Film-like ratings system coming for websites?

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Describing the Internet as “quite a dangerous place,” the UK government is looking into implementing a content-based ratings system for English language websites, similar to those used for movies, and they are reaching out to the United States to get involved.

The plan was reported in an interview with the Telegraph of London on Friday, where British Minister of Culture Andy Burnham discussed a potential set of international rules for websites that would see them classified as G, PG, PG-13, and so on. In addition, Burnham also wants ISPs to offer services that only serve kid-friendly websites and talked about introducing industry-wide “take down times” to force sites with “harmful” content to be removed in a designated time period.

The idea, as absurd as it seems, isn't so much about outright censorship but making the Internet a safer place. However, there are a number of obstacles to the plan beyond a potential violation of free speech, such as actually reviewing and rating the billions of constantly changing websites and enforcing the new standard. That won’t stop governments from flirting with the idea, though.

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