ICTA to introduce Mobile software called “Sri Lankan Museum”

Steps have been taken to introduce a mobile software application for the first time in Sri Lanka to enable viewing exhibits in a museum and to have a wide knowledge about them.

An ICT Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) release stated that this mobile software called ‘Sri Lankan Museum’ will be introduced to view exhibits at the Magampura Ruhunu Heritage Museum.

The museum was opened by President Maithripala Sirisena recently. The ICTA release added that a museum viewer could upload this software in his smart phone and while viewing the exhibits listen to detailed information about the exhibits through the mobile phone.

The information could be listened in Sinhala, Tamil or English according to one’s choice.

The Magampura Ruhunu Heritage Museum is the 95th free WiFi zone under the programme of setting up 1,000 free WiFi zones throughout the country.

Sourced by : http://www.news.lk

Developing soft infrastructure Govt. priority: Eran W at EU Cybercrime Conference

Highways and Investment Promotion Deputy Minister Eran Wickramaratne says that the new Government’s emphasis is on soft infrastructure in preference to hard infrastructure. One of the advantages Sri Lanka has is its educated population, one of the best in the region. If soft infrastructure is developed the country could achieve great progress, given its rich human resources and its unique geographic positioning in the world. The Deputy Minister said so while delivering his keynote address as joint Chief Guest, along with Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Ajith Perera, at the opening of the two-day European Union funded International Conference on ‘Assessing the Threat of Cybercrime,’ held in Colombo recently. Organised by the Council of Europe (CoE), the conference was funded by the European Union (EU) under the joint EU/CoE Project ‘Global Action on Cybercrime’ (GLACY). The ICT Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) and the Sri Lanka Computer Readiness Team (SLCERT) were the Sri Lankan hosts.Addressing nearly 100 Criminal Justice experts from 17 countries, who had gathered in Colombo to share their expertise with each other the Deputy Minister said: “Sri Lanka is an ancient society with an unbroken written history of 2,500 years or more. So whatever your preferences are with its history, architecture or its features or wildlife wherever it might be, this country, very small in extent as it is, is truly unique in the world. Therefore we invite you, please go and enjoy the natural beauty of this country. “This country has two advantages. As the Deputy Minister of Investment Promotion, I often think about it. These two advantages make this country unique. One of these advantages is the fact that our natural location is one of the busiest

East to West, Sri Lanka is really uniquely positioned. If you have to move goods particularly from the South Asia region to Europe, Sri Lanka gives you definite advantage of three to five days moving vertically to any European port. So Sri Lanka clearly has some natural advantages. “Our next huge advantage is our human resources. We are really a small Asian village. Asia has cities with 20 million people which is approximately our total population. India and China have these large cities. So we are really, in that sense, an ancient village. But as you already know, we have one of the most educated populations in the region. Our emphasis, particularly, of our new Government, is to build the soft infrastructure of our country and to prioritise soft infrastructure over the hard infrastructure.”       Meritocracy Referring to the much-discussed current topic of good governance, the Deputy Minister went on to elaborate: “The presidential election on 8 January was a turning point in the direction that this country will take over the next decade. Our Government led by President Sirisena was elected on the platform of good governance. What do we actually mean by good governance? It has so many different components and I would like to mention just a few of them. One is we need to tell the society that this is a meritocracy, if we are going actually to have good governance. That is a long way off. But certainly it is a firm goal of ours. The next thing is we need to have the leadership, the top leadership of the country, actually committed to clean up the country. We need a leadership that is zero tolerant for corruption. Thirdly, I would say, we need supremacy of the rule of law. We are certainly moving in that direction.”       Cybercrime Conference in the current perspective Placing the conference in its current perspective, the Deputy Minister said: “This Government presented 100-day program which is largely putting the legal and constitutional framework for good governance. After we have completed that, we will basically be going to the country in a general election asking the voters of this country to decide whether they want the Government to continue or they would like another leadership team. “So good governance is in the environment. Your conference on cybercrime fits in very well in the framework that we have defined. We want to create an environment of work standards for our people. Therefore Sri Lanka is really privileged to have been invited to join this Council of Europe Convention on fighting cybercrime. I know that with our accession to the convention, certain benefits will accrue to this country, including the benefit of creating a centre of excellence to train Criminal Justice and law enforcement officials in this region.”       Scope of cybercrime Explaining to the largest-ever international gathering of cybercrime enforcement officials about the scope of cybercrime, the Deputy Minister said: “The Japanese Ambassador mentioned that one of the things in fighting cybercrime is also to fight against terrorism. We have had a long history in it. Our history is now well known and well documented. I would say that our new frontier is also to fight financial crime. It is significant that the Financial Crime Investigation Division Head is also participating. A priority of our Government is also to fight financial crime, where computers and Computer networks are widely used.” Underlining the need to eradicate the trend to politicise Government institution, the Minister observed: “Often people come up to me after the January election and they say, ‘why aren’t you arresting these people and putting them behind bars?’ I always wondered why people actually were asking a politician that question. This is not the role of the politician but the role of law enforcement and then subsequently the role of the judiciary. The reason why they walk up to us and ask us that question is the long history of politicisation of institutions of Government in this country. That is precisely what we have got to depoliticise so that law enforcement authorities are free to act and also that the judiciary may be free to act in a way they see fit.”       Role of ICTA Paying a tribute to an institution with which the Minister had been associated in the past, Minister Wickramaratne paid tribute to ICTA’s leadership in helping to formulate the required legal framework for ICT development. “I wish to particularly mention here the role of the ICT Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) in formulating policies and the required legal framework. I have had association with ICTA from its inception and would like to particularly mention Jayantha Fernando who used to be a colleague of mine when I was the Chairman of ICTA.”       Computer crimes legal and policy framework Addressing the conference, Secretary Justice Kamalini De Silva said: “I understand that during this Conference the delegates would make proposals on how to strengthen cybercrime policies and strategies in your respective countries, based on the best practices shared by experts gathered here. Sri Lanka has made some progress in this area and delegates would get an opportunity to hear our perspectives.” Speaking further, the Secretary Justice said: “The Computer Crimes Act No.24 of 2007 is modelled on this important convention. Therefore Sri Lanka’s accession to this convention can be achieved relatively quickly because we have the required domestic legislation in place. In addition to recommending legislation on all aspects of Information Technology, the Ministry of Justice recognises the work of ICTA in safeguarding and protecting our critical information infrastructure, with the establishment of Sri Lanka CERT. ICTA has also taken the lead initiative to train judges and law enforcement officials in cybercrime enforcement. The Digital Forensic Lab at the CID and its working procedures were also established by the ICTA.”       Delivering the welcome address, ICTA Chairperson Chitranganie Mubarak explained the role of ICTA and its contribution to e-development in Sri Lanka. “ICTA is the apex ICT institution of the Govt. and was established in 2003 under the stewardship of our Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was the Prime Minister at the time. In terms of the Information and Communication Technology Act No. 27 of 2003 ICTA has been mandated to take all necessary measures to implement the Government’s Policy and Action Plan in relation to ICT.” “A key mandate of the ICTA was the implementation of the e-Sri Lanka development program which leveraged on ICT for the social and economic development of the country. It sought to re-engineer Government processes making it more accessible to people, empower rural communities, develop the IT/ BPO industry and create an enabling environment through ICT policy and legal reforms,” explained Mubarak. Delivering the concluding remarks, ICTA Program Director/Legal Advisor Jayantha Fernando, said “we have reached a significant milestone today”. “The primary motivation factor to host this event was the decision by the Council of Europe to invite Sri Lanka to accede to the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime. Joining this important convention was a long felt dream for many of us, both at the Council of Europe side and on the Sri Lankan side. The process that led to Council of Europe inviting Sri Lanka to join this convention was no easy task. It had many challenges on all fronts. But the will commitment and dedication of many people across the globe eventually made it possible. Therefore, it is our duty to remember those who contributed to that process. “The team at the Cyber Crime Division of the Council of Europe is very small. But its effectiveness to cut across geographical boundaries to reach out to far and distant countries is perhaps the singular reason why the Budapest Cybercrime Convention has become such an effective tool in the global fight against cybercrime.”

