The new website is part of a new cybersecurity campaign in the Pacific that is anticipated to raise awareness about risks and safety measures that businesses and individuals should follow in order to protect themselves from online threats.
Minister Tei said, “Providing this online security and safety information for the people of Tonga is quite timely as organizations and individual increasingly spend more time online to conduct business, education and social interactions due to the COVID-19 related restrictions.”
GetSafeOnline has been providing free, accessible public education and awareness services about online risks for over 14 years. In the United Kingdom it established a trusted reputation among the cybersecurity community and the public. More recently, it has been providing the same services in the 12 Caribbean countries that are part of the Commonwealth of Nations. GetSafeOnline is a non-profit organization whose mission is to keep individuals, businesses and the general public safe in an ever-changing digital world.
Online safety is essential for the increasing digital transactions many Pacific island people now use. “There is an urgent need for us to start delivering support services,” added Mr Neate, “and it would be ideal to build partnerships with local organizations and individuals to do this more effectively”.
CEO for MEIDECC, Paula Pouvalu Ma’u elaborated that, “The website nicely complement other initiatives that MEIDECC is currently working on with its’ stakeholders including the Computer Crimes Bill, the Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System as well as awareness campaigns on online threats to organizations and businesses.”
The campaign also introduces the Ambassador Scheme, a voluntary program where those who want to help others stay safe online can be trained virtually by experts from Get Safe Online to deliver online safety tips and advices to communities and small businesses.
Global Ambassador for Get Safe Online Peter Davies said, “The services are fully funded and don’t require any resources from those who use them. It’s an ambitious agenda but, with the benefit of our experiences and successes, we know it’s achievable.”
In the Pacific, websites and Facebook pages are being created for each island country, providing information and a forum for sharing cybersecurity concerns experienced by each country. In-country advocates and experts will also be identified to help support the campaign and provide outreach through workshops, radio interviews, etc. In this way, the specific concerns and needs of each island country for online safety will be addressed. Local advocates and experts can also ensure that local languages may be used to improve understanding of cybersecurity risks and protections.
The initial communication campaign will run from July 2020 to March 2021 but may be extended. The campaign is actively searching for relevant regional companies and for Pacific islanders in each of the nine countries who may be interested in partnering with the Project. Their involvement will help ensure the localisation of issues and information, and the relevance of the topics to be covered in the communication materials.
The site was designed by Get Safe Online a non-government organization based in the United Kingdom in collaboration with MEIDECC’s CERT Tonga and Tongan Women in Information and Communications Technology (TWiICT) and funded by the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Commonwealth Cybersecurity Programme.
Tonga’s GetSafeOnline website can be found on www.getsafeonline.to .