The ministries of Public Health and Industry & Commerce have issued an invitation to programmers to enter a contest to develop an app, that will enable consumers to use their mobile phones to report expired products being sold in stores. The announcement was made by Director of the Food, Pharmaceuticals and Sanitary Product Agency (Digemaps) Karina Mena, and deputy minister of Industry and Commerce, Ignacio Méndez.
Mena said that the "hackathon” is also aimed at deterring the sale of fraudulent pharmaceuticals. The app would include a rumor-reporting mechanism so that normal citizens can report infractions when in the store through their mobile or other electronic media.
The plan is also to use the app at airports and sea ports to detect fraudulent merchandise.
ECTEL Chief Explains The Importance Of Net Neutrality
ECTEL has signalled it’s intention to push through with Net Neutrality legislation among the five member states of the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
We sat down with Managing Director of ECTEL Mr. Embert Charles to discuss what this means for consumers and to answer the charge by service providers that the providers of Over The Top (OTT) Services are not paying their way,
ECTEL’s position is that all data should be treated equally by Internet Service Providers – ISPs, there should be no preferential treatment of throttling or blocking of data or services. We asked Mr. Charles how does he respond to the ISP’s claims that the Over The Top Service Providers such as Google, FaceBoot, Netflix and WhatsApp are not paying to support the networks or contributing to government taxes and the Universal Service (USF)?
Mr. Charles stated, “It’s a difficult area to regulate, but it’s not one that has not been done by other regulators before. But I think we need to establish a number of things. One is that service providers are actually giving priority to some existing Over The Top Service providers so what one is arguing is that something that might be detrimental to their business is being encouraged I guess in the interest of that same business.”
Charles went on to cite an example of how a small content provider or Over The Top Service provider could be disadvantaged by failure to enforce or adopting net neutrality.
“You can use a simple example of content provider who has developed a very viable relevant applicable service for a small country like St. Kitts and Nevis, and that is blocked because that service provider doesn’t have any clout or doesn’t have a relationship with a service provider and as a result disadvantages several citizens who may want to access the app. So we hold hard and fast to that principal it has been codified in our new legislation, and where as some people maybe living in fear the legislation simply gives us the framework to design the rules for net neutrality.
The Head of Jamaica’s Cyber Incident Response Team (CIRT) in the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr Moniphia Hewling, speaking during an event to observe Cyber Security Awareness Day urged victims of cybercrimes to come forward and make a report. She said reports can be made to CIRT or the Communication Forensics and Cybercrimes Unit of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).
Cybercrime is any unlawful activity carried out using a computer or the Internet. These include identity theft, fraud, copyright infringement, cyberstalking, child pornography, revenge pornography, and bullying.
Dr Hewling noted that these incidents often go unreported because some persons
are unaware that they are actual crimes.“They are not familiar with the Cybercrimes Act of 2015. Then there are those people who cannot be bothered; they may lose a couple hundred, thousands or millions of dollars and they sort it out with the bank and they have an agreement,” she pointed out.
She advised persons to exercise caution when using the Internet and to “stop and think before they click”. “They need to realise that there is real and present danger that exists... they must also be aware at all times to protect their PIN when they use point-of-sales terminals,” she said.
Caribbean Holds First Cyber Crime Conference
The Attorney General’s Office of Curacao together with the Kingdom Detectives Cooperation Team (RST) and DataExpert from the Netherlands will host the first Caribbean Cybercrime Conference in Aruba on November 16th.
The goal of the Caribbean Cybercrime Conference is to create awareness for the growing threat of cybercrime and the growing demand of digital investigations. The objective is also to explain what digital forensics and cybercrime is all about.
Over the last decade the use of electronic devices such as iPads, smartphones and laptops has grown exponentially by the public, and also among suspects in criminal cases. This has posed an extra challenge for law enforcement as well for the corporate industry. Due to constant technical innovations and the increase of cybercrime the complexity of criminal investigations is constantly rising.
The conference will start with an introduction by Director of the Forensics Team at DataExpert André Hakkers and the keynote presentation entitled “Threats and challenges in the area of cybercrime and cyber security” will be made by Lodewijk van Zwieten, senior prosecutor, seconded national Expert to Eurojust for Cybercrime.
Jamaican Educators Encouraged To Use More Technology
Jamaica’s Education, Youth and Information Minister, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, is encouraging educators in Jamaica to employ more technology in the teaching and learning process. Minister Reid said the push for the use of more technology in education forms part of the Government’s quest to deliver quality education in every school. He noted that the Government has spent considerable sums of money to bring more ICT into the education system, including the Tablets in Schools programme and the supporting Internet infrastructure.
Senator Reid, made the remarkes, while delivering the keynote address at the 2016 EduVision Awards Banquet in Ocho Rios, St. Ann.
“Quality education at every rung of the education ladder is a key ingredient of our national development plan. Quality education, however, is hardly possible in the 21st Century unless it is supported and grounded in access to, and productive use of information communication technologies (ICTs). No country can walk into the 21st Century confidently without mastering the integration of ICTs in education,” the Minister said.
