Lesley Osborne, CeBIT script, What it means to be a digital citizen, 23 May 2012
CeBIT presentation 23 May 2012-05-21 Speech notesSlide 1Good afternoon everyoneIt’s a pleasure to be participating in CeBIT’s e-government forum and to have the opportunity to dosome scene setting for this afternoon’s session – considering what it means to be a digital citizen.While thinking about this question, a colleague asked what my pledge would be as a digital citizen. Ithought about it and said:“As a digital citizen I will learn more about using technology and the internet more confidently, to domore and connect more.”Given this is what I want as a digital citizen (and it is likely others might concur with my three pointpledge) I can ask how can industry and government foster and develop that positive disposition?How can we be better digital citizens? For at the end of the day, we recognise that the whole ofsociety will benefit from learning more, doing more and connecting more.The Australian Communications and Media Authority has been considering citizen interests in thecontext of its work in media and communications regulation for some time, and looking at how itincorporates and reflects citizen interests in its regulatory decision making. When the idea of digitalcitizenship was put forward in Prime Minister & Cabinet’s Cyber White Paper last year, Connectingwith Confidence: Optimising Australia’s Digital Future, it resonated for the ACMA.As the communications regulator, we have responsibilities that underpin engagement with digitalcommunications across a range of activities. Part of what we do is to: • provide information and advice to the community about communications matters • deliver a range of consumer protection programs, like CyberSmart, which teaches young people (and their teachers and parents!) how to use technology in safe and productive ways, and • conduct research so that we can develop a better understanding of Australian’s digital capabilities –people’s knowledge and use of digital communications and their attitudes and concerns.The ACMA has only just commenced exploring the specifics of digital citizenship with the communitybut I will talk about our broader citizen work that help us understand what being a digital citizenmight mean for online Australians, covering some of the challenges for us all in developing the ideaof digital citizenship.Slide 2The idea of citizenshipOver the past decade or so as more people came online doing more things with more sophisticatedtechnology, there’s been an evolution in thinking about the role of individuals in frameworks for
online media and communications. It built from initial concerns about protecting children and youngpeople, where the ACMA was given early responsibility for cybersafety awareness and educationinitiatives (and regulating illegal or harmful content). We then began to focus on digital literacy toencourage all Australians to go online and to engage across a wider range of activities, and toconfidently manage security and privacy risks.Things have moved on - social networking is a cornerstone of online participation, and a majority ofinternet users are also transacting online, such as buying and banking and increasingly using theirmobile phone to do so. We needed to expand our focus.Digital citizenship is well established in cybersafety education where it is chiefly about knowing howto use technology appropriately. The idea is still developing in terms of the adult online population.However, it’s clearly a multi-dimensional concept with parallels to the social contract – freedomsand obligations or rights and responsibilities in society generally. For instance, individuals might beexpected to be technically literate, keep personal information secure, and behave appropriately andethically online.Citizenship shares other characteristics which are important. It’s a concept that unites, gives us asense of shared identity and connection, part of a whole where citizens, government andorganisations all have a part to play. Not without its tensions, overall it’s democratic and active,involving participation and progress.Slide 3Digital citizenship and young peopleIt might be helpful to start with young people, and the ACMA’s national cybersafety educationprogram, Cybersmart.Tagged, a compelling short film we developed aimed at teenagers, is an example of a well targetedresource teaching young people how to use technology in positive and productive ways.. Taggeddeals with cyberbullying, sexting and digital reputation.There’s a clear message in Tagged, it helps change behaviour, and still resonates with a teenaudience that show a high awareness of the theory (if not the practice of how to protect yourselfonline). Research with young people and direct feedback through video development, contributed tothe success of Tagged.Launched in September 2011, in a few months it became a key resource for Australian teachers andparents, with more than 10,000 copies of the film and posters distributed nationwide, and over41,500 views on YouTube.Tagged has also been awarded several prizes in festivals internationally, including The Grand Award,and a Gold Media at the WorldMediaFestival 2012 in Hamburg, and a Silver World Medal at the2012 New York Festival International Television and Film Awards. Icing on the cake!http://www.cybersmart.gov.au/tagged/http://www.acma.gov.au/WEB/STANDARD/pc=PC_410346
