Washington, D.C., December 1, 1997 — Microsoft Corp. today reaffirmed its commitment to responsible use of Internet technology and announced an Internet campaign to educate parents, teachers, children and other online users about the variety of tools they can use to filter out inappropriate content.
Microsoft’s announcement came at the opening of an Internet Online Summit in Washington D.C., sponsored by the White House and major Internet-related companies, including Microsoft.
The three-day summit marks a major step in what is anticipated to be an ongoing cooperative effort among industry, government, advocacy organizations, schools and libraries to address the unique impact of the Internet on the lives of the nation’s children. The principal focus of this week’s Summit is on protecting children from inappropriate content on the Internet.
“We are committed to promoting a safe online experience for all our users, especially children. The Internet offers remarkable benefits and possibilities for people everywhere. With this tremendous technology, however, also comes responsibility,”
said Laura Jennings, Microsoft vice president for the Microsoft Network, MSN.
“We join the Internet community at the Online Summit to take the next step in meeting our shared responsibility to educate parents and teachers about the tools that are available, so they can make informed judgments about how children use the Internet to discover and explore.”
Microsoft has long recognized that protecting youth from inappropriate content is essential as society moves further into the Information Age. Microsoft was part of the original team that developed the
“Platform for Internet Content Selection (PICS),”
an open technical standard, endorsed by the World Wide Web Consortium, that can support different rating systems for filtering Internet content and excluding content deemed inappropriate by parents or teachers.
Since August 1996, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser has included the parental control made possible through the PICS platform. Internet Explorer is still the only browser to provide parental control features.
Microsoft was also one of the first companies to support RSACi – a rating system being implemented by the Recreational Software Advisory Council and increasingly being used by online content providers to rate their sites.
Through the Microsoft Network (MSN), Microsoft gives its online service members access to the Internet Explorer parental controls. The company uses the RASCi system to rate MSN’s content sites, and MSN provides a variety of educational Web pages and tips on how to stay safe online. Microsoft also participates in a variety of on-going industry-wide initiatives on online security and privacy.
At the three-day summit in Washington D.C., the Internet industry and law enforcement officials will announce new initiatives in two important areas.
First, industry and the U.S. government will sponsor a single nationwide clearinghouse that the public can use to report illegal online activity; industry and law enforcement will launch an ongoing Public/Private Law Enforcement Partnership designed to enhance cooperation and address reported illegal activity more quickly.
Second, the summit will kick off a major nationwide educational campaign aimed at increasing the knowledge of parents and those who work with children about where to find child-friendly content, how to teach safe on-line behavior, and how to use filtering and blocking tools. The campaign will culminate next fall in a
with educational sessions conducted in schools, libraries and community centers across the nation.
Microsoft wholeheartedly endorses these summit initiatives and the company will be taking a number of steps to promote greater understanding of online safety issues and to protect children from inappropriate material on the Internet.
Over the coming year, the company’s microsoft.com Web site will run a series of weeklong educational features on online safety and how to use the safety tools available for filtering content and ensuring that children have positive online experiences. MSN will develop, promote and run an
“Online Safety Awareness Month,”
and MSN will routinely run public service announcements and highlight safety information in order to increase MSN users’ awareness of safety issues and solutions. All of these features will link to other sites with safety related information and ultimately to kidsonline.org, the teach-in Web Site being created by the summit organization.
Microsoft’s overall objective is to work with others throughout the Internet industry and concerned organizations to help users to learn about the safety of the Internet and utilize the Internet’s power as a new communications medium.
Microsoft has two of the nation’s most popular Web Sites – microsoft.com and msnbc.com – ranking in the top 20 most visited Web Sites on the Internet, and MSN is the second most popular online service, with over 2 million subscribers.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.