Internet Watch Foundation

What is the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF)?

The IWF is an independent 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 Internet providers and other participating members who can then block or filter out this content.

What material is covered by the IWF?

The remit of the IWF is to minimise the availability of potentially criminal Internet content, specifically:

  • Child sexual abuse content hosted anywhere in the world.
  • Criminally obscene adult content hosted in the UK.
  • Non-photographic child sexual abuse images hosted in the UK.

What material do we filter?

As a responsible and secure ISP, we endorse the work of the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF).

We filter content that's listed on the IWF's Child Sexual Abuse Content URL list.

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 a screen letting you know this content is blocked. 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.

What about my privacy?

The proxy server we use to filter content is designed and maintained solely by us. Access by staff is restricted. No third party (including the IWF themselves) have any access to the contents of the proxy server.

Where can I find out more about the IWF?

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