Apparently, a lot of institutions including government agencies are at the risk of exposing their data and sensitive information to hackers. This is due to the fact that, these institutions have acquired and installed pirated Microsoft software products. This revelation was made at a roundtable meeting help at the AmCham Ghana office with Mr. Michael Mensah-Ackman from Microsoft.
Microsoft which is looking to partner with the American Chamber of Commerce, Ghana (AmCham) to embark on an ‘Anti-Piracy Campaign and Sensitization Program’ told the chamber that, they lose a lot of revenue due to the activities of partners and other retailers who sell pirated MS Software products, under the disguise of genuine products.
He mentioned to the Executive Secretary of AmCham, Mr. Simon Madjie that, a lot of micro financial institutions, government agencies and other institutions who handle sensitive information are victims of pirated Microsoft software. This opens these institutions up for hacking and having their information accessed by unauthorized entities, since the software might come with bugs or other back doors channels for easy access.
He also said though Ivory Coast’s demographics are relative to Ghana’s; Ivory Coast has a favorable climate for trading in software. This he said is due to the fact that, Ivory Coast made a frantic effort to weed out pirated software products, and instituted measure to ensure the acquisition of genuine software.
Pirating software product causes government to lose revenue. This is due to the fact that, retailers don’t pay taxes on these pirated software products. So it is also in the interest of Government for an immediate action to curb this menace because, they will in turn make more revenue in terms of taxes.
In a statement, Mr. Madjie said “government must secure their data by acquiring genuine Microsoft software products.” This will also serve as precedent for other institutions and organizations to do so. He went on to say “the Chamber is calling on government to comply with WTO best practice by eliminating custom duties on software.” This he think will make prices of genuine software products to be more competitive to help curb the menace of pirating.
The ‘Anti-Piracy Campaign and Sensitization Program’ will seek to educate unsuspecting individuals and organisations on the menace, expose recalcitrant Microsoft partners and other retailers dealing in pirated software products, help institutions switch from their pirated software products to genuine ones and advocate that government implement policies and enforce laws protecting intellectual property. Mr. Mensah-Ackman also mentioned that, there will be a platform for Microsoft software product owners to check if their products are genuine.
“The chamber is interested in this campaign because, we believe that protection for intellectual property is an essential indication that, Ghana is the right place for American businesses” said Mr. Simon Madjie, Executive Secretary of AmCham Ghana.