The Orb: Report Online Crimes


A new website has been launched for New Zealanders to report various kinds of online crimes: the Orb.

The Orb has been developed by NetSafe to offer all New Zealanders a simple and secure way to report their concerns about online incidents. The Orb works with partner agencies to direct your reports through to the organisation best able to investigate or advise you on various types of online incidents such as scams and frauds, spam messages, objectionable material, privacy breaches and problems whilst shopping online.

Partners include: New Zealand Police, the Department of Internal Affairs, the Privacy Commissioner, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, the Commerce Commission, the Centre for Critical Infrastructure Protection and the New Zealand Customs Service.

The Orb enables us to ‘report online crimes, online’

Strictly speaking, not all internet based incidents are crimes under New Zealand law and not all our partner are law enforcement agencies.

The Orb has been set up to handle:

  • objectionable material;
  • online traders;
  • breaches of privacy;
  • scams or frauds;
  • computer attacks;
  • spam;
  • offending against children.

If it is not clear to you which category fits your incident, there is a separate “Other, don’t know” section, while child pornography can be reported via the ECPAT’s Child Altert Hotline section.

If you are a regular user of the internet, I suggest you go and have a look so you know where to go or where to refer another to when in need of assistance.

Complaints posted to the site would be reviewed by Netsafe and passed on to appropriate agencies, including police, Customs, the Serious Fraud Office, privacy commissioner and the Commerce Commission.

When complaints did not fit the criteria of the main enforcement agencies, they would be passed on to other corporate or government agencies, such as banks or organisations such as Trade Me

Source STUFF

How about leaving the thing (mobile phone) off?


Grace period over, police warn covert texters

Drivers are slipping back into “old habits” of using cellphones while driving and are now taking their eyes completely off the road to text covertly, police say.

Police have ended their grace period for drivers caught using a hand-held cellphone and are reporting a significant increase in the number of tickets being issued.

Although only 275 tickets were issued nationally in November, the month that driving while using a hand-held phone became illegal, Sergeant Scott Richardson of Christchurch expected it to be a lot higher now.

“When it came in we thought there would be tickets everywhere … but the compliance was awesome. But people fall back into old habits.”

Read the rest of the rest of the article here >>>

JUST LEAVE THE THING OFF

It may be me but would it not live a lot easier if we just leave the thing off or put it off before we go into the car or get into a conversation?

It has been less than a few decades ago that we did not use mobile phones simply because they were not there. And look at us now, I read articles about what the appropriate age is for kids to have a mobile phone about our continuous distraction and the risks associated with it especially when we are driving. When was the last time you were in a conversation where there was not some distraction because someone “just had to take this call” to find that apparently you conversation partner “had to talk about that movie or other program that was on tele last night” or otherwise matters that could simply have waited. Then coming back into the conversation there is the well known “where were we again.”

The police here is warning us about falling back into old habits, texting while we drive and since that is illegal now, we do it covertly. WHAT IS IT THAT IS SO IMPORTANT THAT YOU ARE WILLING TO RISK YOU OWN LIFE AND THAT OF OTHERS that needs to go into this text and could not wait until you were in a situation where you could do this safely? Just the other day, we almost got run over by someone that was actually leaving his premises and while backing out from his driveway was also busy texting, so busy in fact that he never saw the people at the end of the driveway. How sad is that?

My idea: just leave the thing off when you get behind the wheel. I know, I know, I am probably sounding like I am from another planet. But really, looking back at my own mobile history I know that while I was not that inclined to pick up the thing in the first place by myself, the tone of a message or a call coming in seemed irresistible. So, that problem was sorted quickly. And it had another advantage, it stopped using battery power especially important if your going through some of the no reception areas on the South Island.

And is it not the same  in social or business meetings. What is the message you are really conveying when you are letting yourself be distracted by those mobiles all the time. What are you telling the other side of your real time conversation if you are there sending texts messages while having a conversation? Imagine this: you are having a cup of coffee with a good friend and at some point he turns around with his or her back towards you to start another conversation, and from that moment on whenever you talk, you talk to your friends back. Well that in a way is what you are doing. I know I have been guilty of myself.

Always Connected… Come on?

With mobile connectivity came the myth that we needed to be connected and available wherever we are. And in all honesty it certainly has its advantages at times but, … at times. But most off all I cannot help but feeling that this continuous connectivity is nothing more than  a big distraction and mist of all another wake to fake you way to an impression of importance. And funnily those that really are usually have someone to take their calls when they are not there. And for the rest, “what’s up?” … “nothing much and twittering about it” … “how r u” … “here with guy pretending to be busy, pub @ 6?” …. In the meantime the person on the other side of the table is talking an you are NOT listening?

