IT companies propose Internet rating system

A group of mainly Europe-based companies have formed an industry association with the goal of establishing and promoting a global Internet content rating system.

The companies, including AOL Europe, British Telecommunications, Cable & Wireless, T-Online GmbH, Bertelsmann Foundation, Microsoft and IBM, have formed the nonprofit Internet Content Rating Association (ICRA) in order to protect children and free speech rights simultaneously, the companies said in a statement issued here on Wednesday. The association is seeking additional members.

The system is to be based on the Recreational Software Advisory Council's RSACi content rating system, which evaluates content for nudity, sex, language and violence. The new system will be a voluntary self-rating one, which will use a rating mechanism already embedded in Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser software as well as Netscape Communication's Navigator browser.

In order to develop the system ICRA will consult with advocates for children and consumers as well as other interested parties.

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