the HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is extensible by adding new headers, but there is :
the Protocol Extension Protocol (PEP) adds two new headers to HTTP to support any extension:
this allows the client and the server to negotiate the protocol to be used for further communication. protocols may have parameters and may by named via URNs (Unified Resource Name). multiple protocols may be used at the same time.
PEP shall be part of the next version of HTTP. PICS (see below) includes simple PEP headers. currently, the W3C security activities focus on PEP.
the Platform for Internet Content Selection (PICS) addresses an extremely
important, non-technical issue: the problem of how to protect people - for
example minors - from information that may not be appropriate to them. one
approach to this problem is censorship. another would be a kind of a rating
system as it is well known for movies (e.g. X rating). to enable an user to
configure a browser so that it will not display a particular kind of
information, documents have to be marked (or labelled) somehow. labels might be
applied either by the author, by an independent 3rd party organization or even
by the government.
labels might be distributed with the document, on-line during data transfer or by a distributed list (e.g. on CDrom).
the label shall describe the contents without any rating like "good" or "bad". it shall be up to the user to decide what she or he likes and what not !
it is important to involve the government and the industry immediately. a labeling system should be set up as soon as possible.
according the questions and comments from the audience, this is obviously a very important topic and that there is a real need for a solution to this problem soon.
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