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Senior citizens need cyber safety protection: Human Rights Commission

Hamish Barwick | May 7, 2013
Commission says the elderly require support, training to avoid cyber fraud

The Australian Human Rights Commission has called on the federal government to adopt the Joint Select Committee's Cyber Safety for Seniors report recommendations, saying that this will help senior citizens to stay safe online while increasing access to services.

The report, entitled A Worthwhile Journey, was presented to the Parliament speaker on 16 April, 2013.

It includes a number of recommendations such as publicising the Broadband for Seniors kiosks. More than 2000 computer kiosks are located around Australia offering free Internet access and training for seniors. The initiative also aims to build social inclusion among senior citizens who, according to the report, sometimes face isolation.

In addition, the report recommended that a telephone hotline be created for those who were not confident in using Web-based information. A Broadband for Seniors website - which includes cyber safety tips - was developed in early 2013.

According to Age Discrimination Commissioner Susan Ryan, eight of the report's 13 recommendations draw from the Commission's submissions.

"One of the most important recommendations we made was in relation to researching fraud victimization of older people. I am pleased to see that the report recognises older people can be the targets of cybercriminals because they have substantial assets and may be less savvy technology users," she said in a statement.

"The Committee's recommendations about the need to teach older users how to protect themselves from cyber fraud, and to make reporting cybercrime online easier for them, are extremely important."

If the cyber safety recommendations are adopted, Ryan said she expected more people aged over 65 would "feel confident" enough to gain computer skills and go online to access information and services they need.


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