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Child online protection portal launched in Accra

A Child Online Protection Portal (COPP) has been launched in Accra, to protect children from online sexual harassment and other internet-related abuses.

The mini-launch was carried out by the Deputy Minister of Communications, Alexander K.K Abban, on behalf of the sector Minister, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, as part of the launch of this year’s National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM), which is on the theme “Cyber security in the era of COVID-19.”

The NCSAM, an initiative of the Ministry of Communications and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), is a month-long event.

The National Cyber Security programme commenced in 2017 to educate the public on hygienic internet, online practices, and highlight efforts by the government to promote cyber security in the country.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful explained that the development of the COPP had become necessary in view of the increasing use of the internet by children for studies due to the outbreak of coronavirus.

She said the use of the internet for studies and research had become an integral part of “our everyday lives.”

The minister noted that children constituted 30 per cent of the 50 per cent global online population.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said “the COPP will provide opportunity to children to report online harassment to the appropriate authorities for action. It will enable us to quickly pull down inappropriate content on the internet, which might not be suitable for the consumption of children.”

To improve the regulatory regime for cyber security, the minister said a draft Cyber Security Bill had been submitted to Cabinet for consideration.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said this year’s celebration of the NCSAM, which would be a hybrid of physical and virtual activities, would provide opportunity for stakeholders in the cyber space to come out with measures to consolidate the gains made by the country in protecting its cyber development.

The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Cynthia Mamle Morrison, said the government was committed to the protection of children, and it was in that direction that the COPP had been developed to protect them from cyber-related problems.

The National Cyber Security Advisor, Dr Albert Antwi-Boasiako said the Ministry of Communications, through the NCSC, had launched a five-year National Cyber Security Awareness Programme,  dubbed “A Safer Digital Ghana,” to create awareness of cybercrime and security among children and the public in general.

He said Ghana was making huge inroads in cyber security, and had been selected by ECOWAS to lead and become the hub of cyber security issues in West Africa.

The US Ambassador to Ghana, Stephanie S. Sullivan, and the Country Representative of UNICEF Ghana, Ms Anne-Claire Dufay, commended Ghana for her efforts to combat cyber crime and promote cyber security.

Among the programmes for the month celebration is a cyber security roundtable for telecommunication operators and seminar for children on safe online practices.

BY KINGSLEY ASARE

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