AMBER GROUP, GOJ Under Fire For Data Leak; Opposition Calls For Report

The Government of Jamaica and local software company, Amber Group are coming under fire following a report by tech news site Tech Crunch which highlighted several cybersecurity issues attributed to the JAMCOVID19 Website and Application.


The App which is free to use for Jamaicans is an integral part of the country’s COVID monitoring process, especially for visitors and returning residents. It is used to publish daily Coronavirus updates, pre-approve travel applications, and allow residents to self-report symptoms.


According to the report from TechCrunch, a ‘security lapse’ exposed immigration records and COVID -19 test results for travelers who visited the island over the last year. This lapse was identified as an unprotected cloud storage server storing uploaded documents which was ‘spilling out files onto the open web’. Among the documents were more than 70,000 negative COVID19 lab results, over 425,000 immigration documents - which included travelers’ names, addresses, dates of birth, and passport numbers - as well as more than 440,000 images of travelers’ signatures.


In response to the article, the Government of Jamaica through the Ministry of National Security indicated that the vulnerability associated with the app was discovered on Tuesday and addressed immediately. The Ministry said a thorough investigation was immediately initiated to determine if there were any breaches in traveler data security if this vulnerability was exploited and if there were any breaches of laws.


The Ministry says, at present, there is no evidence to suggest that the vulnerability has been exploited, however, out of an abundance of caution,  travelers whose data may have been subject to the vulnerability have been contacted.


Meanwhile, Opposition Spokesperson on Science, Technology & Commerce, Hugh Graham is demanding that the Ministry of National Security come ready to address Parliament re the report.


While noting that the investigation is underway, Graham has urged the government to make sure it “keeps the interests of potential victims top of mind and leave no stone unturned”.