23-May 2012 (2.55pm to 2.20pm). Good afternoon everyoneIt’s a pleasure to be participating in CeBIT’s e-government forum and to have the opportunity to do some 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. I thought about it and said:“As a digital citizen I will learn more about using technology and the internet more confidently, to do more and connect more.” Given this is what I want as a digital citizen (and it is likely others might concur with my three point pledge) 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 of society will benefit from learning more, doing more and connecting more. The Australian Communications and Media Authority has been considering citizen interests in the context of its work in media and communications regulation for some time, and looking at how it incorporates and reflects citizen interests in its regulatory decision making. When the idea of digital citizenship was put forward in Prime Minister & Cabinet’s Cyber White Paper last year, Connecting with Confidence: Optimising Australia’s Digital Future, it resonated for the ACMA. As the communications regulator, we have responsibilities that underpin engagement with digital communications across a range of activities. Part of what we do is to:provide information and advice to the community about communications mattersdeliver 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, andconduct 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 community but I will talk about our broader citizen work that help us understand what being a digital citizen might mean for online Australians, covering some of the challenges for us all in developing the idea of digital citizenship.
Slide 2The idea of citizenship Over the past decade or so as more people came online doing more things with more sophisticated technology, 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 young people, where the ACMA was given early responsibility for cybersafety awareness and education initiatives (and regulating illegal or harmful content). We then began to focus on digital literacy to encourage all Australians to go online and to engage across a wider range of activities, and to confidently manage security and privacy risks. Things have moved on - social networking is a cornerstone of online participation, and a majority of internet users are also transacting online, such as buying and banking and increasingly using their mobile phone to do so. We needed to expand our focus.Digital citizenship is well established in cybersafety education where it is chiefly about knowing how to 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 – freedoms and obligations or rights and responsibilities in society generally. For instance, individuals might be expected to be technically literate, keep personal information secure, and behave appropriately and ethically online.Citizenship shares other characteristics which are important. It’s a concept that unites, gives us a sense of shared identity and connection, part of a whole where citizens, government and organisations 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 education program, Cybersmart.Tagged, a compelling short film we developed aimed at teenagers, is an example of a well targeted resource teaching young people how to use technology in positive and productive ways.. Tagged deals with cyberbullying, sexting and digital reputation. There’s a clear message in Tagged, it helps change behaviour, and still resonates with a teen audience that show a high awareness of the theory (if not the practice of how to protect yourself online). Research with young people and direct feedback through video development, contributed to the success of Tagged. Launched in September 2011, in a few months it became a key resource for Australian teachers and parents, with more than 10,000 copies of the film and posters distributed nationwide, and over 41,500 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 the 2012 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 4 Positive attitudes to online engagementTurning to adults, the ACMA’s most recent community research, Digital Australians, found strong community acceptance of increasing use of digital media. Irrespective of their personal engagement with converging media, participants in the Digital Australians research were aware that the media environment continues to change, and were positive 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 offering little opportunity for users to contribute. Social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, were seen as 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 respondents admitted that they found the rapid changes in technology especially daunting, and conceded it was hard to keep up. Others did not understand what was available. 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_410199
Slide 5Need for information and skills We know that many who are online are tech savvy, but individuals clearly see scope for further education and guidance about protecting personal information online as well as ways to improve individual confidence in using technology.In the Digital Australians online survey only just over one half of respondents were confident in managing 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 the confidence gap. Around four-in-ten participants were interested in learning more about managing personal 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 they were just as likely as other age groups to identify as a priority ‘learning more about asking a website to remove content that has breached their privacy’ (32 per cent). This largely reflected concerns raised in the focus groups about privacy and security around social networking. 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 by them, and the collection and use of personal information by businesses. People generally accepted that 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 manage their 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_410199
Slide 6Greater use does not equate to greater understandingWhile some people might temper online behaviour in line with concerns – this isn’t necessarily true for 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 location to add value and provide tailored information or services to users. These services are growing in popularity, especially among smartphone users, and there are currently few guidelines or consumer safeguards in place. Recently the ACMA commissioned community research with users of location services or associated apps 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 wider range of services) does not equate to a greater understanding of these services:what information and personal data is collected when using specific location serviceswhat information and personal data is sharedhow information and personal data is sharedwho 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 to remain static, despite increased time exposed to location services. At the same time, our quantitative research found there was considerable concern amongst users about data security and the security of personal information when accessing services. Ultimately, despite their worries, the desire to use the location service outweighed the risks and any conditions attached to downloading the app or applications concerned.
