Prof Quaynor, made these remarks at social night, when he chaired a social gathering organized by the Ghana Chapter of the Internet Society under the theme, "Internet Security and the National Effort". It was attended by about 50 people from ISOC members, government, civil society, industry and academia.
Reiterating the importance of protecting our critical infrastructure, Mr. Daniel Asante, coordinator of the Ghana Computer Emergency Response Team (ghCERT) informed the gathering that ghCERT was partnering with government agencies, ghNOG, ISOC Ghana, GhNIC, and other organizations to create awareness on Internet security issues and how some of the incidences can be prevented. However, he said that because of the pervasive nature of the Internet, it was difficult to track down on the perpetrators and that everyone was obligated to protect the Internet against anti-social acts.
An interesting question that came up for discussion was how much security was needed to prevent the cyber crime. While one school was of the thought that security was extremely necessary and that policies should be put in place to curb cyber crime, another was of the opinion that, the more security, the less friendly the Internet becomes, since the Internet is a network of networks and used by a large number of people.
Adding to the debate, Prof. Quaynor said that technology keeps changing very rapidly and policies very quickly become obsolete. Moreover, policies on Internet usage are done globally with the involvement of organisations such as, the IETF, ISOC, IGF, ITU, ICANN, and others, and these normally take time before they are implemented. He said, rather than preventing the occurrences, the role of ghCERT is to respond to problems as and when they occur. Prof. Quaynor stressed on the importance of sharing of best practices among IT operators on a regular basis, so that they are abreast of the issues.
Presenting the topic, Mitigating the 'Sakawa' Challenge, Mr. Charles Nelson, of Youth Against Cyber Crime, described himself as 'a lone ranger' in the war against Sakawa. He described the phenomena as endemic and that the future was bleak if the government does not take measures to nip the crime in the bud. Of great concern to Mr. Nelson, however is the erroneous perception among people that young people who use Internet are all engaged in the Sakawa business. "There must be a reorientation of the minds of the youth that the Internet goes beyond Sakawa." He said. "Advocacy is therefore, the key to change the mindset of these young people.
As the Internet continues to grow, there is a need for global computer emergency response teams to curb the incidences of cyber crime. The Ghana project is therefore, a laudable initiative. According to Prof Quaynor, there is the need to create network of government ministries agencies and departments to come out with a defence strategy. He made this call when Mr. Godfred Ofori-Som, Chair, Technical Committee, ISOC, Ghana, Ayittey Bulley, Vodafone, Ghana, Daniel Asante and Charles Nelson, constituted a panel to discuss the way forward in forging a strong computer emergency response team. Mr. Asante, said that currently ghCERT was operating on funds from benefactors and voluntary contributions and that there was the need to look for other funding alternatives. Dr. Quaynor called on ghCERT to form strong ties with the government and tackle the issues from a multi-stakeholder approach. Mr. Asante made a call for volunteers to join in the crusade to make the Internet a safer place. He said ghCERT was putting a portal in place where it would disseminate information via listservs.
He also called for volunteers to team up with ghCERT to create awareness of the initiative. Four other CERTS in Africa can be found in Tunisia, South Africa, Mauritius and Egypt.
The evening climaxed with the launching of the new ISOC website, which has current Web 2.0 features, user generation content, with face book and twitter integrations. The launch was performed by Prof. Quaynor, Board Chairman of ISOC Ghana.