Crime & Punishment Wed, 17 May 2006

Cyber Cafe operators to build security monitors

Accra, May 17, GNA - Computer Network Operators and Internet Service Providers have been urged to put in place monitors and early warning mechanisms that would ensure vigilance and combat cyber crimes. Dr Benjamin Aggrey Ntim, Deputy Minister of Communications, said the current upsurge in cyber crime arising from the use of the Internet was suppressing governments' effort to improve and expand communication infrastructure.

Dr Ntim said this at a flag-raising ceremony on Wednesday to mark World Telecommunication Day, which was under the theme: "Promoting Global Cyber Security."

The day, which also coincides with the Fist World Information Society Day, was aimed at educating the public on the importance of building confidence and trust in the uses of Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

Dr Ntim said lack of adequate security in Internet networks had resulted in persistent crimes such as forgeries (419), junk mails and posting of viruses and pornography.


He said such criminal activities were very serious and becoming worse, adding that without proper security, the Internet may become unusable in a few years' time.

Dr Ntim said it had therefore become critically to safeguard vital systems and infrastructure against attacks by cyber criminals who turn "our cyber caf=E9s into crime laboratories to perpetrate their anti-social acts."

He commended national security agencies for exhibiting vigilance and monitoring in tracking down criminals and their accomplices. We must ensure security and instil confidence in online transactions in order to promote trade, commerce, banking, telemedicine and e-government, among others.

Dr Ntim said increase in awareness and education of stakeholders was important as computing had become an important part of ensuring the socio-economic development of every individual.


The Deputy Minister said government had begun policy deliberations and legal proposals to allow greater degree of public trust. He mentioned the development of the Electronic Transactions Bill, which would provide protection of the private rights of Internet users and website owners.

He said the government had no intention of controlling the Internet in Ghana, but rather wanted to accelerate work to ensure that the Internet was made widely available to the general public. Dr Ntim said this would help improve governance, promote commerce, and improve health, education and other social and economic activities. He said the establishment of a local Internet Exchange Point in Ghana was a demonstration of government's commitment to ensure the advancement of ICT in national development.

"When the national fibre optic backbone project takes off, we shall be able to provide high-speed and an always-on Internet service throughout the country."

Dr Ntim urged all stakeholders of the Internet in the country to acquaint themselves with new developments at the global stage to help them improve the system in Ghana.


Mr Daouda Toure, UN Resident Co-ordinator and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Representative in Ghana, acknowledged the importance of ICT in bringing government closer to the people. He said UNDP had been working with the government to provide infrastructure and training as well as programmes that would help bridge the digital divide between the rural and urban communities. He said a total of 230 Community Information Centres had been constructed nationwide to ensure access of the people to the social and economic opportunities provided by technological solutions.

In a message read on his behalf, Mr Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations, acknowledged the critical need to safeguard vital ICT systems against attack by cyber criminals.

He called on all countries to develop a global culture of cyber security to help curb the global menace.

Mr Annan urged all UN member states and stakeholders in the ICT industry to help increase global awareness on cyber security and to develop an international network of initiatives and ICT-based counter-measures to enhance security and build trust in the use of ICTs.

"This is essential for the continued growth and development of our economies, and especially important for developing countries," he said. Mr Annan said the 141st anniversary celebrations of the ITU highlighted the link between the great potential of ICTs and the goal of accelerating the pace of development worldwide.

"Let us all pledge to connect the unconnected and build a free and safe information society that will spur development for all the world's people."

Mr Yoshio Utsumi, Secretary-General, ITU, said in a message read on his behalf, that the Union had used its recognised expertise to reach out to the remotest regions of the globe and to accelerate the pace of development.

"This year, the ITU has advocated the development of ICT to assist the disabled and to prepare for emergencies and disasters," he said.

Source: GNA