Google launches Good To Know before UK safety week

Google has launched Good To Know, a consumer advertising campaign and website. It says this is "designed to give people practical guidance on staying safe online," and consumer safety is clearly essential to every company that does business online.

Google has launched Good To Know, a consumer advertising campaign and website. It says this is "designed to give people practical guidance on staying safe online," and consumer safety is clearly essential to every company that does business online. However, notwithstanding the public transport posters and full-page advertisements in UK national newspapers, Good To Know does not appear to be a UK-specific initiative: there is also a US version of the website, which appears to be almost identical, except for links to American rather than British "partners and resources".

Google's Director of Privacy, Alma Whitten, made the UK announcement on Monday on the company's European Public Policy Blog. She said: "Our goal with the Good To Know campaign is to provide people with practical guidance, from selecting safe passwords to keeping their online accounts secure." Will DeVries, Google's Privacy Policy Counsel, made a similar US announcement on the Google Public Policy Blog.

While Google's initiative is to be applauded, it might have been applauded even more if it had thrown a bit of its undoubted marketing weight behind the UK's national Get Safe Online campaign, and/or America's OnGuardOnline.gov, which is currently in the middle of its 8th annual National Cyber Security Awareness Month.

Get Safe Online Week, the British equivalent, starts with a summit in central London on Monday, November 7.

Good To Know's aims are exactly the same as Get Safe Online's, except that GSO aims to help small businesses (PDF) as well as consumers.

Google's European blog post also says it is working with the Citizens Advice Bureau.

By contrast, Get Safe Online is backed by the UK government's Office of Cyber Security and Information Assurance (part of the Cabinet Office), the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, the Home Office, the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure, SOCA (which tackles serious organised crime), the National Fraud Authority, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), Ofcom and … the Citizens Advice Bureau, among others. Get Safe Online's corporate sponsors include Microsoft, HSBC, Symantec, PayPal, and the Internet Services Providers' Association (ISPA UK), but not Google.

Get Safe Online commented via Twitter: "Although Google isn't a direct sponsor, we're keen to work with everyone! Delighted to see Google’s campaign this week, which also links back to our website."

A Google spokesperson said: "We're big admirers of the many organisations promoting security and safety, and we're linking to several of them on our Good To Know website to help publicise their resources. We all have a shared interest in helping people stay safe online, and the more effort that goes into this, the better."

This is true. However, given the timing, would it be too much to expect a bit more co-operation and co-ordination?

@jackschofield

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