Netsweeper and the IWF Tackling Online Child Exploitation

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 2017 annual report:

  • 26% of the hashes were related to the worst forms of abuse (images of rape or sexual torture of children)
  • 130,671 hashes were added to the Hash List
  • The Hash List has grown to include more than 295,389 images

Netsweeper is proud to be a longstanding member of the IWF and continues to support their goal of eliminating child sexual abuse content online. We have long been committed to the protection of the greater community through our work with the IWF and the Canadian Centre for Child Exploitation, as well as making corporate donations to charitable organizations.

To learn more about the IWF Hash List, visit their website.

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