Childnet delighted to support 4th IWF Awareness Day

Posted on 07 October 2010

Childnet is pleased to support the fourth national Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) awareness day, and the re-launch of the IWF's website, designed to make it even easier for the public to report suspicious content on the web and providing up-to-date information about their work and how they operate:

The Internet Watch Foundation is an independent industry body and since 1996 has operated the UK Hotline for the public to report criminal online content. Reports can be submitted anonymously and each one is assessed and tracked by a specialist team of analysts. Action is taken to remove and disrupt criminal web content, particularly images of child sexual abuse. IWF provides details of websites depicting child sexual abuse to police forces and Hotlines around the world for investigation leading to the removal thousands of images from the internet.

Will Gardner, CEO, Childnet, said:

"The difficult work that the IWF undertake fantastically well both in the UK and internationally to help keep the internet a great and safe place for children and young people cannot be underestimated. As partners as the UK's Safer Internet Centre from January 2011, we are proud to support the great work that the IWF do and the launch of their new website on IWF Awareness day.

Lucinda Fell, Director of Policy and Communications at Childnet said:

"In all of our work with parents we highlight the role of the IWF and were pleased that the IWF were able to join us as part of our Youth IGF Project this summer, speaking to our youth camp about their role, remit and some of the challenges they face in tackling online CAI. In supporting IWF Awareness Day, we are pleased, as one of our youth participants commented, 'to congratulate the IWF on the work they do - working constantly to take down child abuse content online.'".

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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 Hotline service can be used anonymously to report content within our remit. We work 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; incitement to racial hatred content hosted in the UK; non-photographic child sexual abuse images hosted in the UK.

The IWF is an independent self-regulatory body, funded by the EU and the wider online industry, including internet service providers, mobile operators and manufacturers, content service providers, filtering companies, search providers, trade associations, and the financial sector. Our self-regulatory partnership approach is widely recognised as a model of good practice in combating the abuse of technology for the dissemination of criminal content.

The IWF works with UK government to influence initiatives developed to combat online abuse and this dialogue goes beyond the UK and Europe to promote greater awareness of global issues, trends and responsibilities. We work internationally with INHOPE Hotlines and other relevant organisations to encourage united global responses to the problem and wider adoption of good practice in combating child sexual abuse images on the internet.

The IWF helps internet service providers and hosting companies to combat the abuse of their networks through our 'notice and takedown' service which alerts them to content within our remit so they can remove it from their networks and we provide 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 we deal with has been virtually eradicated from UK networks. As sexually abusive images of children are primarily hosted abroad, we facilitate the industry-led initiative to protect users from inadvertent exposure to this content by blocking access to it through our provision of a dynamic list of child sexual abuse web pages.

There are a number of tactics carried out by the IWF on a national and, where relevant, international basis which are having an effect in minimising the availability of child sexual abuse content:

  1. Reporting mechanism for the public to report their inadvertent exposure to potentially criminal child sexual abuse content.
  2. 'Notice and takedown' system to swiftly remove child sexual abuse content at source.
  3. Targeted assessment and monitoring system to remove child sexual abuse content in newsgroups.
  4. Provision of a child sexual abuse URL list to ISPs, mobile operators, search engines and content providers to help disrupt access to child sexual abuse content.
  5. Working with domain name registries and registrars to deregister domain names dedicated to the distribution of child sexual abuse content.

Please note that 'child pornography', 'child porn' and 'kiddie porn' are not acceptable terms. The use of such language acts to legitimise images which are not pornography, rather, they are permanent records of children being sexually abused and as such should be referred to as child sexual abuse images.


Tel: +44 (0) 1223 237700

[email protected]

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