The International Forum for Responsible Media Blog

United States: Media and Law Round Up – August 2020

A group that wanted to described a Tennessee state representative as “literally Hitler” in a leaflet has mounted a successful First Amendment challenge to a law that blocked false speech, including satire, against candidates in campaign literature.

The invasiveness of US government security laws has been criticised in the recent influential case of Schrems II. The case successfully challenged the adequacy decision of the European Commission concerning the EU-US Privacy Shield data protection mechanism. The BBC reports as does the Financial Times {£]. Lexology covers the impact of the decision.

Tensions between the US and China continue to escalate with the Foreign Correspondents’ Club suggesting that foreign journalists from Hong Kong are facing “highly unusual” visa delays. BBC News reports. NPR assesses the current situation and potential escalations.

The New York Times [£] reports on Russian interference with the upcoming Presidential election, citing national security sources which state the country is trying to aid Trump in re-election and Trump’s own relationship with national security. The BBC has reported on alleged Chinese, Russian and Iranian interference. The US Department of State has announced rewards of up to $10m for any information leading to the identification of anyone who works with a foreign government to interfere in the elections via illegal cyber activities.

News Corporation posted a USD$1.5bn loss primarily resulting from declines in newspaper revenue attributed to the impact of the coronavirus on news cycles, the Guardian reports.

The New Hampshire Supreme Court has ruled that a judge was wrong to dismiss a cafe owner’s complaint against Facebook that said his social media account was shut down without warning.

President Trump has failed to delay a defamation lawsuit from E. Jean Carroll regarding statements he made about her lying about allegations that he sexually assaulted her, Time reports. Trump argued unsuccessfully that his status as President rendered him immune to defamation suits. The Independent also has coverage.

ProPublica has a report  on the libel claims being brought by the Trump Campaign against media organisations entitled The Trump Campaign’s Legal Strategy Includes Suing a Tiny TV Station in Northern Wisconsin

Capital One has been fined $80m for a 2019 data breach which placed the personal data of over 106m customers in the US and China at risk. The vulnerability was with the companies cloud services branch.

Social media giant TikTok is facing twenty lawsuits alleging data privacy violations regarding potential breaches of the Biometric Information Privacy Act.

The Volokh Conspiracy notes that a prosecution for cyber harassment of an individual who tweeted a photographed of a masked policy officer seeking information as to his identity has been dismissed.

This month in the Courts

Norris v. Cape Elizabeth School District, 19-2167, the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit held that First Amendment protection in schools is not restricted to only core political speech.  There was a post about the case on the Volokh Conspiracy.

Index Newspapers v City of Portland, 3:20-cv-1035-SI, the United States District Court for the District of Oregon has entered a temporary restraining order that blocks federal law enforcement officers from arresting or using physical force against journalists and legal observers as they respond to anti–police brutality protests there.  There was a piece in BuzzFeed News.

Machovec v Palm Beach County,the Florida Circuit Court refused to issue an injunction against an ordinance requiring the mandatory wearing of masks, noting that there was not “a constitutional right to infect others“.

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

1 Comment

  1. Stewart Law Group

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