Regional updates: Caribbean

What were the main digital policy regional updates in the Caribbean? This space brings you the main updates month by month, summarised by the observatory's curators.

Follow the GIP's June 2020 briefing on Internet governance, which will include updates from the Caribbean region during June. Register to attend.

May 2020

Curated by Wanda M. Pérez

Cable & Wireless measures and developments to support Caribbean during COVID-19 pandemic


17 May 2020 |  Telecommunications infrastructure

With so many people affected by COVID-19 and experiencing significant challenges as a result, Cable & Wireless (C&W) responded by implementing measures and developments to protect and support the Caribbean people, customers, communities, and governments.

Some of the measures are:

  • The launch of virtual stores to provide customers with options to access their services
  •  Zero-rated key access numbers for select critical calls, websites, and services
  • Free access to educational content for more than 130 000 students
  • Network capacity increase at no additional cost to customers, to meet the increased demand for bandwidth and speed needed for teleworking and virtual learning
  • LTE coverage improvements to support the increased demand

Caribbean Video Assistance Service to assist people with disabilities


5 May 2020 |  Capacity development, Access, Rights of persons with disabilities

The Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU), is working with VTCSecure, a global organisation, to introduce the Caribbean Video Assistance Service (CVAS) for the deaf and blind, first to Trinidad and Tobago, and then to other Caribbean countries.

A CVAS pilot, the first of its kind in the Caribbean, was launched on 4 May 2020. It will enable those who are deaf or hard of hearing, and who use sign language, to communicate with persons who can hear via a sign language interpreter (agent), and in the case of blind persons, to receive assistance from agents when they need the help of someone who can see.

COVID-19 has caused mobility and financial disruptions for everyone, something many people with disabilities experience every day.

Technology such as CVAS, makes it possible to provide solutions for mobility challenges and other difficulties that people with disabilities face.

April 2020

Curated by Andre Edwards

COVID-19 virtual screenings via mobile phones in Cuba


19 Apr 2020 |  Privacy and data protection, Sustainable development

The University of Computer Sciences (UCI) along with the Ministries of Communications and Public Health have developed a mobile application, Pesquisador Virtual, that allows every citizen with mobile data to report on their health in Cuba. The initiative is expected to support wider screening activities that are being conducted across the island country. 

This is a result of the Coronavirus and is expected to help authorities to detect persons with symptoms faster with real time analysis of the data entered by medical professionals in each region. The mobile app can be accessed either through the Ministry of Health’s network or via the Cuban app store Apklis. The user registration process will retain enough personal information for health professionals to contact citizens if needed. Then they will be asked to fill out a simple survey that tracks symptoms, any contact with infected persons, and travel history.

Telecom service providers offer education rates


17 Apr 2020 |  Access, Online education, Capacity development

Telecom providers in the British Virgin Islands will support education by offering special discounted Internet packages to students to facilitate online learning. Education Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley announced the discounts following talks with service providers. One of the telcos is also providing laptops to different educational institutions. Two telecom providers will provide zero-rate access to specific websites that provide educational content for local consumption. The ministry is continuing discussions on other ways telecom operators can provide support. Other organisations have donated laptops to students without access to devices and the private sector is encouraged to support the ministry’s Adopt-a-School programme so that more students can afford digital learning. 

March 2020

Curated by Wanda M. Pérez Peña

CTU launches Caribbean Internet Development Foundation


26 Mar 2020 |  Network security, Critical infrastructure, Cybercrime

 

The Caribbean Telecommunication Union (CTU) launched the Caribbean Internet Development Foundation (CIDF) at the 4th Caribbean ICT Collaboration Forum.

CIDF is a non-profit organisation which aims to facilitate a new approach for addressing Caribbean Internet governance and digital transformation issues by pursuing the implementation of national capacity building projects; developing Internet infrastructure; mobilising communities of interest; training stakeholders to execute specific programmes for improving organisational efficiency, security and productivity; and critically facilitating digital transformation and the growth of a digital economy.

 

ECSE and Blockstation sign agreement for tokenised assets trading


10 Mar 2020 |  Cryptocurrencies

 

The Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange (ECSE) and BlockStation partnered to pilot the trading of digital assets in 2020. These assets include tokenised initial ublic Offering (IPOs); also known as security token offerings (STOs), bitcoin (BTC), and ether (ETH).

The Blockstation platform facilitates access to international investors; by permitting the use of bitcoin and Ether in addition to fiat currencies. This enables smaller investors to participate in exciting offerings due to the low cost of blockchain transactions.

The ECSE intends to leverage the Blockstation platform to provide 100% insurance on investors’ digital assets, a user-customised dashboard, trading interface and market activity, decentralised custodianship with multi-signature authorisation in cold storage vaults, besides others.

 

LACNIC announces creation of CSIRT


2 Mar 2020 |  Capacity development

The Internet Address Registry for Latin America and the Caribbean (LACNIC), announced the creation of its Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT).

CSIRT LACNIC will be a co-ordination hub for cybersecurity incidents in Latin America and the Caribbean and will try to help mitigate their potential effects. It will also work to strengthen regional professionals’ understanding of computer security incidents.

CSIRT LACNIC consolidates the work of LACNIC WARP, which has trained 800 cybersecurity experts across the region, and managed and co-ordinated 600 large-scale computer incidents in Latin America and the Caribbean during its five years of operation.

February 2020

Curated by Andre Edwards

British Virgin Islands pass cybercrime act into law


13 Feb 2020 |  Freedom of the Press, Freedom of expression, Privacy and data protection, Cybercrime

On 12 February, British Virgin Islands Governor Augustus Jaspert amended the Computer Misuse & Cybercrime Act of 2019. Jaspert confirmed that consideration was given to the provisions of the legislation and the concerns of the media about freedom of expression. The major amendments are to protect against nefarious online behaviour, for example identity theft and cyber-bullying. Assurance has been given that these amendments will not be used for the curtailing of freedom of the press or suppression of the freedom of expression within the democratic society. 

Jaspert stated, ‘My view is that freedom of expression can, and should, include the right to appropriately say things that others may not want to hear. Social media and online platforms are necessary in a democracy for discussion, exchange of information and opinions.’ Jaspert has recommended that the director of Public Prosecutions drafts guidelines for fair prosecution of offences under the act, without the compromise of freedom of speech as guaranteed by the constitution.

Estonian Cybernetica and Cloud Carib to implement secure data exchange in the Caribbean


11 Feb 2020 |  Sustainable development, Capacity development, Cloud computing

Estonian tech firm Cybernetica and Caribbean cloud services provider Cloud Carib are partnering to implement a secure and resilient data exchange. Regional governments can use this to implement dedicated e-government solutions. Cybernetica is an expert in the delivery of e-government solutions across the globe and Cloud Carib is a leader in providing secure cloud services within the Caribbean region.  

Eamonn Sheehy, Cloud Carib’s director, expects this agreement to represent a commitment to regional transformation. It is expected that this initiative will result in significant savings of time and money for governments, businesses, as well as citizens, as governments are able to provide additional e-services. This initiative aligns with the regional governments’ commitment to a single Caribbean ICT space. 

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