Our Hotline assessed and took action on over 250,000 webpages in 2021 containing images or videos of child sexual abuse – each page could contain hundreds or thousands of images and videos. The majority of those reports were found by proactive searching by our analysts.
One of the essential tech tools helping our analysts find these webpages is the IWF Crawler. Utilising our child sexual abuse imagery Hash Database, the IWF Crawler finds images matching the digital fingerprints (or hashes) of images our analysts have already assessed and categorised as criminal. By comparing each image our crawler finds to the hashes of known child sexual abuse material, it means we can find duplicate child sexual abuse images hidden across the internet and eliminate them.
We use our crawler as one operational tactic in a suite of tools designed to find, remove, and disrupt the availability of child sexual abuse material online. It’s deployed in a considered and targeted manner in order to be most effective. In addition, it reduces unnecessary exposure to child sexual abuse imagery for our analysts, protecting their welfare and well-being.