Internet Content Rating Association Welcomes Bell Canada as Newest Member

Bell Canada Joins Forces with Other Global Organizations to Build and Manage an Internationally Acceptable Online Content Rating System

Munich, Germany (September 9, 1999) -- Today, at the Internet Content Summit, a conference sponsored by the Bertelsmann Foundation that focuses on the implementation of an international self-regulatory system that protects minors online, the Internet Content Rating Association (ICRA) announced that Bell Canada has joined the association as its fourteenth member company. Bell Canada joins forces with Internet industry leaders to create a user friendly and culturally objective international Internet content rating system that protects children and free speech on the Web.

Formed in May of 1999, ICRA was created to develop an internationally acceptable online content rating system. The new global rating system will be based on the established RSACi content rating system, the rating mechanism that is already embedded in Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator and has currently rated over 120,000 Web sites. Formed with the backing of some of the world’s best known Internet and communications companies, ICRA’s founding members include, AOL, Bertelsmann Foundation, British Telecom, Cable & Wireless, Demon Internet (UK), Deutsche Telekom Online Service, Electronic Network Consortium, EuroISPA, IBM, Internet Watch Foundation, Microsoft, Software & Information Industry Association, and UUNet. 

According to Sheridan Scott, Chief Regulatory Officer, Bell Canada, “The ICRA initiative is a critical step towards self-regulation by the global Internet community to provide a safe online environment. Bell Canada is pleased to join ICRA in its commitment to empower consumers by providing them with the tools they need to control the nature of content that they view on the Internet.”

“The founding members of ICRA welcome Bell Canada as the newest member of the association,” said Stephen Balkam, Executive Director of ICRA. “To ensure world-wide deployment and acceptance of an international content rating system, it is critical that we expand our membership to include companies and organisations from countries around the world who offer valuable input into the development of the system. We are thrilled that Bell Canada has chosen to join in our efforts to build and manage a system for content rating that is culturally acceptable for use in countries around the world.”

To develop a system for content rating based on cultural standards for use in countries around the world, ICRA will hold consultations with children’s advocacies, consumer groups, universities and interested parties around the globe. Once developed, the system will be available to all Internet users as a free service. All ICRA members are committed to the establishment of an international rating system and have dedicated a considerable amount of time and resources to ensure that the public receives a valuable set of tools to control the nature of content that they and their families view on the Internet.

About Bell Canada

Bell Canada provides a full range of communications services to customers, including wired and wireless local and long distance telephone services, Internet access, high-speed data services and directories. Bell Canada, its telecom partners and subsidiaries provide services through 13.6 million access lines, including 11 million in Ontario and Quebec. Bell Canada also serves more than 2.1 million wireless customers through Bell Mobility. Bell Canada is 80% owned by BCE Inc. of Montreal and 20% owned by Ameritech Corporation of Chicago, Illinois. Our e-mail address is

About ICRA

ICRA is an international non-profit organisation, incorporated in the UK as a company limited by guarantee, with charitable purposes. ICRA’s mission is to develop, implement and manage an internationally acceptable voluntary self-rating system which provides Internet users world wide with the choice to limit access to content they consider harmful, especially to children.  ICRA has received the RSAC assets including the RSACi system that provides consumers with information about the level of nudity, sex, language, and violence in Web sites. To date, more than 120,000 Web sites have rated with the RSACi system, including a great number of the top 100 sites which account for 80% of the web’s traffic.

Kate Castle / Susan Haskell
Copithorne & Bellows -- ICRA
[email protected]

Marg Eades
Corporate Communications -- Bell Canada