Electronic Crimes Bill may be reconsidered

It is highly possible that the Electronic Crimes Bill might be brought back to Parliament to effect some changes.

This was indicated at a recent post-Cabinet press briefing by Minister for ICT, Alvin Dabreo, the elected Member of Parliament for St. John.

Da Breo told reporters that the two-year old ruling New National Party (NNP) Government of Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell, with the help of the Attorney General’s office will consider reintroducing some controversial aspects of the bill for passage in Parliament.

He hinted that the government is relooking the bill in light of private photos of some citizens being circulating on the Internet without their permission.

According to Minister Da Breo, many people are now seeing the importance of the bill in light of the issues surrounding the photos.

“Some people are coming in now and asking for the (Electronic) Crime Bill because what happened recently somebody brought in their cell phone to get repaired, it is alleged that the person who was repairing it went into it, took their private information and downloaded it for the world to see and this is what the electronic crimes bill was supposed to do, to protect us from things like that but I guess it was taken the wrong way,” he said.

Two years ago, Government passed the Electronic Crimes Bill in Parliament but a section which made sending offensive messages through communications services punishable by a fine of $100,000 or imprisonment not exceeding one year, was met with stiff resistance and subsequently removed.

Minister Da Breo said the vulnerability of the Internet is being recognised and more people are seeing the importance of the Electronic Crimes Bill.

“Governments are there to represent the people, the will of the people and the fact that they didn’t like it, it came out.  People now realising that as the internet gets more popular and more people are using social media, we become a lot more vulnerable because right now, anywhere you go, every body has a phone, so that is what that legislation is there to (do), protect your information,” he added.

According to Minister Da Breo if the people express the desire for the bill to be changed again, it would definitely be reintroduced in Parliament because Government is there to protect the citizens.

“So if your intention is to protect each other, then it would not be something that you would be criticising so now that people are seeing the benefits of it and asking for it, I’m sure the Government will now look at reinstating it. The office of the Attorney General will be looking at it and if the interest is there and it is and I’m sure that it will be looked at,” he said.

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