The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is to intervene over concerns about the use of facial recognition technology on pupils in lunch queues in the nine schools that have introduced the system in North Ayrshire. The ICO said it has asked the schools to use a “less intrusive” approach where possible. Mishcon de Reya has further analysis here.
Football manager Russell Slade is bringing a claim on behalf of 850 professional footballers to retake control of the huge amounts of data about them that is traded and relied upon by betting firms, data collection agencies, and entertainment companies. Writing for Inforrm this week, Adham Harker speculates that the claim will argue that the data is not processed lawfully, contrary to Article 6(1)(a) UK GDPR because the ‘data subjects’ concerned (the players) have not consented to the data being collected, processed, used or sold.
Internet and Social Media
Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen has given evidence in Parliament before the Draft Online Safety Bill Joint Committee. The appearance comes after she told a US Senate committee hearing earlier this month that Facebook was “divisive” and harmful to children’s mental health. The Press Gazette has more information here.
Mark Zuckerberg has been added as a Defendant in a lawsuit against Facebook over consumer privacy violations related to the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Former US president Donald Trump has announced his plans to launch a new social media company, TruthSocial. The initiative is in response to Trump’s ban from all major social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter, following his involvement in inciting violence in the Capitol Riots of January this year. The Guardian has more information here.
Data Privacy and Data Protection
An amended complaint in the anti-trust claim filed against Google, brought by Texas and 14 other US states and Puerto Rico, describes the “Jedi” and “Jedi Blue” projects hatched by Google and Google and Facebook, respectively. The amended complaint alleges that the companies would “work together to identify users using Apple products,” and set up “quotas for how often Facebook would win publishers’ auctions.” Further, the companies are alleged to have been working together to improve Facebook’s ability to recognize users using browsers with blocked cookies, on Apple devices, and on Apple’s Safari browser, thereby circumventing (Apple’s) efforts to compete by offering users better privacy.” The Register has more information here.
Shares in Snap Inc, owner of the social media site SnapChat, plunged on Friday and dragged down other ad-dependent tech firms, after the photo messaging app owner warned of a prolonged hit from Apple Inc’s privacy changes on iOS devices. Apple’s proposed changes restrict apps from tracking user behaviour beyond their own borders. TechCrunch has more information here.
Listen to Ian Hamilton’s (Upload Podcast) discussion with Ellysse Dick, a policy analyst from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) about how privacy, free speech and safety will co-exist in VR/AR here.
The UK government has announced a new “one-stop-shop” app that will provide access to 300 government services. Some concerns have been raised over the potential threats to privacy and surveillance, surmised in Nathaniel Tkacz’s Inforrm article.
The ICO is urging organisations to revisit their bulk email practices after failures by HIV Scotland resulted in a £10,000 fine.
The Privacy Perspective Blog has a piece on Fairhurst v Woodard G00MK161, the neighbourhood dispute that found CCTV camera’s and a Ring doorbell to amount to a breach of the Data Protection Act 2018, nuisance and harassment.
Paul Bernal has a piece on BT’s new “walk me home” proposal, which would provide women with real time tracking as they walk home. Bernal criticises this proposal, accusing it of victim-blaming, avoiding the issue of male violence and providing more data-gathering opportunities on a person, which has the potential to be misused.
Inforrm published an article exposing how surveillance laws are failing six African countries – Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Sudan. The report, a first of its kind, found that existing surveillance law is being eroded by six factors: the introduction of new laws that expand state surveillance powers; lack of legal precision and privacy safeguards in existing surveillance legislation; increased supply of new surveillance technologies that enable illegitimate surveillance; state agencies regularly conducting surveillance outside of what is permitted in law; impunity for those committing illegitimate acts of surveillance; insufficient capacity in civil society to hold the state fully accountable in law. Jurist also had a piece on the issue.
A particular form of Japanese punctuation has highlighted the impact of a Chrome and Firefox privacy flaw that leaks users’ search terms to their internet service providers (ISPs) without their consent under certain conditions, and could potentially expose them to surveillance by malicious actors.
Newspaper Journalism and Regulation
The Zelo Street Blog analyses the Conservative party’s interference in the BBC as the race to replace Laura Kuenssberg as political editor begins.
