4BA2 Web Project - WWW Access Control Mechanisms - Children Protection Programs

One way to prevent children from reading unwanted web pages is to install a children protection program on the local computer. Such sites deal for example with pornography, hate literature, drugs, racist speeches, violence or bomb-making-receipts.

There are many products of this Parental Control Software on the market like NetNanny, X-Stop, Surfwatch, BESS The Internet Retriever, Cyber Patrol, The Internet Filter, InterGo, NetShephard, RatedPG and SPECS.

A list of different companies or software to use can be found in here

Most of these programs use libraries or databases of forbidden words. Mostly in a two-way-screening of out and incoming material to the local computer any WWW pages in which these words occur are discovered and blocked. Other materials, which are scanned online are newsgroups (currently more than 400 contain objectionable material), IRC-channels, FTP's, gopher and eMails. Offline-scanning is possible as well. That examines PC-files, drives, loading of unauthorised diskettes and CD-ROM's.
Netnanny for example also provides a protection against giving away personal information like home address, name and credit card number.

Two examples of these programs are:

The libraries, which contain the blacklist of forbidden words can be downloaded to the local computer. The companies update them regulary (e.g. X-Stop adds daily new block sites).
The other way is to keep whitelists, this are libraries of sites which are allowed for children. Cyber Patrol supports both types of lists. It possesses a CyberNOT list, blocking over 15000 Internet resources and a CyberYES list with more than 40000 appropriate Internet sites for children.

Another approach to access control is the SafeSurf Internet Rating Standard: SafeSurf
It is no particular software but works together with different software products. The attempt is that every WWW page is rated in future. This is simply done by marking each individual HTML page with a special code, which gives information about the content of this page and the blocking level (1-9, named Level of Parental Caution - whereas 1 is the mildest level, 9 the most severe level which means that this page is not suitable for children at all). The corresponding software can interpret the code and react. It is also possible just to mark parts of pages, which are filtered out when this page is read.

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