Major UK internet service providers (ISPs) have agreed a new “zero tolerance” plan for online child abuse images during a Whitehall summit today.
The summit was held today between Culture Secretary Maria Miller, ministers and representatives of major ISPs like Yahoo!, BT and Google.
The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) will now get an additional £1 million in funding from the industry, allowing computer experts to track down any child abuse imagery available online before it is reported and detected by members of the public.
“Until now, action has only been taken by the IWF when a child sexual abuse image is reported”, explained Miller. “Now, for the first time, the IWF has been asked to work alongside CEOP to search for illegal and abusive images and block them. This will mean more images of child sexual abuse will be tracked down and acted against.”
Miller also agreed the “zero tolerance”pledge, with industry representatives agreeing to report back to her within a month as to how their technology could be utilised to protect children.
“The abuse of children is absolutely abhorrent – and that child is further violated every single time an image is circulated and viewed. The IWF and CEOP already do important and valuable work. This agreement will mean these organisations will no longer be limited to reacting to reports received. They will now have the remit and the resources to take the fight to the criminals perpetrating these vile acts.”
The issue of the availability of child pornography and abuse images online has been brought under increasing scrutiny in the past weeks after it was revealed Mark Bridger, murderer of April Jones, and Stuart Hazell, who killed Tia Sharp, both accessed child abuse and violent images online prior to their crimes.
Google has already announces its new plan to clamp down on child sexual abuse content online, revealing that it will be using “hashing” technology to classify any abusive content.
It has also created a $2 million (£1.3 million) Child Protection Technology Fund to support developers working on better tools to seek out and destroy any of these images.