Microsoft Helps Drive International Initiative to Protect Children on the Web

LONDON, May 12, 1999 — Microsoft has joined forces with several leading Internet companies to form an international organization to protect children and free speech on the Web.

The Internet Content Rating Association (ICRA), based in London, UK, will establish a new content rating system to help parents and teachers make the Internet a safe and exciting medium for children. This global rating system will be based on the established RSACi content rating system; Microsoft played a leading role in developing RSACi, which is embedded in Internet Explorer 5.0. Once developed, the new system will be available to all Internet users for free.

The founding companies of ICRA include AOL Europe, Bertelsmann Foundation, British Telecom, Cable & Wireless, Demon Internet (UK), EuroISPA, IBM, Internet Watch Foundation, Software & Information Industry Association, and T-Online Germany.

To develop the rating system, ICRA will consult with children’s advocates, consumer groups, universities and interested parties around the globe, and Microsoft will play an active role in this.

“Microsoft’s involvement in ICRA is an expression of our commitment to working with members of the Internet industry to help users understand online safety issues and have a positive experience online,” said John Frank, Director of Legal and Corporate Affairs, Microsoft Europe. “This initiative is a major step in an ongoing cooperative effort to help make the Internet a great medium for all users to discover and explore, and we are delighted at the opportunity to continue our work in this area within this new association.”

“We are thrilled that so many of the leading Internet companies have agreed to work together to implement a content rating system that is available to families and teachers around the world,” said Stephen Balkam, president, Recreational Software Advisory Council. “The RSACi content rating system has provided Internet users with a proven model of industry self-regulation in the United States for the past three years, and I look forward to growing it into a system that is acceptable for use in all countries.”

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