Last week I signed up to become an IWF Champion. This means that I fully support the important work that the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) does to remove child sexual abuse images on the internet.
The IWF was established in 1996 by the internet industry to provide the UK internet Hotline for the public and IT professionals to report criminal online content in a secure and confidential way.
The IWF Hotline service can be used anonymously to report content within its remit. The IWF successfully works in partnership with the online industry, law enforcement, government, and international partners to minimise the availability of this content, specifically:
- child sexual abuse images hosted anywhere in the world
- criminally obscene adult content hosted in the UK
- non-photographic child sexual abuse images hosted in the UK.
The IWF helps internet service providers and hosting companies to combat the abuse of their networks through its ‘notice and takedown’ service which alerts them to content within its remit so they can remove it from their networks. The IWF also provides unique data to law enforcement partners in the UK and abroad to assist investigations into the distributors. As a result of this approach the content the IWF deals with has been virtually removed from UK networks. As sexually abusive images of children are primarily hosted abroad, the IWF facilitates the industry-led initiative to protect users from inadvertent exposure to this content by blocking access to it through their provision of a dynamic list of child sexual abuse web pages.
I am proud to be associated with an organisation that has successfully:
- Assessed over 390,000 web pages over the last 16 years;
- Had 92,000 URLs removed for containing criminal content;
- Reduced the proportion of child sexual abuse content hosted in the UK from 18% in 1996 down to less than 1% over the last decade;
- Gets child sexual abuse content that is hosted in the UK removed within 60 minutes and cut the time taken to remove content hosted outside the UK by half to 11 days; and above all
- By sharing intelligence with police, aided the identification and rescue of 12 children in the past two years.