When Gov tries to get StreetWise
You may have spotted garish advertising posters about town or heard adverts on stations such as Planet Rock promoting the latest government online safety initiative, the £4m Cyber Streetwise project which aims to change the way people view online safety.
The authors of Cyber Streetwise say the project aims to provide SMEs with impartial advice and tips about how to make some simple but effective changes to improve their online security. The money is being spent on an advertising campaign, a website and a booklet.
In 2013 the UK government machine was trying to harmonise its sites under a common portal with a common look and feel of the dot gov dot uk domain. The government-funded StreetWise project goes out of its way to avoid conformance, using a dot com domain and a cartoon style which should certainly appeal to the eight-year old's in the household. Looking at the site, it feels like it is trying to look cool and trendy and "yoof", with cutesy gimmicks such as a red London bus which trundles across the screen from time to time, but its trying to present a serious security message to both home and business.
As for the content of the site, it does little more than regurgitate the usual well-worn advice such as use a cryptic password, use anti-virus software, check for a key symbol in the browser when you bank online, don't open attachments in emails from strangers. None of this is new, far from it. Do you really think anyone is going to read this website and say "Gosh, computers get viruses and this cool website with street cred says I should install anti-virus software on all my devices to prevent infection,... I'd better do that right now."
In the unlikely event that anyone reacts this way, they will next be puzzled by the poorly-punctuated advice which says "Get Safe Online provides an in depth guide if you'd like more information find a link at the back of this brochure". Brochure? Yes, that's what the website says.
Four million pounds may be loose change as far as the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is concerned but is this really the best they could do when spending our money?
28th January 2014
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