Former motorsport boss turned privacy and press regulation campaigner Max Mosley died last week at the age of 81. He was a strong supporter of independent and effective press regulation. Hacked Off had a tribute “Max Mosley: press freedom campaigner“. The Guardian’s piece was entitled ‘He lit the blue touch paper’: Max Mosley’s legacy as a campaigner for a more ethical press“. The Press Gazette had an article “Max Mosley helped bring down a newspaper, tame the tabloids and shift the goalposts on privacy in the UK“. There was also an Inforrm post.
On 25 May 2021 the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights has issued a landmark ruling that the UK’s mass surveillance regime violated people’s rights to privacy and freedom of expression. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism and privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch were among the organisations that brought legal challenges against intelligence agency GCHQ’s bulk intercept regime after it was exposed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013.
The ECHR found that the UK’s historical bulk interception regime violated the right to privacy protected by Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and freedom of expression, protected by Article 10. Privacy International had a post. The Panopticon Blog had a post “The Grand Chamber, Bulk Interception and a Curate’s Egg”.
TV presenter Dr Christian Jessen has been ordered to pay damages of £125,000 and legal costs to Arlene Foster for posting an “outrageous” defamatory tweet which made unfounded claims that the First Minister of Northern Ireland was having an extramarital affair. Delivering judgment in the case at the High Court in Belfast ( NIQB 56) McAlinden J said the tweet had attacked Mrs Foster’s “integrity at a most fundamental level” and involved the “trashing in a very public fashion” the relationship which was most important in her life. The judge accepted that the false tweet by the celebrity doctor had cut Mrs Foster “to the core” and awarded damages of £125,000 . The BBC had a piece.
The Open Rights group has a post in relation to another Northern Ireland libel action, “Jeffrey Donaldson sued us, Here’s why we’re going public“.
Peers in the Lords Communications and Digital Committee have written to Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden with fears that the draft Online Safety Bill does not go far enough to protect the industry of journalism. Lord Gilbert of Panteg, the Conservative chair of the committee said “we welcome the principle in clause 14 of the draft bill that journalistic content should receive special protection, although we remain to be convinced that the draft bill would not lead to access to such content being restricted.” The Press Gazette had a piece.
Kingsley Napley has published a “Reputation and Media Quarterly Round Up: Q1 2021” covering all the important cases of the past 3 months.
The Press Gazette had a piece “BBC to hold ‘legal discussion’ on compensation for Bashir whistleblower Matt Wiessler”.
As usual, updates on the Coronavirus guidance can be found on the Courts and Tribunal Judiciary.
Internet and Social Media
Twitter has listed a new paid-for “Twitter Blue” service on app stores, suggesting the social media company may launch its long-rumoured subscription service soon. Expected features for the paid service include an “undo” button to allow users to recall tweets for a few seconds after sending them, a “collections” feature so users can make separate lists of tweets (rather than relying on a single bookmarks list), and a mode to make it easier to read long threads. The Guardian had a piece.
The BBC had an article “Social media and the law: Could your next tweet get you in trouble?”
Data Privacy and Data Protection
The Court of Appeal has handed down its judgment in R (Open Rights Group and the3million) v Secretary of State for the Home Department and Others  EWCA Civ 800 concluding that the ‘immigration exemption’ in Schedule 2 to the DPA 2018 is not compliant with the GDPR. The Panopticon Blog had a post. Mishcon de Raya Data Matters had a post “Data Protection Act immigration exemption is unlawful, rules Court of Appeal”.
The ICO had two blog posts “Blog: Spotlight on the Children’s Code standards – data protection impact assessments”, “Blog: How the digital design community can help shape the ICO’s work on the Children’s Code”.
Politico EU had a piece “In Europe, a coronavirus boom for foreign surveillance firms”.
The Gaudian had a piece “WhatsApp sues Indian government over ‘mass surveillance’ internet laws”.
Newspapers Journalism and Regulation
The Guardian had a piece “Ministers reopen hunt for Ofcom chair after Paul Dacre is rejected”.
IPSO has published a number of rulings and resolutions statement since our last Round Up:
- 00565-21 Tatton v The Sunday Times, 1 Accuracy (2019), 12 Discrimination (2019), No breach – after investigation.
- 00394-21 Pelling v Metro, 1 Accuracy (2019), Breach – sanction: publication of correction.
- 28673-20 Webb v The Northern Echo, 1 Accuracy (2019), No breach – after investigation.
There were 13 new cases issued in the Media and Communications List between 24 and 30 May 2021: 9 data protection cases, 3 defamation cases and Norwich Pharmacal order.
Last Week in the Courts
On 24 May 2021 Nicklin J handed down judgment in The Mayor and Commonalty and Citizens of the City of London v Persons Unknown  EWHC 1378 (QB).
On 26 May 2021 Nicklin J heard the libel case of Bindel v PinkNews Media Group Ltd. Judgment was reserved.
On the same day Tipples J heard an application in the case of Mincione v GEDI Gruppo Editoriale SpA.
