JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Several key pieces of legislation are far advanced for the modernization of the information and communications technology (ICT) sector.
  • A single Regulator for the ICT sector is geared at removing overlapping of jurisdiction, and generating savings in staffing and other expenditures.
  • Efforts are ongoing to implement appropriate mechanisms to stimulate new business opportunities in the industry.

Several key pieces of legislation are far advanced for the modernization of the information and communications technology (ICT) sector, including the establishment of a single Regulator for the industry, and updated laws to deal with cyber crimes.

In relation to the single ICT Regulator, the Government since June 1, has commenced review of technical proposals, and will contract a consultant by the end of July, for a six-month consultancy service, with a report to be submitted by year end.

“The report will review the current administrative and regulatory framework and governance model for the ICT sector, and make specific recommendations for drafting appropriate strategic legislation for the establishment of a stand-alone ICT Regulator,” stated State Minister in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Julian Robinson, during his contribution to the 2014/15 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, on June 11.

A single Regulator for the ICT sector is geared at removing overlapping of jurisdiction, and generating savings in staffing and other expenditures. The State Minister told the House that efforts are ongoing to implement appropriate mechanisms to stimulate new business opportunities in the industry.

He reported that a Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) Pilot Project will, at full implementation for the public sector, reduce spending on ICT, and stimulate competition, development and innovation in the domestic software industry.

Work is also on in earnest for the ICT Act, with special emphasis on consultations with key stakeholders, and then tabling of the Bill in Parliament.

For the data protection legislation, the Government has received a draft from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), but “it was considered critical to hold additional consultations prior to submitting the drafting instructions to the Chief Parliamentary Counsel,” Mr. Robinson said.

The Act will seek to protect the privacy of individuals in relation to personal data and the regulation of the collection, processing, keeping, use and disclosure of certain information relating to individuals.

Mr. Robinson reported that the Cybercrimes legislation is being updated to ensure that it is in keeping with international best practice, as well as effectively criminalizes emerging types of cybercrimes.

“There will be new provisions regarding forfeiture, fraud, forgery, malicious communication and stiffer fines for repeat offenders,” the Minister said, adding that it will also have higher fines and terms of imprisonment.

The updated legislation will be tabled in Parliament this year. A Cyber Taskforce has been established, which is working to protect the country from any threat that might emerge from the sector.