JIS News

Prime Minister, Hon. Bruce Golding, says that cyber crime has become a serious problem in Jamaica, which has to be addressed.
“We are particularly familiar with the lotto scam in Montego Bay. It is not just the crime and the fraud that is committed, it is the murder to which it gives rise,” Mr. Golding stated as he piloted the Cyber Crimes Act in the House of Representatives on Wednesday (February 10).
The legislation imposes criminal sanctions on the misuse of computer systems or data. Offences covered include: intentional unauthorised access to computer data; access to computer programmes or data with intent to commit any offence; intentional unauthorised modification of a computer programme or data; unauthorised interception of computer function or service; willful unauthorised obstruction of the operation of a computer or denial of access to a computer programme or data; and unlawfully making available, devices or data for the commission of any of the above offences.
The Bill also makes consequential amendments to the Interception of Communications Act, the Mutual Assistance (Criminal Matters) Act, and the Proceeds of Crime Act.
According to the Prime Minister, the legislation is “really just catching up with innovation and technology,” which has now become an essential way of life.
He said that more consumers are carrying out business transactions via the Internet and in the United States alone the value of e-commerce sales for 2009 was almost US$100 billion.
He noted that tackling cyber crime is particularly complex because it allows for virtual anonymity. “It is what they call illusive scene of crime,” he pointed out.
Some of the cyber crimes, he said, may not be “criminally intended but just plain mischief to spread virus, to create excitement and panic and to demonstrate that as powerful as these systems are somebody can compromise them.”
“Very often, you find that this is being done by some of our brightest and our best. But the fact of the matter is it is posing significant danger and damage to people’s business and so on,” Mr. Golding said.
Member of Parliament for West St. Andrew, Anthony Hylton, in his contribution, suggested that a mechanism be put in place to allow for regular review of the Bill to keep with the changing pace of technology.
Debate on the Bill was suspended and will continue at the next sitting of the House of Representatives.

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