2,000 porn images seized from Net

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The Independent Online
MORE than 2,000 images of child pornography were removed from the Internet over the last year after complaints to the British industry watchdog, the Department of Trade and Industry announced yesterday.

In the first annual report from the industry-funded Internet Watch Foundation, the body said it had received 781 complaints referring to 4,300 items on the Net in the 12 months since it established a complaints hotline.

The reports were mainly about child pornography (85 per cent) with small proportions - about seven per cent each - covering matters such as financial scams, adult pornography, racism and malicious E-mails.

Only a small proportion of the items originated in the UK with the majority coming from the US (63 per cent), Japan (19 per cent) and Europe (11 per cent).

Public complaints had resulted in a number of prosecutions in Britain, but the exact number is not known as police records do not differentiate between child pornography on the Internet and that which is produced through traditional means.

The IWF acknowledges that the amount it catches is just a "very small proportion" of the total available on the Internet.

The foundation is working on software which can find sites likely to contain illegal material and IWF chairman David Kerr said he hoped within 18 months they would have developed free software which would help parents regulate what children had access to.

The DTI minister Barbara Roche welcomed the work done by the IWF and announced a Government review aimed at widening its role.

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