Stopping pornography

Stopping pornography

Your organisation's next email filtering software may come equipped with a blocking component that prevents pornographic content from entering the corporate network.

Anti-spam developer Commtouch Software has announced an alliance with the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), an internet hotline where IT professionals and the public can report on child abuse content on the Internet, and Image Analyzer Ltd., which develops detection technology that scans network traffic for inappropriate or pornographic digital images. Comm-touch provides email defence technologies and licences them through OEMs, which integrate the firm's components into their own software and services offerings.

With resources from IWF and Image Analyzer, anti-spam users can now scan e-mail traffic for child pornography and other inappropriate content, in addition to scanning for spam or spyware messages, explained Rebecca Herson, senior director for marketing at Commtouch.

A 2005 survey by market research firm Delta Consulting revealed that half of the Fortune 500 companies had dealt with at least one incident of computer pornography in the workplace over a period of 12 months. In certain jurisdictions, employers can be held liable for negligence or non-action with respect to child pornography content on employees' computers.

A big part of the IWF's campaign involves promoting awareness among IT professionals on what they should do when they stumble upon pornographic content on corporate PCs, said Sarah Robertson, communications officer at the U.K.-based organization.

"We have a specific campaign for IT professional awareness. I think it's important that they know their legal responsibilities when handling illegal content in the workplace," Robertson said.

The IWF maintains a list of about 1000 URLs of known web sites that host child pornography content. Commtouch has integrated this list, as well as the Image Analyzer component, as part of its anti-spam technology's email filtering functions.

Although the new features come pre-integrated with Comm-touch's anti-spam technology, the choice is left to the licensing partners whether they would like to turn on these features, Herson said.

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