Government cock-up as porn pass presser discloses hundreds of email addresses

Written by John Johnston on 17 April 2019 in Diary
Diary

The department responsible for protecting private information have leaked private information in an email about protecting private information.

The government's much-maligned porn verification policy has once again caused outrage after a press release sent around by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport failed to obsure the emails of hundreds of journalists and campaigners.

First touted for activation in April 2018 before being delayed until December 2018, and then April 2019 and now July of this year, the policy will see people in the UK forced to verify their age before accessing porn websites.

The scheme, aimed at ensuring children are less likely to stumble upon pornography, only targets websites where more than 30% of the content is deemed pornographic, leaving major social media sites such as Twitter, Reddit and Imgur untouched by the block.

Some of the high-tech, secure means by which you can carry out the identification include scanning your passport or driving licence and uploading it to the age-verification scheme, or popping down to your local shops to ask the man who sells you milk to hand over a single-device pass so you can access pornography.

The plans have, inevitably, raised major privacy concerns with groups who argue the database of porn users will be a goldmine for potential hackers.

But the department, which has sworn its scheme has "robust data protections conditions", is currently investigating the leak of hundreds of personal emails. 

Questioned about the incident on BBC News, Digital Minister Margot James refused to make any comparison between her department's blunder and the scheme.

"Well, it is a bit embarrassing," she squirmed. "It was an error and we are evaluating at the moment if that was a breach of data protection law.

"We don't think it is, but we are taking it seriously. But obviously, that is a is a completely different matter."

Ultimately, it will fall to users to decide whether they will entrust their private data to a scheme cooked up by a department unable to comprehend the BCC function on their email, or whether sales in IP masking software will soar.

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