IPSO has published four rulings since our last Round Up:
- 00006-21 Hackett v Hull Daily Mail, 1 Accuracy (2019), Breach – sanction: publication of correction
- 04283-21 Friel v thejc.com, 1 Accuracy (2021), No breach – after investigation
- 05855-21 Duah v metro.co.uk, 1 Accuracy (2019), 3 Harassment (2019), 12 Discrimination (2019), No breach – after investigation
- 07938-21 various v express.co.uk, 1 Accuracy (2019), Breach – sanction: action as offered by publication
Statement in Open Court and Apologies
NVTV has apologised to Ishaq Dar for alleging that he was involved in money-laundering and corruption.
Kent Police have apologised to journalist photographer Andy Aitchison for his arrest while covering a Covid-hit asylum centre in Kent, the Press Gazette reports.
New Issued Cases
There were 6 data protection cases issued this past week, and 2 defamation cases.
Last Week in the Courts
Judgement was handed down in Parkes v Hall and Ors  EWHC 2824 (QB). Both Defendant’s applications for relief from sanction were refused, meaning that both Defendant’s defences were struck out for failing to comply with the conditions of an unless order.
A website blocking order was granted in the case of Columbia Pictures Industries Inc and Ors v British Telecommunications Plc and Ors  EWHC 2799 (Ch). The Claimants’ position was that the five Defendant websites were making available for streaming a vast amount of copyright protected film and television content, including content owned by the studios and their affiliates, without any licence being in place.
On 18 October 2021 there was a statement in open court in the case of Zarghune v Channel 5 Broadcasting before Collins Rice J. The Claimant was awarded substantial damages for misuse of private information perpetrated by the Channel 5 programme, Can’t Pay? We’ll Take it Away!
On the same day there was a hearing in the case of Kostakopoulou v University of Warwick and others before Sir Andrew Nicol, judgement was reserved.
In Rolfe & Ors v Veale Wasbrough Vizards LLP  EWHC 2809 (QB) Master McCloud granted the Defendant’s application for summary judgment on the basis that there was no credible case that a data leak had caused distress or damage above a de minimis threshold. There was a post on the Brett Wilson Media and Communications Law Blog.
On 26 October 2021 there will be an event at Inner Temple poses the question “Is There a Case for Anonymity in Social Media?” with Caroline Addy (Doughty Street), Andrew Caldecott QC (5RB) and Adam Wagner (Doughty Street). Register for the event here.
Media Law in Other Jurisdictions
The Defamation claim brought by Ben Roberts-Smith, the war veteran accused of committing war crimes by the Defendant newspapers, continues. The federal court heard that TV stations supporting the Claimant commissioned a secret report into the war crime allegations. The Guardian has more information here.
Labour has shot down MP Peter Dutton’s proposal that taxpayer money should be used to pay for MPs’ defamation cases, claiming it should be considered a “workplace entitlement.” The Guardian has more here.
Vanda Gould, an accountant currently serving a jail sentence for perverting the course of justice, has lost his defamation suit against the Australian taxation commissioner, Chris Jordan, The Guardian reports.
The auditor general has said he is unable to judge the appropriateness of ABC’s decision to pay $200,000 for costs incurred by reporter Louise Milligan in a defamation dispute with Liberal MP Andrew Laming, because there was no policy or precedent for it. The Guardian has more information here.
A missing apostrophe in a Facebook post could cost real estate agent Anthony Zadravic thousands of dollars after a court ruled a defamation case against him could proceed. The New York Times has more information here.
Walied Soliman, a Muslim lawyer who chaired Erin O’Toole’s leadership campaign and the recent Conservative Party election campaign, has won a $500,000 defamation award against a self-styled “news commentator” who used YouTube and other internet platforms to accuse Soliman of being a terrorism supporter.
China is in the midst of a regulatory crackdown on Big Tech companies, and is redefining what it means by monopoly in the process. TechCrunch summaries how this means crafting regulations that address the unique characteristics of market power in the digital economy. “As many of the large internet platforms are two-sided marketplaces, regulation needs to consider both consumer and merchant protections,” explains Michael Norris, a Shanghai-based analyst for market research firm AgencyChina. “Effective regulation needs to walk a tightrope between consumer protections, merchant interests, and platform economics.”
