QuickLinks - Rating and filtering
Issue no. 294 - 14 December 2003
- DE - eBay schafft den Wortfilter ab
Cafetisch-Liebhaber können aufatmen. Endlich ist er weg, der hauseigene 'Wortfilter' von eBay.de. Dieser Unsicherheitsfaktor, der nicht zuletzt Cafetisch-Liebhaber und Jude-Law-Verehrerinnen zur Verzweiflung brachte. Mal fanden sie bei eBay.de, wonach sie suchten, mal nicht. Und das obwohl bei eBay angeblich alles zu haben ist. Schuld war nicht unbedingt die Marktlage, sondern vielmehr der 'Wortfilter', der sämtliche Auktionen nach verdächtigen Begriffen durchforstete. Tauchte auch nur ein verbotenes Wort - wie zum Beispiel 'Fetisch' (versteckt in 'Cafetisch') oder 'Jude' (versteckt in 'Jude Law') - in Text oder Titel auf, war die Auktion gleichsam unsichtbar. Weil sie via Stichwortsuche nicht zu finden war.
- DE - KJM: Konzepte entsprechen den gesetzlichen Anforderungen für geschlossene Benutzergruppen
Jugendgefährdende Angebote, wie z.B. die einfache Pornographie, sind grundsätzlich unzulässig und dürfen nur im Ausnahmefall im Internet angeboten werden. Dabei muss sichergestellt sein, dass der Zugang nur für Erwachsene innerhalb so genannter "geschlossener Benutzergruppen" möglich ist. Die KJM hat in diesem Bereich nach intensiven Gesprächen und zahlreichen Nachbesserungen drei weitere Unternehmenskonzepte bewertet. Die von der KJM aufgestellten Eckwerte zu den Anforderungen an geschlossene Benutzergruppen - Volljährigkeitsprüfung durch persönlichen Kontakt sowie Authentifizierung bei jedem Nutzungsvorgang, um den Zugriff durch Minderjährige zu verhindern - werden bei den Konzepten des Zentralen Kreditausschusses (ZKA), der Altersverifikationssysteme von T-Online International AG und von Arcor Online GmbH auf unterschiedliche Weise erfüllt.
Issue no. 288 - 19 October 2003
- UK - Net safety hope for kids' phones
Children using mobile phones to access internet chatrooms or download pornographic pictures will have their parents alerted under new 'spy' technology introduced because of safety fears about the worldwide web. Teenagers' ability to surf the net in secret has been increased by the latest generation of handsets, and the use of mobiles for internet access has trebled in the last year. Apart from the thousands of porn sites accessible by phone, there is concern over online gambling sites and chatrooms infiltrated by paedophiles. The new safeguard, the so-called i3G system, devised by the giant communications group Cable and Wireless, works by identifying unusual patterns of calls from, say, a child who has mostly used a phone for text messaging and short calls to friends but suddenly begins expensively downloading a lot of pictures, dialling premium rate or foreign numbers - one possible indicator of a suspect site registered overseas - or running up huge bills in chatrooms. Parents could then be alerted.
Issue no. 287 - 11 October 2003
- DE - Konzepte entsprechen den gesetzlichen Anforderungen für geschlossene Benutzergruppen.
Die Kommission für Jugendmedienschutz (KJM) hat erstmals Unternehmenskonzepte zu geschlossenen Benutzergruppen in Telemedien bewertet. Sie kam zu dem Ergebnis, dass zwei der bisher vorgelegten Konzepte für Altersverifikationssysteme (AVS) den gesetzlichen Vorgaben des Jugendmedienschutz-Staatsvertrags (JMStV) entsprechen. Die von der KJM aufgestellten Eckwerte zu den Anforderungen an geschlossene Benutzergruppen - Volljährigkeitsprüfung durch persönlichen Kontakt sowie Authentifizierung bei jedem Nutzungsvorgang - werden bei den Konzepten der Coolspot AG und von Vodafone D2 erfüllt. Das Konzept der Coolspot AG ("X-Check") ermöglicht die einmalige Identifizierung des Kunden mittels des so genannten Post-Ident-Verfahrens der Deutschen Post AG. Bei jeder Nutzung erfolgt dann ein durch einen Zentralrechner gesteuerter Authentifizierungsvorgang, für den der Kunde neben einer eigenen Software auch eine Hardware-Komponente (ID-Chip) sowie eine PIN-Nummer benötigt. Das Konzept von Vodafone D2 sieht die Volljährigkeitsprüfung des Kunden durch den persönlichen Kontakt bei Vertragsschluss in einem Vodafone D2-Shop bzw. einem angeschlossenen Partnergeschäft vor. Bei jedem Nutzungsvorgang kommt eine individualisierte Adult-PIN unter Einbeziehung einer Hardware-Komponente (SIM-Karte) zum Einsatz. Sex im Netz? Bitte nur noch mit Verhüterli! (Telepolis).
