Commentary: Think B4 U waste our time and money

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Commentary: Think B4 U waste our time and money

Be afraid - it's Safer Internet Day 2010.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP), ACMA and Telstra are today urging people to think before publishing personal information that could be valuable to cyber criminals.

The move comes as part of International Safer Internet Day, which was created by the UK Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre. Down under, the campaign is sponsored by Microsoft Australia.

In a media release publicising International Safer Internet Day 2010, the AFP offers gems of wisdom such as "It does not take great IT skills to use search engines" and reveals that "online sex offenders are out there looking at your photos and personal information".

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) site proved just as informative: It provided some tips, one of which suggested that instead of using your actual name you should go by a username or "appropriate handle". Good advice until you read the next tip, which recommends never sharing that username with anyone.

Is it just me that finds it unclear why Safer Internet Day 2010 is represented on video by a computer mouse that gets naked and then uses a mobile phone to take a picture of itself before publishing it online?

There are times when companies and organisations invest resources into a project that helps the community. Then there are times when a bunch of organisations have excess marketing dollars and want to be seen to be doing something.

Guess which scenario we have here?

This campaign could also be used by the Government as further evidence that the general public -- and please think of the children -- can't be trusted to look after themselves online.

Shortly after announcements from the AFP, ACMA and Telstra, Conroy's office published a media release highlighting his new report, Online Risk and Safety in the Digital Economy, which details some of the latest developments in internet filtering technologies.

"It highlights that we all have a role to play in managing online risk, including governments and regulators, operators of online services and users themselves," Conroy said in a statement.

How will "International Safer Internet Day" help Australian internet users? What do you think are the motivations behind this initiative? Will a mandatory internet filter mean we will be able to leave children to use the internet unsupervised? Use talkback below or start a conversation with me on Twitter @mkotadia.

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