Jeff Mason on Fri, 1 Oct 1999 17:55:19 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Justice Dept. Funds Antihacking Campaign,1449,6711,00.html?

Justice Dept. Funds Antihacking Campaign

By Keith Perine

WASHINGTON The Justice Department is trying to save children before they
turn into hackers.

With its $300,000 funding of the Cybercitizen Partnership, an awareness
campaign coordinated by the Information Technology Association of America,
the Justice Department assumes the unusual role of helping to educate
budding Web users about how to be responsible, law-abiding surfers.

The Cybercitizen Partnership, announced in March, is a joint Justice-ITAA
effort aimed at protecting the country's Internet infrastructure from
outlaw hackers and other criminals. Faced with a security breach, law
enforcement officials don't know at first if they're confronting a foreign
terrorist, a college student or a couple of sixth-graders who are having
some fun with Dad's computer. But an ITAA official said that, upon
investigation, a surprising number of cases involve child hackers.

The association says that information technology makes up about 6 percent
of the global gross domestic product some $1.8 trillion of electronic
infrastructure that needs to be protected against disgruntled former
employees, corporate spies and juvenile delinquents who like to pull pranks.

Figuring that it's too late to reform terrorists and spies, the ITAA
decided to concentrate on the kids. The campaign, which debuts in January,
will initially target children 12 and under, aiming to teach them proper
online behavior and to instill a healthy disdain for hacking. The
association wants to "help weed out some of the less meaningful system
violations by curious children so that law enforcement can focus on the
true criminals," says ITAA President Harris Miller.

The cash infusion from the Justice Department is in keeping with a long
tradition of government-sponsored public education campaigns, from the
Interior Department's Smokey the Bear messages against forest fires to the
Drug Enforcement Administration's "Just Say No" war on drugs.

Miller says the campaign could be expanded to educate kids about other
aspects of proper Internet etiquette, such as warning them against sending
spam for kids, the modern-day equivalent of prank telephone calls or
visiting Web sites with adult content. The main focus of the campaign,
however, will be to "send the message that hacking isn't cute, clever or
funny." In addition to the funding from Justice, the ITAA also plans to
pass the hat among its own membership, a who's-who list of the high-tech
industry that includes Microsoft (MSFT) , America Online (AOL) and IBM
(IBM) . The association will also seek funds from foundations and possibly
from private individuals.

The association has sent out a request to several public relations
companies for ideas on how to run the campaign, which might include
television and Internet advertising, brochures and even visits to schools.
One possibility under consideration: the creation of a mascot, like the
famous McGruff crime dog, to pass the message along in a friendly manner.

Jeff Mason

Planet Communication & Computing Facility
Public Access Internet Research Publisher	1 (212) 894-3704 ext. 1033

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