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It’s a sad reality, but our analysts see images of child sexual abuse hosted on legitimate domains each and every day. In 2022 alone, we identified more than 255,000 webpages hosting these terrible pictures. Those abusive webpages were found on 5,416 domains across the world.
Domain Alerts help registry operators stop their top-level domains (TLDs) from containing domains which host this disturbing criminal imagery. Our alerts notify them when any confirmed criminal child sexual abuse pictures or videos are hosted on any domain using their TLD. This means they can take immediate action to suspend the domain in question, or contact the owner, for example, through the registrar. They can do this, while we’re working to have the images removed.
Our Services help legitimate registry operators defend their TLDs against abuse by criminals. They minimise the use of registry operators having domains which host disturbing imagery of children on their TLDs and they make it more difficult for ruthless perpetrators to inflict further pain on their victims.
Domain Alerts can and do protect TLDs from inadvertently having domains hosting criminal images of children. They help stop the ongoing cycle of abuse for survivors of exploitation and they make the open web a safer place for all, old or young.
As the global fight to put an end to this horrendous crime intensifies, governments are responding by bringing in legal regulation and compulsory reporting to help curb the exploitation. The battle is being kicked up a gear and services like our Domain Alerts are providing fundamental support to industry.
We also have a Non-Photographic (NPI) Domain Alerts service. NPI Domain Alerts focus on child sexual abuse imagery that’s non-photographic. An example of this is computer-generated images (CGI), drawings or cartoons. Whenever we find this non-photographic criminal imagery we alert Members who’ve asked to receive this service.
We’ve worked with Public Interest Registry (PIR) in the tech domain space since 2018. Together we’ve been able to stop these crimes against children on the 10.3 million domains under PIR management.
PIR uses our Domain Alerts. This is how we notify the .ORG registry when we find any criminal child sexual abuse imagery. PIR then works with its registrars and registrants to remove and/or suspend the domain. This means the criminal online pictures of children cannot be accessed. They’re blocked.
In 2020 alone, this system removed more than 1,300 URLs (the network identification) of child sexual abuse images and videos, across more than 60 domain names in .ORG.
While .ORG features in the top 10 of TLDs for this criminal content, it should be noted that nearly half consists of images captured through a single .ORG domain name. This archives web content from all top-level domains. This means that child sexual abuse imagery found through other top-level domains gets attributed to .ORG.
Today, we’ve developed a process with PIR, so that the person who registered the domain promptly removes any criminal imagery we identify as soon as they are notified.
PIR have also co-founded a child sexual abuse material referral discussion group, to help domain name registries and registrars share best practices. It brings together an important partnership of the IWF, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in the US and law enforcement agencies, to discuss how to keep the domain name system free from criminal imagery of children.