Report Remove

To support young people to remove sexual images of themselves online, the IWF and NSPCC have developed the Report Remove tool, in partnership with age verification app, Yoti. Report Remove can support a young person in reporting sexual images or videos shared online and enables them to get the image removed if it is illegal.

The NSPCC’s Childline service ensures that the young person is safeguarded throughout the process and the IWF assesses the images:

  1. Young people aged 13+ are first directed to Yoti to verify their age using ID (because our legal remit means we can only remove images of children).
  2. Once children have proved they are younger than 18, they are prompted to create a Childline account, which allows them to be safeguarded and supported throughout the process.
  3. Young people are then taken to our dedicated IWF portal where they can securely upload images, videos or URLs (website addresses.)
  4. Our IWF analysts assess the reported content and take action if it meets the threshold of illegality*. The content is given a unique digital fingerprint (a hash) which is then shared with internet companies to help prevent the imagery from being uploaded or redistributed online.
  5. The outcome will be conveyed to Childline who will then contact the young person via their Childline account to keep them updated and offer further support.

This solution provides a child-centered approach to image removal which can be done entirely online. The young person does not need to tell anyone who they are (their ID is not linked to their report), they can make the report at any time, and further information and support is always available from the Childline website.

One girl aged 14 who contacted Childline said: “I don’t know what to do because this Instagram account keeps posting pictures of me and they keep saying they’re going to follow my friends so they can see them too. It all started after I shared naked pics with someone who I thought was a friend but it turned out to be a fake account. I just feel so hopeless and I don’t know how to make it stop”.

Each hash is tagged as originating from ‘Report Remove’. This ensures that law enforcement bodies are aware that this is a self-referred image, plus the NCA can assess whether any further action is needed.

As the Report Remove tool develops, we hope it may be possible to gain further information on those images that are at the lower end of the severity grading to see how this process and the laws surrounding it could be improved to better protect children.

Visit Report Remove on the Childline website here.

See the legal basis for how IWF assess content here.

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