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Online Security UK: Labour compares unsafe surfing to drink driving

With online security, privacy and porn filters hot political potatoes right about now, Labour Shadow Secretary Jim Murphy has fired a shot across the bows, saying that addressing online security should be targeted in a similar way to drink-driving.

That is, it’s up to us, the users and businesses, to take measures in our own hands and stop making life so easy for hackers.

Speaking to The Guardian, Murphy said that the Government should “consider a public awareness campaign along the lines of those conducted against drink-driving, highlighting threats and action that can be taken to strengthen personal responsibility.”

While there is a Government-sponsored online awareness campaign – Get Safe Online – this hasn’t been promoted as aggressively as campaigns like the Department of Transport’s Think!

Get Safe Online contains features on online safety myths, jargon busting glossaries and sections written in Welsh.

“We have to ask ourselves what the right combination of education and regulation is because we must develop a cultural intolerance towards aggressive or criminal internet use,” Murphy added.

Murphy, MP for for East Renfrewshire also calls for a kitemarking system, used to rank businesses’ for their online security efforts.

“Kitemarks for those with high standards of cyber security must become a reality across the private sector. The defence industry is one of the most at risk sectors and so the Ministry of Defence could work with business to set a series of benchmarks for firms’ cyber security performance which would be taken into account when making procurement decisions.”

Cyber security makes up a core part of the Government’s Strategic Defense and Security Review, other elements of which Murphy has criticised elsewhere in the media.

The consequences of surfing the web with no security measures might not quite be the same as driving drunk without a seatbelt. But we welcome a move which encourages subscribers to learn more about safe surfing as opposed to top-down regulation and web filtering which evidence suggests won’t be that effective anyway.

Update: On the ‘Link to us’ section of Get Safe Online there’s currently a link to – a listings site with an 18-rated section including entries from male and female escorts. Recombu Digital wonders if the Governement’s own web safety endeavour would get blocked by an opt-in porn filter.