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IWF Reports Decrease in Child Abuse Websites

Posted: 29th Apr, 2009 By: MarkJ
The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), a self-regulatory body that works with UK broadband ISPs to help block access to websites containing indecent images of children and racial hatred, has reported a fall of nearly 10% in the number of international websites with related content.

However its 2008 data warns against complacency and reveals that 74% of child sexual abuse domains are commercial operations (80% in 2007), and 75% of those (roughly 850 unique domains) are registered with just 10 domain name registries. It is still rare to trace child sexual abuse content to hosts in the UK (under 1%).

IWF Child Abuse Website History

"These websites, although reducing in number, represent an extremely serious problem", said IWF Chief Executive, Peter Robbins OBE, QPM. "The extensive intelligence networks we have with partner Hotlines and law enforcement colleagues around the world to support international action are making a real difference but the sophisticated way these websites operate still makes it a highly complex and global challenge."

The IWF issued 59 notices, in partnership with UK police forces, to ISPs or host companies, to take down potentially illegal content hosted on UK networks. It also provided specific data and intelligence to 22 police forces and agencies throughout the UK in support of potential prosecutions.

There was a 3% decrease in reports processed by IWF's Hotline, to approximately 34,000, and a 9% decrease since 2007 in the number of domains confirmed to contain indecent images of children. Meanwhile 5% of smaller UK ISPs have still not adopted the IWF's filtering technology. The government is known to be exploring whether or not to make it a mandatory requirement.
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