Your monthly digest on all legal technology news happening around the Caribbean.
* The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) and the Barbados-based fintech company, Bitt Inc. (Bitt) have signed a contract to conduct a blockchain-issued Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) pilot within the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU). Click here to read more.
* Guyana’s first forensic laboratory was officially opened in July 2014, but the lack of DNA testing at that facility continues to provide a challenge to the solving of many high-profile murder cases. Click here to read more.
* The Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) has advised individuals and businesses to exercise due diligence to reduce the likelihood of being affected by cybercrime. Click here to read more.
* The Broadcasting Commission has urged the Holness administration to increase its oversight responsibility beyond free-to-air electronic media to policing social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube. Citing growing concerns about cyberbullying, pornography and violent content, the Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica (BCJ) has called for the Government to giving it more powers of sanction in a revamp of legislation governing the local digital media landscape. Click here to read more.
* Chairman of the Jamaica Esports Initiative (JEI), Gregory Moore, hailed the association’s acceptance into the International Esports Federation (IEF). JEI is the first Caribbean country to be accepted by the international body. Mr. Moore also outlined future plans to develop an e-sports workshops, seminars and a degree in the area. Click here to read more.
* In speaking at a public forum put on by the National Consumers League of Jamaica (NCLJ) in observance of World Consumer Rights Day 2019, which was celebrated on March 15 under the theme ‘Trusted Smart Products’, Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Hon. Fayval Williams, called on Jamaicans to educate themselves on cybersecurity measures to protect their information from cyberattacks. Click here to read more.
* Chief Justice Bryan Sykes refused a special measures application by the prosecution to have 2 witnesses provide evidence by way of video link in the Tesha Miller murder case. Click here to read more.
* The coverage, range and distribution of data collected by the Jamaica Crime Observatory is to be improved, following an injection of $43.9 million. With additional funding the objectives of the Observatory can be fulfilled which include improve the quality of crime and violence statistics that directly influence the design and implementation of evidence based strategies and policies. Click here to read more.
* Jamaica AIDS Support for Life (JASL) held a multi-stakeholder consultation with health professionals to examine the implications of the Data Protection Act on the health sector and arrive at recommendations for how the sector should operate once the bill becomes law. Click here to read more.
St. Kitts and Nevis
* Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, welcomed the decision by the Basseterre-based Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) to pilot a blockchain-issued Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) within the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU). A contract between the ECCB and the Barbados-based fintech company, Bitt Inc. (Bitt) was signed on February 21 at the bank’s Headquarters in Basseterre to facilitate the pilot project. Click here to read more.
* In joining the international community in celebrating World Consumer Rights Day under the theme “Trusted Smart Products”, Minister with responsibility for Consumer Affairs stated that this was an opportunity for consumers, businesses and a Government to impart greater emphasis on the need for the protection of consumer rights in this digital era. He further stated that appropriate laws and regulations need to be drafted and enforced in order to protect citizens “who make use of e-commerce daily, in an effort to create a fairer and safer online shopping experience.” Click here to read more.
Trinidad & Tobago
* The Cyber Crime Unit of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) advised members of the public against engaging in conduct which could be defined as ‘online harassment’, as such actions are not only unlawful, but also causes great distress to the victims of such incidents. Reports of incidents of Online Harassment and Cyber Bullying have come to the attention of the Commissioner of Police and are currently being investigated by the TTPS. Section 30 of the Offences Against the Person Act, Chapter 11:08 outlined the offence. Click here to read more.
* A man was arrested after he attempted to sell stolen items on Facebook. The perpetrator was arrested when police along with the victim arranged to meet him to purchase the items. Click here to read more.
* The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) used drone technology during Carnival weekend and it intends to use this technology after. It was the first time military grade drones had been used in Trinidad and Tobago. Click here to read more.
1. Can we truly protect consumer rights in the digital era? By Michele Marius
Globally, and certainly in the Caribbean region, there is an appreciation of the need for robust consumer rights and protection mechanisms. Further, as increasingly, consumers purchase more goods and services online, it is readily assumed that the consumer protection framework can be automatically extended to cover that medium. That is not necessarily the case in the Caribbean region, as several challenges do exist. Read more here.
2. End of Cash? Ask them in St. Kitts By Mark Wilson
Basseterre, the tiny capital of St Kitts and Nevis, could be the flashpoint for a world revolution. It’s headquarters for the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), which announced on Wednesday it will pilot the world’s first officially-backed digital currency. It will use blockchain—a secure technology which keeps track of who owns what. Blockchain was developed for bitcoin, a cryptocurrency whose value whizzes up and down, sometimes with startling speed. The “value” of a bitcoin soared to more than $130,000 in December 2017. It was just over $26,000 yesterday morning. But ECCB is proposing convenience, not fast-money speculation. It won’t be doing bitcoin, or any other digital currency. Read more here.
3. Justice Sykes’ Bold Covenant
Justice Bryan Sykes risked his national broadcast Sunday night, to mark his first year as head of the judiciary, being dismissed as a bit of self-serving pomposity. As it turned out, the chief justice’s address was a significant step towards building a culture of inclusiveness in the judicial system, but more important, he declared benchmarks by which its performance is to be judged. Read more here.
4. The Importance of data protection By Dr. Emir Crowne
Waste from St Augustine Private Hospital was improperly disposed of recently. The waste, dumped in an abandoned lot in St Augustine, included syringes, gloves, various medical paraphernalia and patient information. The environmental and public health implications of the improper disposal are perhaps obvious. The Chief Medical Officer himself noted that legal redress could be had under the Litter Act, Public Health Ordinance and the Private Hospitals’ Act.
However, no mention was made of the prima facie breach of patient information and personal privacy. Given our lack of meaningful data protection laws, this is perhaps understandable. Read more here.
Around the World
* In an explosive leak of internal Facebook documents, it was revealed that the social media network targeted legislators around the world, promising or threatening to withhold investment while seeking to pressure them into lobbying on Facebook’s behalf against data privacy legislation. Click here to read more.