Feeds

Self censoring site rating system surfaces

Would the porn sites please form an orderly queue

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

A new rating system for Web sites, designed to protect kids surfing the Net and their nervous parents, was unveiled yesterday.

It's been a long time coming: The Internet Content Rating Association (ICRA)has worked on a labelling system since 1994. It proposes a voluntary code of practice where sites register at the ICRA.org site and rate their own content.

To get a label for the site, the content provider just has to complete a questionnaire at ICRA.org, and the ICRA labelling engine takes it from there. AOL, for example, has already got a label.

Stephen Balkam, director of the ICRA, says that site will want to sign up for serveral reasons: "Firstly, within both IE and Navigator the parental controls have the option to block unrated sites, so if a site is entirely traffic-dependent, it makes sense for them to sign up."

Doesn't sound too voluntary, does it?

The US Recreational Software Advisory Council has a similar system, developed in 1996, with four categories: nudity, sex, language and violence. The system proposed by the ICRA also addresses issues like promotion of alcohol, drugs or tobacco. There is also a new category to deal with chat rooms.

This is all well and good in theory, but if you are relying on sites to sign up out of concern for the moral fortitude of a generation, you will probably be disappointed. We can't see hardcore porn sites rushing to the ICRA page to get a rating label, for example.

We're wrong, Balkan says. "Adult sites are actually very keen to protect themselves from looking like they are promoting stuff that is harmful to kids, plus kids take up loads of bandwidth and don't have money to spend, so the adult sites don't really want them there."

And sites which refuse to play ball? Well...some search engine firms are mulling whether to search rated sites only, so those who don't get on board will lose traffic, Balkan says. But what could those search engines be? AltaVista and some other major search engine firms actively pimp for pornmongers. They ain't going to stop now, not while there's money in it.

The rating system can be found here, along with the second part of the plan, a Web filter, which should be launching in mid-2001.

ICRA, an independent body, is supported by the Internet great and good companies on both sides of the Atlantic - which should make its task easier to get its rating system accepted. ICRA members include AOL, Microsoft, Novell, EuroISPA, Thus, UUNet and T-Online.

The organisation is targeting the top 1000 sites online, said to account for 80 per cent of Internet traffic. ®

Related Story

Super regulator won't censor Net

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web
While America tucks into Thanksgiving turkey, the world will be taking over the net
Microsoft EU warns: If you have ties to the US, Feds can get your data
European corps can't afford to get complacent while American Big Biz battles Uncle Sam
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.