In this week’s news, we report on free internet access, malware on laptops, tackling CSA and more.
FREE ACCESS TO ONLINE RESOURCES FOR PUPILS
Help for the hundreds of thousands of UK families who rely upon data-limited connections to access remote learning for their children has come in an offer from a number of mobile operators. O2, Three, Vodafone, EE, BT, Virgin, Sky and PlusNet have agreed to make access to online resources from the Oak National Academy free to UK families via their mobile networks during lockdown. BT have also offered its customers in England free access to BBC Bitesize and has invited the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish Governments to nominate one online site for similar free access for children in their areas.
As part of its ‘Lockdown Learning’ scheme BT is also offering extra help for disadvantaged families. This includes unlimited free mobile data to EE and BT mobile customers who qualify for the DfE’s Get Help with Technology programme and free wifi vouchers, to be distributed through schools and charities, for families who don’t have the connectivity needed to access resources for their children’s home learning. For more details on the scheme visit: https://newsroom.bt.com/bt-adds-to-lockdown-learning-support-scheme-by-removing-mobile-data-charges-for-oak-national-academy/
MALWARE FOUND ON LAPTOPS DISTRIBUTED TO SCHOOLS
The UK government has delivered 800,000 of the one million laptops it pledged to schools and colleges to support access to high quality remote learning for disadvantaged pupils, but it appears that in a few cases, devices have been infected with malware which could spread to other devices and put personal information at risk. The Department for Education is investigating the issue.
According to a BBC report, a Bradford Council official has suggested schools take a precautionary approach and check their networks. The report quotes information security consultant, Paul Moore’s, advice that “Ideally users should reboot into safe mode and run a full scan with an anti-virus product,”
TACKLING CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE
The Home Office has published what it describes as a “first of its kind” new strategy for tackling Child Sexual Abuse. It is based on three objectives: bringing offenders to justice, preventing offending and re-offending, and safeguarding children and young people.
The strategy includes investing in new technological capabilities to bring more technically sophisticated offenders to justice including the UK’s world-leading Child Abuse Image Database (CAID).
It also includes improving the information provided to parents to help them identify the risk, educating children and young people about healthy relationships and the digital world, and introducing the Online Harms framework with a new statutory duty of care for tech companies to safeguard children.
Additional support will be provided for victims in the court process to reduce the risk of re-traumatisation, to protect their rights and support them through a new and revised Victims’ Code.
EVERY MIND MATTERS CAMPAIGN
The results of a survey by Public Health England show that almost half of adults report the pandemic has had a negative effect on their mental health and wellbeing, including feelings of anxiety, stress, sleep problems and low mood. In order to help, PHE has launched a nationwide Better Health – Every Mind Matters campaign. It enables adults to obtain a personalised action plan with practical tips to help them cope. It also offers information and videos to support young people with their wellbeing and provides support for parents to look after the mental wellbeing of their children.
COUNTY LINES GANGS
Tackling County Lines gangs which recruit young people to act as drug runners, often recruiting them online, will be one of the priorities of the Government’s continuing drive to cut crime and protest people from the scourge of illegal drugs. It has announced £148 million new investment to fund enforcement action as well as treatment and recovery. The new investment will double the funding available tackle county lines gangs and drug lords.
£28 million will be invested in an intensive approach to drug misuse in a new pilot project named ADDER. This will run for 3 years in areas with some of the highest rates of drug misuse: Blackpool, Hastings, Middlesbrough, Norwich and Swansea Bay. It will combine tougher policing with enhanced treatment and recovery services.
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