ICT-related Laws and Policies in Trinidad and Tobago

These series of posts on the Trinidad and Tobago Computer Society’s website documents the various Information and Communication Technology (ICT) related laws and policies that have been introduced and/or proposed in Trinidad and Tobago either in the Trinidad and Tobago Parliament or by various Government ministries, and the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT) since 1999.

The Trinidad and Tobago Computer Society has commented on many of these policies and links to our comments have also been provided.

Furthermore. we have also linked to local copies of policies that have disappeared with the removal and/or redesign of government websites over time.

ICT Related Laws and Policies sorted by Year


2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
2006
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2003
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2000

How laws are passed in Trinidad and Tobago

(This is a layperson’s understanding of the process. A lot of information was obtained from the Trinidad and Tobago Parliament’s website.)

Laws are introduced and passed in the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago which consists of the President of Trinidad and Tobago and two bodies, a House of Representatives and a Senate. The House of Representatives has forty one (41) elected representatives of the constituencies in Trinidad and Tobago. The Senate has 31 senators appointed by the President, sixteen on the advice of the Prime Minister ; six on the advice of the Leader of the Opposition; and nine Independents appointed by the President.

Proposed laws are introduced in either in the House of Representatives or in the Senate as a Bill (Note: certain types of Bills known as “Money Bills” cannot be introduced in the Senate) . The Bill is debated and after a vote, is passed with or without amendments. This Bill (as passed) is then introduced in the other chamber of Parliament where it is similarly debated, possibly amended and voted on.

If there are no amendments to the Bill in the second chamber, then the Bill is passed.

If there are amendments to the Bill in the second chamber, the amendments have to be voted by the chamber where the Bill was first introduced.

Once the Bill in its final form has been approved by both the House of Representatives and the Senate, the Bill as passed becomes an Act. Depending on the the legislation, the Act comes into effect on the Date of Assent, and/or when proclaimed by the President.

 

Trinidad and Tobago Computer Society comments on the Trinidad and Tobago Cybercrime Bill

The Trinidad and Tobago Computer Society (TTCS) has sent their comments on the Trinidad and Tobago Cybercrime Bill (PDF ; 242K) to the Joint Select Committee of the Trinidad and Tobago Parliament on Friday June 16 2017.

View/Read the TTCS comments on the Cybercrime Bill (PDF ; 242K)

Some of the general areas of concern regarding the Cybercrime Bill noted in our comments:

  1. Suppression of free speech and the work of journalists
    It is important to note that many of the clauses in this Bill can be applied to  journalists carrying out their duties, and/or the free speech of private citizens, as well as to persons who are attempting, in the public interest, to report misconduct (aka whistleblowers). In the interest of support of the Fourth Estate as well as the principles of Free Speech enshrined in our Constitution, this Bill requires urgent complementary whistleblower/journalist protection via legislation.
  2. Excessive Penalties
    A number of sections outline penalties of $100,000 to $3,000,000. These are non-trivial amounts that far exceed the penalties in other areas that many would view as more serious – for example drunk driving. We wonder if the concept of proportionality could be incorporated in this act. The quantum of penalties will have chilling effect on the legitimate use of computers and networks, for example, students learning about computer security and security professionals investigating vulnerabilities on behalf of their clients.
  3. Collateral Damage
    The general trend in technology has been to move towards using shared server resources in the cloud. This opens up the possibility that data and equipment in use by accused persons may be simultaneously used by other persons unrelated to the accused and may thus be unduly affected by the shutdown and/or seizure of such equipment and data. Care must be taken to protect those who are not party to the criminal activities of other persons.
  4. Potential for Censorship and Abuse
    In the interest of protecting the rights of citizens, we believe that all requests for access systems and data should be approved by the Judiciary via the application for, and receipt of, a warrant. This judicial warrant would ensure that any potential for abuse by the State, or its agents, would be mitigated.
  5. Self Incrimination
    Several sections of this Bill seem to run afoul of the Constitution’s directive that persons are protected from self incrimination, for example, the requirement that persons unlock their phones or decrypt their data in furtherance of an investigation. This is a dangerous issue and should be reconsidered.
  6. Training
    It is highly likely that the Courts and Trinidad and Tobago Police Service will be called on to deal many cases under this legislation. As such, it is critical that officers of both agencies receive training in some of technical issues surrounding cyber crime. In this regard the TTCS would welcome the opportunity to assist in providing this training and any specialized advice when required.

The comments were put together by the TTCS based on

Many thanks to the contributors who helped with reviewing and commenting on the bill. For those interested in discussing and sharing ideas about computing, related technologies and related social issues are discussed, do join our announcement mailing list.

TTCS near final draft comments on the Trinidad and Tobago Cybercrime Bill 2017

The Trinidad and Tobago Computer Society (TTCS) has posted a near final draft version of its comments on the Cybercrime Bill 2017 based on the discussions from the Trinidad and Tobago Computer Society lime on Wednesday June 7 2017, comments from subscribers on the TTCS announcement mailing list and a followup TTCS F2F meeting on Tuesday June 13 2017, online comments received following the posting of the TTCS draft comments on the Trinidad and Tobago Cybercrime Bill 2017 on Tuesday June 13 and a online TTCS conference call on Thursday June 15 2017.

With the deadline of Friday June 16 for submission of comments to the Joint Select Committee of the Trinidad and Tobago Parliament , you can view and comment on the Google document of the TTCS near final draft comments on the Cybercrime Bill 2017 – you do not need a Google account to comment on the document.

View/Comment TTCS near final draft comments on Cybercrime Bill 2017

TTCS draft comments on the Trinidad and Tobago Cybercrime Bill 2017

screenshot showing part of the TTCS draft comments on Cybercrime Bill

The Trinidad and Tobago Computer Society (TTCS) has posted a first draft of its comments based on the discussions from the Trinidad and Tobago Computer Society lime on Wednesday June 7 2017, comments from subscribers on the TTCS announcement mailing list and a followup TTCS meeting on Tuesday June 13 2017.

With the deadline of Friday June 16 for submission of comments to the Joint Select Committee of the Trinidad and Tobago Parliament , you can view and comment on the Google document of the TTCS draft comments on the Cybercrime Bill 2017 – anyone can comment on the document directly – you do not need a Google account.

Comments are welcomed.

View/Comment TTCS draft comments on Cybercrime Bill 2017

 

 

Cybercrime Bill 2017

The Cybercrime Bill 2017 was introduced in the House of Representatives by the Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago Honourable Faris Al-Rawi on May 6 2017.

The purpose of the Cybercrime Bill, 2017 is to provide for the creation of offences related to cybercrime and for other related matters in Trinidad and Tobago and if passed would repeal the Computer Misuse Act 2000

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