Draft Policy on Micro, Small and Medium-sized International Public Telecommunications Services and/or Networks

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This draft policy was released by the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT) in December 2004. The deadline for comments on this policy was December 31st, 2004. The Trinidad and Tobago Computer Society (TTCS) had obtained these paper documents and scanned and converted it into a PDF in late December 2004.

In January 2005, the TATT website came online and has made available these draft policies for download.

Read TTCS comments :

 

 

Draft National Policy on Data Protection (2004)

The Draft National Policy on Data Protection was released for comment in November 2004 by the Ministry of Public Administration and Information (MPAI). According to the text,

The Data Protection Policy applies to all personal information collected, used or disclosed by private sector and public sector organizations in the course of commercial or government related activity. Key among the Data Protection Policy provisions are:

    organizations are required to seek the consent of individuals prior to collecting, using or disclosing their personal information;

  • organizations must protect personal information with security safeguards appropriate to the sensitivity of the information; and
  • individuals may access personal information about themselves held by an organization and have it corrected, if necessary.

This Data Protection Policy is based on the North American Model and meant to be compliant with rigorous standards for the protection of personal data as outlined in the European Union’s Data Protection Directive and takes into consideration the objectives of fastforward while focusing on the need to be compliant with the target market laws on which we are focused including compliance with the US HIPAA Act.

Draft National Policy on Electronic Transactions (2004)

The Draft National Policy on Electronic Transactions was released for comment in November 2004 by the Ministry of Public Administration and Information (MPAI). According to the text:

“This document provides the principles that will guide the policy for completion of The Electronic Transactions Bill….The main purpose of the Electronic Transactions Policy is to provide the legal framework for electronic transactions. This framework seeks to provide the legal principles to regulate the use of electronic documents and electronic signatures. The Policy provides the legal requirements governing records to be prepared in an electronic form and sets out the basic rule that an electronic record is not subject to legal challenge merely because it is in electronic form.
The Policy recognizes that a legally binding document can be crated by use of an electronic signature. The Policy also provides for the formation of contract electronically and communication of electronic records. The Government is empowered under to make regulations relating to the use, import and export of
encryption programs and other encryption products, and with respect to the protection of personal data. Furthermore, the Policy also makes provision for intermediaries and ecommerce service providers, and for the establishment of an Advisory Board to advise Government on the execution of this policy.”

Download the Draft National Policy on Electronic Transactions  (PDF ; 15 pages ; size: 156K)

Read the TTCS comments on the Data National Policy on Electronic Transactions  (TXT : 8K)

 

 

Telecommunications (Amendment) Act, 2004

The Telecommunications (Amendment) Bill 2004 was introduced in the House of Representatives in March 2004. The introductory text of the Bill states :

“These amendments to the Telecommunications Act 2001 purport, inter alia, to bring clarity to provisions considered ambiguous, to encourage investment by creating and sustaining a framework for fair competition and to ensure the availability of quality services at affordable prices; all of the foregoing being required by the International Telecommunications Union and the World Trade Organisation in respect of legislative reform in the telecommunications/ICT industry.”

The Explanatory Notes for modifying the definition of “public telephone service” “..will make it abundantly clear that the Authority will regulate the delivery of all public voice services irrespective of the means used to provide the service (e.g., VOIP)”

Page 3 of the Explanatory Notes for the definition of “value added service” states that : “The existing definition creates ambiguity with respect to the classification of ISPs. Government’s policy requires the regulation of ISPs as public data telecommunications service providers. The revised definition (of value added services) is in accordance with this policy prescription as the definition makes it clearer that value added services are services that provide content and shall not include services by which such content is provided. ……

Various comments/opinions of the Telecommunication (Amendment) Bill :

The Telecommunications Amendment Bill, 2004 was passed in the House of Representatives on the 20th April, 2004. It was passed in the Senate with amendments on 18th May 2004. The House of Representatives approved the Senate Amendments on the 26 May 2004. It was assented to on June 14th, 2004.

Proposed Policy to exempt licensing of systems operating in the 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz ISM Bands

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In early May 2004, the Ministry of Public Administration & Information released a proposed policy “to exempt licensing of systems operating in the 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz Industrial, Scientific & Medical (ISM) Bands for the provision of affordable wireless connectivity and Broadband Internet Access”.

The proposed policy recommends the use of 2.4GHz systems (such as 802.11b, 802.11g, Bluetooth) to be deployed within the constraints of or between the user’s premises for non-third party applications and 5.8GHz systems (such as 802.11a) to be deployed for both public and private network services.

The deadline for comments from the public on this proposed policy was Friday 28th May 2004.

Our main point in the comments on the proposed policy :

The 2.4GHz band should be given the same privileges as the 5.8GHz band and let users/market forces decide which band is more appropriate for their needs. In other words, 2.4GHz systems should be allowed to be deployed for both public and private network services, just like 5.8GHz systems.

Spectrum Plan for Accommodation of Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) Services.

In April 2006, the Telecommmunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT) published a Spectrum Plan for Accommodation of Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) Services for comment. “..This plan proposes spectrum bands based on current wireless access technologies and sets out the approach to be adopted by the Authority towards licensing of these bands.”

