On 20 June 2023, Fancourt J mentioned over two dozen names of Mirror Group employees that he suggested could have given evidence before him in the ongoing trial over alleged unlawful information gathering. The list included former Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan and former People editor Neil Wallis.
Fancourt J commented that this pair have recently had “a lot to say about this matter outside of court.” He also said questions had been raised about why “three or four associates of the Duke of Sussex” had not given evidence in the case against MGN. The Guardian, Independent, Yahoo and i have more information.
On 16 June 2023, Andrew Baker J quashed a prisoner governor’s decision to stop a man jailed for murder from talking to a journalist for a podcast about his appeal against conviction, R (Alexander) v Secretary of State for Justice  EWHC 1407 (Admin). He held that the governor’s decision was irrational; he had misdirected himself by requiring the prisoner to show that the matter was urgent; he had also concluded there was a risk of distress to victims and/or outrage to public sensibilities when no such risk arose on the facts, 5RB summarises. Andrew Baker J has remitted the decision to the governor. The full 5RB case report can be found here. The Press Gazette and Evening Standard also report.
A coalition of publishing, tech and other digital organisations have written to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak urging him to keep the Judicial Review standard for Competition and Market Authority appeals to prevent tech giants from leveraging “their resources in the courts to obstruct and delay” regulation. The letter responds to the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill, the UK’s version of legislation designed to regulate competition and dominance of the market by the biggest tech companies and seek to force these platforms to negotiate payments for content with news publishers. The Press Gazette has more information here.
Internet and Social Media
Meta has announced two new privacy features for its encrypted chat platform WhatsApp. The features are called “Silence Unknown Callers” and “Privacy Checkup.” The ability to silence unknown calls helps “to automatically screen out spam, scams, and calls from unknown people” and will not cause the phone to ring but will appear in a user’s call list. Privacy Checkup guides users through all of WhatsApp privacy settings, which include recently added tools, such as Chat Lock and disappearing messages.
Data Privacy and Data Protection
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has recommended organisations utilise privacy enhancing technologies “to share people’s personal information safely, securely and anonymously.” The new guidance serves to assist data protection officers using personal data sets in areas such as finance, health care, research and government services.
More than a dozen UK banks are engaged in “advanced talks” with British law enforcement and government agencies to “systematically share intelligence on major financial crimes,” Reuters reports. The push to share customer financial information is an effort to stop crimes such as money laundering and financial support of terrorism. AML Intelligence and London South East also cover this story.
A draft statement by the data protection and privacy authorities of G7 countries has expressed concern over the “risks and potential harms to privacy, data protection, and other fundamental human rights” without the proper development and regulation of generative artificial intelligence. Concerns include legal standing to process personal information and data sets used to train AI models. The statement calls on generative AI providers to implement measures ensuring individuals can access, rectify and erase personal information. Euractiv has more information here.
- 17450-23 A woman v Greenock Telegraph, 1 Accuracy (2021), 2 Privacy (2021), 4 Intrusion into grief or shock (2021), 9 Reporting of a crime (2021), 11 Victims of sexual assault (2021), Breach – sanction: publication of adjudication
- 16843-21 Meacham v The Sunday Telegraph, 1 Accuracy (2021), No breach – after investigation
- Meacham v kentonline.co.uk, 1 Accuracy (2021), No breach – after investigation
Statements in Open Court and Apologies
We are not aware of any statements or apologies read out in open court last week.
New Issued Cases
There were four defamation (libel and slander) claims filed on the media and communication list last week.
Last Week in the Courts
As mentioned above, Fancourt J continued to hear the trial of Various Claimants v MGN.
On 19 June 2023 Collins Rice J heard the second day of the application in the case of WFZ v BBC. Judgment was reserved.
On 19 and 20 June 2023 Steyn J heard the harassment case of Clarke v Rose.
On 21 June 2023 Julian Knowles J heard the trial of a preliminary issue in the defamation case of Naseer v Raja. Judgment was reserved.
On 23 June 2023 Steyn J heard an application in the case of Dube v Warwick.
On the same day Nicklin J heard an application to commit in the case of MBR Acres v Curtin.
Media Law in Other Jurisdictions
On 22 June 2023, Canada passed the Online News Act, which will seek to force Google and Facebook to pay publishers for news. In response Meta has said that it would follow through with threats to block “news availability” on its platforms in Canada before the bill takes effect. Google has also expressed reservations about the Online News Act and recently experimented with news-blocking some of its Canadian users. The New York Times, Press Gazette, Aljazeera, CBS and Reuters have more information.
The Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal by an influencer Mercredie claiming that the fashion brand Maje had infringed her copyright with their campaign of models taking ‘elevator selfies’ with dogs in a style similar to her own Instagram posts. IPKat summarises the decision, finding it to illustrate the arguments that could be developed by a defendant in a similar action, namely that the choices characterising originality are guided by technical considerations, that they are not personal but form part of a trend or style and are the simple repetition of well-established trends.
