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Re: KidCode: Next steps

From: Nathaniel Borenstein <nsb@nsb.fv.com>
Date: Sun, 18 Jun 1995 14:34:24 -0400 (EDT)
Message-Id: <ojt76kj0Eyt5B4udR8@nsb.fv.com>
To: Wes Morgan <morgan@engr.uky.edu>
Cc: rating@junction.net, www-talk@www10.w3.org
Excerpts from mail: 14-Jun-95 Re: KidCode: Next steps Wes
Morgan@engr.uky.edu (1741)

> >What's the value of this?  The value is that software vendors can start
> >blocking all such sites immediately, 

> Do you really mean to use word "sites" in this context?  Surely you're
> not expecting to block all of foobar.net because one person publishes
> an adult page...

Sorry for the lack of precision.  I really meant "all such URL's".  The
example I had in mind when I wrote this was a site that was largely
dedicated to such material, but the URL-based approach is obviously much
more flexible than blocking whole sites.

> One thing seems unclear.  If everyone and his brother (literally!) can
> create a rating with KidCode.who - and, in fact, you readily state that
> you expect various organizations to do so - what's the point in the
> author doing anything at all?  There's no difference between this sug-
> gestion and one we've seen before - namely, that organizations create
> and maintain lists of "approved" URLs.  In fact, it could be argued
> that KidCode *adds* a level of complexity, namely the effort by the
> author to accurately rate his own work and the comparative work to
> be done by a third-party rater.

Actually, there's a huge difference:  the KidCode rating permits
voluntary self-labelling, and then lets third-party authorities layer
their approvals on top of this.  In particular, it gives the people who
*are* putting objectionable material on the net a chance to put up or
shut up -- a chance to show that they're willing to cooperate with a
voluntary labelling scheme.    In most cities, there's no law that says
that a porn shop HAS to put up a sign that says "Adults Only", but the
shops generally do so voluntarily. 

Look at it this way:  The Christian Coalition could probably give you a
list of all the porn shops in town, to allow you to avoid them.  But the
job would be a lot more tractable if *nearly* all the porn shops had
"adults only" signs on the door, and the Christian Coalition could focus
on giving you a list of porn shops that refused to put up such a sign
voluntarily.   And remember, the porn shops won't particularly need or
want anyone to endorse *their* self-labelling, as there's very little
reason to doubt them if they're actually telling you that they have
objectionable material.  The rating authorities are, in my opinion, more
useful for positive labelling (endorsement) and blacklists (SurfWatch)
than for voluntary negative labelling.

It all comes down to a question of reasonable defaults.  If 80 or 90
percent of the porn merchants properly self-label, then people like
Christian Coalition (or SurfWatch) can concentrate on the exceptions, a
much more tractable task.  Of course, a rating authority is still
extremely valuable for a POSITIVE endorsement, as in "this is a site
that really promotes good wholesome family values".  -- Nathaniel

Nathaniel S. Borenstein <nsb@fv.com>    |           When privacy is outlawed,
Chief Scientist, First Virtual Holdings |     only outlaws will have privacy!
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Received on Sunday, 18 June 1995 14:36:47 UTC

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