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Internet Watch Foundation

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IWF Office at 5 Coles Lane, Oakington, Cambs, according to Microsoft

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) is an independent UK body that acts as a hotline for illegal content on the internet. This includes reports of so-called child pornography and "race hate" incitement speech that the British state have outlawed. Typically, this organisation achieves its aims by pressuring its founder ISPs into enforcing bans on undesirable content.

Whilst the IWF is technically a body of the ISP industry, it was created in response to restrictive laws implemented by the UK Government. Considering the IWF's links and EU funding, it is reasonable to interpret the content it filters as a barometer of state pressure.


The IWF is in effect a censor. A number of recent examples demonstrate that this goes well beyond illegal content and encroaches upon mainstream resources.

  • The Virgin Killer controversies - Censorship of an album cover involving a naked girl led to an effective ban on editing Wikipedia.
  • Web Archive - The "wayback machine" - a highly popular archive of 13 years of web history was censored by the IWF.