Cambridge foundation strike landmark deal in global fight against child sex abuse images

A Cambridge-based foundation fighting to protect children from sexual abuse images on the internet have struck a landmark agreement with an American counterpart.

Cambridge’s Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) and the USA’s National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) have announced a link-up agreement aimed at better protecting children whose sexual abuse images are shared and traded on the internet.

The IWF will now share its known hashes of child sexual abuse imagery with internet companies in the US and beyond, through a platform hosted by the National Center. This will help internet companies stop the upload, sharing and storing of such content.

Hashing is a form of digital fingerprint which allows an image to be identified the moment someone attempts to upload it.
The IWF identifies and removes online images and videos of child abuse, as well as offering a place for the people to report them anonymously.

The move is seen as a giant step forward in providing global internet companies with greater access to a larger pool of hashes to stop the upload, sharing and storage of this criminal imagery on their platforms.