What just happened? The UK’s long-running campaign to introduce an age-verification system for online pornography has come to an end before it started. With the launch date just weeks away, it appears the system is being delayed indefinitely.

According to a Sky News source, the UK's Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Secretary, Jeremy Wright, will announce the delay later today in Parliament.

The age verification law was introduced with the Digital Economy Act last year after first being proposed in 2015. It requires any website whose content is more than one-third pornographic to verify that visitors are 18 or over. The scheme had already been delayed twice but was set to come into force on July 15.

Sky News writes that the latest delay is due to the DCMS failing to notify the European Commission of important details, as it is required to do. When reached for comment by the Guardian, a government official “did not deny” that the system had been put on permanent hold.

The so-called porn ban would have been the first of its kind in the West, and any websites that refused to take part would have been blocked by the UK's ISPs.

There were numerous problems with the porn block. Social media sites were exempt, which could have resulted in a sudden flood of porn onto the likes of Twitter, and the system could be easily bypassed with a VPN. But the main issues were those of privacy and security. Age verification methods include handing over banking details online, installing software, or even going into a store to prove your age. This opened up the danger of someone’s porn viewing habits being associated with their identity, which could then be exposed in a hack, leading to potential blackmail.

Most UK residents weren’t even aware of the impending age-verification system, so an announcement of its delay will probably come as a surprise.