In this document, this April 2006 policy states

6.3.4 Individual or user licences will not be required in order to use radiocommunication equipment in the 2.4 GHz band.

6.3.5 Radiocommunication systems using the 2.4 GHz band can be used for both private or public telecommunications networks and services or broadcasting services.

A 2nd version of Spectrum Plan for the Accommodation of Broadband Wireless Access Services was posted in July 2006

 

 

National Policy on Broadcast and the Broadcasting Industry

The Draft Policy on Broadcast and the Broadcasting Industry was released for public comment on the Trinidad and Tobago Government’s website in early August 2002 by the Ministry of Science, Technology & Tertiary Education. The Draft Policy includes proposals on the ownership structure of the broadcasting industry, a quota system for local programming content, non-profit and religious broadcasting among other issues.

With the deadline for submissions for comments on October 31st, 2002, the Trinidad and Tobago Computer Society (TTCS) submitted comments on the Draft National Policy and the Broadcasting Industry.

The Minister of Public Administration and Information announced the National policy on Broadcast and the Broadcasting Industry in the Senate on Tuesday 20th January 2004 and was made available for download from the NICT/FastForward website in February 2004.

National ICT Plan – FastForward (2003)

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FastForward was the final name given to the National ICT Technology Plan developed in 2003. It was formally launched in May 2 2003 and had five working groups under a ICT Steering Team under the Ministry of Public Administration and Information. The development of the National ICT Strategy was from May to September 2003 with several public consultations in Trinidad and Tobago and posted online at http://www.nict.gov.tt/

The National ICT Strategy was officially launched in December 2003.

The Vision of the FastForward agenda is :
“Trinidad and Tobago is in a prominent position in the global information society through real and lasting improvements in social, economic and cultural development caused by deployment and usage of information and communication technology.”

The FastForward plan was made available in several chapters :

 

 

 

 

Telecommunication Act 2001

Introduced in the Senate in February 2001, the Telecommunications Bill establishes a legislative framework for telecommunications and broadcasting services in Trinidad and Tobago, for the purpose of encouraging new providers to enter the market, thereby facilitating competition in the sector. It also provides for the formation of a Telecommunication Authority to monitor and regulate the telecommunication sector.

The Telecommunication Bill was passed with amendments in the Senate in April 2001. The House of Representatives recived the bill in May 2001 and was passed later that month. The Telecommunications Act was officially assented on the 5th July 2001 but only Parts I, II, VII, VIII and X with the exceptions of Sections 77, 81, 82, 83, 84 and 85 of the bill were in effect from 2001. The remaining parts (Parts III, IV, V, VI and IX and sections 77, 81, 82, 83, 84) were proclaimed on June 30 2004.

An interim Telecommunication Authority was set up in July 2002.

 

Electronic Transfer of Funds Crime Act, 2000

The Electronic Transfer of Funds Crime Bill 2000 was introduced in the Senate in October 2000 at the same time of the Computer Misuse Bill. in the House of Representatives. The Bill was passed with modifications in October 2000.

The main purpose of this Bill is to regulate the transfer of money through an electronic terminal by means of a card for the purpose of instructing or authorising a financial institution to debit or credit a cardholder’s account when anything of value is purchased.

The application of the Bill is limited to bank cards, credit cards or smart cards or other similar type of cards used for purchasing anything of value.

It doesn’t address the use of credit cards online.

Computer Misuse Act 2000

The Computer Misuse Bill, 2000 was introduced in the Senate in October 2000 in the House of Representatives. It was passed in both the House of Representatives and the Senate in October 2000.

The main purpose of the Computer Misuse Bill 2000 is to prohibit the unauthorised access, use of or interference to any program or data held in a computer and to a computer itself.

The Bill therefore seeks to enhance computer security by giving protection to the integrity of computer systems and by providing stringent penalties for specified computer related offences.

The Computer Misuse Bill also provides enhanced penalties in case where the offence results in damage, which includes financial loss, injury, or harm.

Some of the points/issues raised by the TTCS :

  • How does one ensure that computer data presented as evidence in court was the same evidence that was originally collected? Computer logs are text files and can be easily modified.
  • Re: Clause 16, Police or authorised persons can contaiminate data while conducting their investigations. What is to prevent or protect against such problems?
  • It is possible for someone to easily frame another person for a computer crime.
  • The proposed Bill defines various computer-related offences as criminal acts. This means that the case will be tried before a jury. Would such a jury understand the technical aspects of the case?
  • What happens to minors (persons under 18) under this law?
  • Re: Clause 12,13, If a Trinbagoian runs a e-commerce site hosted in the U.S and a offence is committed against the site, causing momentary loss to the Trinbagoian. Under what jurisdiction is the crime prosecuted? Trinidad and Tobago The U.S?
  • Email viruses such as the Love Bug can be spread by unwitting users to other computers including protected computers as defined in clause 9. Would such a person be liable under clause 9?
  • Re: Access code in Clause 8, Computer hardware and software are sold with a default password that should be changed by the owners when they install it. If they don’t change the password, and an outside person notices this and notifies the owner of the hardware/software, would the someone be committing an offence under clause 8?
  • Re: Clause 17, Arrest by police officer (without warrant) is controversial. This clause was removed from the final act.