On 10 November 2021 the UK Supreme Court will had down the long awaited judgment in Lloyd v Google. The Court of Appeal’s decision opened the way to “opt out” collective data breach claims. If the Supreme Court upholds the decision this will open the door to a large number of such class actions. Inforrm has an article here.
Next week, the Court of Appeal will hear the Mail on Sunday appeal against the High Court’s copyright and privacy decision in favour of the Duchess of Sussex. The appeal is set to last three days, starting Tuesday. Brian Cathcart has written about the upcoming trial for Inforrm here.
The Council of Europe has flagged two libel claims by an aggrieved Italian prosecutor against a Guardian journalist as potential acts of state “harassment and intimidation” on an alert system run by Europe’s leading government-backed human rights organisation. The Guardian has more information here.
Richard Desmond, the billionaire former owner of adult television channels and top-shelf magazines, has instructed lawyers to assist him in having the word “pornographer” removed from his Wikipedia biography. Desmond says he cannot factually be described as a pornographer because that term applies only to individuals who publish illegal and obscene material. Desmond says the top-shelf magazines and television channels he owned for decades were instead in the legitimate “adult material” category distributed in high-street shops and on Sky. The Guardian has more information here.
Internet and Social Media
Nadine Dorries, the Culture Secretary, has said that the Online Safety Bill would prevent social media firms from arbitrarily taking down content from “respected news organisations” as well as including “protections and exemptions” for journalists. Writing for the annual Journalism Matters campaign, she said the Bill’s purpose is to protect free speech online while forcing social media platforms to police their sites properly. She highlighted the important role a free press plays in British society and democracy.
Graham Smith attempts to put what he considers to be a detrimentally-abstract draft Online Safety Bill onto more concrete footing on the Cyberleagle blog, with a hypothetical scenario involving an amateur blogger.
Damian Collins MP has explained why the Online Safety Bill can rebalance the relationship between Big Tech and journalism to the Press Gazette.
The LSE Blog has considered whether studying lived experience – without losing sight of its social, technical and political dimensions – can shed light on the tensions between desires of expanded experience and technological transparency.
Data Privacy and Data Protection
In the second instalment of analysis of the UK’s proposals to change the accountability requirements in the UK_GDPR in the DCMS consultation document (“Data: a new direction”), the HawkTalk blog discusses how attempts to reduce red tape in fact undermine accountability.
The Data Protection Report has an article on the two opposing conclusions reached by courts in Singapore and Hong Kong for compensating injury to feelings in cases involving misuse of personal data. In Singapore, the court held that distress and mere loss of control over personal data was insufficient to constitute “loss or damage” required to sustain the right of private action under the law; the claim for compensation was dismissed. In Hong Kong, the Claimant succeeded in her claim for injury to feelings as a result of the misuse of personal data and was awarded HK$70,000 for the contravention of Hong Kong Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) has issued orders to Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Square and PayPal requesting detailed information about their business practices in relation to the payment systems they operate. The Privacy and Information Security Law Blog produced a summary of the order this week.
The Federal Trade Commission has announced the issuance of a new enforcement policy statement warning companies against using dark patterns that trick consumers into subscription services. The policy statement comes in response to rising complaints about deceptive sign-up tactics like unauthorized charges or impossible-to-cancel billing. The Privacy and Information Security Law Blog produced a summary of the order this week.
The Cyberspace Administration of China (“CAC”) has released for public comment “Draft Measures on Security Assessment of Cross-border Data Transfer” (“Draft Measures”). The CAC, in its third legislative attempt to build a cross-border data transfer mechanism in China, issued the Draft Measures three days before the 1 November 2021 effective date of the Personal Information Protection Law (“PIPL”). The Privacy and Information Security Law Blog produced a summary of the order this week.
Freedom of Information
A Freedom of Information Act response by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (Ocpa) showed that ministers were asked to replace interview panellists for new chairs for the BBC and the British Film Institute because they were “not sufficiently independent”. The Guardian has more information here.
Art, music and copyright
The UK’s Intellectual Property Office has launched a new service that avails artificial intelligence (AI) to improve the trade mark application process. IPKat has more information here.
Newspapers, Journalism and Regulation
Martin Hockridge is expected to go on trial at Westminster Magistrates Court on 8 November 2021 over an incident involving BBC journalist Nick Watt in June 2021. Hockridge is accused of using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour and pursuing Watt through Whitehall during an anti-lockdown protect. He pleads not guilty. The Press Gazette has more information here.
A new study by Newsworks has found that news brands have a vital role to play in informing and educating the public about climate change. Over two thirds of the UK rely on news brands to inform them about climate change, while nearly 80% believe the established media is driving awareness of climate change, over social media and Government or government organisations.
Lord Rothermere has agreed a takeover plan with the company that publishes the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday in a move that will see the group taken private after nearly a century on the stock market, the Press Gazette reports.
A government survey has shown that more than a third of female journalists have said they feel unsafe doing their jobs in the UK.
