Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Ad hoc conversation about labels and filters

I had a phone call from an IT recruiter today, and the conversation wandered away from mainframes to what I had been doing, and we wound up with a spirited conversation about the problems underlying COPA.

The mood out there is that parents want the tools to control what their kids do, and they don't want or need the government telling them how to do it.

One item came up in conversation quickly, about adult-id cards and credit cards. If a webmaster for an individual or small business kept these on its own server, it just would be adding to its own security and downstream liability problems. That point gets missed a lot.

We talked a bit about ICRA and labels. Content management software has been around and well established for something like a decade, and the label protocols ought to be set up in them, with some kind of consortium.

Then, however, webmasters might find themselves required to use purchase and use more modern systems of automated content management and change control, procedures well known in business systems that process consumer transactions, most of all with legacy mainframe systems where change control is well integrated into security to guarantee the integrity of the load modules that run in production.

Yet, that could be the direction that this heads eventually.

Recently ICRA announced that RuleSpace, a supplier of parental filtering software, had joined ICRA. The story is here. This kind of alliance could eventually result in real progress in really constructive technical, rather than moralistic and political, solutions to these problems associated with protecting minors. This is a direction our debate needs to go.

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