Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 14th 2014 Contents GAIL ALEXANDER
Certain aspects of Government s pro-
posed cyber-crime legislation will outlaw
"mailbox politics", where people claim to
mysteriously get e-mail information in
their mailboxes, National Security Minister
Gary Griffith said yesterday.
Piloting the 47-clause bill in Parliament,
he said, "Cyber security is of the utmost
importance to everyone due to growing use
of technology. In light of increasing sophis-
tication of cyber crimes, this bill is necessary
to protect citizens and our cyberspace. We re
no longer bound by only land, sea and air,
we now have a cyberspace to defend. Cyber
crime has no borders.
"I do hope both sides of the House recog-
nise the importance of this bill---it s going
to be a game changer."
The bill, which requires a special majority
vote for passage, will repeal the Computer
Provisions in it also seek to outlaw cyber-
bullying and unauthorised transmission of
genital photos and junk e-mail.
Offences under the bill carry large fines,
from $100,000 to $2 million, plus jail terms
of between two and 15 years. Conditions in
the bill apply to desktop computers, laptops,
smartphones and any device which can
process information or electronic data.
It creates offences against the confiden-
tiality, integrity and availability of computer
data and computer systems, content-related
offences, copyright-related offence and
Griffith also piloted legislation for a T&T
Cyber Security Agency to supervise the sec-
tor. In T&T, he said online banking, financial
networks, government services, utility sys-
tems and energy sector infrastructure are
among susceptible areas
"T&T Police Cyber Crimes Unit witnessed
an increase in a number of cyber-incidents,
including online bullying, attempted domain
hijacking and Web site hacking and deface-
ment, including the April 2012 hacking into
the Finance Ministry and Parliament Web
sites and the July 2012 Automatic Teller
Machine (ATM) skimming scams," he said.
Griffith said in 2011 an inter-ministerial
committee began developing a national cyber
security strategy, which was approved in 2012.
He said it would be an offence if anyone
intentionally and without lawful excuse or
justification accessed a computer system to secure
"We can recall recent matters where information
is just received and then extracted. This can go a
long way to eliminate the concept we've seen now,
of mailbox politics, whereby information just comes
to people, they make an announcement and then
you need to know, 'Where did you get it from?'
"The protected legal interest in this regard is the
integrity of the computer system. The need for
criminalisation of such acts reflects the interests of
operators of computer systems to run their
systems in an undisturbed manner. This section
essentially criminalises the mere unauthorised
intrusion prior to the follow-up crimes such as data
He added, "Additionally, 'access' in this context
does not specify a certain means of
communication, but is open-ended and facilitates
further technical developments. It includes all
means of entering a computer system, including
internet attacks as well as illegal access to wireless
networks. Even unauthorised access to a computer
system that is not connected to any network is
covered by this provision."
Griffith said like most of the other offences listed
in this bill, illegal access to a computer system
could only be prosecuted if it happens "without
lawful excuse or justification." This requires that
the offender acted without authority. This carries a
fine of $300,000 and three years' imprisonment on
summary conviction and $500,000 and five years'
imprisonment on conviction on indictment.
Another clause seeks to create the offence of
violating a person's privacy by capturing and
sharing pictures or videos of the person's private
area without their consent.
Griffith said, "This is usually referred to as
voyeurism. This offence carries a fine of $100 000
and two years' imprisonment on summary
conviction or a fine of $500,000 and three years'
imprisonment on conviction on indictment."
The clause on harassment through the use of
electronic means with the intent to cause
emotional distress for both adults and minors, he
said, "seeks to treat with harassment,
cyberbullying, damage to reputation and extortion
via the use of a computer system." This would
carry a fine of $100,000 and three years'
imprisonment on summary conviction or $250,000
and five years' imprisonment on conviction on
Another clause seeks to criminalise the act of
sending multiple e-mail messages---spam---that are
"For this to apply, the electronic mail messages
must be sent to more than 500 recipients at a time
and must cause harm to a person or damage to a
computer," Griffith explained.
Other clauses seek to impose heavier penalties
with a focus on acts which affect critical state
infrastructure, from security to utilities.
Computer fraud for economic benefit carries a $1
million fine and five years' imprisonment.
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Griffith lays down new cyber law
The proposed T&T Cyber Security
Agency would provide advice on cyber
security-related matters, including
situational awareness information, to the
National Security Minister and police in
addressing cyber security issues, National
Security Minister Gary Griffith said
He said the security firm Symantec's
2013 Norton Report said the global price
tag of consumer cyber crime was
estimated at US$113 billion annually. The
survey, done in 24 countries, said there
were 378 million victims of cyber crime
The TTCSA will also facilitate
information sharing among stakeholders,
establish guidelines and standards for
various sectors and advise of emerging
threats and ways to protect critical
He noted infrastructure in sectors from
health to energy which could be affected.
"For example, should a request come
through the Central Authority for mutual
legal assistance regarding a cyber crime in
Europe, the Central Authority can contact
the TTCSA, who will then channel the
information to the appropriate agency in
real time," he explained.
The TTCSA will develop a national cyber
security contingency plan, co-ordinate
cyber security exercises and do research
and development. It will have a national
computer incident response team to
respond to cyber-attacks and provide
incident response and management
services along with alerts and warnings
on the latest cyber threats and
A research and development unit will
research new threats and find solutions
before major breaches can occur.
The TTCSA will be managed by a board,
WHAT THE AGENCY WILL DO
a future offence
St Joseph MP Terrance Deyalsingh and Minister of State in the Ministry of Works and
Infrastructure, Stacy Roopnarine, speak on their cell phones during the lunch break at
yesterday's sitting of Parliament. PHOTO: SHIRLEY BAHADUR
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