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National cyber policy being developed to protect citizens

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

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ST JAMES, Jamaica— Minister of National Security, Dr Horace Chang, says that to further protect citizens from the evolving threat of cybercrime, the Government is working towards the development of a National Cyber Policy in 2020.

Speaking at a Cybersecurity and Cybercrime Workshop for Latin America and the Caribbean at the Hilton Resort and Spa in St James today, the minister said that additionally, “we will also be seeking to ensure that the entire government service has a reliable and robust cyber platform on which to operate and deliver quality and safe online service”.

This, he added, is being accomplished through the National Cybersecurity Strategy and the commendable work of agencies such as e-Gov Jamaica.

He said the new National Identification System (NIDS) Bill will further strengthen Jamaica's cybersecurity framework and will not only support “the modernisation of our information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure” but it will also facilitate the introduction of a multilayered technology security system, to mitigate vulnerabilities associated with cyber activities.

“In other words, the NIDS will provide Jamaicans with enhanced protection from cyberthreats and cyberattacks,” the minister emphasised.

He further argued that data protection is critical to the security infrastructure of any governance system, noting that for this reason, the Government has sought to address, in earnest, the finalisation of a Data Protection Bill.

The minister said that following a thorough process of consultations, and the arduous work of a Joint Select Committee, “this Bill will provide a much-needed framework and guidelines for securing and protecting our people's data”.

“It will also strengthen, even further, Jamaica's overall cybersecurity infrastructure,” Chang added.

The minister argued that in order to identify, analyse and evaluate cyberthreats in a fulsome way, “we must maintain strategic partnerships”.

Chang pointed to the collaboration between the Jamaica Cyber-Incident Response Team (CIRT) and the Organization of American States (OAS) Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE) as one such partnership.

He said that through this partnership, Jamaica is working to develop an early warning system, which will include the security information and event management (SIEM) system network.

The network, the minister explained, will allow for a more proactive approach to cybersecurity, strengthened cooperation between OAS Member States, and, in turn, “improve our cyber resilience”.

He further noted that the need to build a resilient cyber infrastructure is increasingly undeniable, adding that the ongoing work at the regional level, by means of the CARICOM Cybersecurity and Cyber Action Plan, is important to this process.

“This regional strategy is essential to building our capacity and infrastructure, enabling detection, effective investigation and prosecution in cybercrime-related matters. This regional response is timely, given the transnational crimes and cybersecurity vulnerabilities that are affecting our countries,” the minister said.

“It is with this in mind that I urge the countries of the region to actively participate in efforts to combat transnational organised crimes, and expand coordination and cooperation, in order to effectively protect national and regional assets and interests,” Chang added.

He said it is important that countries seek to put measures in place expeditiously, such as the sharing of cyber alerts, advisories and other relevant information.

“The criminals operate in a transnational manner, and so is the nature of the crimes they commit. We must respond in a commensurate manner,” the minister noted.

“This workshop provides an opportunity for us to discuss our collective and coordinated response to cybercrimes, even as we work together to tackle this cross-border threat to our national security,” he said.

– JIS


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