Internet sites could be given cinema-style age ratings, Idiot Culture Secretary says

Thread: Internet sites could be given cinema-style age ratings, Idiot Culture Secretary says

  1. marcode's Avatar

    marcode said:

    Default Internet sites could be given cinema-style age ratings, Idiot Culture Secretary says

    By Robert Winnett, Deputy Political Editor
    Last Updated: 10:05PM GMT 27 Dec 2008
    Comments 107 | Comment on this article

    Internet sites could be given 'cinema-style age ratings', Culture Secretary says Photo: MARTIN POPE
    In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Andy Burnham says he believes that new standards of decency need to be applied to the web. He is planning to negotiate with Barack Obama’s incoming American administration to draw up new international rules for English language websites.

    The Cabinet minister describes the internet as “quite a dangerous place” and says he wants internet-service providers (ISPs) to offer parents “child-safe” web services.

    Giving film-style ratings to individual websites is one of the options being considered, he confirms. When asked directly whether age ratings could be introduced, Mr Burnham replies: “Yes, that would be an option. This is an area that is really now coming into full focus.”

    ISPs, such as BT, Tiscali, AOL or Sky could also be forced to offer internet services where the only websites accessible are those deemed suitable for children.

    Mr Burnham also uses the interview to indicate that he will allocate money raised from the BBC’s commercial activities to fund other public-service broadcasting such as Channel Four. He effectively rules out sharing the BBC licence fee between broadcasters as others have recommended.

    His plans to rein in the internet, and censor some websites, are likely to trigger a major row with online advocates who ferociously guard the freedom of the world wide web.

    However, Mr Burnham said: “If you look back at the people who created the internet they talked very deliberately about creating a space that Governments couldn’t reach. I think we are having to revisit that stuff seriously now. It’s true across the board in terms of content, harmful content, and copyright. Libel is [also] an emerging issue.

    “There is content that should just not be available to be viewed. That is my view. Absolutely categorical. 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. We have got to get better at defining where the public interest lies and being clear about it.”

    Mr Burnham reveals that he is currently considering a range of new safeguards. Initially, as with copyright violations, these could be policed by internet providers. However, new laws may be threatened if the initial approach is not successful.

    “I think there is definitely a case for clearer standards online,” he said. “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?”

    He points to the success of the 9pm television watershed at protecting children. The minister also backs a new age classification system on video games to stop children buying certain products.
    Mr Burnham, himself a parent of three young children, says his goal is for internet providers to offer “child-safe” web services.

    “It worries me - like anybody with children,” he says. “Leaving your child for two hours completely unregulated on the internet is not something you can do. This isn’t about turning the clock back. The internet has been empowering and democratising in many ways but we haven’t yet got the stakes in the ground to help people navigate their way safely around…what can be a very, very complex and quite dangerous world.”

    Mr Burnham also wants new industry-wide “take down times”. This means that if websites such as YouTube or Facebook are alerted to offensive or harmful content they will have to remove it within a specified time once it is brought to their attention.
    He also says that the Government is considering changing libel laws to give people access to cheap low-cost legal recourse if they are defamed online. The legal proposals are being drawn up by the Ministry of Justice.
    Mr Burnham admits that his plans may be interpreted by some as “heavy-handed” but says the new standards drive is “utterly crucial”. Mr Burnham also believes that the inauguration of Barack Obama, the President-Elect, presents an opportunity to implement the major changes necessary for the web.

    “The change of administration is a big moment. We have got a real opportunity to make common cause,” he says. “The more we seek international solutions to this stuff – the UK and the US working together – the more that an international norm will set an industry norm.”

    The Culture Secretary is spending the Christmas holidays at his constituency in Lancashire but is planning to take major decisions on the future of public-service broadcasting in the New Year. Channel Four is facing a £150m shortfall in its finances and is calling for extra Government help. ITV is also growing increasingly alarmed about the financial implications of meeting the public-service commitments of its licenses.

    Mr Burnham says that he is prepared to offer further public assistance to broadcasters other than the BBC. However, he indicates that he does not favour “top-slicing” the licence fee. Instead, he may share the profits of the BBC Worldwide, which sells the rights to programmes such as Strictly Come Dancing to foreign broadcasters.

    “I feel it is important to sustain quality content beyond the BBC,” he said. “The real priorities I have got in my mind are regional news, quality children’s content and original British children’s content, current affairs documentaries – that’s important. The thing now is to be absolutely clear on what the public wants to see beyond the BBC.

    “Top-slicing the licence fee is an option that is going to have to remain on the table. I have to say it is not the option that I instinctively reach for first. I think there are other avenues to be explored.”
    this guys a fucking asshat, who clearly has no clue about the internet nor being a parent it appears. why is it everyones fucking problem that hes too lazy to actually look after his own kids browsing. heard of net nanny you prick? add to the fact that what hes talking about isnt actually fucking feasible.

