Report: Web Sites Could Be Given Film-Style Ratings

Britain’s Culture Secretary Andy Burnham says he is pushing for new standards of decency to be applied to the Web and says giving film-style ratings to individual Web sites is a possibility, London’s Daily Telegraph reports.

Describing the Internet as a ‘quite a dangerous place,’ Burnham told the Daily Telegraph he is planning to negotiate with President-elect Obama’s incoming administration to draw up new international rules for English language Web sites.

Those could include the possibility of introducing age ratings for Web sites.

“This is an area that is really now coming into full focus,” Burnnham told the Daily Telegraph.

Though such plans would likely be subject to criticism, Burnham said there is some online content ‘that should just not be available to be viewed.’

“This is not a campaign against free speech, far from it; it is simply there is a wider public interest at stake when it involves harm to other people,” he told the Daily Telegraph. “We have got to get better at defining where the public interest lies and being clear about it.”

Burnham said his goal is for internet providers to offer ‘child-safe’ Web services.

“I think there is definitely a case for clearer standards online,” he told the Daily Telegraph. “More ability for parents to understand if their child is on a site, what standards it is operating to. What are the protections that are in place?”

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