My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: June 2016

Thursday, June 30, 2016

How Unlimited access to Government of Jamaica Websites heralds Electronic Transactions and Mobile Money

“What this means is that even if your credit is done, if your data plan is exhausted or in arrears, Jamaicans will be able to access key [sites] to pay taxes; apply for birth certificates and access educational material online for free”

Minister of Science, Technology and Energy Dr. Andrew Wheatley commenting on the announcement of Data free access to GOJ websites

Minister of Science, Technology and Energy Dr. Andrew Wheatley, has made a move that may possible be bordering on pure genius.

Jamaicans will now be able to access GOJ (Government of Jamaica) websites without having to use up Megabytes on their smartphones as reported in the article “Government websites accessible without data plan”, published Tuesday, June 21, 2016, The Jamaica Observer.

He made this declaration during his presentation on Tuesday June 21st 2016 during the 2016/17 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives. In that presentation, he made mention the fact that the Government will be delivering on their 10 ­point Information and communications technology (ICT) plan for free access to key online services.

This is a part of his plan to implement an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Act, a Data Protection Act and a single ICT Regulator as explained in my blog article entitled “Why OUR Telecommunications Market Information Report indicate Jamaicans love Snapchat and High-Speed Internet”.

Effectively unlimited Data for Government Websites, this arrangement is possible thanks to negotiation between the Ministry of Science, Technology and Energy and the Telecom Providers FLOW Jamaica and Digicel Jamaica. This includes the ninety five (95) Government websites as listed below:

1.      Access To Information
2.      Agri-Business Council
3.      Agricultural Support
4.      Airports Authority
5.      Anti-dumping/ Subsidies
6.      Auditor General's Dept.
7.      Betting, Gaming & Lotteries
8.      British High Commission
9.      Bureau of Standards
10.  Carib Pesticides
11.  CEATA
12.  Child Dev. Agency
13.  Ciboj.Org
14.  Citizen Security & Justice Programme
15.  Civil Aviation Authority
16.  Consel General - UN
17.  Consumer Affairs
18.  Correctional Services
19.  Cruise Jamaica
20.  E-Jamaica
21.  Early Childhood Comm.
22.  Embassy of Japan
23.  Embassy Washington
24.  European Commission
25.  Export Centres & Business Info
26.  Fair Trading Comm.
27.  Family Planning Board
28.  Fin. Services Comm.
30.  Firearm Licensing
31.  Fiscal Services
32.  Food Storage Division
33.  Foreign Affairs & Trade
34.  Govt. Archives & Records
35.  High Comm. - UK
36.  Housing Agency of Ja
37.  Intellectual Property
38.  Int'l Seabed Authority
39.  Irrigation Commission
40.  Jamaica Constabulary
41.  Jamaica Defence Force
42.  Jamaica Mission - U.N.
43.  Jamaica Parliament
44.  Jamaica Police Fed.
45.  Jamaica Ship Registry
46.  Jamaica Social Investment Fund
47.  Jamaica Tax Online (2)
48.  Jamaica Trade Board
49.  Jamaican Consulate (FL)
50.  Jamaican Police
51.  jExporter
52.  Kings House
53.  KSAC
54.  Land Information Council
55.  Let's Keep It Clean
56.  Local Government
57.  Mining & Telecoms
58.  Ministry of Agriculture
59.  Ministry of Health
60.  Ministry of Justice
61.  Ministry of Labour
62.  Ministry of Technology
63.  N.E.P.A
64.  National Health Fund
65.  National Land Agency
66.  National Security
67.  National Works Agency
68.  National Youth Service
69.  NHDC
70.  Office of Disaster Prep.
71.  Office of Utilities Reg.
72.  Passport and immigration Agency
73.  Planning Institute
74.  Police Authority
75.  Port Authority of Jamaica
76.  Postal Corporation
77.  Prime Minister's Office
79.  Qualifications Register
80.  Registrar of Companies
81.  SERHA
82.  S Regional Health Authority
83.  Scientific Research
84.  Social Dev. Commission
85.  Solid Waste Mgmt.
86.  Spectrum Management
87.  St. James Parish Council
88.  Statistical Institute
89.  Sugar Cane Enterprise
90.  Supreme Court
91.  The Contractor General
92.  Toll Authority
93.  Tourism Product Dev.
94.  Transport & Works
95.  Urban Dev. Corporation

So what does this mean for the average Jamaican?

Unlimited access to Government of Jamaica Websites - Free access encourages Electronic Transactions, Mobile Money

This is great news for Jamaicans seeking to keep up with the Government of Jamaica as well as doing business with the Government of Jamaica.

It also means that you don't have to have a data plan on your smartphone and neither will it use up your credit, forcing you to seek the refuge of Wi-Fi as explained in my Geezam blog article entitled “FLOW Jamaica MiFi helps you use Prepaid Mobile Internet Plan wisely”.

This'll make it easier for Jamaicans to pay their Taxes and keep up with Information on the Government from the JIS Website, but it'll also boost traffic to these websites.  The Ministry of Science, Technology and Energy can then use this increased traffic to offer premium advertising to local MSME (Micro small and Medium Enterprises) on their government websites, allowing the Ministry to earn enough revenue so that the websites can not only pay for their hosting but also become a source of increased revenue.

But more interestingly, it open up the gateway for the introduction of increased Electronic Transactions to do Government Business, as free access to GOJ websites removes yet another barrier to a Cashless society as argued in my blog article entitled “How Electronic Transactions in Jamaica can eliminate Hidden Economy via Universal Consumption Taxation”.

Mobile Money may even be introduced as means for paying for Government Services on these freely accessible websites as predicted in my blog article entitled “How NCB Mobile Money by AIS and Quisk heralds Mobile phone ATM Withdrawals by December 2016”.

