Fri | Sep 24, 2021

Unveil Amber contract, Golding demands

Published:Wednesday | February 24, 2021 | 12:25 AMRomario Scott/Gleaner Writer
Opposition Leader Mark Golding addresses a press conference on Tuesday addressing the JAMCOVID data exposure and Jamaica’s vaccination campaign.
Opposition Leader Mark Golding addresses a press conference on Tuesday addressing the JAMCOVID data exposure and Jamaica’s vaccination campaign.

Opposition Leader Mark Golding is demanding that Prime Minister Andrew Holness lay bare the contract it used to engage Amber Group to build out the JAMCOVID-19 application which is under increased scrutiny.

Following reports that an alleged second security flaw had been discovered with information that contained passwords for access to the backend of the application, its developer, the Amber Group, has gone on the defence.

In a thinly veiled threat, the Dushyant Savadia-led company said on Tuesday that reports of a second breach were defamatory.

Savadia, Amber’s founder and CEO, however, admitted that a file containing the alleged data was on the system but claimed that its contents were expired.

But TechCrunch, the American online newspaper that first reported on the breaches, said its researcher found that the file was deleted shortly after the exposure was brought to the attention of the Amber Group.

It is unclear how the TechCrunch researcher was still able to monitor the activities of the server to have known subsequently that the file was deleted, since Savadia said “login information to our applications and websites is further protected with multi-factor authentication to prevent access”.

But seemingly with the backing of a public demanding answers from the security lapses, Golding continues to press the administration’s buttons on the issue.

“The Jamaican people would like to see whether any compensation arises under the contract. We would like to know who owns the data inputted on the portal by travellers.

“We would like to understand what understandings and indemnities are given [in relation] to data protection and security by the contracted party,” the opposition leader told The Gleaner on Tuesday.

“It should be made public without delay and tabled in Parliament,” he declared.

Golding, an attorney-at-law, also wants to scrutinise the contract to see “whether there are features that do not adequately protect the interest of the Jamaican people”.

In the meantime, at a Gleaner Editors’ Forum on Tuesday, National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang was defiant that the JAMCOVID saga had not shot confidence in the proposed National Identification System, flapping back at Golding’s declaration on Monday.

Chang said that “that none of the critical associated government points were affected, for example, PICA (Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency)”.