Cyber security laws bite for good

BY: The Mirror Editorial

Social media has, over the years, proved to have many advantages for our society. Among the many positives is the speed at which information can be shared and its role as a tool for promoting democracy by serving as a platform for the ventilation of divergent views. 

It has enabled the exposure of crimes, which the police have followed up to make arrests, thereby helping to ensure law and order, and played a critical role in the fight for social justice.

Social media has also brought the world closer by enabling people to be in touch with one another, no matter how far apart they may be.

Unfortunately, and just like any form of technology, social media too has disadvantages, with many using it to perpetrate crime and evil, including fraud, romance scam, bullying and grooming.

There have also been instances when partners, especially males, have shared the nude photos of their partners as a form of revenge or to embarrass the partners for breaking up the relationships or not meeting their terms.

Another serious one has been the use of social media for blackmail.
Ghana, in a bid to deal with such crimes, introduced cyber security laws two years ago to criminalise the publication of nude pictures for either revenge or blackmail purposes, with a jail term of between five and 25 years.

A 22-year-old phone repairer, Solomon Doga, has acted contrary to that law and is, therefore, going to spend 14 years in jail for using social media in a criminal way.

On June 21, 2022, he was sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment by a court at Adenta in Accra for sexual extortion and non-consensual sharing of intimate images on social media.

According to the story, Doga was contracted by a Lebanese woman based in Accra to unlock her phone for her, but he did not only the work assigned but also went ahead to retrieve her intimate photos as well.

He later attempted to blackmail the woman by threatening to publicise her nude photos unless she paid him some amount of money, but she refused and blocked his number.

He subsequently published her naked photos on social media, leading to his arrest and incarceration.
While it is unfortunate that a young man is going to jail for that long and may come out a worse person because of the harsh conditions in the country’s prisons, The Mirror is happy with the sentence because such crimes are becoming common.

In many such cases, the perpetrators seem to get away with the crime because the police are not able to identify the faces behind the publications on social media.
We believe the sentence will serve as a deterrent to others.

We hope that the publicity given this case will be wide enough to make many aware that such action is criminal and could land perpetrators in jail for a long time.

The Mirror advises the public to be wary of the kind of people they give access to their phones in order to prevent such embarrassment.