The state of recent shutdowns of the internet for various reasons such as examination malpractices and censorship on the African continent does not send the right signal for the future.

Chairman of Africa Cybersecurity Digital Rights Organisation (ACDRO), Major General (rtd) Francis Adu-Amanfoh,  said citizen’s rights in the cyberspace must be entrenched in cybersecurity strategies and due process must be used in any shutdowns if it becomes necessary.

Major General (rtd) Francis Adu-Amanfoh

He explained that even when incorporated in the strategy, there is a need to ensure continuous engagement between state actors and civil society organisations (CSOs) to ensure full implementation.

Maj Gen Adu-Amanfoh said this on Thursday at the Second CSOs Cybersecurity Workshop in Accra.

The workshop was organised by ACDRO in partnership with the Global Partners Digital (GPD) on the theme: “Making Our National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy Citizen-Centre”.

Major General (rtd) Francis Adu-Amanfoh (3rd right) in a group photograph with dignitaries and participants at the workshop

The objective of the workshop is to equip CSOs with expert knowledge to enable them to contribute meaningfully to National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy to be more citizen-centric as well as promote the digital rights of the citizenry.

This second CSOs workshop follows the successful organisation of the maiden one in February, which focused on awareness creation.

Maj Gen Adu-Amanfoh, who is also Ghana’s Ambassador to Mali, said to achieve stability, security and safety in a country, government must constantly engage or communicate with stakeholders to achieve the goals of national security.

He said there was also a need for the different stakeholders to foster cooperation and engagement to ensure trust was built amongst them.

Maj Gen Adu-Amanfoh said in the virtual world or cyberspace, maintaining security is focused on several critical elements in society; adding that, critical information infrastructure, e-government services, public electronic services such as mobile service and money whose compromise might affect the general well-being of the citizens.

“Security and awareness creation of risks and emerging threat is very crucial in maintaining security and stability of these critical systems,” he said.

“There is also the need to share information amongst certain key stakeholders like the economic sector and the national security system to facilitate quick resolution of cyber security incidents.”

Maj Gen Adu-Amanfoh said the totality of coordinated communications, information sharing, security awareness, education and cooperation amongst stakeholders constitutes a security strategy and for the cyberspace and cybersecurity strategy.

He said for a strategy to be effective in addressing the key issues in cyberspace of a country, the right stakeholders should be part of the strategy development process, adding that the right critical information infrastructure must be correctly identified and appropriate risk mitigation measures adopted.

He said role of civil society was important for the development of cybersecurity strategies.

Mr Kenneth Adu-Amanfoh, the Executive Director, ACDRO, said though the internet has become a powerful tool for information sharing, self-expression and communication, the increase in cyber threats had outweighed the enjoyment of internet rights and freedom.

Madam Lea Kaspar, Executive Director, GPD, said GPD’s cyber capacity building programme aims to make cyber policy-making processes around the world more open and inclusive.

Dr Lucas Hillar Addo, Vice President, LUCAS University, said with academia working in concert in with multi-stakeholders such as the Government and its Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), business and the private sector, knowledge and CSOs and with international collaborations they could develop the antidotes to the monster of cybercrimes.

Mr Marcus Adomey, President, Internet Society (ISOC) Ghana, said his organisation was committed to the development of the internet in Ghana and cybersecurity.

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