Leading fiber broadband provider Converge ICT Solutions Inc. has joined the UK-based Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) in its fight to clamp down on internet sexual abuse against children anywhere in the world.
Joining the ranks of global technology companies such as Facebook, Google, Apple, Twitter, and TikTok in the fight against online sexual abuse and exploitation of children, Converge was recently admitted as a member of the online child protection charity, IWF.
“The internet is growing all the time. Sadly, it is also being abused more than ever. We know internet predators will use all means at their disposal to access, groom, and abuse children, and to share and distribute images and footage of that abuse. Knowing this material is still being passed around can cast a pall over victims and prevent them from ever fully recovering from their abuse,” said Susie Hargreaves OBE, Chief Executive of the IWF.
“As we continue to grow, so does our responsibility to ensure a safe digital experience for everyone. We are committed to be an advocate of a safer digital environment for children and to ensure the digital highway we are envisioning to benefit Filipinos will not be used as an avenue for exploitation and abuse by online predators,” said Converge CEO Dennis Anthony Uy.
Uy noted that IWF’s work is important, not just in creating a safer online community for children, but also for rescuing victims from further abuse by linking with authorities around the world.
The IWF’s work is focused on removing child sexual abuse content online on a global scale, making partnerships with industry partners engaged in online content and connectivity around the world necessary.
According to the Foundation, its analysts processed around 299,600 reports of online child sexual abuse in 2020 alone, including tipoffs from the public. Of these reports, about 153,350 individual URLs were confirmed as containing images and/or videos of children being sexually abused.
“This is the scale of what we are up against. Knowing providers like Converge are onside and helping us in this fight is vital. We must all be allies in the fight to keep children safe online, and we must be united against those who would use the internet as a tool to harm them. I welcome this partnership and look forward to all the positive work we can accomplish together,” Hargreaves added.
IWF’s team of analysts, on their own and aided by the public’s reporting, monitor, and track these offending images and videos to build tools to eliminate child sexual abuse imagery.
As an IWF member, Converge will have access to this suite of IWF’s online tools. This includes a URL list, a master database of online child sexual abuse webpages for easier tagging and blocking, and an ‘Image Hash List’ an award-winning tool that’s essentially a database of codes representing the illicit content, which can then be matched with content on Converge’s network and removed. The latter tool may even help in preemptively detecting and blocking the upload of the criminal image or video onto the network.
So far, Converge has removed nearly 10,000 sites that are deemed unsafe for children and will continue to closely monitor online activities within its network to make sure that no illegal activities are carried through its network.
The IWF is supported by the European Commission and is backed by the global internet industry. Some 160 companies globally are members of the IWF, and in the UK, it works closely with law enforcement to apprehend the perpetrators of the online sexual abuse of children.
To report abusive images, videos, or other activities online, please go to https://report.iwf.org.uk/en and let’s help make the world wide web a safer place for our children.