Policing Minister, Chris Philp unveiled plans at the Conservative Party Conference this week to allow the police to use passports, the police national database and the immigration and asylum biometric system in order to catch criminals.
Currently, the only photographs on the police national database are those of arrested individuals. Philips stated that he had instructed the police to search each database separately until a centralised system is developed within the next 2 years. The proposal faced a strong backlash from civil rights groups who labelled the policy “Orwellian.” Liberty and Big Brother Watch voiced their opposition to the policy. The BBC and Guardian covered the development.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was reported to the Scottish Police for a contempt of court offence this week by the leader of the pro-independence Alba party, Chris McEleny, after making a joke about Scotland’s former first Minister, Nicola Sturgeon going to jail. McEleny argued that Sunak should not have made the joke given the ongoing police investigation into the SNP’s finances. However, Police Scotland have confirmed that they will be taking no action against the PM. The Independent, Guardian, Sky News, The Evening Standard and The Telegraph reported on the story.
GB News fired host Laurence Fox after more than 8,800 people complained to Ofcom about derogatory remarks he made about a female journalist, Ava Evans. Fox’s co-host Calvin Robinson was also fired after voicing support for the actor. Chief Executive of GB News, Angelos Frangopoulos told BBC Radio 4, “We are about free speech, but it’s about being done in a respectful and proper way, and that was not the way that that conversation played out.” The BBC, Press Gazette and Sky News reported on the story. Later in the week, Fox was arrested on suspicion of conspiring to commit criminal damage over he posted a video on X in which he appeared to encourage viewers to vandalise Ulez cameras.
Two members of Extinction Rebellion who spray-painted the office of the Daily Telegraph during a protest last March have been found guilty of criminal damage. The defendants told the court that they had not intended to cause damage to the building’s stonework and had researched the type of paint used to ensure it was washable. Despite these “very significant efforts,” District Judge Steven Jonas ultimately found that the pair had been reckless in causing damage which was not “minor or trivial” to repair and ordered a conditional discharge and compensation. The Press Gazette and The Telegraph covered the verdict.
Civil Rights Organisation, Liberty, has been granted permission by the High Court to take legal action against Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s decision to pass anti-protest legislation which was previously rejected by Parliament through the use of a statutory instrument. The group argue that Braverman exceeded her powers by giving the police ‘almost unlimited’ powers to extinguish protests through the use of ambiguous language. The case will be heard at a date decided by the court.
Internet and Social Media
Russell Brand may be able to make use of a loophole in the Online Safety Bill to continue to post on video-hosting platform, Rumble, Hacked Off suggests. Under the loophole, platforms are prevented from taking down content which originates from a “recognised news publisher” without first going through an appeals process. The broad definition of a “recognised news publisher” within the bill means that Rumble may be able to qualify. As a result, content posted to the platform could then be shared on social media, and social media platforms would, potentially, be prevented from removing it.
Mishcon de Reya has published a blog post highlighting two areas of concern that have been identified in relation to the Online Safety Bill. First, the law requires some business to verify the age of users using age verification software. Critics have criticised such software as being unreliable and a threat to privacy, while the Wikimedia Foundation has already voiced its opposition to performing any checks. Second, the bill requires end-to end encrypted messages to be checked for illegal content, which will undermine the privacy and security of these messaging systems.
Data privacy and data protection
The ICO have issued Snap with a preliminary enforcement notice over its potential failure to properly consider the privacy risks associated with its generative AI chatbot, particularly in relation to the personal data of 13- to 17-year-olds. The technology was launched on the social media app, Snapchat in April this year and makes use of OpenAI’s GPT technology. Snap will make representations on the preliminary notice, which sets out what the ICO may require. Should a final enforcement notice be made, Snap may have to cease data processing in relation to its chatbot.
The ICO have published guidance on lawful monitoring in the workplace. The announcement reminds organisations to reflect on their legal obligations and the rights of their employees before implementing work-place monitoring. The guidance informs employers that they must make workers aware of the nature, extent and reasons for monitoring and use the least intrusive means to achieve their purpose.
65 parliamentarians, including David Davis MP, Caroline Lucas MP, Baroness Shami Chakrabati, Joanna Cherry KC MP and Sir Ed Davey MP, have called for an immediate stop to the use of live facial recognition for surveillance purposes, Big Brother Watch reports. The joint call was made on the basis of the group’s “serious concerns” about the technology’s “incompatibility with human rights” and its “discriminatory impacts.” The announcement is supported by 31 rights and racial equality groups, including Amnesty International and the Race Equality Foundation. The Guardian, Daily Express and BBC reported on the campaign.
