Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, says that to further protect citizens from the evolving threat of cyber-crime,the Government is working towards the development of a National Cyber Policy in 2020.

 Speaking at a Cyber-security and Cyber-crime Workshop for Latin America and the Caribbean at the Hilton Resort and Spa in St. James on December 3, the Minister said that additionally, “we will also 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”.

 This, he added, is being accomplished through the National Cyber-security Strategy and the commendable work of agencies such as e-Gov Jamaica.

 He said the new National Identification System (NIDS) Bill will further strengthen Jamaica’s cyber-security framework and will not only support “the modernization of our information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure” but it will also facilitate the introduction of a multilayered technology security system, to mitigate vulnerabilities associated with cyber activities.

 “In other words, the NIDS will provide Jamaicans with enhanced protection from cyber threats and cyber-attacks,” the Minister emphasized.

 He further argued that data protection is critical to the security infrastructure of any governance system, noting that for this reason, the Government has sought to address, in earnest, the finalization of a Data Protection Bill.

 The Minister said that following a thorough process of consultations, and the arduous work of a Joint Select Committee, “this Bill will provide a much-needed framework and guidelines for securing and protecting our people’s data”.

 “It will also strengthen, even further, Jamaica’s overall cyber security infrastructure,” Dr. Chang added.

 The Minister argued that in order to identify, analyse and evaluate cyber-threats in a fulsome way, “we must maintain strategic partnerships”.

 Dr. Chang pointed to the collaboration between the Jamaica Cyber-Incident Response Team (CIRT) and the Organization of American States(OAS) Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE) as one such partnership.

 He said that through this partnership,Jamaica is working to develop an early warning system, which will include the security information and event management (SIEM) system network.

 The network, the Minister explained, will allow for a more proactive approach to cyber-security, strengthened cooperation between OAS Member States, and, in turn,“improve our cyber resilience”.

He further noted that the need to build a resilient cyber infrastructure is increasingly undeniable, adding that the ongoing work at the regional level, by means of the CARICOM Cyber-security and Cyber Action Plan, is important to this process.

 “This regional strategy is essential to building our capacity and infrastructure, enabling detection, effective investigation and prosecution in cyber crime-related matters. This regional response is timely, given the transnational crimes and cyber security vulnerabilities that are affecting our countries,” the Minister said.

“It is with this in mind that I urge the countries of the region to actively participate in efforts to combat transnational organised crimes, and expand coordination and cooperation, in order to effectively protect national and regional assets and interests,” Dr. Chang added.

He said it is important that countries seek to put measures in place expeditiously,such as the sharing of cyber alerts, advisories and other relevant information.

“The criminals operate in a transnational manner, and so is the nature of the crimes they commit. We must respond in a commensurate manner,” the Minister noted.

“This workshop provides an opportunity for us to discuss our collective and coordinated response to cyber crimes, even as we work together to tackle this cross-border threat to our national security,” he said.