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Cybercrimes Act review on the cards — Andrew Wheatley

Monday, March 12, 2018

MINISTER of Science, Energy and Technology Dr Andrew Wheatley says a review of the Cybercrimes Act which addresses computer-specific offences, is to be undertaken soon.

The legislation which was passed in 2015, incorporates offences related to computer fraud or forgery, the use of computers for malicious communication, and unauthorised disclosure of investigation.

“As the technology evolves, the Act must evolve as well to be able to capture technology as it is, and so the Cybercrimes Act is to be reviewed. In fact, we are putting together an in-house team to start the process of reviewing,” Dr Wheatley said.

He was speaking at the Cybersecurity and Legal Implications event hosted by Xsomo International Limited at the Courtleigh Auditorium in New Kingston on Wednesday.

Speaking about the Data Protection Bill, which is now before a joint select committee of parliament, Dr Wheatley noted that it will safeguard 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 Data Protection Bill was motivated by the need to utilise information and communications technology (ICT) for social and economic development and to promote public confidence in the use of ICTs,” he said.

He added that the legislation would streamline the fragmented approach regarding secrecy, confidentiality and privacy and also address the need for a uniform and clear mandate regarding the protection of personal data.

As part of the Bill, private and public sector entities will need to implement the necessary technical and institutional support to ensure greater protection of personal data within their custody or control.

An information commissioner is also to be appointed, and will be charged with the responsibility of overseeing the manner in which personal data in the possession of those entities is handled.

As a signatory to the European Economic Partnership Agreement, Jamaica is required to establish appropriate legal and regulatory regimes, in line with existing high international standards, with a view to ensuring an adequate level of protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data.