Category Archives: ‘Right to be forgotten’

Drone arrest couple ‘may have strong privacy case’

The 24-hour shutdown of Gatwick Airport, caused by a drone, became a media law story when a man and woman were wrongly arrested for causing the havoc – and their names were widely published. The Mail on Sunday splash headline read: “Are these the morons who ruined Christmas?”

One commentator quoted by Press Gazette said their case had echoes of the coverage of the arrest of Sir Cliff Richard, for which he was awarded £210,000 damages against the BBC. He was never charged. The case reshaped the landscape regarding privacy and media freedom.

In a Guardian blog, Professor Roy Greenslade said the affair was reminiscent of the case of Christopher Jefferies, the innocent man who suffered character assassination in the media after being briefly detained in connection with a Bristol murder. But he also noted the public interest in disclosure.

The same Press Gazette report quoted Gill Phillips, the Guardian’s director of editorial legal services, warning that privacy claims were now taking the place of defamation cases – with smaller but still punitive costs involved. Privacy cases offered no defence of truth, and ambiguity over the potential defence of public interest.

Read more:

Couple wrongly arrested over Gatwick drone chaos could have ‘strong’ privacy claim against newspapers in wake of Sir Cliff ruling

Couple in drone incident hit out at media coverage of arrest but press point to police farce

MPs repeat call for ‘Cliff’s Law’ to stop suspects being named before charge after Gatwick drone front pages

The press ruins Christmas for former drone suspects – Roy Greenslade

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Street photographers ‘at risk’ from GDPR

Publishing candid street photography may fall foul of the General Data Protection Regulation introduced in May 2018, a number of writers have speculated. Facial features and even the fact that someone was in a particular location are now classed as personal data, meaning consent must be sought for “processing” images: a problem for photographers whose work involves snapping unsuspecting people. The impact of the law will become clear over time. Read more

Bill of Rights ‘could restore media freedoms’

The European Convention on Human Rights has taken away many long-established media freedoms in Britain “without a moment’s debate in Parliament”, says Press Gazette’s Cleland Thom. He lists 13 examples here. A Bill of Rights, proposed by Conservatives, could give US-style protection for media freedom, he says.

2014: a year of change in media law

A review of changes to media law in 2014 has been published by HoldTheFrontPage. It addresses defamation and the uncertainty over the public interest test, as well as data protection. Read more

Note: this story was uploaded to Media Law Matters before the implementation of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation directive, which toughens up data protection law, from May 2018.