Combating online child sexual abuse content

Filed Under: Law & order, Spam

IWF awareness day
Today is the fourth Internet Watch Foundation Awareness Day, and Sophos is pleased to support the initiative to make more people aware of the extremely valuable service that the IWF provides. We support the IWF's aims and work with them to protect internet users from inadvertent exposure to child sexual abuse images.

The IWF is the UK internet hotline for the public to report their inadvertent exposure to online child sexual abuse content hosted anywhere in the world and non-photographic child sexual abuse images, criminally obscene adult content and incitement to racial hatred content hosted in the UK.

From time to time SophosLabs encounters website content and images in spam which are extremely disturbing, and where appropriate we report these to the IWF.

IWF was established in 1996 by the UK internet industry and works in partnership with the wider online industry, law enforcement, government, the education sector, charities, international partners and the public to minimise the availability of content within its remit. As a result of this self-regulatory approach, less than 1% of online child sexual abuse content has apparently been hosted in the UK since 2003, down from 18% in 1997.

For more information or to report a website visit www.iwf.org.uk. Apparently the site has dealt with over 35,000 reports so far this year.

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About the author

Graham Cluley runs his own award-winning computer security blog, and is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Send Graham an email, subscribe to his updates on Facebook, follow him on Twitter and App.net, and circle him on Google Plus for regular updates.