My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: GOJ amends the CyberCrime Act of 2010, enlists Ethical Hackers in a Cyber Emergency Response Team

Sunday, June 23, 2013

GOJ amends the CyberCrime Act of 2010, enlists Ethical Hackers in a Cyber Emergency Response Team

“There is hardly any offence being committed now without the use of technology. I cannot accept that there are going to be sentences or fines in the present Act that we will not make adjustments to”

Appeal by SSP (Senior Superintendent) Clifford Chambers at the Joint Select Committee hearing on amendments to the Cybercrime Act 2010 on Wednesday June 12th 2013

Wow that was fast!

The Joint Select Committee wasted no time in amending the Cybercrime Act 2010 by increasing the Prison Sentence to twenty five (25) years as reported in the article “$3m fine, 25-year sentence proposed under Cybercrime Act”, published Wednesday, June 12, 2013 | 5:29 PM, The Jamaica Observer.

Under the Cybercrime Act 2010, an offence is committed when a person knowingly obtains,for himself or another person, any unauthorised access to any programme or data held in a computer.  The amendment basically treating Cybercrime on the same level as 2nd Degree murder or Grand Larceny which attract similar Prison Sentences!

These amendments to the thus far toothless Cyber Crime Act 2010 in keeping with similar fines in the Law Reform (Fraudulent Transactions) (Special Provisions) Act 2013, aka the Lotto Scam Act, and the Precursor Chemicals Act were made by the Joint Select Committee on Wednesday June 12th  2013.

The Ministry’s also began establishing a CERT (Cyber Emergency Response Team) in May 2013 to respond to Cyber [Internet connected computer] threats as reported in the article “Gov't to Establish Cyber Response Team”, published Wednesday, 29 May 2013 17:19 by Chris Patterson, The Jamaica Information Service. Most likely it’ll involve Trained IT and Network Specialists with connections to the GOJ.

Nonetheless, this response by the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining indicates that they are aware it’ll be a problem and are thus taking step to ensure that they don’t become a target for Hackers.

Already the GOJ websites have been hacked and defaced on a continuous basis, based on the Hacking stats provided by the Communication Forensics and Cybercrime Unit for 2012:

1.      229 websites total belonging to GOJ entities, Colleges and Universities institutions, and Private Sector were hacked last year while just over
2.      140 belonged to the GOJ
3.      89  belonged to the Colleges and Universities institutions and Private Sector

State Minister for the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Julian Robinson later explained his intentions for the CERT in a Observe Editors Weekly Exchange on Monday June 10th2013 as noted in the article “Gov't to establish Cyber Emergency Response Team”, published Wednesday, June 12, 2013 BY KARYL WALKER Editor - Crime/Court Desk, The Jamaica Observer.

More interestingly, State Minister Julian Robinson also spoke of establishing what’s effectively a NetForce made up of White Hat or Ethical Hackers as described in the article “Gov't working with hackers; moves to boost cyber security”, published Tuesday, June 11, 2013 BY ALICIA DUNKLEY-WILLIS Senior staff reporter, The Jamaica Observer.

The history of the CyberCrime Act 2010 and its creation due to the action of the most notorious offender, Philpott Martin, the Digicel Hacker, is documented in my blog article entitled “Mr. Philpott Martin is the DPP and Digicel Hacker - Jamaica Cybercrimes first Django Unchained makes it clear that Digicel's MINSAT and DWS are hackable”.

These amendments are in line with the requests made by SSP (Senior Superintendent) Clifford Chambers on behalf of fellow law enforcement officers as stated in the article “Heavier penalties proposed for cybercrime” published Thursday, June 13, 2013 by Alicia Dunkley-Willis, The Jamaica Observer.

Law enforcement personnel are apparently having the same level of difficulty of capturing and convicting perpetrators of Cybercrime in Jamaica before a Resident Magistrate. His arguments were presented before the Joint Select Committee and the result of them may be heard late in the year.

All told, the GOJ’s responding on the eve of 4G LTE Long Term Evolution) Wireless Broadband Internet coming to increase internet Connectivity in Jamaica as noted in my blog article entitled “No bidders thus far for the 700MHz Spectrum Auction for 4G LTE - CAPEX concerns as Serious Man of Steel Investors are needed to assist Jamaica to become a more Connected Society”.

With that increased connectivity comes increased criminal activity via the Internet enableing crimes with both tools that can be ordered online and instructional videos such as this one on Scamming Debit and Credit Cards.

Information is the new currency provided by the faster Broadband Internet.

It’s a weapon enabling educated and out-of-work Jamaicans with basic computer skills to undertake Scamming of Americans to Credit and Debit Card Cloning. Concern about who’s ultimately responsible prompted me to do the article blog article entitled “Who is responsible if your Credit Card or Debit Card account is hacked?”.

Back then in 2010, the GOJ was innocent to the scourge of hacking and defacing GOJ websites, seeing it as merely young hooligans trying to prove a point. But when it began to gravitate towards stealing Debit and Credit Cards and the now famous hack by Philpott Martin, it became obvious that the GOJ had to take action.

These current legislative empowers the Police and the Legal System using the Cybercrime Act of 2010 by basically treating Cybercrime on the same level as 2nd Degree murder or Grand Larceny.

More importantly, they’ll need these legislative changes to demonstrate to the Local and International community that Jamaica is ready to advance towards a Cashless Society as described in my blog article entitled “JNBS Introduces Swipe and Go, eliminating Bank Books - Secret of Wings for a Cashless Society in Jamaica”. No one will trust these Internet connected systems until it can be guaranteed to be secure enough for Financial Transactions!

For the GOJ’s part, they’re taken heed and plans for the private, secure and lower cost GOVNet for communications among GOJ entities and enableing Parliamentarians with Tablets involves using Linux as noted in my blog article entitled “GOJ Parliamentarians upgraded to Microsoft Surface Tablets and GovNET Wide Area Network - Minister Paulwell efforts to reduce paper may accelerate Jamaican Tablet Adoption”. 


Amended CyberCrime Act 2010 and White Hat Hackers are the Q.U.E.E.N Project Janelle Monae and Erica Badu Style.

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