The government has initiated a criminal investigation into the alleged data breach, relating to the JAMCOVID app. This in the wake of reports that the app was unsecured for several months, exposing the personal data of thousands of persons, many of whom live overseas.
In a statement, the Ministry of National Security explained that the database is hosted on an ‘a-w-s’ cloud server account, owned by the government.
The ministry said an independent review has been commissioned of the security of the system, the results of which are expected today.
It also sought to assure that the systems of the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency, PICA were not in any way affected, compromised, or exposed by the vulnerability.
The ministry said, when a security vulnerability is identified in respect of a government system, the government has a duty to investigate and rectify it.
Under Jamaican law, the government also has a duty to ensure that any unauthorized access to data is investigated and prosecuted.
The Cyber crimes Act stipulates that any person who knowingly obtains, for himself or another person, unauthorized access to any program or data held in a computer commits an offence.
The matter has been referred to the communication forensics and Cyber Crime Unit of the jamaica constabulary force and the major organised crime and anti-corruption agency for further investigation.
The ministry has sought to assure all travellers and the public in general that it takes data privacy and security extremely seriously.
It said the government stands by the jam covid app, which has been a critical element of the controlled entry programme and has served well in the management of the pandemic.
The ministry said the identified vulnerability has been rectified and the security protocols around the application will continue to be monitored to ensure that they meet the highest standards.
Meantime, minister of health Dr. Christopher Tufton was questioned by journalists about the JAMCOVID app breach, during Thursday’s Covid Conversations press conference.
He urged persons to await the outcome of the investigations.