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Acronym for "Platform for Internet Content Selection", or possibly "Platform for Internet Censorship Services". The idea is that websites and other content providers can rate themselves, so visitors can tell at a glance what type of content the site contains. "Great!" most people think. "Now i can block all that porn so my children can't see it!" (Or, "Now i can find pr0n even faster!")

One part of the problem is in establishing the criteria for the rating system. Do you be general, so many sites don't clearly fit and you can only block by wide swaths? Do you be insanely specific, making it impossible for anyone to comprehend the variations, making misrating rampant and still leaving many grey areas? RSACi takes the former approach, SafeSurf tries for the latter but still falls short. Remember, you must differentiate between porn and art (which even the courts have trouble with), between violence and news reports on wars and the like, and so on. You also have to take into account local variations; for example, naked people are bad but free speech is protected in the US while naked people are ok but many types of speech are illegal in France (note i'm not saying either one is right).

Another part lies in what to do about unrated sites. Censor them, in the assumption they could be bad? Allow them, since they might be good? Either one is unacceptable, since either much good will be banned, or some bad will be allowed. Either way, not too family-friendly.

A third part is in what to do about misrated sites? You can't exactly sue them, it's not against any laws. So, make laws. Big corporations can afford barrels of lawyers to make sure they're properly rated and squeeze through loopholes, but the little guy can just guess and pray, and hope he doesn't piss off any corporations who can afford a protracted legal battle. So, the Internet becomes just another homogenized, Disneyfied advertising medium, except for the underground pr0n and warez sites and the hacker network that still preserves freedom of speech (Note: hacker, not cracker. The cracker network is the warez sites).

Is it any surprise that the corporations and hired government are for PICS, while the informed public (really informed, not duped by propaganda) is against it?

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