Seth Godin, I do not recall the specific of the where and when anymore, talked about how the social net is providing an opportunity for a lot of fake. I think the same applies to the mobile thingy for as far as the two can still be separated. Yet we are made to believe that this is essential. I remember some time ago in the Netherlands I had to get a mobile phone and entering the shop explaining that, the lady said:

“WHAT DO YOU WANT TO USE YOUR PHONE FOR?”

Well duh for making phone calls or am I saying something strange here?

And true I have been using my mobile phone to take pictures for the reasons outlined in my world through a mobile phone post. But that was born out of an accident. What bothers me is that in all our ‘connectedness’ we do not seem to be realizing how it also created a ‘collective shallowness’, great for those that do coaching and consulting on how to have a meaningful conversation again as that is what we have apparently been losing as a craft.

I guess as far as I am concerned the answer is simple where it comes to step one in the program: DARE TO LEAVE THE THING OFF AT TIMES, so you can focus on what is really important at that time: your driving, your present conversation or meeting, enjoying your walk outside without distractions.

And those that see this not as an option I suggest make that one very important template that you can use to answer texts messages coming in:

“DROVE OFF A CLIFF (alternatively: against a tree) TRYING 2 ANSWER UR TXT. SEE U IN HOSPITAL OR HEAVEN.” A one button reply ready to go for when you mess up.

85 tips for keeping safe online


A list of points to keep in mind in relation to computer and internet security. This is of course far from complete but makes a good start. Please help further extend this list. Leave a comment with your suggestions (full credit of course to good suggestions).

Security (1 of 1)SECURE YOUR SYSTEM

  1. Run anti-virus software on your home computer, maintain and update regularly.
  2. Use a personal firewall.
  3. Run and maintain spyware an adware protection products and update regularly. More on IObit products (free) that can help you here >>>
  4. Don’t run or install programs from an unknown origin unless you are sure that it can be trusted.
  5. Secure your passwords.
  6. Don’t give out your password to anyone.
  7. Change your internet banking passwords regularly (some banks automatically have you change your password periodically).
  8. Use strong passwords and avoid using passwords that relate to your personal details, especially when some of them are on line publicly (name, name partner, children, date of birth). Consider a password generator.
  9. Avoid storing your passwords on your computer (unless in a password manager with good encryption).
  10. Be sure to install  patches, fixes for your operating system and software, especially security updates.
  11. BACK UP YOUR WHAT YOU WANT TO KEEP. Keep a copy of that work on a separate storage device.
  12. Create a bootup disk, so you can recover things when your computer crashes. For a howto: http://computerhope.com/boot.htm
  13. Buy a board that protects against unexpected power surges, especially if where you live the power supply is less stable.
  14. When you are not using your computer, turn it of, that enhances security and saves power.
  15. Change passwords regularly, make them strong and impossible to guess.

EMAIL

  1. Check email regularly so you can reply quickly.
  2. Emails that ask you to forward an email you receive to everyone you know may can conveniently be ignored. They are usually hoaxes. If in doubt check at www.hoaxbusters.org.
  3. Don’t give out other’s email addresses when sending the same mail to a number of recipients, don’t use CC, USE BCC (blind carbon copy).
  4. Remember that words can read differently than they were meant to be in a normal conversation where you have the advantage of tonal and facial expression. If you do still feel rush, count to ten at least befor hitting any reply button.
  5. Whilst like texting email is very quick in terms of communication, keep the normal human gestures like a greeting and a farewell in mind especially in more formal communications.
  6. Before forwarding someone’s email to another party, consider how they would feel about you giving out their email address. Consider taking out those details (copy and paste the body of the message into a newly composed email).
  7. Make sure when your reply to an email that has been sent to many, that you reply to that particular person and not to the whole group unless it is deliberate.
  8. Don’t open attachments in emails from people you don’t know or an email you were not expecting. This is amongst others how viruses are spread.
  9. Keep in mind that viruses and those spreading viruses are getting smarter and smarter. The apparent sender of the mail even when that is a familiar name person, may very well not be the actual sender. Email addresses are gabbed from email address books all the time.
  10. Use a good spam filter.
  11. Never send out credit card or online banking details via email, treat emails like an open postcard.
  12. If you are extremely concerned about your email safety consider using encryption.

