A three-day International Workshop on Criminal Justice Statistics on Cybercrime and Electronic Evidence on Wednesday, 29th March, 2017 has opened in Ghana’s capital, Accra at the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel.
The workshop which is being organised by the Council of Europe in collaboration with the National Communications Authority (NCA) is expected to interrogate the current systems available in each member country with regards to reporting, collating and interpreting statistics on Cybercrime and Electronic Evidence and build capacity to develop measures in this regard.
The workshop brought together several law enforcement and justice professionals involved in collecting, collating and interpreting statistics for offences of cybercrime across the globe including Philippines, Tonga, Sri Lanka, Morocco among others.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Minister for Communications, Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful noted that cybercrime poses challenges to the technological development of Ghana and called for concerted efforts of all users of the cyberspace.
“Cybercrime is borderless in nature and poses real challenges to all our counties. Its transnational nature requires the concerted efforts of all users of cyberspace in addressing cybercrime and it is dangerous for any country to adopt an attitude of aloofness. Mindful of this, we have welcomed cooperation with the ITU in developing the national CERT, and actively collaborating with you all under the auspices of the GLACY+ program to build our capacity to combat cybercrime. Our participation in this International Workshop on Criminal Justice Statistics on Cybercrime and Electronic Evidence is further evidence of our desire to learn from best practices and enhance our response to the emerging threats we all face.”
She also spoke of Government’s strategic plans to combat e-crime; these include the establishment of a National Cyber Security Council and a Cybersecurity Centre to oversee Cyber Security Incident Reporting and the establishment of a Forensic Laboratory in place to support investigations and prosecutions.
The Acting Director-General of the NCA, Mr. Joe Anokye spoke on the potential increase in cybercrime cases saying: “At the end of January 2017, the total mobile data subscriptions in Ghana was 20,064,110 with a penetration rate of 70.90% and as more and more people get access to data, we expect cases of Cybercrime to escalate. Another reason for this will be the fact that unscrupulous people are gradually shifting their strategies to other physically non-invasive strategies for crime and fraud. Also, new technologies and strategies are being developed daily to advance network security and these also have the effect of preventing Law Enforcement and Justice Agencies from securing the much needed electronic evidence.”
Mr. Anokye called for the development of a shared system which would enable all relevant institutions upload cases and share information to avoid duplication of efforts and ensure data and statistics integrity.
In his remarks, Mr. Matteo Lucchetti, a Project Manager at the Council of Europe, stated that in a 2016 assessment of the cybersecurity situation in Ghana, the Council of Europe delegation that conducted the assessments were impressed with the focus and the competencies that were dedicated to addressing cyber-related issues on the national level. Notable are, existing legislations for matters related to cybercrime and proper handling of electronic evidence, a consolidated institutional framework as evidence by the recent National Cybersecurity Strategy, and a general high level of awareness on issues concerning cybercrime.
Mrs. Maria Luisa Trancoso, the Head of Governance of the EU Delegation in Ghana stated that government has a duty to protect citizens from crime and breach of privacy. She acknowledged that one of the biggest challenge in fighting cybercrime is under-reporting of cybercrime and a lack of statistics and data for analysis.
Cabinet in November 2017 approved Ghana’s accession to the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime which aims at harmonising national laws on e-crime, improving investigative techniques and increasing cooperation among nations to foster the protection of countries against cybercrime.
Ghana is one of the few African countries and presumably, the first in West Africa that has signed the treaty and has keenly taken steps to ratify the treaty pursuant to cabinet’s decision.