National Policy on Broadcast and the Broadcasting Industry

The Draft Policy on Broadcast and the Broadcasting Industry was released for public comment on the Trinidad and Tobago Government’s website in early August 2002 by the Ministry of Science, Technology & Tertiary Education. The Draft Policy includes proposals on the ownership structure of the broadcasting industry, a quota system for local programming content, non-profit and religious broadcasting among other issues.

With the deadline for submissions for comments on October 31st, 2002, the Trinidad and Tobago Computer Society (TTCS) submitted comments on the Draft National Policy and the Broadcasting Industry.

The Minister of Public Administration and Information announced the National policy on Broadcast and the Broadcasting Industry in the Senate on Tuesday 20th January 2004 and was made available for download from the NICT/FastForward website in February 2004.

National ICT Plan – FastForward (2003)

fastforward brochure cover

FastForward was the final name given to the National ICT Technology Plan developed in 2003. It was formally launched in May 2 2003 and had five working groups under a ICT Steering Team under the Ministry of Public Administration and Information. The development of the National ICT Strategy was from May to September 2003 with several public consultations in Trinidad and Tobago and posted online at http://www.nict.gov.tt/

The National ICT Strategy was officially launched in December 2003.

The Vision of the FastForward agenda is :
“Trinidad and Tobago is in a prominent position in the global information society through real and lasting improvements in social, economic and cultural development caused by deployment and usage of information and communication technology.”

The FastForward plan was made available in several chapters :

 

 

 

 

Telecommunication Act 2001

Introduced in the Senate in February 2001, the Telecommunications Bill establishes a legislative framework for telecommunications and broadcasting services in Trinidad and Tobago, for the purpose of encouraging new providers to enter the market, thereby facilitating competition in the sector. It also provides for the formation of a Telecommunication Authority to monitor and regulate the telecommunication sector.

The Telecommunication Bill was passed with amendments in the Senate in April 2001. The House of Representatives recived the bill in May 2001 and was passed later that month. The Telecommunications Act was officially assented on the 5th July 2001 but only Parts I, II, VII, VIII and X with the exceptions of Sections 77, 81, 82, 83, 84 and 85 of the bill were in effect from 2001. The remaining parts (Parts III, IV, V, VI and IX and sections 77, 81, 82, 83, 84) were proclaimed on June 30 2004.

An interim Telecommunication Authority was set up in July 2002.

 

Electronic Transfer of Funds Crime Act, 2000

The Electronic Transfer of Funds Crime Bill 2000 was introduced in the Senate in October 2000 at the same time of the Computer Misuse Bill. in the House of Representatives. The Bill was passed with modifications in October 2000.

The main purpose of this Bill is to regulate the transfer of money through an electronic terminal by means of a card for the purpose of instructing or authorising a financial institution to debit or credit a cardholder’s account when anything of value is purchased.

The application of the Bill is limited to bank cards, credit cards or smart cards or other similar type of cards used for purchasing anything of value.

It doesn’t address the use of credit cards online.

Computer Misuse Act 2000

The Computer Misuse Bill, 2000 was introduced in the Senate in October 2000 in the House of Representatives. It was passed in both the House of Representatives and the Senate in October 2000.

The main purpose of the Computer Misuse Bill 2000 is to prohibit the unauthorised access, use of or interference to any program or data held in a computer and to a computer itself.

The Bill therefore seeks to enhance computer security by giving protection to the integrity of computer systems and by providing stringent penalties for specified computer related offences.

The Computer Misuse Bill also provides enhanced penalties in case where the offence results in damage, which includes financial loss, injury, or harm.

Some of the points/issues raised by the TTCS :

  • How does one ensure that computer data presented as evidence in court was the same evidence that was originally collected? Computer logs are text files and can be easily modified.
  • Re: Clause 16, Police or authorised persons can contaiminate data while conducting their investigations. What is to prevent or protect against such problems?
  • It is possible for someone to easily frame another person for a computer crime.
  • The proposed Bill defines various computer-related offences as criminal acts. This means that the case will be tried before a jury. Would such a jury understand the technical aspects of the case?
  • What happens to minors (persons under 18) under this law?
  • Re: Clause 12,13, If a Trinbagoian runs a e-commerce site hosted in the U.S and a offence is committed against the site, causing momentary loss to the Trinbagoian. Under what jurisdiction is the crime prosecuted? Trinidad and Tobago The U.S?
  • Email viruses such as the Love Bug can be spread by unwitting users to other computers including protected computers as defined in clause 9. Would such a person be liable under clause 9?
  • Re: Access code in Clause 8, Computer hardware and software are sold with a default password that should be changed by the owners when they install it. If they don’t change the password, and an outside person notices this and notifies the owner of the hardware/software, would the someone be committing an offence under clause 8?
  • Re: Clause 17, Arrest by police officer (without warrant) is controversial. This clause was removed from the final act.