JIS News

Commerce, Science and Technology Minister, Phillip Paulwell has said that success in the use of information technology (IT) in Jamaica depended on building trust by addressing security issues.
Speaking at a regional summit on data security at the Hilton Kingston Hotel recently, the Minister said: “We need to ensure that the man in the street understands electronic (e) commerce and feels comfortable using it”.
The summit, which involved various CARICOM representatives was titled, “Securing Enterprise Data in the Cyber World”.
Minister Paulwell announced that there would be public consultation programmes “aimed at building trust and increasing the adoption of electronic services” as well as training and education programmes for legislators “to ensure consistent and accurate application of the legislation”.
The legislations that will be promulgated to ensure security and a smooth functioning of e-commerce in Jamaica are the Electronic Transaction Act and the Criminal Misuse of Data (or Cyber Crimes) Act.
The Electronic Transaction Act has already been drafted and subjected to comments and recommendations from various quarters. It is currently awaiting final comments from the government before a drafting of a final document. The Act will give legal recognition to electronic contracts, signatures, certificates and transactions and will encourage an increase in the public usage of electronic commerce and international transactions.
The Cyber Crimes Act is currently being discussed in preparation for the development of the first draft. It will establish sanctions and penalties for unauthorized access to hardware, software or data and will enhance security for Internet transaction.
According to the Minister, the Act is critical to the development of trust and will establish privacy guidelines. It will comply with international standards and secure cross-border transactions resulting from common frameworks.
Minister Paulwell said that the government “is committed to positioning Jamaica as a regional leader in the use of information and communication technologies” and added that the country should expect to see the development of “increasingly interactive and transactional government websites”. He pointed out that more e-government services would be offered over the Internet, including the online payment of income taxes, general consumption tax, property tax and traffic tickets.
Community access points in remote communities will enable persons in distant areas to take advantage of these services as well. Additionally, bill payment companies with over 200 outlets would also be used for routine tax payments across the island, the Minister said.

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