Classifying objectionable websites based on image content

James Ze Wang, Jia Li, Gio Wiederhold, Oscar Firschein

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

8 Scopus citations


This paper describes IBCOW (Image-based Classification of Objectionable Websites), a system capable of classifying a website as objectionable or benign based on image content. The system uses WIPETM (Wavelet Image Pornography Elimination) and statistics to provide robust classification of on-line objectionable World Wide Web sites. Semantically-meaningful feature vector matching is carried out so that comparisons between a given on-line image and images marked as “objectionable” and “benign” in a training set can be performed efficiently and effectively in the WIPE module. If more than a certain number of images sampled from a site is found to be objectionable, then the site is considered to be objectionable. The statistical analysis for determining the size of the image sample and the threshold number of objectionable images is given in this paper. The system is practical for real-world applications, classifying a Web site at a speed of less than 2 minutes each, including the time to compute the feature vector for the images downloaded from the site, on a Pentium Pro PC. Besides its exceptional speed, it has demonstrated 97% sensitivity and 97% specificity in classifying a Web site based solely on images. Both the sensitivity and the specificity in real-world applications is expected to be higher because our performance evaluation is relatively conservative and surrounding text can be used to assist the classification process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInteractive Distributed Multimedia Systems and Telecommunication Services - 5th International Workshop, IDMS 1998, Proceedings
EditorsThomas Plagemann, Vera Goebel
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)3540649557, 9783540649557
StatePublished - 1998
Event5th International Workshop on Interactive Distributed Multimedia Systems and Telecommunication Services, IDMS 1998 - Oslo, Norway
Duration: Sep 8 1998Sep 11 1998

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Other5th International Workshop on Interactive Distributed Multimedia Systems and Telecommunication Services, IDMS 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)


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