Canadians who are worried or experience cyber security issues have a new tool to help them find the appropriate aid.
As the varieties of online crime continue to expand, so too do the number of agencies and groups engaged in fighting those crimes. It is no simple matter to keep track of which organization handles what types of threat.
A new initiative by the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security is designed to help Canadians better understand what types of cyber incidents are reported to each of the different enforcement portals. It has a new web page that helps those who experience or fear cyber security issues find the correct reporting avenue.
If someone is pretending to be you on line, consumers are directed to contact the Anti-Fraud Centre. But online spam – often designed to facilitate identity theft – is the responsibility of the Spam Reporting Centre. Imminent criminal threats? They are the responsibility of the RCMP or a local police force. Concerns about terrorism or espionage go to CSIS. Online product scams are directed to the Competition Bureau.
Links are provided to each of those complaint or inquiry facilities.
As useful as the tool is, it also underscores the complex nature of cyber protection in Canada, and how some responsibilities are not particularly clear-cut. Products sold on a “free trial” with hidden recurring charges are directed to the Anti-Fraud Centre, while products purchased online that result in charges more than advertised are directed to the Competition Bureau. Likewise, identity theft and the spam that attempts to facilitate identity theft have different responsibility.
The effort is conscientious, but lacks the single portal input utility of measures such as 911 emergency services, Service Canada or even the national Canadian Consumer Advocate office once contemplated by the federal government to handle all consumer complaints.