Today the European QUATRO project released a browser extension and search annotation tool that makes it easier for users to recognise websites that carry trustmarks, seals of approval and content descriptions (labels).
This means that users are able to make better informed choices about the content they wish to see and means that they no longer need to look for a label themselves when seeking reassurance that the site operator can be trusted.
Available for Firefox and, in the near future, Internet Explorer, the browser extension called ViQ detects and authenticates labels in real-time, and shows an icon that indicates the presence and trustworthiness of labels found on websites as the user visits them.
As well as ViQ, users can also clearly see whether a website is labelled in search results by using the LADI search annotation tool that was also developed by the QUATRO Project.
Accessed through ViQ, or directly on the Web, the LADI application forwards users’ searches to Google or Yahoo! search engines, displaying any labels found on websites next to the returned results. This means that not only can end users check whether a website has a quality label, they can also see if the information is still valid and reliable, which saves time and stimulates trust in the information found on the Internet.
Phil Archer, CTO at ICRA said: “Through QUATRO, we have made significant advances in the use of labels for Web content. The authentication systems we have introduced and the use of a common platform to express child protection-centred labels and trustmarks of all kinds will create a culture where users can demand and expect to get the best of the Web.”
The system currently identifies and authenticates three quality labels from ICRA, IQUA and WMA as these labelling authorities participated in the QUATRO Project. Now, the Project team is keen to expand the range of labels covered and is actively seeking the participation of additional labelling authorities. It is also looking for search engines to display authenticated labels directly.
Sheena Bassett, Project Manager at Pira International, added: “QUATRO applies to all types of digital content; in addition to trustmarks, this technology can be expanded to provide end users with a range of metadata which should be of interest to publishers across the board.”
The European-funded QUATRO Project was started in 2004 as part of the Safer Internet Action Plan and has recently completed its initial schedule of work. The Project partners, who include ICRA, IQUA and WMA, Pira, Platform for E-Netherlands (ECP.NL), University of Milan, The Greek National Centre for Scientific Research (NCSR), the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) and Coolwave, now have plans for a future expansion of the system to support user-feedback, expert annotations and create a social network of trust.
For further information about ViQ and LADI, please go to http://www.quatro-project.org.
To download the QUATRO software extension for Firefox browsers please go to: http://homes.dico.unimi.it/dbandsec/quatro/