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Technology Minister Calls On Jamaicans To Be Vigilant In Cyberspace


Jamaica News: Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Hon. Fayval Williams, is calling on Jamaicans to be more accountable and vigilant as they traverse cyberspace, in order to avoid the dangers posed by increased Internet use.

“Own your data and your online presence,” she said, while addressing the Internet Society (ISOC) Jamaica Chapter and University of the Commonwealth Caribbean (UCC)-CompTIA Seminar, held at the Worthington Campus of the UCC, on Tuesday (November 19).

Mrs. Williams noted that more is being done online today than ever before, and while the connectivity increases the ease of doing business and communication, it makes users increasingly more vulnerable.

Pointing to some of the “great dangers” that come with increased Internet connectivity, Mrs. Williams cited the 2018/19 EY Global Information Security Survey, which notes that 6.4 billion false emails are sent worldwide every day, and the average cost of a data breach is more than US$3.4 million.

In addition, locally, Jamaica lost in excess of US$100 million or J$12 billion to cybercrime in 2016.

“Data from the Bank of Jamaica’s 2018 Financial Stability Report, show that for the January 2018 to September 2018 period, there were 62 counts of Internet banking fraud in Jamaica, totalling J$38.2 million; and in just one month, there was a total of J$10 million in losses,” Mrs. Williams further noted.

The Minister stressed that the country needs to learn from local, regional and international experiences to prevent further losses, while simulating innovation, creativity and productivity.

She noted that the Administration is cognisant of the need to safeguard the data of citizens in this era “where devices outnumber humans, technology powers many processes and data is the new gold”.

“Cybersecurity and data protection is of paramount importance. To this end, we are building a modern, legal framework to meet the needs and earn the trust of all stakeholders as it relates to the security of their data,” she said.

Mrs. Williams noted that the Ministry continues to build its capacity while increasing public awareness efforts, “so that every Jamaican is aware of the dangers in cyberspace and the ways in which they can mitigate cyberattacks”.

She pointed out that Jamaica has been making steady progress in the upskilling of cybersecurity personnel, strengthening of institutional capacities in both the public and private sectors, strengthening the legislative framework, and leveraging the support of regional and international partners.

In this regard, she pointed to the Data Protection Bill, which is currently before a Joint Select Committee, which seeks to establish a uniform, robust and clear framework with respect to the protection of people’s personal and sensitive data.

She also noted the Ministry’s work with the Organization of American States (OAS), through its Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism, to implement an early warning system with the installation of a Security Information and Event Management Network, which will enable the Ministry to provide alerts as soon as there is a detected cyberthreat that presents an immediate risk to the information technology systems in Jamaica.

In the meantime, Mrs. Williams commended the ISOC Jamaica Chapter and UCC for staging the “timely” seminar.

“I urge you to continue to facilitate the dialogue surrounding Internet-related issues and establish best practices and strategies to foster our growth and development in the area of technology,” she said.

Held under the theme ‘Now and Beyond – Data Accessibility, Technology and Innovation’, the seminar sought to facilitate discourse on topical areas relating to fundamental Internet-related issues, including cybersecurity.


Source: JIS News

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