Tsuut’ina Police cybercrime awareness program targets phishing, extortion, cyberbullying and more

By Emil Tiedemann

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The Tsuut’ina Nation Police Service, or Tosguna, has produced a new informational video that it hopes will help raise awareness about the various types of cybercrimes affecting the Indigenous communities of Alberta. It’s part of a First Nations Policing Cyber Strengthening project.

Tosguna’s new cyber security awareness campaign is funded by a grant from the Canadian Public Safety Agency and will set out to combat the growing problem of digital crimes, such as phishing, extortion, identity theft, and cyberbullying.

According to Sgt. Dawn Blake of the Community Impact & Innovation Section, this new program is “an effort to increase law enforcement officers’ knowledge to respond to cybercrime incidents while increasing collaboration and knowledge sharing with our partner agencies in cities and First Nations communities across Alberta.

“It brings awareness about the different types of crime we are seeing more and more,” Blake continued. “Identity theft, preying on the elderly, child luring attempts are a few of the topics we cover. People thinking that they are meeting a new best friend or password breaches on our devices. Often people are intimidated to come forward about something they have purchased or agreed to, so providing some resources, solutions, and education can provide some preventative options.”

Although the program is not directed exclusively towards the Indigenous population, it is focused on the local First Nations community. It was created with local residents and incorporates the Tsuut’ina language to make the messaging more relatable.

“Our public awareness campaign was developed through collaboration and input from law enforcement partners, cybercrime experts, and Elders,” Blake said. “It is a more impactful and relatable message when we see our own people speaking, talking, and sharing their experiences.”

That is why they chose all Indigenous actors to appear in a five-minute video that was produced with two local companies, Limelight Multimedia and Orange Glow Photography.

The clip uses the phrase, “What makes you click?,” as a reminder for people to question what they are being asked to do online or over the phone, and to ensure that they take the necessary steps to protect themselves.

“We are motivated and influenced by multiple things day to day:

fear, excitement, financial gain, new love interest, or just a new confidante,” Blake continued. “Various reasons make you click.

Send. Accept. The question is posed to ask yourself what’s your motivator? Maybe for a split second it will make you realize why you’re doing it and what are the possible outcomes, and then coming to the decision, `Is it really worth it?”’

In addition to the video, the program includes running a radio campaign, utilizing social media, and sharing posters that will include a QR code linking you to the video on the Tsuut’ina Nation Police’s official website.

“Our brochures will be shared with all communities with a list of available resources,” Blake said, “including a guideline on how to appropriately engage First Nations communities, such as when to provide tobacco and honoraria.”

They will also continue the campaign with a monthly newsletter on their website, with hopes of one day having in-person sessions with Elders who either don’t have social media or are who are not well-versed with online activities.

“I think it’s more about not assuming the mainstream messaging hits every community,” Blake added. “It’s a sense of responsibility on our police service to ensure the messaging is consistent and we are empowering our community with knowledge to make educated decisions.”

If you would like to check out the campaign video, you can watch it right now on YouTube: https://youtu.be/q0SQvpqL_lQ

Emil Tiedemann is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the  Windspeaker.Com. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

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