On 28 May 2021 Collins Rice J handed down judgment in the case of Sanso Rondon v LexisNexis Risk Solutions  EWHC 1427 (QB).
Media Law in Other Jurisdiction
On 27 May Justice Thomas Thawley ruled in Christian Porter’s defamation case against the ABC that his barrister, Sue Chrysantou SC would have to relinquish the brief because she had received confidential information which was relevant to the case and could present a “danger of misuse”. “I have concluded there is a danger of misuse of confidential information received by Ms Chrysanthou,” Thawley said in his judgement. The Guardian had a piece.
The Sydney Morning Herald had a piece “Racing NSW right behind V’landys as ABC defamation fight continues”.
The New South Wales deputy premier, John Barilaro, is suing the YouTube comedian Jordan Shanks for defamation. In a statement of claim lodged in the federal court, lawyers for Barilaro say Shanks, a former male model who uses the nom de plume Friendlyjordies in his popular YouTube videos, defamed the deputy premier in a series of “vile and racist” videos that had brought him into “public disrepute, odium, ridicule and contempt”. Court documents reveal Barilaro is also suing tech company Google for its failure to remove two YouTube videos posted by Shanks. The Guardian had a piece.
The Committee to Protect Journalists had an alert that Hungarian authorities should not contest journalist Júlia Halász’s appeal of a recent criminal defamation verdict, and should reform the country’s laws to decriminalize speech.
The Hindu had a piece “Twitter defaming India, defying laws, says government”.
The Guardian had a piece “Chicago mayor sued by journalist for limiting interviews to reporters of color”.
Research and Resources
- The Concept of Publication in Defamation Law,. Torts Law Journal, Vol 27, No. 1 (in press), David Rolph, The University of Sydney Law School.
- Post-Pandemic Privacy Law, American University Law Review, Vol. 70, 2021, Tiffany C. Li, Yale Law School – Information Society Project; Boston University – Boston University School of Law.
- ‘The Right to be Forgotten’: A Philosophical View, Luciano Floridi, University of Oxford – Oxford Internet Institute.
- Teens at the Margin: Artificially Intelligent Technology for Promoting Adolescent Online Safety, ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2021)/ Artificially Intelligent Technology for the Margins: A Multidisciplinary Design Agenda Workshop, Afsaneh Razi, University of Central Florida\, Seunghyun Kim, Georgia Institute of Technology, Ashwaq Alsoubai, University of Central Florida, Xavier Caddle, University of Central Florida, Shiza Ali, Boston University, gianluca Stringhini, Boston University, Munmun De Choudhury, Georgia Institute of Technology, Pamela Wisniewski, University of Central Florida.
- Regulatory, Safety, and Privacy Concerns of Home Monitoring Technologies during COVID-19 Nat Med. 2020 Aug;26(8):1176-1182. doi: 10.1038/s41591-020-0994-1, Sara Gerke, Harvard University – Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics, Carmel Shachar, Harvard Law School, Peter R. Chai, Harvard University – Brigham and Women’s Hospital, I. Glenn Cohen, Harvard Law School.
- Right to Privacy, Data Protection and IOTs: An Appraisal of Legal Issues Covering Cross Border Data Transfer, Samuel Abu, Independent.
- Protection of Data in Armed Conflict 97 International Law Studies 556 (2021) Robin Geiss, University of Glasgow, Henning Lahmann, Digital Society Institute, ESMT Berlin; University of Geneva – Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Right.
- The Moral Case for Adopting a U.S. Right to be Forgotten, 4 J. L. & Tech. at Tx. 151 (2021), Lindsay Holcomb, University of Pennsylvania Law School – Student/Alumni/Adjunct.
- From Knowing by Name to Personalisation: Meaning of Identification Under the GDPR, Nadezhda Purtova, Tilburg University – Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT)
Next Week In the Courts
This week is the legal vacation and we are not aware of any cases listed in the High Court.
The following reserved judgments after a public hearing are outstanding:
Bindel v PinkNews Media Group Ltd, heard 26 May 2021 (Nicklin J)
Riley v Murray, heard 10 to 12 May 2021 (Nicklin J)
Lloyd v Google, heard 28 and 29 April 2021 (UKSC)
Hijazi v Yaxley-Lennon, heard 21-23 and 26 April 2021 (Nicklin J)
Kumlin v Jonsson, heard 24 and 25 March 2021 (Julian Knowles J).
Junejo v New Vision TV Limited, heard 24 and 25 March 2021 (Murray J)
Miller v College of Policing and another, heard 9 and 10 March 2021 (Sharp P, Haddon-Cave and Simler LJJ)
Lachaux v Independent Print, heard 22 and 24 February and 1 March 2021 (Nicklin J)
Wright v McCormack, heard 16 and 18 February 2021 (Julian Knowles J)
Desporte v Bull, heard 9 February 2021 (Julian Knowles J)
Ansari v Amini, heard 10-11 November 2020 (Julian Knowles J)
Please let us know if there are other reserved judgments which we should be listing.
This Round Up was compiled by Nataly Tedone who is a media and entertainment paralegal.