The Minister of Communications, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has made a case for how robust the recently launched Ghana Post GPS system is.
According to her, enough measures have been put in place to prevent any external intrusion or hacking.
Speaking to claims by some tech analysts that the data of Ghanaians fed into the system could fall in the hands of hackers, Communications Minister; Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, said appropriate measures that come with the app make it almost impossible to hack.
“The proper firewalls and security features are being built into the system prior to it going live to protect against the very things that we all fear happening. I don’t know what someone else is doing to try to breach the defences that are currently being built – they say the criminals are always one step ahead of us – but the knowledge on cyber security defences currently available today, wherever it is in the world are what we are employing in the system we are deploying.”
President Akufo-Addo about two weeks ago, launched the National Digital Property Addressing System, also known as the Ghana Post GPS in Accra, aimed at providing an effective means of addressing every location and place in the country, using an information technology application.
The app, which government said cost the country $2.5 million, has been criticized by some experts in the technology space as well as some civil society organisations.
For instance, President of policy think tank, IMANI Ghana, Franklin Cudjoe, described the system as amateurish and not new.
He also questioned the security risk to the data received by the system.
“I’ve read quite a number of reviews by industry watchers, and some of the comments they’ve made are not necessarily helpful – to think that you could input just any data and generate an address in itself sounds amateurish. There are basic web portals where you input any kind of data it could reject it, especially when you are filling forms. And to hear that obviously, that it is something with this app is quite troubling,” Franklin Cudjoe added.
Speaking at a press briefing to update Ghanaians on the level of security surrounding the software, the Minister urged people to disregard what she terms jargons being thrown about to scare citizens.
“…Those out there are raising concerns about what could possibly happen, we also want to assure them that we are mindful of those dangers and are taking steps to prevent those incidents from occurring here. No system is completely fool proof, but as far as the current knowledge goes, we are procuring the very best to protect our digital architecture,” Ursula added.
Ghana to pay Google $400,000 yearly
Meanwhile, it has emerged that Ghana is to pay tech giant, Google, an amount of $400,000 every year for embedding the company’s online map into the country’s newly designed National Digital Property Addressing System.
This was revealed by the Managing Director of Ghana Post, James Kwofie on Friday, at the press conference.
“In terms of the cost, what is being paid for is the back-end solution, data analytics, hardware i.e. the firewalls and servers, Google license, marketing and publicity as well as technical support, and GHc1.7 million VAT which goes back to the government. Contrary to popular believe, Google charges when you use their systems for local purposes or commercial activities. The Google license fee at the moment is $400,000 per year – that is the enterprise package,” he added.