The Michaelmas Legal Term and the 2018-2019 “legal year” begins today.  The Michaelmas Term will end on 21 December 2018.  This is our first round up of the term and our Summer Break ends today.

The New York Times has reported that up to 50 million Facebook users may have had their accounts compromised after a cyber-attack identified a flaw in the social media providers’ code, leaving their accounts vulnerable. This has been confirmed by Facebook and the ICO has issued a statement . A class action lawsuit against Facebook was issued in California on the same day as their press release addressing the breach.

There were sixteen statements in open court in phone hacking cases read before Mann J on 27 September 2018.  Claimants included seven Coronation Street actors and former boxer Frank Bruno.  In each case News Group agreed to pay substantial damages and costs.

The Brett Wilson Media Law Blog reports that media lawyer Mark Lewis is facing proceedings before the Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal over social media postings on his Twitter account.

The Media Reform Coalition has published the results of research into the reporting of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. It has concluded that its “findings were consistent with a disinformation paradigm”. The Report can be found here and the executive summary here. Simon Dawes considered the controversy in an INFORRM post.

Himsworth Scott’s legal blog has considered the fabrication of personality on TV using Channel 4’s recent programme The Circle as a case study. The Blog also has a post regarding the reputational consequences of corporate apologies and best practice when issuing such an apology.

Internet and Social Media

LSE’s Media Policy Project Blog has a post on the regulation of misinformation and disinformation following recent reviews of policy by the government.

Oscar Davies, via INFORRM, has published a review of the text “Anti-social media: How Facebook disconnects us and undermines democracy”.

The Guardian considers how the banning of anonymous social media accounts could do more harm than good.

The BBC has a piece on the propensity of scams to focus on social media users.

Data Privacy and Data Protection

Brett Wilson’s Media Law Blog has covered the fining of a barrister by the ICO after unencrypted client data was accidentally uploaded to the internet.


The ICO has called for organisations to assist in the establishment of a “regulatory sandbox” to trail data privacy and protection initiatives.

BUPA has been fined £175,000 by the ICO following security failures in July 2017 which permitted an employee to obtain the personal information of over 547,000 customers.


Given increasing developments following the European Court of Human Rights review of the UK governments’ mass communications interception programme, and the governments legislative response Privacy International revisits the matter in application to the Investigatory Powers Act 2015.

Privacy International has published a recent letter to the UK Home Secretary requesting justification for unlawful intelligence gathering by GCHQ, MI5 and MI6. Its original press release on the matter, which provides context, can be found here.

Newspapers Journalism and Regulation

The Press Gazette has coverage of a Bloomberg reporter’s successful request to view the skeleton arguments in a High Court case, verifying the public nature of the documents and press’ rights to access.

Good Morning Britain has been found to have breached the broadcasting code when Piers Morgan refused to read a council’s response to a feature regarding the treatment of a homeless SAS veteran. The ruling can be found here.        

Mark Pearson’s Journlaw Blog has a post exploring the legal pros and cons of press releases.

The Transparency Project Blog has provided an explanation of its evidence to the Cairncross Review into the provision of high quality journalism. Interestingly the Project has highlighted the potential for such journalism to be sustainably provided as part of charitable activities. The Project has also provided an update on its efforts to pilot legal bloggers’ access to Family Courts and has a dedicated page for the scheme here.


The IPSO Blog has explained the procedure to be followed when a complaint is made.


The Complaints Committee has published two rulings this week:

Statements in Open Court and Apologies

As already mentioned, there were 16 statements in open court in the phone hacking litigation before Mann J on 27 September 2018.  There was a report in the Press Gazette.

Last Week in the Courts

On 27 September 2018 there was a PTR in the phone hacking litigation against News Group Newspapers Limited before Mann J. There was also a report in the Press Gazette.



  • 15 October 2018, 11:45-1:15pm, SF ISACA Conference, Hotel Nikko, 222 Mason Street, San Francisco. CA – a focus on net neutrality, internet regulation and cybersecurity


Media Law in Other Jurisdictions


Dennis Muller considers the distribution of media power in Australia and the implications for the freedom of press outlets, particularly when this has influence on the reporting of political matters, in an INFORRM post.


Michael Geist has analysed recent calls by the Canadian Music Group for the government to levy a copyright tax on the use of broadband data.


The Daily Mail has posted on recent activity by the Chinese government to shut down over 4,000 websites as part of its campaign against “harmful online information”.


Privacy International has criticized India’s development of the Aadhaar Project, which seeks to collect the biometric data of citizens, following the Project being ruled as constitutional by the Indian Supreme Court. The Indian Express has considered the implications of the case.

The Centre for Information Policy Leadership at Hunton Andrews Kurth has submitted comments on India’s Draft Data Protection Bill. The consultation period for the Bill has been extended by 10 days until 10 October 2018.

The Hoot has an interesting summary of its coverage from the period of 2001-18. The coverage provides insight into the developments of India’s media landscape and regulatory frameworks.


Free Malaysia Today reports on the recent ruling of a Federal Court that the federal and state governments can sue individuals for defamation.


LSE’s Media Policy Project Blog has an article critiquing the sale of Dogan Media Group, one of the largest media groups in Turkey, highlighting its impact on press freedom.

United States

Privacy Lives has noted how the US life insurance company John Hancock is looking to acquire customers’ personal health tracking data.

Research and Resources

Data Protection and Privacy

Internet and Social Media


Next Week in the Courts 

We are not aware of any media law cases before the English courts this week.


The following reserved judgments after public hearings in media law cases are outstanding:

Economou v Freitas, heard 17 and 18 April 2018 (Lewison, Ryder and Sharp LJJ)

Lloyd v Google LLC, heard 21 to 23 May 2018 (Warby J)

Monir v Wood, heard 16 to 19 April and 3 to 5 July 2018 (Nicklin J)

Kennedy v National Trust for Scotland, heard 25 and 26 July 2018 (Sharp, Asplin LJJ and Sir Rupert Jackson).

Piepenbrock v London School of Economics, heard 16, 17, 20 23, 24 and 27 July 2018 (Nicola Davies J).

This Round Up was compiled by Suneet Sharma, a junior legal professional with a particular interest and experience in media law