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General News of Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Source: Daily Guide Network

MPs review draft documents on cyber security

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The Parliamentary Select Committee on Communication together with officials of the Ministry of Communications have converged at a three-day retreat over the weekend to review drafts of policies and legislative documents that seek to regulate and provide direction on cyber related activities of the country.

The documents which were put together by the National Cyber Security Centre, an agency of the Ministry of Communication, included the Cyber security Bill, Interception Bill and the revised National Cyber security Policy and Strategy.

The Bills are expected to among other things address the current challenges of law enforcement and security agencies, regulate the cyber security industry, set up cyber security authority, address child online issues, protection of critical information structure and also provide mechanism for international cooperation.

On the other hand, the draft policy documents are expected to address current cyber-security and cyber-crime trends as well as reflect the status of the country as the third on the African continent to ratify the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime and the Malabo Convention on Cyber Security and Personal Data Protection.

Also present at the retreat were members of Legislative Drafting Division of the Office of the Attorney General’s Department who joined other participants to undergo a capacity building programme on cyber security.

Speaking to participants at the programme, the Minister of Communications, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful indicated that the activities of over 10 million Ghanaians who are connected to the internet expose the country’s cyber systems to various vulnerabilities and threats.

She mentioned these vulnerabilities to include use of public emails by government officials, visiting of unfamiliar emails which pose threats of scamming and phishing, sharing of sensitive information on social media that may lead to page cloning and scamming, and connecting to unprotected public Wi-Fi.

She attributed the persisting challenges to the lack of awareness among citizens which can be addressed through mass sensitization.

“Inculcating essential cyber hygiene practices in the citizens will address certain habits that lead to cyber-attacks” she said.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful also called for a sustainable budget to fund cyber security activities, more collaboration between state and non-state actors and a comprehensive cyber security law capable of addressing the current complexities of cybercrime and cyber security.

“This explains why the Ministry of Communications, working with the members of the National Cyber Security Inter-Ministerial Advisory Council (NCSIAC) and other stakeholders are introducing a Cyber security Bill” she said.

A Cyber security Maturity Assessment commissioned by the Ministry and undertaken by the Global Cyber Security Capacity Centre of the Oxford University showed that Ghana’s cyber security was at its formative stages, emphasising the need to build upon current achievements.

The Chairman of Parliament’s Select Committee on Communications, Ken Agyapong in that regard said Ghana was not safe when it comes to cyber security.

“Whether we liked it or not cyber insecurity has become a thorn in our flesh and therefore it’s important that we deal with it once and for all,” he said.

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