French AdTech company Criteo has been fined €40 million for failing to ensure that data subjects had provided their consent to processing, failing to sufficiently inform them and to enable them to exercise their rights. The fine follows a 2018 complaint by Privacy International, whose press release is available here.
On 13 June 2023, the Texas Governor signed HB4 to make Texas the tenth state to have a comprehensive privacy law. Texas joins California, Colorado, Connecticut, Montana, Virginia, and Utah (all in effect or going into effect in 2023), Montana and Tennessee (which, like Texas, go into effect in 2024), Iowa (effective 2025) and Indiana (effective 2026). The Norton Rose Fulbright Data Protection Report has more information here.
Senators have asked Amazon to answer a number of questions about patient data collection in the Amazon Clinic amid privacy concerns. The Pogo was Right blog has published the open letter here.
Research and Resources
- Maugo, Francis, Towards a More Vibrant and Independent Media Industry in Kenya: The Need for Urgent Policy Recommendations for the Future (2023), Independent
- Friedman, Mark, Freedom of Expression and Administrative Adjudication: What Ward Tells Us (2023) Centre for Free Expression
- Keck, Thomas M., Free Speech in an Age of Democratic Backsliding (2023), International Journal of Constitutional Law
- Senftleben, Martin, Generative AI and Author Remuneration (2023), Institute for Information Law (IViR), University of Amsterdam; University of Amsterdam
- Ramesh, Priyadharshini, Censorship and Artistic Freedom – a Philosophical Inquiry (2023), Tamil Nadu National Law School
- Iramina, Aline and Perel (Filmar), Maayan and Elkin-Koren, Niva, Paving the Way for the Right to Research Platform Data (2023), Tel-Aviv University – Faculty of Law
- Jurcys, Paulius, Data Portability Re-Imagined: Designing the New Data Ecosystems of Tomorrow (2023), Vilnius University – Faculty of Law; Prifina
- Drechsler, Laura and Elbi, Abdullah and Kindt, Els and Kun, Eyup and Meszaros, Janos and Vranckaert, Koen, Third Time Is the Charm? The Draft Data Privacy Framework for International Personal Data Transfers From the European Union to the United States (2023), CiTiP Working Paper 2023
- Funk, PhD, T. Markus and Ji, Mason and Shao, Huijie, Surveying the Impact of China’s New (and Toothy) Data Privacy Laws on the WeChat Generation of Employees (ABA Criminal Justice Section Newsletter) ( 2023), University of Colorado School of Law
- Fagundes, Dave and Contreras, Jorge L., Private Ownership of Public Facts: Docudramas, Deals, and Life Story Rights (2023) UC Davis Law Review, Forthcoming
- Yildirim, Emine Ozge and Van Houweling, Molly Shaffer and Lazarova, Ana and Vézina, Brigitte, Freedom to Share: How Government’s Data Sharing Policies Concerning Publicly Available Data Impact Academic Research and Journalism in the Public Interest (2023), KU Leuven – Centre for IT & IP Law (CiTiP) et al.
- Lubin, Asaf, Collective Data Rights and Their Possible Abuse (2023), 95 Temple Law Review
- Sobel, Aaron, End-Running Warrants: Purchasing Data under the Fourth Amendment and the State Action Problem (2023), Yale Law & Policy Review, Forthcoming
Next Week in the Courts
On 26 June 2023, there will be a hearing in the case of Corey Lee Styles v South Wales police before Nicklin J (Sitting at Port Talbot Justice Centre).
On 27 June 2023 the Court of Appeal will hear the appeal against the decision of Nicklin J on reference in the case of Dyson v Channel 4.
On the same day there will be a hearing in the case of Brachers LLP v Lingard.
On 28 June 2023 there will be a hearing in the harassment case of Ijaz v Manan.
Naseer v Raja, heard 21 June 2023 (Julian Knowles J)
WFZ v BBC, heard 14 and 19 June 2023 (Collins Rice J)
YSL v Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, heard 14-15 June 2023 (Julian Knowles J)
Wright v McCormack, heard 15 June 2023 (Singh, Andrews and Warby LJJ)
LCG v OVD, heard 25-26 May, 5-8 June 2023 (Collins Rice J)
Ghenavat v Lyons, heard 25 to 26 May 2023 (HHJ Lewis)
Various Claimants v Associated Newspapers, heard 27 to 30 March 2023 (Nicklin J)
Crosbie v Ley, heard 21 and 22 March 2023 (Julian Knowles J)
Duke of Sussex v Associated Newspapers Limited, heard 17 March 2023 (Nicklin J)
Aaronson v Stones, heard 12-15 December 2022 (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).