Sourced by : http://www.ft.lk/

Developing Soft infrastructure, a priority of Govt, says Eran Wickramaratne at EU Cybercrime Conference

Highways and Investment Promotion Deputy Minister Eran Wickramaratne says that the new Governement’s emphasis is on soft infrastructure in preference to hard infrastructure. One of the advantages Sri Lanka has is its educated population, one of the best in the region. If soft infrastructure is developed, the country could achieve great progress, given its rich human resources and its unique geographic positioning in the world.

The Deputy Minister said so while delivering his keynote address as joint Chief Guest, along with Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Ajith P. Perera, at the opening of the two-day European Union funded International Conference on “Assessing the Threat of Cybercrime” , held in Colombo recently.

Organised by the Council of Europe (CoE), the conference was funded by the European Union (EU) under the joint EU/ CoE Project “Global Action on Cybercrime (GLACY)”.The ICT Agency of Sri Lanka(ICTA) and the Sri Lanka Computer Readiness Team (SLCERT) were the Sri Lankan hosts.

Addressing nearly 100 Criminal Justice experts from 17 countries, who had gathered in Colombo to share their expertise with each other the Deputy Minister said:

“Sri Lanka is an ancient society with an unbroken written history of 2500 years or more. So whatever your preferences are with its history,architecture or its features or wildlife wherever it might be, this country,very small in extent as it is, is truly unique in the world.Therefore we invite you, please go and enjoy the natural beauty of this country”.

“This country has two advantages.As the Deputy Minister of Investment Promotion, I often think about it. These two advantages make this country unique. One of these advantages is the fact that our natural location is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. As you move from East to West,Sri Lanka is really uniquely positioned.If you have to move goods particularly from the South Asia region to Europe, Sri Lanka gives you definite advantage of three to five days moving vertically to any European port. So Sri Lanka clearly has some natural advantages.

“Our next huge advantage is our human resources.We are really a small Asian village.Asia has cities with 20 million people which is approximately our total population.India and China have these large cities.So we are really, in that sense, an ancient village.But as you already know, we have one of the most educated populations in the region. Our emphasis, particularly, of our new Government, is to build the soft infrastructure of our country and to prioritise soft infrastructure over the hard infrastructure”, the Deputy Minister said.

Meritocracy

Referring to the much-talked about current topic of good governance,the Deputy Minister went on to elaborate:

“January 8th was the Presidential election and it was a turning point in the direction that this country will take over the next decade. Our Government led by President Sirisena was elected on the platform of good governance”. “What do we actually mean by good governance? It has so many different components and I would like to mention just a few of them. One is we need to tell the society that this is a meritocracy, if we are going actually to have good governance. That is a long way off.But certainly it is a firm goal of ours. The next thing is we need to have the leadership, the top leadership of the country, actually committed to clean up the country. We need a leadership that is zero tolerant for corruption”.

Thirdly, I would say, we need supremacy of the rule of law.We are certainly moving in that direction”.

The Cybercrime Conference in the current perspective

Placing the conference in its current perspective, the Deputy Minister said:

“This Government presented the 100-day programme which is largely putting the legal and constitutional framework for good governance. After we have completed that, we will basically be going to the country in a general election asking the voters of this country to decide whether they want the Government to continue or they would like another leadership team”.

