The Minister for Communication and Digitalisation (MoCD), Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has called on cyber security stakeholders to collaborate and expedite information sharing and responses to counter cyber-attacks.
The Minister made this call when she spoke at the Global Internet Forum on countering terrorism and violent extremism in Accra on Wednesday.
She noted that with the advancement of modern technology and the wide use of the internet, terrorists have leveraged the benefits of the internet to carry out their activities more covertly and thereby causing harm to societies in the cruellest manner.
The Minister noted that terrorists have moved their activities online and that the major concern at the moment was potential terrorists’ attacks against critical information infrastructures.
“Violent extremists and terrorism actors are exploiting the various vulnerabilities of the internet and networks to engage in acts that seek to undermine our personal and civil liberties,” she added.
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said the government in a quest to mitigate cyber-attacks over the past five years, has made strides in cybersecurity following the passage of the Cybersecurity Act, 2020 (Act 1038) with specific provisions for the protection of critical information infrastructures
She added that Act 1038 grants specific powers to law enforcement and intelligence agencies to resort to judicial processes to obtain the needed electronic information to assist with investigations and prosecutions of serious crimes, which include terrorism.
“Before the passage of Act 1038, the government had put in place several initiatives including the ratification of the convention on cybercrimes, also known as the Budapest Convention, and the African Union Convention on Cyber Security and Personal Data Protection, also known as the Malabo Convention, to aid in international collaboration efforts in the fight against cybercrime,” she stated.
The Minister lauded Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) initiative, stating that it was in line with the vision of the ministry, which was to secure the digital ecosystem of the country.
“We take our membership of the Independent Advisory Committee (IAC) of GIFCT seriously, and hosting this international workshop is a demonstration of our government’s commitment to work closely with partners, including the GIFCT and Tech Against Terrorism, to secure the global internet ecosystem”.
On his part, the Acting Director-General for Cyber Security Authority (CSA), Dr Albert Antwi-Boasiako, reiterated that the digital revolution has led to the development of several internet technologies that have made it possible for individuals and groups to communicate effectively across borders with increasing anonymity and speed, to an almost limitless audience.
He added that internet technology has also created a platform for undesirable and dangerous activities, citing that the use of cyberspace and digital platforms for violent extremism and terrorist-related activities was an area of grave concern.
He noted, therefore, that GIFCT was significantly necessitated by the need for dialogue towards understanding among tech firms, governments and civil society at large on how to counter the use of digital platforms for violent extremism and terrorism.
Richard Aniagyei, ISD