    [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]

    a sensible retort from someone who has a clue
    UK government wants to regulate the Inter Tubes
    by Mike Butcher on December 28, 2008
    In the US tech scene you have weekend “bitchmemes”. In the UK, there is a kind of equivalent known as “government minister opens mouth and inserts foot”. This weekend it was the turn of Andy Burnham, the secretary of state for the Department of Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS), and as such supposed to take an interest in the Internet. Unfortunately his weekend interview with a newspaper betrayed the simple fact that he knows nothing at all about the internet. Nothing.

    Burnham gave an interview to the Daily Telegraph newspaper saying that the UK government is considering “the need for “child safe” websites – registered with cinema-style age warnings – to curb access to offensive or damaging online material.” There would also be “child-safe” internet services run by ISPs and the “option” of introducing age ratings for websites. “This is an area that is really now coming into full focus,” he said. He said some content, such as clips of beheadings, was unacceptable and new standards of decency were needed. He also plans to negotiate with the US on drawing up international rules for English language websites.

    Burnham also mooted other safeguards including “compelling websites such as YouTube and Facebook to remove offensive material within a specified time after they have been alerted to it, and changing Britain’s libel laws to make it cheaper for people to sue publishers if they have been defamed online.”

    Let’s deal with the main point first.

    Ratings for websites are insane. One minute you have a site showing pink rabbits. The next minute one page of it, buried in millions, could display porn. Films don’t change once they’ve left the cutting room - web sites do. Furthermore, Web sites even have difficulty making allowance for browser compatibility let alone content ratings.

    And there is of course the small issue that you can’t regulate content on servers held on other countries. That is unless you are a one party state like Saudi Arabia, nearby Qatar or China. Even there they have problems. And of course, a government saying that it has the matter of Internet content in hand means parents would become reassured that their children are safe to surf the web unsupervised. Not a good idea.

    And with the economy collapsing, and the tech sector one of the few showing any signs of having some slim chance of weathering the storm, the last thing we need are government regulations slowing everything down.

    Regarding making it easier to sue online. Yes, well, Britain’s libel laws are bad enough as it it is. They are based on Victorian concepts of public reputation and the onus is always on the writer/publisher, not the person being written about. This is the reverse of US law, hence why libel tourists like Hollywood actors like to sue on British courts, not American ones. Add the internet to this heady mix and you have a pretty scary recipe, especially if it gets easier to sue.

    At least there is some sense inside government. Tom Watson, of the Cabinet Office, has invited views about Burnham’s comments on his personal blog - so far he has 78 comments - and he will forward the comments to Burnham. Needless to say most of the comments aren’t exactly supportive of Burnham’s ideas.

    However, there are legitimate concerns to be addressed, such as those of parents. But there are obvious, existing solutions: desktop ‘net nanny’ software is commonly available. Then there is the small fact that THEY ARE PARENTS AND MAY JUST POSSIBLY BE EXPECTED TO BE IN CHARGE OF THEIR KIDS.

    But more seriously, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) created PICS some time ago. The Platform for Internet Content Selection (PICS) enables labels (metadata) to be associated with Internet content. It was originally designed to help parents and teachers control what children access on the Internet, but it also facilitates other uses for labels, including code signing and privacy. However, a quick perusal of the site show that it is in a bad way, and has largely proved too slow to cope with fast moving nature of the Web today.

    But the final solution to rating Web content is actually probably going to be an opportunity for a startup. So for example, sign up to Walt Disney Content Label Scheme? Or one run by the BBC? Or Playboy even.

    In the meantime, I have kidnapped Andy Burnham’s name on Twitter (more useful than his lame site), until such time as he’s prepared to sit down and listen to some real feedback about his ideas. Then he can have it back.
    [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]

    i also love the fact that another MP has opened comments on his blog about what a fucking stupid idea it is lol

    [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]
  2. 4me2's Avatar

    4me2 said:

    Default Re: Internet sites could be given cinema-style age ratings, Idiot Culture Secretary s

    We are not in the people's republic of China.
    There are 3 types of people in the world - those who make things happen, those who watch things happen; and those who wondered what happened.

    [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]Conservatives. Putting the 'N' into Cuts.

  3. marcode's Avatar

    marcode said:

    Default Re: Internet sites could be given cinema-style age ratings, Idiot Culture Secretary s

    i find it odd that no one with an ounce of knowledge about how the internet functions has a quick look over these guys policies before they start spouting off about ideas that arent technically possible.

    hes talking about how the obama switch will be an opportunity to work together.... ive a feeling the obama admin, being relatively tech savvy will look at their ideas and laugh at them as completely idiotic.

    it makes us look bad.