Friday, January 16, 2009

Cinema ratings for UK websites

Last month there was the usual main-stream-media merry-go-round we get once every few years, about rating websites depending upon their content. The fear is that juniors will see stuff they are not supposed to (but in reality I think its mainly so that adults will know what they are looking at). There did seem to be a lot of debate still going on about whether the UK should implement a series of ratings similar to those used for films (e.g. U, PG, etc.).

But hang-on, don't we already have a way of rating websites and one that was built into browsers some years ago?

PICS - ever heard of it? Nope, I don't suppose many people have. It was the Platform for Internet Content Selection and backed by various companies (including Microsoft at the time). It was supposed to be a self-regulating set of site classifications that coders would put in their sites. But for some reason this whole project seems to have been a bit of dead-ended venture and its been left to software companies to produce packages which call up black lists of no-go site.

On top of this, if everyone is so worried about our children accessing unsuitable material on the web... why not just create a specific Top Level Domain for such things? You could then develop a very simple filter that would exclude all content with this TLD. You could even call this domain .xxx and you could gain the acceptance of the $12 billion online porn industry in its implementation

Oh yes, that's right, that idea was tried for over 5 years, only to be cancelled at the last minute (which was nothing to do with powerful American religious groups lobbying the USA Government at all, honest).

One better suggestion may be to set up a children-only domain name.

'Dot Kid' anyone?
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