ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s cabinet of ministers on Monday (11) approved a proposal by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to draft a ‘Defence Cyber Commands’ bill and a separate bill of cybersecurity laws outside the defence purview, a spokesman said.
The two bills, proposed by President Rajapaksa in his capacity as minister of defence and minister of technology, are expected to keep criminal and terrorism related activity online in check, co-cabinet spokesman and Media Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said on Tuesday (12).
A statement from the government information department noted that “electronic communication across cyber space has been recognised as a crucial factor that can directly affect national security”.
The statement also noted a purported need for new laws to strengthen the individual cybersecruity units currently being operated by Sri Lanka’s security forces, police and other agencies
The second bill proposed by Rajapaksa is intended to create a regulatory framework for “national information” and a national cybersecurity strategy. This bill will also provide for the establishment of a Sri Lanka Cyber Protection Agency to work in conjunction with other agencies.
Other objectives include the “introduction of legal provisions required for protecting infrastructure facilities related to decisive and essential information within the country, prevention of risk activities that affect the cyber security as well as creating a formal cyber protected environment within the country.”
No further details on the nature of the proposed legislation have been forthcoming so far.
Monday’s cabinet decision comes amid investigations into the controversial deletion of sensitive data maintained by the National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA).
Local media reported in August of a loss of an estimated two terabytes—or 2,000 gigabytes—of classified information from the Lanka Government Cloud (LGC), which risks endangering the business relationships of local drug companies with their foreign principals.
A cybersecurity bill has been on the cards for several years in Sri Lanka, but has been repeatedly delayed. (Colombo/Oct12/2021)