Issue no. 286 - 3 October 2003
- UK - Mobile filtering tool blocks adult content
UK company launches parental control filter. Interactive mobile content specialist Bango.net has launched new filter technology designed to stop children from accessing adult content on mobile phones. Bango.net's technology relies on the company's provision for rating the content it hosts for third-party providers, such as ringtone and logo websites, as well as adult entertainment (the second largest content supplier for the company).
- UK - Text blocking aid fights bullies
Children who get threatening and unwanted text messages could soon have a way of fighting back. SMS and e-mail bullying has become increasingly common as more children have computers and their own mobiles. Research by children's charity NCH suggested 16% of 11 to 19 year-olds had received threatening text messages. But a new service for mobile phone operators could give young people the power to stop the unwanted messages getting to their mobiles from others. The service, Intelligent SMS Centre (iSMSC), means children who get bullying texts will be able to log the mobile number of the sender with their mobile operator. Any future messages from that number will then be stopped before it reaches the child's phone.
Issue no. 285 - 28 September 2003
- AU - Overseas censors say Australia too strict on computer games
(Sydney Morning Herald)
Australian censors were too uptight about the supposed dangers of violent computer games, overseas delegates told a classification conference in Sydney. Under Australian Office of Film Literature and Classification (OFLC) guidelines computer games can be banned on the basis their interactive nature makes them dangerous. But the director of the Film Classification Board of Sweden, Gunnel Arrback, said Australians were getting carried away about the dangers of computer games.
Issue no. 281 - 31 August 2003
- AU - Software company calls for net filtering legislation
A maker of internet software called for legislation to regulate the use of internet filtering and spying programs in the workplace. SurfControl provides tools to businesses which allow them to keep out unwanted content from the internet.
Issue no. 279 - 17 August 2003
Issue no. 278 - 10 August 2003
- EU - Film rating study
Empirical Study on the Practice of the Rating of Films Distributed in Cinemas, Television, DVD and Videocassettes in the EU and EEA Member States. Prepared on behalf of the European Commission by Olsberg|SPI and KEA European Affairs. Final Report May 2003.
- US - Rated C for confusing
Quick -- what does 14 DSL mean? How about FV? Which is higher, M or T? And can you define ''mild thematic elements''? If you're like most parents, these terms from the industry-sponsored rating systems for television, video games, and movies leave you in the dark. Common Sense Media is proposing is a single uniform system for rating movies, TV shows, games, music, and even books.
Issue no. 277 - 30 July 2003
- DE - Webfilter: Wer nicht labelt, den bestraft der Filter
Wer im Web ist, soll doch bitte auch sagen, was er dort anbietet - und zwar per filterfreundlichem Metatag. Wer dieses so genannte Selfrating für Webfilter aber nicht durchführt, der muss künftig vermehrt damit rechnen, dass andere sein Webangebot in eine Schublade stecken. Die Internet Content Rating Association (ICRA) hat mit EU-Geldern ihr auf dem W3C-Standard Platform for Internet Content Selection (PICS) basierendes Filtersystem neu aufgesetzt. Es soll zusätzlich zum vielbeschworenen Selfrating auch die Einbindung kommerzieller Filtersoftware möglich machen.
