Last week saw the belated release of the Government’s response to the Consultation on the Leveson Inquiry [pdf] and its implementation. In accordance with its manifesto commitment the Government decided to cancel Leveson Part 2 and to repeal section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013.
The decision was, predictably, welcomed by the newspapers whose misconduct would have been investigated by the Inquiry (for example, the Sun and the Mirror). Less predictably, in a remarkable editorial the Guardian also announced its support for the decision. We had a post about this entitled “The Guardian’s Leveson Betrayal, Line by Line”. There was also post about the Guardian’s decision on Zelo Street.
The Press Gazette has a piece about the welcome given by national newspapers to the decision. Outside the national press there has been considerable criticism of the government’s decision. Zelo Street has post entitled “Leveson 2 – Tory Shame”. The decision was described as an “astonishing abandoned promise” by a leading phone hacking lawyer and the McCanns and other victims of press intrusion said they had no confidence in the government.
Shortly before the announcement on Leveson 2 the Daily Mail launched lengthy attack on the background of press regulation campaigner. Apparently without irony, the newspaper which supported the political views of Mr Mosley’s father attacked him over a racist pamphlet circulated in a by-election over 50 years ago. At the same time, the newspaper made a strange allegation of perjury over a non-material answer given by Mr Mosley in the course of the trial of his successful privacy claim against the News of the World. In another non-ironic piece, the Sun accused Mr Mosley of paying a private detective to search for evidence in the course of that case.
Journlaw has been in conversation with two European media law professors: Emeritus Professor Dirk Voorhoof (University of Ghent) and Dr Inger Høedt-Rasmussen (University of Copenhagen). Their insights into the status of freedom of expression (Article 10) as a fundamental human right can be found here.
Internet and Social Media
There is an interesting post on the Cyberleagle blog entitled “Peaceful coexistence, jurisdiction and the internet
In an insightful article the Press Gazette highlights the pitfalls for journalists in relying upon Twitter as a source. The Gazette highlights the case of Goldman v Breitbart & ors, a US case, which held that a website which embedded a tweet could be liable for copyright infringement where the tweet itself included an unauthorised copyrighted photograph. Embedding itself constituted re-publication and subsequently an instance of copyright infringement.
Given the rising connectivity of the Internet of Things Windows Report sheds light on the potential privacy flaws inherent in the framework.
Bloomberg notes that Facebook cannot avoid an impending privacy suit over the use of biometric face prints.
Continuing an analysis of Twitter, The Verge notes the highly public nature of the platform and makes a series of recommendations on what can be done to safeguard users’ privacy.
Given the rise of the #MeToo movement Norton Rose Fulbright Social Media Law Bulletin notes the impact of employees taking to social media to air their grievances.
The domain name search tool Whois may be the target of regulation following proposals to block domain Registrant information. The Register considers the regulatory proposals by the DNS regulator ICANN.
Data Privacy and Data Protection
Paul Bernal’s Blog has a post on data retention which argues that the process should be encouraged. The post comes in response to an article by Anthony Speaight QC for the Judicial Power Project.
Inforrm had a post considering a claim by the Migrants’ Rights Network regarding the sharing of non-clinical patient data.
The ICO Blog highlights the international dimension of the Regulators remit this week. This includes attendance to the FOI Summit in Malia and receiving official from the Information Regulator in South Africa.
The Regulator has posted on the outcome of the Unsolicited Communications Enforcement Network (UCENet), which considers privacy law compliance issues in the affiliate marketing industry.
The BBC considers allegations made against Humberside Police stating that the force undertook surveillance of Janet Alder, sister of Christopher Alder, who died in police custody in 1998.
Following Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan’s comments on surveillance laws, the Times [£] uses the statements as an opportunity to discuss the current state of legislation.
European Court of Human Rights
The ECHR Blog analyses the implications of the Danish Government’s recent proposals, via the Draft Copanhagen Declaration, on re-balancing the interests between the European Court of Human Rights and Member States. The Blog considers the impact of the Draft Copenhagen Declaration across six articles:
- The Draft Copenhagen Declaration – Comment Series I
- The Draft Copenhagen Declaration – Comment Series II
- The Draft Copenhagen Declaration – Comment Series III
- The Draft Copenhagen Declaration – Comment Series IV
- The Draft Copenhagen Declaration – Comment Series V
- The Draft Copenhagen Declaration – Comment Series VI
The Strasbourg Observers blog considers the impact of the Declaration on the Courts independence and impartiality.
Newspapers Journalism and Regulation
Following a recent discussion on a Demos panel on the future of Artificial Intelligence of the LSE Media Policy Project Blog has published a note on the implications that AI has on journalism. The piece highlights a number of thought provoking regulatory issues such as data monitoring, news curating, fact checking and the production of new platforms for reader engagement.
IPSO published a statement this week in support of the Government’s decision to repeal section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act.
IPSO has published a letter to the Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee following their evidence before the Committee on 21 February 2018. The article emphasises the role of the Editors’ Code and its interaction with relevant legal principles, presents analysis of the complaints made to IPSO and addresses specific complaints involving the Sun.
