Take care with that social media duty of care – Graham Smith

23 10 2018

Should social media platforms be subject to a statutory duty of care, akin to occupiers’ liability or health and safety, with the aim of protecting against online harms? In a series of blogposts and evidence to the House of Lords Communications Committee William Perrin and Professor Lorna Woods suggest that the answer should be yes. Read the rest of this entry »





Any reform to the law on Official Secrets must provide robust protection for public interest disclosures and open justice – Lorna Woods, Lawrence McNamara and Judith Townend

28 06 2017

With the election now in the past, the wheels of government are beginning to grind again. While most eyes are on Brussels, it is important that the bright lights of Brexit do not draw attention away from other work that is resuming and ongoing. Among it, the Law Commission will continue its project that considers the revision of the laws on Official Secrets, with its final proposals expected later this year. Read the rest of this entry »





When is Facebook liable for illegal content under the E-commerce Directive? CG v. Facebook in the Northern Ireland courts – Lorna Woods

28 01 2017

facebookThe ubiquity of social media platforms and their significance in disseminating information (true or false) to potentially wide groups of people was highly unlikely to have been in the minds of the European legislators when they agreed, in 2000, the e-Commerce Directive (Directive 2000/31/EC) (ECD). Read the rest of this entry »





Data retention and national law: the ECJ ruling in Joined Cases C-203/15 and C-698/15 Tele2 and Watson (Grand Chamber)

27 12 2016

tele2The 21 December 2016 judgment in these important cases concerns the acceptability from a human rights perspective of national data retention legislation maintained even after the striking down of the Data Retention Directive in Digital Rights Ireland (Case C-293/12 and 594/12) (“DRI”) for being a disproportionate interference with the rights contained in Articles 7 and 8 EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (EUCFR).  Read the rest of this entry »





Case Law, CJEU: VKI v Amazon, Which data protection and consumer law applies to Amazon? – Lorna Woods

24 08 2016

amazonThe recent CJEU judgment in VKI v Amazon (C-191/15) concerns jurisdiction both in the context of conflict of laws (applicable consumer laws) and the Data Protection Directive. Essentially, the Court of Justice had to decide which Member State’s data protection law should apply where goods are sold across national borders but within the EU. In this, it forms part of a stream of case law (both decided and pending), dealing with the powers of states (and their institutions) to protect those within their boundaries notwithstanding the digital internal market. Read the rest of this entry »





Human Rights and National Data Retention Law: the Opinion in Tele 2 and Watson – Lorna Woods

22 07 2016

tele2The Advocate-General’s opinion of 19 July 2016 concerns two references from national courts which both arose in the aftermath of the invalidation of the Data Retention Directive (Directive 2006/24) in Digital Rights Ireland dealing with whether the retention of communications data en masse complies with EU law.  Read the rest of this entry »





Case Law, Strasbourg: Zakharov v Russia, Grand Chamber re-affirms case law on state surveillance – Lorna Woods

16 12 2015

Lubyanka_BuildingOn 4 December 2015, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (“ECtHR”) handed down judgment in the case of Roman Zakharov v Russia ([2015] ECHR 1065). Read the rest of this entry »





Case Law, CJEU: Schrems v Data Protection Commissioner, Key Aspects of the Judgment – Lorna Woods

7 10 2015

FacebookOn 6 October 2015, the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) declared that the Safe Harbour agreement which allowed the movement of digital data between the EU and the US was invalid. The Court was ruling in a case brought by Max Schrems, an Austrian student and privacy campaigner who, in the wake of the Snowden revelations of mass surveillance, contested the fact that data about Europeans and others was being stored in the US by tech companies such as Facebook. Professor Lorna Woods of the University of Essex explains some key aspects of the judgment. Read the rest of this entry »





Case Note: Schrems v Data Protection Commissioner, The beginning of the end for safe harbour? – Lorna Woods

26 09 2015

schremsThe Advocate General of the European Court of Justice has delivered his non-binding legal opinion in Schrems v. Data Protection Commissioner, a case brought by an Austrian citizen against the Irish Data Protection Commissioner concerning the transfer of Facebook data to US servers.  Professor Lorna Woods, University of Essex, reports and comments on the opinion – and its potential implications. Read the rest of this entry »





Case Law, R (Davis) v Home Secretary, Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act overturned – Lorna Woods

19 07 2015

gchq1In a very rare outcome, in the case of R (Davis and ors) v Secretary of State for the Home Department ([2015] EWHC 2092 (Admin) the Divisional Court declared that the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 (DRIPA) is inconsistent with European Union law and therefore is “disapplied”, although the Court suspended the effect of its order until after 31 March 2016. Permission to appeal was granted. Read the rest of this entry »