Slide 4Positive attitudes to online engagementTurning to adults, the ACMA’s most recent community research, Digital Australians, found strongcommunity acceptance of increasing use of digital media.Irrespective of their personal engagement with converging media, participants in the DigitalAustralians research were aware that the media environment continues to change, and werepositive about this. Even those who were not as engaged, acknowledged positive changes: I don’t use the internet much myself, but when my grandkids come round they show me all the things they can do on their mobile phones and for them I think it’s great, it’s just that I’m not terribly interested for myself.Others recognised that online media created opportunities for new voices and different views,through blogs and posting comments, compared with traditional media, which were seen as offeringlittle opportunity for users to contribute. Social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, were seenas powerful ways for individuals to speak and be heard. The internet gives power to individuals and enables them to share information.Despite these positive attitudes towards the changing media environment, some respondentsadmitted that they found the rapid changes in technology especially daunting, and conceded it washard to keep up. Others did not understand what was available.Slide 5Need for information and skillsWe know that many who are online are tech savvy, but individuals clearly see scope for furthereducation and guidance about protecting personal information online as well as ways to improveindividual confidence in using technology.In the Digital Australians online survey only just over one half of respondents were confident inmanaging the security of personal information online and protecting their computer from malware.A significant number of respondents expressed interest in learning digital skills to address theconfidence gap. Around four-in-ten participants were interested in learning more about managingpersonal information online, followed by learning to use the internet safely (36 per cent).While younger people were less interested in gaining further digital skills, it is notable that theywere just as likely as other age groups to identify as a priority ‘learning more about asking a websiteto remove content that has breached their privacy’ (32 per cent).This largely reflected concerns raised in the focus groups about privacy and security around socialnetworking. These were related to the misuse of content that individuals create about themselves,personal content that others post about them when consent has not been sought or given bythem, and the collection and use of personal information by businesses. People generally acceptedthat they had little control over what subsequently happened to content that they posted online—
on social networking sites, for example—but were generally aware that they needed to managetheir privacy settings as well as the content they posted.ACMA, Digital Australians - Expectations about media content in a converging media environment.October 2011 Report available at: http://www.acma.gov.au/WEB/STANDARD/pc=PC_410199Slide 6Greater use does not equate to greater understandingWhile some people might temper online behaviour in line with concerns – this isn’t necessarily truefor all. Nor does if follow that familiarity with use brings greater protection.For example, there is a vast array of commercial applications and tools which use people’s locationto add value and provide tailored information or services to users. These services are growing inpopularity, especially among smartphone users, and there are currently few guidelines or consumersafeguards in place.Recently the ACMA commissioned community research with users of location services or associatedapps to examine their understanding of the risks associated with their use.Interestingly it seemed that greater use of location services (using more often or accessing a widerrange of services) does not equate to a greater understanding of these services: • what information and personal data is collected when using specific location services • what information and personal data is shared • how information and personal data is shared • who controls personal data that is shared when using location servicesAs shown in the slide.Interest in and understanding of personal information security was relatively low and appeared toremain static, despite increased time exposed to location services. At the same time, ourquantitative research found there was considerable concern amongst users about data security andthe security of personal information when accessing services. Ultimately, despite their worries, thedesire to use the location service outweighed the risks and any conditions attached to downloadingthe app or applications concerned.
Slide 7Awareness of privacy risksThis approach to potential risk of providing personal information online is illustrated here from a2009 study using focus groups.Participants accepted that using the internet means sharing personal information. The decision todisclose personal information was based on an assessment of the benefits versus the risk inherent indisclosing personal information. The context for the decision is important during transactions suchas internet banking, online shopping, eBay; or in social networks. The diagram here captures the riskversus benefits trade off that people make.Although we’re aware of risk and want to protect ourselves, many of us often don’;t knowspecifically what to do or who to ask for assistance or advice, relying on informal methods andsources.The sheer pace of technological change makes it difficult to stay up to date with new technologiesand platforms, and be protected from the latest risks.ACMA, Attitudes towards use of personal information online. August 2009. Report available at:http://www.acma.gov.au/WEB/STANDARD/pc=PC_312358Slide 8Everyone has a part to play - individuals, industry and governmentAustralians accept their responsibility in the online environment but they are also see distinct rolesfor industry and government to help them in managing that environment.For instance, individuals regard themselves as having primary responsibility for protecting theirpersonal information online.But service providers and industry players are seen as mainly responsible for enabling a secureenvironment.When responding to the idea of the mobile wallet, focus group participants thought that theproviders of mobile payment services (which include the mobile payment services companies, telcosand banks), should be responsible for protecting consumers by ensuring that security and anti-fraudmeasures are in place. Consumers would be more likely to trust a payment method if they knew theproviders had been proactive in providing security measures.Regulators were expected to ensure that providers educate the community about these new mobilepayment services, and should only be responsible for enforcing safeguards if the providers failed tohave these in place.
