Ms. Mary Lou Kenny has been appointed Director, North America of the Internet Content Rating Association (ICRA). ICRA is an international, independent membership organization that empowers the public, especially parents, to make informed decisions about electronic media by means of the open and objective labelling of content. ICRA's mission is to protect children from potentially harmful material and to protect free speech on the Internet. The content provider labels, the parent filters. Mary Lou will be based in ICRA's Washington, DC office.
Mary Lou has been hired to help ICRA extend its brand, build its membership, and carry out its mission throughout North America. "We are absolutely delighted to welcome Mary Lou to our growing team of outstanding professionals," said Stephen Balkam, ICRA Executive Director, "and we are confident she will have a big impact on our work in what is our largest market."
Mary Lou has over 25 years experience working on telecommunications/technology issues confronting both the state and federal governments of the United States. For the past sixteen years Mary Lou worked at National Public Radio (NPR) to grow its membership, managing marketing and program communications efforts to enhance and extend the NPR brand. She was the architect and director of a strategic lobbying operation that increased federal support for NPR and its over 600 member stations. While there, Mary Lou staffed the President-appointed U.S. Advisory Council on the National Information Infrastructure, co-chaired by the President of NPR. This 35 member Board of CEOs from American businesses was created to help set the direction of national policy on telecommunications and technology.
Before joining NPR, Mary Lou worked for 10 years in the U.S. Senate. She spent seven years on the personal staff of Senator Ernest F. Hollings and three on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee's Subcommittee on Communications.
Formed in April 1999, ICRA was created to develop an internationally acceptable online content labelling system. The new global labelling system will be launched in mid December, 2000 at icra.org. Parents filter unsuitable content by using parental controls already embedded in Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator. To date, ICRA has rated more than 160,000 Web sites. Formed with the backing of some of the world's best-known Internet and communications companies, ICRA's founding members include AOL, Bell Canada, Bertelsmann Foundation, British Telecom (BT), Cable & Wireless, Deutsche Telekom Online Service, Digimarc, Electronic Network Consortium, EuroISPA, IBM, Internet Watch Foundation, Microsoft, Novell, ONdigital, PAGi, Software & Information Industry Association, THUS and UUnet.
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