Established in 1996, the U.K. Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) is a self-regulatory charitable body that operates an Internet "hotline" for the public and IT professionals to report their exposure to potentially illegal content on the Internet. It operates in partnership with the police, government, public, Internet service providers (ISPs), and the wider online industry. Originally formed to police child pornography online, the IWF's mission was later expanded to cover racist and criminally obscene material.
The IWF is governed by a Board of Trustees which consists of an independent chair, six non-industry representatives, and three industry representatives. The Board monitors and reviews IWF's remit, strategy, policy and budget to enable the IWF to achieve its objectives.
As part of its function, the IWF produces a blacklist of Internet sites and content that it deems to be in contravention/potentially in contravention to UK laws. Many UK-based ISPs use this list to filter the content available to their subscribers.