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BSA pushes safety message to consumers

Business Software Alliance extends Right Click initiative to Singapore, roping in support from industry players which say more must be done to increase online safety awareness.
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Written by Eileen Yu, Contributor on

SINGAPORE--Shifting its focus toward consumers, the Business Software Alliance (BSA) today kicked off the local chapter of an initiative aimed at raising public awareness on safe cyber usage.

The Right Click program, already launched in some countries across the Asia-Pacific region including China, Malaysia and Thailand, is a BSA-led effort to ensure consumers recognize online threats and know how to protect themselves against the risks.

BSA roped in several industry partners for its Right Click initiative in Singapore: auction site eBay Singapore; Internet service provider Pacific Internet (Singapore); industry group Singapore Infocomm Technology Federation; the National Internet Advisory Council (NIAC), which sits under Singapore's Media Development Authority; and broadcaster MediaCorp's subsidiaries 1-Net Singapore and MediaCorp Technologies.

Part of the initial efforts under the Right Click program include ensuring information and other relevant resources are made available on the BSA Web site, such as fact sheets on Internet piracy, tips on how consumers can protect themselves online, guidelines on purchasing the necessary security tools, and an online form to report Internet auction fraud.

Tarun Sawney, BSA's Asia director for anti-piracy, said the program will be extended to schools in 2007, but noted that the discussion on future plans is still in the early stage. "We've only just started on the initiative," he said, during the launch this morning. He added that BSA will tap on the resources of its Right Click partners and invite them to speak at seminars, for example, to lend a "local flavor".

Highlighting concerns of online fraud, identify theft, software piracy and intellectual property infringements, Sawney said BSA identified 56,375 instances of software infringements in the Asia-Pacific region, including Japan, during the first six months of 2006. Of these, BSA sent out 25,513 notices to ISPs in the respective countries requesting the infringing Web sites be shut down.

With the emergence and growing influence of a new wave of online content, such as YouTube, MySpace and Slingbox, more needs to be done to ensure consumers understand how to be responsible Internet users and how to adequately protect themselves against cyber threats.

Mock Pak Lum, managing director of 1-Net Singapore and MediaCorp Technologies, said: "A lot is being done but not enough, yet." He noted that there are still pockets of users who "still don't know what to do".

Wong Taur-Jiun, Asia-Pacific legal affairs manager, McAfee, said: "It's the schools that are pushing the kids to [tap on] the Internet but at the same time, are not warning them about the perils of doing so. And that's what concerns me." McAfee is a member of BSA, which also counts others such as Adobe, IBM and Microsoft, as members.

Mock added that initiatives such as Right Click, will provide another platform for the industry to further "champion the cause" and help consumers protect themselves on the Web.

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