Interrogate application of international law in cyberspace - Minister of Communications tells international community

The Minister of Communications, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful has asked 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 challenged the international community to test the application of existing international laws in dealing with global cybercrime threats.

According to the Minister, further clarity was needed on this issue with the growth of the global digital economy.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful asked the audience to urgently consider the answers to questions which constitute 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 asked.

The Minister also affirmed Ghana commitment to the fight against cybercrime through international cooperation.

She cited Ghana’s current engagement with the Council of Europe, ratification of both the Convention on Cybercrime (Budapest Convention) and the African Union Convention on Cyber Security and Personal Data Protection (Malabo Convention), Ghana’s leadership in the Freedom Online Coalition (FOC),  membership of the United Nations  Group of Governmental Experts on Cybersecurity and the UN Open-Ended Working Group as examples of the country’s commitment to collaborate with international partners to address cybercrime.

Commenting on the potential destabilising effects of emerging technologies, the Minister highlighted the serious dangers posed by emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoTs), cloud infrastructure and Blockchain technology despite their enormous benefits to digital economies.

According to the Minister, the advent of AI has led to the development of tools like chat bots which have made it possible for machines to talk to people who would never know they’re dealing with a machine.

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

The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Mrs Marija Pejčinović Burić, who also spoke at the event, called for the strengthening of the international response to the fight against cybercrime.

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.


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