Board Approved Policies
All IWF policies are subject to approval by the Board of Trustees.
Simultaneous alert service for the removal of child sexual abuse content
General Complaints Process
IWF URL List Policy and Procedures
Content Assessment Appeal Process
Non-photographic child sexual abuse images added to the IWF’s remit
Extreme pornography added to the IWF’s remit
IWF Child Sexual Abuse Content URL List
Vetting Board and Staff
This service is designed to significantly reduce the length of time that child sexual abuse content remains available outside the UK by extending an alert mechanism to global hosting companies thereby reducing the availability of such content around the world and minimising the length of time web pages remain on our blocking list. To read more about this service click here.
To complement the ‘notice and takedown’ service that the IWF provides to remove content within our remit from UK networks, in 2010 the IWF introduced a simultaneous alert service aimed at speeding up the removal of child sexual abuse content hosted outside the UK. This service is for IWF members and companies hosting content overseas.
In March 2010 the IWF Board approved the following two policies:
The creation of a new category “IWL Licensee” for companies registering for simultaneous alerts that have no role to play in the UK’s self-regulatory framework for dealing with criminal content online.
- Fees for
A starting fee of £3,000 p.a. for IWL Licensees to receive simultaneous alerts, with scope to increase to £5,000 p.a. if there is a significant workload generated by a specific company.
IWL Licensees receive simultaneous alerts but no other IWF services or benefits of membership and they are not entitled to apply for membership of the IWF Funding Council.
The IWF General Complaints Process covers general complaints about the IWF's service delivery including the behaviour of members of staff but does not cover appeals relating to the assessment of content leading to a notice being issued to take down potentially criminal content or the inclusion of a child sexual abuse content URL on the IWF URL List. To read more about this process click here.
Our Board has approved the policy and procedures which are adhered to regarding the assessment and listing of child sexual abuse URLs. To read more about these policy and procedures click here.
Our Board approved a new content assessment appeal process during 2010 which relates to our facilitation of the blocking initiative of child sexual abuse content. This ensures that anyone, including internet consumers who believe they are being prevented from accessing legal content, may appeal against the accuracy of an assessment. It also states the nine stages involved in an appeal including the responsibilities, actions and communications undertaken by the IWF, its Board and a relevant police agency. To read more about this content assessment appeal process click here.
In June 2009 the Ministry of Justice asked us to extend our national Hotline to enable the public to report online non-photographic visual depictions of the sexual abuse of children, covered by Sections 62 to 69 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009. Following consultation with our Funding Council of industry members, in October 2009 the IWF Board informed government of our agreement to fulfil this role from 6 April 2010. For more information about this click here.
In 2007 the Home Office asked the IWF to allow our public internet reporting mechanism to be used for the reporting of UK-hosted extreme pornography covered by Section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008. Following consultation with IWF’s industry members, our Board informed the government of our agreement to fulfil this role, from 26 January 2009, within the criminally obscene adult content part of our original remit. For more information about this click here.
Following a review and wide consultation, the IWF introduced a number of changes to its governance in January 2004, these included a revised Constitution,Board Members Handbook, remit and a Code of Practice for our full members that host online content.
We are committed to transparency in our decision making processes and policies and consequently we publish all Board minutes.
On 7 November 2002, IWF Board noted the legal advice which enabled the release of the child sexual abuse content URL list to IWF members for the purpose of implementing blocking or filtering solutions to protect their customers from being inadvertently exposed to abusive images of children. During Board meetings in late 2004 and 2005, IWF Board agreed the principles and procedures under which the child sexual abuse content URL list would be made available to members and under licence to specific non-members. To read more about this initiative click here.
In addition to the IWF’s procedures for effecting the removal of specific newsgroup postings containing child sexual abuse content, the IWF Board has approved two policies designed to combat paedophilic content in newsgroups:
- Newsgroup content
The first policy is designed to deal with newsgroups which regularly contain child sexual abuse images*. In November 2001 the IWF Board adopted a policy of recommending UK ISPs not to host newsgroups which regularly contain child sexual abuse images. “Regularly” was defined at the February 2002 Board meeting as: Finding an average of at least 1% of images viewed to be child sexual abuse and additionally applying a further test whereby in each of six consecutive monitoring rounds, finding any child sexual abuse images.
- Newsgroup names
The second policy originates from a request by the IWF Board at their meeting in November 2001 where the IWF executive were asked to draw up, in consultation with interested parties, a list of newsgroups with names that appear to advertise or advocate paedophile content or activity.
At the following Board meeting in February 2002 a process and set of criteria for identifying such newsgroups were approved. As part of the policy development process, the IWF received legal advice from the Crown Prosecution Service and from our own independent Counsel that, a newsgroup name could, in certain circumstances, be a criminal advertisement under the Protection of Children Act 1978 and an ISP which knowingly carries a newsgroup with such a name would be committing a criminal offence. Following the July 2002 Board meeting and based upon legal advice received, a list of newsgroup names advertising or advocating paedophile content or activity was compiled and the IWF began advising UK ISPs not to carry specific newsgroups because their names advertise child sexual abuse content.
The IWF continues to provide our members with updated data on a monthly basis about newsgroups that meet this criteria.
Many UK ISPs go much further than the IWF Board’s recommendations via their own company policies which restrict which newsgroups they carry.
IWF Board members and staff are subject to a vetting policy which includes enhanced disclosures from the Criminal Records Bureau. To read more about this policy click here.