IPSO published one decision of the Complaints Committee: 05965-17 Latif v The Sunday Times in which complaints on the basis of clauses 1 (accuracy), 2 (privacy) and 3 (harassment) of the Code were dismissed.
Statements in Open Court and Apologies
The Daily Mail published an apology to Gary Lineker over a story published in November 2016. There was a post about the apology on Zelo Street.
Last Week in the Courts
The case of NT1 v Google was heard by Warby J on 27 and 28 February and 1 March 2018. The trial continues. As already mentioned there was extensive press coverage. Inforrm had a case preview by Aidan Wills.
17 March 2018 The Media Democracy Festival, 10am-6pm, Birkbeck, University of London, Torrington Square, London WC1E 7JL
Please let us know if there are any media and law events which you would like us to list.
Media Law in Other Jurisdictions
A number of major Australian media companies are supporting the magazine publisher Bauer in its appeal against the record amount of damages awarded to actor Rebel Wilson last year.
It is reported that the Austrian public broadcaster, ORF has issued libel proceedings against the Deputy Head of the Government, Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache after he accused it and a news presenter of lying.
In the case of Hee Creations Group v Chow 2018 BCSC 260 G C Weatherill J ordered a bride to pay $115,000 damages to a wedding photograph for defamatory comments which eventually destroyed the business. There was a report about the judgment on the CTV news website.
Michael Geist continues to consider Bell Media’s controversial Fair Play initiative. The initiative advocates website-blocking and has received ever intensifying concern from supporters of open media. Michael Geist has considered the movement at length in a broad series of articles covering issues such as market competition, anti-piracy and the flaws in the operation of website blocking:
Geist also considers the intersection between fair dealing and journalism in a three highly compelling pieces, drawing significant parallels in relation to freedom of expression:
- Fair Dealing and the Right to Read: The Case of Blacklock’s Reporter v. Canada (Attorney General)
- Fair Dealing Support for News Reporting and Public Debate: The Case of Warman and National Post v. Fournier
- Why Fair Dealing Safeguards Freedom of Expression: The Case of the Vancouver Aquarium
The Canadian Privacy Law Blog notes the recent comments by the Canadian Privacy Commissioner on the establishment of the concept of “online reputation” as a synonym with the right to be forgotten.
Sinn Fein political manager Nicky Kehoe has won his libel case against RTE in the High Court. Mr Kehoe was awarded €10,000 by the jury. There were comments on the case in the Irish Times and the Independent.
The Federal Trade Commission announced a settlement with Paypal over claims that its peer-tp-peer payment service misled customers regarding privacy safeguards, including the security of their financial accounts. The investigation and resolution of the matter is analysed by Hunton & Williams privacy and information security blog.
The National Law Review has commentary on Privacy, Data Security and Governance Boards.
Following Governor Eric Greitens being charged with invasion of privacy the New York Times considers the nature of the crime and how it is made out under Missouri laws.
Research and Resources
- Federal and State Pre-emption of Local Privacy Regulation, Ira Rubinstein, New York University
- Privacy Localism, Ira Rubinstein, New York University
- Big Data Protection. How to Make the Draft EU Regulation on Data Protection Future Proof, Lokke Moerel, Tilburg University
- Survey of Privacy Protection in Management and Analysis of Social Networking Big Data, N Uma Maheshwari and R Udhaya Kumar, PSNA College of Engineering and Technology and Nadar Saraswathi College of Engineering & Technology
- Access to Justice for Communications Surveillance and Interception: Scrutinising Intelligence-Gathering Reform Legislation, Quirine Eijkman, Leiden University
- The Third-Party Doctrine and the Future of the Cloud, Neil M. Richards, Washington University in St. Louis
- No (Big) Data, No Fiction? Thinking Surveillance With/Against Netflix, Rocco Bellanova and Gloria González Fuster, University of Amsterdam and Vrije Universiteit Brussel
- Bringing Privacy into the Fold: Considerations for the Use of Social Media in Crisis Management, Hayley Watson and Rowena Rodrigues, University of Kent and University of Edinburgh
- E-Mail Privacy in the Workplace: A Boundary Regulation Perspective, Jason Snyder, Central Connecticut State University
- Privacy International has a web page entitled “Topics” setting out its work in a broad range of different domains including Artificial Intelligence, Biometrics, Communications Data Retention, Communications Surveillance, Cross Border Data Access, Cyber Security, Data and Elections, Data Protection, Fintech, Five Eyes, Government Hacking, Idenity and Privacy, Internet of Things, Mass Surveillance, Migration and Borders, Policing and Technology, Profiling, Security Assistance and Arrangements between governments, Smart Cities and Social Media Surveillance.
Next Week in the Courts
The trial in the case of NT1 v Google will continue before Warby J on 6 and 7 March 2018.
[Update] On 6 March 2018, there will statements in open court before Nicklin J The Hut.com Ltd v Brenton and Ellis v Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council.
We are not aware of any other media and law cases before the Courts next week.
The following reserved judgments after public hearings in media law cases are outstanding:
Gubarev v Buzzfeed, heard 5 February 2018 (Master Fontaine)
AXB v BXA, heard 12 and 13 February 2018 (Sir David Eady)
This Round Up was compiled by Suneet Sharma, a junior legal professional with a particular interest and experience in media law