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Story Highlights

  • The Hon. Julian Robinson, is urging closer collaboration between developed and developing countries in efforts to reduce the prevalence of cyber-crimes.
  • There are existing disparities between developed and developing countries in terms of the necessary interventions to effectively counter cyber crimes.
  • The State Minister also emphasized the need for increased cross-border collaboration and training.

State Minister for Science, Technology, Energy, and Mining, Hon. Julian Robinson, is urging closer collaboration between developed and developing countries in efforts to reduce the prevalence of cyber-crimes.

He made the call while speaking at the just concluded international cyber crime conference in Seoul, South Korea.

Making his contribution, on the topic: “Beyond Digital Divide towards Global Prosperity”, Mr. Robinson noted existing disparities between developed and developing countries in terms of the necessary interventions to effectively counter cyber crimes.

“While the divide between developed and developing countries has narrowed significantly in the (general) area of legislation (enactment), it remains with respect to the ability of some countries to respond to cyber incidents and threats, through Computer Incident Response Teams (CIRTs),” he said.

In stressing that the importance of legislation in the fight against cyber crimes “cannot and should not be overstated”, the State Minister said the work programme for both the Organisation of American States (OAS) and International Telecommunication Union (ITU) identifies the need for the implementation of legislative measures aimed at enabling investigation and prosecution.

“Itis not sufficient, however, to simply promulgate legislation. Countries, developed and developing alike, have to continuously review their legislation to ensure that it appropriately addresses new and emerging cyber threats,” he underscored.

In this regard, Mr. Robinson said the Jamaican Government has moved proactively to this end.

He informed that in addition to the Cybercrimes Act, several other pieces of legislation are utilised in Jamaica to prosecute cyber crimes. These include: the Larceny Act; Interception of Communications Act; and Child Pornography Act.

The State Minister added that accompanying legislation, in the form of the Electronic Transactions Act, has also been promulgated to promote and support legitimate engagements.

In relation to the Cybercrimes Act, Mr. Robinson advised that a provision was incorporated into the legislation mandating a review by a Joint Select Committee of the Houses of Parliament, two years after the legislation’s implementation. He explained that this was done to ensure that the Act’s provisions remain consistent with and relevant to international best practices.

As regards Computer Incident Response Teams (CIRTs), the Minister pointed out that any quest to establish such an entity must be supported by an effective training regime for the personnel involved, in order for it to be successful.

He pointed out that of over 18 established CIRTs currently, only two are in the Caribbean,

In this regard, the State Minister disclosed that Jamaica has begun to develop a cadre of professionals with the technical expertise to identify, determine, and respond to cyber and other technology-related crimes. He, however, noted that the complement of personnel is “not yet sufficient.”

“The Jamaica Constabulary Force, for example, has a specific unit within its Organised Crime Investigation Division (OCID) with responsibility for investigating cyber crime. With support from our international and bilateral partners, the unit would be able to collaborate and, otherwise, share its resources and know-how with other Caribbean countries,” he indicated.

Mr. Robinson also disclosed that a specialized unit also exists within the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), which is responsible for prosecuting cyber crime incidents and liaising with and supervising police investigations.

The State Minister emphasized the need for increased cross-border collaboration and training. This, he said, would be particularly beneficial to officers and stakeholders attached to or utilizing Jamaica’s Resident Magistrates Courts, where most cybercrimes are prosecuted, but proceedings are often delayed. This, he explained, is consequent on court personnel’s unfamiliarity with the intricacies associated with cybercrimes.

In this regard, he stressed the need for these officers to be sensitized accordingly in order to facilitate smooth and timely disposal of matters.

“As we grapple with this increasing problem of cybercrime, it is imperative that we continue to co-operate at the (local), regional, and international levels, with a view to reducing its impact on the prosperity of our citizens and our economies. Our efforts certainly can be enhanced when we find common means to tackle this increasingly problematic issue,” Mr. Robinson contended.

The two-day conference, themed “Global Prosperity through an Open and Secure Cyberspace: Opportunities, Threats and Cooperation”, was organised by the South Korean Foreign Ministry and staged at Seoul’s Convention and Exhibition Centre (COEX).

It brought together more than 1,600 government officials, civil leaders, and cyberspace security experts from 87 countries around the world.