Internet Watch Foundation (IWF)
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IWF connects to the Child Abuse Image Database (CAID)

The move will allow law enforcement and the IWF to work together to stop child sexual abuse material online.


In 2015 at the WeProtect Summit, David Cameron announced the creation of the Child Abuse Image Database (CAID). CAID contributes to the fight against online child sexual exploitation and abuse. This national system helps police identify victims and perpetrators, ensures a consistent approach to grading the seriousness of images, and promotes staff welfare in law enforcement agencies by reducing the number of individuals who have to view images of abuse.

The IWF, from today, has connection to CAID, the first non-law enforcement organisation to be given this privilege.

Deputy CEO of IWF, Fred Langford, is a member of the CAID Project Board, shaping the future of CAID.

He said: “Over the past three years, the IWF has worked closely with the UK Home Office and UK law enforcement to ensure all known child sexual abuse material has no place on the internet. Having the ability to take images from CAID, assess and hash them in-house at the IWF has given us the opportunity to work with the worldwide internet industry, such as our Members Google, Facebook, Oath (formerly Yahoo), Twitter and Microsoft, to give them access to the hashes of thousands of child sexual abuse images.

“We’ve been privileged to work with talented teams in the UK Home Office and law enforcement to make this day happen. It’s been a long project but the IWF is looking forward to contributing data which will make a real difference to victims of child sexual abuse images around the world. We’re saving law enforcement time assessing images which we’ve already seen and allowing them to investigate who these victims are, where they are and stop offenders from freely sharing these images.”

Fred Langford, IWF Deputy CEO

Fred Langford, IWF Deputy CEO, said the connection to CAID will make a 'real difference' to victims of child sexual abuse

The IWF’s connection to CAID will allow the IWF to assess and hash images of child sexual abuse previously unseen to the organisation and distribute these hashes to IWF industry Members.

The IWF is one of just a few hotlines in the world which is able to proactively search for online child sexual abuse material. Its analysts assess hundreds of child sexual abuse websites a day, with each website containing one to thousands of images. The IWF assesses and hashes all child sexual abuse images that are found on these websites. The IWF updates the IWF Hash List to include the hashes of these new images, and will now be able to upload all child sexual abuse images found during its work to CAID, enhancing the database to ensure it includes newly found images by IWF analysts.

Every image from CAID is assessed by an IWF analyst using UK Sentencing Guidelines before being hashed and distributed to IWF Members, which then use this service to protect their networks and customers, as well as victims of child sexual abuse.


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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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