Netsweeper and the IWF Tackling Online Child Exploitation

Originally posted January 17, 2019 and updated March 11, 2021.

Netsweeper is proud to be a longstanding member of the IWF and continues to support their goal of eliminating child sexual abuse content online. 

The primary goal of the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) is to control online sexual abuse content. The organization is deeply committed to removing all types of child sexual abuse videos and images, while striving hard to make the Internet a safer place. The IWF offers a place for people all around the world to report online child sexual abuse anonymously. A team of accomplished experts make 100% accurate assessments for the IWF and various police agencies. The IWF has become a trustworthy organization that eliminates online child abuse content with an optimal degree of social commitment.

Netsweeper’s partnership with the IWF

The IWF makes detailed assessments every week, removing child abuse pages hosted by different people all over the world. In order to make the assessments more accurate and result oriented, the organization has partnered with leading technology service providers. As a leading internet safety technology provider, Netsweeper has been closely associated with the IWF to make the online world a better and safer place for children and adults. Netsweeper is a privately owned corporation that offers a wide range of internet filtering and pornography blocking solutions to meet the varying requirements of people such as individuals, schools, other types of educational providers, internet service providers, mobile carriers, businesses, and much more.

Our association with the Internet Watch Foundation spans over 15 years. We have been offering our technological expertise to help them identify and block criminal web pages, and it has been a highly satisfying journey for both parties. The IWF is deeply committed to creating an ethical online world, and Netsweeper as a socially responsible content filtering technology provider shares the same vision. More than 7500 schools in the UK alone have been using Netsweeper’s unique and highly advanced technologies to make their online world safe. We have been constantly updating our solutions to eliminate all types of shortcomings in this ever-evolving digitized world.

At Netsweeper, our accomplished content filtering experts, control list technicians, and skilled developers have managed to develop a unique solution to help the IWF assess criminal content with the utmost efficiency. The list is scanned by our highly sophisticated and dynamic artificial intelligence (AI) categorization engine to identify new websites depending on the templates of current criminal content. Our categorization engine assigns categories in real time to web pages depending on the content within the page. Unwanted content is blocked with accuracy, and results are submitted back to the AI before passing them on to the IWF to conduct assessments.

 

Netsweeper and the IWF Certificate

 

The Microsoft PhotoDNA Hash List

In 2017, we started a new project with the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) to take the fight against online child exploitation to the next level. We helped the IWF find and eliminate child sexual abuse imagery by using cutting edge technology — Microsoft PhotoDNA.

Each image that is processed by the IWF is given a hash using Microsoft PhotoDNA – a unique code that acts as a digital fingerprint for the image. These images are added to the Hash List, which is used to find duplicate images. This stops the upload, sharing, and storage of child sexual abuse imagery. Eliminating these images from the internet is key towards helping victims of child exploitation recover – a recent survey finds that this imagery makes victims feel powerless, shame, humiliation, and the feeling of being abused over and over because the distribution of the images never ends. As one victim explains, “The experiences are over. I can get a certain measure of control over those experiences. With regard to the imagery, I’m powerless. I can’t get any control. The images are out there.”

This technology has continued to play an important part in eliminating online child exploitation. Here are some of the key findings from the IWF 2019 annual report:

  • Of the image hashes related to children assessed to be 10 years old or younger, 64% of the hashes are of the highest forms of severity (images of rape or sexual torture of children)
  • There are now 471,239 hashes on the IWF hash list
  • Of the image hashes related to children assessed to be 2 and younger, 87% show the most severe forms of abuse

How can we protect our future generations against child sexual abuse content? Everybody knows that the internet offers unlimited benefits. While enjoying these benefits, you should be mindful about the threats it can bring. It is our commitment to make the online world free of child abuse images and videos. 

If you or someone you know has come across child sexual abuse content the IWF provide options for you to anonymously report your concerns online.

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