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‎ICT Legal pioneer Jayantha Fernando Honored with Lifetime Award at SLT Zero One Awards

Mr Jayantha Fernando is an Internet Law and policy expert who has pioneered ICT Legal policy reform and helped the establishment of Internet governance processes in Sri Lanka. He was recently recognized with a Lifetime Award at the inaugural SLT Zero One Awards, along with Prof Abhaya Induruwa (Internet Pioneer) and Kris Canekeratne of Virtusa, at a ceremony held in Colombo.

He is the Chairman of the .LK Domain Registry and serves as Director/ Legal advisor at the ICT Agency of Sri Lanka and also serves on the board of several entities. He also Co-chairs the Task Force for the National Certification Authority in Sri Lanka in addition to the work he does with ISP’s and Banks to address Cyber Security policy issues with the country’s CERT-Coordination Centre.

The event was organized by Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT), with the objective of recognizing, honoring and encouraging excellence in digital initiatives in Sri Lanka, with the Lifetime Awards being presented to professionals who had made significant contributions to the country’s digital industry.

Commenting on this achievement, Mr Fernando said, “I am truly honored to receive this Lifetime Award at the SLT Zero One Awards. I see this initiative as a timely effort in boosting digital transformation in the country. Over the past two decades several key stakeholders, including Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Ministry of Justice, Legal Draftsman’s Dept and Attorney General’s Dept helped and supported our legal reform initiatives to overcome legal challenges. The pioneering work started at the CINTEC Law Committee continued as the e-Laws component of the e-Sri Lanka Development Program of ICTA”. Whilst paying special tribute to Late Hon. Justice Mark Fernando, PC and Late Prof V. K. Samaranayake, Mr Fernando expressed his gratitude to the founders of ICTA, all Chairmen, CEOs, former Leadership Team colleagues as well as key stakeholders of the e-Sri Lanka program and thanked the organisers of the event for “helping to recognizes all our key stakeholders and the committed staff of ICTA through this award”

In the sphere of cyber law Mr Jayantha Fernando has helped draft several pieces of legislation required for electronic trade. The Electronic Transactions Act No. 19 of 2006 facilitates domestic and international electronic commerce by eliminating legal barriers and establishing legal certainty; and the Computer Crimes Act No. 24 of 2007 provides for the identification of computer crimes and stipulates the procedure for the investigation and enforcement of such crimes. Together this legislation forms the corner stone of e-Law for this country. Mr Fernando has also advised in the formulation of the Payment Devices Frauds Act of 2006 and Payment & Settlement Systems Act of 2005. He developed the legal framework for the use of authentication technologies for the National Payment Network (Lanka Clear), which is now used each day for Inter Bank Payment Systems and Cheque Imaging and Truncation System.

In drafting legislation he was instrumental in ensuring that Sri Lanka conformed to International best practices, such as Budapest Cyber Crime Convention, UNCITRAL Model Laws as well as the UN Electronic Communications convention. He also gave leadership to Sri Lanka’s entry to the Budapest Cybercrime Convention and Sri Lanka’s ratification of the UN Electronic Communications Convention in 2015, both firsts for South Asia.

By aligning Sri Lanka’s e-laws and policies with international treaties and conventions, Mr Fernando has helped Sri Lanka benefit from engaging in cross border electronic trade & commerce, international cooperation in Cyber security, harmonized national laws and developed investigative techniques for Cybercrime to ensure we remain relevant and take advantage of digital Commerce.

Fernando also shaped the Internet governance landscape by helping to establish the Country’s first Internet Exchange point, the local Internet Society chapter and helped re-launch the LK Domain Registry as a Non-profit Organization. He was also instrumental in drafting the legal blueprint and institutional framework to establish ICTA and Sri Lanka CERT (Computer Emergency Readiness Team). For 10 years he shared operational responsibility for the “e-Sri Lanka Development Project”, the flagship ICT development initiative of the Government implemented in partnership with the World Bank, with which he was involved from its inception in 2002 through the design phase and thereafter as an executive staff member during its implementation phase (2003-2013).

Mr Jayantha Fernando became the first South East Asian to be elected to the Strasbourg based Bureau of The Cybercrime Convention Committee (T-CY) of the Council of Europe, which administers the Budapest Cybercrime Convention globally.