Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft

News: Internet content rating system set for shake-

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Date:          Thu, 4 Feb 1999 13:04:09 GMT0BST
From:          "Yaman Akdeniz" <>
Subject:       News: Internet content rating system set for  shake-up

Internet content rating system set for  shake-up
By Justin Hunt 
Connected, The Daily Telegraph, 04 February, 1999

A drive to regulate content on the Internet is to be launched later
this year. The initiative, which has the backing of major software
companies, has been announced by the UK-based Internet Watch
Foundation (

The IWF and other leading Internet campaign groups have previously
encouraged parents and teachers to use the Internet content rating
system created by the US-based Recreational Software Advisory Council
(RSAC). But with concerns about the content of the Internet continuing
to register among parents and educational bodies, they have decided to
overhaul the non-profit RSAC system and replace it with an improved
censorship service.

The new system will be more flexible, more in tune with the concerns
that ordinary people have about the Internet and more applicable to
the requirements of different international cultures.

"The RSAC system has been a success," says IWF chief executive David
Kerr. "[But] American systems take account of American judgments of
what you should bar from your kids . . . The English ratings need to
be different and controls for other languages such as French, German
and Japanese all need to be separately defined."

Under the RSAC system, which is integral to browsers, you can rate the
levels of content you want to be exposed to under various headings,
including sex, language and violence.

If a website is not rated, your access to it is automatically blocked.
This will be changed and greater flexibility will be introduced to
enable users to know why access has been blocked; if necessary, users
will have the facility to bypass that blocking action.

This new software initiative faces many difficulties in trying to
create a monitoring system that will satisfy everyone and it has met
with strong criticism from Internet rights organisations. Cyber-Rights
and Cyber Liberties (UK) are particularly concerned about the
accountability of the proposed Internet regulatory body that could
promote and run the new software system, and are calling for greater
consultation on any further moves to regulate the web.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Yaman Akdeniz
<> Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) at:

Read the new CR&CL (UK) Report, Who Watches the Watchmen, Part:II
Accountability & Effective Self-Regulation in the Information Age,
August 1998 at