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Govt urged to expedite implementation of cyber security policy Govt urged to expedite implementation of cyber security policy

By: Kester Aburam Korankye
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Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful — Minister for Communication
Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful — Minister for Communication

CIVIL society organisations (CSOs) with interest in cyber security are imploring the government to expedite the implementation of the National Cyber-security Policy and Strategy (NCSPS) to safeguard activities in the country’s cyber space.  

Although the policy document was prepared and adopted by Cabinet in the last quarter of 2016, it has since been under review for modifications.

Speaking at a Cyber-security training workshop for CSOs in Accra last week, a consultant at the Ministry of Communication, Mr Eric Akumiah, noted that with a global increase in cyber attacks, it was imperative for the country to urgently implement the cyber security policy that would serve as a guide for operations in the country’s cyber space.

“There are some modifications being made to the policy document because technology keeps changing but there is a need for the immediate implementation of the policy,” he said.

Empowerment
The workshop, which was organised by the Global Partners Digital and Africa Cyber Security & Digital Rights Organisation, was to ensure that CSOs were engaged in a substantive and structured way, as well as a continued commitment to multi-stakeholder approaches during the implementation phase.

Held on the theme: ‘Empowering civil society to engage in the unfolding national cyber security landscape,’ the workshop was to increase awareness of civil society and other non-governmental groups.

It was also organised to sensitise civil society to the key issues of cyber-security and how civil society could engage in the unfolding institutional framework.
 
Road to Implementation
Currently, the implementation of the NCSPS has started with capacity building efforts for the judiciary and security agencies underway.

According to stakeholders interviewed, the government’s priorities were child online protection, national infrastructure, data protection, building the capacity of security agencies to prevent cyber crimes and fraud, harmonising legal frameworks, and building capacity of the judiciary.

They also lamented that CSOs engagement had been done in an ad hoc way which was limited to providing advice on specific issues when requested by the government.

Open engagement
However, the CSOs noted that the government seemed to be open to more structured civil society engagement, evidenced by the institutional framework organogram for the implementation of the strategy.

The workshop, therefore, provided an overview of the state of play in cyber-security in the country, an introduction to cyber-security issues, with a focus on priority areas of the NCSPS existing draft and practical ways in which CSOs could contribute to its implementation.
 
Cyber security
Cyber security is the protection of internet-connected systems, including hardware, software and data, from cyber attacks.

The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on October 23, 2017 at the sidelines of the Ghana National Cyber-security Week, inaugurated the National Cyber-security Inter-Ministerial Advisory Council to among other things ensure the implementations of the NCSPS.