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 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
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
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
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
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.