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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, March 24, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 60
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Cybercrime bill may get final approval

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Lawmakers soon will be asked to give second and final approval to the international Convention on Cybercrime. The measure has been in the legislature since 2012, and the agreement itself came into being back in 2001.

Basically the agreement requires Costa Rica to work with investigators of other countries to fight cybercrimes such as extortion, theft of data, copyright infringement, child pornography, identity theft and other digital violations.

The agreement also requires Costa Rica to adjust its existing laws as much as possible to those of other countries. The agreement originated in the European Union, but many countries not members of that union also have accepted the convention.

There has been some criticism. One controversial section of the convention would require Costa Rica to set up a system so that internet providers obtain or otherwise copy material set by their customers. The  convention might also be more protective of personal data.

Costa Rica has passed a number of laws and accepted two international agreements that  penalize most of the cyber crimes. Legislative technicians have compared the existing laws with what the convention would require. There are not many differences, but a lot would depend on how the central government and judiciary implement any changes.

The Council of Europe created additional rules two years after the original agreement came into force in 2004. Costa Rica will have the option of adopting this protocol, too. That addition requires criminalization of racist or xenophobic material.

Casa Presidencial hosted a forum on the convention Thursday where representatives from the Council of Europe, the Organization of American States and the Judicial Investigating Organization urged adoption.

Adoption has been delayed since initial passage because most of the government ministries were given the opportunity to evaluate and make comments on the bill, No. 18.484.

Some schools need board members

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The public education ministry is in an apparent desperate search of volunteers willing to join the Costa Rican public school boards and thus, help the development of education.

The Costa Rican elementary and secondary schools are required by law to have boards of at least five people. However, since this is an unpaid position, many citizens could have a low interest to take part in them, despite their importance in the achievement of educational goals.

“These boards are in charge of managing the whole budget received by the school. They are the ones who approve what can be done with it and where to focus the resources, says Andrea Calabaceta, the director of Fundación Gente, a non-profit organization hired by the ministry to tackle this problem.

Ms. Calabaceta says that many people have the time and the expertise to help the education in their communities but they don't know how. She also believes that the lack of volunteers is also a consequence of poor communication.

“The requirements to be a member are really easy to comply with. You just have to be over 18 and know how to read and write. The positions can be filled either by Costa Ricans or legal residents with their Cédula de Residencia.” Ms. Calabaceta explained.

“There are so many things people can get involved with, and so many needs. We also invite people to collaborate with their local schools, even though if they don't want to belong to a board.” she added.

According to Ms. Cabalceta, there is an estimate of 25,000 school board members in the country so far. Those who would like to join one could sign up HERE.

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