Mature Advice…IWF advised to stick to targeting child abuse material on human rights grounds

Posted: 28 January, 2014 in IWF
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Read more IWF Watch at MelonFarmers.co.uk

See article from iwf.org.uk
See report [pdf] from iwf.org.uk

human rights and the iwf The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), a self-regulatory body set up to rid the internet of child sexual abuse images, has opened itself up to judgement by a top human rights lawyer.A human rights audit has been carried out by former Director of Public Prosecutions Lord Ken Macdonald. He concluded the IWF’s fundamental work is entirely consistent with human rights law.

Lord Macdonald pointed to ways in which the IWF could further enhance standards and processes. Nine recommendations are made in the report published today 27 January 2014 , seven of which have been immediately agreed by the IWF Board.

Among his findings, Lord Macdonald concludes:

  • The IWF’s fundamental work of restricting criminally obscene adult material and all child sexual abuse material is consistent with human rights law;
  • The IWF, although a private, industry-funded body, carries out public acts and therefore its policies and decision-making are susceptible to judicial review, a conclusion welcomed by the IWF Board;
  • That the IWF should appoint a retired judge to act as an appeals commissioner and Chief Inspector to oversee disputes and inspections respectively and the Board should contain at least one acknowledged expert in human rights law, conclusions welcomed by the IWF Board.

The IWF currently targets:

  • child sexual abuse content hosted anywhere in the world;
  • supposedly obscene adult content hosted in the UK;
  • non-photographic child porn images hosted in the UK.

Recommendations in the report with responses by the IWF Board

1.   IWF should in future restrict its remit to child sexual abuse material

IWF Board: A decision on this item has been deferred and will follow conversations with stakeholders [presumably the government] regarding this recommendation.

2.   IWF should appoint an expert in human rights law to its Board

IWF Board: Accepted.

3.   IWF should appoint a senior legal figure as its new Chief Inspector

IWF Board: Accepted.

4.   IWF’s appeals process should include, as a final stage, a determination by the Chief Inspector

IWF Board: Accepted.

5.   Inspections of IWF’s work should take place at least every two years. The Inspection team, headed by the new Chief Inspector, should include one expert in human rights law

IWF Board: Accepted. Inspections already take place every two years.

6.   If IWF moves into more proactive investigations, its analyst training should be updated to meet the further responsibilities inherent in an investigative role

IWF Board: Accepted.

7.   In any proactive investigations, IWF should liaise closely with police

IWF Board: Accepted.

8.   Proposed increases in IWF’s industry funding should be maintained and expanded in order to make a move into more proactive work feasible in the longer term

IWF Board: Accepted.

9.   IWF should not, at present, investigate peer-to-peer file sharing. Instead, in light of the fact that it has subsumed CEOP with the apparent intention that investigations into online child sexual abuse material should be mainstreamed into the fight against serious crime, the National Crime Agency should now give these investigations high priority.

IWF Board: This decision has been deferred. It will follow a peer to peer consultation currently taking place and the pilot project with Google, Microsoft, the Home Office and CEOP. The IWF will be working in partnership to identify pathways to illegal material being shared via torrent feeds and subsequently remove access via the two market leaders in search. This project was announced on 18 November.

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