He pointed out that the Ministry took a deliberate position to include ICT in the crafting of the new National Standards Curriculum for schools.
“The curriculum was piloted in 49 schools across the island during 2015. A major pillar of our new national standardised curriculum is its deliberate and elevated emphasis on the use of ICTs in the teaching and learning process,” Senator Reid said.
Speaking in GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands director at the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) Michael Hailu said the organisation is working on strengthening linkages for agricultural producers in the Caribbean to expand their markets.
According to Hailu, one of CTA’s projects in cooperation with the Caribbean Farmers Network and the Sandals Foundation, is working to strengthen linkages to domestic, regional and export markets in eight countries. CTA plans to expand this project to several other countries including Antigua, Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines.
“Some of the most encouraging results of our work involves linking producers to private financial institutions, and I believe there is tremendous scope for building on this approach in the future,” Hailu argued.
The CTA is also playing a major role in advancing use of mobile applications and other information communications technology (ICT) platforms in developing agriculture.
“Given CTA’s comparative advantage of working in the area of ICTs, especially in training and supporting young ICT entrepreneurs, we promote ICTs, more specifically mobile apps, to enhance various aspects of the value chain,” said Hailu.
Barbados To Hold Virtual Town Hall Meetings To Court Youth Engagement
As Barbados looks towards another 50 years of technological advances, a series of virtual town hall meetings are being planned for the youth. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office with responsibility for telecommunications in Barbados, Senator Darcy Boyce, said that the events would be targeted so young people “could say to us how they see the technology going, how they feel we ought to respond to that, and what role they can play in it”.
He insisted that it was critical to make decisions now while listening to the voice of the nation’s youth, as they were the island’s future. With this in mind, the senator therefore lauded telecommunications company Digicel for launching the island’s first CoderDojo free coding club programme for 50 students.
Admitting that it would not be fair to allow the private sector to finance this burden alone, he suggested that it may be necessary to look at the Universal Service Fund to find support for this initiative. “This Universal Service Fund is an arrangement where, a very small fee is attached to communications bills, that allows you to go into a dedicated fund for the public good in the telecommunications industry, so when you pay your phone bill, there may be a little cent or two that goes into funding the broadband support that schools would need to have,” Boyce explained.
Government Of Jamaica Moves To Support Development In Science and Technology
The government plans on putting policies, laws and regulations in place to foster the development of the local science and technology sector.
Speaking at a Proclamation ceremony for Science and Technology Month held at King’s House this week, Minister of Science, Energy, and Technology, Dr Andrew Wheatley, said the move is critical in creating the enabling environment that will increase the contribution of science and technology to national progress.
“This includes undertaking strategies to bolster our capacity for research and development, and applying and adapting science and technology to practical and productive uses. These strategies are key to laying the foundation for our long-term transition to a knowledge-based society and innovation-based economy that is globally competitive,” Wheatley said.
The month is being observed in November under the theme ‘Science, Technology and Innovation: Stimuli for Health, Wealth and Wellness’.
Dr Wheatley said the strategy for the science portfolio includes encouraging research as the basis for decision-making, the commercialisation of research and innovation, encouraging the innovative use and application of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) by private enterprises and government, and the establishment of a dynamic and responsive national innovation system.
Despite its relatively small size the Caribbean’s appetite for internet content is significant and growing. Yet the the number of persons capable of managing the region’s networks are few.
That’s the view coming out of last week’s Caribbean Network Operator’s Group – CaribNOG – conference held in St. Maarten.
“There has to be a deeper pool of human resources in the Caribbean with
technical expertise,” says Bevil Wooding, co-founder of the Caribbean Network
Operators Group (CaribNOG). Wooding continued, “More people with less technical knowledge are using Internet-based technology trusting that it will be safe. And so, a group of people have to ensure that, that trust is well founded.”
Speaking at the opening of CaribNOG’s twelfth regional meeting, held at Philipsburg, St. Maarten, Wooding said.
“We have to secure the region’s networks and look out for threats in different ways now that we are at this stage of the Internet’s development. And that’s why a group like CaribNOG is so important at this time. We become the guardians of the Caribbean’s Internet development.”
Call For Clear Policy To Guide The Renewable Energy Sector in Barbados
The Barbados Renewable Energy Association (BREA) has made a call for a “clear policy” to be put in place to guide the renewable energy sector and to serve as a roadmap for sustainable energy in Barbados.
The call came from President of BREA, Aidan Rogers, as he, along with Executive Director Clyde Griffith, held a press conference at the association’s offices at the Central Bank of Barbados, to provide an update on the organisation’s upcoming regional energy conference. The conference is scheduled for November 10 and 11 at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, under the theme “Sustainable Caribbean Energy Independence: Making It Happen”.
