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Govt commits to protect internet against terrorism

BY: Maclean Kwofi
Participants in the workshop

THE Minister of Communication and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has expressed the resolve of the government to partner with relevant stakeholders to protect the Internet and its users from terrorist acts.

She explained that partnerships through knowledge sharing and best practices were crucial to deal with the issue of online terrorism and violent extremism.

“I welcome you to join forces with relevant agencies to work together and to ensure that relevant legislations which are consistent with the legal and digital rights of all people are adopted and implemented as we seek to secure our digital platforms against destabilising acts of terror,” she said.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said that at the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT)/Tech Against Terrorism (TAT) Multi-Sector Workshop on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism Online in Accra on September 7.

Online terrorist activities

The minister said online terrorist activities were a concern for every nation and Ghana was no exception adding that there was, therefore, a need for collaboration among nations and groups to expedite information sharing, responses and coordination to counter such acts.

“Countries are now at war with hackers online, critical data is being stolen and many institutions are facing ransomware attacks on a daily basis.

“In addition to these, 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 said.

She said accelerating and strengthening knowledge sharing and best practices among tech companies, law enforcement and other relevant partners in the cyber space would place more attention on the issue of online terrorism and violent extremism.

She said Ghana had over the past five years made strides in cybersecurity with the passage of the Cybersecurity Act, 2020 (Act 1038) with specific provisions for the protection of critical information infrastructure.

Ghana’s readiness

The Minister of National Security, Albert Kan-Dapaah, gave an assurance that the country would be able to respond and ward off any terrorist attacks in the country.

He said the security and intelligence agencies had been retooled and well-equipped to ward off any terrorist attacks.

“The events of September 11, 2001, demonstrated to the world the lengths at which terrorists were determined to carry out their evil deeds.

“These violent extremists and jihadists intend to disrupt and destabilise individuals and societies at large. Unfortunately for us today, these persons have moved their activities online and our major concern at the moment is potential terrorist attacks against our critical information infrastructure.

“Online terrorist activities are a concern for every nation and Ghana is no exception. There is, therefore, a need for collaboration among nations and groups to expedite information sharing, responses and coordination to counter such acts,” he said.

Digital revolution

The acting Director-General of the Cyber Security Authority (CSA), Dr Albert Antwi-Boasiako, said the digital revolution had led to the development of a number of internet technologies.

He said the technologies had made it possible for individuals and groups to communicate effectively across borders with increasing anonymity and speed to an almost limitless audience.

“The Internet remains the most equitable technological innovation for mankind with its full benefits to individuals and economies yet to be fully realised.

“However, internet technology has also created the platform for undesirable and dangerous activities.

“The use of the cyberspace and digital platforms for violent extremism and terrorist-related activities is an area of grave concern, not only to governments and its law enforcement agencies but also the very organisations which own or deploy such technologies to users,” he stated.