The ACMA has published draft guidelines about how it intends to work with others on cybersafety and digital citizenship initiatives. The guidelines are designed to assist the agency’s communication and facilitation work with external organisations in connection with the Cybersmart Program. They may also help potential partners develop proposals for mutual cooperation. Comments are sought on the draft guidelines by 8 July 2013. They are set out in the discussion paper available here.
Cybersmart partnerships are a recognition of the ACMA’s multi-faceted role in an interconnected world. Communications technology increasingly links us to each other, to government and to organisations in new and often exciting ways. As the digital networked society unfolds, an agency like the ACMA cannot simply ‘regulate’. It must also engage with its stakeholders in various modes, on many levels, facilitating, communicating and helping others to join the dots in an intelligent and forward-looking way. This is summed up in the ACMA corporate tagline, the ordering of which is deliberate – ‘Communicate, Facilitate, Regulate’.
When it comes to communicating with the public about cybersafety and nurturing digital citizenship, a collaborative effort is required from the government, the private sector, the not-for-profit sector and the broader community.
Promoting cybersafety and digital citizenship is a shared responsibility. All stakeholders have important roles to play; from providing the infrastructure that creates secure environments, to encouraging trust in online transactions, facilitating safe and respectful behaviour in digital media environments and raising community awareness about online safety.
Over recent years the ACMA has engaged productively with organisations in Australia and overseas to promote cybersafety through its Cybersmart program. Cooperation has taken many different forms, from distributing awareness-raising material to co-developing content.
The benefits to the public have included:
- the provision of consistent and effective messages
- increased audience reach for cybersafety information
- better use of available resources and less duplication
- safety messages have been tailored to particular services
It is worth noting that internationally collaboration between the government and other sectors on cybersafety and digital citizenship is increasing.
Of course, there can be risks associated with parties having different objectives or priorities and these can create potential challenges. Mindful of the regulatory aspect of its role, the ACMA is conscious of the need to maintain its independence always and to manage any perception of conflict of interest that might potentially arise.