By Deborah Enam Apetorgbor
A stakeholder engagement intended to foster an inclusive and value-based dialogue on the implementation of the National Cyber Security Policy Strategy (NCPS) has been held in Accra.
The dialogue was focused on creating an understanding of the strategy, identifying its priority areas and collaboratively developing a framework for the implementation of these priority areas, including how to involve stakeholders in the process.
Co-hosted by the Ministry of Communications and Media Foundation for West Africa, in partnership with Global Media Partnership, the meeting was to subject the NCPS to stakeholder scrutiny and solicit for any inputs, as well as make its implementation an open process.
The NCPS, launched by the government in 2016, was developed in collaboration with local stakeholders and reflects a rights-respecting approach to cyber security.
Related ministries, including the recently-established National Cyber Security Secretariat within the Ministry for Communications, have given assurances to partner all stakeholders in the implementation process, as well as civil society, that would have significant roles to play in supporting and monitoring its implementation, in order to harness its full socio-economic potential.
Vincent Sowah Odotei, Deputy Minister for Communications in charge of Cyber Security, iterated the government’s commitment to addressing the cybercrime menace, and expressed faith in the purpose of the NCPS.
Albert Antwi Boasiako, Cyber Security Advisor to the Communications Ministry, at the stakeholder engagement, gave a review of the NCPS, and elaborated on a comprehensive cyber security management architecture that is to coordinate cyber security services.
Addressing the participants, he urged the media to endeavour to dedicate airtime to cyber security issues, generate public discussion on it in various dialects, and contribute to create awareness on cybercrime and cyber security.
Superintendent Hurst Yankey, Head of Cyber Security at the Police Criminal Investigations Department (CID), said his outfit had identified a knowledge gap in dealing with cyber security. Thus, it was expedient to build the capacity of police personnel, including officers, investigators and senior officers, as well as the core cyber group team, to be able to carry out investigations into cybercrimes appropriately.
He said though a cybercrime unit exists, there would soon be established a Cybercrime Directorate, a more elaborate and expanded version of the existing facility with improved features.
The new facility is expected to, among other things, carry out assessments of threats in cyberspace.
Admitting to a disjointed collaboration between security agencies, he said the cyber security working group in charge of the NCSP, is to work more closely with all security agencies and institutions and collaborate with the various stakeholders on how best to regulate the cyber activities, including cybercrime.
He indicated that in 2016 and 2017 alone, Ghana lost US$35 million and US$69 million respectively through cybercrime, and projected the figure to rise to US$100 million if measures are not put in place to regulate cybercrime soon.
Ken Ashigbe, Head of the Telecoms Chamber, told the participants to suppress the tendency to focus more on the technology aspects in discourses of cyber security efforts.
Pointing to the need for a more people-centered approach, he called for advocacy to educate the people, as they are both the main targets and beneficiaries of cybercrime and cyber security.
He recognised, however, that a more crucial element to cyber security is the issuance of the National Identity cards to validate and verify the identity of people and link up with the digital Ghana Post GPS to beef up the technological solutions that would be provided to address cybercrimes.