The Data Protection and Digital Information (No.2) Bill was reintroduced into Parliament this week. The bill reforms provisions relating to automated decision making, makes changes to the obligations of data controllers and processors and amends the existing law relating to international transfers of personal data.
The bill, which is available here, was met with a mixed response. The ICO published a statement welcoming the reintroduction of the bill, whilst the Big Brother Watch called it a “serious threat[s] to Brits’ privacy.” 26 civil society groups, including Privacy International and Open Rights Group signed an open letter to Secretary of State, Michelle Donelan, stating that the “ill-considered proposals…endanger UK residents and UK data protection.” DLA Piper, Pinsent Masons and Mischon de Reya summarise the key changes in the proposed legislation, but suggest that there is very little material difference between the second bill and its predecessor.
Match of the Day host, Gary Lineker, was suspended by the BBC this week for tweets in which he criticised the government’s new asylum plans. Lineker refused to apologise for his comments which compared the “stop the boats” bill to policies used in 1930s Germany. BBC Sport was thrown into chaos when a number of presenters and commentators walked out in response to Lineker being taken off the air. The Guardian, BBC, Daily Mail and Spectator reported on the growing pressure on the BBC chair following the suspension.
To mark International Women’s Day, Group Manager for AI and Data Science at the ICO, Sophia Ignatidou, wrote a blog post discussing how bias can arise in AI and how we can work to overcome AI-driven discrimination. Read the blog post here.
The information Commissioner, John Edwards delivered the keynote address at IAPP Data Protection Intensive UK. The speech is available to read here.
Internet and Social Media
TikTok has launched a plan called Project Clover to protect its users’ data across Europe. The data security strategy proposes to store user data on servers in Ireland and Norway and allow a third-party company to vet any data transfer outside of Europe. The measures are intended to add an extra layer of control over who can access the data of European uses. The Guardian, Forbes, Politico and the BBC reported on the plans, which have been interpreted as an attempt to assuage fears in Europe and the US about the company’s links to China.
Data privacy and data protection
The Information Commissioner, John Edwards, gave a speech providing an overview of the ICO’s past year.
The ICO blog has a piece entitled “Why addressing AI-driven discrimination is so important”.
France has moved forward with its plans for a video surveillance system during the 2024 Summer Olympics, despite the objections of privacy campaigners, Politico reports. The experimental technology involves using algorithmic real-time camera systems to identify suspicious behaviour, such as unsupervised luggage and crowd stampedes. The National Assembly’s law committee voted to suspend the program on 24 December 2024, rather than the proposed date of June 2025. Despite this provision, 37 civil society groups, including State Watch Europe and Amnesty International, published an open letter, arguing that the measures would violate international human rights law and lead to biometric mass surveillance.
Newspaper Journalism and regulation
Labour MP, Dawn Butler, has called for a mandatory Editors’ Code of Practice following the ‘sensationalist’ reporting of fatal domestic abuse, the Press Gazette reports. Before the Commons, Butler argued that journalists should be “legally bound” to report on violence against women and girls in a responsible way.
A HackedOff blog post has warned that the National Security Bill may undermine journalists’ ability to do their job. Clause 3 of the bill states that a person will be committing an offence if they engage in conduct with the intention that such conduct is likely to materially assist a foreign intelligence service in carrying out UK-related activities. The article suggests that the bill would benefit from a media exemption to a number of its provisions.
- Satisfactory Remedy – 11792-22 Caves v thestar.co.uk, 1 Accuracy (2021), Resolved – satisfactory remedy
- 11834-22 Phillips v The Sun, 1 Accuracy (2021), Breach – Sanction: publication of correction
- 11954-22 Lord v Rochdale Observer, 1 Accuracy (2021), 2 Privacy (2021), 4 Intrusion into grief or shock (2021), 5 Reporting suicide (2021), No breach – after investigation
- 13109-22 National LGBT+ Police Network v The Sunday Telegraph, 1 Accuracy (2021), No breach – after investigation
Statements in open court and apologies
There were no statements in open court or apologies made last week.
