Eleanor Bradley, MD of Registry Solutions and Public Benefit at Nominet

NCA-CEOP and IWF funded to help rapid response to emerging threats

Today Nominet announces its Countering Online Harm Fund for tech-innovation. The fund will offer child protection networks additional resources to respond to the ever-changing threats that can devastate children's lives.

As part of Nominet’s public benefit programme, the fund will grant £200,000 this year to support the best-placed organisations – the National Crime Agency’s Child Exploitation Online Protection group (NCA-CEOP) and the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF). It is designed to ensure simple and rapid access to the funds – £100,000 each – giving them the freedom and flexibility to plan ahead and pre-empt emerging threats.

Russell Haworth, Nominet CEO, said: “Organisations established to protect children face a continuous challenge to keep pace with the actions of perpetrators.  This funding will mean they can fast-track research and ideas that could prove vital in identifying and tackling emerging threats before they become widespread.”

Eleanor Bradley, MD of Registry Solutions and Public Benefit at Nominet says:

“Our Countering Online Harm Fund is designed to help our partners build and develop tech solutions and draw on external expertise without red tape slowing progress. They’ll be able to draw down on this money when necessary, to support research, initiatives and digital development programmes that enable them to help counter online harm.

“This is about freeing up partners to use their experience and judgement to think further ahead and identify how technology can help them in the race against those who are intent on causing harm online.”

NCA threat leadership director Rob Jones said: “Child sexual abuse is among the most significant threats affecting vulnerable young people in the UK and overseas. The NCA is seeing an increase in the severity, scale and complexity of CSA offending, and a direct link between offenders viewing images and going on to commit contact abuse. This Nominet fund will play a crucial role in helping us continue to target online predators and protect their intended victims.”

IWF CEO Susie Hargreaves OBE, said: “We’re at the forefront of tackling online images and videos of children being sexually abused. Every five minutes our highly trained analysts find such an image and get it removed from the internet. But we also develop and use cutting edge technology to stay one step ahead; if abusers innovate, we need to innovate faster.

“This fund is vital to help us build a safer internet for everyone, but especially children. It will help us in ways that we’ve not been afforded until now – it’s a fantastic initiative and one that could make a vital difference to the lives of many, many children.”

Nominet operates at the heart of the UK internet infrastructure, responsible or the .UK domain for over 20 years. It works with government and law enforcement agencies to help protect internet users from criminality online, and as a profit with a purpose company, supports public benefit initiatives that contribute to a vibrant digital future. It has donated over £47 million to tech for good causes since 2008, benefitting more than 10 million people.

Following the news that Instagram is now demanding new members enter their date of birth to use the platform, Tony Allen, the founder and head of certification at Age Check Certification Scheme, said:

"This isn't good enough. Whilst it may seem well-intentioned, Instagram's new policy is against the advice of child protection professionals, data experts, age verification providers and ourselves . Unverified and self-declared date of birth entry, that supposedly "proves" users are of a certain age, will simply foster a culture of false personas by underage people.

"This has worrying and far-reaching consequences. Instagram can - and should - commit to implementing robust measures to check and certify the age of its users. Anything less is merely paying lip service to its child protection responsibilities."

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