Created by the International Swiss Organization, the HON Code (new window) is an attempt to develop a set of rules that would regulate health information on the Web. The HON Code is self-regulated, meaning that Website providers promise to observe the rules of the code. The advantage to the system is that the code is easily accessible to anyone running a Website. They can read the code, register their Website, and link to the HON Code Gif on their own site (and thus testify that they promise to adhere to the code principles). The disadvantage of the HON Code is that Websites are not examined to verify that they are indeed complying with the code.
So, while the HON Code can be a useful guide for deciding on the validity of a Website, it does not in any way eliminate the need for personal quality filtering on the part of the user. The Website provider may, in good conscience, feel that the principles of the HON Code are being represented by the Website, however, the individual may not be qualified to actually determine medical validity.