IGF 2023 WS #310 Stop! Child Sexual Abuse- comparing international approaches


Organizer 1: Michael Tunks, 🔒Internet Watch Foundation
Organizer 2: Susie Hargreaves, 🔒Internet Watch Foundation
Organizer 3: Andrew Campling, 🔒

Speaker 1: Julie Inman Grant, Government, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 2: Subramanian Uma, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 3: Antonio Labrador Jimenez, Government, Intergovernmental Organization
Speaker 4: Katsuhiko Takeda, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group


Michael Tunks, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Online Moderator

Susie Hargreaves, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Andrew Campling, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Round Table - 60 Min

Policy Question(s)

1. What do we know about the scale and nature of child sexual abuse online?
2. What is the impact of national and international laws and regulatory frameworks to tackle this issue? Who’s responsibility is it to “own” the response to this issue?
3. How can we better align regulatory efforts internationally to ensure we get “good” effective regulation?

What will participants gain from attending this session? Participants would gain an understanding about the scale and nature of child sexual abuse material online. This includes estimates on the amount of images in circulation, the number of offenders that pose a sexual threat to children, information about how the internet industry is currently responding to the threat, the types of tools they are using to respond to the threat, including explanations about the value of image hashing, URL blocking, keywords and what the technical threats are to the deployment of the services are in the future.

The panel will explore the differing approaches to regulation internationally. Including international models of best practice, like the Internet Watch Foundation, Australian e-safety commissioner, representatives from the European Union, India and Japan on how these approaches vary from models of self-regulation to explore how regulation might look in the future and how these approaches may differ or complement each other.


The spread of child sexual abuse online is a growing problem. In 2022, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received over 32 million reports of child sexual abuse from companies. The Internet Watch Foundation, found that the most severe content, had more than doubled in the past two years and that self-generated child sexual abuse now accounts for 60% of all the content being removed from the internet, with 7–10-year old's the fastest growing age group appearing in these images.

Internationally, this has been recognised as a problem that requires more attention. Legislators in the process of developing, passing and implementing legislation to tackle this abhorrent crime. Initiatives are at various stages in their development. In May 2022, the European Union, proposed new legislation to prevent and combat child sexual abuse, which will see the establishment of a new Centre to receive reports of suspected child sexual abuse and will be responsible for providing databases of indicators to industry. The UK has an Online Safety Bill, which will see the introduction of a new online safety regulator, Ofcom, responsible for scrutinising the systems and processes companies have in place for dealing with illegal content, such as child sexual abuse and other illegal and harmful content. In Australia, the Online Safety Act received Royal Assent in 2021, which granted extra powers to the e-safety commissioner which includes the establishment of basic online safety expectations of companies, the development of codes of practice by industry to regulate illegal and restricted content.

This session will explore the different approaches being taken internationally to rid the internet of child sexual abuse and establish opportunities for greater collaboration between approaches. The proposal is aligned to the theme of cybersecurity, cybercrime and online safety and internet governance in response to these issues.

Expected Outcomes

A note summarising the discussion will be produced and will be circulated after the event.

In terms of follow-up the organisations involved will continue to build upon their strong networks and collaborate more effectively in their mission to rid the internet of child sexual abuse. This could be through sharing promising best practice, sharing information into the scale and nature of the threat or combining forces to campaign for effective regulatory change by joining forces to urge greater action to tackle child sexual abuse.

We hope to create an environment where concerns about regulation and/or privacy can be discussed in a measured manner, where different perspectives are aired and listened to in order to avoid this becoming a polarised conversation of entrenched positions We also hope to learn, through a roundtable format what their specific concerns are so that we might address these more effectively.

Hybrid Format: At the start of the session, the moderator (online and offline) will ensure that participants both in the room and online are ready to start the session. We will ensure that we are clear on the sessions aims and objectives at the start, by adding these both to the opening remarks of the person chairing the discussion on site and by adding them into the chat in the online platform. The Chair will make it clear that those participating online, will be able to type into the chat function which will help guide the discussion, which will be facilitated between the onsite and online moderator. We will use tools like menti-meter, to encourage participation in the session, gauge opinions on the topics we are discussing and can be used to help facilitate the general feel in the room which can be used in the final report that is produced.