Thu | Oct 17, 2019

Jamaica receiving OAS support in cyber threat technology

Published:Friday | May 17, 2019 | 11:43 AM
Minister Science, Energy and Technology Fayval Williams

KINGSTON, Jamaica, CMC – Jamaica is collaborating with the Organization of American States (OAS) to implement an early warning system to assist in protecting the island’s cyber infrastructure.

Science, Energy and Technology Minister, Fayval Williams, said the Cyber Incident Response Team (CIRT) is involved in the initiative, which is being undertaken through the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE), an arm of the OAS.

She told a Developing the Caribbean (DevCa) Open Data Conference and Code Sprint conference at the University of the West Indies (UWI), that this would entail the installation of a security information and event management (SIEM) network.

Williams said the SIEM network will enable the CIRT to provide alerts as soon as there is a cyber threat on the horizon to information technology systems in Jamaica.

“The system will help to fortify Jamaica’s cyber system infrastructure by being proactive, rather than reactive in dealing with cyber-related threats,” she said, adding that, this year, the CIRT will seek to reach 20,000 persons through targeted partnerships, education and awareness activities.

“We know that absolute cybersecurity is elusive, and so the CIRT continues to build its capacity and explore new and dynamic ways to engage Jamaicans about how to be safe online,”Williams said.

The CIRT aims to safeguard government information technology (IT) systems against cyberthreats.

Citing information from the Federal Trade Commission and the Internet Society in the United States, Williams said security and privacy risks are magnified in complex information and communications technology (ICT) systems because of the exponential increase in the amount of data being collected.

She said this situation raises concerns about ownership and control over these data, adding that citizens engaging with these systems may not know which data are being collected, how they are being used and with whom they are being shared.

“Knowing all that we know, getting our Data Protection Bill passed in short order is critical,” the Minister said, pointing out that “high priority” is being given to the Data Protection Bill on this year’s legislative agenda.

The Government’s Data Protection Bill aims to safeguard the privacy of individuals whose personal information has been documented by entities with whom they interface.

Williams said comments from the Joint Select Committee have been summarised, adding ‘we plan on having at least two more sessions to bring the summarised data to the Joint Select Committee and then for the Bill to go to Parliament”.

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