- UK- Mobile bar to under -18s accessing adult material
Parents can bar children's mobile phones from accessing pornography and violence thanks to Cambridge technology. A new service from Bango.net means that by texting go bar to the number 89080, parents can prevent youngsters accessing adult pictures and videos or violent games. It costs £1.50 to bar access. Most content is either sold through an operator portal such as Vodafone live! or off-portal using Bango. The Cambridge company's mobile barring service is aligned with the operators to ensure that users are protected wherever possible. The "bar this" mobile service requires content providers to self-certify their content and tag it as "R" if it contains material of a sexual or violent nature. Certification is a mandatory part of the Bango registration process
- US - High Court Upholds Porn Filters
A divided Supreme Court ruled that Congress can force the nation's public libraries to equip computers with anti-pornography filters. The blocking technology, intended to keep smut from children, does not violate the First Amendment even though it shuts off some legitimate, informational websites, the court held. United States et al. v. American Library Association, Inc., et al. (Supreme Court) PDF HTML (Findlaw).
- US - Libraries get a break on Net filters
Libraries have an extra year to comply with a controversial law that says if they accept federal funds, they must install Internet filtering software. The Federal Communications Commission, which is responsible for enforcing the law, set the deadline of July 1, 2004. Because the law, called the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA), had been challenged in court, the FCC decided it was reasonable to give libraries time to comply. see also Library group cancels meeting on filtering pornography (AP). The American Library Association canceled a meeting with software developers over how to meet new requirements to block pornography at libraries' Internet terminals. and Libraries Ponder Filtering Decision (Washington Post).
- US - Study Released on Internet Blocking in Schools
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Online Policy Group (OPG) released a study documenting the effects of Internet blocking, also known as filtering, in U.S. schools. The study found that blocking software overblocked state-mandated curriculum topics extensively - for every web page correctly blocked as advertised, one or more was blocked incorrectly.
Issue no. 276 - 23 June 2003
- Prüfung einer Filtertechnik zur weitgehenden Sperrung rechtsradikaler Web-Seiten
Im Zuge der Beratungen zu den Internetsperren hatten die Firmen Webwasher, Bocatel und Intranet ein Filterkonzept vorgestellt, das die Internetblockade zentral und zielgenau abwickeln sollte. In Zusammenarbeit mit der Universität Dortmund wurde das Konzept getestet. Der Abschlußbericht vom Dezember 2002 liegt jetzt auch online vor. Demnach kann der Filterpilot Inhalte auf einigen hundert IPs sperren. Eine Umsetzung des Konzepts steht jedoch zur Zeit nicht an, da organisatorische Fragen nicht geklärt sind und Projektgelder zur Finanzierung fehlen.
Issue no. 275 - 14 June 2003
- CN - Hong Kong implements content rating system
The Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority has provided funds to the Hong Kong Internet Service Providers Association (HKISPA) to implement the Internet Content Rating System Project. The project's objectives are (a) To further promote the awareness of the general public about undesirable contents on the Internet; (b) To translate and customize the system developed by the Internet Content Rating Association (ICRA) into Chinese for local adoption; (c) To promote the ICRA system to webmasters, content providers and Internet users; and (d) To set up a hotline to handle enquiries about this Project and complaints about obscene and indecent articles on the Internet
- Porn-free 'surfing' is adopted by schools
(This is Bradford)
A pioneering system devised in Bradford to prevent pupils viewing pornographic and other unsuitable internet sites is being taken on by the district's schools. More than 25 Bradford schools took part in a year-long pilot broadband project which ensures pupils can surf safely. The MinervaNet system has been designed by school IT specialists and IT security experts ECSC, in conjunction with the Minerva Centre in Bradford - an IT and training education organisation.
Issue no. 272 - 24 May 2003
- US - New group rates a broad variety of media
(New York Times)
A group backed by business leaders and former government officials announced an effort to press major entertainment companies to be more sensitive to parents' concerns. The group, Common Sense Media, introduced a Web-based media ratings system, devised with help from the publishers of the Zagat guides to restaurants and other venues, that will rank entertainment products based on language, sexual content and adult themes. Eventually, the group would like to spearhead the adoption of easy-to-understand parental guidelines for television shows, movies, albums and video games, to replace a hodgepodge of systems overseen by various industries.