“So,good governance is in the environment.Your conference on cybercrime fits in very well in the framework that we have defined. We want to create an environment of work standards for our people.Therefore Sri Lanka is really privileged to have been invited to join this Council of Europe Convention on fighting cybercrime.I know that with our accessionto the Convention, certain benefits will accrue to this Country,including the benefit of creating a centre of excellence to train Criminal Justice and law enforcement officials in this region”.

Scope of Cybercrime

Explaining to the largest ever international gathering of Cyber Crime enforcement officials about the scope of Cybercrime the Deputy Minister said:

“His Excellency the Japanese Ambassador mentioned that one of the things in fighting cybercrime is also to fight against terrorism. We have had a long history in it. Our history is now well known and well documented. I would say that our new frontier is also to fight financial crime. It is significant that the Financial Crime Investigation Division Head is also participating. A priority of our government is also to fight financial crime, where computers and Computer networks are widely used”.

Underlining the need to eradicate the trend to politicize Government institutions, the Minister observed:

“Often people come up to me after the January election and they say “why aren’t you arresting these people and putting them behind bars?…. I always wondered why people actually were asking a politician that question. This is not the role of the politician but the role of law enforcement and then subsequently the role of the judiciary. The reason why they walk up to us and ask us that question is the long history of politicization of institutions of government in this country. That is precisely what we have got to de-poliitcise so that law enforcement authorities are free to act and also so that the judiciary may be free to act in a way they see fit”.

Role of ICTA

Paying a tribute to an institution with which the Deputy Minister had been associated in the past, Deputy Minister Wickramaratne paid a tribute to ICTA’s leadership in helping to formulate the required legal framework for ICT development. “I wish to particularly mention here the role of ICTA in formulating policies and the required legal framework. I have had association with ICTA from its inception and would like to particularly mention Jayantha Fernando who used to be a colleague of mine when I was the Chairman of ICTA.

Computer Crimes Legal and Policy framework

Addressing the Conference the Secretary Justice, Ms Kamalini De Silva said

I understand that during this Conference the delegates would make proposals on how to strengthen Cyber Crime policies and strategies in your respective countries, based on the best practices shared by experts gathered here. Sri Lanka has made some progress in this area and delegates would get an opportunity to hear our perspectives”.

Speaking further, the Secretary Justice said: “the Computer Crimes Act No.24 of 2007 is modelled on this important Convention. Therefore Sri Lanka’s accession to this Convention can be achieved relatively quickly because we have the required domestic legislation in place. In addition to recommending legislation on all aspects of Information Technology, the Ministry of Justice recognizes the work of ICTA in safeguarding and protecting our critical information infrastructure, with the establishment of Sri Lanka CERT. ICTA has also taken the lead initiative to train judges and law enforcement officials in Cyber Crime enforcement. The Digital Forensic Lab at the CID and its working procedures were also established by ICTA”.

Delivering the Welcome Address ICTA Chairperson Chitranganie Mubarak explained the role of ICTA and its contribution to e-development in Sri Lanka. “ICTA is the apex ICT institution of the Govt. and was established in 2003 under the stewardship of our Prime Minister Hon. Ranil Wickramasinghe, who was the Prime Minister at the time. In terms of the Information and Communication Technology Act No. 27 of 2003 ICTA has been mandated to take all necessary measures to implement the Government’s Policy and Action Plan in relation to ICT.

“A key mandate of the ICTA was the implementation of the e-Sri Lanka Development Programme which leveraged on ICT for the social and economic development of the country. It sought to re-engineer government processes making it more accessible to people, empower rural communities, develop the IT/ BPO industry and create an enabling environment through ICT Policy and legal reforms” explained Ms. Mubarak.

Delivering the concluding remarks ICTA Programme Director / Legal Advisor Jayantha Fernando, said: “We have reached a significant milestone today.”

“The primary motivation factor to host this event was the decision by the Council of Europe to invite Sri Lanka to accede to the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime. Joining this important Convention was a long felt dream for many of us, both at the Council of Europe side and on the Sri Lankan side. The process that led to Council of Europe inviting Sri Lanka to join this Convention was no easy task. It had many challenges on all fronts. But the will commitment and dedication of many people across the globe eventually made it possible. Therefore, it is our duty to remember those who contributed to that process”.

The team at the Cyber Crime Division of the Council of Europe is very small. But its effectiveness to cut across geographical boundaries to reach out to far and distant countries is perhaps the singular reason why the Budapest Cybercrime Convention has become such an effective tool in the global fight against Cybercrime”.

Sourced By: http://www.ft.lk/2015/04/07/developing-soft-infrastructure-govt-priority-eran-w-at-eu-cybercrime-conference/

Forum shares intl. expertise on assessing threat of cybercrime.

