The Hilary Legal Term ends on Wednesday 28 March 2018 and the short Easter Term will begin on Tuesday 10 April 2018. This is the last Inforrm Weekly Round Up of the term with normal service resuming on 9 April 2018.
This week saw the last judicial actions of Sir David Eady – nearly 21 years after his appointment to the High Court Bench. He retired from the bench on 24 March 2013 but has continued to sit as a Deputy for the past five years. On Wednesday 21 March 2018 he gave his last trial judgment (see below) and heard his last application. He delivered judgment on Friday 23 March 2018, the day before his 75th birthday. Libel practitioners gathered in Court 13 on 21 March 2018 to pay tribute to his distinguished judicial career (with tributes from Richard Rampton QC and Adrienne Page QC).
The fallout from the revelations about the use of the personal data of Facebook users by Cambridge Analytica continues to dominate the media law news this week. Privacy International has a post entitled “Cambridge Analytica Explained: Data and Elections” and suggests that there are seven things that policy makers can do about the problems which have been disclosed.
There have been a wide range of pieces on this topic this week:
- The SLS blog has an overview from Daphne Keller.
- IAPP considers the comments made by the European Council warning digital platforms to be vigilant against misuse of sensitive data.
- Hawktalk has an insightful analysis of the liability of Cambridge University as a controller of data in relation to Cambridge Analytica’s processing.
- NPR considers whether it is possible to effectively protect your privacy as a Facebook user, as does Reuters.
- The Guardian considers the implications of the scandal for data rights and the growing significance of such rights.
The European Commission has issued a report on fake news including guidance on setting policy and broad recommendations on how Member States can approach regulating the spread of misinformation. Damian Tambini analyses the implications of the Report in an Inforrm post.
The Media Reform Coalition has published a report [pdf] proposing radical reform of the BBC with the goal of entrenching the independence of the public broadcaster. A summary of the report can be found here.
Internet and Social Media
Given the regulation of the dissemination of content, particularly region restrictions applied by online streaming sites Hulu and Netfilx, the Media Report considers the implications of the final agreement reached by the EU on the Geoblocking Regulation. The Socially Aware blog also has coverage highlighting that, under the Regulation, geo-blocking would only be acceptable where strictly necessary.
Waze, a GPS provider, has launched a carpool app covering Washington in a move mirroring similar technology deployed by Uber.
The Stanford’s Cyberlaw Blog notes the implications of the sad events surrounding one of Uber’s automated vehicles fatally striking a woman in Arizona.
The blog also considers the impact on net neutrality on start-ups, in particular on the promotion and advertising of their services. Chuck Cosson also comments on the pitfalls of online confessions and the particular issues raised by “persecution by the internet”.
IBM security has announced the results of its global study “The 2018 Cyber Resilient Organisation” which considers the preparedness and resilience of organisations to cyber threats.
Data Privacy and Data Protection
The Press Gazette has scrutinised the Data Protection Bill citing debate over cost proposals in the Bill and that government proposed amendments are overly restrictive.
The application of Blockchain technologies to protect privacy is considered by the Guardian.
The Wall Street Journal has noted Google’s proposals to third-party advertisers that they obtain consent from EU-based subjects of their targeted ads, in doing so ensuring GDPR compliance.
The LSE Media Policy Project Blog has a post examining the application of Big Data to misinformation and transparency including data protection implications of analysing such high volumes of data.
The ICO has provided an update into its investigation of the activities of Cambridge Analytica. The update states that the Regulator has been successful in its application for a warrant to inspect the premises of Cambridge Analytica, which has been executed. The ICO is now currently analysing the evidence obtained as a result of the search.
The Information Commissioner’s recent speech at the Alan Turing Institute on 23 March can be found here. The speech focuses on the application of AI and the privacy considerations which result.
Newspapers Journalism and Regulation
The Press Gazette has commented on the sensitives surrounding reporting the deaths of others. The Gazette provides comment given the report into last year’s terrorist incident at the Manchester Arena, which includes comment on press reporting of the attack.
The Network of Sikh Organisations has made a further complaint following the Guardian newspapers’ publication of an article entitled “Anti-Muslim hate crimes increase fivefold since London Bridge attacks”. The escalation of the matter comes following the Organisation receiving an automated response from the media outlet and no further correspondence since. The Organisation has therefore questioned the robustness of the Guardians’ self-regulation.