Issue no. 270 - 11 May 2003
- IRE - Irish firm launches 3G porn blocker
Irish mobile technology company Telcotec has launched a new product designed to protect 2.5G and 3G mobile phone users from unsolicited and pornographic content. Telcotec's Content Guardian is a content filtering product that enables operators to filter pornographic images and block a limited amount of spam.
Issue no. 267 - 21 April 2003
- ASACP, ICRA Trade Links
(Adult Video News)
Adult Sites Against Child Pornography and the Internet Content Rating Association have exchanged links under the Industry Resources category. They share a common mission: protecting children.
- DE - Schutz vor dem Schmutz
Neue Programme sollen Kinder von bedenklichen Internetseiten fernhalten - und Eltern die totale Überwachung garantieren
- US - ACLU loses battle against filtering company
The American Civil Liberties Union has lost its first attempt to challenge a controversial 1998 copyright law. In a strongly worded decision Edelman v. N2H2, a federal judge in Boston dismissed a lawsuit aimed at defanging part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The ACLU's suit against filtering-software company N2H2, claims the law unconstitutionally interferes with researchers' ability to investigate and evaluate the effectiveness of Internet filtering software.
- US - Google filter blocks innocuous sites
Children using Google’s SafeSearch feature, which was designed to filter adult Web sites, may be shielded from far more than their parents ever intended. A new report prepared by Harvard University’s Berkman Center says that Google’s filtered search technology incorrectly blocks tens of thousands of innocuous Web pages, including ones created by Apple Computer, IBM, the White House, the Library of Congress and the Washington Post. see Empirical Analysis of Google SafeSearch by Benjamin Edelman.
- SurfControl unveils IM filtering tool
Web filtering company SurfControl has introduced new technology that helps companies block instant messaging - an application beloved by employees but a headache for some information technology managers. Instant messaging has become so popular that it's practically replaced the watercooler for office chitchat among co-workers. IM is rapidly infiltrating the workplace, with about 80 percent of U.S. companies having adopted it. And traffic from instant chat is expected to soar by 130 percent next year to 4.3 million messages each day, according to researcher IDC. Still, most IM use in the workplace is without the knowledge or consent of IT administrators. As a result, companies have already started to ban IM at work--a trend that has become both a threat and an opportunity for IM providers.
Issue no. 266 - 6 April 2003
- DE - Gutachten: Unzureichender Jugendschutz durch Filtersysteme
Pünktlich zum heutigen Inkrafttreten des neuen Jugendmedienschutzsstaatsvertrages (JMStV) legt Jugendschutz.net die Ergebnisse eines im Auftrag des Landes Niedersachsen vorgenommenen Vergleichs verschiedener Filterprogramme vor. Während man mit Verbesserungen von Filtern für Pornographie ingesamt zufrieden ist, sieht man noch große Lücken bei der Filterung von Gewalt und rechtsextremen Seiten. Ein geradezu vernichtendes Urteil fällt jugendschutz.net über ICRASafe. Im Test waren daneben die AOL-Kindersicherung und speziell gepflegte Kinderangebote von AOL, Arcor-Juniornet, Cobion Orangebox, Surfcontrol, Symantec und Webwasher.
- US - Child Porn Law Creates Catch-22
Pennsylvania's attorney general is citing laws against distributing child pornography in refusing to identify any of hundreds of websites his office has forced the nation's largest Internet providers to block under a unique state law. The Center for Democracy and Technology had sought the list of sites to buttress its assertions that the Pennsylvania law blocks Web surfers visiting innocent sites located in the same electronic neighborhoods as those peddling illegal porn. The attorney general's office said disclosing the list of blocked websites would itself be disseminating such pornography, which is illegal.
- Net Porn
Millions of men log on to adult sex sites every day. With unlimited porn just a click away, cybersex is changing the way men view real women. But what happens to their emotions when the screen shuts down?
Issue no. 265 - 29 March 2003
Issue no. 264 - 23 March 2003
- Does the End Justify the Means?
