The Internet industry is rushing to embrace ratings systems for the Web. The technology will help parents keep their kids away from porn. It can also help anyone censor anything.
The following article appeared on Salon.com on July 31, 1997.
Afew years from now, when we look back at what crippled the Internet as a global forum for the free exchange of information, at least we’ll know it was done with the best of intentions.
Who, after all, could oppose Internet ratings if they create a “family-friendly” online world?
And so, to make the Net safer for kids and to avert government regulation, the Internet brain trust has banded together to push rating, filtering and labeling technology — a private-sector techno-fix to cleaning up the Net. President Clinton has signed on and has used his bully pulpit to jawbone companies that were wavering on the issue. And the news media have covered the president’s initiative with the gusto of a pep rally.