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Your Identity in the Digital Age

The 4th Industrial Revolution has brought forth a great deal of opportunities for individuals and industries alike. However, the importance of one’s digital identity and their subsequent awareness around cyber security has failed to be prioritized by civil society, policy makers and organisations. With the push for universal Internet access, the increasing use of social networks and a growing reliance on digital services, in conjunction with an expanding range of threats from criminals, cyber security and digital identity management is a growing concern for government and local citizens. Globally, individuals are becoming increasingly connected with smart devices. Sending and receiving massive amounts of data back and forth. We rely on the transfer and storage of this data on a daily basis. Hackers and cyber attackers are aware of our online activity and subsequently steal data for their own gain.

On the 5th of April 2019 the Western Cape Colab for e-Inclusion and Social Innovation conducted a Digital Identity Management workshop in Kuils River. The content of the training was especially amended for a new group of 161 Department of Agriculture Interns. Five main ideas were covered in the workshop: Your Identity, Losing your Identity, Protecting your Identity, Social Media and Cyber-bullying.

Digital Identity Management aims to educate society regarding their digital identity and cyber security. Individuals spend a substantial amount of time on digital platforms (for instance, social media, search engines and online transactions) and thus need to be alert to the potential risks involved in their online activity. The programme’s content was based on the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Digital Awareness Programme material which forms part of the national government’s Digital Awareness programme. Real and virtual world identities were a focal point throughout the session.

Agriculture is one of many industries influenced by advancements in technological innovation. Geographical Information Systems (GIS), Intelligent Automation and Robotics are examples of technologies currently being applied in the Agriculture sector. All these new technologies require different skills and capabilities from both workers and managers in the sector. As such, the Colab in partnership with the Department of Agriculture, began this programme in order to train and educate Agriculture interns on cyber security and their digital identity. Furthermore, students were encouraged to participate, critically think and answer questions throughout the workshop. According to one attendee, the workshop was “enlightening, especially regarding digital privacy issues and the various dangers involved with online activities”.

Moreover, research shows that individuals learn effectively by applying concepts in a non-threatening and fun way, therefore the Colab in collaboration with Sea Monster, developed a serious game, Ultimate Celebrity Manager (Android & iOS version available), to teach users basic concepts around cyber security.

Looking towards the future the Colab has entered into an agreement with the Department of Agriculture to train 400 interns in the Western Cape over a 12-month period. In conclusion, the Western Cape Colab in partnership with the Department of Agriculture is looking forward to embarking on this training programme with the vision of empowering and upskilling citizens towards becoming not only conscious, but innovative digital users.

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