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Govt to regulate internet activity if citizens don’t observe online ethics – Ursula Owusu-Ekuful

Minister for Communications has cautioned that government might be compelled to regulate activities on the internet if citizens are unable to observe ethics of the Internet including the respect for privacy online.

According to Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, the move might be necessary due to the alarming rate of impersonation, fake news misinformation, human downgrading, cyber crimes and social media abuse on the Internet.

“In certain countries there’s been calls for social media to be shut down because of its abuse but like I indicated in my speech, I don’t think that’s an option. However, we need to promote a more responsible use of the internet to secure the privacy of all citizens online – children, the vulnerable – and to ensure that we do not overstep those bounds,” she stated.

“If we don’t self-regulate, the state will be compelled to set in place the mechanisms to regulate our usage of the internet,” Owusu-Ekuful cautioned.

“However, in crafting cyber security laws, we should also be mindful of individual liberties and freedoms so we strike that fine balance between all these competing needs in protecting the citizens, protecting the security of the state and ensuring that the internet is available for lawful use by all and not restricting its usage while protecting the vulnerable online,” she added.

Ursula Owusu-Ekuful said this in an interview with GhanaWeb at the 8th Annual Freedom Online Coalition (FOC) conference on Thursday, February 6 in Accra.

The conference which was under the theme: ‘Achieving a Common Vision for Internet Freedom’ seeks to initiate a discourse on ways to improve internet access and ensure cybersecurity safety in Ghana.

Ursula Owusu-Ekuful also disclosed that the Rural Telephony initiative which seeks to provide extended voice and data services to all unserved and underserved rural communities will commence sometime between May or June of this year.

On the occasion of the conference, an agreement on Digital Inclusion was signed by Ambassador Christoph Retzlaff, German Ambassador to Ghana with Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful.

The German Ambassador commended Ghana for its commitment to cyber safety and lauded the conference for a strong approach towards ensuring cybersecurity in the country.