and Technology, Charmaine Patterson noted that the group was formed to present a united front in dealing with the whole matter of cyber crime and to ensure consensus on the various provisions of the legislation.
She said that cyber offences would include: pornography, misuse of data, spamming, breach of intellectual property rights, hacking, the illegal access to persons’ records and the creation and transmission of viruses over the Internet.
Explaining, the Legal Officer said the legislation would seek to prevent the misuse of data by preventing persons from invading the privacy of persons who supplied information such as their credit card number electronically. It will also address the issue of pornography, so that persons would not have it forced upon them over the Internet, therefore, “your children can be protected from adults trying to get them out of their homes and into their company”, she said.
It will also seek to prevent the practice of sending unsolicited pop-up information or spamming and will address the protection of intellectual property on the world-wide web as well as hacking or the illegal entry into persons’ or organisations’ computer files.Miss Patterson observed that the Cyber Crime legislation was important to the proper functioning of the Electronic Transaction Act currently being considered for passage in Parliament.
She pointed out that the Electronic Transactions Act would facilitate the transaction of goods and services over the Internet. “If we have no legislation to protect persons outside (Jamaica) who would do business with us and also (protect) persons within our own boundaries, then people would not be comfortable in doing electronic transaction,” she explained.
In recognition of this fact, the government, through the CITO will be staging a Regional Data Security Summit on March 17 at the Hilton Kingston Hotel. The Summit is seen as pivotal in the government’s effort to promote the development of e-commerce and e-government in Jamaica. It will involve the three main suppliers of computer security products and services in the region namely, Fujitsu, Microsoft and IBM. The theme for the event is Securing Enterprise Data in the Cyber World.

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