Mon | Jan 21, 2019

Holness: Digital revolution inevitable - Government preparing country

Published:Friday | June 22, 2018 | 12:00 AMRomario Scott/Gleaner Writer
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (left) is all smiles as he greets Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, vice-chancellor of the University of the West Indies, at the 9th Annual Mona School of Business Roundtable Talk held at the Mona campus in St Andrew yesterday.

Pointing to the unavoidable and inevitable digitalisation of the Jamaican society, Prime Minister Andrew Holness says that his administration is laying the foundation for a digital makeover that will have a jaw-dropping effect on life.

Holness, who was speaking yesterday at the Mona School of Business CEO breakfast forum on strategic digital leadership, pointed to the passage of the controversial National Identifi-cation Act, which established the National Identification System (NIDS). While acknowledging the jitters that NIDS has created, the prime minister told the forum of business executives that digitalisation has come to revolutionise society and challenge strongly held views.

"The notion that privacy means that the information is not known, in the digital world that will not be the case. Privacy means that your information is protected and can only be distributed, released, or used under the rule of law," said Holness.

"In fact, in the digital world, you depend more on the rule of law for your privacy," he argued, mentioning the work being done to craft comprehensive data protection legislation.

He mentioned that already some countries had moved to online voting as they go through this phase of technology. As for Jamaica, Holness said that there would be great need for far-reaching digital literacy across the country to cope with the revolution.

The prime minister disclosed that earlier this week, the Cabinet considered the introduction of a policy to protect information about persons even as there was a move to digitalise them under a programme spearheaded by the HOPE programme in the Office of the Prime Minister.

Holness also implored business leaders to take serious steps to protect their data as the digital revolution draws advanced.

The prime minister also announced that by year end Government ministers would start receiving documents for Cabinet in a digital format.