Originally published in the October 1995 issue of Internet World

With all the recent talk surrounding possible legislation of the online world, the computer industry has decided to look toward self-regulation as an alternative. The Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) and SafeSurf, a Southern California-based parents’ group, have taken different approaches to the question. The ITAA will study industry self-regulation, similar to the film-industry rating system.

According to ITAA president Harris Miller, “The timetable must be short because the (Communications Decency Act) already passed in the Senate and is scheduled to be taken up in the House.” He cited six specific areas the ITAA would study:

  • a rating system
  • educational campaign
  • code of standards
  • state watch program
  • technological solutions
  • existing statutory protection

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for SafeSurf said, “There is no need to wait for government regulation when the industry has a … specification that is capable of solving the problem of children accessing adult areas on the Internet.” SafeSurf’s plan is to change the focus from identifying the “bad” sites to marking the “good” sites for children. The software they plan to release would only permit those sites that identify themselves with a child-safe code to be accessed by children. All other sites would be rendered invisible.

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