Internet Watch Foundation wins ICT Excellence award

22 Sep 2017 Becca Cawthorne

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), wins prestigious award for its work in removing child sexual abuse imagery online.

IWF collecting WITSA award

We are delighted to announce that the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), one of the partners in the UK Safer Internet Centre, has been given the Public Sector Excellence Award by the World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA) at their 2017 Global ICT Excellence Awards.

What is the WITSA?

WITSA is a leading consortium of ICT industry association members from over 80 countries and economies around the world, representing more than 90 percent of the world ICT market from which the winners were picked.

techUK, which represents and provides tech advice to companies and technologies in the UK nominated the IWF for the award for its huge leaps forward in erasing child sexual abuse content from the internet over the past 20 years.

There were seven award categories including Public Sector, Private Sector, Digital Opportunity, Sustainable Growth, Mobile Excellence, Innovative eHealth Solutions and WITSA Emerging Digital Solutions. Non-profit organisations and government entities from around the world were eligible to be nominated in the Public Sector Excellence category.

Why the IWF won

One of the key components for the IWF winning the award was its work turning child sexual abuse images into unique codes, also known as hashes.

Hashes allow the charity’s members to automatically remove an indecent image of a child as soon as it’s matched with an image on the IWF Hash List – even before it has the chance to appear on the member’s services. This breakthrough in 2015 was a game-changer for the charity, which also continues to assess thousands of reports of online child sexual abuse material from the public every week.

It also has implemented a number of reporting portals internationally so people around the world can report online child sexual abuse material.

Susie Hargreaves OBE, IWF’s CEO, said:

“We are absolutely delighted to have been awarded this year’s prestigious Public Sector Excellence Award by WITSA and we can’t thank techUK enough for nominating us.

“To win the award symbolises the achievements that the IWF and our partners, across the world, have made in tackling the issue of online child sexual abuse imagery.

“In today’s world, a child can be sexually abused on one continent and that abuse can be recorded, stored and shared from another. Offenders across the world can then view the images of the abuse, and this can all happen in a matter of minutes. The internet doesn’t respect borders. It is only through working together that we can tackle this truly global problem.”

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