The high profile privacy and data protection case of Sir Cliff Richard v BBC continued before Mann J this week. The Claimant’s case was concluded and the Court heard two days of evidence from the BBC journalist, Dan Johnson.
The Press Gazette has coverage of the Court hearing, particularly scrutinising the conduct of the BBC’s reporter in relation to whether there was any agreement between the police and the BBC over coverage of the police raid on the singer’s home.
Inforrm had daily case reports (thank you to Media Lawyer), as follows:
- Case Report, Sir Cliff Richard v BBC, Day 3, Raid information “came from police source” – Media Lawyer
- Case Report, Sir Cliff Richard v BBC, Day 4, Sir Cliff seemed “utterly distraught”
- Case Report, Sir Cliff Richard v BBC, Day 5, Sir Cliff “Faced Crisis Situation”, Reporter “Guessed the Singer’s Name” – Media Lawyer
- Case Report, Sir Cliff Richard v BBC, Day 6, Reporter denies forcing detective’s hand – Media Lawyer
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg continues to be scrutinised by the media. Blog Law Online considers Zuckberg’s statement to the press and the social media platform’s inadequate approach to privacy protection.
David Price QC, who is representing the appellants, has suggested that the Supreme Court is likely to hear the appeal in Lachaux v Independent Print in between October and December 2018. This is much earlier that was previously anticipated.
The ECHR Blog has an article analysing the finalised Copenhagen Declaration.
Internet and Social Media
Scott Sackelford notes in an INFORRM post that Facebook’s social responsibility obligations should include privacy protection. Karl Hodge also has a post which considered how, if services are provided online to users for free, they payment made is usually in the form of personal data provided to the service provider.
LSE’s Media Policy Project Blog considers how children’s data is protected from exploitation, particularly when they use social media accounts. The post comes following a survey which highlighted parents as being concerned about their children requiring more protection, particularly given the recent issues surrounding Cambridge Analytica’s misuse of personal data.
The Socially Aware blog notes the approach taken by US courts in awarding damages in revenge porn cases and comments more generally on government official use of social media accounts and whether users should generally be blocked from accessing such accounts messages.
Reuters reports on the structural changes being implemented by Facebook to ensure that it mitigates compliance obligations under European data protection laws, which could currently impact the rights of up to 1.9 billion users.
JD Wetherspoons’ closure of its social media accounts has garnered commentary from The Guardian, BBC, Telegraph and The Independent. It has been considered whether the move itself was a “publicity stunt”.
Data Privacy and Data Protection
The Hunton Andrews Kurth Blog has considered the impact of cyber-attacks on the oil and gas sector and speculates as to how to best ensure protection from similar future attacks.
The Panopticon Blog has an informative post on how the implementation of the GDPR will impact the personal data exemption present in section 40 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
Kensington and Chelsea Council have been fined £120,000 for identifying owners of unidentified properties in a Freedom of Information Act response.
Two companies in West Yorkshire have been fined by the Regulator for making nuisance calls.
The Investigatory Powers Act plays a major role in whether the data protection laws of the UK will be deemed adequate by European Data Protection authorities’ post-Brexit, as explored by Computer Weekly here.
Newspapers Journalism and Regulation
The Press Gazette reports that the latest ABC Circulation figures show that The Sun has overtaken the Metro’s print circulation. Mailonline again tops the table for average daily unique browsers (13.02 million).
The Chartered Institute of Journalists has released a report on the promotion of open justice in the United Kingdom and makes a number of measured proposals to ensure continual adherence to the principle.
The Regulator has found that the Sunday Times Headline “Asians make up 80 per cent of child groomers breached Code standards due to inaccuracy.
IPSO has published a series of rulings and a Resolution Statement from the Complaints Committee:
- Resolution Statement 00920-18 Hallam-Baker v Daily Mail – Resolved via IPSO mediation involving Principles 1 Accuracy, 4 Intrusion into grief or shock and 6 Children
- 00014-18 Temple v Witney Gazette – No breach of Principle 1 Accuracy after investigation
- 20563-17 Versi v The Sunday Times – Breach of Principle 1 Accuracy after investigation
- 20298-17 A woman v Thurrock Independent – No breach of Principle 2 Privacy after investigation
- 19509-17 Nokes v The Sunday Times – No breach of Principles 1 Accuracy and 2 Privacy after investigation
Statements in Open Court and Apologies
There were no statements in open court last week.
Last Week in the Courts
As already mentioned, the trial in the case of Sir Cliff Richard v BBC continued all week before Mann J. Inforrm had case reports for each day of the hearing.