IPSO Rulings and Resolution Statements
- 06034-21 Versi v The Daily Telegraph, 1 Accuracy (2019), No breach – after investigation
- Resolution Statement – 06352-21 Highy v windsorobserver.co.uk, 1 Accuracy (2019), Resolved – IPSO mediation
- Resolution Statement – 09050-21 Highy v The Reading Chronicle, 1 Accuracy (2019), Resolved – IPSO mediation
New Issued cases
There were two defamation claims issued last week, one data protection claim and one injunction.
Last week in the courts
The Court of Appeal has dismissed the appeal brought by the broadcaster Russia Today (RT) against Ofcom for a £200,000 fine issued for breaches of impartiality. Ofcom sanctioned RT for seven news and current affairs programmes between 17 March and 26 April 2018 relating to the Salisbury poisoning, the Ukrainian Government’s position on Nazism and the war in Syria. The Court found that references to opposing views were “either sarcastic or ridiculing,” making the sanctioned programmes “partial and unbalanced.” The Press Gazette has more information here.
11KBW’s Anya Proops QC, Christopher Knight and Rupert Paines will be conducting a webinar on the Lloyd v Google judgement on 16 November at 17:00. You can register for the webinar here.
On 10 November 2021, Lorrayne Porciuncula, Executive Director at the Datasphere Initiative, will speak at a webinar on governance of the data driven economy. You can register for the event here.
Media Law in Other Jurisdictions
A defamation case between former NSW deputy premier John Barilaro and YouTube Comedian Jordan Shanks, aka FriendlyJordies, settled last week. Shanks’s lawyer read a statement conceding that the videos were offensive, but no damages will be paid.
The Irish Times reports that former Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams’ defamation case against Sunday World has been settled with an apology being given by the newspaper.
The Times of Malta reports that Malta Today journalist Raphael Vassallo has lost a libel suit against blogger and civil society activist Manuel Delia over a blog post that appeared to suggest that Vassallo had a hand in the “mafia conspiracy that killed Daphne Caruana Galizia”. There was also a report on Newsbook.
MP Toni Bezzina has won a libel claim against Labour newspaper Kullħadd over an unfounded allegation of fraud relating to a planning application. Damages of €1,000 were awarded.
Northern Ireland’s Health Minister, Robin Swann, is suing the singer Van Morrison for defamation following comments made at the Europa Hotel in Belfast over the summer, in which Morrison criticised Swann’s handling of the pandemic. The claim also cites two further incidents when Morrison, a fervent critic of lockdown restrictions, elaborated on his criticism of Swann. RTE has more information here.
A private member’s Bill is currently going through the Stormont assembly that seeks to reform Northern Ireland’s defamation law and bring it in line with the rest of the UK. The Irish Times has more information here.
Smartmatic, the voting machine maker, has initiated a defamation claim against the far-right news networks One America News and Newsmax for allegations of election fraud involving the company’s voting system during the 2020 presidential election. Forbes has more information here.
This week the US Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case which could determine whether the US government faces accountability for its mass surveillance of Muslim Americans after 9/11. The Guardian has more information here.
Carol Baskin has brought a claim against Netflix for breach of contract after they included footage of her and her husband, Howard Baskin, in the trailer for season two of Tiger King. The lawsuit, filed in Florida, claims they only signed appearance release forms for season one. The claim goes on to complain that the Baskins and Big Cat Rescue were unfairly portrayed in the first season, by perniciously implicating the Baskins in animal abuse and Carol for the disappearance of her first husband in 1997.
Three Uzbek journalists and a private businesswoman have been sentenced on charges of libel, insulting representatives of public authorities and disobeying the authorities. Radio Free Europe has more information here.
Research and Resources
- Sophy B Baird, “What about the Child? Preventing the Publication of Children’s Names After the Age of 18” (2021), University of Pretoria
- Cian Ó Concubhair, “Journalistic Privilege’ in Ireland: Judicial Supremacy, Journalistic Autonomy, and Constitutional Turf Wars” (2021), National University of Ireland, Maynooth (NUI Maynooth) – Faculty of Law
- Claudia E. Haupt and Wendy E Parmet, “Government Speech, Distorted Science, and the First Amendment” (2021), University of Illinois Law Review
- Hans-Bernd Schaefer, “Which Combination of Property Rights Can Tame the Internet Giants?” (2021), Bucerius Law School; University of Hamburg
- Shubhanshi Phogat, “The Curious Case of Right to Privacy in India” (2021), Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha (GGSIP) University, Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies (VIPS)
Next Week in the Courts
On 8 November 2021, Saini J will hear the trial in the harassment and libel case of Davies v Carter.
On 9, 10 and 11 November 2021, the Court of Appeal will hear the appeal in the case of HRH Duchess of Sussex v Associated Newspapers Ltd.
On 10 November 2021, the UK Supreme Court will hand down judgment in the case of Lloyd v Google.
GUH v KYT, heard on 28 October 2021 (Collins Rice J)
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)
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).