Law and Media Round Up – 7 May 2018

7 05 2018

The press complaints body, IPSO, has announced a compulsory arbitration scheme to replace the current voluntary scheme which has not yet had any takers. The development was reported in the Press Gazette.  The new scheme was criticised in a post on Inforrm by Evan Harris and by Brian Cathcart on Byline.

As the Zelo Street blog points out this announcement appears to be timed to coincide with the House of Commons debate on Wednesday 9 May 2018 on the remaining stages of the Data Protection Bill.  The House will consider Labour amendments on Leveson 2 and a data protection version of section 40.

On Thursday 3 May 2018 there were four statements in open court in the Mirror Phone Hacking litigation.  There were reports, among other places, in the Guardian and on BBC News.  The statements were not reported in the Daily Mirror.

On the same day there was a case management conference in the News Group phone hacking litigation before Mann J.  There was a report of the hearing on Byline – highlighting the claimants’ contention that News Group employed a “medical blagger”.  The hearing was not reported in the press or by broadcasters.

Sir James Munby P has given directions on an application by the father and uncle of James Bulger challenging the anonymity order made in favour of Jon Venables.  The BBC reported that James Bulger’s mother opposes lifting the order.  A judgment was given (see below)

Cambridge Analytica has released a report by Julian Malins QC into its collection and misuse of data and announced it would immediately cease all operations and would start insolvency proceedings.

The development has received intense media scrutiny with The Guardian, Channel 4, Telegraph and the BBC all covering the closure. The ICO has released a statement following the announcement detailing how it will continue its scrutiny of individuals associated with the company. The Regulator has also served an enforcement notice on the company.

The Brett Wilson Media Law Blog has considered the costs decision in the case of Ali & Anor v Channel 5 Broadcast Ltd [2018] EWHC 840 (Ch). which involved the consideration of Part 36 offers, apologies and procedural issues such as the Defendants’ failure to serve a costs budget.

Twitter has faced problems with the technology it uses to mask users passwords when they log in to the social media tool. Users have been advised by Twitter to reset their passwords.

The ECHR has released new guidance on the application of article 18 of the ECHR- the restriction of Convention Rights, summarising recent case law. The ECHR Blog has a digest of the guidance which is available here.

Journlaw has an interesting post on the copyright dispute which recently emerged from a monkey’s “selfie”, providing an interesting introduction for anyone looking to develop their understanding of the underlying principles of copyright law at a fundamental level.

Internet and Social Media

The House of Lords Communications Committee continued its inquiry into internet regulation.  On 1 May 2018 it heard evidence from the Open Rights Group.

Forbes has an article on how an employee of Facebook misused their access to user data to stalk an individual. The case serves as a stark reminder of the responsibility, accountability and scrutiny that needs to be maintained by the social media giant and the danger posed by the capacity for misuse.

Data Privacy and Data Protection

A number of recent pieces have dealt with the forthcoming implementation of the GDPR on 25 May 2018:

The SEC has published a statement on the exposure of public sector companies to cyber security risks and imposed a $35m penalty to investment company Altaba Inc. (previously Yahoo Inc.) following its failure to report a cybersecurity breach in 2014.

The UK Electoral Commission is facing investigation by the ICO following its failure to effectively redact the names of donors to the Scotland in Union campaign group. Details of 168 donors were compromised when the Commission responded to a Freedom of Information Request seeking the release of donors who had provided £500 or more to the Group.

WIRED has a post on data protection standards and the requirement for a global framework.

Hunton Andrews Kurth notes that the Article 29 Working Party has released Updated Standard Application Forms for Binding Corporate Rules, providing for instances where data transfers are made from Members States to outside the European Economic Area.

Données personnelles has published a post on obtaining consent under new data protection laws.

ICO

The ICO blog has a post outlining the regulators new powers under the GDPR and UK Data Protection Bill.  Notably, the ICO has launched a consultation on how it will seek to implement its new data protection regime given its new legislative powers.

The regulator has fined two firms in Stockport for a series of nuisance calls and spam texts.

Surveillance

Privacy International has established a campaign and issued a complaint to the ICO over police powers to use “mobile phone extraction technology” to download the content of a user’s phone without a warrant.

Stanford’s Cyberlaw blog notes the conflict between privacy and surveillance technology law as highlighted in Cyrus Farivar’s new book Habeas Data. The book reviews the last 50 years of caselaw in the US on reconciling privacy rights with increasingly intrusive surveillance initiatives.

The Recorder [£] has an insightful post on whether a US case will prompt the disclosure of extensive surveillance records. Pogowasright has a more easily accessible repost of the matter– U.S. Magistrate Judge Kandis Westmore of the Northern District of California will consider whether a process should be established to determine over time which cases remain validly sealed and which should be released to the public.

Newspapers Journalism and Regulation

The Mirror Group has released a series of apologies and paid damages to Danielle Lloyd, Jennifer Ellison, Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole over phone-hacking.

Evening Standard editor George Osborne has criticised the proposed Data Protection Bill stating that cost amendment provisions shifting Claimants’ legal costs to papers would be unduly onerous.

The Daily Telegraph has been held to have breached Clause 6 of the Editors Code in publishing a picture of a couple’s daughter alongside a story of how the family was shot in Rio de Janeiro.

