Legal practitioner, Samson Lardy Anyenini has hinted that persons who go contrary to the recently passed Cybersecurity Act 2020 stand to pay hefty fines or get up to 25 years in prison.

In the lawyer’s weekly LegalLight, Mr Anyenini said, “There is a new law in town and please be informed that you risk hefty monetary fines of 30,000 to 60,000 or five, 10 to 15 or 25 years in prison for acting silly. Yes, for acting silly and foolish.

“What else is it but foolishness when people take and publish nude or indecent images of children? Some take those of their sexual partners and publish or threaten to circulate them – blackmail.”

However, the veteran journalist expressed concern over some of the contents of the Act.

He indicated that portions of the newly enacted law is the same as contents of the Postal Packets and Telecommunication Messages Bill also known as the “Spy Bill” that was sternly rejected by a section of Ghanaians when it was laid before Parliament in 2016.

He, therefore, questioned how the Akufo-Addo administration managed to pass the Bill without getting opposition.

“This must be a lucky government – all the organisations and individuals who joined in that war that forced a review and eventually got it shelved have been in deep sleep – coma. Remember President Akufo-Addo, the NPP joined me, the Telcos, Ghana Bar Association and others to kick against the SpyBill?

“So the very things we protested including that dangerous backdoor approach to invading privacy without recourse to or supervision of the courts is now law in this Cybersecurity Act 2020, and that’s really only a new name.

“This time, hefty sanctions including fines of up ¢240,000 or plus five years jail await those who will breach it including Telcos and their CEOs,” he said.

In 2016, government was forced to withdraw its controversial “Spy Bill” that it had laid before Parliament.

The then Deputy Minister for the Interior, James Agalga, indicated that after engaging stakeholders the bill, in its present form, would not address what it was intended for, which was to allow National Security to monitor and intercept calls to fight crime.

Moreover, Mr Anyenini was pleased that reformed Act will protect young girls and women who become victims to sexual extortion and blackmail.

“The law punishes cyber activities involving sexual abuse of children and adults – including child grooming for sexual abuse or aiding and abetting same or cyberstalking of a child with five to 15 years in jail.

A threat to circulate indecent image or so as to get cash from victims – call it blackmail or sexual extortion attracts 10 to 25 in jail and non-consensual sharing of intimate images as well as threat to distribute intimate images or video recordings will get you spending one to three years in jail.