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Single ICT Watchdog will Boost Investment - State Minister Robinson

Minister of State in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Julian Robinson, says the creation of a single oversight agency for Information Communications Technology (ICT) is critical in attracting investment for the growth of the sector.

He was speaking at the opening of the 12th International Conference on the Social Impact of Computers in Developing Countries, being held at the Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort in Ocho Rios, St. Ann on Sunday, May 19.

As it stands, oversight of the ICT sector is shared among the Spectrum Management Authority (SMA), the Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica (BCJ) and the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR), and the Government is seeking to create a single regulatory agency with ICT-specific functions.

Mr. Robison argued that the process of going through three regulators slows investments and so the intention is to simplify the regulatory environment.

“As you can imagine, if you are an investor in the ICT sector, it means that you have to interface with three separate organisations and in many cases, they operate independently of each other. It is an inefficient way to operate, it slows our ability to get goods and services to market,” he stated.

“The (single regulator) will ensure that we operate more efficiently and effectively, and in a more cost effective manner,” he added.

Mr. Robinson said the Government is also creating the legislative environment to facilitate investment in ICT.

“We are about to table Data Protection legislation, which will be tabled in this calendar year,” he informed.

He noted that the 2010 Cyber Crimes Act is also being reviewed to make it easier to prosecute persons, who use technology to commit criminal activities.

“Cyber crimes are now becoming a feature of transnational crimes. We, here in Jamaica, have suffered at the hands of cyber crimes. We have held a number of consultations, we have established a joint Parliamentary committee, and we have gotten submissions from stakeholders, both within and outside of Jamaica, and those amendments will be made shortly,” he stated.

The State Minister informed that the Government has received support from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to establish a cyber emergency response team, which will be up and running in another six months.

The four day conference, organized by the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP), brings together policy advisors, academics, practitioners from the private sector, non-governmental organizations and the public sector, who are involved with ICT and development in developing countries.

It is being held under the theme: ‘Into the Future.’

Source: Jamaica Information Service

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