Law and Media Round Up – 4 November 2019

4 11 2019

The phone hacking saga continues, more than 13 years since the arrest of Clive Goodman and 10 years after the first legal actions. This week saw three more settlements of News Group claims and a CMC in the Fourth Wave of claims.

There are, at present, 49 active cases in the litigation which continues to be managed by Mann J in the Chancery Division.  The latest settlements, unusually, received some mainstream media coverage in, for example, BBC News, ITV News, Bloomberg and MailOnline (but not The Sun itself)

The EU Commission has published the first annual self-assessment of the signatories to the Code of Practice on Disinformation. The Commission has received annual self-assessment reports from the online platforms and technology companies Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and Mozilla and from the trade association signatories to the Code of Practice against disinformation, detailing policies, processes and actions undertaken to implement their respective commitments under the Code during its first year of operation. The Commission is now carrying out its comprehensive assessment of the effectiveness of the Code of Practice which will be present in early 2020.

Female MP’s have written a letter in support of the Duchess of Sussex. Hacked Off has coverage along with its own response. The Press Gazette also has coverage. The Guardian has a piece on the Duchess of Sussex’s reasons for suing the Mail on Sunday.

Anil Ambani’s Reliance Communications has dropped its $1.1bn libel claim against the Financial Times which the industrialist had filed because of the way the paper had covered his business dealings.

New guidelines have been issued for reporters covering family court proceedings. The Press Gazette has coverage as does INFORRM.

Internet and Social Media

Facebook has agreed to pay fines over the Cambridge Analytic scandal without admission of liability.

Business Insider has a report about the 20 countries that ask Google to ban the most content – almost half of all content requests from Governments come from Russia, with Turkey second and the USA third.  The UK is sixth – with 40% of the requests being on the grounds of “national security”.

Twitter has suspended its targeted political advertising for a month. HawkTalk has covered the move and hypothesises that data subjects can, in theory, use their rights to stop political advertising.

IP Kat covers the case of Warner Music and Another v TuneIn Inc a case concerning copyright infringement via the use of hyperlinks.

Data Privacy and Data Protection

Mishcon de Reya’s Data Matters Blog has covered the case of Lloyd v Google commenting that the case serves as a green light for representative actions.

Two years on from the Equifax data breach, Suneet Sharma considers the issue of liability which has arisen in an INFORRM post.

ICO

The ICO has issued a comment on the police forces use of facial recognition technology, opting for a more cautious approach to the deployment of the technology.

The ICO released a statement on the Facebook’s payment of a fine in relation to the Cambridge Analytical Scandal.

The AI Auditing Framework has released some results on its call for Input which covers issues of governance, ethics and risk.

Surveillance

The Financial Times considers the spreading matter of emotion recognition surveillance in China and other countries.

Newspapers, Journalism and Regulation

The Queen (on the application of the British Broadcasting Corporation) v Newcastle Crown Court [2019] EWHC 2756 (Admin), covers the matter of producing journalistic material following court orders. The Panopticon Blog has coverage of this case.

Following Samira Ahmed’s equal pay claim against the BBC it appears that a number of journalists may follow suit- the Press Gazette asserts.

IPSO

Rulings

IPSO has released two resolution statements and the following rulings:

Statements in Open Court and Apologies

As mentioned above, 31 October 2019 statements in open Court in the phone hacking litigation were read in the cases of Mark Womack v News Group Newspapers Limited, Natalka Znak v News Group Newspapers Limited and Antony Dunn v News Group Newspapers Limited.

Last Week in the Courts

On 29 October 2019 there was a trial in the case of Abdulrazaq v Hassan before Saini J.

On 30 October 2019 Murray J handed down judgment in the case of  Jagwani v Alles [2019] EWHC 2887 (QB).  The judge refused an application for an interim injunction to restrain harassment by publishing defamatory statements.

As already mentioned, on 31 October and 1 November 2019 there was a CMC in the case of Various Claimants v News Group Newspapers (the Mobile Telephone Voicemail Interception Litigation, 4th Wave) before Mann J.

Events

5 November 2019, Libel and defamation event co-hosted with English Pen, Society of Authors, 24 Bedford Row, London WC1R 4EH [£]

14 November 2019, Protecting the Media Conference, Hotel Sofitel London St James

19 November 2019 Meet the Centre for Internet and Society, 12:50 – 2:00, Room 280B [£], 559 Nathan Abbott Way, Stanford, CA.

20 November 2019 CLSGC Annual Lecture by Professor Fleur Johns – On Data: Givens of Global Law. Arts Two Lecture Theatre, Ground Floor, Mile End Road, Queen Mary University of London, London E1 4NS

27 November 2019, Defamation, Data, Privacy: Shaping the New Law, White Paper Conference, The Caledonian Club, 9 Halkin Street, London SW1X 7DR [£]

28 November 2019, SCL Privacy and Data Protection Group event: Transitioning from GDPR to global compliance, Kemp Little LLP, 138 Cheapside, London EC2V 6BJ [£]

Please let us know if there are any events we should be drawing to the attention of our readers.

