Friday, February 27, 2015

"Silicon Valley" needs to form a consortium to deal with the content monitoring issues; ICRA-FOSI (from the UK) is the model; was my gig with "CABCO" in the 80s prescient?

Recently, on a couple of other blogs, I’ve mentioned the abandoned project (in Britain) that would enable content providers on the Web (and probably smart phone apps) to label their content for age categories and with respect to specific suitability areas (sexuality, violence), matched to browser (or app interface) changes that would make the experience seamless for most users.  Current content interstitials tend to suggest that the “hidden” content will be porn, which is often not the case. The concept would be predicated on parents having multiple phones or laptops in a household and setting them up differently. 
Such a project would require a number of big players to form a consortium (which, I know, is a bad word in itself given my experience with CABCO and Medicare and Blue Cross in the early 1980s in Dallas).  Involved would be browser and app suppliers as well as the actual developers of the coding standards.  Companies like Google (with Chrome and platforms like YouTube and Blogger), Wordpress, Microsoft (IE), Firefox, Motorola, Apple (for Safari and various iPhone apps), Facebook, and Twitter would be involved.  CABCO may be prescient in some challenging ways:  the sponsoring Blue plans could not get along and the project was shelved in 1982 (right after I had left).  

Leadership of such a project would need to be familiar in detail with the history of litigation over censorship (CDA, COPA), downstream immunity issues (Section 230 and DMCA), and the mechanics of how content is assembled and delivered (like video embeds).  
This would be an opportunity also to look at innovative ways to intercept some kinds of illegal and destructive content (like child pornography, and recruiting for criminal or foreign enemy enterprises) automatically. It could be an opportunity to look at constructive, move-forward ideas on piracy. 
Of course, like CABCO, this would be a project where systems analysts would need to think through what would be done and how everything would work “in the real world” before coding started.  So it would cost a lot to fund, staff and head up.  It could be housed in Silicon Valley, maybe in a place like Austin or Dallas, maybe North Carolina (Research Triangle), and would require travel to London and Europe, as well as a lot of interface with media companies (mostly in New York and California, and Canada). 
It would employ a lot of people for a few years. 

I am "retired" at 71 and working on my own content stuff (music and movies), but I do have a lot of the background that it would take to contribute to such a project, especially the requirements.  If someone wants to do this, contact me.
Picture:  Dallas, where CABCO was in the 1980s (it was near Stemmons Freeway, near both downtown and Oak Lawn).  

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