March 2012

Digital Inclusion Seattle

Students and supporters at Casa Latina (317 17th Ave S, Seattle) celebrate the opening of their new computer lab.

Students and supporters at Casa Latina (317 17th Ave S, Seattle) celebrate the opening of their new computer lab.

We are in the early stages of developing a new updated Digital Inclusion Plan for the City of Seattle. There are other cities that have researched and developed recommendations (see San Francisco or the strategic framework for Wales as two interesting examples.) Bryan Dosono, who is a member of our Citizens Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board (CTTAB), has taken on this project as part of his coursework at the University of Washington Information School. We will posting a draft of this when ready, but welcome your ideas about what should be in the Seattle plan and where we should go from here. Contact with your ideas.

The EdgeTech Benchmarks

Edge logo.The Edge initiative is an effort by a coalition of major organizations to develop public access technology benchmarks for public libraries. The Edge benchmarks are to be piloted this spring and will provide a measurement tool for libraries in best practices for providing public computers to patrons. Hopefully this tool will be rolled out for application to other public computing center providers as well. See more about their guiding principles and vision, and stay tuned for what promises to be a valuable result! The University of Washington Information School, TechSoup and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are among the partners. See more here.

Be a Smart Cable Customer–Get It In Writing!

Cable and telecommunications companies are always trying to find ways to get and keep customers. One method they use is having contracted sales agents canvassing neighborhoods or working at mall kiosks, marketing special promotional deals if you will join, change, or bundle your service with them. If you decide to take one of these deals, make sure you get something in writing that confirms the rates, services and period of time the promotion covers.

While it’s always wise to get contract details in writing, it’s especially important if you are accepting a special promotional deal. The City has noticed an increasing number of complaints from cable customers who were promised one thing by a sales agent, but then billed something different. When they call the company to correct their bill, they are told ‘we have no promotion like that’ and are left trying to prove what they were promised. If you have something in writing, it’s easy!

Seattle cable customers are also encouraged to be familiar with their rights under the City’s Cable Customer Bill of Rights. Check it out online, or call the Office of Cable Communications at (206) 684-8498.

Keeping Your Info Secure in Facebook

The following blog t was posted by Kevin Lam on the LockBox website, and David Matthews, Deputy Chief Information Security Officer of the City of Seattle thought it was very good advice. Below is an excerpt to the full article.

Somebody recently asked me how I would use my experience as a legal and professional hacker to steal their personal identity. There are lots of way to do this. I might attack your email account, bank accounts, your laptop, your work account and your home wireless network just to start. Or I could take an easier path: your Facebook account. Here are the top 3 things I would turn on or off on your Facebook account right now if I were you.

Tip #1: Turn On Secure Browsing

Fortunately, Facebook has a feature called “Secure Browsing”. All this feature really does is it turns on SSL (when possible) whenever you access your Facebook account. This will make accessing Facebook over public networks safer. There’s a catch however: Secure Browsing is turned off by default.
Here’s how to turn on Facebook Secure Browsing:

  1. Log into your Facebook account.
  2. Select your Account Settings.
  3. Select the Security Settings icon.
  4. Check the Secure Browsing option and click the Save Changes button.

Tip #2: Remove Your Family Links

You may already be careful about this type of information and how much you share. But can you say that your family members take the same level of care? Better be safe and not make identity thieves jobs easier by letting them know who your family members are. Here’s how to turn limit access to this type of information:

  1. Log into your Facebook account.
  2. View your own profile and select the Edit Profile button.
  3. Select the Friends and Family tab.
  4. Next to the Relationship Status section there’s a drop down controls the visibility of this type of information. Select this and change the setting to Only Me.
  5. Clear out the Anniversary information if it’s set.
  6. Repeat this for the Family and Friends sections. At most I would only let direct Friends see this information.
  7. Click the Save Changes button.

Tip #3: Hide Your Birthday, Mobile Number and Address

Information like your birthday, mobile number and address really needs to stay private on Facebook. These are really useful pieces of information when it comes to stealing your identity. To mask this information in Facebook, follow these steps:

  1. Log into your Facebook account.
  2. Go to your profile page and select the Edit Profile button.
  3. Under the Basic Information tab, select the Don’t show my birthday in my profile drop down at minimum. You may wish also to clear out or restrict access to information such as your Hometown and Current City.
  4. Click the Save Changes button when you’re done.
  5. In the Contact Information tab, clear out any addresses, or mobile numbers you have listed or at least restrict their visibility to only friends.

TMF Deadline is April 3

The Technology Matching Fund supports Technology Literacy & Access and Civic Engagement projects that reach technology underserved communities, with grants up to $20,000. To read more about current and past projects, review eligibility criteria, download the application, and register your organzation, visit the Community Technology TMF page.

For more information, contact Delia Burke by email or by phone at (206) 233-2751.

Communities Connect Network Portal

Have you checked out theCommunities Connect Network Web PortalThe Forum is designed for PCC staff and volunteers to post and answer questions about community technology and digital inclusion. It is an online space for using each other as resources to best serve our communities.

We have created a list of topics such as “Managing Programs, Staff, and Volunteers” and “Curriculum and Training” for you to share information with your fellow digital inclusion supporters and community technology staff. Do you have a success story about your lab to share? Post it on the Success Stories thread of the Forum! If you do not have an account for the CCN Web Portal, register here. Questions? Please contact Amy Hirotaka, CCNP Outreach Coordinator or call (425) 977-4749.