The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) published its annual report yesterday, including information on the use of the Internet to distribute indecent images of children. There is quite a lot of good news to report. These images remain a very small fraction of Internet content – fewer than 9000 dealt with all year and only around 500 URLs active at any one time – and the IWF’s work with the UK Internet industry means that under 0.5% of these were hosted in the UK, all of which were removed within a day of discovery.
However it is also clear that the market for such images is increasingly commercial and is using tactics common to other types of on-line criminality such as moving content rapidly between hosting services and compromised computers. The IWF is therefore planning to increase its work with international partners and law enforcement so they can benefit from the UK’s knowledge and experience. Removing these images at source and dealing with those who create and publish them is the best way to keep the Internet safe for all of us.
JANET(UK) is a funding member of the IWF and I’m currently chair of the IWF Funding Council.