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November 16, 2001 12:50pm
Internet Industry Unveils Uniform Content Labeling System
Source: Internet Content Rating Association
by: Company Press Release

(WASHINGTON, DC) -- In an unparalleled display of public-private partnership, the three most trafficked Internet destinations AOL, MSN and Yahoo! have adopted the Internet Content Rating Association [ICRA] content labeling system with broad support from children's advocates and the First Amendment community. Launched today in North America and available globally, the free ICRA system allows content providers to identify and label their websites using neutral descriptors that empower parents from all cultures to filter Internet content based on their individual values. Content providers such as Playboy.com have also self-labeled their sites. Today, ICRA kicked off a campaign to urge others to join the effort.

The ICRA labeling campaign showcases how private companies - particularly technology companies - are teaming up and working toward creating safe havens for children, while preserving the rights of free expression. This unprecedented gathering demonstrates new market trends to promote corporate responsibility and online safety.

ICRA is a global non-profit organization of Internet industry leaders committed to making the Internet safer for children while respecting the rights of content providers.

"Protecting children has always been one of AOL's highest priorities, which is why the AOL service includes some of the of the industry's strongest parental controls and why we're proud to support ICRA in its efforts," said Elizabeth Frazee, vice president of public policy for AOL Time Warner. "We think it's important for every web property - large and small - to use ICRA's system to help ensure children have safe and age-appropriate experience online, and we're pleased to stand behind that commitment by labeling our AOL sites. We commend ICRA for its ongoing efforts and look forward to continuing to work together to strengthen the online medium."

"Creating safer places for children to use the Internet has long been a part of the overall experience Yahoo! provides, and working with the industry to develop the ICRA standard and labeling protocol is just the next step in our efforts. We are pleased to give Internet users a way to customize their experience and maintain their ability to have maximum choice in defining how they use the Web. As the Internet continues to grow and increasingly becomes an essential part of everyone's daily lives, it is important that we focus on providing tools for families, like the ICRA label, to create the best experience on the Web," said Srinija Srinivasan, vice president and editor in chief, Yahoo!.

"Microsoft shares the goal of creating an online environment in which children can learn, explore, and have fun without exposure to the many things that can harm them. We first integrated the ICRA system in Internet Explorer in 1996 and we remain committed to providing the child safety services and tools that parents demand," said Bill Guidera, federal government affairs associate.

The ICRA labeling system offers content providers an online questionnaire to help define and describe the content available on their site. ICRA then generates a content label (a meta tag) that the author adds to his or her site. Users can then set-up their Internet browser or compatible filtering software to allow or disallow access to websites based on the information declared in the label and the subjective preferences of the user.

"Labeling and filtering of Internet content that is truly voluntary is an approach that empowers parents and respects our fundamental commitment to free expression," said Bob Corn-Revere, noted First Amendment attorney for Hogan and Hartson in Washington, DC.

"The magnitude and level of support from all of our members and invited guests is stunning," said Mary Lou Kenny, director of North America. "The overwhelming response demonstrates the value of a voluntary self-labeling system that is about choice - not censorship - on the Internet. ICRA is a win/win solution. Content providers sustain the integrity of their websites and parents make choices for their children. The strength of these otherwise disparate groups coming together will forever change the perception of online protection for children."

For more information go to: www.icra.org

Yahoo! and the Yahoo! logo are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of Yahoo! Inc. All other names are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

Katie M. Barron
Senior Director of Public Relations
InfoTech Strategies
1341 G Street, Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20005
Have you labeled your website yet? Check out http://www.icra.org TODAY!

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