By Kiyoshi Berman The Project Global Action on Cybercrime (GLACY)International Conference on the theme ‘Assessing the threat of cybercrime’ concluded successfully last week at the BMICH. This conference was organised by the Council of Europe in cooperation with the Information and Communication Agency (ICTA) of Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankan Computer Emergency Readiness Team (SLCERT). –
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Comprehensive public policies are needed to help protect societies against the evergrowingthreat of cybercrime. Public reporting on cybercrime and the collection of criminaljustice statistics are essential for well-informed and effective policy responses in this respect.The conference was, therefore, aimed at identifying solutions and specific steps to be taken inparticipating countries towards stronger criminal justice strategies and improved mechanisms forpublic reporting and statistics on cybercrime and electronic evidence. The conference brought together some 90 seniorrepresentatives and public and private sector experts from Australia, Bangladesh, France,Germany, India, Mauritius, Morocco, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Romania, Senegal, Singapore,South Africa, Tonga, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.     ICTAChairperson Chitranganie Mubarak welcomed the guests to this historic event in Sri Lanka while conveying her sincere appreciation for giving ICTA the opportunity to co-host this event along with SLCERT. “ICTA is the apex ICT institution for the Government. It was established in 2003 under the stewardship of the then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who is the Prime Minister again today as well. In terms of the Information and Communication Technology Act No. 27 of 2003, the ICTA has been mandated to give policy directions in the country as well as to implement action plans. One of the key action plans that have been implemented by the ICTA is the e-Sri Lanka development program,” she said as she gave an introduction to ICTA. “The ICTA legal division has been working very closely with the Cybercrime Unit of the Council of Europe over the years. We’re delighted by the
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recent announcement that Sri Lanka has been invited to join the Budapest Convention. I’m told that it is this fact that led to this international conference hosted in Sri Lankaand Sri Lanka’s inclusion as a priority country of the Project Global Action on Cybercrime (GLACY),” she added.     Fighting cybercrime effectively Kamalini De Silva, Secretary Justice of Sri Lanka, delivered a speech sharing her views on this event.“The effective fight against cybercrime requires us to obtain the bill of electronic evidence stored on computer systems and networks in other countries. The Budapest Convention greatly enhances our ability to gather electronic evidence in order to investigate cyber laundering and other serious crimes. Further, the Budapest Convention will also help us in law enforcement and judicial corporation at an international level while ensuring adherence to human rights safeguard in the investigation process. The Computer Crimes Act of 2007 includes most of the safeguards under the Budapest Convention. Therefore, I hope that ICTA with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will take appropriate steps to join the Budapest Cybercrimes Convention as soon as possible,” she said. The Ministry of Justice is fully committed towards this cause because this is very important in an administration of justice perspective. In addition to recommending legislation in the field of Information Technology, the Ministry of Justice recognises the work of the ICTA in safeguarding and protecting our critical information infrastructure with the establishment of the Sri Lanka CERT, she added.     Sri Lanka’s progress Alexander Seger, Head of Cybercrime Division, Council of Europe shared his views on this event and Sri Lanka’s progress in fighting cybercrime. “This event is yet another station of an ongoing corporation between Sri Lanka and Cybercrime Division that started seven years ago. In this connection I would like to thank ICTA and particularly Jayantha Fernando for not only protecting the society and individuals in Sri Lanka from the threat of cybercrime and letting them enjoy the benefits of technologies but also for ensuring that Sri Lanka is becoming a reliable partner of the international community in IT matters. The meeting is extraordinary because it comes at the moment when Sri Lanka has just been invited to join the Budapest Convention of Cybercrime,” he highlighted. He further said: “The expected outcome of the conference is two folds. One to develop with you, specifically towards cybercrime policies and strategies and of course such policies need to be based on knowledge. The second expected outcome is that we develop specific proposals to improve criminal justice statistics as well as public reporting mechanisms.”     Ubiquityof technology and potential threats David Daly, Ambassador, Head of the European Union Delegation to Sri Lanka discussed the ubiquity of technology and its potential threats. “Technological breakthroughs bring great potential for both good and bad. The benefits of the Information Technology Revolution are obvious to us all- reinforcing economic development, facilitating social connections, making financial payments from our living rooms, the list is endless. Having a strong ICT sector is especially important for our economies; greater connectivity strengthens our economic and social development in a self-reinforcing way. Part of the down side, however, is the acceleration of cybercrime, unlawful activity involving some IT element in its application or execution. The scope is enormous, there are over 10billion Internet-facing devices in operation today. Cybercrime ignores borders; criminals take advantage of the territoriality of legislation to make their crimes harder to investigate and prosecute.” He underscored that cybercrime threatens individuals through identity theft, assets through monetary or data theft, infrastructure through attacking critical software and national security through espionage or terrorism. However, no country is immune from these threats. “The EU understands the need for capacity building among Parties to the Budapest Convention. Legal frameworks must be updated; law enforcement actors must be trained in appropriate technologies. This is a large part of what we support through this GLACY project.Learning from each other is of great importance; governments, international organisations and the private sector have much to contribute. This is an important part of this conference,” he asserted.
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Cybercrimes and cyberattacks Nobuhito Hobo, Ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka shared his experience and views on cybercrime. “Cyber space continues to expand across borders and with such development, cyber threats are also globalising. Cybercrimes and cyber attacks are becoming an eminent challenge. According to the 2015 edition of global Risks published by the World Economic Forum, data fraud or theft and cyber attacks rank in the top 10 risks in terms of technological risks,” he said. He mentioned that, Japan as an Asian country in the Budapest Convention encourages other Asian countries to join the Convention. Japan welcomes Sri Lanka to join the convention as a fast country in the Asian region, he added.     How Sri Lanka can benefit Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ajith P. Pereraexpressed a few thoughts of how Sri Lanka can benefit from this conference. “We have some natural advantages and the next huge advantage is our human resources. We’re really a small Asian village, there are cities in Asia with 20 million people and that comes to our entire population. But we have one of the most educated populations in the region. The emphasis of our new government is to build the soft infrastructure of our country and to prioritise the soft infrastructure over the hard infrastructure… Good governance is about creating the environment and your conference on cybercrime fits in very well to this” he said.   Pix by Sameera Wijesinghe
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ICTA to over-deliver President’s pledge of free Wi-Fi

Provision of free Wi-Fi facilities, fairly distributed over the island, both in urban and rural areas, will ceremonially begin at the Colombo Fort railway station on Monday 30, March 2015 with the participation of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe, Mangala Samaraweera, Minister of External Affairs, Ranjith Madduma Bandara, Minister of Internal Transport and Ajith P. Perera, Deputy Minister of External Affairs.

The facility will be simultaneously made available at around 20 more locations including railway stations, public libraries, hospitals and other public places in Jaffna, Kandy, Matara, Galle, Polonnaruwa and Ratnapura. These are the premier locations to be powered with free Wi-Fi in the first round of a map of 1,000 locations.

