Child Porn Websites Domains Concentrated in Ten Registries

A small number of registries and registrars are responsible for three-quarters of child porn websites says the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) in their annual report released this week.The IWF found 74 per cent of child sexual abuse domains they traced are commercial operations selling indecent images of children with 76 per cent of these (some 850 unique domains) are registered with just ten unnamed domain name registries. Of these, five registries and registrars accounted for 55 per cent of all the commercial child sexual abuse domains known to IWF during 2008.To counter the spread of child pornography, one method IWF has undertaken is a partnership they have developed during 2008 with INHOPE hotlines and with registries and registrars to disrupt the availability of the domain names of commercial child sexual abuse websites.This work can lead to the deregistration of domain names which continue to sell indecent images of children, regardless of whether that domain name regularly changes its hosting arrangements.Overall, the IWF Annual Report 2008 revealed a fall of nearly ten per cent in the number of international websites with child sexual abuse content. The report warns against complacency, pointing to the serious nature of the images which are often carried on commercial websites.”These websites, although reducing in number, represent an extremely serious problem”, said IWF Chief Executive, Peter Robbins OBE, QPM. “The extensive intelligence networks we have with partner Hotlines and law enforcement colleagues around the world to support international action are making a real difference but the sophisticated way these websites operate still makes it a highly complex and global challenge.”IWF is the UK self-regulatory body, funded by the internet industry and the EU, operating a national Hotline for public reports of criminal internet content and providing a notice and take-down service to companies offering web hosting services in the UK. Since 1996 it has dealt with more than 200,000 reports and has over 12 years’ experience of tracking and understanding the technologies and behaviour behind the sites. Its 2008 data reveals a continuing trend in the severity and commercialisation of the images:

  • 58 per cent of child sexual abuse domains traced contain graphic images involving penetration or torture (47 per cent of domains in 2007)
  • 69 per cent of the children appear to be 10 years old or younger; 24 per cent 6 or under, and 4 per cent 2 or under (80 per cent appeared to be 10 or under in 2007)
  • 74 per cent of child sexual abuse domains traced are commercial operations, selling images (80 per cent commercial in 2007)
  • it is still rare to trace child sexual abuse content to hosts in the UK (under 1 per cent).

The UK’s partnership approach to eradicating child sexual abuse websites is extremely effective, with content being removed within hours by the UK internet industry.More information on the Internet Watch Foundation can be found at iwf.org.uk.

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