Blocking Good Practice

The IWF and its Members promote policies and practices in order to adhere to the principles of self-regulation and transparency. Blocking access to child sexual abuse content by our Members is carried out on a voluntary basis and is a short-term disruption tactic which works alongside the removal of content at source whilst police investigators collect the evidence they require to investigate offenders or identify and rescue the victims from sexual abuse.

Whilst the IWF facilitates this blocking initiative through the provision of a URL list and does not stipulate which blocking method is used, we do provide good practice guidance regarding the way in which blocking is conducted. These recommendations are designed to maintain the principle of transparency and minimise over-blocking and latency issues:

  • Blocking should be carried out on a URL-specific basis and not at domain level;
  • In order to be listed on the IWF list recipients page those taking the list regularly should test and certify whether their blocking solution is effective at preventing access to content as per the agreed process which can be found here; 
  • We recommend the use of a specific splash page when users’ requests for web pages on the list are denied (below);
  • We subject the process of URL inclusion on the list to independent inspection;
  • We provide a robust complaints process allowing anyone to appeal against the inclusion of a URL on the list

Recommendations:

The IWF strongly recommends that all relevant members serve a splash page with an agreed standard text –

Access has been denied by your internet access provider because this page may contain indecent images of children as identified by the Internet Watch Foundation. If you think this page has been blocked in error please contact <your service provider>.

If a member is unable to serve a splash page they can direct users to an IWF landing page appropriate to their requirements:

a) Standard text preferred as best practice

b) Text appropriate for serving to children

c) Text designed to address the welfare of the audience

d) Bespoke text to be developed jointly by those members requiring a bespoke approach and the IWF technical team

The IWF strongly recommends following one of the above routes unless, following consultation with the Splash Page Working Group* the member is subject to one of the following mitigating factors:

  • The member has technical issues which cannot be overcome
  • The member would incur disproportionate costs

Please note that the IWF list only contains web pages with child sexual abuse content hosted outside the UK and is updated twice a day to ensure all URLs are live and relevant.

For more information on the blocking initiative see: http://www.iwf.org.uk/services/blocking

For details of the blocking testing policy see: http://www.iwf.org.uk/services/blocking/testing-policy

For the content assessment appeal process see: http://www.iwf.org.uk/accountability/complaints/content-assessment-appeal-process

For a list of IWF list recipients see: http://www.iwf.org.uk/services/blocking/iwf-list-recipients

*SPWG to be made up of at least one representative from the Board, the Executive and the Funding Council and to be convened and coordinated by the Funding Council Secretariat as required.)  

 
 
Co-funded by the European Union Safer Internet Thinkuknow INHOPE UK Council for Child Internet Safety Investors In People Child rights Connect Nominet European Financial Coalition