On 15 July 2019, the UK will finally roll out its long-touted Porn Ban restricting access for under-18s to adult content online. However, in the process of releasing this information, the government managed to bungle the privacy of the nation's journalists.

The UK Porn Ban Gets A Date

The date announcement comes after a long period of public inactivity on behalf of the UK government while Brexit was looming. Having established their intentions for an age verification system with the Digital Economy Act in 2017, initial scheduling estimated its release in the summer of 2018.

Then the ban was delayed to a 1 April 2019 release. Among the furore surrounding Brexit, the government attempted to quietly ignore the fact that 1 April came and went without any noticeable change to ISPs' censorship rules.

It has now been confirmed by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) that the actual date of the scheme's start will be 15 July.  From then on an age verification loading page will demand users "sign in" through connecting an AgeID account to personal information such as a passport or a credit card.

The potential of this piece of legislation to infringe on the privacy of its citizens has been a long-running argument. In a shocking turn, the DCMS coupled the release date reveal with a massive privacy slip-up.

The UK Government Can't Even Keep Emails Private

A press release sent to multiple major news outlets in the UK about the porn ban contained the email addresses of over 300 journalists left exposed.

Minister of State for the DCMS Margot James said: "It was an error and we're evaluating at the moment whether that was a breach of data protection law." Ironically, it is the DCMS that is responsible for data protection laws.

Although a mistake of this kind is quite easily explained by simple "human error", as a DCMS spokesperson also said, this is exactly the kind of security breach that critics of the UK Porn Ban foresaw.

Beyond the spectrum of discussion over the nature of censoring the internet, a consistent concern with the scheme has been the government and ISPs' capability to retain the potentially harmful private data it will amass through the connection of an age verification system to people's most intimate browsing habits.

The most frustrating thing is the UK Porn Ban and its privacy risks can be easily circumvented by anyone with a VPN. But if Brexit is any indication, the UK government will find it hard to admit it's plan won't work.