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
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
non-photographic child sexual abuse images hosted in the UK.
We help 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.
We also 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.
- By sharing intelligence with police the IWF aided the
identification and rescue of 12 children in
the past three years;
- Less than 1%
of child sexual abuse content is hosted in the UK since 2003, down from
18% in 1996;
- Child sexual abuse content is removed in the UK
typically within 60 minutes;
- Time taken to remove child sexual abuse content hosted
outside the UK halved to 10 days in
- Over 400,000 web pages assessed
in 16 years;
- 100,000 URLs removed for
containing criminal content.
We are an independent self-regulatory
body, funded by the EU
and the online industry
, including internet service providers
(ISPs), mobile operators, content
providers, hosting providers, filtering companies, search providers,
trade associations and the financial sector.
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.
Sharing Good Practice
We work with UK government
influence initiatives developed to combat online abuse and this
dialogue goes beyond the UK and Europe to promote greater awareness of
global issues, trends
We work internationally with INHOPE
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.
There are a number of tactics carried out by the IWF on a national and,
where relevant, international basis which minimise the availability of child sexual abuse content online:
Reporting mechanism for the public to report any inadvertent exposure to potentially criminal child sexual abuse content.
‘Notice and takedown’ system to swiftly remove child sexual abuse content at source in the UK.
Targeted assessment and monitoring system to remove child sexual abuse content in newsgroups.
Provision of a child sexual abuse URL list to internet service providers, mobile operators, search providers and filtering providers to help
disrupt access to child sexual abuse content which is hosted outside the UK and not yet taken down.
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.