Guest blog: Working internationally to make the internet a safer place

Published:  Thu 30 Mar 2017

Established in 2001, Smoothwall is a specialist developer and provider of internet security and web filtering solutions. Smoothwall joined IWF membership in early 2007.

What do we do to make the internet better and safer?

At Smoothwall we want to provide our customers with the web they want – a safe and secure place for exploring and sharing ideas. As experts in online-safety, we pioneered the development of real-time web filtering with content aware analysis, meaning we’re able to proactively scan the content of a webpage in real-time, ensuring we always keep unwanted content out of the reach of others. Combining this with a next generation firewall and anti-malware from globally recognised technology partners, it allows us to offer a complete internet security package to our wide range of customers.

Our innovative web security solutions have been favoured by the educational sector, an industry that one could argue is the hardest to protect due to the need to provide flexible internet access dependent upon the age of the user and other influencing factors. Our security solutions allow schools to give children the appropriate flexibility and freedom to work and play online - whilst keeping harmful content out of reach. In the UK, Smoothwall protects more than 7000 schools and their presence is growing internationally.

Adapting to today’s online society

We pride ourselves on constantly adapting to the needs of the public sector and focus on a commitment to keep children safe online. New legislation such as Keeping Children Safe in Education and the Prevent duty in the UK, combined with CIPA Compliance in the US, create constant new challenges for those with a responsibility to protect children online, and we are dedicated to providing agile solutions that offer a continuous, world class level of protection.

In today’s society, children are more digitally savvy than ever before and are unfortunately at risk of being exposed to a number of harmful interactions online. Harmful content, contact and conduct can make children vulnerable to various threats such as viewing illegal content or being subject to abuse. Abuse can come in many forms online and can include verbal, mental, physical and sexual. Smoothwall’s commitment to protect children from these threats with innovative filtering and monitoring solutions cannot be effective without the work of important global partners, such as the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF).

Working internationally with the IWF

We have been working with the IWF for over eight years, driven by the passion to eradicate child sexual abuse imagery and make the internet a safer place for children. Smoothwall implemented IWF’s URL list and Keywords list in all products and services distributed globally, in a bid to ensure that child sexual abuse imagery is always blocked.

IWF’s URL list is a list of webpages that have been found to contain images or videos of child sexual abuse. We use this list to block access to those webpages while IWF’s expert analysts are working on getting them removed. Similar to this, the IWF Keywords list is a list of cryptic terms that are associated with child sexual abuse or criminally obscene content. Using this list has helped us provide the best filtering solutions for schools and communities worldwide.

Working with the IWF and implementing their services is crucial to us as we aim to maintain the highest level of protection possible for our customers. Our shared mission of keeping children safe online is what brought us together, and it surely is what will keep us working together until we reach that goal.


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