On 9 March 2019 the House of Lords Communications Committee published its report “Regulating in a Digital World” concluding that the digital world needs a different approach to regulation.
The Committee considered a very wide range of evidence from companies, NGOs and indviduals. We had a summary of this by Oscar Davies: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.
The report proposes a set of 10 principles that shape and frame all regulation of the internet, and a new Digital Authority to oversee this regulation in place of the “clearly failing” system of self-regulation.
The Guardian had a piece on the report entitled House of Lords report calls for digital super-regulator. The Drum also discussed this recommendation.
Ofcom is conducting a review of the BBC’s news and current affairs output across television, radio and online. Findings are expected to be published in autumn 2019. The terms of reference can be found here. There was a story about the review in the Press Gazette.
The House of Lords considered a private members bill, Anonymity (Arrested Persons) Bill proposed by Lord Paddick. The Government indicated that it was “not persuaded” that legislating was necessary or proportionate. There was a report of the debate in the Press Gazette.
Countdown presenter Rachel Riley has threatened libel proceedings against a Labour party official, Laura Murray, over a tweet which suggested that Ms Riley had said Jeremy Corbyn deserved to be violently attacked because he is a Nazi/
Hold the Front page has a law column about the approach of the defamation courts to meaning issues entitled “But what does it mean?”
On 1 March 2019 there was an assessment of damages in the case of Grayling v North before Richard Spearman QC. Damages of £20,000 were awarded. We had a post about the case.
Internet and Social Media
The Government has finally published its response [pdf] to the 2017 “call for evidence” on the impact of social media on the administration of justice. It noted that there was a relatively low number of responses but most agree that the problem was manageable. There was a report in the Press Gazette, Social media ‘relatively minor’ threat to criminal justice system, evidence to Government shows
The Social Media Law Bulletin has a post entitled New California laws may require review of social media policies
Bloomberg reports on an announcement by Twitter that it will allow users to report instances when personal information abuse has taken place
A new study from sociology researchers at the University of Zurich found that anonymity has no significant influence over a person’s proclivity to post abusive content online
Digital Social Norm Enforcement: Online Firestorms in Social Media There is a report in Global News.
Data Protection and Data Privacy
On February 26, 2019, the European Data Protection Board (the “EDPB”) presented its first overview of the GDPR’s implementation and the roles and means of the national supervisory authorities to the European Parliament. There is a post about this on the Privacy and Information Security Law Blog.
There is a post on the Mishcon de Reya blog, Fundraising regulator refers 59 charities to Information Commissioner
The Biometric and Forensic Ethics Group Facial Recognition Group has published an interim report, “Ethical Issues arising from the police use of live facial recognition technology”[pdf]
The ICO blog has a post Why the right of access to patient data needn’t be a headache for GPs. The ICO has also made a statement on the changes to TPP SystmOne software.
Newspapers, Journalism and Regulation
The Press Gazette has a piece “Judges bar journalists from revealing name of millionaire in court money battle” about an anonymisation order in a forthcoming divorce financial appeal.
IPSO has published a number of recent rulings and resolution statements:
- Resolution Statement 01487-19 O’Connor v The Times, 1 Accuracy (2018), Resolved – IPSO mediation.
- Resolution statement 00209-19 A Woman v Mail Online, 2 Privacy (2018), 3 Harassment (2018), Resolved – IPSO mediation
- Resolution statement 07441-18 Ambrose v Daily Mail, 1 Accuracy (2018), Resolved -IPSO mediation
- 07157-18 A man v Sunday World, 1 Accuracy (2018), 2 Privacy (2018), No breach – after investigation
- Resolution Statement 07051-18 Kelly v Sunday World, 1 Accuracy (2018), Resolved – IPSO mediation
- 06571-18 A man v Northern Woman, 1 Accuracy (2018), 2 Privacy (2018), No breach – after investigation
- 05484-18 A woman v Press Gazette, 1 Accuracy (2018), 3 Harassment (2018), 6 Children (2018), 2 Privacy (2018), No breach – after investigation, Resolution Statement 01363-19
Statements in Open Court and Apologies
We are not aware of any statements in open court in the past week
Last Week in the Courts
The judgment in the case of Various Claimants v MGN, heard 13 February 2019 by McCombe, Ryder and Floyd LJJ was handed down on 7 March 2019 ( EWCA Civ 350). The appeal was dismissed. Note that the judgment in another Mirror Hacking Litigation case, Winstone v MGN Ltd  EWHC 265 (Ch) is now available on Bailii.
