Cybercrime Bill 2015

The Cybercrime Bill 2015 and the Trinidad and Tobago Cyber Security Agency Bill 2015 were introduced in the House of Representatives by the Minister of National Security Brigadier General Carlton Alfonso on May 1 2015.

The Cybercrime Bill 2015 seeks “to provide for the creation of offences related to cybercrime and related matters” and if passed would repeal the Computer Misuse Act 2000

The key changes between the Cybercrime Bill 2014 and the Cybercrime Bill 2015 were:

  • the penalties were adjusted for the various cybercrime offences
  • Clause 17 in the 2014 bill re: creating the offence of child pornography through the use of ICT was removed in the Cybercrime 2015 bill

However, the Cybercrime Bill 2015 lapsed with the end of the Parliamentary session on June 17 2015.

 

 

Trinidad & Tobago Computer Society Statement to Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad & Tobago on the proposed acquisition of Columbus International by Cable & Wireless Communications

cable&columbus

Trinidad & Tobago Computer Society (TTCS) Statement to the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago
on the proposed
acquisition of Columbus International by
Cable and Wireless Communications.

This comment is submitted by the Trinidad and Tobago Computer Society (TTCS ; http://cs.tt ) in response to the request for comments on the proposed acquisition of Columbus International Inc.(CII) by Cable and Wireless Communications (CWC)  published by the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT) on January 5th, 2015. The TTCS has commented on various ICT issues over the past decade as it relates to the interests of end users.

The proposed acquisition can lead to high ownership concentrations in the provision of voice and broadband Internet services throughout the Caribbean as well as in subsea fiber connections. This acquisition may also reduce the probability of healthy competition in mobile telephony services in some jurisdictions. The concerns with the proposed merger between the parties (absent speculation on changes in corporate allegiance) revolves around five main pillars:

  • Potential decrease in market efficiency (competition vs effective duopoly/oligopoly – more benefits to firms rather than consumers);
  • Reduced consumer options for voice and broadband internet services (with an effective CWC/CII and Digicel duopoly);
  • Higher cost of voice and broadband Internet services (concentration of market power among fewer firms);
  • Reduced quality of service in voice and broadband Internet services (common with a concentration of market power among fewer firms);
  • A potential underserving of remote or otherwise ‘less-profitable’ areas by the new corporate entity, and
  • An increase in corporate compliance issues (arising out of the attitude of a merged CWC/CII towards consumers, employees and government regulators, based on experience and past local and regional attempts to “game” the regulators by CWC imposing additional charges and changing service terms).

Ultimately, the TTCS sees the proposed merger as having the potential to reverse two decades of progress in liberalizing the local telecommunication sector and that residential, business and government consumers may lose many of the benefits of competition.

Furthermore, the TTCS notes with concern that TATT has only allowed for a one week comment period on this complex issue. We believe that extending this comment period as well as increased advertising would increase the participation of the general public in this critical decision.

Government Laptop ‘Spyware’

A father whose daughter is the recipient of a government-issued laptop has reportedly uncovered ‘spyware’ on the computer, according to a recent article published in the Trinidad Guardian.

Julien Dedier has stated that while searching for malware on his daughter’s computer, he discovered that it was taking pictures using the in-built camera and transmitting them to an undisclosed location.

If the computer was used at all by Mr. Dedier or his daughter prior to the spyware being found, we must consider the possibility that it was inadvertently installed through normal usage – browsing of the internet and downloading of music and games for example.

It is also possible that the anti-theft software installed on the laptops might, in fact, be the ‘spyware’ in question, and it may have been triggered to legitimately start sending location and image data automatically as part of its normal operation in response to what it may have perceived as a theft situation.

While TTCS does not condone any unnecessary breach of privacy by the Government through these laptops, many questions remain unanswered about this matter, and we urge the authorities to investigate thoroughly and respond by informing the public of the outcome of the investigation.

UPDATE 01: Response from the Minister of Education: http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/Nothing-wrong-with-laptops-274038691.html

Ryan Shripat

TTCS, ISOC-TT and IEEE-TT Joint Statement on Digicel Trinidad and Tobago’s ban on VOIP Services

The following is a press release of the joint statement from
the Trinidad and Tobago Computer Society,
the Internet Society Trinidad and Tobago Chapter and
the IEEE Trinidad and Tobago Section on
Digicel’s Trinidad and Tobago’s  ban on Voice over IP services.

