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Cybersecurity Authority pledges to track students online activities

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Amidst the increasing spate of cyberbullying on social media and other online platforms, the Director General of the Cybersecurity Authority, Dr Albert Antwi-Boasiako, has disclosed that the Cyber Security Authority is developing a framework that will tackle and monitor students’ behaviour online and also protect them from cyber security threats.

In an address delivered on his behalf at a Cybersecurity awareness seminar organised by the Dean of Students Affairs of Takoradi Technical University in collaboration with the Student Affairs Committee, Dr. Antwi-Boasiako said this has become necessary due to recent reported incidences hence the framework is being made possible by Cyber Security and Data Protection Laws enacted.

“By combining the provisions of the Cybersecurity Act, 2020 (Act 1038) and Data Protection Act, 2012 (Act 843) 2020, the Cyber Security Authority is in the process of developing a comprehensive framework to address the behaviours and implications of students’ online activities. This framework would encompass awareness campaigns, educational programmes, and guidelines for responsible online behaviour.”, he assured.

Dr. Antwi-Bosiako therefore encouraged the students of TTU and other Senior High Schools who participated in the cyber security seminar to build a good online reputation which projects their values.

“Everything you post, share, or engage with online, leaves a trace that can be accessed by university admission officers, marketing companies, job recruiters, embassies, etc. This digital trail can have far-reaching negative or positive implications that can affect a student’s personal and professional life, such as scholarship offers or causing expulsion from the university due to online conduct. Students may also face immediate consequences such as cyberbullying, online harassment, online fraud, sextortion, blackmail, or reputational damage,” he urged.

Director for TTU’s Quality Assurance and Academic Planning, Engineer. Prof. Ebenezer Boakye, who represented the Vice Chancellor of TTU at the event advised students, especially computer science and information technology students to familiarise themselves with the Cybersecurity Act and its implications for their future careers.

“As students of this prestigious institution, you are the future leaders and innovators in the field of technology. You must understand the implications of this Act and the importance of cybersecurity in our daily lives. Whether you are studying computer science, information technology, or any other related field, you will undoubtedly come across issues related to cybersecurity in your future careers,” he encouraged.

He noted that the TTU has stringent policies regarding cybercrimes and social media offences and issued a stern warning about the severe consequences for students found guilty of such misconduct.

“The University takes a strong stance against any form of misconduct, especially when it comes to the misuse of technology and social media platforms. Any student found guilty of such offences will face severe disciplinary action, which includes expulsion from the University…Think before you post, and remember that your actions online can have real-world consequences. Let us all strive to create a positive and safe online community for our university,” he warned.

Dean of Students Affairs of TTU, Prof. Bruce Amartey Jnr., giving the rationale for the event, pointed out increasing instances of cyberbullying, sexual extortion and spreading of explicit content, which have compromised the safety and well-being of students and threatens the institution’s reputation has mandated the Dean’s office to raise awareness on the right use of technology.

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Prof. Bruce Amartey Jnr.-Dean, Students Affairs, TTU

“We aim to empower our students to make informed decisions, protect their privacy, and uphold ethical standards in their online interactions. We believe that by raising awareness and promoting responsible use of technology, we can create a safer and more respectful online community for all,” he said.

ACP Dr. Francis Tsidi, who is the Deputy Western Police Regional Commander, in a comprehensive presentation, mentioned some basic features of what constitutes cybercrime.

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ACP Dr. Francis Tsidi

He mentioned that people who are found in such acts as hacking, cyberstalking and child soliciting may face serious sanctions such as fines of up to Gh¢5,000 or end up 5-10 years in prison.

He advised participants to be security conscious and report instances of harassment.

“Everyone must have some personal security awareness. If your picture is in the air circulating, you have to blame yourself, at least you have the law to protect you. So, if you experience this let us know. We need a lot of sensitisation,” he advised.

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The Takoradi Technical University’s Office of Students Affairs promises to regularly organize cybersecurity seminars to address emerging cyber threats to students.

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