September 21, 2020

Annual Report of Internet Watch Foundation highlights Cayman Islands Investigation

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Last week the Internet Watch Foundation (), a -based incorporated charity dedicated to the removal of online child abuse imagery, released its 2016 Annual Report (IWF press release attached). Among the trends, successes and challenges of the past year in their work, the IWF report highlights a police investigation in Cayman that uncovered two new websites with child sexual abuse material, and resulted in those websites being shut down and investigated as far away as France and Russia.

During the police investigation into allegations of gross indecency committed by the suspect in Cayman (who was ultimately convicted and sentenced to 12 years), the RCIPS Analyst in the matter contacted the IWF for assistance after discovering multiple websites and material on the suspect’s phone. The IWF liaison received her report, assessed it within 8 minutes, and determined that one of the discovered sites, previously unidentified, was hosted in France and acted as a gateway site to another site containing Category A (the most serious offence category) images of 7-10 year olds. The IWF then alerted French-based organizations of the site, and within 4 days it was offline.

A further sixteen (16) of the sites reported by the RCIPS had already been actioned by IWF as a result of other reports which had been made and had already been closed down.

“This is the type of speed and impact that good international cooperation can have,” said Pete Lansdown, Detective Superintendent, “the IWF’s assistance not only saves us valuable investigative time, it enables law enforcement globally to work together much more effectively to stop the circulation of these images. This contributes toward stopping the crimes of sexual abuse they depict.”

“By reporting that website, we were able to stop that site being used as a ‘gateway’ site. It has been incredibly satisfying for me to know that this referral had such a result,” said Joanne Delaney, Intelligence Analyst, who worked on the underlying case.

On 1 June 2016 the RCIPS launched an initiative with the IWF and local media and community partners to host IWF reporting portals on various local websites, through which referrals about child sexual abuse imagery could be made. As of today, 56 reports from the Cayman Islands have been received. Primarily these reports have been submitted by the RCIPS, however there have been 4 reports made anonymously by members of the public.

“A large number of people in Cayman appear to have visited the IWF portal, which we take as a positive indicator of the community’s wish to join international partners in order to remove child sexual abuse imagery from the internet,” added Ms. Delaney.

The IWF portal can be found on the RCIPS webpage at www.rcips.ky, as well as on the websites of some other businesses and organizations in Cayman.

Latest Internet Watch Foundation report shows Europe now hosts 60% of child abuse webpages

Abuse of generic Top Level Domains, free-to-use services and disguised websites all factors in latest figures on hosting of criminal content

London, April 3, 2017 – Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) today releases its latest global data on the identification, hosting, distribution and removal of child sexual abuse images and videos.  The report reveals Europe now hosts the majority of child sexual abuse webpages (60%), with North America moving to second place (37%). In contrast, UK now hosts less than 0.1% of child sexual abuse imagery globally, and this is due to the zero tolerance approach the internet industry in the UK takes.

Among the key findings of the report, IWF found a 258% increase in the abuse of new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) being used to show child sexual abuse imagery compared to 2015.

Furthermore, 94% of URLs were hosted on a free-to-use service where no payment was required to create an account or upload the content.

Criminals are increasingly using masking techniques to hide child sexual abuse images and videos on the internet and leaving clues to paedophiles so they can find it – hidden behind legal content. In 2016, The IWF found 1,572 websites using this method to hide child sexual abuse imagery. This is an increase of 112% on the 743 disguised websites identified in 2015.

Further key findings include:
92% of all child sexual abuse URLs identified globally in 2016 were hosted in five countries: Netherlands (37%), USA (22%), Canada (15%), France (11%), and Russia (7%).
Social networks are among the least abused site types. Image hosting sites (72%) and cyberlockers (11%) were the most abused services.

57,335 URLs contained child sexual abuse imagery and these were hosted on 2,416 domains worldwide. This is a 21% increase from 1,991 in 2015. Five top level domains (.com .net .se .io .cc) accounted for 80 per cent of all webpages identified as containing child sexual abuse images and videos.

Recognising that the internet has no borders, IWF opened additional reporting portals* in 16 countries, offering more people worldwide the chance to rid the internet of this content.

Susie Hargreaves OBE, IWF CEO, said: “The shift of child sexual abuse imagery hosting to Europe shows a reversal from previous years. Criminals need to use good internet hosting services which offer speed, affordability, availability and access. Services which cost nothing, and allow people to remain anonymous, are attractive.

The IWF offers a quick and effective system of self-regulation; we work with our Members to make the internet safer and we do this on the global stage.
“Whilst it’s positive that the UK continues to remain hostile to child sexual abuse material, the global picture isn’t good. We’ve opened reporting portals across the globe with more planned. In other countries, internet companies are exploited and, worst of all, children who have been sexually abused are further exploited.
“Internet companies and large businesses who are doing nothing, or too little, to address online child sexual abuse imagery need to step up and work with us.”

Anyone can report suspected child sexual abuse images and videos anonymously at www.iwf.org.uk

ENDS

The IWF releases its Annual Report 2016 on 3 April exclusively online. It will be found here: https://annualreport.iwf.org.uk It shows the latest global trends and analysis of child sexual abuse content for 2016.

What we do:
We make the internet a safer place. We help victims of child sexual abuse worldwide by identifying and removing online images and videos of their abuse. We search for child sexual abuse images and videos and offer a place for the public to report them anonymously. We then have them removed. We’re a not for profit organisation and are supported by the global internet industry and the .
For more information please visit www.iwf.org.uk. *
Reporting portals worldwide*
16 countries outside of the UK now have customised IWF Portals. They provide a safe and anonymous way to send reports directly to IWF analysts in the UK. The analysts then assess the reports and take action to have the content removed.
In December (2016), an anonymous report was made through the Indian Portal to IWF. It showed baby girls and baby boys of a range of ethnicities. Worst of all, some of the most severe abuse was happening to them; rape and sexual torture.

Although someone in India made the report, the webpage was actually hosted in Russia and contained over 200 videos. The time between the report being sent from India, to the time IWF notified the was 1 hour 7 minutes. The acted swiftly; the content was removed in less than 24 hours.

The IWF is part of the UK Safer Internet Centre, working with Childnet International and the South West Grid for Learning to promote the safe and responsible use of technology.

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