Online child abuse images uncovered using digital fingerprints

Internet Watch Foundation take steps to uncover millions of online images of child sexual abuse

The Internet Watch Foundation has announced its collaboration with internet giants such as Google, Facebook and Twitter to help uncover and remove millions of online images of child sexual abuse.

The "hash lists", in which images identified by a hash, or unique digital fingerprint, will allow victims' images to be identified and removed more quickly from the internet.

These measures will prevent images from being uploaded, and in turn from being repeatedly shared.

"We mustn't forget the victims who may need protection from further abuse"
Claire Lilley / Head of Child Online Safety

Claire Lilley, Head of Child Online Safety said:
"This latest development will help tighten the grip on the source of child abuse images but there is still a way to go before we can strangle the life out of this sordid trade.

"This technological breakthrough is really positive and should enable the industry to take a far more pro-active role in blocking these horrendous pictures.

"However we mustn't forget the victims who may need protection from further abuse. Greater efforts have to be made to arrest those responsible for these abhorrent crimes. Until we have a unified approach to this problem it will continue to plague our communities."

If you see an image containing child abuse, please report it to the Internet Watch Foundation.


60% of young people have been asked for a sexual image or video of themselves.

Explanation: Findings from an online survey of ChildLine users aged 13-18 year olds.

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