IWF Watch


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IWF spoil their good words by continually tacking on censoring adult porn to their more laudable targets

Link Here 26th June 2012

Establishing an international arm to tackle online child sexual abuse content is at the heart of the Internet Watch Foundation's (IWF) new three-year strategy.

It outlines six strands to continue its drive to tackle online criminal content [including supposedly obscene adult porn].

The IWF will work internationally to share its expertise and skills with other countries and to strengthen its global partnerships in order to share the success the UK has seen. Susie Hargreaves, IWF Chief Executive, said:

While we continue to excel at tackling online child sexual abuse content in the UK, the next three years will increasingly focus on sharing our expertise and skills internationally.

From working closely with the online industry, we've reduced UK-hosted child sexual abuse content to less than one per cent compared to 18 per cent in 1997.

We also have a great many partnerships with other charities, police, other INHOPE Hotlines and child protection and technology experts all over the world and we feel it's our duty and the right time to have a closer focus on the international dimension.

The six strands to the IWF's strategy are:

  1. To build on our work to make the internet free of child sexual abuse images;
  2. Keep the UK internet free of criminally obscene adult content and non-photographic images of child sexual abuse;
  3. To be the best at what we do internationally;
  4. Establish IWF:international;
  5. Develop a motivational and dynamic working environment
  6. Place our Members at the heart of operations.


27th March   

Blocking the Hidden Areas of the Internet...

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IWF publish their Annual Report for 2011
Link Here

The IWF press release leads on the new concept that child abuse images available on the internet are being hidden in secret portions of seemingly legitimate web sites.

The IWF explains the issue:

Criminals are disguising websites to appear as if they host only legal content. However, if an internet user follows a predetermined digital path which leads them to the website, they will see images and videos of children being sexually abused.

There are several reasons why this method is used. Firstly, it masks the criminal website from those who have not followed the correct digital path. Secondly, it means that a commercial child sexual abuse business may be able to acquire legitimate business services if the website appears to host legal content when accessed directly -- essentially tricking companies into providing their services for what is actually a criminal enterprise.

These disguised websites have not yet been encountered on UK servers but the IWF is working with its Members -- the online industry - and other Hotlines around the world to effectively tackle this trend.

In general the report shows a very laudable near 100% focus on the blocking and taking down of child related material, and doing so speedily.

A useful statistic from the IWF is the number of illegal domains detected. This has declined from a 2006 peak of 3077 domains down to 1595 in 2011. (although this is an increase from 1351 in 2010). Thankfully this seems a pretty low figure for a worldwide statistic. Presumably most of these have subsequently been taken down too.

On the subject of illegal adult material, the IWF received 2779 reports. Only 2 reports were about material hosted in the UK and therefore actionable by the IWF. One of these cases ended up in material being taken down, the other had already been removed prior to action. Most of the other reports involved material hosted abroad. The IWF do not take any action in this case (presumably because the material is probably legal where it is hosted).

There is no comment about whether the recent UK obscenity acquittal of fisting and urolagnia material has had any impact on the IWF definition of illegal adult material.


26th March   

Dangerous Technology...

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Microsoft and NetClean provide PhotoDNA software to law enforcement agencies to enable fast matching of images against known child abuse images
Link Here

Microsoft and NetClean have announced a joint effort to combat the sexual exploitation of children by making Microsoft PhotoDNA technology available and accessible to law enforcement agencies worldwide to help enhance child sex abuse investigations.

As the UK Hotline for the public to report child sexual abuse content hosted anywhere in the world - the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) will be one of the first organisations to employ this technology. The technology will be provided to law enforcement agencies, at no charge.

PhotoDNA is an image-matching technology developed by Microsoft Research in collaboration with Dartmouth College that creates a unique signature for a digital image, something like a fingerprint, that can be compared with the signatures of other images to find copies of that image. NCMEC and online service providers such as Microsoft and other online service providers currently use PhotoDNA to help find, report and eliminate some of the worst-known images of child sexual abuse.

Presumably it works on the geometrics within the picture, perhaps like facial recognition and wireframe modelling of pose, and so it can match pictures regardless of encoding, compression, size and, to some extent, cropping.

The technology will allow faster review of the massive number of seized images so investigators and prosecutors can tackle more cases whilst limiting the exposure of investigators to the images.

No doubt the technology will be equally effective in detecting rude pictures of heads of state, celebrity sex and cartoons of Mohammed, or whatever other pictures the authorities would like to put people in prison for.


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