The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) has announced human rights and digital policy expert Andrew Puddephatt as the charity's new Independent Chair.
The announcement comes as the tenure of Sir Richard Tilt, the IWF's current Chair, comes to an end after six years at the end of December.
Puddephatt played a key role in the implementation of the UK's Human Rights Act, and has been active in the promotion of human rights globally in Africa, Latin America and South and South-East Asia for more than twenty years.
Puddephatt is now looking to use his skills to protect children from sexual abuse at a time when public and political debate around the internet is becoming, according to Puddephatt, increasingly dystopian.
Susie Hargreaves IWF CEO, said:
I can't thank Sir Richard enough for the six years of dedication he's given the IWF, in the time he's been here the organisation has doubled in size, as has its turnover, and we are helping more child sexual abuse victims than ever before.
While I am saddened to see Sir Richard step down as Chair, I'm delighted to welcome Andrew to the position. Andrew's extensive experience in both digital policy and human rights makes him the perfect person for the job. We're very excited to see
where Andrew will take the organisation in his time as Chair and I very much look forward to working with him in the new year.
Whilst speaking about the Government's recently published Internet Safety Strategy green paper, Suzie Hargreaves of the Internet Watch Foundation noted upcoming changes to the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS). This is a government
run body that includes many members from industry and child protection campaigners. It debates many internet issues about the protection of children which routinely touches on internet control and censorship. Hargreaves noted that the UKCCIS
looks set to expand its remit. She writes:
The Government recognises the work of UKCCIS and wants to align it more closely with the Internet Safety Strategy. Renaming it the UK Council for Internet Safety (UKCIS), the Government is proposing broadening the council's remit to adults,
having a smaller and higher-profile executive board, reconsidering the role of the working groups to ensure that there is flexibility to respond to new issues, looking into an independent panel or working group to discuss the social media levy,
and reviewing available online safety resources.
The IWF 2016 Annual Report was published on 3 April 2017 and commendably is mostly primarily concerned with the removal and blocking of child abuse material. However the organisation also has a remit to censor adult porn .
The IWF report contains just a short section on this topic:
In 2016, 4,031 reports of alleged criminally obscene adult content were made to us. Almost all were not hosted in the UK, so they weren’t in our remit.
1 URL depicted criminally obscene adult content hosted in the UK received from a public source.