Jamaica to Create a National Cybersecurity Policy in 2020

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Jamaica has announced plans to develop a national cybersecurity policy in 2020.

According to the Jamaica Observer, the plan to create a strategy to protect the island country's citizens from cybercrime was announced by Jamaica's minister of national security, Dr. Horace Chang, yesterday. 

Speaking at a Cybersecurity and Cybercrime Workshop for Latin America and the Caribbean at the Hilton Resort and Spa in St. James, Chang said that the government will "be seeking to ensure that the entire government service has a reliable and robust cyber-platform on which to operate and deliver quality and safe online service."

Chang added that the creation of the cyber-safe platform will be achieved through the work of agencies such as e-Gov Jamaica. 

The minister went on to describe how the National Identification System (NIDS) Bill, passed into law in November of 2017, will act to further strengthen the country's cybersecurity framework. 

Under the new law, each citizen of Jamaica will be provided with a randomized nine-digit National Identification Number (NIN), which they will have for life, and a multipurpose National Identification Card (NIC). Rollout of the system began in January 2019. 

Chang said that the National Identification System will support "the modernization of our information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure" and pave the way for the introduction of a multilayered technology security system that will offer protection against cyber-threats.

The Jamaican government is currently in the process of finalizing a Data Protection Bill, which Chang said will play a critical role in defending the country's cybersecurity. 

"This bill will provide a much-needed framework and guidelines for securing and protecting our people's data," said Chang. "It will also strengthen, even further, Jamaica's overall cybersecurity infrastructure."

The bill requires that data collected must be accurate and should only be obtained for specific lawful purposes, with the consent of the individual. It stipulates that data gathered may not be further used or processed in any way incompatible with the original purpose and must not be held for longer than is necessary to fulfill that original purpose.

Chang also emphasized the importance of partnerships, such as the collaboration between the Jamaica Cyber-Incident Response Team (CIRT) and the Organization of American States (OAS) Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE), in protecting Jamaica's citizens.

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