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TUANZ urges next Govt to commit to improving online safety
Wed, 13th Sep 2023

Ahead of the general election in October, The Tech Users Association (TUANZ) has called on whoever makes up the next Government to commit to continuing to take the lead on improving security and safety online.

An increased reliance on digital devices post-pandemic and the growing number of open platforms and interconnected systems has created more opportunities for cyber criminals.

Online scams are a rapidly growing problem, posing significant threats especially to individual users. The increasing prevalence of technology and the widespread use of the internet have provided scammers with a vast playground to exploit unsuspecting victims.

"Scammers are employing even more sophisticated techniques to deceive and manipulate users, making it difficult to distinguish between legitimate and fraudulent activities," says TUANZ CEO Craig Young. 

"It is crucial for individuals to learn to remain vigilant, educated, and cautious while navigating the digital landscape to protect themselves from falling victim to these increasingly prevalent online scams," he says. 

TUANZ is calling on the next Government to develop a fresh national strategy that leads to enforceable legislation and regulations.

"The strategy should ensure the enhancement of the capabilities of Government agencies in investigating and combating cyber security threats," Young says. 

"This includes developing a coordinated approach within agencies that have cybercrime in their mandate," he says.

In addition, TUANZ would like to see the implementation of guidelines encouraging more detailed cyber security disclosures.

"We need to bolster collaboration between government agencies, law enforcement, and private sector entities to share information and intelligence about emerging scams and cyber threats," Young says.

TUANZ would also like to see the next Government prioritise the development of a digital identity system in Government that is enhanced and more sophisticated than what is currently in use.

"We would also like to see the development of comprehensive privacy and data protection regulations that keep pace with technology, ensuring they address clear guidelines for the collection, use, and sharing of personal data, with a focus on obtaining informed consent, ensuring data security and empowering individuals with control over their data," Young says.

"We need to continue to invest in awareness campaigns through agencies like CERT NZ to educate citizens about the various types of online scams and the precautionary measures they can take," he adds. 

"This includes promoting digital literacy and responsible online behaviour from an early age. We also need to further encourage public-private partnerships, especially in relevant industries like the financial sector to combat online scams."

TUANZ has put forward the following recommendations to Government:

  • Develop a new national cyber security strategy.
  • Implement guidelines on cyber security disclosures.
  • Implement an improved Government digital identity system.
  • Develop comprehensive privacy and data protection regulations.
  • Instruct relevant Government agencies to develop public-private partnerships in specific industries.