The University of Toronto's Internet Censorship Explorer permits anyone with a Web browser to test the limits of certain national and organizational Internet-blocking schemes. Users simply enter a target URL and a country into a search field on the Censorship Explorer's website. The software then scans the ports of available servers in that country, looking for open ones. By using the foreign computer as a proxy server, ICE then attempts to visit the target URL from behind that country's firewall. Either the visible website or a "page blocked" message is then returned to the user.
- Google Censorship - How It Works
This report describes the system by which results in the Google search engine are suppressed. Google is arguably the world's most popular search engine. However, contrary perhaps to a naive impression, in some cases the results of a search are affected by various government-related factors. That is, search results which may otherwise be shown, are deliberately excluded. The suppression may be local to a country, or global to all Google results.
- US - Web Content Filtering Software Comparison
The U.S. Department of Justice commissioned eTesting Labs to use our standard test methodology to compare the effectiveness of five Web content filtering applications in blocking material based on specific criteria. Study published in Oct 2001.
Issue no. 263 - 16 March 2003
- US - Porn 'Filter' Uses Peer Pressure
Frustrated with the shortcomings of conventional software designed to block out pornographic websites, Brandon Cotter is urging moralistic Web surfers to take matters into their own hands. Instead of relying on filters, the approach, which his nonprofit monitoring service, NetAccountibility, has been pitching primarily to religious groups, calls for Web users to share records of their online activity. Users pick a friend, spouse or other confidant who receives a regular report showing which sites they visit, highlighting potentially objectionable material. The idea, according to Cotter, is that people will choose not to visit "sinful" websites if they know a close friend or family member will be aware of their actions.
Issue no. 262 - 9 March 2003
- AU - Net Nanny a part-time supervisor, says report
(Sydney Morning Herald)
Net Nanny 4.0, the internet filter provided by the three largest service providers, Telstra, Optus and OzEmail, is so ineffective it is about to be ditched by the Australian Broadcasting Authority due to its high failure rate. According to tests conducted by the CSIRO, Net Nanny 4.0 failed 38 per cent of the time. Other products on the approved list were worse - Cyber Sentinel failed more than half of the time (53 per cent). The broadcasting authority, which regulates the list of approved products, released the figures in its submission to the ongoing government review of the content regulation scheme. The Communications Minister, Richard Alston, is expected to report back within weeks.
Issue no. 259 - 9 February 2003
- UK - Software blocks MPs' Welsh e-mail
A scanning system meant to stop abusive and pornographic e-mails reaching MPs may also be blocking messages sent in Welsh because it does not recognise the language. The four MPs of the Welsh party, Plaid Cymru, have noticed that bilingual English-and-Welsh e-mails sent to them have been rejected for allegedly having "inappropriate content". see also UK Parliament Mail - The Ministry Of Silly Messages (Seth Finkelstein).
Issue no. 258 - 2 February 2003
- Clean It Up
Content filtering helps ensure that the Internet is used the right way. Comparison of 13 filtering solutions for parents, schools and employers, with two Editor's choices, Cybersitter 2001 and St. Bernard iPrism, a hardware solution.
Issue no. 255 - 6 January 2003
- EU - New Ratings system in Europe
Consumers in the UK and throughout Europe will soon see the appearance of new age ratings and symbols on computer and video games, whether bought at retail or accessed online. This will give parents, shoppers and online consumers added confidence that the content of the game, whether it is bought at a high street retail outlet, or accessed via the internet, is suitable for a specific age group. The development is significant in that it is the first time that any form of entertainment medium has come up with an age rating system that meets the varying cultural standards of different European countries. see also EU - Age limits for children on violent video games (Observer)
Issue no. 254 - 15 December 2002
- US - Study: Web Filters Block Health Information
Software meant to protect young people from the seamier side of the Internet may also be blocking important health information on issues ranging from diabetes and sexually transmitted diseases to depression and suicide. According to a Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation study See No Evil: How Internet Filters Affect the Search for Online Health Information, Internet filters most frequently used by schools and libraries can effectively block pornography without significantly impeding access to online health information - but only if they aren’t set at their most restrictive levels. As filters are set at higher levels they block access to a substantial amount of health information, with only a minimal increase in blocked pornographic content. see also SmartFilter stupidity - health sites as SEX (Seth Finkelstein).
