Conroy's kid safety red button cost $136K

Summary:Documents have revealed that the software-based anti-bullying panic button launched by the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy in June this year cost $136,000, not the $73,000 originally announced.

Documents have revealed that the software-based anti-bullying panic button launched by the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy in June this year cost $136,000, not the $73,000 originally announced.

Conroy's big red button

Stephen Conroy (Credit: Sony)

In June this year, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy launched the red-coloured Adobe Air software-based button developed by Saltbush Development at the Cyber-Safety and Youth Advisory Summit in Canberra.

The button is designed to sit either in the computer's taskbar or stay permanently on the desktop. If a child is being bullied or facing other problems online, they can click the button and would be directed to a website that shows them what they can do. The website would explain, for example, how to report issues to Facebook or how to report something to the police.

In July the department revealed to ZDNet Australia that the cost of the button was $73,000. However, in amongst the listing of funding for cyber-safety initiatives including Labor's controversial mandatory internet filtering program, the department revealed the true cost of the button to be much higher than the department had initially announced.

"An additional $136,000 was allocated in 2010 to develop a Cyber-safety Help Button," the department said.

The department chose Adobe Air as the platform so that the button would operate for both Windows and Mac users.

"The department's objective is to design the button so that it can operate for most versions of both Apple Mac and Microsoft," it said at the time. "It is currently being tested for a range of versions of both products."

The button was met with heavy ridicule by people on Twitter and broadband enthusiast site Whirlpool at the time of the announcement, with some users changing their default picture to that of a big red button.

The cyber-safety button can be downloaded from the department's website.

Topics: Government, Government : AU

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Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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