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The Commission6 rated each technology or method in light of both its current effectiveness and near-term potential effectiveness, relative to other technologies and methods, in reducing access by children to harmful to minors materials (when used along with other related technologies and methods). Except where explicitly noted, the Commission's inquiry focused primarily on use of a technology or method in the home and other private environments. Although COPA by its terms applies strictly to the Web, the Commission examined use of a technology or method in other Internet-related contexts, such as email, chat, instant messaging, and newsgroups.

Ratings were made on a scale of zero to ten regarding the relative effectiveness, accessibility, user cost, cost imposed on sources of lawful harmful to minors materials, and adverse impacts on privacy, First Amendment values, and law enforcement. The Commission assumed, for each technology and method rated, a high quality example of that technology and method was being assessed (and not any particular product). The Commission notes that further analysis could make substantial differentiation between sub-categories within any particular technology and method -- to allow study of important differences in particular types of implementations or in different environments.

The "effectiveness" rating, in general, assumes the technology is currently available. "Accessibility" again assumes the technology is currently available, and is designed to measure whether the technology or method is easy to find, implement, and use. "User cost" refers to costs to consumers and other users, and, in some cases, costs spread across all users by means of taxes. "Source cost" refers to costs imposed on the sources of otherwise lawful adult content that would be deemed harmful to minors under COPA. "Privacy" refers to potential and actual risks to information that may or may not be kept secure. "First Amendment" refers to impact on overall First Amendment values concerning the free flow of information, rather than narrowly to actions taken by governmental actors. The Commission directly rated only adverse effects on law enforcement but comments will note where a technology or method could create specific positive benefits for law enforcement.

6. The government representatives to the Commission were appointed in an "ex officio" capacity. This is an advisory role. Accordingly, they did not rate the technologies and methods, vote on the recommendations, or approve this report.

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