- US - Video game ratings lend a hand to holiday shoppers
The Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) is the self-regulatory arm of the Interactive Digital Software Association, the industry's trade group. Since 1994, the ESRB has rated games according to their levels of violence and other adult content. The ESRB released a study by Peter Hart Research Associates showing that parents overwhelmingly approve of the ratings assigned to computer and video games.
Issue no. 253 - 8 December 2002
- CN - China blocks news not porn online
Chinese internet surfers have almost unfettered access to pornography, but news, health and education sites are routinely blocked, US researchers have found. Professors Jonathan Zittrain and Benjamin Edelman, of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard, spent eight months investigating how China controls the net. They found that Beijing actively polices content on the web, intermittently blocking some general-interest high-profile sites whose content changes frequently, such as the tech website Slashdot.
- CN - Searching Through The Great Firewall Of China
An anticensorware investigation. This report describes a simple technique which can be used with some search engines to bypass censorware bans on searching for forbidden words. Particular emphasis is placed on the situation of the Great Firewall Of China.
- TH - Move to block teen access to porn sites
The Thai Information and Communications Minister supports a police proposal that internet service providers (ISPs) block access to obscene websites through a ratings system. He voiced support during a meeting with all 18 ISPs to discuss websites deemed inappropriate for teenagers. Internet Thailand's chief executive said all ISPs were already trying to block access to these websites, but admitted this was not easy as ISPs were not content providers and had no authority to supervise content and rating for others. The Minister said he would classify imported websites into three ratings: X, R and PG, with the first having content rated obscene and/or having content considered in contempt of the monarchy.
Issue no. 252 - 30 November 2002
- The Censor and the Artist: A Murky Border
(New York Times)
Does using software to remove potentially offensive language, sex and violence from R-rated movies constitute censorship? Or, by allowing viewers to tailor films to their tastes, is it a reasonable concession to consumer choice?
Issue no. 251 - 24 November 2002
- UK - BT offers filter tool for parents
BT Openworld has joined forces with CyberPatrol to offer content filtering software. It will block websites which parents feel may be unsuitable for children and enable them to filter inbound and outbound chat room content or block it completely. The service can also block children from disclosing personal information such as phone numbers and addresses. Parents who do not want their offspring online for hours at a time will be able to use the service to allocate the amount of time spent online by individual family members.
Issue no. 250 - 17 November 2002
- iGGBA adopts ICRA standard for parental controls on I-Gaming
At the European I-Gaming Congress and Expo, the interactive Gaming, Gambling and Betting Association announced the adoption of the Internet Content Rating Association's (ICRA) system of parental control. Each member of iGGBA will rate their web site which will then allow parents to voluntarily set filters to prevent children from accessing I-Gaming web sites.
- US - Should Libraries Censor Net Porn?
The Supreme Court will decide if public libraries can be forced to install software blocking sexually explicit Web sites. The latest measure, signed by President Clinton in 2000, requires public libraries receiving federal technology funds to install filters on their computers or risk losing aid. A three-judge federal panel ruled the Children's Internet Protection Act violates the First Amendment because the filtering programs also block sites on politics, health, science and other non-pornographic topics.
- Updated Censorware Report - BESS's Secret LOOPHOLE
Revised and updated an anticensorware report BESS's Secret LOOPHOLE: (censorware vs. privacy and anonymity). Sites are banned, even though they had no pornography or sometimes any content objectionable at all, simply because the services the sites provided could be used to read forbidden material. In this update, I've added new examples. Also more discussion of the legal implications of this banning.
Index page see also Content regulation
Links to news items about legal and regulatory aspects of Internet and the information society, particularly those relating to information content, and market and technology.
QuickLinks consists of
QuickLinks is edited by Richard Swetenham email@example.com
- a free newsletter appearing approximately once a week. The newsletter is distributed by electronic mail through an "announcement only" mailing list. To be included on the mailing list, send a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org (HTML) or email@example.com (Text)
- a Web site with frequent updates, an events page, news items organised by category as well as chronologically by issue and full text search.