City Alo Turns 1
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On November 22, a panel discussion was held on cyber security and digital wellness for modern women conducted on the premise of City Alo Center. The panel of speakers consisted of: Sharful Alam, the director and chief strategy officer of SSD tech; Farin Daulah, President of One Bangla; Tanzim Al Islam, advocate, Supreme Court of Bangladesh; Ishtiaq Ahmed, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Cyber Security and Crime Division; Rezwana Khan, Director & Chief Executive Officer, Star Computer Systems Limited; Rumesa Hussain, Associate Director PwC Bangladesh.
The discussion, which covered different aspects of cyber hazards and digital well-being with some of the key aspects being Cyber Security, Cyber Bullying, Parental Control, Protection against Cyber Crime, and legal actions against offenders, was hosted by Sharful Alam who moderated the discussion.
Ishtiaq Ahmed, Assistant Commissioner of Police, opened the discussion. He explained that even though Dhaka is the city with the 2nd largest number of smartphone users we don’t yet have the knowledge or maturity to responsibly use such technology. We try to use social media to take revenge and victimize people. There are many unreported, untold stories of cyber-crime victims who are discouraged by their own families to report their cases to the police. His comprehensive discussion covered a wide range of cyber threats and traps like logic bomb, Trojan Horse, Phishing, Social Engineering and Cyber-bullying.
As different speakers in the panel joined the discussion, various aspects of cyber identity protection and digital well-being of the internet users were discussed. It was pointed out that excessive interaction and obsession with social media was exerting a toxic influence on the youth. Two people who frequency interacted with text message in some form of digital media would hardly ever talk face-to-face in real life, preferring the latter. People too accustomed with texting nowadays rarely wish a friend or a loved one on their birthdays by calling on phone or visiting in person - he/she would rather send a text message. This new, easy, and convenient form of communication is discussed to be deteriorating our interpersonal skills because of the loss of personal touches during interactions.
As the discussion proceeded, the primary cause of risk for young women in Bangladesh was identified to be the unscrupulous use of social media like Facebook and Instagram. Some of the key factors related to the usage of social media which risked the well-being of modern women were:
Tendency to expressing strong emotions on Social Media: Often times women share their anger, frustration, depression, and general dissatisfaction of life on Facebook or other social media. This method of venting out feelings was discussed to be very unhealthy as such expression on a public platform can give leverage to people with ill-intentions to cause harm. While it is cathartic to release such negative, pent up emotions, they are better expressed to close friends, family or other trusted well-wishers.
Sharing daily activities and sharing location on social media: Posting daily activities on Facebook and Instagram, checking-in on Facebook and announcing future travel plans and activities on social media can give information to stalkers and people with criminal intent. In our current digital age where we have numerous Facebook and Instagram followers- most of whom we don’t know- it is unwise to post our daily activities and expose our location to people who can use such information for their own malicious ends. Alternatively we should be more selective as to whom we add on Facebook or allow to follow us on Instagram.
Sharing compromising information with significant others: No matter how much we love or trust our beloved partner or significant other, for precautionary measure we should never share our social media passwords or other similar personal information with our partner. There had been many instances where couples part ways, and the partner for revenge, or other evil intend reveals personal information or compromising photos to the masses to defame or disrepute the other. For similar reasons, a woman should not take intimate photos with her partner or share private photos with her partner.
Conflict between privacy and freedom was discussed: if we want free, unreserved lifestyle, we have to sacrifice some of our privacy. The trick lies in finding that personal sweet spot of ours where we strike the right balance between privacy and freedom, thus satisfying both of our needs. All the speakers in the panel unanimously agreed that the best advice is to stop and think before entering in to the cyber world.
Parental control: there was an in-depth discussion about the new generation which has different values and priorities from the earlier generations and therefore we have to deal with them with more care and delicacy and try to understand their point of view. Parents should set time every day to talk with their children about numerous issues such as responsible and proper ways of using social media and make them understand that sharing any personal information of someone else without consent can be labeled as cyber-crime. Parents should monitor what sites their children are visiting and block certain sites like those which have malicious or damaging content like pornography. TV and internet hours should be limited so that children goes to sleep on time and don’t stay up late nights chatting online or browsing social media. Parents can also use smart devices to limit internet access to up until particular hours and block access to undesirable websites.
Legal actions against offender: If someone unfortunately falls victim to cyber-crime there are certain measures that can be taken. Firstly, it is always prudent to keep private evidence like screenshots of conversation or records of other discriminating evidence. You can simply download the “Hello CT” app and report the crime in the cyber-crime option within the app. If the crime is more serious you can go to the Cyber Tribunal Bangladesh and file a formal complaint. For effective result, it was best advised to make the statement in the most clear and unambiguous language possible.