Internet Content Rating Association

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Internet Content Rating Association (ICRA) was an international non-profit organization with offices in the United States and the United Kingdom. In October 2010, the ICRA rating system, and the organization, was permanently discontinued.

Its mission was to help users find the content they want, to trust what they find and to filter out what they do not want for themselves or for their children. ICRA also acted as a forum through which both policy and technical infrastructure are defined to help shape the way that the World Wide Web and content distribution channels work.[1]

Methods[edit]

ICRA created a content description system which allowed webmasters and digital content creators to self-label their content in categories such as nudity, sex, language (profanity etc.), violence, other potentially undesired material and online interactivity such as social networking and chat. There are context variables such as art, medicine and news—for example, a piece of content or site can be described as having depictions of nudes, but they are in an artistic context. A key point is that ICRA does not rate internet content, nor do they make value judgements about sites – the content providers self-label, and then parents and other concerned adults make a value judgement as to what is or is not appropriate content.

The labelling was done using a web-based questionnaire. The content creators checked which of the elements in the questionnaire are present or absent from their Web sites, and a small file is automatically generated using the RDF format, which is then linked to the content on one or more domains. Formerly, the system was based on PICS.

Users could then use content filtering software to censor various types of content. One such application, ICRAplus, was maintained by ICRA itself. ICRA also had a validator which tested all versions of ICRA and old RSACi labels.

The content descriptions were revised in 2005 to enable easier application to a wide range of digital content, not just websites.

The ICRA also intended to launch a service to verify the accuracy of ICRA labels and to provide this information to third-party tools and services, such as search engines.

Alternative labelling projects include Quatro, an EU-funded project which integrates content labels with quality and trust marks, and its successor, QuatroPlus.

Members[edit]

ICRA's corporate members included: AOL, British Telecom, Microsoft, T-Online and Verizon. ICRA has been supported by the European Union's Internet Action Plan and various trusts and foundations. Through the Associate Membership scheme, individuals could join and support the work of the organization.

Discontinuation[edit]

As of October 2010, the ICRA labeling engine has been discontinued by FOSI. Additionally, FOSI has withdrawn all support for the ICRA rating system and taken down all documentation for labeling websites with ICRA ratings.[2] The reason is the ICRA label failed to gain widespread acceptance.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]