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Gardaí and internet providers team up to block new domains hosting child abuse images

Internet service providers will be given the domain names which will be blocked to Irish users.
Feb 10th 2020, 5:46 PM 10,180 7

GARDÁÍ TODAY SIGNED a memorandum of understanding with the nation’s top communications firms to block access to websites containing child sexual abuse material.

In an event held at Garda HQ this afternoon in the Phoenix Park in the capital, officers announced that internet service providers will be given the domain names which will then be blocked to Irish users. 

The Garda Blocking Initiative is a voluntary scheme under which Irish Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and gardaí collaborate to block access to illegal child sexual abuse material (CSAM). This was set up in 2014. 

Under the initiative, the Garda National Protective Services Bureau (GNPSB) provides each Internet Service Provider (ISP) with an updated list of suspect domain names. This is a list of websites that have been verified by Interpol to contain the most severe child sexual abuse material.

Speaking at today’s launch Detective Chief Superintendent Declan Daly, Garda National Protective Services Bureau (GNPSB), said: “Child abuse material on the internet is an exploitative and demeaning crime. It is a child abuse offence, which has pathways to the contact offending of children.

“The continued introduction of blocking child abuse imagery in Ireland, protects children in our communities by reducing demand, it increases their protection and facilitates a concentration of policing resources towards those who seek to harm children online.

“I welcome the signing of these MOUs today and renew An Garda Síochána’s commitment to working with industry to protecting children and preventing access to this material.”

The domain names which will be handed to the communications firms are part of Interpol’s “Worst of” list (IWOL). These are domains that provide the most severe child sexual abuse material available on the open web. There are currently 1,857 websites on the IWOL list that are blocked worldwide. The initiative will now apply to approximately 96% of internet users in the country.

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Gardaí said Irish Business and Employers Confederation (IBEC) played a pivotal role in co-ordinating the ISPs to reach this point today.

Torlach Denihan of Ibec said: “Telecommunications Industry Ireland, the Ibec group representing the telecoms sector, welcomes the signing today by its members of the memorandum of understanding with An Garda Síochána to block websites containing child abuse material.

“This builds on current practice and reflects the partnership approach to this issue involving industry, An Garda Síochána and the Department of Justice and Equality.”

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Garreth MacNamee

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