Are you safe online?: Scotland Cyber Week 2020

By Dale Eaton

The world in 2020, peoples lives are almost intertwined with the internet. Despite this not enough of the internets users know how to protect themselves online.

According to a government survey 32% of businesses and 22% of charities reported having cyber security breaches or attacks across 2019. To try and reduce these numbers the Scottish Government is taking action.

Scotland is currently in the midst of Cyber Week 2020 which began on 17 February and will come to and end on 23 February. This is the second year of the week long event running all over Scotland.

The week will see more than 60 events covering a wide array of cyber security topics. These topics include workshops and talks on keeping safe online and events encouraging people to take up careers in cyber security.

These campaigns are targeted at all ages with institutions like Edinburgh University and University of Glasgow as well as organisations such as YoungScot and Dundee City Council involved.

A member of the Cyber Resilience Unit say’s there are three aims to Cyber Scotland Week: “It’s about up-skilling people, giving people a baseline standard of cyber resilience.

“The second part is about showcasing Scotland’s cyber security innovation and the third part is about promoting a career in cyber security. Wether that’s for children and young people or people in further education and even career changers.”

Talking about the events, Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “Cyber Scotland Week gives people of all ages the chance to come together to understand and learn about the threat and to hear about the wealth of cyber security careers opportunities.

“With over 60 events across the country, this Cyber Scotland Week builds on last year’s success and contribute to our ambition for Scotland to be a world leading cyber resilient nation.”

A member of the Cyber Resilience Unit feels very strongly about the importance of cyber security, saying: “You wouldn’t have a building without fire extinguishers so why would you have a system without firewalls.”

Whilst these events will help people improve their safety online against outside hackers they may still have their privacy breached by their own government. The UK Government introduced the Investigatory Powers Act in 2016, nicknamed the Snooper’s Charter. The Act granted the government massive surveillance powers.

The act came under criticism and civil liberties charity Liberty went as far to challenge the act in the high court. Liberty hit out at the act when they announced their intention to take the government to court, stating: “The Investigatory Powers Act is the most intrusive mass surveillance regime ever introduced in a democracy.”

Liberty lost the case against the government and in response to their defeat Liberty’s lawyer Megan Goulding stated: “This disappointing judgment allows the government to continue to spy on every one of us, violating our rights to privacy and free expression. We will challenge this judgment in the courts, and keep fighting for a targeted surveillance regime that respects our rights.”

“Study after study has show that human behavior changes when we know we’re being watched. Under observation, we act less free, which means we effectively *are* less free.” – Edward Snowden

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