Biggest telecoms and digital services company in NZ plays its part in securing a safer internet for all

Published:  Thu 16 May 2024

New Zealand’s largest telecommunications and digital services company has joined the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), helping to keep the internet free from child sexual abuse content.

Spark, the first internet service provider in New Zealand to become a Member of the IWF, has adopted the charity’s URL List on its network, as part of a range of online protections it has in place to safeguard its mobile and broadband customers.

The IWF’s dynamic URL list is updated twice daily and blocks sites containing criminal images of child sexual abuse material. All the URLs are individually assessed and confirmed as containing criminal content by an IWF analyst.

Spark has also become a signatory to WeProtect Global Alliance’s ‘11 Voluntary Principles to Counter Online Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse’, which provides a framework for the digital industry to help combat online child exploitation.

Spark Sustainability Director Leela Ashford, said: “We want to play our part in protecting our customers from the growing list of threats they face online.

“The dissemination of child sexual abuse material is a growing issue in Aotearoa New Zealand and globally. We want to ensure we do whatever we can to protect our customers from this illegal content, and extending our blocking activity through our new membership of the Internet Watch Foundation is one of the ways we can further strengthen protections on our network.”

Susie Hargreaves OBE, Chief Executive of the IWF, said: “We are delighted to have Spark join the IWF and our mission to stop the spread of abhorrent child sexual abuse material on the internet.

“Organisations who become Members of the IWF have access to our expertise and valuable tools that can help stop internet predators from sharing and distributing images and videos.

“Last year the IWF experienced a record year for the number of reports of child sexual abuse material actioned by our analysts. Partnering with tech companies like Spark ensures that we can continue to conduct our essential work to protect children and other users online.”

To learn more about Spark New Zealand, visit the company's website here. Find out more about becoming a Member and the services the IWF can provide to make the internet a safer space for all users here.

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