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Story Highlights

  • The proposed adjustments were made by the Joint Select Committee established to review the 2010 Act.
  • The amendments will also allow for the broad capturing of changes in technology.
  • The amendments will better enable the police and prosecutors to go after the offenders.

Recommendations for amendments to strengthen the Cybercrimes Act, are to be tabled in Parliament next week, State Minister for Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Julian Robinson, has informed.

The proposed adjustments were made by the Joint Select Committee established to review the 2010 Act. The committee, which Mr. Robinson chairs, held its last meeting on September 24.

Addressing a Think Tank at the Jamaica Information Service’s (JIS) headquarters in Kingston on September 25 the State Minister noted that very specific recommendations have been made to not only bolster the Act but will “allow our police and prosecutors to have the tools to successfully prosecute persons, who are involved in cyber criminal activities”.

He said facilitating the effective prosecution of offenders, is one of the key issues raised during the committee’s deliberations where it was noted that there has only been one prosecution under the Cybercrimes Act.

Mr. Robinson noted that the amendments will also allow for the broad capturing of changes in technology and also the methods being used by criminals, which will better enable the police and prosecutors to go after the offenders.

Individuals, businesses and Governments around the world use the internet as the primary medium for communication and for the delivery of services such as finance, commerce, health care and education. However, with the advances in technology and telecommunication have come new opportunities for persons to engage in criminal activities.

The Cybercrimes Act has sanctions for the misuse of computer systems or data and facilitates the investigation and prosecution of such crimes. Provision has been made for the Act to be reviewed bi-annually.

Mr. Robinson said the issue of cyber security is a matter, which is at the forefront of Government’s agenda and amending this legislation is one of several strategies being put in place to deal with cyber crimes.

He informed that through assistance from the International Telecoms Union, the Government is establishing a Cyber Emergency Response team.

“That will be a team that would be responsible for co-ordinating and responding to cyber criminal activities. Right now, there is no organised way that we can respond if any government entity or even a large private entity is the subject of a cyber criminal activity. We expect to have that…up and running early by the first quarter of next year,” he said.

The State Minister further informed that the administration is getting help from the Organization of American States (OAS) as well, to develop an overarching cyber security strategy and policy.

“So, while we are dealing with the legislation, while we are ensuring that we have the response team in place, we want to have our overall strategy, which will guide how government deals with this growing phenomenon,” he said.

In addition, a cyber security task force, chaired by the State Minister, has been established. Comprised of both members of the public and the private sector, it provides advice to the Government on how to deal with cyber crimes.