On 7 and 8 March 2019 Warby J heard the first two days of data protection trial in the case of Rudd v Bridle. The case is part heard.
Media Democracy Festival, Media Reform Coalition, Clore Centre 27 Torrington Square, London WC1E 7JL, 10.00am to 6pm 16 March 2019
3rd Global Conference of the Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network, Berlin, Germany, 3-5 June 2019.
Media Law in Other Jurisdictions
The New York Times has an opinion piece by Louise Lim entitled “How Australia Became the Defamation Capital of the World”
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Sports journalist Josh Massoud has taken legal action against more than half a dozen media outlets over the coverage of his departure from the Seven Network
In the case of Bondfield Construction v The Globe and Mail Inc 2015 ONCA 160 the Ontario Court of Appeal has held that a defamation claim is not barred by “Anti-SLAPP” laws. There are reports in The Globe and Mail and in City News.
In the case of Lascaris v. B’nai Brith Canada, 2019 ONCA 163 the same court held that a libel action over a tweet accusing the plaintiff of supporting terrorists should not be dismissed under the Anti-SLAPP law. There was a news report about the case in the Standard-Freeholder.
It is reported that musician and producer Owen Pallett has settled a defamation lawsuit against a woman who accused him of sexual assault,
The intermittently active CzechDefamationLaw blog has an interesting post Violation of presumption of innocence in case of “Nurse death” . Czech tabloid media found guilty of defamation and media prosecution
The Denis O’Brien defamation case has resulted in renewed claims for the reform of defamation legislation. We had a post about this. On Saturday the Irish Times has added its voice to the campaign. The same newspaper reports that the Press Ombudsman has warned that high defamation payouts threaten the future of newspapers.
A & L Goodbody have a post about the reduction of damages by the Court of Appeal in the Kinsella v Kenmare Resources case.
The Journal.ie reports that a Dublin security officer, who turned out his pockets and had his carry-on luggage searched by police on a plane following “an alleged theft” at Dublin airport, has lost his €75,000 claim for defamation.
The Independent reports that the Court of Appeal has overturned a judgment which ordered journalist Caroline Muscat to pay €10,000 in libel damages to Equality Minister Helena Dalli’s husband Patrick Dalli. There was a post about this decision in The Shift.
The Cyberlaw Clinic reports that it has filed an amicus curiae brief (.pdf) in the United States Supreme Court in Oracle v. Google, No. 18-956, on behalf of a group of intellectual property law scholars. The brief supported Google’s petition for certiorari, asking the Supreme Court to review decisions of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
The Volokh Conspiracy has a post on the decision in Molinaro v Molinaro – in which the California Court of Appeal reversed an order prohibiting a party from posting anything about the case on Facebook.
The same blog has a post about the Georgia Appeals Court case of Hartman v. PIP-Group, LLC entitled “No Preliminary Injunctions against Libel”:
The Hill reports that Conservative author and conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi filed a defamation claim against Infowars and its founder Alex Jones on Thursday.
The Washington State Senate has passed a broad package of data privacy protections, including rules that would give consumers the right to delete data about them held by private companies.
It is reported that gold miners Shephard Nyazvigo and Phillip Makanya have lost a court case in which they were demanding $100 000 compensation from former First Lady Grace Mugabe, claiming she allegedly labelled them thieves, who wanted to wrest a citrus plantation from her.
