Virtually every advancement of communications technology has precipitated a controversy over the rights of freedom of expression under the first amendment. Internet access to the word wide web is no exception.
Internet materials having widely varied sexual content are readily available to users of the Internet. In 1996, the Supreme Court overruled the Communications Decency Act, which would have enabled some governmental control over what can be accessed on the Internet. Transmitting pornographic material to minors has become a problem and a policy must be implemented in order to control it. There have been a myriad of proposals to limit or restrict access to these materials, ranging from the in-effectual labeling to draconian bans and censure. This paper proposes a workable means for balancing rights of expression with parental rights to control their families access to objectionable materials. The espoused approach would have responsibility shared between the authors of the material, a review board (likely an instrument of the government), and parents The approach mirrors those adopted by, movies and music, but is implemented more effectively with the help of advanced technology (similar to the approach implemented with newer television's "v" chip).
Here is an overview of the proposed approach:.
1. The establishment of a board of governors. This will be a reviewing body, which will view the websites, and the parts thereof, rating its content similar to that of television programs.
2. Administration of a technical identifier or marker for rated websites recognized by the review board that includes objectionable or potentially objectionable sexual content. The technical marker would be communicated to the operating system of the personal computer through the Internet browser program. .
3. A software package for installation on the PC that is responsive to the website rating code to permit a pass-code protected restriction to access of site with a threshold or higher rating.