The Director of the Cybercrime Unit at the CID Headquarters, Ghana Police Service Dr. Gustav Herbert Yankson, has cautioned perpetrators of online sexual abuse to desist from threatening or releasing any nude materials or contents of their victims as they could face up to 15 years imprisonment.
ACP Yankson made this revelation during a panel discussion to commemorate the International Day of the Girl organized by Plan International Ghana in Accra.
Themed “Girls Get Freedom Online – Safety from Cyber Crime”, Dr Yankson also took the opportunity to advice, especially, young girls and women to desist from sharing nude contents of themselves with their partners online.
“Anyone who issues threats, blackmail or releases nude photos of another individual will be brought to book to face the law. This person could get up to fifteen years imprisonment for this act. And we have the technology to trace whoever it is. So don’t think you can remain anonymous behind the PC or behind a new account to share such contents. We have the technology to fish you from your hideout”, he said.
“To the young women out there, do not take nude pictures or videos of yourself and do not share such contents to your partner, not even your husband. The problem is the phone could be hacked, stolen or get damaged and may need to be taken to the repairs and before you know it, your nudity is circulating everywhere,” he reiterated.
Dr Yankson also further revealed that it is against the law to post nude photos on social media. He explained that the law also holds people who put their nude pictures online and shared them on social media liable to an offence.
He warned that all acts that are criminal in society are also criminal when done online, and “we have intensified the punishments in the Cybersecurity Act 2020 for cybercriminals to serve as a deterrent to others. So if you insult in the normal space in society and if you insult in a cyber space or on social media, including WhatsApp group platform, it is criminal because it was in a public domain and you will be held liable for that,” he said.
Also present was Madam Awo Aidam Amenya, the Executive Director of Child Online Africa, who noted that it is important to introduce digital literacy to young people to protect their online space. According to her, knowledge for digital literacy is very low especially amongst girl.
“It has become very important to teach young girls how to emphatically say no and how to spot nice predators. We need to help them set some rules and boundaries for themselves and these predators before they even start using online tools”, she said.
Madam Amenya, noted that digital literacy is an important tool needed to build the knowledge of children and girls when they use the internet.
She said “If someone sends inappropriate content, we need to make it a behavior of blocking and reporting their accounts. The starting point for building resilience is citizenship and literacy. It is not enough to teach only ICT alone without literacy which focuses on deliberate key indicators. Literacy is usually silent in ICT. It is not enough to learn about coding. They need to learn the literacy part as well so they don’t build apps that rather hack and spy on their friends instead of apps that solve a problem.”
In attendance were representatives from the United Nations Population Fund, World Vision, and Care International among others.