IPSO has published a single ruling from the Complaints Committee:
- 20887-17 A Man v Mail Online– Breach of Article 1 (Accuracy) and Article 2 (Privacy)
Statements in Open Court and Apologies
There were no statements in open court this week.
Last Week in the Courts
On 19 March 2018 Warby J heard an application in relation to costs in the case of Barron v Collins. UKIP was ordered to pay £175,000 in legal costs following the conclusion of the defamation case bought by three Labour politicians against MEP Jane Collins. The Huff Post suggests that UKIP faces being wound up.
On 21 March 2018 Sir David Eady handed down judgment in the case of AXB v BXA  EWHC 588 (QB). Judgment was entered for the claimant with privacy damages of £5,000 being awarded and the repayment of the sum of $100,000 obtained by false representations of pregnancy by the defendant. Injunctions were also granted.
On the same day Sir David Eady heard an application for specific disclosure in the harassment case of Lisle-Mainwaring v Associated Newspapers. Judgment was given on Friday 23 March 2018.
On 21 March 2018 the Supreme Court granted permission to appeal in the case of Lachaux v Independent Print. Permission was refused in the cases of Rotenberg v Times Newspapers and Mionis v Democratic Press S.A.
On 22 March 2018 Warby J heard an application to commit in the case of George Galloway v Aisha Ali-Khan.
23 March 2018, Joining The Circle: capturing the zeitgeist of ‘Big Tech’ companies, social media speech and privacy, Inner Temple, London, Wednesday 23 May 2018.
Media Law in Other Jurisdictions
In the case of Rush v Nationwide News  FCA 357 Wigney J struck out substantial portions of the Daily Telegraph’s defence to a libel action brought by Geoffrey Rush. There was a report of the decision in the Guardian.
The Supreme Court of Victoria has rejected a joint application by News Corp Australia, Fairfax Media, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Nine Network, Seven Network and Macquarie Group to intervene in the appeal in the Rebel Wilson case against Bauer Media.
The NSW government has committed to a review of defamation laws after Judge Judith Gibson called for an urgent and comprehensive overhaul to reflect the rise of social media cases and the challenges posed by online publications.
The Journlaw blog has a post from Mark Pearson on the historical charge of contempt of court. Pearson considers the modern application of the charge and how it remains prevalent in safeguarding the conduct of court proceedings.
It is reported that the High Court has ordered a total of B$950,000 in damages to be paid to prominent businessmen Ramesh Jiwatram Bhawani and Abdul Hamid bin Abas, who jointly filed a defamation suit against the Indian Chamber of Commerce and 24 of its members.
The Bulgarian presidency has released a working draft of the ePrivacy Regulation. The draft contains amendments focusing on privacy settings, direct marking and various material definitions.
Michael Geist’s Blog notes unexpected actions by media entities following the proposal by Bell Media on website blocking. Geist considers how Bell’s media’s proposals are at odds with other telecom providers, CBC’s support of the plan and how a coalition of media companies (including Google and Amazon) are opposing the plan.
The Social Media Law Bulletin has noted that, in the wake of a high volume of criticism that it stifles free speech, the provision of the Network Enforcement Act which compels social media companies to takedown hate speech from their sights is likely to be revised.
The lawsuit filed against President Trump by former Apprentice contestant Summer Zevros has been allowed to proceed. The President has appealed the decision.
Research and Resources
Data Protection and Privacy
- Surviving and Thriving in the Digital Economy, Goran Samuel Pesic, David Pratt Associates
- Data Algorithms and Privacy in Surveillance: On Stages, Numbers and the Human Factor, Arno R. Lodderand Ronald Loui, Vrije Universiteit and CLI
- Sharing Data, Elizabeth A. Rowe, University of Florida
- Primitives of Legal Protection in the Era of Data-Driven Platforms, Mireille Hildebrandt, Vriji Universiteit
Internet and Social Media
- Internet, Freedom of Speech and Slippery Slope Argument – The Case of the ‘Right to Be Forgotten’, Magdalena Jozwiak, VU University Amsterdam
Next Week in the Courts
We are not aware of any media law hearings this week. Please let us know if there are other hearings which should be listed.
The following reserved judgments after public hearings in media law cases are outstanding:
NT1 v Google, heard 27-28 February and 1, 6 and 7 March 2018 (Warby J).
NT2 v Google, heard 12 and 14 March 2018 (Warby J)
This Round Up was compiled by Suneet Sharma, a junior legal professional with a particular interest and experience in media law