Slide 7Awareness of privacy risksThis approach to potential risk of providing personal information online is illustrated here from a 2009 study using focus groups. Participants accepted that using the internet means sharing personal information. The decision to disclose personal information was based on an assessment of the benefits versus the risk inherent in disclosing personal information. The context for the decision is important during transactions such as internet banking, online shopping, eBay; or in social networks. The diagram here captures the risk versus benefits trade off that people make.Although we’re aware of risk and want to protect ourselves, many of us often don’;t know specifically what to do or who to ask for assistance or advice, relying on informal methods and sources. The sheer pace of technological change makes it difficult to stay up to date with new technologies and 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_312358
Slide 8Everyone has a part to play - individuals, industry and government Australians accept their responsibility in the online environment but they are also see distinct roles for industry and government to help them in managing that environment.For instance, individuals regard themselves as having primary responsibility for protecting their personal information online.But service providers and industry players are seen as mainly responsible for enabling a secure environment.When responding to the idea of the mobile wallet, focus group participants thought that the providers of mobile payment services (which include the mobile payment services companies, telcos and banks), should be responsible for protecting consumers by ensuring that security and anti-fraud measures are in place. Consumers would be more likely to trust a payment method if they knew the providers had been proactive in providing security measures. Regulators were expected to ensure that providers educate the community about these new mobile payment services, and should only be responsible for enforcing safeguards if the providers failed to have these in place. In the Digital Australians research we explored the roles of industry and government in protecting children online. Participants were clear that protecting children from accessing inappropriate or unsuitable content online such as pornography is particularly important. While many saw this as the primary responsibility of parents, participants thought there was also a responsibility for both content service providers and government. In earlier CyberSmart research with parents, the majority preferred to receive information from a government agency or source it themselves through an internet search. Around one third of parents reported that a government agency or an internet search were their preferred first line source of cybersafety information. We also know that the government ‘brand’ with the Australian Government Coat of Arms on a document (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 broad community. Low or non user groups including low income and older Australians may not’ve had the chance to learn through employment or education, and lack an understanding of how the internet works, or they may not be aware of how the internet could benefit them personally. Tablet and smartphone technology 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 digital media, 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 convenience that it provides are quick to perceive the benefits and embrace new technology and services. But they 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 or concern). Risks are perceived as low, and the trade-off is made in favour of access and benefiting from 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 well as the potential threats. Scams and online fraud are becoming more sophisticated – and target businesses as well as individuals. We also know from our cybersafety research with parents that simply raising awareness of safety risks 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_311304
Slide 10Conclusions In conclusion, the idea of digital citizenship has yet to be explored with the community. Ideally digital citizenship could become a ‘shared value’ contributing to good governance online. Australians may not fully understand how communications technology can transform society, but they would like to be able to participate more actively online, and they see the benefits of this for society at large. However, there’s a gap between the potential of digital communications and the extent that Australians 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 goes beyond good practice to technical know-how generally, as lack of comfort with technology continues to be a barrier to use. Information and skills needs must be identified and appropriately targeted for relevant groups.While individuals see themselves as primarily responsible for safeguarding their personal information and security, they see ISPs and telcos, online entities and government all having a role to establish a trusted environment.Government can also model good digital citizenship itself by engaging with clients and constituents in new ways with new services that are easy to access and use and foster an appreciation of the freedoms and rights that citizens can enjoy in a networked society. For our part, the ACMA will be developing a more detailed community focus to its current work and identifying the tools, skills and interventions that may assist Australians in becoming more involved digital citizens, including myself.Thank you
Lesley Osborne at CeBIT, What does it mean to be a digital citizen, 23 May 2012
What does it mean to be a digital citizen?Lesley OsborneDigital Society Policy and ResearchAustralian Communications and Media AuthorityCEBIT, Sydney23 May 2012
Digital citizenship and young peoplewww.cybersmart.gov.au/tagged
Positive attitudes to online engagement> 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.> The internet gives power to individuals and enables them to share information.Some participants admitted that they found the rapid changes intechnology especially daunting, and conceded it was hard to keepup. Others did not understand what was available.Source: Digital Australians, October 2011
Need for information and skills Skills or abilities online Australians would be interested in learning more about Source: ACMA, Digital Australians online survey, 2011. I3 ASK ALL Which, if any, of the following, would you be interested in learning more about? Base: Total sample, n=1,250.
Greater use does not equate to greater understandingSource: ACMA, Location services, 2012, to be published.
Awareness of privacy risksRisks identified by respondents as associated with use of personal information on digital media andcommunications have been positioned according to their perceived likelihood and severity(ACMA, Use of personal information, 2009).
Everyone has a part to playResponsibility for the safeguarding or protection of personal information isconsidered to be multi-layered, with the individual, the ISP, the online entityand the government all having a role to fulfil.
Broad community engagement tailored to information andskills needs