Blocking access to images of child abuse on the Internet is something that most people are willing to accept, and broadband providers around the world are rushing to get systems implemented to avoid government imposed measures, which may result in a much broader range of material being blocked. The blocking of child abuse images hit the headlines in the UK in December 2008 when Wikipedia had a page put onto the list of possible abuse images by the IWF.
Looking at the announcement today by Talk Internet that it is to adopt the Watchdog International NetClean WhiteBox solution to handle filtering of websites, it is good to see that if the Wikipedia incident were to be repeated a page explaining why the webpage is not available would be displayed. This makes it clear to the providers customers that there is not a fault, but rather an active block is in place.
"Dealing with CSAI (Child Sexual Abuse Images) on the Internet is not an optional extra. It's part of the cost of doing business for a modern ISP. Governments round the world know that, technically, access to CSAI can be blocked and can be blocked inexpensively. If ISPs want Governments to back off, and allow self-regulation of the Internet a chance to work, then dealing with online CSAI is surely the acid test"John Carr, (Chairman) Children's Charities' Coalition for Internet Safety
While Talk Internet are the first UK provider to use this solution, it has seen use in New Zealand and TeliaSonera International has adopted it. Tests with SUNET in Sweden had it supporting 350,000 users on a 10Gbps network. For providers, one advantage is that the handling of the IWF list and its implementation is all handled by Watchdog International.