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Interrogate the application of international law in cyberspace – Minister

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Ursula Owusu-Ekuful

Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful the Minister for Communications, has called on the international community to interrogate the application of international law in cyberspace.

Delivering a keynote speech at the formal opening of the Octopus Conference 2019 in Strasbourg, France, the Minister urged the international community to test the application of existing international laws in dealing with global cybercrime threats.

She said further clarity is needed on this issue with the growth of the global digital economy.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful urged participants to urgently consider the answers to questions which constituted test cases for the application of existing international norms to cyber security incidents.

“What kind of response is appropriate and proportionate to attacks emanating from a malicious state actor against a country’s critical national information infrastructure? What are the existing international mechanisms for cross border investigations into such cases? Is there any level of state involvement, apart from individual culpability, when state owned computers are used to facilitate an attack against another state,” she queried.

She affirmed Ghana’s commitment to the fight against cybercrime through international cooperation, citing that Ghana’s current engagement with the Council of Europe, its ratification of both the Convention on Cybercrime (Budapest Convention), the African Union Convention on Cyber Security and Personal Data Protection (Malabo Convention).

The Minister said Ghana’s leadership in the Freedom Online Coalition (FOC), its membership of the United Nations Group of Governmental Experts on Cyber security and the UN Open-Ended Working Group, were examples of the commitment to collaborate with international partners in addressing cybercrime.

She said there are some dangers posed by emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoTs), cloud infrastructure and Blockchain technology despite their enormous benefits to our digital economies.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said the advent of AI has led to the development of tools such as chat bots which have made it possible for machines to talk to people who would never know they’re dealing with a machine.

She said in view of these developments, ‘identification of criminal suspects as well as attribution of culpability to suspects, even when they were arrested becomes a challenge.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful commended the Council of Europe for its work on addressing digital electoral interference such as the Guidance Note developed by Cybercrime Convention Committee (TCY) of the Budapest Convention to support State Parties to apply existing articles in the Convention against the criminal use of computer systems in elections.

Mrs Marija Pejcinovic Buric, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, called for the strengthening of the international response in the cybercrime fight.

Other speakers included Mrs. Milia Navas Aparicio, the Director of Information Society and Action against Crime at the Council of Europe; Mr Jan Klejssen, the Attorney General of Costa Rica; and Mr Alexander Seger, the Executive Secretary of the Cybercrime Convention Committee.

The Octopus Conference, held every year in Strasbourg, constitutes one of the biggest international platforms for the exchange of views and good practices in the fight against cybercrime. The conference examines ways of strengthening the rule of law in cyberspace.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful was accompanied by Dr Albert Antwi-Boasiako, the National Cyber security Advisor; Madam Patricia Adusei-Poku, the Executive Director of the Data Protection Commission; and Assistant Commissioner of Police Dr Gustav Yankson, the Director of the Cybercrime Unit of the Criminal Investigation Department.

Source: GNA

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