IWF reports highlights rise in illegal websites

A new report from the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) indicates that the number of websites containing child pornography or other illegal content has increased by 78 per cent in the past year.

Mar 23, 2006
By David Howell

A new report from the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) indicates that the number of websites containing child pornography or other illegal content has increased by 78 per cent in the past year.

A total of 23,658 reports of suspicious content were sent to the IWF in 2005 – 89 per cent of which related to child pornography – compared with 17,255 in 2004. However, last year 6,128 of those sites were found to contain illegal content, a 78 per cent increase on the 3,438 illegal sites traced in the previous 12 months. By contrast, the increase in illegal sites between 2003 and 2004 was less than one per cent.

The amount of potentially illegal content hosted in the UK remains low, with only 0.4 per cent of child abuse content traced to the UK; the majority of child pornography (40 per cent) was traced back to the US, with Russia (28 per cent), Asia (17 per cent) and mainland Europe 13 (per cent) accounting for most of the sites.

IWF chairwoman Amanda Jordan said: “The public can feel confident in the IWF’s hard work over the last 10 years combating these shocking crimes. The test will be to bring the same commitment and effectiveness to other countries, particularly Russia and the US, where the majority of child abuse content appears to be hosted.

“Meanwhile, the IWF will ensure the UK remains a hostile place for those who engage in illegal activities online to the detriment of the majority.”

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