Media Law in Other Jurisdictions

Australia

The Full Federal court (White, Wheelahan and Gleeson JJ) will begin hearing the appeal in the case of Rush v Nationwide News on Monday 4 November 2019.  The Notice of Appeal, Chronologies and Appeal Books can be found  online.  There is a story about the appeal in the Guardian.  The plaintiff was awarded a record $2.9 million damages against the Daily Telegraph (Australia).  The appeal is listed for 2 days.

Austria

The Austrian DPA has issued an 18 million euro fine against Osterreichische Post AG for GDPR violations.

Canada

In the case of Simon v. Poirier, 2019 YKSC 56 damages of $20,000 were awarded in respect of Facebook posts by the plaintiff’s former partner  in the midst of the parties’ acrimonious separation.

Germany

The German Data Protection Authority has published a new GDPR centric model for fines. The Data Protection Report has coverage.

Georgia

A large scale cyber-attack has hit Georgia, MDR Cyber reports on the country wide attack.

Hong Kong

The Court of Hong Kong has been used to obtain some remarkable injunctions in relation to the recent protests.

On 25 October 2019 Court continued an injunction in the case of The Secretary for Justice v. Persons Unlawfully and Wilfully Obstructing Occupying or Remaining on or Hindering or Preventing the Passing or Repassing of the Public Highway [2019] HKCFI 2636.

On 1 November 2019 an injunction was granted in the case of Television Broadcasts Ltd v Persons Unlawfully and Willfully Damaging any Property of the Plaintiff [2019] HKCFI 2723. On the same day the Government has obtained an ex parte interim Injunction from the High Court to restrain any persons from the promotion, encouragement and incitement of the use or threat of violence via internet-based platform or medium.

Meanwhile, pro-Beijing lawmaker Junius Ho has sued three pro-democracy lawmakers for libel after they accused him at a public event of having links to triads.

India

The Times of India has considered the need for surveillance reform.

Italy

3 million UniCredit customers have been impacted by a broad-ranging data breach, the IAPP reports.

Malta

The Labour government’s ‘Libyan envoy’ Neville Gafà – an official at the Office of the Prime Minister – has filed constitutional proceedings against the Attorney General decrying the “amateurish” manner in which the last sitting in a libel case he had filed, was held.

Senior MaltaToday journalist Raphael Vassallo has sued blogger Emanuel Delia for libel, over an article which suggested that Vassallo may have had a hand in the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

MediaToday director Saviour Balzan says he has filed a libel suit against The Times journalist Ivan Camilleri for comments the latter posted online yesterday in reaction to a story claiming Camilleri had been caught stealing ‘high-value items’ from a Naxxar supermarket.

Scotland

The Court of Session has begun hearing a defamation claim against Green MSP Andy Wightman by Paul O’Donoghue and his business Wildcat Haven.  There was a report in the Times.

Trinidad

Francis Morean, a herbalist from Arima who also maintains a blog on his public Facebook page has been ordered to pay over TT$1 million (£114,000) in compensation to a veteran attorney for defamation.

United States

The libel action by former Sheriff Joe Arpaio against CNN, Rolling Stone and the Huffington Post has been dismissed by a US District Court.  The judgment is here.

On 28 October 2019 a Federal judge ruled that Tesla CEO Elon Musk will face a jury in December for a defamation lawsuit brought by a British cave diver, whom Musk reportedly referred to as “pedo guy” and a “child rapist” on social media and in emails.

A federal judge in Kentucky partially reopened a defamation by Covington Catholic High School student Nicholas Sandmann against the Washington Post.  President Trump tweeted his support for the plaintiff.

Gibson’s Bakery has filed a cross-appeal in the ongoing lawsuit that the bakery’s owners brought against Oberlin College and Vice President and Dean of Students Meredith Raimondo. The College is appealing the jury’s award of $25 million for libel and intentional infliction of emotional harm.

Zimbabwe

Former first lady Grace Mugabe has defended a $2 million lawsuit filed against her and her son Russel Goreraza by Lebanese businessman Jamal Hamed, who accuses the two of defaming him during a legal battle in a diamond ring deal that went wrong.

Research and Resources

Next Week in the Courts

On 4 November 2019 there will be an application in the case of ABC v Google LLC

On the same day judgment will be handed down by Warby J in the case of Sheikh v Times Newspapers (heard 24 October 2019)

On 6 November 2019 there will be an application in the case of Chandler v O’Connor.

On 6 and 7 November 2019 the Supreme Court (Lady Hale and Lords Reed, Kerr, Hodge and Lloyd-Jones) will hear the appeal in the case of W M Morrison Supermarkets plc v Various Claimants.

Judgments

The following reserved judgments after a public hearing in a media law case are outstanding:

Euroeco Fuels (Poland) Limited and ors -v- Szczecin and Swinoujscie Seaports Authority S.A, heard 16 and 17 October 2019 (Lewison, Bean and Baker LJJ).

Triaster Ltd v Dun & Bradstreet Ltd, heard 21 October 2019 (Jay J)

Please let us know if there are other reserved judgments which should be added to this list.

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


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