Bennet, Klobuchar and Slotkin introduce bicameral legislation to strengthen media literacy and improve cybersecurity – by Ark Valley Voice Staff


U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and U.S. Representative Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) today announced they have introduced two bicameral laws to strengthen education to the media to equip Americans with the skills to identify misinformation and disinformation online. The Digital Citizenship and Media Literacy Act would create a grant program to the Department of Commerce to teach students skills in digital citizenship and media literacy to help them think critically about online content. line.

The Veterans Online Information and Cybersecurity Empowerment (VOICE) Act would create a grant program to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to help veterans build cybersecurity best practices to identify misinformation and online scams.

“We need to equip communities with the tools to identify and avoid online scams, cyberattacks and misinformation in the digital age. Our bills will strengthen resources for students and veterans to protect themselves online,” Bennett said.

“Scaling up media and digital literacy education can help counter disinformation and disinformation campaigns that seek to manipulate perceptions and sow division,” Klobuchar said. “These will provide students and veterans with the skills they need to make informed decisions about online content and protect themselves from exploitation.”

“This legislation will increase awareness of cybersecurity best practices for thousands of veterans and their family members in Colorado. Veterans and their families are the main targets of online fraud and fall victim to it at twice the national average. We look forward to learning how to apply cybersecurity best practices in our daily lives and support Colorado’s veteran communities,” said Gerri Rimpley, Colorado State Commander for Veterans of Foreign Wars.

The Digital Citizenship and Media Literacy Act would provide $20 million in federal funding over four years to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to administer a grant program to support digital citizenship and media literacy. K-12 media.

These grants would be available to local and state educational agencies, nonprofits, and public libraries to develop programs and programs that promote digital citizenship and media literacy skills for students.

The legislation is endorsed by the National Association for Media Literacy Education and Media Literacy Now.

Bipartisan reports from the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Cyberspace Solarium Committee have both highlighted the importance of developing media literacy at a young age to combat the impact of foreign disinformation campaigns. The bipartisan, bicameral Cyberspace Solarium Commission specifically recommended the creation of a program “to enhance digital citizenship and embed effective digital literacy programs in American classrooms at the K-12 level and beyond.”

The Digital Citizenship and Media Literacy Act is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (DR.I.).

The Veterans Online Information and Cybersecurity Empowerment (VOICE) Act would provide $20 million in federal funding over three years to the Department of Veterans Affairs to administer a grant program aimed at strengthening cybersecurity best practices for veterans to identify the misinformation and help them avoid online scams and hacking attempts. The legislation is endorsed by the Modern Military Association, Blue Star Families and Secure Families Initiative (SFI).

According to the Federal Trade Commission, fraud cost veterans, service members and their families $267 million in 2021, an increase of 162% from 2020. These scam victims suffered a median loss of $600 , or 20% more than the median loss for the general public.

A 2017 AARP study also found that veterans are twice as likely to unknowingly participate in scams and cyberscams compared to the general population. In addition, a 2018 bipartisan report from the Senate Intelligence Committee and a 2019 investigative report from the Vietnam Veterans (VVA) both pointed out that foreign actors had coordinated the online targeting of members of the armed forces, veterans and their families to undermine the United States. ‘ democracy.

“Over the past decade, we have seen a profound change in the way information is received and shared. This shift has altered every aspect of our lives, from how we communicate with each other to how we work on our mental health. Despite this incredible change, the United States currently devotes no significant government effort or funding to research, training, or implementation of media literacy,” said Michelle Ciulla Lipkin, executive director of the National Association for Media Literacy Education.

“We’re just not giving Americans the skills they need to thrive in the digital world,” she added. “The Digital Citizenship and Media Literacy Act is a necessity to ensure that our education system meets the challenges we face. We must commit to education today. It has never been so urgent. »

“An educated population is essential if the United States is to meet the challenges of technological advancement. Today, essential education includes media literacy. Every young person in the United States deserves the opportunity to learn these skills, and the United States’ existence as a strong democracy and a thriving land of economic opportunity demands it,” said Erin McNeil, President and Founder of Media. Literacy Now. “Policy makers at all levels must make media literacy a priority. This bill elevates the conversation to a national level, while helping educators in the field meet media literacy and digital citizenship needs in a way that best suits their local community.

“As SFI testified before the House Veterans Affairs Committee in March 2022, domestic violent extremism is a real and pressing problem within our military community. This bill represents a real-world solution to much of the problem: giving veterans the tools and awareness they need to thrive as digital citizens. As military and close partners, we greatly appreciate this investment in the security of our military and our democracy,” said the Secure Families Initiative.

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