The Cyber security Act, 2020 (Act 1038) was passed in December 2020 and establishes the cyber security authority, protects the critical information infrastructure, regulates cyber security activities and promotes the development of cyber security in the country as well as for the protection of children on the internet and provide for related matters. Cyber security is the protection and recovering of computer systems, phones, programs and networks from any type of cyber-attack. Cyber-attack destroys or gains information by unauthorized access. This mode of attack is done by individuals, groups, anonymous sources or an organized crime groups or in some instances by a country. Cyber-attacks can range from installing spyware on a personal computer, systems of companies and banks to attempting to destroy the infrastructure of entire nations. Due to modern trends now, the internet has become a major part of human life and without it much cannot be done. The dependence on mobile phones in accessing the internet is a major contributory factor in cybercriminals and is so due to lack of antivirus, firewalls and other defensive mechanisms inbuilt.
The government in curbing cybercrime launched a Cyber Security Incident Reporting Point of Contact to provide an effective mechanism for citizens to report suspected and identified cybercrime and cyber security incidents in 2019.
It is heartwarming to know that the law provides protection for children as well. Any person found guilty of taking an indecent image of a child for publication on any electronic device commits an offence and would be liable to pay a fine of not less than GHS 30,000 and not more than GHS 60,000 or to a term of imprisonment not less than five years and not more than ten years or to both a fine and term of imprisonment.
In November 2020, a collaborative effort between Ghana’s security and cyber investigation agencies arrested an alleged porn site operator to have collected monies from victims including children under the pretext of pulling down their nude pictures and videos from the internet and this is a step in the right direction.
This law will protect people from becoming victims of crime through activities on the internet especially children who are most vulnerable, protecting businesses and also personal and sensitive information shared over the internet secret and protected.
Titbits from The House
· The Appointments Committee of Parliament commenced vetting of President Akufo-Addo’s ministerial nominees on 10th February, 2021 and will end on 9th March, 2021. The President, on 21st January, 2021, published a list of 30 ministers and 16 regional ministers designates he had nominated to occupy various ministerial portfolios subject to their approval by Parliament. Hawa Koomson, the minister designate for the Fisheries Ministry trended after her vetting but the fishermen are solidly behind her and think she is the best person for the job!
· The Insurance Bill, 2020 has received Presidential assent and has replaced the Insurance Act, 2006 (Act 724). It is to ensure that the industry is well regulated in accordance with the international framework and acceptable supervisory standards. The new law has three additional compulsory insurance covers i.e., Public Liability, Group life for employees and Professional Indemnity.
· Parliament passed the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2020 (Act 1044) on 17th December, 2020. This act was to consolidate all laws relating to the prohibition of money laundering. Any person found guilty will be liable to a fine of not less than 100% and not more than 500% of the proceeds of money laundering in the case of an individual; a term of imprisonment of not less than 12 months and not more than 10 years; both the fine and the term of imprisonment or a fine of not less than 300% of the proceeds of money laundering in the case of a corporate entity. Any property acquired from money laundering will be seized by the State!
· The surge in COVID-19 cases has led to the shutting down of Parliament earlier this month. At least 17 MPs and 151 support staff have been infected with the virus. The speaker of the house, Alban Bagbin, announced that the House would be on recess until March 2 to make way for “disinfection and sanitization of the premises.