Nicky Peachment, IWF Commercial Relationship Manager
Fresh snow covered the ground in Seoul, South Korea, as we started the 2015 Korea Communications Standards Commission (KCSC) International Roundtable. I was privileged to have been invited to represent the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) as key note speaker.
The warm welcome by Park Hyo-chong, Chairman of the KCSC and his team set the scene for open and detailed discussion about the proliferation of child sexual abuse material in ‘smart’, or social, media. In truth, our discussions were broader than just smart media. Themes throughout the day included the continued co-operation between organisations, how best to raise awareness of the issue, and the importance of removing these images and videos quickly.
What became very clear during the day was that although the way in which images are shared online might differ from one country to the next, online child sexual abuse crosses international borders. The internet is borderless in itself. So solutions must involve international co-operation. Each and every delegate, no matter which country they were from, agreed that the issue was fundamentally complex and therefore required us all to work together.
As the first presenter, I focused on the people, partner organisations and services which make-up the IWF and it’s wider network which is united in eliminating online child sexual abuse images and videos. Despite ever-changing technological challenges, we see the positive impact of our work every day. In 2014, we helped remove 31,266 individual webpages, each webpage potentially hosting thousands of images and videos of child sexual abuse. And on 21 July 2015 we equalled that number of webpages actioned. That means we are removing more illegal imagery than ever. But what do these huge numbers actually mean? We must never forget that behind every image and video there is a real girl or boy suffering truly horrific, real abuse.
South Korea and the KCSC are clearly very committed to fighting online child sexual abuse. The words written in bold across my event brochure which read ‘Countermeasures & International Cooperation'. Never before has there been such an immediate need for each of these elements.