In a Q&A with Professor Annemarie Bridy the Stanford Cyberlaw Blog has debated the regulation of speech online in light of her new paper Remediating Social Media: Why Layers Still Matter for Internet Policy.

IPSO

The Press Gazette reports on an IPSO ruling against the Daily Star in relation to a “hijab row” headline.

IPSO has launched an advertising campaign to promote its “IPSO mark” – which is said to show that fake news is not welcome where the mark is seen.

Rulings              

IPSO has published a series of rulings and a Resolution Statement from the Complaints Committee:

  • Resolution Statement 01019-18 Cantemir v Mail Online – Resolved via IPSO Mediation
  • 18938-17 Johnson v The Sun – Breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy)
  • 20445-17 De Groote v thetimes.co.uk – No breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) after investigation
  • 20562-17 Versi v dailystar.co.uk – Breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) with publication of a correction
  • 00974-18 Vosper v The Times – No breach (after investigation) of Clause 4 (Intrusion into grief and shock)
  • 01071-18 Mander v Maidenhead Advertiser – No breach of Clause 1(Accuracy) after investigation
  • 01102-18 Phelps v Edinburgh Evening News – No breach of Clauses 1 (Accuracy) and 2 (Privacy) after investigation
  • 01103-18 Phelps v The Scottish Sun – No breach of Clauses 1 (Accuracy) and 2 (Privacy) after investigation

 Statements in Open Court and Apologies

 As already mentioned on 3 May 2018 statements in open court in in the Mirror Phone Hacking cases of Lloyd, Yorke, Ellison and Cole v MGN before Mann J

The Daily Telegraph has published an apology following the publication of a “baseless and unfounded” allegation about a former Guantanamo Bay detainee.

Last Week in the Courts

 On 1 May 2018, Warby J gave judgment on the committal application in the case of Pirtek (UK) Ltd v Jackson [2018] EWHC 1004 (QB) finding that the defendant was in contempt of court.

On 2 May 2018, Sir Geoffrey Vos heard an application in the case of Appleby v BBC.  The Judge gave directions for a speedy trial.   However, on 4 May 2018 it was announced that the action had been settled.

On 3 May 2018 Sir James Munby P gave directions in the case of Re Venables [2018] EWHC 1037 (Fam) (see above).

On the same day there was a CMC in the case of Various Claimants v News Group Newspapers before Mann J (see above).

Events

Media Law in Other Jurisdictions

Australia

In the case of Plymouth Brethren v Fairfax Media [2018] NSWCA 95 the Court of Appeal allowed the plaintiff’s appeal from McCallum J’s decision that the words complained of were not reasonably capable of identifying it.  The matter was remitted for case management directions.

The Guardian reports that Sophie Mirabella has been successful in her defamation case against the Benalla Ensign after the outlet published an article alleging that Mirabella shoved political opponent Cathy McGowan to ensure a photograph was taken for her political benefit in a 2013 rally.

The Brisbane Supreme Court is currently hearing evidence of the Wagner’s in their defamation case against Alan Jones. The Wagners seek $4.8m in damages following statements they allege Jones made accusing them of being responsible for 12 deaths at Grantham, during floods in 2011, when one of the walls of the Lockyer Valley quarry they owned collapsed.  The Australian also has coverage.

Canada

The Association of Canadian Publishers has provided evidence to the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology in the course of their review of Canadian Copyright law. Michael Geist’s blog has further analysis of the submissions.

Under Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation the Canadian Radio Television and Telecommunications Commission has the right to sanction companies for spam. It has recently done so, levying a fine of $100,000, against 514-BILLETS in the first case of text message spam. The Cybersecurity law blog has a comment.

The Stanford Cyberlaw blog notes the Canadian Privacy Commissioners’ move towards adopting a right to be forgotten in Canada.    

Michael Geist has published an interview with Rob Sherman, Facebook’s Deputy Chief Privacy Officer focusing on Facebook’s terms of use, privacy law and control over personal data.   

China

A Henan Court in China has ruled that a VPN service allowing users to circumvent firewalls, access overseas and blocked content violated Clause 3 of Article 285 of Chinese Criminal Law. The original judgment can be found here whilst the Fei Chang Dao blog provides a much appreciated analysis and translation here.

The Business Insider has a post on how companies in China are using “emotional surveillance technology”.

 Ireland

The Independent has considered statements made by NewsBrands Ireland that the Defamation Act 2009 presents “significant challenges” to freedom of expression.

 North Korea

The Hoot has a post analysing North Korean media outlets recent coverage of the governments’ diplomatic efforts and whether this reflects a political shift towards more diplomatic approach to relations with South Korea.

 United States

The tweets of President Donald Trump have become a focus of Stormy Daniels’ defamation lawsuit against the US leader. Daniels has filed a defamation lawsuit on the basis that the Presidents’ statements that the lawsuit was a “total con job” were irresponsible and defamatory.

 

Research and Resources

Data Privacy and Data Protection

 Defamation

 Surveillance

 Next Week in the Courts 

The trial in the case of Sir Cliff Richard v BBC will resume before Mann J on 8 May 2018 when the judge will hear closing submissions.

On the same day Warby J will hand down judgment in the case of Miah v BBC (heard 26 April 2018).

Judgments

The following reserved judgment after public hearings in a media law case is outstanding:

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

 


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