IT group, government team up to teach ’cyberethics’

WASHINGTON, DC: The government and a hi-tech trade group have wielded the PR baton in the war against cyberhackers.

WASHINGTON, DC: The government and a hi-tech trade group have wielded the PR baton in the war against cyberhackers.

WASHINGTON, DC: The government and a hi-tech trade group have

wielded the PR baton in the war against cyberhackers.



The Department of Justice and the Information Technology Association of

America announced last week that they have mobilized to form the

Cybercitizen Partnership, a public/private coalition aimed at educating

children, parents and teachers about the dangers and legality of surfing

the Web.



The campaign is being headed by Fleishman-Hillard, who beat out six

other firms (Burson-Marsteller, Eisner Petrou & Associates, Porter

Novelli, Golin/Harris, Ruder Finn and E. James White) for the group’s

business.



ITAA communications director Tinabeth Burton said the effort will be

oriented toward generating awareness of oft-misunderstood ’cyberethics’

issues, as well as heightening Internet users’ sense of

responsibility.



Children between five and 10, ’tweens’ and teenagers will be the primary

targets for the PR push.



Thanks to some dollars 300,000 in seed money provided via a ’cooperative

agreement’ with the DOJ, the campaign should get off to a fast

start.



Burton added that the ITAA is also providing in-kind staffing services

and will attempt to raise matching funds from its 11,000 direct and

affiliated members - a roster that includes everyone from 3Com to

Microsoft to Yahoo!



If the group reaches its dollars 2 million goal by the end of its first

year, it will likely embark upon an even higher-profile marketing

effort. A long-lasting and instantly recognizable campaign (perhaps

similar to the ’Smokey the Bear’ fire-safety effort) is Burton’s ideal

scenario.



The need for the campaign is fairly pronounced, according to many

hi-tech experts. Burton, for one, pointed to an estimate that dollars

100 billion in productivity, time and money is lost annually to

protecting sites from cyberhackers and repairing damage.



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