The objective of this program is to provide free Internet access for Sri Lankan citizens empowering them with the global knowledge in the digital age. It will also engage citizens in policy making of the government and contributing towards good governance. Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) spearheads this project, with the able assistance of the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) and the local telecom service providers.

The election manifesto of the President Maithripala Sirisena, ‘Compassionate Government – A Stable Country’, under section 11 ‘A meaningful substantial media freedom’, states: “To enrich the citizens of the country with important information, knowledge necessary for life and advanced cultural enjoyment, mass media has been active in submerging him/her in simple commercial pleasures. Matters worth attention and that should reach the attention of society are hidden and trivial matters without substance are highlighted in the media. Therefore, it is proposed to establish Wi-Fi zones at public places in all towns to supply free Internet facilities.”

ICTA earlier stated this was more than a mere fulfillment of an election pledge. Free Wi-Fi is offered because government understands free and unrestricted Internet access is more a fundamental right. The citizens from all walks of life and from different parts of the country will now benefit from the Free-Wi-Fi program.

Sri Lanka will be one the first countries in South Asia to take such initiatives and be able to deploy it in such a short time.

ICTA further says that ‘Free Wi-Fi’ should not be taken as a ‘Free lunch’. It is not a subsidy. The cost of providing the facility will not be passed on to the treasury or telecom companies. Instead free Wi-Fi is offered as a part of a feasible business model. Investments made by operators will be justified by the earnings of the developments. The telecom operators have already agreed to provide free 100 MB volume of internet data monthly per citizen at 512 Kbps bandwidth. They will invest on all required infrastructure to establish 1,000 hotspots and manage same. While most locations are already confirmed, the rest will be selected from a list of 1,300 locations ICTA has prepared.

Chithrangani Mubarak, Chairperson of ICTA states: “It is wonderful to note that social unity among the public and private sector has enabled ICTA to fulfill one its key objective of ICT penetration in the country. I am amazed as to how such a large-scale implementation can be achieved in such a short time. This clearly shows that the true benefit of this partnership to deliver such services was unimaginable before. I take this opportunity to thank all the stakeholders on this project”
Muhunthan Canagey CEO of ICTA says: “It was an ambitious dream for ICTA to spearhead such a telecom roll out within a period of 60 to 90 days. The telecom operators, along with the team at ICTA and TRC were able to drive such an ambitious and dynamic initiative”

There were many technical and interoperability that needed to be finalized between all telecom operators, however the spirit of all parties were positive which enabled ICTA to deliver more than the promise made by the government at the last election.

Muhunthan Canagey further adds that there were many factors other than technical and policy that needed to be considered, such as selection of locations where most public will find it convenient to use. The consensus were reached by the teams that the locations shall include all state universities, limited professional education institutions, all railway stations, central bus stands, district secretariat, A grade base hospitals, public parks, public libraries, museums and limited Government offices and district secretariats will provide free Wi-Fi facilities. The distribution of ‘free Wi-Fi’ locations shall be proportionately distributed across all districts.

Concerns have already been raised about the free limit of 100 MB. While it might be not much for a PC user, more than half of the mobile users in Sri Lanka typically use less than this amount per month. Another technical difficulty in offering more is the difficulty in determining the usage patterns and how that will change the operator networks. So 100 MB will only be the starting point. ICTA plans to review this limit after analyzing the usage for few months. ICTA also thinks the limit should not be uniform and can change depending upon the requirements. For example, a rural location that needs more assistance can be given a higher limit than what is offered at an urban location.

ICTA also says the project goes far beyond offering free Wi-Fi. Even if the ‘free’ part is completely forgotten it is having 1,000 more Wi-Fi hot spots at otherwise commercially non-viable locations. Wi-Fi offers broadband access at half of the cost otherwise. Even without the free offering Wi-Fi can reduce the cost of 1 GB to less than Rs. 100. So, even an advanced user can maintain the broadband bill within a lower value by shifting to Wi-Fi. This trend is already seen in the developed countries.

The first free Wi-Fi 25 locations include the railway stations of Colombo Fort, Jaffna, Matara, Polonnaruwa, Kandy, Peradeniya, Galle; bus stands at Pettah and Matara; public libraries of Colombo and Jaffna; hospitals of Polonnaruwa and Karapitiya and museums of Colombo and Ratnapura. In addition the facility will be simultaneously opened at several locations including Katunayake Airport, Police Headquarters in Colombo, Dutch Hospital and Galle face areas in Colombo, Foreign Employment Bureau at Battaramulla and Dehiwala zoological gardens. These locations are just symbolical and indicate at what categories of locations the facility will be available in future.

The Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) of Sri Lanka is the apex ICT institution of the Government. In terms of the Information and Communication Technology Act No. 27 of 2003 (ICT Act) ICTA has been mandated to take all necessary measures to implement the Government’s Policy and Action Plan in relation to ICT. In terms of section 6 of the ICT Act, ICTA is required to assist the Cabinet of Ministers in the formulation of the National Policy on ICT and provide all information necessary for its formulation. ICTA is wholly owned by the Government of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka invited to join Budapest Cybercrime Convention – ICTA

In a historic ICT policy achievement, Sri Lanka has now become the first country in South Asia to be invited to join the Budapest Cybercrime Convention. This was communicated in a letter sent to the Secretary Foreign Affairs recently by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe. It was consequent upon a decision of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

The Budapest Convention on Cybercrime is also known as the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime. It is the only available international treaty on the subject seeking to address Internet and computer crime by harmonizing national laws, improving investigative techniques, and increasing cooperation among nations.

