Minister of National Security participates in regional cyber security workshop

Minister of National Security the Honourable Stuart R. Young M.P. today, Monday September 30, 2019, delivered remarks at the opening ceremony of the Regional Workshop on Cybersecurity and Strengthening Democratic Processes held at the Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain.

The Workshop is being held in collaboration with the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism of the Organization of American States (OAS/CICTE) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom and it targets sixty (60) participants from all OAS Member States.

Its aim is to bring together various actors within the democratic process such as parliamentarians, political actors, electoral authorities, and national cyber incident response personnel.

In his address to workshop participants, Minister Young stated that today’s workshop was timely, given the growing trend of democratic processes, including national elections, being targeted by cyber threats and other activity both domestic and foreign.

Minister Young stated “even in a paper-based electoral systems, like the one that exists in Trinidad and Tobago, these cyber threats to the democratic process are a reality, as they can target voters, political parties, candidates and the elections.” The Minister further said that the workshop should be seen as a viable avenue to facilitate the exchange of best practices in preventing and mitigating cyber incidents during democratic processes.

He said, “how do we ensure that we get democratic results that have not been tainted by the infiltration through data-mining techniques and through the social media platforms? If there is one switch in the world that I wish I could turn off it would be the social media switch. It has warped everything. Of course there are also great effects of social media and we can use it for a lot of positive. But in my view, this is the single largest threat we now have to democracy.”

Also speaking at the opening ceremony was His Excellency Tim Stew, High Commissioner of the United Kingdom to Trinidad and Tobago and Ms. Marina Piper, Country Representative for the Organization of American States (OAS).

The OAS/CICTE Secretariat is expected to present its findings for a best practice guide on cybersecurity and democratic processes on completion of the workshop.

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