Ghana has been appointed as a member of the Independent Advisory Committee (IAC) of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFTC). This nomination is due to Ghana’s political commitment and human right-centric approach to developing its cybersecurity, as well as its active engagement at the regional and international level to promote responsible use of the Internet.
The GIFCT was established in July 2017 by a group of companies dedicated to disrupting terrorists’ abuse and misuse of member platforms. The original Forum was led by a rotating chair drawn from the four founding companies — Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube. The GIFCT facilitates knowledge-sharing, technical collaboration and sponsored research toward preventing the use of digital platforms including social media for terrorist-related activities – such as the March 2019 Christchurch attack that killed about 51 people and left many injured.
The IAC is part of the GIFCT and will serve as a consultative body dedicated to maximising effectiveness of the GIFCT and establishing engagements among government, civil society, and industry. The IAC is composed of government representatives, technical experts, civil society leaders, advocacy groups, human rights specialists and researchers. IAC members are selected by GIFCT’s Operating Board, composed of GIFCT’s four founding member companies: Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube. Some of the countries serving on the IAC alongside Ghana include Canada, France, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and United States of America.
Dr. Albert Antwi-Boasiako, current head of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), will represent Ghana on the Committee. The NCSC was established in 2018 under the Ministry of Communications to coordinate cybersecurity response in government and the private sector.
Within the last three years, the Ministry of Communications under the leadership of Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, the sector Minister, through the NCSC has improved significantly Ghana’s international cooperation efforts in the fight against cybercrime. In December 2018, Ghana formally acceded to the Convention on Cybercrime, also known as the Budapest Convention, and ratified the African Union Convention on Cyber Security and Personal Data Protection, known as the Malabo Convention – becoming the continent’s 5th country to ratify the treaty.
In 2019, Ghana chaired the Freedom Online Coalition – an inter-governmental body that promotes digital rights – and during this period government collaborated with the German government to draft a Digital Inclusion Statement, which has been adopted by all FOC members. The Ministry of Communications has also been actively involved in the United Nations Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG), whose activities are aimed at improving international response to cybercrimes.
In view of these developments – and our work to improve Cybersecurity in Ghana by reviewing the legal and regulatory framework, public education and sensitisation, establishing a network of Computer Emergency Response Teams in various sectors, and capacity building for all actors in this ecosystem among others – the ECOWAS Commission has requested that Ghana lead cybersecurity efforts in the sub-region.
Ghana’s membership of the Independent Advisory Committee of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism is further recognition of our leadership role in improving the world’s cybersecurity.