Government expedites efforts to strengthen cybersecurity

In the wake of missing data scams and cyber crimes, the Government is expediting efforts to strengthen cybersecurity with new legislation as well as dedicated institutions.

Multiple efforts to ensure cybersecurity were agreed upon by the Cabinet of Ministers at its meeting on Monday on the recommendations of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa as the Minister of Defence and the Minister of Technology.

A key initiative is drafting a bill called the ‘Cyber Defence Command Act’ and the establishment of ‘Sri Lanka Cyber Protection Agency’.

The Government said with the development of electronic communication, terrorist groups and criminals have tended to use cyberspace and electronic communication for their activities as well as organised crimes and anti-social activities. 

Electronic communication across cyber space has been recognised as a crucial factor that can directly affect national security. Therefore, the Government said it was critical to formulate new laws covering all sectors for ensuring national security including operations performed by cyber protection units established at institutional level at present by the three – armed forces, Police and other agencies.

With regard to the need to formulate a draft bill to introduce cybersecurity laws, the Government said cybersecurity and preparation of an institutional structure was under the scope of the Ministry of Technology.

Accordingly, followed by discussions held with the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Technology and other related parties; it has been decided to formulate a respective draft bill including cyber protection provisions in relation to the defence sector.

Requirement of formulation of new laws is with the intention of creating a regulatory framework for implementing national initiatives apart from those applicable to national defence and cyber protection strategy, formulation of provisions to establish the Sri Lanka Cyber Protection Agency to act with other agencies. 

Additionally new laws will also enable legal provisions required for protecting infrastructure facilities related to decisive and essential information within the country, prevention of risk activities that affect cybersecurity as well as creating a formal cyber-protected environment within the country.

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