A campaign which aims to teach children that computer crime is not cool was launched in the UK this week.
The Safe Net e-quette initiative kicked off yesterday with an open letter from software company Sophos Anti-Virus to UK Prime Minister Tony Blair. The letter calls for tighter government guidelines on safe internet use.
Graham Cluley, Sophos senior technology consultant, is leading the campaign, which was revealed exclusively by vnunet.com last month.
"Our increasingly IT-literate children need to be taught that virus writing and illegal hacking is not cool, and can cause significant financial damage to business and home users alike," said Cluley.
He welcomed Blair's announcement earlier this week to get every person in the UK on the internet by 2005, but warned in his letter: "This needs to be combined with a solid footing in computer ethics and how to surf in safety."
"Children must also be taught, as part of the computer curriculum, that virtual crime has real victims. Youngsters need to appreciate that accessing a schoolfriend's Word documents is as much an invasion of privacy as reading their diary. Cracking website passwords is unacceptable, and writing and releasing viruses is wrong."
A spokeswoman for the Department for Education and Employment said: "We have produced the Super Highway Safety Pack for teachers and parents which provides guidance on different issues to promote safe and responsible use of the internet and advice on policies agreed with pupils and parents."
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