On 17 April 2018 Warby J heard the judicial review case, The Queen on the application of Coulter v Independent Press Standards Organisation.
On 17 and 18 April 2018 the Court of Appeal (Lewison, Ryder and Sharp LJJ) heard the appeal in the case of Economou v Freitas. Judgment was reserved.
On 19 April 2018 Arnold J handed down a judgment on costs in the case of Ali v Channel 5  EWHC 840 (Ch).
- 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
Buzzfeed News reports on Bauer Media’s appeal against the award of Aus$4.5 million made to actor Rebel Wilson which is being heard by the Court of Appeal in Victoria. There is also a report in the Sydney Morning Herald.
Judge Judith Gibson has published a thought-provoking paper criticising the Australian Governments successive failures to adequately reform Australian defamation law to ensure it is fit for purpose.
The Belgium Privacy Commission has issued a recommendation on the Data Protection Impact Assessments.
Geist also highlights the risks associated with permitting internet service providers to monitor their own content without significant legislative regulation or independent oversight. Naturally, this issue overlaps with that of net neutrality significantly.
The South China Morning Post highlights the most used social media platforms in Hong Kong.
Prominent newspaper editor Surendra Nihal Singh sadly passed away on 18 April 2018. The Hoot has a piece celebrating his prominent contributions to Indian media including the Indian Express, Khaleej Times and Indian Post and another charting his progression through the Indian media landscape.
The Irish Times reports that the High Court has made no order as to the legal costs in Sinn Féin political manager Nicky Kehoe’s defamation case against RTÉ in which he was awarded €3,500.
The Times notes that Denis O’Brien has secured a High Court Order permitting him to attach Declan Ganely, a businessman, to his case of defamation against Red Flag Consulting.
The Korea Media Law Blog has an insightful post into the press regulation legislation– the Act of Promotion of Newspapers which provides for the registration of owners of newspapers with their local Mayor or Governor.
President Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, is discontinuing his defamation actions against Fusion GPS and Buzzfeed arising out of the infamous “Steele Dossier”
Stanford’s Cyberlaw Blog has a number of posts including:
- An analysis of the approval of net neutrality laws in California and considers the practical legislative implications.
- The Blog also considers Tesla’s response to a fatal crash involving one of its vehicles, showcasing the difficulties companies face in humanising whilst mitigating reputational harm in tragic circumstances.
- A review of how to improve privacy audits under FTC Orders, particularly considering the sophisticated privacy risks posed by large technology companies such as Facebook and Google.
- In light of the US Governments’ efforts to unlock and iPhone, which held details relating toone of the San Bernardino Shooters, the Blog reviews the Office of the Inspector General’s Report on the incident.
Two families who tragically lost children in the Sandy Hook shooting are bringing a defamation lawsuit against radio presenter Alex Jones and his conspiracy site Infowars. The suit comes following Jones’ promotion of a conspiracy theory involving the shootings. Due to the sensitivity and high profile of the matter The Guardian, BBC, Bloomberg, Business Insider, Reuters and New York Times all have coverage.
Research and Resources
- Examining anonymity in harassment cases (Khan (formerly JMO) v Khan (formerly KTA)), [pdf] Clara Hamer, LexisNexis
Data Privacy and Data Protection
- Evidence Disclosure and Discovery in Common Law Jurisdictions, Darryl K. Brown, University of Virginia School of Law
- In Defense of Big Data Analytics, Mark MacCarthy, Georgetown University
- Textual Privacy and Mobile Information, Simon Stern, University of Toronto – Faculty of Law
- Antidiscriminatory Privacy, Ignacio Cofone, NYU School of Law
- Privacy Harms, Ignacio Cofoneand Adriana Robertson, NYU School of Law and University of Toronto – Faculty of Law
- Data Science, Data Crime and the Law, Maria Grazia Porceddaand David S. Wall, European University Institute – Department of Law (LAW) and University of Leeds, Centre for Criminal Justice Studies
Next Week in the Courts
The privacy and data protection trial in the case of Sir Cliff Richard v BBC will continue on Monday 23 April 2018.
The following reserved judgments after public hearings in media law cases are outstanding:
The Queen on the application of Coulter v Independent Press Standards Organisation, heard 17 April 2018 (Warby J)
Monir v Wood, heard 16 to19 April 2018 (Nicklin J)
Economou v Freitas, heard 17 and 18 April 2018 (Lewison, Ryder and Sharp LJJ)
This Round Up was compiled by Suneet Sharma, a junior legal professional with a particular interest and experience in media law