The Government of Ghana has approved a bill that will strengthen the country’s response to online child sexual exploitation and abuse: Cybersecurity Act 2020.
“The Cybersecurity Act 2020 is an important step in ensuring a safer digital Ghana for children,” said Hon Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, the Minister of Communications and Digitalisation of Ghana. “The implementation of this Act will ensure that all Ghanaian children learn safety online and explore all the opportunities presented to them by the online environment to develop their full potential.”
This bill, which was pushed forward by UNICEF Ghana through an End Violence-supported project, overrides aspects of a previous bill and adds new provisions for child safety. As part of the bill, the Cybersecurity Authority will be established at the government’s Ministry of Communications, the aim of which will be to regulate cybersecurity activities in the country and promote the development of cybersecurity across Ghana.
“The Cybersecurity Act is crucial for UNICEF’s work on child online protection in Ghana, and provides for strengthened protection of children online,” said Anne-Claire Dufay, the UNICEF Representative in Ghana.
UNICEF Ghana will continue to work with the government, the Ghana Police Service and the Cybersecurity Authority to implement the provisions of the bill. In the process, they will partner with the police service to strengthen – using a child protection digital forensic lab established by the End Violence-supported project in 2020 – the country’s cyber tip line, in accordance with the Cybersecurity Act’s new provision to retain data linked to specific IP addresses for at least six months.
In addition, UNICEF will also work with telecommunication companies throughout the country to advance notice-and-takedown procedures related to child sexual abuse online.
“This Act brings together a lot of the work we have been pushing for with the Government of Ghana,” said UNICEF. “It provides excellent policy and legal foundations for implementing more ambitious child online protection-related provisions.”
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