Security

Internet Watch Foundation FAQ

Summary: The IWF is the UK hotline for the public to report potentially illegal website content relating to child abuse, together with material of an unlawful nature.
  1. What is the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF)?
  2. What material is covered by the IWF?
  3. What material do Plusnet filter?
  4. How does the filtering work?
  5. I have concerns about my privacy
  6. Where can I find out more about the IWF?

1. What is the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF)?

The IWF is an independant body that operates as an internet 'hotline' for the public to report potentially illegal content that they are exposed to while browsing the web.

These reports are used to maintain lists of material considered to be potentially illegal. These lists are passed onto ISP's and other participating members who can then block or filter out this content.

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2. What material is covered by the IWF?

The main focus of the IWF remit is images of or relating to child sexual abuse. They also maintain lists of content considered to be criminally obscene and content that incites racial hatred.

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3. What material do Plusnet filter?

We only filter content that's listed on the IWF's Child Sexual Abuse Content URL list. This is updated twice a day.

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4. How does the filtering work?

When you click on a link or enter an address into your web browser, this sends a request to our network routers.

Our routers check the IP Address of the server that the website you want to visit is hosted on. If the IP address matches that of a server that's used to host one of the websites on the IWF list then your request is diverted to a proxy server.

The proxy server will check if the site address you're trying to visit is on the IWF list. If it is, you'll be re-directed to this page to let you know what's happened. If not then the webpage you've requested will load as normal.

This way, the amount of filtering and traffic that passes through the proxy server is kept to a minimum.

The proxy server's list is updated automatically twice a day.

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5. I have concerns about my privacy

The proxy server we use to filter content is designed and maintened soley by us. Access by staff is restricted by an authorisation list and change control process. No third party (including the IWF themselves) have any access to the contents of the proxy server.

As explained in question 4, the only time your traffic would pass through the proxy server would be if the site you were visiting was hosted on a server that also hosts content listed by the IWF. All other traffic bypasses the proxy server.

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6. Where can I find out more about the IWF?

The IWF website has a lot more information about what they do and their policies.

For more information on Plusnet's membership of the IWF, you can read our support page.

You can also discuss this with other customers and Plusnet staff on our Community Site.

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This page last updated 16th December 2008

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