SurfWatch Endorses RSACi Content Advisory System

Leading Provider of Internet Filtering Software Teams With RSAC and Microsoft To Strengthen Individual Choices Over Access to Internet Content

LOS ALTOS, Calif., February 28, 1996 -- SurfWatch Software, Inc., today announced its endorsement of the new RSACi content advisory system for Internet Web sites, introduced by the Recreational Software Advisory Council (RSAC) and endorsed by Microsoft Corp. The new content advisory system leverages key technology developed by the PICS consortium and further enhances the SurfWatch blocking software, which provides individual control over access to specific Internet content.

SurfWatch Software will make available a version of its software that supports the RSACi rating system in the second quarter of 1996. Currently, SurfWatch lets parents, teachers and employers filter unwanted, inappropriate material without restricting the access of other Internet users. SurfWatch does not remove material from the Internet or any server, but simply blocks it at any local computer or network. SurfWatch screens Internet newsgroups, World Wide Web, FTP, Gopher, Chat and other services.

"RSAC's efforts to establish a content advisory system for the Internet is an ideal complement to our award-winning alternative to Internet censorship," said Ann Duvall, president of SurfWatch Software. "We are pleased to be working with RSAC and Microsoft to deliver a content advisory system that fulfills the promise of the PICS platform, and we look forward to working together to empower parents and teachers to make informed decisions about Internet access, without diluting the richness of material available on-line."

"SurfWatch's strong support of the RSACi system is a tremendous addition, and further supports our mission to provide parents and consumers with objective, detailed information about the content of an Internet site," commented Stephen Balkam, executive director of RSAC. "This partnership will ensure that parents and consumers will benefit from the coordinated efforts of key industry groups to provide an objective solution to this issue."

The RSACi system, based on RSAC's successful current content advisory system for games and entertainment software, addresses Internet content and is compatible with the industry- standard Platform for Internet Content Selection (PICS) specification, announced last fall. The new RSACi system will enable any Internet content publisher to quickly and easily rate all or part of any Web site, based on an objective evaluation of actual content.

PICS is a cross-industry working group whose goal is to facilitate the development of technologies that give users of interactive media control over the kinds of material to which they and their children have access. PICS members - which include SurfWatch Software, Microsoft and RSAC - believe that individuals, groups and businesses should have easy access to the widest possible range of content selection products, and a diversity of voluntary rating systems. Its URL is http://www.w3.org/pub/WWW/PICS/

The Recreational Software Advisory Council (RSAC) is an independent, non-profit organization that empowers the public, especially parents, to make informed decisions about electronic media by means of an open, objective, content advisory system. RSAC's system provides consumers with information about the level of sex, nudity, violence and offensive language (vulgar or hate- motivated) in computer software games and Internet Web sites. RSAC currently provides a non-judgmental, voluntary content- labeling system to the computer games industry, and has rated more than 350 games from more than 90 companies. In addition, RSAC's system is under evaluation as a possible solution to the current debate over television programming content and the use of the V- chip.

SurfWatch creates Internet products for both Macintosh and Windows-based personal computers and licenses Internet access control technology to the on-line services industry. SurfWatch is widely available in major retail outlets, including Best Buy, CompUSA, Computer City, Crown Books, Egghead Software, Media Play, Software Etc., Staples, Target and other resellers via a partnership with Ventana Communications.

SurfWatch Software, Inc., based in Los Altos, Calif., is pioneering the development of new technologies for the Internet. Founded in January 1995 with a vision of creating high-quality technology products that have a positive impact on peoples' lives, SurfWatch's first products enable parents, teachers and employers to block sexually explicit material on the Internet. SurfWatch Software can be reached at 415-948-9500 or 800-458-6600 or via the World Wide Web at http://www.surfwatch.com.


SurfWatch Software, Inc.,
Jay Friedland +1-415-948-9500; Fax 415/948-9577; jay@surfwatch.com

Stephen Balkam +1-617-864-5612; Fax 617/864-5740; sbalkam@rsac.org

Copithorne & Bellows
Carolyn Wilkins +1-617-252-0606; Fax 617/252-6565; carolynw(at)ca.cbpr.com

For more information on the PICS effort please contact Jim Miller, jmiller@w3.org
Created 01 March 1996
Last updated 01 March 1996