Waving the banner of safety is typically a surefire way to rile up political support for restrictive legislation, but instead of introducing legislative mandates, the European Commission has assembled a gang of volunteers including Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Samsung, RIM, and Nintendo to make the internet more hospitable for children. The coalition of 28 tech giants including mobile manufacturers and operators, OS designers, ISPs, broadcasters, and social networks have agreed to take action in five areas:
- Reporting tools that flag harmful content and contacts on all devices
- Age-based privacy settings that hide content
- Internet-wide content ratings
- Simpler parental controls
- Removal of content that contains child abuse
It's worth noting that many of the companies that are part of this coalition already offer technical solutions for parental controls and child protections; Google and Facebook in particular highlighted this fact in their own announcements. (Interestingly, Apple and Google are participating, after deciding to keep the ESRB out of their app store ratings.) Without seeing the technical specifics of how the group wants to accomplish these goals, we can't say exactly what this effort will end up looking like, but the end-result sounds like a broad-reaching system that will help wall off the more undesirable parts of the internet.