Alexander Seger, the Head of Cybercrime Division of the Council of Europe said that “the Budapest Cybercrime Convention is an international Convention open for any country to accede that is prepared to implement it. Not only European countries but also states such as the USA, Australia, Japan, Dominican Republic or Mauritius are already parties. Others such as Argentina, Costa Rica, Mexico, Morocco, Senegal, South Africa and the Philippines have signed it or been invited to accede. Sri Lanka is now one of them. We hope that other countries of South Asia will follow Sri Lanka’s example and fully engage in international cooperation against cybercrime.”

Commenting on this ground-breaking policy achievement for the ICT sector, ICTA’s Chairperson Ms. Chitranganie Mubarak said: “Joining a European Convention of this nature will be a tremendous boost to Sri Lanka in terms of how the country is perceived in the international arena for ICT”

Underlining the benefits that will accrue to Sri Lanka by joining this Convention, ICTA Programme Director/ Legal Advisor Jayantha Fernando said: “Accession to the Convention will significantly help in the successful investigation of Cybercrime offences. It will also help in law enforcement and judicial cooperation at international level, while ensuring human rights safeguards in the investigation process”.

Explaining further, Fernando said “Cybercrime offences are transnational and multi-jurisdictional in nature. Therefore, the effective fight against cybercrime requires us to obtain evidence stored on computer systems and networks in other countries. The Budapest Convention facilitates cooperation to this effect. The Convention will greatly enhance the gathering of electronic evidence, the investigation of cyber laundering and other serious crimes”.

Elaborating on the benefits, Fernando said :“Joining this Convention will help Sri Lanka to become a South Asian hub for cybercrime enforcement. This can lead to the establishment of a Centre of Excellence to train law enforcement professionals on cybercrime issues”.

As regards the Commitments under the Budapest Cybercrime Convention, Jayantha Fernando stated: “The Sri Lankan Computer Crimes Act No. 24 of 2007 was founded on the principles contained in the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime. As such Sri Lanka already has the required domestic legislation to accede to this convention”.

A significant amount of work was done before Sri Lanka was invited to join this important Convention. The ICT Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) took the lead policy initiative in this connection, with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Justice. As required under the rules of procedures of the Convention it was necessary to obtain the unanimous agreement of all state parties to the Convention before Sri Lanka could be invited. Following informal and formal consultations with state parties full consensus was achieved to invite Sri Lanka.

ICTA launches triple e-service for motor vehicles

In a further step to making lives easy through Information and Communication Technology (ICT) three motor vehicle related e-services were launched recently (3).

The ICT Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) and the Department of Motor Traffic (DMT) came together in launching this triple e-service. The three e-services will provide information on the following: Details of the vehicle, last registration number of a given vehicular category and the period of validity and date of expiry of the vehicle revenue license.

This threefold Information could be obtained by visiting the DMT website www.motortraffic.gov.lk and the Sri Lanka country portal, www.srilanka.lk . The same service could be obtained through a smart phone by downloading the newly developed mobile app. Furthermore vehicle information and status of vehicle revenue license too could be obtained by sending an sms to 1919 using the basic code dmt info and dmt rls.

Online information on vehicle information is available at two levels: Limited information and Full information. Limited information is free of charge and comprises information on seven sub-heads. A sum of Rupees 150 is payable for full information which is provided under 15 sub-heads. Payment for the service could be made through the credit card and mobile cash.

The launch held at the Sri Lanka Institute of Development Administration (SLIDA) in Colombo was graced by Hon. Ranjith Madduma Bandara, Minister of Internal Transport as the Chief Guest.

Hon. Ranjith Madduma Bandara, Minister for Internal Transport delivering his address expressed his gratitude to ICTA and DMT for making people’s life easy through the three e-services. The Minister said that this launch greatly contributed to fulfilling the pledges of the 100-day programme. Elaborating on the subject the Minister said: “Currently there are 5.7 million motor vehicles in the country and 4 million people travel daily in vehicles. If we could reduce travelling to the DMT at least by 20 per cent by making it possible to obtain services from home we would have achieved much. I request ICTA and DMT to make it possible for people to obtain all their motor vehicle related services from home”.

Sourced by : http://www.island.lk

Government ready to offer more ‘free Wi-Fi’ to its citizens

ICT Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) spearheads the free Wi-Fi project and delivers more than what was promised on the pledges made before election.

The Internet connectivity a citizens right program also know as the “Free Wi-Fi” was spearheaded by the ICTA along with the support of all telecommunication operators in Sri Lanka.

The objective of this program was to facilitate the Sri Lankan Citizens to be able to have access to Internet for a variety of purposes. The government’s objective was to enable its citizens to engage in policy making of the government and contributing towards good governance. Citizen will be provided with “free Wi-Fi” in specific locations across the country. The first 250 locations will be launched before 31st March 2015, while the balance 750 locations will be completed within 60 to 90 days.

Hon. Ajith P. Perera, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Telecommunication said “that providing free Wi-Fi facilities to more than 1000 locations in the country during the next 30 to 90 days was more than a mere fulfillment of an election pledge. The citizens from all walks of life and from different parts of the country will now benefit from the Free Wi-Fi program”

Addressing a media briefing held at the ICT Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) the Deputy Minister further emphasized that in the current rapidly changing world, internet facilities were no more a luxury but only an utility service like water, electricity and gas. The Deputy Minister said that it was because of this that the current Government had changed its original plan and decided to provide speedier Wi-Fi facilities to a larger number of locations.

Reminiscing the past as one who belonged to the group of students who received school level computer education for the first time in 1983, the Deputy Minister said that he had got that opportunity as a result of an action, current Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had taken as the then Education Minister, which included of setting up of computer facilities and training the youth at village level.

Hon. Mangala Samaraweera, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Telecommunication proposed that all telecommunication companies must be part of this ambitious journey and the country must take pride of its adoption to the digital age. We must do a lot more to make the Internet to truly become people’s consumer right. The Deputy Minister also said that the supply of free Wi-Fi facilities is just the beginning of the government’s digital initiative.