“Quite frankly, what we would really like to see is a policy actually in place. What we have had really, is what you can best describe as a staccato or ad hoc approach, where we have answered certain technical questions. We’ve [also] done some regulator experimentation by the FTC (Fair Trading Commission), the utility company would have done a technical study to see how much their grid can accommodate in terms of wind and solar, these are intermittent technologies and through that ad hoc approach, we have made significant strides, we cannot discount that. But to go to the next level, particularly in keeping with the new figures that the Prime Minister would have announced a month ago, that we are looking at 65 per cent renewable penetration by 2030, that penetration level can only be founded by a clear policy,” Rogers remarked.
ICANN Backs Caribbean Technology Development
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is joining forces with the Caribbean Network Operators Group (CaribNOG) to build the capacity of the region’s technical community.
ICANN coordinates the Internet’s system of unique addresses. The global non-profit organisation is dedicated to ensuring an open, stable and secure Internet.
“When we started working to develop capacity in the region, we soon realised that CaribNOG had the same goals, and so we quickly decided that by working together, we could accomplish more,” said Albert Daniels, Senior Manager of Stakeholder Engagement for the Caribbean at ICANN.
Collaboration goes beyond ICANN and CaribNOG, and includes several other major players in the global Internet landscape, such as the Latin American and Caribbean Internet Addresses Registry (LACNIC) and the American Registry of Internet Numbers (ARIN). LACNIC and ARIN are the two regional Internet registries that share responsibility for the Caribbean sub-region.
“We are pleased to be working together with Carlos Martinez, Chief Technology Officer of LACNIC, and Mark Kosters, Chief Technology Officer of ARIN, to deliver training on critical issues such as domain name system security,” Daniels said.
Daniels presented on technical issues such as cyber security, and policy issues such as the IANA stewardship transition. The slate of international experts conducted hands-on sessions covering a broad range of topics, including Internet exchange points.
Opposition Spokesman on Information Julian Robinson has said that open data implementation in Jamaica has the potential to contribute up to $13 billion to the economy.
He said $2.9 billion could be realised through education and another $10 billion through agriculture. Open data is the proactive release of Government data in a format that can be freely used, reused and redistributed by anyone for any purpose.
Robinson made a presentation entitled ‘Open Data as a platform for collaboration — The Caribbean Experience’ to a group of business leaders, politicians and academics from the Caribbean region at a conference at Wilton Park in the United Kingdom.
"Open data enhances transparency and accountability in governments, while creating economic value by giving rise to new businesses who utilise the data to solve problems," Robinson said. "For the tourism industry, it has the potential to increase productivity by up to 10%," said Robinson, referencing a study by CAPRI on open data.
Jamaica Keeps Apple's Secrets
We all know Jamaica offers more than Sun, Sea and Surf, however to Apple it's what Jamaica lacks that is of greater importance. Jamaica's low-tech Intellectual Property Office, and easy going pace seem to suite Apple down to the ground. The country is one of several where trademark databases aren’t easily accessible online. That means Apple’s top-secret products can stay under the radar for longer.
In a piece by the online publication Quartz, it said that:
The Jamaica Intellectual Property Office allows visitors to search filings in person at its office in Kingston. People can also ask the office to search filings for them, but a Jamaican address is required to receive the results, and the process takes three weeks. A lawyer in Jamaica, however, can be appointed to perform the search, the office told Quartz. It said it has no current plans to put its filings database online.
The idea is to give these very competitive companies like Apple a head start. They eventually file trademarks for their gadgets in the United States—in databases that are much more easily searchable—but the earlier filings in places like Jamaica allow them to claim the rights without spilling the beans. Since it’s less likely that someone would travel to Jamaica in person, these companies get a little extra time (about six months, according to Quartz) to keep their new products hidden.
And Apple isn’t the only one. Large firms like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft apparently also engage in this kind of legal hoodwinking, largely because they’re all loaded and can certainly afford the cost. However, Apple pulls the Jamaica trick more often than most. Countries like Trinidad and Tobago, Tonga, and South Africa are also popular trademark destinations, according to Alt Legal, which produces intellectual property software. Google, for its part, is apparently a big fan of Tonga.
Digicel makes 'Belongers' Redundant
Telecommunications provider Digicel says it has made redundant a small number of jobs in Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) in efforts to reorganise from a pure mobile operator to a complete communications and entertainment provider in the country.
But the move has caused outrage in the country and has led to the TCI Government to take steps to revoke the work permits of six expatriate workers at Digicel.
According to a report published by the TCI Sun, Ms. Sheba Wilson stated that the board has a right to revoke the licence of the expatriates and that it is doing so in the interest of the public. She added that the board felt in this instance that the process was unfair to Turks and Caicos Islanders (otherwise known as “Belongers”) who are believed to have the same skill set as the expatriates.
In a release, Digicel noted that in line with global technology advances, the company has been investing heavily in its networks and processes in the TCI over the past three years.
Digicel expressed that although its restructuring process has naturally resulted in a small number of roles being made redundant over the past six months, there have been a number of promotions and that the trend continues with the movement of two TCI nationals to senior leadership and management levels.