ASACP Updates Systems to Embrace Secure Web

ASACP Updates Systems to Embrace Secure Web
Stephen Yagielowicz

LOS ANGELES — The Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection (ASACP) has announced the recent completion of an upgrade to its backend systems to more fully support a secure web.

A non-profit organization supported by digital media industry stakeholders, ASACP provides technical insights and other support in the fight to keep children out of and away from age-restricted material on the internet and in mobile apps. Among the highlights of ASACP’s 20-plus-year record of success are its internationally recognized Child Exploitation Tipline that has processed more than one million CP reports since its inception; its Restricted To Adults (RTA) website meta labeling system that is free to all site operators; and its offering of free educational tools, such as market-specific Best Practices and a universal Code of Ethics.

According to ASACP’s Executive Director, Tim Henning, while the association focuses on promoting internet safety, the related topic of internet security also comes into play.

“Major mainstream market leaders ranging from Google to Mozilla, to advocacy groups such as the Electronic Freedom Foundation, and beyond, are pushing the internet away from traditional HTTP to a more secure HTTPS protocol,” Henning says. “Website owners are responding to this initiative, and now nearly half of the sites on the internet have adopted HTTPS — including a growing percentage of adult-oriented websites, where user security is a vital concern for consumers.”

Henning explains that migrating a site from HTTP to HTTPS takes more than the simple addition of an “s” to the site’s URL, with unforeseen issues often arising.

“One hiccup we noticed was that HTTPS-secured ASACP sponsor sites and RTA Verified program members using our validation buttons were not having their sites successfully validated,” Henning says. “This was due to a lack of referrer data forwarded by these websites as a means of protecting the surfer’s identity.”

Although this issue did not affect any site’s sponsor status or the functionality of its RTA labeling, the reassurance that successful validation provides to consumers is a powerful motivator for companies to participate in these programs.

“ASACP’s technical team quickly addressed this issue, and came up with a simple workaround that allows HTTPS to validate while protecting the site’s brand identity as well,” Henning adds. “Sponsors and users of the RTA Verified program will need to re-link their buttons once they switch their sites over to HTTPS, but we’ve added a simple troubleshooting guide to the button pages, making it easy.”

For more information about the secure web initiative, click here.

For the updated ASACP and RTA Verified linking codes for secure sites, click here and here.

For more information on how your company can get involved, email tim@asacp.org.

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