Minister "Extremely Sorry" for Porn Block Delay

By Tom Pritchard on at

About a month ago the government announced that its so-called 'porn block', which was due to come into force by today, was being delayed for an indefinite period of time. The reasoning was that nobody has bothered to tell the EU about the change, and since we're still currently a member of the union we still have to tell it when we're changing the law.

Now Digital Minister Margot James has apologised for the delay - which is currently set at around six months. Telling the BBC:

"I'm extremely sorry that there has been a delay. I know it sounds incompetent."

Mistakes do happen, and I'm terribly sorry that it happened in such an important area."

It was pretty incompetent though, or at least that's how it looks to me. When you forget to tell the people who need to be told about these things, that doesn't exactly look good. Not that most people are complaining, because it means they don't have to find ways round this system for a little while longer.

The official idea behind the "porn block", or rather the age verification gates on adult websites, is to stop kids from accidentally getting hold of porn. The children's charities have been backing it for that reason, and it kind of makes sense they would, given how much porn is out there. Obviously they're not going to keep anyway anyone actively looking to get round the system.

Though naturally it does come across as morality policing, and the fact the system clearly hasn't been very well thought through is doing absolutely nothing to help the case.

Originally this system was supposed to come into effect last April, but ended up being delayed so that the government could "get it right". Then after a period of limbo we found out it would be coming into effect on 15th July 2019, only for yet another delay to happen and just as few details on how the age gates are going to work. Plus, most importantly, what data they're going to need.

Obviously counter-protesters haven't been fond of it, especially since it seems to require handing over sensitive information to third party companies that could be stored and exposed somewhere down the line. We may have laws to protect data, but private industry hasn't done a great job of protecting it so far, have they.

Will it come through in six months time? Maybe, but also maybe not. There are a lot more pressing political issues going on, and obviously the biggest one of the lot is Brexit. If we don't know what's happening there, can we expect anyone to know what's going on with the porn? [BBC News]