As usual, updates on the Coronavirus guidance can be found on the Courts and Tribunal Judiciary.
Twitter has permanently suspended Katie Hopkins’ account for violating the platform’s “hateful conduct” policy. Hopkins has been repeatedly retweeted by the US president, Donald Trump, and had more than 1.1 million followers, was removed to “keep Twitter safe”, according to the social media platform. A spokesperson for Twitter confirmed her removal to the Guardian and there was a piece on their website.
The UK has cancelled all plans to release its NHS Covid-19 app which was designed to be a key component of the test, track and trace programme to forge a way out of lockdown. The government has now confirmed that it will switch to the model preferred by Apple and Google. There was a piece in The Guardian.
The Press Gazette had a piece “Mail publisher pays damages to Palestinian centre over ‘grotesque’ libel in Tom Bower serialisation”. Carter Ruck, the law firm representing the Palestinian Return Centre, also published the news on their website.
Internet and Social Media
The Guardian had a piece “Facebook removes Trump re-election ads that feature a Nazi symbol”
Australian treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced in April that the nation would force Google and Facebook to pay for news content, ordering the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to develop a mandatory code between publishers and the tech giants. In its response to the ACCC consultation, Facebook has dismissed the idea it should pay for Australian news content, describing news content as “highly substitutable” in commercial terms. The Press Gazette had a piece.
Twitter has flagged a video tweeted by Donald Trump, which contained a fake CNN news segment about a “racist baby”, adding a warning label that the post contained manipulated media. There was a piece in The Guardian.
The Press Gazette had a piece “Nancy Pelosi: Social media bosses have ‘utterly failed’ to combat Covid-19 disinformation”
Data Privacy and Data Protection
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has released an investigation report into the use of mobile phone extraction (MPE) by police forces when conducting criminal investigations in England and Wales. The investigation found that police data extraction practices vary across the country, with excessive amounts of personal data often being extracted and stored without an appropriate basis in existing data protection law. There was a news piece on the ICO’s website.
A data protection NGO is calling on the European Commission to block Google’s planned acquisition of Fitbit, arguing the technology giant doesn’t have a “clean record” with the handling of sensitive personal information.
Google formally notified the Commission of its plan to acquire Fitbit, a wearable technology company in the health and fitness sector, the deal is valued at approximately $2.1 billion (€1.8 billion). Euronews had a piece.
Norton Rose Fulbright Data Protection Report had a post “Schrems II judgement due in July – what this might mean for your outsourcing deal”.
The Guardian had a piece “Coronavirus mass surveillance could be here to stay, experts say”.
The Conversation had a piece “Tracing homophobia in South Korea’s coronavirus surveillance program”.
Newspapers Journalism and Regulation
The Press Gazette had a piece “Covid-19 has prompted boom for TV news, dip in media trust worldwide and surge in misinformation – 2020 Digital News Report”.
IPSO has published a number of rulings and resolutions statements since our last Round Up:
02638-20 A woman v Mail Online, 3 Harassment (2019), 2 Privacy (2019), 1 Accuracy (2019), 4 Intrusion into grief or shock (2019), 6 Children (2019), 12 Discrimination (2019), 14 Confidential sources (2019), Resolved0 IPSO mediation
Last Week in the Courts
On 17 June 2020 Nicol J handed down judgement in XLD V KZL EWHC 1558 (QB) granting the claimant an interim injunction for harassment and misuse of private information. The claimant alleged the defendant was blackmailing him after they met in secret on a dating website.
On 19 June 2020, Mann J handed down judgment in Trance 4 of the News Group phone hacking litigation, Various Claimants v News Group Newspapers  EWHC 1593 (Ch). The judge refused to strike out the Replies which set out the claimants’ response to the defendant’s limitation defence.
On the same day there was an assessment of damages before HHJ Lewis in the case of Gilham v Mirror Group Newspapers Ltd & anr
Media Law in Other Jurisdictions
The former West Australian Labor MP, Melissa Parke, has accused Wentworth MP Dave Sharma of implying she was an anti-Semite, when he tweeted a link to her resignation from last year’s federal election race after she made controversial comments about Israel. Sharma is arguing his tweet amounts to fair political comment. He has also branded Parke’s action as “lawfare” and an abuse of process ultimately threatening free speech. After early attempts at mediation broke down in May, the case is now headed for trial in South Australia later in the year. The Sydney Morning Herald had a piece.
The McCabe Curwood website has a comment on the recent decision of the Supreme Court of Victoria in the case of Defteros v Google LLC
CBC News had a piece “Constituents sue George Darouze for defamation”.
On 19 June 2020 France’s top court for administrative law dismissed Google’s appeal against a $57M fine issued by the data watchdog for not making it clear enough to Android users how it processes their personal information.
The State Council’s decision affirmed the data watchdog CNIL’s earlier finding that Google did not provide “sufficiently clear” information to Android users — which in turn meant it had not legally obtained their consent to use their data for targeted ads. Tech Crunch had a piece.
