Google gives £1m to IWF charity that polices child abuse online

The “substantial sum” is equal to a whole year’s running costs for the IWF
  • @jjvincent

Google has donated £1 million to the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), a charity that aims to remove “potentially criminal” content from the internet, following criticism from the Government for failing to adequately censor online material.

The “substantial sum” is equal to a whole year’s running costs for the IWF, though the company has said the donation will be spread across four years.

“This contribution will significantly boost our work to meet our vision eliminating online child sexual abuse content,” said Susie Hargreaves, chief executive at the IWF.  “We are experts at doing this and, like any organisation, we can do more with more resource.”

"We've been talking to Google about how we can do more together. This donation will directly fund additional skilled analysts who are the forefront of tackling some of the most horrendous content on the internet.”

Google, along with other internet companies, came under fire after revelations that Mark Bridger, who killed five-year-old April Jones, and Stuart Hazell, who killed twelve-year-old Tia Sharp, had both accessed child and violent pornography.

On the 17 June the search giant and other firms including Microsoft, Twitter and Facebook will be summoned by Maria Miller to discuss online access to pornographic and politically extremist material.

Speaking to the Oxford Media Convention in January Ed Vaizey, the communications minister, said that “Britain will have the most robust internet child protection measures of any country in the world, bar none".

The IWF works with ISPs by alerting them to potentially dangerous material online. It also operates a confidential hotline for reporting child abuse online and has helped identify and rescue 12 children from their abusers over the past two years.

“The IWF are essential partners in our fight to rid the internet of this illegal material by providing us with lists of webpages that we block from search results,” said Scott Rubin, Google director of communications and public affairs.

“Our donation should help them do their work more quickly and efficiently. This grant is part of a broader package of measures we are putting in place with other international agencies to help tackle this problem at a global scale.”

David Cameron has said in a statement earlier this month that he was “sickened by the proliferation of child pornography” and called to internet companies to “use their extraordinary technical abilities to do more to root out these disgusting images.”

"The time for excuses and blame is over - we must all work together. The safety of our children is at stake - and nothing matters more than that."