Cambridgeshire-based charity the Internet Watch Foundation welcomes new chairman

Andrew Puddephatt is the new chairman of the Internet Watch Foundation.

Andrew Puddephatt is the new chairman of the Internet Watch Foundation.

Archant

A Cambridgeshire-based charity that works to keep the internet safe has welcomed a new chairman.

Human rights and digital policy expert Andrew Puddephatt has taken over as the new chief of the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), which has its headquarters in Histon.

The announcement comes as the tenure of Sir Richard Tilt comes to an end after six years.

Mr Puddephatt played a key role in the implementation of the UK’s Human Rights Act, and has been active in the promotion of human rights globally in Africa, Latin America and South and South-East Asia for more than 20 years.

He has led a number of organisations in both the human rights and digital policy industries, in both executive and non-executive roles, specialising in freedom of speech, access to information and transparency.

Mr Puddephatt is now looking to use his skills to protect children from sexual abuse. He said: “Child sex abuse is one of the most severe human rights abuses that can be perpetrated on anyone, leaving as it does lasting damage, both physical and psychological.

“Tackling child sex abuse online is a formidable challenge given the frequently organised nature of the abuse, the ease of uploading images, the global nature of the internet and the challenge of operating across dozens of jurisdictions.

“The IWF represents a unique and powerful model of self-regulation by service providers through the vehicle of an independent charity that operates in a transparent and accountable manner.

“Over the course of its work the IWF has manually processed 354,886 reports confirmed to show children being sexual abused and helped internet service providers remove them.

“At a time when debate about the internet has become increasingly dystopian IWF demonstrates that self-regulation can be effective in dealing with bad content – an example highly relevant to other issues.

“But the world does not stand still and nowhere more than in the field of technology where evolving developments – from encryption to virtual reality – will create new challenges.

“My goal as chairman is to build upon previous success and the work of my predecessor Sir Richard Tilt to help take the organisation forward.

“This means making sure IWF understands and can manage the latest technological developments and then evolving nature of child abuse. It also means leading the Board in supporting a dedicated and effective staff team.”

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