In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, the UK’s culture secretary Andy Burnham is recommending that movie-esque ratings should be applied to all English language websites across the web. He plans to sit down with Barack Obama presumably over a lunch or dinner, and suggest all “English” websites are stamped with an age rating.
His goal is to convince ISP’S to offer parents services which are deemed completely safe for children.
Mr Burnham says:
“This isn’t about turning back the clock. The internet has been empowering and democratising in many ways, but we haven’t yet got the stakes in the ground to help people navigate their way safely around it.”
“This is not a campaign against free speech, far from it, it is simply there is a wider public interest at stake when it involves harm to other people.”
Can it Work?
Not a chance. Whilst I do believe Burnham is trying his best to appear pro-active, protect children and make life easier for parents out there – clearly he has no idea how the internet works. The internet contains over 100 million websites, each would need to be scanned/reviewed, not to mention all the new pages added to the web every second. The other option being each new website having to be manually submitted for review like any movie – yes, ridiculous, I know.
Imagine the day when virtually everyone has their own website, not just geeks like you and me. Policing content will become the norm, with over-protective folks spending their days determining whether this image or that ‘quote’ meets the relevant age rating set for that site. It’ll turn into a joke. In fact, this must all be a joke, surely Mr Burnham?