PICS, PICSRules (nee PICS RULZ) news report re: W3C

Rohit Khare (
Tue, 02 Dec 1997 16:51:45 -0800

Unwashed is hearing from the W3C these days... RK

> Woods, Newsbytes. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) said it posted
> to the Web its "PICSRules and DSig 1.0 Proposed Recommendations" as
> complementary tools to the Platform for Internet Content Selection
> (PICS). Originally designed to help parents and teachers control what
> children access on the Internet, PICS now also facilitates other uses
> of PICS labels, including privacy and software code safety, with the
> new tools.
> PICSRules enables the one-click configuration of PICS settings,
> officials said, allowing such preferences to be easily saved, moved,
> and exchanged. With PICSRules, for example, parents can go to a PTA
> site and download initial settings which are recommended for primary
> school children, W3C officials said.
> On December 1, W3C said it will demonstrate PICSRules at the Focus
> on Children Internet Online Summit in Washington DC.
> DSig allows users to verify the authenticity and integrity of signed
> PICS labels, officials said. Web publishers and users alike need a
> means to assure the authenticity and integrity of their labels and
> to make informed decisions when using the Web, W3C said. Both needs
> are addressed by attaching DSig digital signatures to PICS labels.
> DSig is an open mechanism for making signed assertions that is
> independent of specific cryptographic algorithms or key-management
> infrastructures.
> W3C's Tim Berners-Lee -- the same person who is credited with inventing
> the World Wide Web -- said these two proposed recommendations will
> make the Web into a "Web of trust" where information can be verified
> as easily as it is obtained. Both standards will "be a huge boost
> for commerce and teamwork online," Berners-Lee said. "Also, before
> you delegate useful work to a software agent, you have to be able
> to tell it what you trust. PICSRules and DSig will enable simple and
> reliable tools for deciding what to trust on the Web," he added.
> The current status of PICSrules and DSig 1.0 are that both have received
> approval by the W3C Director and are currently under review by the
> W3C Membership for approval as a W3C Recommendation. With this, the
> work on the PICS specifications is now closed, W3C said. The group
> will now focus its technical efforts on a more powerful meta-data
> infrastructure, the Resource Description Framework (RDF) -- which
> allows one to make machine readable statements about Web resources,
> including other statements -- and its applications, such as the privacy
> project, P3P.
> PICSRules info is at , while Dsig
> 1.0 is at .
> Other recent W3C actions include the publishing of the first public
> working draft regarding cascading style sheets (CSS) 2, which "add
> style to content to produce Web pages," officials said (Newsbytes,
> Nov. 5, 1997). CSS gives content creators, designers and readers the
> power tools they need to use the full potential of the their hypertext
> markup language (HTML) and extensible markup language (XML)
> documents.
> The proposed CSS2 standards adds enhancements in several areas:
> positioned elements, for greatly improved control over document
> layout, both on screen and in print; downloadable fonts that give
> designers typographic diversity without resorting to slow-to-load
> images; Aural Cascading Style Sheets (ACSS), which empower visually
> disabled users by applying style sheets to oral presentations; and
> enhanced printing facilities that improve printing from the Web.