Gov’t to strengthen legislation to protect personal information in cyberspace

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — The Government will be making changes to critical pieces of legislation that will enable a more robust framework in protecting personal information in cyberspace.
These include the Data Protection Act, which is slated to be tabled in Parliament next year, and the establishment of a single Regulator for information and communications technology (ICT).
This was disclosed by Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr Andrew Wheatley, during the fourth National Cyber Security Conference, held at the Regional Headquarters of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, yesterday.
“Common sense dictates that those two must be the priority, and so we will be delivering on those and we are way advanced. I think drafting instructions were given as it relates to the Data Protection Act, while the consultants are wrapping up as it relates to the single ICT Regulator. They made a presentation to Cabinet recently and Cabinet is still mulling over (that),” he said.
Wheatley said protecting the identity and information of Jamaicans is integral and necessary “if we want to push this agenda of ensuring that we incorporate ICT in our everyday lives.”
The Data Protection Act will safeguard, in general, the privacy of individuals in relation to personal data as well as govern the collection, regulation, processing, keeping, use and disclosure of certain information in physical or electronic form.
The legislation will seek to set out the rights of the individual, with respect to their personal data. This will include, for example, the right to confirm whether or not personal information or data is being processed by an organisation.
Establishment of the stand-alone converged ICT Regulator will involve the fusion of the telecommunications regulatory functions of the Office of the Utilities Regulation, the radio spectrum technical functions of the Broadcasting Commission, and the spectrum management functions of the Spectrum Management Authority.
In the meantime, Wheatley encouraged Jamaicans to take the necessary preventative measures to protect their identities while they are online.
“We need to use strong passwords, we need to think before we click, beware of online offers or emails asking for personal information, and check the websites you visit,” he said. 
The two-day conference is being hosted by the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication (CARIMAC), University of the West Indies, under the theme ‘Mobile Money, Online Banking and Citizen Awareness’.
It is expected to examine issues related to cybersecurity and mobile money; countering cybercrime; protecting telecommunication services; banking and e-Government; cyberthreats to online banking; and building citizen awareness.
The conference is an initiative of the Mona ICT Policy Centre, CARIMAC, in association with the Internet Society and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).


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