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Review of the Internet Watch Foundation

Review of the Internet Watch Foundation

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Published by TJ McIntyre
This is a Review of the Internet Watch Foundation commissioned by the Department of Trade and Industry and the Home Office, and produced by KPMG and Denton Hall. It was published in February 1999
This is a Review of the Internet Watch Foundation commissioned by the Department of Trade and Industry and the Home Office, and produced by KPMG and Denton Hall. It was published in February 1999

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Published by: TJ McIntyre on Aug 27, 2011
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01/12/2013

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A number of ISPs prefer to take a more proactive approach, and provide a service which
offers additional protection from potentially offensive material. These providers use
server-based filtering software which prevents certain content from reaching the end
user. From the ISP survey conducted as part of this Review, it was found that 31% of
ISPs use server-based software to filter certain material.

Many of those that do not use filtering tools are of the view that decisions about what to
filter are down to the user or customer (27%), or claim that it is not their responsibility
and that they are not censors (14%). However, of those not currently using server-based
filtering, 38% plan to use server-based filtering technology in the future.

The ISPs which take proactive steps tend to be those for whom protection is an integral
part of their service, for example because they provide services to children: BT’s
CampusWorld and AOL are keen to promote the ‘family’ aspects of the Internet.

A number of ISPs argue, quite validly, that the Internet is not a medium solely for the
benefit and education of children, and that overall content should not be limited by the
vulnerability of children. These ISPs do not use server-based software which would
restrict their customers’ choice. The filtering and rating work of the IWF can be seen to
be of particular relevance to ISPs in this category as the creation of effective rating
means assists ISPs who wish to pass the onus of filtering unsuitable material exclusively
to the end user.

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