Newspaper Journalism and regulation
Hacked Off have published an opinion piece criticising IPSO’s rejection of a complaint concerning the publication of Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s article in the Mail on Sunday, in which she falsely stated that most perpetrators of child sexual exploitation are British-Pakistani men. IPSO ruled that the Mail on Sunday’s clarification, namely that Ms Braverman’s comments referred to a specific handful of cases, chosen because they were “high profile,” was sufficient.
The Press Gazette have argued that last year’s Supreme Court ZXC v Bloomberg case has had a “chilling effect” on newspapers reporting on police investigations before a charge has been made. Inforrm has a summary of the case law here. Despite the availability of the public interest defence, the article suggests that publishers face a high risk when reporting on police investigations where the suspect has not been charged, especially when the allegations are not already widely known. Where allegations have been widely publicised, as in the recent case of Russell Brand, there remains a grey legal area for newspapers who are unclear as to the ramifications of publication.
- 18055-23 Rizwan v essexlive.co.uk, 2 Privacy (2021), 6 Children (2021), 1 Accuracy (2021), 3 Harassment (2021), No breach – after investigation
- 18056-23 Rizwan v walesonline.co.uk, 2 Privacy (2021), 1 Accuracy (2021), 6 Children (2021), No breach – after investigation
- 18057-23 Rizwan v getreading.co.uk, 1 Accuracy (2021), 6 Children (2021), 2 Privacy (2021), No breach – after investigation
- 14277-23 Booley v birminghammail.co.uk (Birmingham Live), 1 Accuracy (2021), 10 Clandestine devices and subterfuge (2021), 2 Privacy (2021), No breach – after investigation
- 14280-23 Booley v dailyrecord.co.uk, 1 Accuracy (2021), 2 Privacy (2021), 10 Clandestine devices and subterfuge (2021), No breach – after investigation
Statements in open court and apologies
There were no statements in open court this week.
On Professor Sandra Wachter of the Oxford Internet Institute will be delivering a lecture on ‘How AI disrupts the Law’ at Gresham College. More information can be found here.
The Institute of Brand and Innovation Law are hosting a panel discussion at UCL on 9 November 2023 on the legacy of the copyright case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union for UK law and practice following Brexit. Find out more information here.
New Issued cases
There were no new issued cases this week.
Last week in the courts
On 3 October 2023, HHJ Lewis handed down judgement in favour of the claimants in the harassment case of Ghenavat and others v Simon Lyons. Following the breakdown of his business relationship with the claimants, who were formerly co-directors and shareholders in a property company, the defendant, Mr Lyons, sent hundreds of emails and messages to the claimants’ families, friends, law firms, business contacts, clients, charities and places of worship. The court held that the action in harassment had been properly brought and granted a permanent injunction against the defendant restricting his communications. 5RB summarised the case.
On 6 October 2023, Collins Rice J handed down judgement defendant in the case of Corinna Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn v His Majesty Juan Carlos Alfonso Victor Maria de Borbón y Borbón. The claimant, who was in an intimate relationship with the defendant between 2004 and 2009, claimed that the defendant’s conduct since then amounted to harassment. The Court of Appeal had struck out parts of the claim in December on the grounds of the former King’s state immunity. The High Court found that the English Court had no jurisdiction to hear the case, and held that even if it had jurisdiction, the judge would have struck out the claim on the basis of having no real prospect of success. 5RB summarised the case.
Media law in other jurisdictions
On 3 October 2023, an application to set aside a Notice to produce documents in a costs matter following a defamation case was refused on the basis that the notice was not oppressive, overly broad or prejudicial in the case of Colquhoun-Denvers v Yunghanns (Notice to Produce)  VSC 583.
On 5 October 2023, Tottle J handed down judgement in the case of Poland v Fairfax Digital Australia & New Zealand Pty Ltd  WASC 383. The defendant applied to have the paragraphs of the statement of claim that pleaded publication of defamatory comments against the claimant struck out on the basis that there was no evidence of them having been downloaded or read. The court dismissed the application as the judge was not satisfied the claim could not possibly succeed.
On 3 October 2023, the European Parliament in Strasbourg adopted their position on the European Media Freedom Act by a clear majority. Parliament wants to make sure that all member states ensure that media remains independent from governmental, political or economic interference. It also seeks to protect journalists from giving up their sources and from being targeted by spyware, which Parliament believes should only be used as a ‘last resort’ on a case-by-case basis if ordered by an independent judiciary to investigate a serious crime. Negotiations will now commence with the Council to determine the final form of the law.
A controversial Online Safety Bill has been tabled by the Sri Lanka Parliament. The bill would establish a body of five representatives, appointed by the President, who will be able to deactivate any social media account and fine or imprison users for ‘false’ or ‘prohibited’ statements made online, News First reports. The legislation has been widely condemned as an attack on free expression. The Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association lodged a petition challenging the bill to the Supreme Court on the basis of its excessively broad powers, ambiguous language and threat to constitutional rights.
