Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft

[GILC-plan] UK local govts face filtering

------- Forwarded message follows ------- Date sent: Fri, 7 Mar 2003 18:15:10 +0000 To: Global Internet Liberty Campaign <> From: Dave Banisar <> Subject: [GILC-plan] UK local govts face filtering

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+++E-GOVERNMENT BULLETIN - ISSUE 132, 7 March 2003. ...


Around 90 per cent of council web sites could be inaccessible to people using 'family friendly' filtering software designed to prevent children viewing harmful content, after failing to register their content as safe with the UK's relevant standards organisation, a new survey finds.

Only one council in 10 makes use of the 'PICS' content rating system designed by the Internet Content Rating Association (ICRA -, according to the latest annual survey of council web sites by technology managers' body Socitm.

The finding means people using content safety filters, including many users of the internet services giant America Online, may not be able to access most local authority sites.

Sites apply to ICRA for a 'label' which indicates the type of content being published, to be inserted into their web site's code. Many child protection filters will simply block all sites without a label, on the grounds that their content is unknown. The Soctim survey found that some 89 per cent of council sites are not ICRA rated.

Overall the survey found a steady improvement in the quality of councils' web services, with ten councils attaining 'transactional' status, the highest accolade awarded signifying widespread development of online services such as payment systems or booking appointments. They are Birmingham, Camden, Hertfordshire, Maidstone, Stroud, Sunderland, Tameside, Wandsworth, Westminster and Wrexham.

Despite these rises, there are still 132 council sites offering no transactions at all, and "we are still well short of the government's 2005 targets for full electronic service delivery," the survey says.

Other findings include a need for better search engines, and too much out-of-date information, although there was a marked improvement in email enquiry response times.

'Better Connected 2003', can be purchased from Socitm ( and an online discussion forum on its contents, Better Connected Live, can be found at: -- ------- David Banisar ( Deputy Director Privacy International London, UK _______________________________________________ GILC-plan mailing list

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