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    Neil Prowse, IWF Development Manager

    Our Members & partners

    By Neil Prowse, IWF Development Manager

    In 2022, our membership base continued to grow across sectors and industries, and into more countries, widening the reach, impact and benefit of our cutting-edge services. With 181 Members by the end of the year, and about 60% of these registered outside the UK, our deployment of services now crosses all continents, making the IWF a global force in disrupting child sexual abuse material online.

    See who funds our work and takes our services.

    In parallel, and through our ever-growing collaborations with industry Members closer to home, we helped to keep the UK a highly hostile location for hosting images and videos of child sexual abuse.

    As the world adapted to living with Covid, we aimed to regularly meet face to face with Members throughout 2022 and continue to do so. Our stewardship programme has provided a chance to discuss wider topics, trends and challenges, and in some cases, meet in person for the first time. This is an ongoing programme and we hope to meet more of our Members in 2023. We were also delighted that our 2022 AGM could be held in person for the first time in several years, as it brought a degree of normality back to business.

    We entered several new sectors during the year, welcoming the likes of Niantic, who operate in the world of augmented reality; and Qintel, who provide data forensics for law enforcement.

    As part of our membership drive we looked at ways to work with other sectors, particularly within the bounds of encryption and privacy, and ran a campaign targeted at the VPN sector with the support of the VPN Trust Initiative and the Internet Infrastructure Coalition. Since then, we have held productive talks with many VPN providers and are optimistic that 2023 will see this sector explore the use of IWF services and expertise to stop the criminal circulation of online child sexual abuse imagery.

    We have also had an influx of interest from both Members and corporate partners in new ways to collaborate, particularly in the safety tech sector, pushing boundaries and testing tools and technical innovations to tackle child sexual abuse material and improve online safety for children.

    We anticipate our membership base to expand further in future, especially in light of the UK Online Safety Bill and increased UK regulation, but also in many other countries around the globe, as governments tighten up regulations to protect children in the online environment and attempt to stamp out the distribution of child sexual abuse material on the internet for good.