New Issued cases
There were two defamation (libel and slander) claims filed on the media and communications list last week.
Last week in the courts
On 6 March 2023 Nicklin J heard an application in the case of Kirk v Associated Newspapers.
On the same day, the High Court granted business coach and anti-bullying campaigner, Lisa Johnson, the maximum award of £25,000 in damages for a Facebook post published by the defendant, containing defamatory and untrue allegations that Mrs Johnson was a bully and fraud. As the defendant did not participate in the proceedings, in November 2022 Nicklin J entered judgement in default with damages to be assessed. In addition to the damages, which the judge, Richard Spearman KC, said would be higher if not for the cap, the court also granted a permanent injunction to prevent the defendant from repeating the allegations. The Times and the Daily Mail covered the hearing. 5RB summarised the decision.
On 8 March 2023 there was a Pre-Trial Review in the case of Various Claimants v MGN before Fancourt J. The trial is due to commence on 9 May 2023 and is listed for 6-8 weeks. There was a report in the Press Gazette.
On 10 March 2023 there was a contempt application in the case of Miller -v- Peake QB-2022-001106.
Media law in other jurisdictions
On 7 March 2023, the High Court of Australia revoked Facebook Inc’s special leave to appeal to the High Court in the case of Facebook Inc v Australian Information Commissioner & Anor  HCATrans 22. The substantive proceedings concern allegations that the company seriously and/or repeatedly interfered with Australian privacy law with regard to the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
On 14 September 2020, Justice Thawley ruled that Facebook Inc was conducting business in Australia and collecting and holding personal information under s5B(2) of the Privacy Act 1988. On 7 February, the Full Federal Court upheld Justice Thawley’s finding, dismissing Facebook Inc’s appeal. The company was granted special leave to appeal to the High Court of Australia, however the High Court revoked this grant of special leave on the basis that the grounds of appeal no longer concerned an issue of public importance. Costs were awarded to the Commissioner. The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner welcomed the High Court’s decision in a statement which can be found here.
Former liberal staffer, Bruce Lehrmann, is set to argue that he delayed starting defamation proceedings against Network Ten and News Corp due to prior legal advice, the ongoing high-profile criminal proceedings against him and his mental health, the Guardian reports. Lehrmann is suing the news outlets for their reporting of the rape allegations made against him by his colleague, Brittany Higgins, in February 2021. The claimant has applied for an extension of the time limit to prevent his claim from being time barred.
The authorities in Belarus have labelled the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) an “extremist formation,” Human Rights Watch reports. As a result of this categorisation, anyone who gets involved with, funds or assists the activities of the BAJ will be committing an offence punishable with up to seven years’ imprisonment. The BAJ has been active in Belarus since 1995, promoting and protecting freedom of expression and the rights of journalists. The organisation published a statement condemning the decision, which it states was “aimed at intimidation and repression.”
A new report published by the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China revealed the restrictive working conditions for foreign journalists in China. Among the problems faced, the report highlights visa delays, harassment, digital surveillance, threats to sources and covid restrictions. In a press release, the International Federation of Journalists condemned the working environment and called for all journalists to be able to work without fear of surveillance and harassment.
The International Federation of Journalists has called on the Pakistani authorities to reverse its suspension of the news channel ARY. The news outlet had its licence suspended after it broadcast speeches of the former Prime Minister Imran Khan, which were said to disturb the peace and undermine state institutions. Al Jazeera reported on the ban.
DLA Piper has published a blog post discussing the implications of the decision of the Personal Data Protection Commission in respect of a complaint made against the online grocery company, RedMart Ltd. In the first legal test of the Legitimate Interests Exception, which is available under the Personal Data Protection Act, the commission found RedMart had satisfied the requirements of the exception.
The US Copyright Office has rejected an attempt to register copyright in an image generated by AI tools. The social media blog, Socially Aware, analyses the implications of the decision that the individual must have significant creative control over the resulting work in order to register copyright. Read the decision of the Copyright Office here.