Research and Resources
- Zipursky, Benjamin C. and Goldberg, John C. P., A Tort for the Digital Age: False Light Invasion of Privacy Reconsidered (2023), 73 DePaul Law Review (annual Clifford Symposium) (Forthcoming), Fordham Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 4591188
- Ng, Yee-Fui and Windholz, Eric and Moutsias, James, Legal Considerations in Machine-Assisted Decision-Making: Planning and Building as a Case Study (2023) 35 Bond Law Review 143.
- Pina, Noela and Brito, Cláudia and Vitorino, Ricardo and Cunha, Inês, Promoting Sustainable and Personalised Travel Behaviours While Preserving Data Privacy (2022) Transportation Research Procedia 00 (2022) 000–000.
- Wolek, Kristin, Art and Privacy Rights: East-European Literature and Film Through the Lens of Information Ethics (2020) Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper Forthcoming.
- Huq, Aziz Z. and Clopton, Zachary D., The Necessary and Proper Stewardship of Judicial Data (2023) Stanford Law Review, Vol. 76, 2024.
- Kakooza, Anthony Conrad, Data collection and management in the covid-19 era: A legal analysis of Ugandan legislation (2023) The Uganda Living Law Journal, Vol. 10, No. 1, December 2021. A Publication of the Uganda Law Reform Commission.
- Shachar, Carmel and Zubrzycki, Carleen, Informational Privacy After Dobbs (2023) Alabama Law Review, Forthcoming.
- Kim, Rosel and Thomasen, Kristen, Submission to The Standing Committee on Industry and Technology on Bill C-27, An Act to enact the Consumer Privacy Protection Act, the Personal Information and Data Protection Tribunal Act and the Artificial Intelligence and Data Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts (2023).
- Semivolos, Antonina, The Advent of Facial Recognition and the Erosion of the Rule of Law in ‘Moscow Smart City’ (2022) Cardozo Journal of Equal Rights and Social Justice, Winter 2023, Vol. 29, No. 2, Cardozo Law Review, Vol. 29, No. 2, 2023.
- Chen, Tsai-fang, Non-Discrimination Under the Most-Favoured-Nation Obligation and Adequacy Decisions in the General Data Protection Regulation (2023) Asian Journal of WTO & International Health Law and Policy, Vol. 18, No. 2, pp. 309-332, September 2023.
- Zeno-Zencovich, Vincenzo, Digital Euro as a Platform and Its Private Law Implications (2023) Media Laws-Law and Policy of the Media in a Comparative Perspective- n. 2/2023.
- Lee, Tsung-ling, Pandemic Accord, Digital Health Literacy, and Human Rights in the Era of Infodemic (2023). Asian Journal of WTO & International Health Law and Policy, Vol. 18, No. 2, pp. 397-422, September 2023.
- Green, Rebecca, FOIA-Flooded Elections (2023) Ohio State Law Journal, Forthcoming, William & Mary Law School Research Paper No. 09-478.
Next week in the courts
The trial in Miller v Turner continues this week before Collins Rice J. It is listed to conclude on Wednesday 11 October 2023. Unchanged: The trial in Miller v Turner continues this week before Collins Rice J. It is listed to conclude on Wednesday 11 October 2023.
On Monday 9 October 2023 Johnson J will hear a pre-trial review in the case of Dyson v MGN Limited.
On Tuesday 10 October 2023 the Court of Appeal will hand down judgment in the data protection case of Delo v Information Commissioner.
On the same day there will be a statement in open court in the case of Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull v Associated Newspapers Limited.
On Wednesday 11 October 2023 there will be a statement in open court in the case of Serrag -v- MGN Limited and a hearing in the case of Jusan Technologies Limited v openDemocracy Limited
On Thursday 12 October 2023 there will be a hearing in the data protection case of Bennett -v- Equifax Ltd.
On Friday 13 October 2023 there will hearings in the cases of Bukhari -v- Bukhari and Secretary of State for Defence v Persons Unknown.
Ijaz v Manan heard 19 to 27 July 2023 (Linden J)
Harcombe v Associated Newspapers, heard 3 to 7 and 10 to 11 July 2023 (Nicklin J)
YSL v Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, heard 14-15 June 2023 (Julian Knowles J)
MBR Acres v FREE THE MBR BEAGLES, heard 24-28 April 2023, 2-5, 9, 11-12, 15, 17-18, 22-23 May 2023 (Nicklin J)
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 Jasleen Chaggar who is a litigation and media paralegal at Atkins Dellow