Research and Resources
- Open Justice, Transparency and the Media: Representing the Public Interest in the Physical and Virtual Courtroom, Communications Law, Vol 23, No. 4, pp. 183 – 202, 2018, Jason John Bosland and Judith Townend, University of Melbourne and School of Law, Politics and Sociology, University of Sussex
- Data as Digital Assets. The Case of Targeted Advertising: Towards a Holistic Approach? Mor Bakhoum, Beatriz Conde Gallego, Mark-Oliver Mackenrodt, and Gintarė Surblytė-Namavičienė, Personal data in competition, consumer protection and intellectual property law. Towards a holistic approach? (Springer 2018) 445-499 ISBN 9783662576465,, Guido Noto La Diega,, Northumbria University
- A European Perspective on Privacy and Mass Surveillance at the Crossroads, Higher School of Economics Research Paper No. WP BRP 87/LAW/2019, Vera Rusinova, National Research University Higher School of Economics
- Law in Books and Law in Action: The Readability of PrivacyPolicies and the GDPR, CONSUMER LAW & ECONOMICS, Klaus Mathis & Avishalom Tor, eds., Springer (Forthcoming, 2019), Shmuel I. Becher and Uri Benoliel, Victoria University of Wellington and College of Law and Business – Ramat Gan Law School
- Clearly Opaque: Privacy Risks of the Internet of Things, Rosner, Gilad and Kenneally, Erin, Clearly Opaque: Privacy Risks of the Internet of Things (May 1, 2018). IoT Privacy Forum, Gilad Rosner and Erin Kenneally, University of Nottingham – Horizon Digital Economy Research Institute and Elchemy
Defamation and Free Speech
- Facebook v. Sullivan: Building Constitutional Law for Online Speech, Thomas Kadri and Kate Klonick, Yale Law School and St. John’s University – School of Law
- No-Platforming and Safe Spaces: Should Universities Censor More (Or Less) Speech than the Law Requires?, Croatian Political Science Review (December, 2018), Eric Heinze, Queen Mary University of London, School of Law
- Viewpoint Absolutism and Hate Speech, Modern Law Review (2006), Eric Heinze, Queen Mary University of London, School of Law.
- Towards the Abolition of Hate Speech Bans: A ‘Viewpoint Absolutist’ Perspective, Religious Pluralism and Human Rights (Titia Loenen & Jenny Goldschmidt, eds.), 2007, Eric Heinze, Queen Mary University of London, School of Law
- Free Speech Debates Are More than ‘Radicals’ Versus ‘Liberals’, Aeon (2017), Eric Heinze, Queen Mary University of London, School of Law
- Free Speech and the Diverse University, Fordham Law Review, Forthcoming, Keith E. Whittington, Princeton University – Department of Political Science
Next Week in the Courts
The trial in the case of Rudd v Bridle will conclude before Warby J on 11 March 2019.
On 12 March 2019, the trials in Otuo v Morley and Otuo v Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society will be heard by Richard Spearman QC.
The following reserved judgments after public hearings in media law cases are outstanding:
Kennedy v National Trust for Scotland, heard 25 and 26 July 2018 (Sharp and Asplin LJJ and Sir Rupert Jackson).
Butt v Secretary of State for the Home Department, heard 17 October 2018 (Underhill V-P, Sharp LJ and Sir Rupert Jackson).
Lachaux v Independent Print, heard 13 and 14 November 2018 (UKSC)
ZXC v Bloomberg, heard 27-28 and 30 November 2018 (Nicklin J)
R (on the application of Privacy International) v Investigatory Powers Tribunal, heard 3 and 4 December 2018 (UKSC)
Ali v Channel 5, heard 4 December 2018 (Irwin, Newey and Baker LJJ).
Stocker v Stocker, heard 24 January 2019 (UKSC)
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