PDF version of press release:

A longer version of the statement can be viewed at TTCS-ISOC-TT-IEEE-TT-response-to-Digicels-ban-on-VOIP-services or at https://docs.google.com/a/ttcsweb.org/document/d/13pfWE4S6Rr3IwSntEFRdawpxdbnHXrSgpzQ2wcfp3YU/edit


Joint Statement from the
Trinidad and Tobago Computer Society,
Internet Society Trinidad and Tobago Chapter &
IEEE Trinidad and Tobago Section

on Digicel Trinidad and Tobago’s ban on VOIP Services

Summary of Issue

On the 5th July, 2014, Digicel (Trinidad and Tobago) announced  that it will be blocking access to Voice over IP (VoIP) applications it considers to be  ‘unlicensed’ or “unauthorized” on  its “4G” service. The Trinidad and Tobago Computer Society (TTCS),
the Internet Society Trinidad and Tobago Chapter (ISOC-TT) and the IEEE Trinidad and Tobago Section (IEEE-TT) consider this to be a grave error, and wish to make a public statement on this matter,  both from a technical perspective and a social one.

 

Our position

It is the position of the TTCS, ISOC-TT and IEEE-TT that this move is a violation of the concept of “Network Neutrality” as defined by Wu. We are of the firm belief that this move puts us, as Internet users, on a slippery slope, as it may well pave the way for the banning of  other important Internet services for learning, innovation and productivity which use much more bandwidth.

Given that customers are paying for Internet data service, it is not accurate for Digicel to state that VoIP services amount to “illegal bypass activity”. Digicel is effectively asking that both consumers and suppliers pay for the same service.

While we understand the need to ensure the integrity of their service, from a technical perspective, there is no reason to single out VoIP connections as a large consumer of bandwidth that can reduce the Quality of Service enjoyed by other customers as the throughput for a VoIP connection is very small (on the order of 20kbps). Compared to services such as YouTube, Netflix or even browsing media-rich web pages (on the order of hundreds of kbps), throughput required by VoIP applications is negligible. Therefore, the argument that services such as VoIP has a significant impact on other data services is inaccurate (unless the number of  VoIP users is very very much greater than the number of non-VoIP users).

The reasoning given by Digicel TT for the move that “VOIP services (are) putting enormous pressures on bandwidth – and customers’ data usage experience (is) being negatively impacted” is also misleading since it is not technically possible for Digicel to give priority to VoIP traffic on their current data  network. In their current system,  VoIP traffic is treated just as any other data service.

We can only conclude, therefore, that the reason for the proposed ban is to stop the loss of  revenue from traditional circuit switched voice services rather than any move to protect the integrity of its data service to customers.

It is important that Internet service providers are committed to the concept of Network Neutrality in Trinidad and Tobago so as to encourage innovation and avoid the potential of censorship. Digicel should certainly backtrack on this move, in the interest of national development. The  Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT) should engage all stakeholders in a broader discussion with respect to how we should move forward on the issue of Network Neutrality. TATT should also strive towards making a more competitive environment by accelerating the introduction of a 3rd service provider as well as accelerate the long promised implementation of Number Portability to promote the competitiveness in the telecommunications space that would prevent similar anti-consumer, anti-innovation and anti-economic growth policies.


 

The Cybercrime Bill 2014

The Cybercrime Bill was introduced in the Senate by the Minister of National Security Gary Griffith on March 21 2014. The Bill seeks “to provide for the creation of offences related to cybercrime and related matters” and if passed would repeal the Computer Misuse Act 2000

The offences related to cybercrime and related matters includes

  • illegal access to a computer system
  • Illegally remaining in a computer system
  • Illegal interception of subscriber or traffic data
  • Illegal data interference
  • Illegal acquisition of data
  • possession and distribution of devices that is designed or adapted for the purpose of committing an offence under this Act or disclosure of password or access codes
  • Unauthorised receiving or granting of access to computer data
  • forgery of computer data and distribution of forged data
  • Computer-related fraud
  • Identity-related offences
  • child pornography
  • using computers to set up a meeting with a child for the purpose of abusing the child.
  • the offence of violating a person’s  privacy by capturing and sharing pictures or videos of a person’s private area without his consent.
  • relaying of multiple email messages with the intent to deceive as to the origin of the message
  • the offence of harassment through the use of electronic means with the intent to cause emotional distress.
  • criminalising the act of sending multiple electronic mail messages that are unsolicited and which causes harm to a person or damage to a computer.

The Bill lapsed with the end of the Parliament session on July 30 2014.