News released today has told of plans to monitor internet downloads of video content and games in the UK by introducing certifications to websites that offer such services.
Overseen by the British Board of Film Classification certificates will appear on sites via set-top boxes and portable players.
The news comes a the same time as new data was released from a survey on internet consumer trends that states people with broadband connections spend more time online than they do watching television.
They voluntary scheme is called BBFC.online and is due to launch by the end of the month with leading Hollywood studios Disney, Warner and Fox having already signed up to the scheme. Other leading players are also tipped to join soon.
The scheme will provide help put “age verification or gate-keeping systems in place for parents to monitor and control underage viewing”. The announcement was made after independent research showed 74% of parents were concerned about the lack of ratings on downloads.
The technical side of enforcement has not been made entirely clear with Peter Johnson of the BBFC stating
“It’s up to individual systems to work out how to introduce these technologies, but we will police it through test purchases”
More than 1,000 videos will have rating on them by the end of May. There is also the potential for the scheme to be rolled out on the Xbox live console, PS3 and Nintendo Wii, as well as video on demand service such as the iPlayer.
The BBFC have stressed that the scheme does not signal any attempt to censor the internet or regulate online video gaming.
Mr Cooke director of the BBFC did however go on to say
“I’m hoping there won’t be any need for legislation to underpin this scheme,”
At The Shelf we remain pessimistic as the big brother eye looms a little bit closer.