Creating Wi-Fi zones that supply free Internet facilities in every main city of the country is a presidential election pledge of current President Maitripala Sirisena.

Mrs Chithranganie Mubarak Chairperson of ICTA stated, “It is wonderful to note that social unity among the public and private sector has enabled ICTA to fulfill one its key objective of ICT penetration in the country. I am amazed as to how such a large-scale implementation can be achieved in such a short time. This clearly shows that the true benefit of this partnership to deliver such services was unimaginable before. I take this opportunity to thank all the stakeholders on this project”

Mr Muhunthan Canagey, Managing Director/CEO of ICTA said “It was an ambitious dream for ICTA to spearhead such a telecommunication rollout within a period of 60 to 90 days. The telecommunication operators, along with the team at ICTA and TRC were able to drive such an ambitious and dynamic initiative”

There were many technical and interoperability that needed to be finalized between all telecommunication operators, however the spirit of all parties were positive which enabled ICTA do deliver more than the promise made by the government at the last election.

Mr Muhunthan Canagey further added that there were many factors other than technical and policy that needed to be considered, such as selection of locations where most public will find it convenient to use. The consensus were reached by the teams that the locations shall include all state universities, limited professional education institutions, all railway stations, central bus stands, district secretariat, A grade base hospitals, public parks, public libraries, museums and limited Government offices and district secretariats will provide free Wi-Fi facilities. The distribution of ‘free Wi-Fi’ locations shall be proportionately distributed across all districts. The initial limit shall be 100 MB per citizen per month and can be accessed at a speed of 512Kbps.

Sri Lanka will be one the first countries in South Asia to take such initiatives and be able to deploy it in such a short time.

The Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) of Sri Lanka is the apex ICT institution of the Government. In terms of the Information and Communication Technology Act No. 27 of 2003 (ICT Act) ICTA has been mandated to take all necessary measures to implement the Government’s Policy and Action Plan in relation to ICT. In terms of section 6 of the ICT Act, ICTA is required to assist the Cabinet of Ministers in the formulation of the National Policy on ICT and provide all information necessary for its formulation. The Government of Sri Lanka wholly owns ICTA.

New Chairperson, Board and leadership transition at ICTA

The Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) announces the appointment of a new Chairperson and Board of Directors, with the change of Government. The new Board consists of Mrs Chitranganie Mubarak (Chairperson), Mr Muhunthan Canagey (Managing Director), Dr Ajith Madurapperuma, Mr Ananda Wijeratne, Mr Upul Kumarapperuma and Mr Chanuka Wattegama.

Mrs Chitranganie Mubarak is a BSc. Honours Graduate from the University of Colombo and is well known in the ICT sector for empowering rural communities with IT. She worked at ICTA, heading the e-Society Programme of the e-Sri Lanka Development Project for almost nine years, before joining a Senior Management position at SLIIT. She was instrumental in conceptualizing and launching close to 250 projects, with wide ranging development outcomes some of which have received international recognition. She is also a Member of the Board of the Faculty of Graduate Studies at the University of Kelaniya and a Member of the National Steering Committee on Food Security of the National Science Foundation. Prior to assuming duties at ICTA she was a Director at the Sri Lanka Export Development Board.

After a period of almost 12 years at ICTA its CEO Reshan Dewapura will be concluding his tenure, the new Board of Directors announced. Mr Muhunthan Canagey will be taking over responsibilities from Reshan. With the appointment of Muhunthan, the Government plans to widen the role of ICTA in the public and private sector, initiating and implementing the National ICT Policy, while also contributing to reforms, innovation and creating new opportunities for the local ICT industry. Muhunthan and Reshan will work together until the 28th of February 2015, to ensure a smooth transition of operations at ICTA.

Mr Muhunthan Canagey has been in the ICT industry for over two decades and is one of the country’s youngest entrepreneurs. He stepped into the field of IT at a very young age of 16. Canagey holds a Master’s Degree in Information Technology from the University of Keelle (UK) and has extensive knowledge of the industry. He was the founder and CEO of multiple technology enterprises and was the founder and CEO of a highly successful enterprise in the area of satellite communication and media: a first of this nature to be formed in Sri Lanka.

The ICTA Chairperson and Board of Directors while appreciating the dedicated services of Reshan Dewapura towards ICTA stated that “during Dewapura’s tenure as CEO and COO he helped steer the World Bank Funded e-Sri Lanka Development Project to a successful conclusion”.

In a recently published report the World Bank (available at www.icta.lk), while commending ICTA, noted that ICTA has developed into a capable and professional institution, which played a substantive role in the significant outcomes that the e-Sri Lanka Project has attained. The overall rating given to outcomes of e-Sri Lanka was satisfactory, which reflected that ICTA played an essential role in achieving the following key results:

  • Modernisation of Government services, development of several electronic services for citizens and business, and improvement of the internal efficiency of the Government
  • Provision of affordable access to information infrastructure and services.
  • Technical assistance to build capacity for ICT leadership
  • Improved policies and laws required for ICT diffusion
  • Increased ICT literacy in every part of the country
  • Promotion of IT and BPO exports, and mobilising of resources and innovation in ICT applications to meet priority social needs.

Implementing a results based M &E approach to improve project performances and measure outcome/ impacts Reshan Dewapura with over 27 years experience in the ICT industry, has been at ICTA since the inception of the organization in July 2003, and has held the posts of Director Information Infrastructure and Chief Operating Officer, prior to being appointed as CEO in 2010. Reshan also functioned as a Director at ICTA’s two subsidiary companies – Sri Lanka CERT (SLCERT) and Lanka Govt. Information Infrastructure (LGII). He is also a Board Director at the Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT), as well as at the LKNIC (Sri Lanka’s Domain Registry). He is a member of the Governing Council of the National Institute of Business Management (NIBM).

The Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) of Sri Lanka is the apex ICT institution of the Government. In terms of the Information and Communication Technology Act No. 27 of 2003 (ICT Act) ICTA has been mandated to take all necessary measures to implement the Government’s Policy and Action Plan in relation to ICT. In terms of section 6 of the ICT Act, ICTA is required to assist the Cabinet of Ministers in the formulation of the National Policy on ICT and provide all information necessary for its formulation. ICTA is wholly owned by the Government of Sri Lanka.

The rise of Sri Lanka’s e-government services

Sri Lanka as a country is growing rapidly in every aspect. The country has achieved better gross domestic product (GDP) rates, a single digit level inflation, a solid GDP per capita income and low unemployment rates over the last two years, with positive contributions from key sectors of the economy.

This growth is expected to produce better results in upcoming years with a high momentum, supported by an increase in investment, a favourable macroeconomic environment and continued recovery in the global economy.

By- Indika Zoysa
e.gov

Overlook of ICT sector

In such an environment, Sri Lanka’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector has grown in a remarkable fashion. According to the latest report titled ‘Sri Lankan IT/BPM Industry2014 Review’ by Sri Lanka Association of Software and Service Companies (SLASSCOM), IT sector’s export revenue grew from US$ 213 million in 2007 to an estimated US$ 720 million in 2013. Total employment grew from 33,700 in 2007 to an estimated 75,100 employees in 2013, and the number of companies in the industry grew from 170 in 2007 to over 220 in 2013.

The government has set a strategic goal for the sector which is to achieve US$ 1 billion worth of IT exports by 2016. ICT authority bodies such as the Ministry of Telecommunication and Information Technology, Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) and SLASSCOM have worked tirelessly over the last five years with other stakeholders in the industry to make this US$ 1 billion target a realistic goal.

Global companies such as ATKearney, Gartner and IBM have already put Sri Lanka on the top of their global rankings and now the ICT sector is slowly progressing towards their next big goal; reaching US$ 5 billion in revenue, create 200,000 direct jobs and 1,000 startups by 2022.

Big win on e-Government services

One major area of progress for Sri Lanka was e-government. Sri Lanka was ranked number one in the South Asia by the United Nations, for country’s continuous developments in the e-government initiatives.

Sri Lanka has climbed 41 places from the 115th position in 2012 to 74th position in 2014 out of 192 countries, according to the report titled ‘United Nations E-Government Survey 2014’ which was compiled by the Economic and Social Affairs Department of United Nations. Sri Lanka is in a commanding position in the E-Government Development Index (EGDI), surpassing second ranked Maldives (94) and third ranked India (118). According to the report, country’s percentile ranking is 38.5 percent which means that Sri Lanka is in the top 40% of the countries in the world that are engaged in implementing robust e-government programmes.
Sri Lanka has also done well in the sub-indexes of the report where it has been included in the top 50 global e-participation performers. The country is ranked 33rd in the global e-participation sub-index and has secured the first place in the lower middle income group, and fifth place out of 48 lower middle income countries in the world and ranked seventh among the countries that has a high online service performance relative to income. Finally, Sri Lanka is globally ranked at the 37th place among top online service delivery countries, securing sixth place within its income group.

Sri Lanka started its E-Government initiative back in 2005 under the ‘e-Sri Lanka national development project’. The online portal offers A-Z government web indexes, 108 e-services for citizens, 51 e-services for businesses and 10 non-residence related e-services. The portal also offers extensive mobile and SMS services, an e-participation portal, easily accessible government forms, a developed open data portal with data available in various formats as well as whole-of-government strategy.

Importance

Considering these statistics, Sri Lanka has been able to significantly improve e-government processes and climb the rankings to become the number one in the South Asian region. There is more to be achieved, however, if Sri Lanka wants to compete with top global e-government countries such as Republic of Korea, Singapore and Australia. These numbers are going to affect several global rankings such as Network Readiness Index (NRI), Doing Business Index (DBI) and Global Competitive Index (GCI). ‘UN E-Government Survey’ is considered as a feeding tool for these rankings and the progress we have made here from 2012 to 2014 as a country would contribute to these global rankings to elevate the country’s position in the coming years.

The country should utilize e-government and innovation to offer momentous opportunities to convert public administration into a tool of sustainable growth.     E-government is ‘the use of ICT and its application by the government for the provision of information and public services to the people’ (Global E-Government Readiness Report 2004). In a broader aspect, e-government is the idea of using information technology tools in public administration to simplify and integrate processes to administer data and information in an effective manner to improve public service delivery, engage people using versatile communication channels and empower them. The opportunities offered by the digital development of recent years, whether through online services, big data, social media, mobile apps, or cloud computing, are expanding the way we look at e-government.

Through e-government innovations, public administrations around the world can be more competent, provide better services and respond to demands for transparency and accountability. E-government can help governments go green and promote effective natural resource management, as well as stimulate economic growth and promote social inclusion, particularly of disadvantaged and vulnerable groups. ICTs have also proven to be effective platforms to facilitate knowledge sharing, skills development, transfer of innovative e-government solutions and capacity-building for sustainable development among countries. E-government can generate important benefits in the form of new employment, better health and education.

The measurement sticks of government services are reliability and productiveness. When the services are electronically implemented, reliability and productiveness should increase with great discipline. Each and every person in the country finds benefits and their lives have been made easier by e-government services. This was the brainchild of ICTA whose main objective is to serve, fulfill and empower Sri Lankans through their e-government service.

On a final note, let me congratulate ICTA on their tremendous effort and finish by saying that ICT is the bedrock upon which we can dream of building a society with equitable distribution of opportunity and knowledge through robust e-government platform services.

(The writer is the Country Business Manager of Intel Sri Lanka Liaison Office)