Tag: Privacy

Naked Law: Has the Faccenda Chicken come home to roost?

This made me wonder whether the notion of customer lists being protectable trade secrets is sustainable in the era of social media.  Will it seem quaint or Big Brotherish in the future that companies tried to “own” the social capital created by their employees?

This is an interesting question. The title of the post refers to Faccenda Chicken Ltd v Fowler [1987] Ch 117, [1986] 1 All ER 617 (CA) (available here (.doc)).

Media Law Prof Blog: Photographs and Privacy

David Rolph, University of Sydney Faculty of Law, is publishing Looking Again at Photographs and Privacy: Theoretical Perspectives on Law’s Treatment of Photographs as Invasions of Privacy in Law, Culture, and Visual Studies (A. Wagner and R. Sherwin eds.; Ashgate Publishing, 2011). Here is the abstract.

Courts in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand are increasingly entertaining claims for invasions of privacy. Many of these cases involve the publication of photographs by a media outlet. In the United Kingdom in particular, the means of protecting personal privacy has been the adaptation of the existing, information-based cause of action for breach of confidence. This has entailed treating photographs as a form of information. This essay analyses the imposition of liability for the publication of intrusive photographs, as it is developing in the United Kingdom, using Campbell v MGN Ltd [2004] 2 AC 459 and Douglas v Hello! Ltd [2008] 1 AC 1 as case-studies. It applies critical insights from leading theorists on photography, such as Barthes, Berger and Sontag, to suggest that the judicial treatment of photography is underdeveloped.

Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

UK Plans to Reduce DNA Databases – Human Rights in Ireland

Under changes announced last Friday (11th), DNA profiles and fingerprints taken from people who have been arrested but never charged or convicted of a crime will be destroyed. Previously, police had powers to keep these records indefinitely. This legislation draws heavily on the recommendations made by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics in the 2007 report ‘The forensic use of bioinformation: ethical issues’ which had suggested that the law in England, Wales and Northern Ireland should be brought into line with Scotland, where other than in exceptional cases, DNA profiles and biological samples from a person are kept permanently on record only if they have been convicted of a recordable offence.

This post, by David O’Dwyer, doctoral student at the Centre for Criminal Justice at the University of Limerick, updates my post on Retention of DNA, and the effect of decisions of the European Court of Human Rights. There is a good piece in the Guardian about the issue: DNA profiles to be deleted from police database. And Cian Murphy has an excellent discussion of the Bill in which the DNA proposals are to be found: Protection of Freedoms Bill Published. Magna Carta Unfazed.

Case Law: JIH v News Group Newspapers, anonymity regained – Edward Craven « Inforrm’s Blog


The Court of Appeal today handed down judgment in the case of JIH v News Group Newspapers Ltd ([2011] EWCA 42).  In allowing the appeal against the order of Tugendhat J ([2010] EWHC 2818 (QB)) the Court ordered that the claimant’s anonymity should be restored.  Although the Court stressed that each decision is fact sensitive, this approach seems likely to be followed in most types of privacy injunction cases.  This eagerly awaited decision adds to the growing body of case law concerning reporting restrictions where an injunction has been granted to restrain publication of information about a claimant’s private life.

The JIH judgment makes interesting reading for two reasons. First, it contains an important discussion about the ways in which reporting restrictions should be tailored in order to best serve the public interest in open justice whilst still providing adequate protection for the parties’ Article 8 rights. Recognising that there is a usually tension between disclosing the identity of the parties to a claim and disclosing the nature of the information that is the subject of the claim, the court plumps for the latter on the facts of JIH. In so doing, the court offers strong support for those who believe that the public interest is usually better served by disclosure of details about the injuncted information itself (together with anonymity for the claimant if necessary) rather than publication of the bare fact that a named individual has obtained an injunction in respect of unspecified information.  Secondly, the judgment also provides an authoritative general summary of the principles that the courts will apply when deciding whether or not to grant anonymity in a privacy claim. This will serve as a useful reference point for practitioners, clients and judges in future cases.

Blanket reporting restriction set aside by Court of Appeal | RPC Privacy Blog

The Court of Appeal has discharged an order the effect of which would have been to postpone the reporting of an important criminal case for several months.  The case relates to the shocking murder of a 15-year-old boy last year in front of hundreds of commuters during the rush hour at London’s Victoria Station.  Following the lifting of reporting restrictions, the case has been widely reported, including here and here.

… The Court of Appeal’s judgment has not, so far as we know, been transcribed or reported elsewhere.

Contrast today’s reports that many UK MPs want to ban the naming of suspects to avoid media feeding frenzies. As Obiter J explains:

In June 2010 the Anonymity (Arrested Persons) Bill received its first reading in the House of Commons and a second reading is scheduled for 4th February 2011.  This is a private member’s bill introduced (well before the Yeates case) by Anna Soubry MP but it looks as if Kenneth Clarke (Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor) and Dominic Grieve (Attorney-General) are now lending the bill their support.  If it becomes law then we, the public, would not know who has been arrested for questioning by the Police. 


Maud Newton | A talk with Misha Angrist, whose genome is online


My friend Misha Angrist, a former geneticist and the author of Here is a Human Being At the Dawn of Personal Genomics, answers some of my questions about DNA research at The Awl.

Holy crap, Misha, you’re making your entire genome public! Are you nervous?

It’s already done. All of my data are here. Frankly I don’t think anything in my DNA could be as embarrassing as this kelly green shirt that continues to taunt me from the interwebs.

Bookslut | Islands of Privacy by Christena Nippert-Eng

Everyone wants to talk about privacy. The recent death of Tyler Clementi, the college student who committed suicide after his roommate streamed his sexual encounter online, has highlighted how vulnerable privacy is and how high the stakes for it are. Christena Nippert-Eng’s Islands of Privacy gives us a rich perspective on this topic and challenges us to ask what, and how, we can keep anything to ourselves.

The book presents the results of Nippert-Eng’s nine-year study on privacy, during which she interviewed 74 people. Nippert-Eng is a professor of sociology, but she ditches scholar-ese in favor of lively, energetic writing free of jargon. (As someone who edits dissertations, I know this is no small feat.) At its most powerful moments, Islands of Privacy does what a work of social science does best: allow a person to connect her individual experience with broader phenomena. I was glad to learn I’m not the only one who forgets secrets in order to avoid blurting them out and who hides lowbrow magazines before company calls. It’s good to discover that some beliefs we hold and worries we have come from shared culture, not personal weirdness.

Beware of gullible politicos tinkering with data privacy – Karlin Lillington the in Irish Times

Today is international data privacy day, and It’s a shame we do so little to mark the event

WITH THE Seanad passing the data retention – oops, communications – Bill without amendment last week, and Data Protection Commissioner Billy Hawkes warning political parties on Monday that they are not to illegally use (again, for some) unsolicited text messages, calls or emails in the looming election, how ironically appropriate that today is International Data Privacy and Data Protection Day.