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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Senator asks House to approve anti-cyber discrimination bill

Sen. Keren Riquelme Cabrera

By The Star Staff

New Progressive Party Sen. Keren Riquelme Cabrera asked the House of Representatives on Tuesday to approve Senate Bill 837, of her authorship, which establishes the “Anti-Cyber Discrimination Law” in order to eliminate technological barriers to the availability of public services, forcing each agency to maintain the alternative that such services can be requested through traditional means, including in person or through paper forms.

The bill was approved in the Senate unanimously (22-0) on Aug. 22, 2022. Since Aug. 30, the measure has been in the Government Committee of the lower chamber.

“Our seniors deserve the best possible quality of life, free of problems. However, the reality is different,” Riquelme said. “As is public knowledge, on our island some 888,786 people are 60 years or older; that figure is one of the highest in the entire nation. Another important fact is that internet users over the age of 65 represent less than 7 percent of the population. These people, in their vast majority, are accustomed to a different way of interacting with the government, a personal way, of visiting government agencies to carry out their efforts.”

“It is necessary to modernize public service systems through the application of new technologies,” the at-large senator continued. “However, it is also necessary to recognize that for a sector of the population, cyber systems have created greater barriers to access to public services than those intended to be eliminated. We cannot neglect or penalize this sector of our population while solving the problems that prevent true universal access to public services. Therefore, it is necessary that these beneficiaries be provided with the alternative of requesting public services through traditional means.”

In recent months, senior groups have demanded that applications for help from the Nutrition Assistance Program and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program also be made on paper, given the reality that many do not master the systems to apply online.

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