Across the globe, we are witnessing the coming-of-age of digitally enabled generations who are leveraging technology to amplify their opportunities and well-being. Digital rewards are especially significant for newly connected users — women, youth, and smaller civil society groups — who are active users of social media. These groups use of digital tools is not matched by knowledge on how to control them. Ordinary people are exposed to significant digital risk — from cybercriminals, blackmailers and others. Many end up on the digital front line due to a marked form of digital “dependencia” — a deep reliance on the technological knowledge of others. These vulnerabilities have grave consequences — ranging from individual harm (e.g., blackmail) through to the endangerment of entire social networks and workplaces.
SecDev Foundation supports deeply tailored and highly responsive programmes to help women, youth and smaller civil society organizations understand their real digital vulnerabilities, and enhanced their digital resilience. We aim to enable new generations of Digital Citizens to protect themselves, their information and networks online.
The internet is the backbone of the global digital economy — a powerful catalyst for innovation, economic growth and social well-being. Communities and countries seeking to unlock their economic potential and innovation, require an engaged and literate digital citizenry. Governments are recognizing that the pathway to future prosperity is digital, and skilled Digital Citizens are the key.
Governments are also concerned about security. Governments are responsible for community security and public safety. Regulation aimed at reasonable controls over cyberspace and social media are universal. Criminals and terrorists do use the Internet. Extremism and hate speech are spread through social media. Children, women and vulnerable groups are targeted, hurt and exploited online, often with serious ‘offline’ consequences. Rule-making is necessary to ensure that the norms and protections of public safety extend into cyberspace.
Getting this balance right between openness and security is difficult, but is imperative for future economic well-being. And unlocking the potential of the digital economy requires many voices to be heard at the public policy table: industry, academics, civil society organizations, social and economic entrepreneurs. All have a vested interest and contribution in local, regional and national efforts to shape their respective digital economic futures.
SecDev Foundation is a trusted partner for facilitating multi-stakeholder policy engagements — based on sound local research and knowledge and comparative international best practice — that assists stakeholders in navigating the complex issues and tradeoffs, and making smarter decisions for more prosperous futures.