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Apr 24, 2017

Protecting Belize’s Cyber Security Infrastructure

The first of its kind National Cyber Security Symposium opened today at the Biltmore Plaza Hotel. The Public Utilities Commission is teaming up with other stakeholders to explore international trends and approaches for protecting public sector networks and developing effective cyber-policy and legislation. But what does it all mean for you, and why should you be concerned whether you have the latest I-Phone or stick to the analog? News Five’s Aaron Humes has the story.


Aaron Humes, Reporting

The world has changed, and humanity must change with it. In the matter of cyber security, there is no guarantee that what you input into a computer or cell phone or other modern appliance is safe from discovery and being used against you. Like more traditional forms of crime, cyber-crime has its particular set of circumstances – circumstances which the star-studded line-up of speakers at the first-of-its-kind National Cyber Security Forum will be discussing with a view to elimination for the next week.


Bevil Wooding

Bevil Wooding, Executive Director, CaribNOG

“Cyber security affects all of us; cyber security does not concern itself with our borders, our level of technical savviness or our capacity or competencies, and therefore, if we have to craft a national response to the cyber security threats we face, we have to have a coordinated, collaborative, corporate approach to solution development. And that is what all the speakers gave this morning: they gave their commitment to playing their part in formulating a national approach to cyber security issues.”


The Government, according to Chief Technology Officer Michael Singh, is eager to make all its services digitally accessible, but not at the risk of citizen security.


Michael Singh

Michael Singh, Chief Technology Officer

“We are moving our game to a different environment; we are moving our game online, we are moving Government to where Government will interact differently – rather than standing in lines in offices waiting for services and dealing with paper systems; we are dealing with digital systems and data has to live somewhere; and to access data you have to access systems to get to it, which of course opens the door for people who want to do bad.”


Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte is hoping for a legal bedrock to avoid future public embarrassments such as the “Belizean Cheaters” scandal of a few months ago. In relating the sad experience of an eleven-year-old girl shown provocatively online and now living with the consequences, he implored participants not to forget the human cost.


Michael Peyrefitte

Michael Peyrefitte, Attorney General

“I was shown a picture yesterday, where this eleven-year-old girl, the same eleven-year-old girl, is now purportedly pregnant, and [was] showing her pregnant belly on the Internet. If we were able to have access, could we have prevented the violation of that little girl? If privacy wasn’t such a big issue, could we have prevented that horrible crime? So in your deliberations I beg of you, to chart a course forward – whenever I am involved with these cyber security [events] it is always about prevention and privacy; but how do we allow for the people we trust with our privacy and security to have access.”


It comes down, said keynote speaker and Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber, to maintaining political and national will and protecting the most vulnerable.


Patrick Faber

Patrick Faber, Deputy Prime Minister

“If you are an old granny who never touches a computer, you are still affected when the government services are now being made electronic; and the banking sector is now being made electronic; and the judicial system is now being made electronic; and in education as well – we have a new database system in education that we call the Open-EMIS where we log every signle student, and pretty soon we will know when those children attend school, when tey don’t attend school; it will deal a lot of issues covering these children’s attendance in our schools. So the technology is affecting everybody: it is going to affect our societies and if it is not already doing so, it will come on in a hard way, quick, fast and hurry, very much the same way the technology dropped on us.”


Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.


A series of forums involving the public sector, general public, business community, law enforcement and judiciary and network operators will take place over the next four days, culminating in the draft and presentation of the first National Cyber Security Strategy and Action Plan.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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