Research and Resources
- Tilley, Cristina, The First Amendment and the Second Sex (2023), Arizona Law Review, Vol. 65, No. 1, 2023, U Iowa Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2023-10.
- Davis, Peter, Rule of Law Rhetoric in Encryption’s ‘Going Dark’ Debate (2023), Scandinavian Studies in Law Vol 69 Rule of Law, Forthcoming.
- Gosain, Jheel and Keune, Jason and Sinha, Michael S., Dobbs in a Technologized World: Implications for US Data Privacy (2023), Data Sharing in the Life Science and the Law, Springer, Forthcoming.
- Padmanabhan, Abhishek Sharma and S, Sapna, The Need for Regulatory Framework for Familial DNA Searching – a Privacy Perspective (2023), NALSAR Law Review, Vol. 8, N. 1, 2023.
- Spitko, E. Gary, Arbitration Secrecy (2023), Cornell Law Review, Vol. 109, No. 1, forthcoming.
- Datzov, Nikola, Artificial Intelligence is Transforming Our World – Are We Ready? (2022). Dakota Digital Review (Fall-Winter 2022-2023).
- Gadoni Canaan, Renan, The Effects on Local Innovation Arising from Replicating the GDPR into the Brazilian General Data Protection Law (February 28, 2023). Internet Policy Review, 12(1).
- Liu, Jialin and Li, Lin and Li, Na, Relationship Privacy Preservation in Photo Sharing (2023).
- Ferguson, Andrew Guthrie, Digital Rummaging (2023), Washington University Law Review, Vol. 101, No. 5, Forthcoming.
- Philip Abraham, Reuben, Privacy and Competition Law: Exploitative Abuses in the EU and India (2022).
- Medatwal, Chandan, Creation of Pseudo Empowered World with ChatGPT (2023).
- Lintvedt, Mona Naomi, A Critical Analysis of Consent in Human–Robot Interaction (2023), University of Oslo Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 2023-01.
- Cohen, Julie E., Doughnut Privacy: A Preliminary Thought Experiment (2023), Beate Rossler & Valerie Steeves, eds., Being Human in the Digital World, Cambridge University Press, Forthcoming.
- Uys, Werner and Joubert, Kobus, Forensic Inquiries: Evidencing the Reliability and Admissibility of Digital Communication (2023), OIDA International Journal of Sustainable Development, Vol. 15, No. 05, pp. 37-48, 2022.
- Lamping, Matthias and Batista, Pedro Henrique D. and Correa, Juan I. and Hilty, Reto and Kim, Daria and Slowinski, Peter R. and Steinhart, Miriam, Revisiting the Framework for Compulsory Licensing of Patents in the European Union (2023), Max Planck Instit
- Goetghebuer, Julie, The (Un)Limited Use of AI Segmentation in the Insurance Sector (2023), Financial Law Institute Working Paper Series 2023-05.
Next week in the courts
On 13 and 14 March 2023, Nicklin J will hear an application in the case of IS Prime Limited v Siddiqui and another.
On 13 March 2023, judgment will be handed down in the case of Frati v Bowen Carter.
On Thursday 16 March 2023 there will be hearings in the cases of Packham CBE v Wightman and Others (QB-2021-001227) and Otantik Restoran Ve Otelcilik Hiz AS and another v Behiry (KB-2023-001128).
On Friday 17 March 2023 there will be hearings in the cases of Duke of Sussex v Associated Newspapers Limited (QB-2022-000595), 2 Wakefield Limited v Persons Unknown (KB-2023-001161), Clarke v Rose (QB-2022-000673) and Wolverhampton City Council v Kevin Poole (KB-2022-003361).
AEP and others v The Labour Party, 21 to 23 February 2023 (Chamberlain J)
Hay v Cresswell, heard 20 to 23 February 2023 (Heather Williams J)
Amersi v Leslie, heard 10 January 2023 (Nicklin J)
Aaronson v Stones, heard 12-15 December 2022 (Julian Knowles J)
LCG v OVD, heard on 4 May 2022 (Murray J)
This Round Up was compiled by Jasleen Chaggar who is studying the BPC at the University of Law.