Feeds

IWF chief steps down

Robbins lays down his axe

Security for virtualized datacentres

Peter Robbins has stepped down as Chief Executive of the Internet Watch Foundation after almost nine years heading up the occasionally controversial organisation.

An announcement slipped out quietly yesterday to the effect that after some eight years steering the IWF through some of its most challenging years in the public eye, Robbins would be standing down in July.

In an official statement, Chair of the IWF Board Eve Saloman said: "On behalf of the IWF Board, I would like to thank Peter for all his hard work.

"He has provided clear and steady leadership to the IWF for many years and overseen our considerable growth into the successful and respected body we now are. We are immensely grateful and wish him every success in the future."

During his time at the IWF, Robbins led the organisation in its sometimes controversial adoption and roll-out of the URL blocking service Cleanfeed. At the same time, he brought to the IWF an air of dignified calm, perhaps learnt from his days as Borough Commander in Hackney Police, which went well with the IWF’s international prominent role in issues of internet governance.

Never a crusader, when we spoke to Peter Robbins at length about his work back in 2009, he came across then as a quiet pragmatist: a genial politician who recognised that the IWF needed an individual at its helm who was thoroughly au fait with police culture and ways of working, and who could act as a bridge between police and public.

He was a firm advocate of the UK approach to policing the net: effectively, a body set up by the internet industry and at arm’s length from government. He would have liked the IWF to do more but, as he commented at the time, with an increasingly small proportion of child abuse material being hosted within the UK, the IWF was in the hands of foreign police and legal systems in terms of what action it could take.

Robbins considered the IWF was right to block the Scorpions album cover - but equally right to unblock it once the Board had considered all circumstances around the case. He had little interest in pushing the activities of the IWF into policing more and more borderline material, and with the number of URLs in the IWF blocklist at an all-time low (around 500 on any given day), he looked forward to a time when its work would be done.

There is little mystery about his departure. He may quietly retire from public life; but our sense is that Robbins may well re-emerge in the not too distant future in a role that is likely to see his continuing presence in the public eye. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
Drag queens: Oh, don't be so bitchy, Facebook! Let us use our stage names
Handbags at dawn over free content ad network's ID policy
Heavy VPN users are probably pirates, says BBC
And ISPs should nab 'em on our behalf
Italy's High Court orders HP to refund punter for putting Windows on PC
Top beaks slam bundled OS as 'commercial policy of forced distribution'
Former Bitcoin Foundation chair pleads guilty to money-laundering charge
Charlie Shrem plea deal could still get him five YEARS in chokey
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.