Draconian penalties in Cybercrime Bill

Government Senator Clarence Rambharat yesterday expressed disappointment at submissions given by telecommunication service providers TSTT and Digicel on the Cybercrime Bill 2017.

He commented on the matter during yesterday’ s Joint Select Committee (JSC) on National Security chaired by Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi which met to examine the legislation.

TSTT, Digicel and broadcasting regulator the Telecommunications Authority of T&T (TATT) appeared before the JSC to raised their concerns about clauses in the Bill and make submissions. All three entities said they support the legislation as a measure in the fight against cybercrime.

Last Saturday, the Media Association of T&T (MATT) appointed a steering committee to address concerns about the Bill amd warmed that in its current form it has the potential to affect the work of journalists and the freedom of their expression of citizens.

Rambharat said he was disappointed bt the submissions from the telecommunication providers since the Bill could affect their relationship with customers who want some recourse.

“Both of you were very limited. very self-serving I would say, in the way you have approached the Bill,” he told representatives of the two companies.

“I thought there should have been a more personal consideration of both the legal and technical impact of the legislation, not only on you but on your customers.”

Rambharat said he was at an disadvantage because he could not ask them certain questions.

“It is the narrowness of your submissions, the fact that you have seen the Bill as three or four clauses and I see the Bill as a comprehensive bill,” he said.

TATT’s manager of legal Karel Douglas said some of the sanctions in the legislation are somewhat draconian.

“The $1 and $2 million penalties even as a regulator we do not understand. We have some small providers and in respect to where penalties are in that nature it may be, for want of a better word, I would not say a threat but an issue for providers,” he said.