A new initiative announced today (31st August 2000) will give parents the power to protect their children from some of the world's most offensive hate sites - giving them control without censorship.

The Internet Content Rating Association (ICRA), an independent non-profit organisation working with content providers and industry bodies to develop a new filtering system, has linked with the Anti Defamation League (ADL) and the Bundeskriminalamt (BKA - Germany's equivalent of Scotland Yard) to incorporate their lists of internet hate sites into the ICRA filtering system, allowing users to filter racist and anti-Semitic content on the world wide web.

The system, which is currently in development, will give content providers a tool to label their sites and parents a filtering device which they set at their own levels, allowing them and not their service provider, to control what their children see. It will also gives parents the option to filter out sites based on black lists, such as those outlined by BKA and ADL, although this is at the parents' discretion. To ensure ultimate safety the URLs for the sites will not be visible to users.

Stephen Balkam, Executive Director of ICRA, explained the value of the new partnerships. "We know parents are extremely concerned about what their children see on the internet; whether that be porn, violence or hate sites; and we wanted to find a way of allowing parents to set some controls over what their kids see, without imposing any kind of censorship. The system we are developing does just that."

"The links with BKA and ADL are very important and particularly timely. With the UK and mainland Europe both seeing an alarming upsurge in hate content, parents and content providers are worried about the effect related internet sites might have. Having access to these lists enables us to give concerned parents some reassurance and guidance, although the final decision as to what their children see is always theirs."

"This is just the first step towards making the net a safe place for kids and we are actively inviting other associations and content providers to share information and help us develop the system."

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director added "We welcome this initiative from ICRA. It is a great step forward in helping parents protect their children from extremist sites."

The BKA and the ADL, together with about 50 organisations from Europe and around the world, will all take part in a conference hosted by the Bertelsmann Foundation in Gutersloh, Germany on 8th September. They will discuss how they can support the ICRA system by creating filter templates and positive and negative lists for their own audiences, which can be used with the ICRA system.

ICRA will develop a library of filters and lists which will be available to users with its free filtering system which will be launched to parents in 2001. The existing RSACi system is already incorporated in Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Netscape's Navigator and can be used by parents and content providers free of charge. Full details can be found at

For further information please contact:

Biss Lancaster PLC Tel: +44 (0)207 497 3001 Fax: 0207 497 3001
Martin Lorigan Tel: +44 (0)207 539 2790
Susan Hayes Tel: +44 (0)207 539 2670
Jane Forwood Tel: +44 (0)207 539 2634

Notes for editors:
The Internet Content Rating Association (ICRA) is an independent non-profit organisation with offices in the UK and the USA. ICRA's mission is to protect children from potentially harmful material on the internet, whilst protecting the content providers' freedom of speech.

ICRA is currently developing a new global system which will provide content providers with a tool to label their content objectively and parents with a device to filter content subjectively. The revised ICRA system will be launched in two parts - the labelling system for content providers will be available later this year and the filtering systems for parents will be available in 2001.

ICRA works in partnership with content providers toward the responsible development and growth of the Internet and is supported by AOL, Bell Canada, The Bertelsmann Foundation, BT, Cable & Wireless, Demon Internet, Electronic Network Consortium, EuroISPA, Geotrust, IBM, Internet Watch Foundation, Microsoft Corp, Network Solutions Inc, Novell, Software and Information Industry Association, T-Online, Thus and UUNet.

ICRA owns and operates the RSACi (Recreational Software Advisory Council for the Internet) rating and filtering system, which is integrated into Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Netscape's Navigator. The RSACi system provides customers with information about the level of sex, nudity, violence, and offensive language in websites.