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Pornography: Internet

Volume 472: debated on Tuesday 4 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate she has made of the proportion of child abuse internet websites hosted in the United States; and what discussions she has had with the US Administration on reducing the number of such sites. (188872)

The Internet Watch Foundation’s (IWF) last published figures (Annual Report 2006) show that 54.3 per cent. of all child sexual abuse domains known to the IWF appeared to be hosted in the US, and 62 per cent. of commercial child sexual abuse domains. The IWF passes intelligence relating to US hosted child sexual abuse websites to its Hotline partner in the US (Cybertipline, part of National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC)) and via Child Exploitation Online Protection Centre (CEOP) and Interpol, to US law enforcement. The IWF recently hosted a visit from associates at NCMEC who were keen to learn from IWF experience. The IWF has also recently visited the US Hotline for a similar sharing exercise.

A US Congress delegation visited the UK in 2007 on a fact finding tour. This led to the publication of the Congress Report by the US House of Representatives 109th Congress following their inquiry into child sexual abuse content on the internet last year. The main references to recommended best practice and the IWF are on pages 6-8. Key issues mentioned are NCMEC and IWF sharing lists of child sexual abuse websites; the US emulating the UK/IWF blocking initiative; and pressure being put on ICANN to combat false and illegal domain names which have been selling illegal images for many years on the same website address:

CEOP also have close working relationships with US partners through the Virtual Global Taskforce.

The Home Office has had no recent discussions with the US Administration on reducing the number of websites hosting child abuse images hosted in America.