In response to the July 31 Perspectives column by Ralf G. Neas, "Why filtering laws just won't work":
You make a great point in revealing to non-specialists that filtering software simply doesn't work. But the integrity and perhaps mental health of our children is at stake when we leave computers with Internet access unattended and at the mercy of curious minors.
My proposal is for a rating system, similar to the ones found on movie theaters or video games. I envision a system of voluntary participation from Web publishers and individuals, overseen by a governing authority that would continuously monitor abuses. These abuses would be reported--by the general public or through artificial intelligence spiders--to volunteer enforcers of the rating system.
Technically speaking, simple meta-tag information would display the rating of the domains and sub-domains. A partnership with browser makers would be essential, as browsers would have to have the capability to read this meta-information. Based on the filter settings in place (on or off), the browser would choose whether to display Web pages or not.
We should not thwart the right of people to find information such as, "Is oral sex safe?" But we need to protect our children from sites like "Oral Sex-O-Rama".
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.