Porn-block pushed back by clerical errors

Further delays to the child-protection measure, with the process mocked as an 'utter shambles'.

Monday, 24 June, 2019

More delays and apologies surround the controversial “porn-block” as it hits a major setback less than a month before going live.

The block was due to start on July 15, but is now being delayed “in the region of six months” in order to comply with European guidelines. Culture secretary, Jeremy Wright, stressed that the controversial policy would still be going forwards.

This last-minute setback was caused by the government’s failure to notify the European Commission of changes to statutory law in the porn-block legislation. Why this was never done, and why it has taken this long to correct, is unknown.

Labour MP, Cat Smith, called the process an “utter shambles” and renewed concerns about the viability of the block.

Foremost among the many issues surrounding the policy, is that people’s most private, personal data will be put at unnecessary risk. Hackers and scammers will be able to access users’ banking details, personal info, and browsing habits in convenient packages, stored away in the less savoury corners of the internet.

That’s to say nothing of the ease in bypassing the block entirely. Using any VPN server outside the UK will bypass all ISP-level blocks, and currently proposed systems can be fooled in minutes with fake details.

AgeChecked.com, who provide age-verification services to websites trying to get ahead of the block, had their block bypassed in “less than two minutes” by the Guardian back in April. With just a quick google search, a disposable e-mail address, and a randomly-generated credit card number, one of the sites protected by AgeChecked opened its doors.

AgeChecked’s own chief executive admitted that these actions were “within the capabilities of someone relatively young”, and suggested that they would review their system. Now they have plenty of time to do that.

The government was also forced to exempt many social media sites and image boards from the block, limiting the scope of the ban to strictly pornographic websites. This raises further questions about how much adult material would still be freely accessible to children, especially on sites that they are already likely to visit.

Most ISPs and mobile providers already allow parents to restrict the use of and access to websites, including blocks for VPN sites, which is already a far more effective system for protecting children.

The government has decided that, instead of parents, it is their responsibility to stop children from seeing porn. They just have to get around to actually doing it.

Samuel Newman author picture

By:

Samuel Newman is a consumer journalist and blogger based in Sheffield.

News What's the story?

Keep up with the latest developments in UK broadband.

UK 5G network goes live – are you up to speed?

Here's everything you need to know about the new mobile broadband network.

UK 5G network goes live – are you up to speed? Read more

TalkTalk offers exclusive £80 reward to new fibre customers

The huge bonus is available to anyone signing up for a 'Faster Fibre' bundle through BroadbandDeals.co.uk

Read more

TikTok ‘gifts’ empty kids piggy banks

Children are most vulnerable to 'influencer' donation pleas

Read more

Netflix ruins 90’s cartoon, enrages internet

The streaming giant came in for criticism for 'straightwashing' Japanese cult classic anime.

Read more

How to watch Wimbledon online for free

How to make sure you don't miss out on the action from your favourite sports stars.

Read more

Fast fines for ISPs could end the “Loyalty Penalty”

But could the proposed measures mean worse deals for those who shop around?

Fast fines for ISPs could end the “Loyalty Penalty” Read more

Boris Johnson mocks full-fibre roll-out plans

The likely next PM boasts plans to beat current targets by 8 years, but is it all just hot air?

Read more

Broadband and phone companies to put Fairness first

Telecoms providers commit to raising standards.

Read more

UK to get legal right to decent and affordable broadband

New legislation will ensure minimum speeds for every UK household.

Read more

GDPR – One year on

The landmark legislation gave people the ‘right to know’ when their data had been hacked.

Read more

Slow broadband is costing us £2.2bn extra a year

Read more

Help Learn with us

Make the most of the internet with our broadband library.

How to childproof your home broadband

How to childproof your home broadband Read more

Why Ofcom’s USO is more than pie in the sky

Read more

Protecting your small business against cyber attacks

Read more

Could 5G end fixed-line home broadband?

Read more

How broadband availability varies across the UK

Read more

Which social media platforms should I be on?

Read more

Will you get online on holiday?

Stay connected during your get-away.

Will you get online on holiday? Read more

Make the most of your broadband overnight

Read more

The main causes of slow internet connections

Slow broadband can be more than just an irritant - but what causes it, and what can we do to fight back?

Read more

Do you need to ramp up your broadband controls?

Read more

The different types of home computer

Read more
Back To Top