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Caribbean Tech Roundup – Weekend of 16th June 2017

Caribbean Tech Roundup

The Caribbean’s Telecommunications Industry to Meet in the Dominican Republic

In just a month’s time, the region’s leaders in the telecom’s industry will meet for CANTO’s 33rd Annual Conference & Trade Exhibition. The events will be held in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic from the 16th -19th July, 2017.

CANTO 2017 will focus on the theme – “Reimagining ICT as a Tool for National Growth and Development. The theme is high on CANTO’s agenda and focuses on ICT connectivity beyond the modernisation of societies as a catalyst for real economic change. The trade exhibition will cover a host of communications technologies, offering in-depth information on the latest developments in voice, data, image, and multimedia.

The conference however, will see lively discourse on key issues from panels of experts, Prime Ministers and Ministers of Telecommunications from across the region including, the Prime Minister of Antigua & Barbuda Hon. Gaston Browne. And Ministers from across the region will present on the innovative use of technology in their respective countries.

In the run up to the conference we’ll bring interviews with some of the key players to get their take on why technology matters and how it’s making a difference in the Caribbean. For information on conference activities, visit the link in the show notes.

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Cyber-Security Under Scrutiny in Jamaica

“There are Weaknesses, but Jamaica’s Government Cyber system not in trouble.” so says Dr. Wheatley, Jamaican Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, speaking on the results of a recent audit conducted to examine Jamaican government websites.

Though he did not provide details of the audit, Dr Wheatley and other ministry officials told the Jamaica Observer in a recent interview that work is being done to address the issues identified.

Currently, both through CIRT (Cyber Incident Response Team) and eGov, steps are being taken to plug those vulnerabilities that we would have found,” Trevor Forrest, senior advisor in the ministry noted.

Asked if Jamaica’s systems are in trouble he said no. “I won’t say that we’re in trouble, because we have been partnering with the private sector as Government, of course now that the Jamaica CIRT is ours here at the ministry and it is led by Dr Moniphia [Hewling] and her team. But it is a partnership between the JCF (Jamaica Constabulary Force) and the private sector, as well as international partners that has gotten us where we are in terms of raising the level of awareness, encouraging both public and private sector to take cyber security seriously,” Minister Wheatley stated.

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In stark contrast, there are claim’s that the Private Sector in Jamaica a sitting duck!

KMPG Claims Jamaican Companies Largely Ignoring Cyber Security Threats

The highly regarded global auditing firm, has warned that only a paltry 20 per cent of Jamaican companies are paying attention to the serious business of cyber security, leaving the country at the mercy of cyber attackers.The company, which has a wide range of experience in providing insight about cyber security at the boardroom level, made the startling revelation in its just published results of recent research into cyber security reporting in the annual reports of 800 companies across 28 countries.

The breakout of the Jamaican component of the research did not cover threats, risks, countermeasures and risk appetite, the company said, noting that had it done so, the results for Jamaica would have been worse.

Our research shows that security awareness and privacy were the only cyber security topics mentioned in the annual reports of the companies surveyed in Jamaica. Forty per cent of surveyed companies reported on privacy and only 20 per cent on security awareness.

The Industries comparison have the financials and telecommunications industries

leading but reporting is limited to a few sentences or one paragraph,” KPMG said.

Cyber security has taken on urgent significance, following the hacking of emails of Democratic Party personalities during the 2016 United States presidential elections, which has led to contentious congressional investigations into alleged Russian collusion with the Donald Trump Campaign.

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Online CXC testing will be costly

A decision by the Caribbean Examination Council to offer examinations online will be costly to Dominica, Finance Minister and Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has said. CXC Registrar Glenroy Cumberbatch told members of the media, while in Dominica in last year, that effective January 2017 all multiple choice papers will be available online for students.

Cumberbatch said if countries prefer the physical multiple choice paper these will be sent, but added that in 2018, all papers of every examination offered by CXC will be available online.

Addressing a town hall meeting in Wotten Waven recently, the Finance Minister said the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development has requested an increase in its annual budgetary allocation to facilitate this online testing.

Education is asking for more money and one of the things with education is that the CXC is now going to have examinations online and the Ministry of Education, the government now must buy computers for every secondary school in Dominica,” Mr Skerrit told the audience at the Wotten Waven Resource Centre.

He added that government has to purchase new computers in order to establish the testing centers which will create recurrent cost.

Because you cannot have a computer room and it’s closed and you’re not maintaining it, you need to have staff to maintain it, you need to have people to fix them if they go bad. So there is not only going to be a capital cost to this request, there is going to have to be a recurrent cost,” the Finance Minister added.

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