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Oz gummint looks into seniors’ cyber-safety

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Older Australians, it seems, have better sense than people think: concerns about Internet security is crimping their enthusiasm for getting online, so the government is launching an inquiry.

The parliament’s Joint Select Committee on Cyber-Safety says it’s going to run the inquiry between now and 17 February 2012, in response to the way that “fears about privacy and security prevent too many older Australians from participating in the digital economy”, it says in a statement.

This is in spite of the older demographic representing the fastest-growing demographic of Internet users in this country. The committee has been briefed to investigate ways to reduce risks and enhance consumer protection.

In what could be the most admirably brief terms of reference ever offered to a parliamentary inquiry, the committee is to look at:

a. The nature, prevalence and level of cybersafety risks and threats experienced by senior Australians;

b. The impact and implications of those risks and threats on access and use of information and communication technologies by senior Australians;

c. The adequacy and effectiveness of current government and industry initiatives to respond to those threats, including education initiatives aimed at senior Australians;

d. Best practice safeguards, and any possible changes to Australian law, policy or practice that will strengthen the cybersafety of senior Australians.

Of course, it only needs a few years’ delay in implementing whatever the final report recommends, and the aging of today’s computer-using boomers will revise the over-65 demographic’s attitude to the Internet without any government help … ®

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