European Parliament voted to allow Europol to process any data voluntarily handed over from organizations, process large amounts of data and develop AI technology for enforcement purposes. Additionally, a separate proposal will let Europol and national authorities exchange data without judicial authorization.
The European Parliament has voted to ban the use of facial recognition software by law enforcement in public spaces. This week also saw the delay of the EU’s proposed expansion of biometric policing and migration databases.
Bollywood actress Samantha Ruth Prabhu has been criticised by a Kukatpally court for filing a defamation claim, rather than seeking an apology from the Defendants.
A court in Mumbai has rejected Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut’s petition seeking transfer of the criminal defamation case filed against her by lyricist Javed Akhtar.
Two solicitors are suing businessman Denis O’Brien alleging they were defamed in a press statement issued in response to a report on the concentration of media ownership in Ireland.
Research and Resources
- Linda Ficht, “Shifting Politics, Shifting Interpretations: The State of Social Media Use Under the Nlra,” Christopher Newport University
- Cian Ó Concubhair, “Journalistic Privilege’ in Ireland: Judicial Supremacy, Journalistic Autonomy, and Constitutional Turf Wars,” National University of Ireland, Maynooth
- Judith Geldenhuys, and Michelle Kelly-Louw, “Demystifying Hate Speech under the PEPUDA,” University of South Africa
- Simon Vande Walle, “The European Commission Clears the Acquisition of a Maker of Fitness Trackers and Smartwatches by a Major Online Platform, Subject to Long-Lasting Behavioural Remedies (Google / Fitbit, M.9660),” University of Tokyo – Graduate Schools for Law and Politics
- Katherine Coffman, Lucas Coffman, Keith M. Marzilli Ericson, “The Size of the LGBT Population and the Magnitude of Anti-Gay Sentiment are Substantially Underestimated,” Harvard University, Boston University
- Dan Yosipovitch, “Adopting a Legislative Approach for Data in the Fourth Amendment: Defining Personal Data as An ‘Effect’,” Temple University – James E. Beasley School of Law
- Daniel Rauch, “Customized Speech and the First Amendment,” Harvard Journal of Law and Technology (Vol 35, forthcoming 2022)
- Luigi Bruno and Isabella Spano, “Post-Quantum Encryption and Privacy Regulation: Can the Law Keep Pace with Technology?”, European Journal of Privacy Law and Technologies (2021)
- Johanna Gunawan, Amogh Pradeep, David Choffnes, Woodrow Hartzog, and Christo Wilson, “A Comparative Study of Dark Patterns Across Mobile and Web Modalities,” In the Proceedings of the ACM 2021 Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing, Vol. 5, No. CSCW2, Article 377 (Oct. 2021)
- The Right not to Forget: Cloud Based Services Moratoriums in War Zones and Data Portability Rights, in Rights to Privacy and Data Protection in Armed Conflict (Asaf Lubin and Russel Buchan, eds, forthcoming 2022), Amir Cahane, Israel Democracy Institute ; Hebrew University of Jerusalem – Federmann Cybersecurity Center, Faculty of Law
Next Week in the Courts
On 28 October 2021 Collins Rice J will hear an application to commit in the case of GUH v KYT.
Soriano v Forensic News, heard on 6 and 7 October 2021 (Sharp P, Elisabeth Laing and Warby LJ)
Qatar Airways Group Q.S.C.S v Middle East News UK Limited and others heard on 4 October 2021 (Saini J)
Abramovich v HarperCollins and Roseneft v HarperCollins, heard 28 and 29 July 2021 (Tipples J).
Masarir v Kingdom of Saudi Arabia., heard 15 and 16 June 2021 (Julian Knowles J)
Riley v Murray, heard 10 to 12 May 2021 (Nicklin J)
Lloyd v Google, heard 28 and 29 April 2021 (UKSC)
Kumlin v Jonsson, heard 24 and 25 March 2021 (Julian Knowles J).
Miller v College of Policing and another, heard 9 and 10 March 2021 (Sharp P, Haddon-Cave and Simler LJJ)
Ansari v Amini, heard 10-11 November 2020 (Julian Knowles J)
This Round Up was compiled by Colette Allen who is the host of Newscast on Dr Thomas Bennett and Professor Paul Wragg’s The Media Law Podcast (@MediaLawPodcast).