WHO Pushes Online Health Advice Standard

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is proposing a new '.health' Internet tag to speed up searches for medical information.

The United Nations agency said it wants .health to join top-level domains such as .com and .org to make it easier for people seeking health information.

WHO is making its proposal to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which handles address policy for the Web.

WHO officials said its proposal has the backing of many national and international health groups.

WHO spokesperson Gregory Hartl said the organisation is worried about the proliferation of 'web doctors' offering services of varying quality.

"The WHO's intention is that .health will immediately identify the domain-name holder as adhering to agreed quality and ethical standards, thereby instilling confidence and security in the information provided."

WHO said it will work with governments, medical associates, consumer groups, the health industry and others in setting and policing the standards.

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