Thursday, October 21, 2010

This Internet is Your Internet: Digital Citizenship from California to Washtenaw County


(Cross-posted on the Google Online Security Blog)

In the physical world, basic safety measures are second-nature to almost everyone (look both ways, stop drop and roll!). In the digital world, however, many of us expect security to be handled on our behalf by experts, or come in a single-box solution. Together, we must reset those expectations.

The Internet is the biggest neighborhood in the world. Security-related initiatives in the technology sector and government play an important role in making the Internet safer, but efforts from Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C. alone are not enough. Much of the important work that needs to be done must happen closer to home—wherever that may be.

As part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month I recently traveled from California to Washtenaw County, MI to speak to group of local community leaders, educators, business owners, law enforcement officials and residents who recently formed the Washtenaw Cyber Citizenship Coalition. They are working to create a digitally aware, knowledgeable and more secure community by providing residents with the tools and resources to be good digital citizens. No one in the room self-identified as a “cyber security expert,” but the information sharing that’s happening in Washtenaw County is the kind of holistic effort that can enable everyone to use the Internet more safely and benefit from the great opportunities that it provides.

The Washtenaw Cyber Citizenship Coalition is channeling the community’s efforts through volunteer workgroups in areas such as public/private partnerships, awareness, education and law enforcement. Their strategy is to “share the wheel" whenever possible, instead of recreating it. They’ve collected tips and resources for kids, parents, businesses, educators and crime victims so that citizens can find and access these materials with ease.

If you are interested in raising awareness in your own community, staysafeonline.org, stopthinkconnect.org and onguardonline.gov are examples of sites that offer such materials for public use.

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