In the Digital Australians research we explored the roles of industry and government in protectingchildren online. Participants were clear that protecting children from accessing inappropriate orunsuitable content online such as pornography is particularly important. While many saw this as theprimary responsibility of parents, participants thought there was also a responsibility for bothcontent service providers and government.In earlier CyberSmart research with parents, the majority preferred to receive information from agovernment agency or source it themselves through an internet search. Around one third of parentsreported that a government agency or an internet search were their preferred first line source ofcybersafety information.We also know that the government ‘brand’ with the Australian Government Coat of Arms on adocument (such as a cybersafety report or pamphlet) means that the information being provided is‘important’ and ‘can be trusted’. When this information was delivered through the school system,the credibility of the resource increased for parents.Slide 9Broad community engagement tailored to information and skills needsThere is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to meeting the information and skills needs of the broadcommunity.Low or non user groups including low income and older Australians may not’ve had the chance tolearn through employment or education, and lack an understanding of how the internet works, orthey may not be aware of how the internet could benefit them personally. Tablet and smartphonetechnology is helping here but people are often coming from a low base of transferable skills.Amongst internet users there are wide differences between the generations in how they use digitalmedia, the type of risks encountered and confidence in managing their online experience.We know that young people whose lives have been built around technology and the conveniencethat it provides are quick to perceive the benefits and embrace new technology and services. Butthey are also more likely to take risks. When checking in on Facebook or using location services,there is less questioning among this group in terms of information security (or less awareness orconcern). Risks are perceived as low, and the trade-off is made in favour of access and benefitingfrom new services. How might the assessment of risk be more informed?Nor can we ‘set and forget’ in developing consumer educationWith rapidly evolving technologies and services, it is difficult to keep up with the implications, as wellas the potential threats. Scams and online fraud are becoming more sophisticated – and targetbusinesses as well as individuals.We also know from our cybersafety research with parents that simply raising awareness of safetyrisks is not enough. Practical advice about what you can do and why is more useful.
ACMA, Adult digital media literacy needs. August 2009. Report available at:http://www.acma.gov.au/WEB/STANDARD/pc=PC_312358ACMA, Online risk and safety in the digital economy. December 2009. Report available at:http://www.acma.gov.au/WEB/STANDARD/pc=PC_311304Slide 10ConclusionsIn conclusion, the idea of digital citizenship has yet to be explored with the community. Ideallydigital citizenship could become a ‘shared value’ contributing to good governance online. Australiansmay not fully understand how communications technology can transform society, but they wouldlike to be able to participate more actively online, and they see the benefits of this for society atlarge.However, there’s a gap between the potential of digital communications and the extent thatAustralians are able to be digital citizens. For many the gap in skills and knowledge is quite wide.There’s a need for awareness raising and education around security and privacy risks. This goesbeyond good practice to technical know-how generally, as lack of comfort with technology continuesto be a barrier to use. Information and skills needs must be identified and appropriately targeted forrelevant groups.While individuals see themselves as primarily responsible for safeguarding their personalinformation and security, they see ISPs and telcos, online entities and government all having a roleto establish a trusted environment.Government can also model good digital citizenship itself by engaging with clients and constituentsin new ways with new services that are easy to access and use and foster an appreciation of thefreedoms and rights that citizens can enjoy in a networked society. For our part, the ACMA will bedeveloping a more detailed community focus to its current work and identifying the tools, skills andinterventions that may assist Australians in becoming more involved digital citizens, including myself.Thank you