“There Is No Clear Law on Cyber Privacy In Liberia”

-Says Cllr. Karnuah As PAL, Prepares Editors With Data Privacy Training

MONROVIA-Liberia as a country does not have a clear law that speaks sprightly cyber security.

Making a presentation at an editor forum in Sinkor at a local hotel, Cllr. D. Adolphus Karnuah said there are laws that speak to data such as the LTA law, but it is not clear.

When he was asked when an individual has violated another person’s data privacy, if that person cannot be charged with criminal offence, but could be charged with a civil offence.

Recently, Publishers Association of Liberia (PAL) conducted a day forum to alert editors about privacy of personal data.

The PAL says personal data privacy is key in keeping the gate to their newsrooms.

The institution last Friday at a one day Editors forum they organized, the president, Othello B. Garblah said Friday’s training was the first in a series of five fora by the Publishers Association of Liberia in collaboration with Internews, CEMESP, and Local Voices with funding support from the EU is intended to help the editors media managers to at all times protect their personal data.

Mr. Garblah said many at times media owners and editors leave their gate open, thus allowing important information leave their system without their knowledge.

He said protection of ones data and privacy online is a security by itself.

Also speaking, Mr. Malcolm W. Joseph, Executive Director for the Center for Media studies and Peacebuilding (CEMSP) said,” Everybody has right to protection of privacy in the face of intrusive nature of the work we do to sometimes unearth the truth at certain times when ethical standards becomes so difficult for us to apply.”

Mr. Joseph said; “I am no proponent of subterfuge means of gathering content but sometimes we go the extra miles to get information.

But let us face it beyond the confines of journalism, we can also become victims of the myriads of cyber or online insecurities in our private lives that have grave implication for our offline modes of operation.”

He  said it is not a perfectionist to interment governance in the balance scheme of things of internet freedom adding, “Whilst it is true that the online space has contributed immensely to the improvement of our professional lives as journalists, the criminality that it is feeding off, raises concerns and apprehension in protecting human rights.”

He said, “We need clarity on what this actual means for us from an academic point of view. And we must appreciate the fact that the extensiveness and scope of this subject matter is so expansive and in exhaustive for the time provided for us here.”

According to him, the country can strive to do justice to the subject matter with reliance on some school of thoughts that have contextual relevance for them.

CEMSP boss said he is fascinated by the definition of one school of thought that makes classification of what is actually understood as Cybercrimes beyond violation of privacy and compromising of data.

“It is stated mind you, that the range of ‘cyber-enabled’ crimes is myriad – from white-collar crime, such as fraudulent financial transactions, identity theft, and the theft of electronic information for commercial gain, to drug-trafficking, abnormal unhealthy activities, harassment, stalking or other threatening behaviors” he said.

According to him, what is important is that one way or the other they have been violated online in actions of cyber hacking and bully. We can be victims of Cybercrimes anytime, anywhere, anyhow; so we have to be wary and embrace such conversation passionately.

“Just few days ago, the BBC reported data leak software that Israel has produced and selling out. It is reported that the software is used to track and invade privacy of human right defenders, lawyers, journalists and top notch officials” he said.

He added; “China too has come under the accusation of promoting cyber-attacks using software. America and Russia are trading accusations on the same issue.”

Joseph said, it is a pretty worrisome trend and certainly only strong legislations can save Liberians from cyber-attacks.





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