Dr Albert Antwi-Boasiako, Head of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), has urged Ghanaians to be privacy-conscious about themselves as the exposure of personal information is a major contributory factor to the increasing breach of privacy in the country.
He said many Ghanaians easily gave out information when they visited offices, workshops or hotels, and that although there were legal provisions under the Data Protection Act 2012 (Act 843) to protect the privacy of people, individuals must take some personal responsibility to ensure the protection of their personal data.
“Throughout our regional engagement one of the concerns has been on how your information get into the hands of strangers, I think the fundamental problem starts with our attitude towards information sharing, “Dr Antwi-Boasiako said.
“We spread our information all over the place, give detailed information including personal information to strangers on social media without thinking of the risks and unintended consequences to our personal security.”
Dr Antwi-Boasiako said this at a Cybersecurity Capacity Building and Sensitisation Workshop organised by the NCSC for staff of the Eastern Regional Coordinating Council and the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) regional branch.
The event, which forms part of the 2020 National Cyber Security Awareness Month, is on the theme: “Cybersecurity in the Era of COVID-19”.
Admitting the need to enforce the provisions in the Data Protection Act, Dr Antwi-Boasiako challenged the public to use available mechanisms provided by Act 843 to obtain and process personal information, including initiating formal complaints against businesses, which failed to follow the data protection requirements.
“The Data Protection Commission should also scale up its enforcement actions, especially against recalcitrant data controllers to serve as a deterrent to institutions, which flout the data protection regulations,” he said.
Touching on the prevalence of fake news, Dr Antwi-Boasiako admonished the media to be circumspect in news dissemination since fake content had the potential to plunge the country into chaos.
“As journalists you always want to be the first to break the news, but that should be done bearing in mind that the production and circulation of fake news is a criminal offence under Section 115 of the Electronic Transactions Act, 2008 (Act 772), Section 159 of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29), and Section 76 of the Electronic Communications Act, 2008 (Act 775),” he added.
Mr Samuel Gyimah, Director of the Eastern Regional Coordinating Council, said the COVID-19 pandemic, which had become a catalyst for digital acceleration, had given credence to the need to enhance cybersecurity.
He said the current rise in cyber-crime called for intensified awareness on those activities.
Mr Maxwell Kudekor, Eastern Regional GJA Chairman, called on journalists to use their media platforms to disseminate news bordering on cybercrime and cybersecurity.
He admonished participants to be responsible when churning out information, stressing the need to ensure due diligence on information before publication.