KEEPING YOURSELF SAFE

  1. Remember that what you read on the web is not always accurate. Keep that in mind especially when looking around for reference material. Check sources before you use the material; site owner, author, edited or not, does it corroborate with other INDEPENDENT sources.
  2. Be careful about what you write about others, liability for defamation could be the result of your actions, or loss of employment. Also remember that once you post it, it is there forever.
  3. If you keep a family site, remember that anyone can pass by and see it. That’s great for family and friends but when there is a lot of graphic material on there it may well be great for burglars as well. Review your site in relation to personal information in the broader sense, or consider setting it it up as a private site (for instance using ning) where you are in control who has access or not.
  4. Keep an eye on a site’s privacy policy, the requirements may differ substantially from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. For sites you visit regularly, keep an eye out for changes to these policies.
  5. When you download software (especially freeware) make sure you read and understand the EUA, to avoid unpleasant surprises and agreeing to other software being installed as well.
  6. Copyright is increasingly turning into a minefield as the internet is getting more popular. Be careful about using other’s materials especially when it is copyright material. Sometimes you need to ask for permission which can be obtained by one simple email. Otherwise, consider  using small fractions/quotes and refer to the original source.
  7. Be suspicious about (unsolicited) offers that seem to good to be true. WHEN IT SOUNDS TO GOOD TO BE TRUE IT USUALLY IS. Never give out confidential details.
  8. Be careful when typing web addresses (url’s) typo’s can get you in undesired places on the web (such as porn sites or malicious attack sites).
  9. Keep your browser updated as this may assist in such undesired sites opening up in your browser.
  10. When you sign up for web based mail (see above) don’t automatically let yourself get listed in the site’s directory. Check the tick boxes and make conscious choices.
  11. Update your software regularly, don’t automatically follow links that are sent by email, use the software’s own update functions preferably.
  12. Don’t assume that people won’t break into your computer (what is there to get anyway….YOU’D BE SURPRISED!). Confidential data is big business. And for the wireless users in regions where data caps apply: a piggy back rider may turn an expensive experience. Get a firewall and use it and secure your wireless internet access. A firewall not only protects you from traffic trying to come in but more importantly about programs trying to connect to the internet you were not aware of. My personal favorite personal firewall: Zonealarm
    (www.zonealarm.com), free version is available.
  13. Gadgets in the latest webbrowsers are great but some have some concerns, especially about Java and Active X.
  14. Be in control of your cookies.  I delete them all after every time I have been online. More about the ins and outs of cookies at www.cookiecentral.com.
  15. Check yourself online periodically to see what personal stuff is out there. Google your own name.
  16. Be careful with adult sites that offer free videos but ask you to download and install software to view these videos, you may end up with a lot of nasties on your computer or disconnects you from your ISP to replace your connection with one abroad that turns out to be charged as a toll call to the ISP in that country. You won’t like your next telco bill.

SOCIAL WEB

  1. You don’t need to use you real name at all times, nicknames are an accepted practice and can help protecting your privacy for instance in chat rooms and on forums and newsgroups. Consider using a web based email address (www.gmail.com, www.hotmail.com etc).
  2. Think carefully before giving out personal information during IM, in chat rooms, newsgroups etc. You don’t always (very often if not always) know who you are talking to.
  3. Remember that people can change their identity or lie about who they really are.
  4. If you want to meet someone you met in a chat room in person, talk on the phone first, meet in a public place and let someone else know what you are doing.
  5. Be careful what you post on your profile at for instance myspace, facebook, hi5, hyves, and consider your privacy options.
  6. If your sharing photos online, check the meta data you are sending out and if necessary remove it. Depending on the camera you used there could be private information on there you may not want to share.
  7. Bloggers and tweeters, keep in mind that people have gotten in trouble about what they post with third parties and employers. Think before you hit the publish button or consider blogging anonymously.

