GHANA LAUNCHES CHILD ONLINE PROTECTION REPORTING PORTAL


 

Story by Carlos Afanou



The Ministry of Communications through the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has launched the Child Online Protection Reporting Portal to enhance the country’s preventive and reactive interventions in addressing child online safety issues.



Similarly, the Ministry of Communications through the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has also revised the National Child Online Protection framework.


Speaking at the launch of this year’s National Cyber Security Awareness Month in Accra on Thursday, October 1, 2020, the Minister for Communications, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful said children and young people make up a significant percentage of internet users in the country and globally.  



The Portal


That, she explained, the utilisation of the internet has led to children and young people becoming more and more threatened by Child Sexual Abuse Materials (CSAM), whereby children are exposed to online sexual abuse through cyber grooming, cyberstalking, sexting, commercials and gaming applications.


She said the launching of the Child Online Protection Reporting Portal would help to receive reports of Child Sexual Abuse Materials available on the internet.


Mrs Owusu-Ekuful noted that the Child Online Protection Reporting Portal would also enable the National Cyber Security Centre in “reporting of cases to the appropriate organisations such as Facebook, to ensure that the images are taken down.”


“The portal, which will complement the Points of Contact (PoC) will provide a safe platform for people to report suspected child sexual abuse materials,” she said, adding “It is my firm belief that, the National CERT will find the collaboration with the IWF beneficial in responding to cybersecurity incidents involving children.”


The National Cyber Security Advisor, Dr Albert Antwi-Bosiako, for his part, said the National Cyber Security Centre will continue to play the role it has been playing since its establishment; to continue to implement measures aimed at securing Ghana’s digital journey.


Already, the Government of Ghana has been in partnership with the United States Government through the Security Governance Initiative (SGI) and collaborated with the Council of Europe to implement various capacity building initiatives in the fight against cybercrime and to improve Ghana’s cybersecurity,” he explained.


He added, “It is important to ensure that cybercriminals do not infiltrate systems to cause further damage to global economies.



Gender Minister


The Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP), Mrs Cynthia Morrison expressed happiness about the Child Online Protection Reporting Portal, saying that the portal would help protect the country’s children from internet fraudsters and abusers.


She said due to the COVID-19, many children these days use the internet a lot to research, for classes and for socialization, hence making them prone to Child Sexual Abuse Materials.


She noted that many of the social networking tools that many children are using were not designed for them, hence putting many children at risk of cybersecurity issues.


Mrs Morrison has therefore advised children not to divulge their personal information to unknown people on the internet since such information could be wrongly used against them.



UNICEF


She also commended the UNICEF and other development partners of Ghana for ensuring that children in the country were safe using the internet.


The Country Representative of UNICEF, Ms Anne-Claire Dufay said since the emergence of COVID-19, children accessing the internet have increased globally.


UNICEF, she noted, was working with relevant organisations and institutions such as the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) to ensure the protection of children on the internet.


She mentioned the Ghanaians Against Child Abuse (GACA) campaign as one of the interventions that UNICEF is jointly working on with other development partners and relevant government institutions and NGOs to ensure the protection of Ghanaian children and adolescents.

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