The use of Electronic Transactions and Mobile Money to conduct business with the Government of Jamaica will result in increased tax compliance and will result in increased revenues that can be used to implement things such as:

1.      Free Education up to University level
2.      Free Housing
3.      Free Transportation
4.      Free Healthcare

Ultimately, revenue from special advertising and increased Government Business will benefit the Government of Jamaica, information Jamaicans freely on their smartphones and making Tax compliance easier to achieve.

How Twitter Stickers searchable like Hashtags indicates maturing Sticker Economy on Social Media

Twitter is apparently not taking the fact that Snapchat has surpassed them lying down as I'd pointed out in my blog article entitled “How Snapchat 150 million Daily users surpasses Twitter and threatens Instagram”.

On Monday June 27th 2016, Twitter  rolled out virtual stickers as per their blog post article “Introducing #Stickers on Twitter”, published Monday, June 27, 2016 By Sasank Reddy, Twitter.

From June 2, 2016
Check out this Tweet on their @Twitter Feed:

Hundreds are available at launch; standard Unicode emoji and original works of art from Twitter.

You can place as many sticker on a photograph as you wish and they're rotatable and resizable
Stickers are the new economy of social networks and messaging apps and is even set to become a source of Revenue for rival Snapchat as predicted in my blog article entitled “Why Snapchat buying Bitstrips heralds Polaroid trend for Personal Printable Emoji Stickers”.

Twitter, however, allows you to search their stickers like hashtags; best of all, they have many planned for almost every occasion all year round. Twitter may even monetize this, with advertisers paying Twitter to link business ads and bots to certain specific Stickers.

Once you click on a sticker, an alternate timeline appears that lists everyone else using the same sticker as noted in the article “Twitter adds stickers for photos and lets you search them like hashtags”, published June 27, 2016 by Casey Newton, The Verge.

One thing is for sure; searchable Stickers indicates a maturing Sticker Economy on Social Media, moving away from temporary art form to a more permanent statement of individualism.

So twitter users, one more reason to stick with Twitter and avoid the Snapchat Crowd!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Why Ministry of National Security's Stay Alert App is Prankster's Summer Toy of 2016

The Ministry of National Security is now marshalling the power of smartphones in its bid to fight crime.

They've recently launched a Stay Alert App which is basically a crime reporting tool on your smartphone as reported in the article “Stay Alert App”, published Sunday, June 26, 2016, The Jamaica Observer

The App, which is available on the Google Play Store and already has seen between 10,000 to 50,000 installations, is basically a Panic Button for your smartphone. It requires your phone number to activate the “Panic Alert” function.

Google Logo

It's also got four (4) distinct sections, as show in the image above:

1.      Alerts
2.      iReport
3.      The Laws
4.      The Panic Mode

By the way, don’t press that Panic Button, as it’ll only call the Police. Why do I get the idea that this App, which wasn’t well thought out or designed, will create more problems for the Jamaican Police than what its intended to do; help fight crime?

Stay Alert App – Summer App for teenagers pranking the Ministry of National Security

You can already figure out the Panic mode, so I’ll skip that!

I suspect that this Panic Button on an App might end up being used to prank the Police in much the same way they already make prank calls to 119 as noted in “Non-Emergency Calls Clogging 119 System”, published January 19, 2016 By Shelly-Ann Irving, The Jamaica Information Service.

Fun fact about emergency Calls made to the Police Call Center:

1.      33,000 calls per day received
2.      24 calls per minute.
3.      23,000 or 70% are prank calls i.e. non-emergencies or non-police related matters

Alert seems to be the most useful mode, for law abiding citizens as well as criminals alike. It provides you with the latest news, alerts and tips related to missing person updates, road blocks, and other information from the police blotters.

This is great for criminals as well, as they can also use this App to AVOID the Police when making their getaway.

iReport turns you into a sleuth, allowing really nosy teenagers during the summer to spy on you and their pesky neighbour. In the process, they'll break Section 3 of the constitution and your Right to privacy by spying on you and anonymously upload video, audio, photo or message about suspicious individuals or crimes....or videos of you having sex with the girl in the other apartment or yard!

Good luck using that intel in court; most likely a judge will throw it out.....assuming you girlfriend doesn’t throw you out of your shared apartment first!!

Stay Alert App Law Section – GOJ Picture ID for true Citizen of Jamaica fighting crime

The Laws is probably the most useful section; great to use against the Jamaican Police when they try to wrongfully arrest you for eating Kush Kandy as predicted in my blog article entitled “How Jared Wright's Kush Kandy is a neutraceutical that will make Sevy's Special Brownies legal”. 

Not only are these laws applicable in applicable in real-life situations but the Police can't arrest you for peddleing Kush Kandy, as they have no ticket books specifically made for Marijuana offenders as noted in the article “No books, so no ganja tickets”, published Sunday, June 26, 2016 by Jediael Carter, The Jamaica Observer.

To make the App more secure, it would be good to include a feature where in order to use the panic button, the individual would have to upload a GOJ (Government of Jamaica) picture ID. When the press the Panic button, it would also send an image of the persons which would be stored in the Police Call Center's database, allowing them to identify legitimate callers as well as stop prank callers from flooding their lines with fake calls.

After all, if you truly concerned about crime, then as a citizen of Jamaica you’re willing to stand and be counted. Pus from a legal point of view, should it come to court action based on the evidence you submitted, the Police would have to provide the identity of the persons who gave them the evidence, as we have no shield laws in Jamaica that protects witness and evidence of this nature is only admissible based on witness testimony.

For those of you brave enough to download this App and become an informer and potentially be tracked by the Jamaican Police, consult a lawyer beforehand. The Stay Alert App is really a great tools for pranksters to flood the Police Call Centers with even more misleading information.

Here's the link