ONLINE BANKING AND BUYING

  1. Reconcile your accounts frequently and regularly. If you have any suspicions that something or someone got hold of your account details and is accessing your account: immediately contact your bank;
  2. Delete emails in which you are asked to provide your confidential  details. No bank sends out emails like that.
  3. Change your internet banking passwords regularly;
  4. Check that your connection to a website is a secure one (https connection, in which the s stands for secure) You will also see a small padlock icon at the bottom of your window. Double clicking the padlock icon should show you the owner of the certificate that verifies the identity of the site);
  5. Follow your own path to a site instead of links sent in emails, which could be false and could lead you to fraudulent sites that may look very bona fide but are not. Consider first whether the message you have received, seemingly from your bank, is one that your would expect to receive. Incorrect spelling or grammar are a red flag or indicator of a suspicious email or website;
  6. Buy online from business that you know and can be trusted. If you are not sure, check for a physical address of the online business, a phone number and return policy. Ask around to see if others have dealt with the business before or search the net for comsumer reactions (see for instance www.complaints.com, www.complaintsboard.com, www.ripoffreport.com.)
  7. Do not buy from a website if it does not properly protect the confidential information you provide in the process, such as credit card details. The padlock at the bottom of the screen is already a good indicator. If in doubt, contact the website and ask whether they use secure server and if they can prove it.
  8. Don’t let price be the only thing you care about, convenience and trust are equally important. Have a good look at the freight/shipping costs as they may differ substantially and sometimes there are good shipping saver bagains you may want to take into consideration.
  9. Keep a close eye on your credit card statements to ensure nothing out of the ordinary is recorded on there. Remember that when you buy from overseas there may be taxes due upon arrival of the goods.
  10. When you buy from overseas, check the currency prices first. I usually use www.xe.com
  11. Check what the store’s policy is regarding insurance, refunds, returns. Keep print outs of all your online transaction just in case you need proof of purchase.
  12. Warranties need to be checked especially when buying from an overseas store. Ensure that any warranty applies if something happens where you are.
  13. If you have any questions about the product or sale, contact the site and wait for a satisfactory reponse. If that does not eventuate keep look around for an alternative supplier. It also gives you an immediate impression about the shop’s customer service. No response, don’t buy there.
  14. As you go through checkout, you may be asked to sign up for newletters. Make sure you actually want them, think carefully before agreeing to anything.
  15. Check the store’s privacy policy before you give out an email address to be sure that it will not be passed on to other parties that end up flooding your inbox with junk and other unsolicited mail.

KEEPING THE KIDS SAFE


  1. Place the computer where you can see it.
  2. Set clear rules, which may include time spent online and what is and is not allowed online. Punishing inappropriate behavior afterward. may not be the best solution if there were no clear rules upfront. Banning your child from the net may lead to them finding ways to access the internet out of sight and your control (at a friend’s place, the library an internet cafe).
  3. Make sure you know the password of your children so you can check what they have been doing and where they have been.
  4. Don’t scare your children away from the net and explain that like in the real world there are some fruit loops out there that they may run into.
  5. Take an interest in your child’s activities online, even if you don’t feel confident about your own abilities, encourage them to open communication.
  6. Encourage your child to report anything out of the ordinary or unpleasant they encounter online an be seen to follow up on it.
  7. Do not be intimidated by technology, ASK IF YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND. The dumbest question is the one not asked.
  8. Don’t overreact. Not every incident is as serious as it may appear. Try to determine if incidents are of an isolated, coincidental nature and best to be ignored or a signal of potential trouble that needs closer monitoring. (Keep the communication open see 5.)
  9. Keep credit cards away / out of reach of your children, you could end up with unpleasant surprises.
  10. Check whether any chat rooms your children use are moderated (for instance the Penquin Club). This means that the site has arrenged for someone overlooking the chat sessions and throw anyone out that is a nuisance.
  11. Discourage your kids from having one-on-one conversations as opposed to addressing the complete chat room.
  12. Instant messaging = one-on-one and if you find your child doing that, make sure you know who the person on the other side is. Preferably allow this only with people they and you know.
  13. Consider installing a content filtering system or join with an ISP that tries to filter websites. Remember that there are no 100% fail safe systems so don’t get complacent or a false sense of security.
  14. If possible check your child’s surf history and keep in mind that computer savvy kids may be able to get rid of what they don’t want you to see. If you are of a paranoid nature, consider having all your child’s email coming through an email address under your control.
  15. Don’t think children are just curious about sex and porn, there is a wealth of stuff out there that will be interesting to the explorative youngster including things such as drugs, hacking an cracking, illegal downloading, and even things like making bombs.
  16. Don’t isolate talks with your children from the rest of life, it is all part of the same bigger picture of safety in general.
  17. The internet may be able to assist your child in learning about a lot of things including life but IT CAN NOT BE A REPLACEMENT FOR PARENTAL GUIDANCE.
  18. Don’t automatically assume that inappropriate behaviour is your child’s fault. Building trust and confidence may well be more constructive.
  19. Keep yourself informed about what is going on on the net.
  20. Don’t forget that mobile phones may have internet access as well. If your child has a mobile, make sure you set similarly clear ground rules

If you have more please leave a comment so I can update this list.

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