This week finally saw the publication of the long awaited White Paper on Online Harms. We had a post about the launch. It attracted generally positive responses across various media – although no one was wholly convinced by the proposals.
Comments on the White Paper included
- The white paper on online harms is a global first. It has never been more needed, John Naughton.
- Taming the internet – ‘something must be done’, but is the UK’s plan really the something we need? – Stuart Lauchlan
- Online harms white paper: could regulation kill innovation? – Alex Hern
- Big Tech Could Be Liable for Content That Isn’t Actually Illegal, If the U.K. Gets Its Way – David Meyer.
The Culture Secretary has reassured the Society of Editors [pdf] that the proposed new independent internet regulator would not duplicate the efforts of IPSO or IMPRESS.
In what is perhaps the most significant post #MeToo libel case to date, Oscar winning Australian actor Geoffrey Rush has succeeded in his libel case against the Sydney Daily Telegraph over allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards co-star, Eryn Norvill. In a judgment handed down on 11 April 2019 ( FCA 496) Justice Wigney awarded the plaintiff A$850,000 aggravated compensatory damages. There were reports, inter alia, in the Guardian, Huffpost, the New York Times, the Press Gazette.
We note a few comments on recent decisions
- 5RB on XW v XH  EWCA Civ 549
- Himsworth Scott on the Stocker case
- The Sector on the Australian email libel case of Bowden v KSMC Holdings
IpKat continues its series on the draft directive on copyright in the Digital Single Marked with a post “How far does Article 14 go?”
Internet and Social Media
Daphne Keller has a post on the Center for Internet and Society Blog, “Australia shows the world how not to regulate platforms, news and public information”
The same blog has a post on “Restoring Net Neutrality Protections” – analysing HR 1644 which is intended to restore net neutrality protections.
Data Protection and Data Privacy
Bloomberg reports that Amazon employs workers to monitor the use of Alexa to improve the voice assistant’s responses and train the product’s speech-recognition systems.
The pwc Data Protection Blog has a post “Can your third parties be trusted to protect your personal data? What the regulator wants you to demonstrate”.
The Guardian reports that Liberty has described a database being developed by the Home Office to provide quick immigration checks to outside organisations as “deeply sinister”.
The Information Law and Policy Centre has issued a call for papers on “Digital Rights in Brexit: Changes and Challenges” for its annual conference on 22 November 2019.
The ICO has fined True Visions Productions £120,000 for failing to provide patients with adequate information about a filming operation in examination rooms at a walk-in clinic at the Addenbrooke’s Hospital Cambridge. There is a report on the ICO website.
On 15 April 2019 the ICO published a consultation document on its Code of Practice for Age appropriate design. This sets out the standards expected of those responsible for designing, developing or providing online services likely to be accessed by children, when they process their personal data. There is a piece on the ICO blog.
The ICO blog has piece entitled “Data Protection law does not prevent information sharing to save lives and stop crime”.
The ICO has fined Bounty (UK) Limited £400,000 for illegally sharing personal information belonging to more than 14 million people.
Newspapers, Journalism and Regulation
The Press Gazette reports that Impress is putting together a “publishers taskforce” to build on nine recommendations made by the Cairncross Review to help sustain the UK news industry in the digital age
The Press Gazette reports that IPSO has ruled that Boris Johnson breached accuracy guidelines in his Daily Telegraph column when he claimed a no-deal Brexit was the preferred option for leaving the EU “by some margin”. The IPSO ruling can be found here: 00154-19 Stirling v The Daily Telegraph
IPSO has issued a number of other rulings and resolution statements this last week:
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
On 8 April 2019 Julian Knowles J heard an application and the trial in the breach of confidence and libel case of Chelfat v Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust. Judgment was reserved.
On 10 April 2019, Warby J handed down judgment in the data protection case of Rudd v Bridle & anr  EWHC 893 (QB).
3rd Global Conference of the Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network, Berlin, Germany, 3-5 June 2019.
Media Law in Other Jurisdictions
We have already mentioned Geoffrey Rush’s libel victory against the Daily Telegraph, Rush v Nationwide News Pty Ltd (No 7) 2019] FCA 496.
It is reported that the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has threatened to sue the leader of the opposition for libel over the SNC-Lavalin crisis.
In the case of Craig v Williams  NZSC 38, the Supreme Court has ordered a retrial of the defamation claim brought against former Conservative leader Colin Craig by defaming Jordan Williams of the Taxpayers Union. There is a report on Stuff.nz.
Associated Press reports on a motion filed by Amber Heard to dismiss the libel action brought by her ex husband, Johnny Depp. There is a report on the allegations of abuse made by Ms Heard in Rolling Stone.
It is reported that Spice Girl Mel B has agreed to pay her former nanny Lorraine Giles nearly £2million in an out of court settlement of a defamation claim in Los Angeles.
The Volokh Conspiracy blog has a post “The First Amendment the Criminal Law”
Next Week in the Courts
On 15 April 2019 Richard Spearman QC will hear the trial in Otuo v The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (previously heard 12-14 and 25 to 29 March and 1 April 2019).
On 16 April 2019, the Court of Appeal will hand down judgment in the case of Ali v Channel 5 (heard 4 December 2018 by Irwin, Newey and Baker LJJ).
On the same day Warby J will hand down judgments in the cases of Alexander-Theodotou & ors v Kounis and Feyziyev v The Journalism Development Network Association.
On 17 April 2019 Nicklin J will hand down judgment in the case of ZXC v Bloomberg (heard 27-28 and 30 November 2018)
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)
R (on the application of Privacy International) v Investigatory Powers Tribunal, heard 3 and 4 December 2018 (UKSC)
Bull v Desporte, heard 25 to 28 March 2019 (Julian Knowles J)
Sadik v Sadik, heard 2 April 2019 (Julian Knowles J).
Tinkler v Ferguson, heard 3 April 2019 (Longmore, Sharp and Bean LJJ)