Cybersecurity Bill To Secure Ghana’s Digital Ecosystem

Ursula Owusu-Ekuful

The Minister of Communications, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has indicated that the Cybersecurity Bill when passed into law, would help secure Ghana’s digital ecosystem.

She was speaking a day’s workshop in Accra for for Ghana’s heads of security agencies on the draft cybersecurity bill.

According to her, the country’s continuous efforts to digitize called for a concerted effort to protect its digital infrastructure to avoid malicious infiltration.

She observed that any form of cyberattack on Ghana’s digital infrastructure would compromise its security and sovereignty as a state, hence the need for resolute and comprehensive legal framework, systems and processes to make its digital experience secure.

According to her, the security challenges of digitisation were obvious.

She noted that many Ghanaians have experienced a number of cybersecurity incidents including online impersonation and identity theft, social media scams and other cybersecurity-related breaches.

She expresses that the anonymity which facilitates cybercrime and the ease with which they are committed enhances its danger.

A single cybersecurity incident,.she added, can have global reach and devastating effects on governments, businesses and individuals.

The Cybersecurity bill

Over the years, scattered provisions in existing legislation such as the Electronic Transactions Act, 2008 (Act 772) and the Data Protection Act, 2012 (Act 843) have attempted to address cybercrime.

While the Electronic Transactions Act criminalises specific cyber offences, the Data Protection Act provides the principles and the procedures for lawful processing of personal data.

What is lacking now is comprehensive cybersecurity legislation.

The introduction of the Bill seeks to address this deficiency.

The Minister said the Bill also makes specific provision for child online safety issues in the age of sextortion and blackmailing involving obscene contents, some of which are related to children.

She added that most importantly, the Bill was being introduced to address specific legal gaps with respect to Ghana’s mandate under the Budapest and the Malabo Conventions both of which, Ghana is a signatory to.

In his address, the National Cybersecurity Advisor, Dr Albert Antwi-Boasiako emphasised on leadership as a key determinant of change even in the area of Ghana’s developmental responses to address the menace of cyber criminality.

BY Melvin Tarlue

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