In the case of Higgins v Irish Aviation Authority  IECA 157 [pdf] a €387,000 defamation award by a jury to an Aer Lingus pilot against the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has been cut to €76,500 by the Court of Appeal (CoA). Mr Justice Donald Binchy, on behalf of the three-judge COA, found the appropriate sum for general and aggravated damages was €76,500. There were pieces in The Irish Examiner and the Sunday Times.
Norway has been forced to stop loading data to its national Covid-19 track and trace app after a ruling by the national data privacy watchdog.
The Norwegian Data Protection Authority (DPA) raised concerns that the Covid-19 track and trace software, called “Smittestopp,” poses a disproportionate threat to user privacy — including by continuously tracking and uploading people’s GPS location to a national database for half a year. Digital Health had a piece.
The Press Gazette had a piece “Philippine journalist Maria Ressa vows to ‘keep fighting’ after jail sentence for libel”.
The Outer House of the Court of Session has granted interim orders in an action for defamation brought by energy company British Gas against a blogger from Stornoway that require him to remove certain blog posts as well as restricting the content of future posts. Scottish Legal news had a piece. The judgment in the case of British Gas Trading v McPherson  CSOH 61 was delivered on 13 May 2020.
The Brodies websit had a piece entitled “Stuart Campbell v Kezia Dugdale and the defence of fair comment for defamation in Scotland“.
It is reported that the trial of the defamation claim brought by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong against blogger Leong Sze Hian has been adjourned.
Bloomberg had a piece “Fox News Denies Defaming Playboy Model Who Claims Trump Affair”.
Former special counsel Robert Muller is being sued for defamation over a footnote in the Mueller report which identified him as a “Russian businessman”.
Research and Resources
- Data Breaches and Potemkin Privacy: How FTC Regulation Can Restore Authority and Agency to Online Users and Destroy the Data Oligarchy, The University of Arizona Law Journal of Emerging Technologies, Forthcoming, Anthony Salas, University of Arizona – Arizona Journal of Emerging Technology.
- Making the Case for Unrestricted and Indiscriminate Data Collection: (a Prerequisite for the Success of Digital Economy), Paramjeet Singh Berwal, Independent.
- Using Data and Respecting Users,, Communications of the ACM, 2020, Marshall W. Van Alstyne, Boston University – Questrom School of Business; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – Sloan School, A. Lenart.
- Exploring Lawful Hacking as a Possible Answer to the ‘Going Dark’ Debate, Michigan Telecommunications and Technology Law Review, Vol. 26, No. 2, 2020, Carlos Liguori, Yale University – Yale Information Society Project; University of São Paulo
- CCTV, Data Analytics and Privacy: The Baby and the Bathwater, Andrew Charlesworth, University of Bristol.
- Sentenced To Surveillance: Fourth Amendment Limits on Electronic Monitoring, North Carolina Law Review, Vol. 98, No. 717, 2020, Kate Weisburd, George Washington Law School.
- 2020 UK Lockdown Cyber Narratives: The Secure, the Insecure and the Worrying, Karen Renaud, Abertay University, Paul van Schaik, Teesside University, Alastair Irons, Sunderland University, Sara Wilford, De Montfort University
- The Law of Genetic Privacy: Applications, Implications, and Limitations, Journal of Law and the Biosciences, 1–36, 2019, Vanderbilt Law Research Paper Forthcoming, Ellen Wright Clayton, Vanderbilt University – Law School; VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY Medical Center, Barbara J. Evansm University of Florida Levin College of Law, James Hazel, Center for Genetic Privacy & Identity in Community Settings, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Mark A. Rothstein, University of Louisville – Institute for Bioethics, Health Policy, and Law; University of Louisville – Louis D. Brandeis School of Law.
- All-Payer Claims Databases: The Balance between Big Healthcare Data Utility and Individual Health Privacy, UC Hastings Research Paper No. 257, Jaime S. King, University of California Hastings College of the Law, Andrew Kelly, California State University, East Bay.
- Security and Privacy Concerns of the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) in IT and its Help in the Various Sectors across the World, International Journal of Computer Trends and Technology (IJCTT) – Volume 68 Issue 4 – April 2020, Sikender Mohsienuddin Mohammad, Wilmington University; Department of Information Technology
Next Week in the Courts
On 22 June 2020 Julian Knowles J will hear an application in the case of XLK v KZL.
[Update] On 23 June 2020 Saini J will hear the trial of a preliminary issue on meaning in the case of Millett v Corbyn. There was a piece about the action in Jewish News.
On the same day Nicklin J will hear the pre-trial review in the case of Nwakamma & ors v Umeyor
On 25 June 2020, Jay J will hear the pre-trial review in the case of Gubarev & ors v Orbis Business Intelligence Ltd & anr.
On the same day Nicol J will hear an application in the case of Depp v News Group Newspapers
The following reserved judgment after a public hearing in a media law case is outstanding:
Aven v Orbis Business Intelligence, heard 16 to 19 March 2020 (Warby J)
Please let us know if there are other reserved judgments which should be added to this list.
This Round Up was compiled by Nataly Tedone who is a media and entertainment paralegal.
NOTE TO READERS
The Coronavirus lockdown is an ideal time for Inforrm readers to compose all those blog posts they have been thinking about for many months but been too busy to write. This is an ideal opportunity to keep in touch with the media law world. We can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org