Microsoft, Other Industry Leaders Revamp Online Safety Site for All Internet Users

REDMOND, Wash. July 24, 2003 In an effort to reflect the ever-changing World Wide Web, Microsoft, AT & T, America Online, Verizon, the Internet Education Foundation and other Internet leaders have created a next-generation GetNetWise educational resource for consumers, based on the nature of the Internet today. Launched in 1999 as a user-friendly resource for parental information on how to make surfing online safe for children, GetNetWise.org now boasts tools to help all computer users navigate the Internet securely, including ways to avoid spam, protect computers from viruses and retain their privacy, as well as help ensure kids’ safety online.

Peter Cullen, who recently was named Microsoft’s Chief Privacy Strategist, spoke to PressPass about why Microsoft and other organizations continue to work together for a safer, more secure and trustworthy online world, and how GetNetWise is helping to achieve that goal in the 21st century.

PressPass: What is GetNetWise?

Cullen: GetNetWise is a user-friendly, easy-to-find, online resource developed by a coalition of Internet leaders, including AOL, AT & T, Microsoft, Verizon and others. It’s designed to help Internet users make their Internet experience positive, safe and secure. Links to GetNetWise can be found on the most popular entry points to the Internet, as well as on many of the most frequently visited Web sites. GetNetWise is updated and maintained by the companies, associations and non-profits involved in creating it, and, according to PC Magazine, more than 81,000 Web sites already link to GetNetWise.

PressPass: Why are efforts like this important to Microsoft?

Cullen: At Microsoft, we believe that if people are to realize the potential of what technology can do for them, they must be able to inherently trust in its security, privacy and reliability. In an effort to enhance the trustworthiness of computing for all users, Microsoft is working to not only inherently improve the trustworthiness of its own products and services, but to help provide the right tools and resources that can help empower consumers to take action to better protect themselves today. It is through this mixture of education and technology that we will truly be able to achieve the vision of what we call Trustworthy Computing.

PressPass: What will people find when they go to GetNetWise?

Cullen: The GetNetWise group of companies and associations has expanded and aggregated the site’s information into four, well-organized and easy-to-use areas. Keeping Children Safe Online, Stopping Unwanted Email and Spam, Protecting Your Computers from Hackers and Viruses and Keeping Your Personal Information Private. Tips and resources are provided in all four areas to help computer users navigate the Internet safely.

PressPass: How did GetNetWise get its start?

Cullen: Members of the private sector saw a growing need to educate families and help them guide their children online. GetNetWise was created after briefings with members of Congress and grew out of the 1997 Internet Online Summit: Focus on Children, and the 1998 America Links Up campaign. Industry leaders began exploring the possibility of creating a collection of digital resources that would be accessible from virtually all entry points to the Internet. These discussions continued beyond 1999, and this year, the coalition agreed that it was time to expand the resource to the next level, addressing the issues of online privacy, security and spam as well as child safety. The result of these ongoing discussions, considerable research, broad industry cooperation and consultations with some of the nation’s leading non-profit groups and independent experts is the next generation of GetNetWise.

PressPass: What companies and organizations are responsible for the GetNetWise campaign?

Cullen: The coalition of companies includes AOL Time Warner, AT & T, Microsoft and Verizon. They are joined by the American Library Association, Comcast, Dell, Recording Industry Association of America, and Yahoo! GetNetWise is coordinated and managed by the Internet Education Foundation .

PressPass: In addition to its participation in the GetNetWise campaign, what else is Microsoft doing to help ensure a safe Internet?

Cullen: Microsoft is working across its technology platforms, online services and educational initiatives to help empower consumers to better protect their families and children online and to provide consumers with more control and choice about the use of their personal information. MSNs informational Web site for families, http://www.staysafeonline.com , and other regional safety sites in 20 countries, tailored to provide links to local organizations, initiatives, and hotlines (such as http://www.onlinesafety.msn.co.uk ); Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing homepage, providing information and resources on technology and the issues of security, privacy, reliability and business integrity ( http://www.microsoft.com/twc ); and Microsofts anti-spam Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/spam are just a few examples of these efforts. In addition, Microsoft is also helping provide technological tools to help parents better manage their childs personal information and play a more active role in determining the content their child may access. Examples include parental controls in products like MSN and Xbox; Internet Explorers Content Advisor, which allows users to control the types of content their computers can access, and P3P, which provides users with tools to protect their privacy.

Microsoft is committed to providing consumers with simple tools to help protect themselves and their families online, so that even those who may be intimidated by technology are not left behind. We believe this is particularly important for parents, to help enable their role as
“protector”
of their children — even in times when their children may be more familiar with the technology itself. By providing easy tools and accessible safety information, we are working to help empower parents, and all consumers, to safely and confidently get the most out of technology.

For more information, go to http://www.getnetwise.org .

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