Ghana introduces Cybersecurity Act

Ghana introduces Cybersecurity Act

11 November 2020 | Natalie Bannerman

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Ghana’s Parliament has passed its the Cybersecurity Act 2020.

The new piece of legislation is aimed at safeguarding children against cyber crime as well as general protection for citizens against criminal acts and abuses.

Speaking during the second National Girls in ICT Day earlier this year, Ursula Owusu- Ekuful, Ghana’s Minister of Communications, said: “[The] government is introducing a Cybersecurity Bill with provisions on Child Online Protection (COP), to ensure that offenders of revenge pornography (that is acts of distributing sexually explicit images or videos without the consent  of parties) will be prosecuted. The National Cybersecurity Centre is currently reviewing the framework on COP and this includes a comprehensive implementation roadmap aimed at protecting our children online.”

In addition, she said that Ministry was planning the launch of a cybercrime/security incident reporting system to provide various channels to report incidents. This includes online portals, dedicated phone line, SMS, and a dedicated app.

She also said that the Ghana Police Service together with telecommunication industry and the Internet Watch Foundation, would also ensure the proper handling of online crime.

In the memorandum signed by Owusu- Ekuful, greenlighting the new legislation, she said that "a successful economy is hinged on a secured, safe and resilient national digital ecosystem. Cybersecurity is, therefore, very critical to the economic development of the country and essential to the protection of the rights of individuals within the national digital ecosystem".

The country has faced a surge in cyber incidents as reliance on ICT has only accelerated. These attacks have affected various sectors of the country’s economy including energy, telecommunications, banking and finance all causing further disruptions to the delivery of essential services.

As a result, the new law also enables security and law enforcement agencies to combat cybercrime and provides for dedicated sources of funding for the Ghana’s Cyber Security Authority.