10 years, millions safe online

Over the last 10 years, Telenor has prevented millions of visits to web pages containing abusive material.

Written: Nov 2014

Reading Time: 2 minutes

This week marks 10 years since Telenor in Norway and Kripos (National Criminal Investigation Service Norway) launched a proprietary blocking system, which over the years has prevented the spread of enormous quantities of images and films showing sexual abuse of children around the world.

“We have a vision to empower societies through mobile communication, and we recognize that this comes with great responsibility. With all its opportunities, the internet has also introduced us to new risks and new ways for children to be exploited. That’s why I am so proud that for 10 years, Telenor has been fighting to keep kids safe online with their child abuse filter, which is now a global solution,” says Katja Nordgaard, EVP and Head of Corporate Affairs, Telenor Group.

During the filter’s very first 24 hours of use, it stopped a total of 7,000 page views of abusive material in Norway.  10 years later, 175,611 page views have been stopped this year in Norway alone.

“Contributing to making the Internet a better and safer place is a cornerstone of Telenor’s commitment to society, and we are very proud that the abuse filter came about thanks to personal engagement from our employees, and a great partnership with Kripos,” says Berit Svendsen, CEO of Telenor Norway.

Found a free and global solution

The Internet also made it clear how global this type of criminality was, and the need for a simple, common solution arose. It quickly became clear that there needed to be willingness from the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in order to implement a project like this.

“We made the technical solution and experts available, and fortunately it wasn’t long before other suppliers followed,” says Director of Strategy in Technology, Snorre Corneliussen, one of the original driving forces behind the filter.

The challenge was not all countries had laws that defined the distribution of abusive material as a criminal offence, nor did all countries have police forces that considered the issue to be a priority. Kripos contacted INTERPOL to prepare a set of common criteria for which materials and domains should be blocked and how.

Soon in all Telenor markets

Today many of the large telecoms and Internet supplies across the world have implemented the filter, Kripos and a number of INTERPOL member states constantly update a joint list of domains that distribute this type of content. The list is continuously updated by Kripos and other INTERPOL countries, and shared through INTERPOL’s 190 offices around the globe. Access to these domains is blocked on a voluntary basis by ISPs in the respective countries.

The filter is also implemented in nearly all Telenor business units in Asia and Europe. Next on the list is Telenor Bulgaria (formerly Globul) and India’s Uninor in 2015. This means that the filter will have been implemented for Telenor 170 million+ subscribers.

“First and foremost, we want to commend the work done by Kripos to ensure implementation beyond Norway’s borders. For us, it has also been natural to focus on rolling out the abuse filter in our own markets in order to contribute to the work being done by Kripos.  This type of sharing does not recognise international borders, and it is important that we all help to fight this criminality perpetrated against the most vulnerable – our children,”’ says Svendsen.