Government in email gaffe amid plans for new pornography age checks

Sebastian McCarthy
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The new age verification system for online pornography will become mandatory on 15 July (Source: Getty)

The government was embroiled in a data breach blunder today hours after setting out its own privacy laws over pornography age verification checks.

Culture minister Margot James insisted privacy around porn checks will be secure despite a press release regarding the new laws exposing hundreds of email addresses when it was sent out to journalists this morning.

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"It is a bit embarrassing" James told the BBC after being asked about the data blunder, in which the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) sent an email to more than 300 recipients in a way that allowed every address to be seen.

A DCMS spokesperson said: "In sending a news release to journalists an administrative, human error meant email addresses could be seen by others. DCMS takes data privacy extremely seriously and we apologise to those affected."

The gaffe came as the government confirmed plans to force all internet users to prove themselves to be over 18 or be entirely blocked from seeing adult material online.

The verification system will become mandatory for commercial providers of pornography by 15 July.

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"We have got real barriers to any leakage of data between the age verification companies and the porn sites, so the porn sites will never have that data," Margot added.