IT expert advocates CSOs involvement in national cybersecurity policy formulation

Sunday 21st July, 2019
Social CSOs Cybersecurity

By Iddi Yire, GNA

Accra, July 21, GNA – Mr Eric Akomeah, an information technology (IT) expert has advocated for an increased involvement of civil society organisations (CSOs) in the development and implementation of National Cyber Security Strategy.

He said this would go a long way to ensure that the rights of the citizenry such as the right to privacy, free expression and internet freedom were protected.

The term “cybersecurity” is meant to describe the collection of tools, policies, guidelines, risk management approaches, actions, trainings, best practices, assurance and technologies that can be used to protect the availability, integrity and confidentiality of assets in the connected infrastructures pertaining to government, private organisations and citizens.

Mr Akomeah, who doubles as the Deputy Executive Director, Africa Cybersecurity Digital Rights Organisation (ACDRO), made the appeal in his presentation at the second Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) Cybersecurity Workshop in Accra.

The workshop was organised by ACDRO in partnership with the Global Partners Digital (GPD) on the theme “Making Our National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy Citizen-Centre”.

The objective of the workshop was to equip CSOs with expert knowledge to enable them to contribute meaningfully to National Cyber Security Policy and Strategy to be more citizen-centric as well as promote the digital rights of the citizenry.

This second CSOs workshop follows the successful organisation of the maiden one in February this year, which focused on awareness creation.

Speaking on the topic “Cyber Security Policy and Strategy Best Practice and Models”, Mr Akomeah said Cybersecurity Strategy was an expression of the vision, high-level objectives, principles and priorities that guide a country in addressing cybersecurity.

Mr Akomeah, who is also the Director of Operations at the National Information Technology Agency (NITA), said cybersecurity affects many areas of socio-economic development and was influenced by several factors within the national context.

Using western nations such as Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom, Mr Akomeah illustrated how national cyber security policies were safeguarding their respective cyberspace.

He said Canada’s Cyber Security Strategy 2010 seeks to secure the Government’s systems; adding that under the policy the Government of Canada increased its capacity to prevent, detect, respond to, and recover from cyber-attacks.

He said through the strategy, the number of data breaches have steadily declined since 2010 — despite an increase in the number and sophistication of state-sponsored and non-state cyber activities against Government networks.

He said that the US Cyber Security Policy 2018 seeks to protect the American People, the Homeland, and the American Way of Life.

It also sought to promote American prosperity, preserve peace through strength and to advance American influence.

For that of the UK, Mr Akomeah said they were working to strengthen their own IT defenses and work with industry to ensure UK networks, data and systems were protected against evolving cyber threats.

The UK would strengthen law enforcement’s capabilities to increase the cost of cybercrime; the government would help to develop the UK’s critical capabilities, including cyber skills, as well as the country’s growing cybersecurity industry, to keep pace with cyber threats.

Mr Akomeah said many countries were fusing policy and strategy into just strategy with policy imperative; declaring that all policies follow cybersecurity strategy best practice.

He said earlier strategies did not infuse digital or peoples’ rights on the internet, whereas more recent polices has increase focus on digital rights and well-being (prosperity) of the digital citizens.