Panama, privacy and power – Paul Bernal

9 04 2016

david-cameron-1David Cameron’s first reaction to the questions about his family’s involvement with the Mossack Fonseca leaks was that it was a ‘private matter’ – something that was greeted with a chorus of disapproval from his political opponents and large sections of both the social and ‘traditional’ media. Read the rest of this entry »





Finding Proportionality in Surveillance Laws – Andrew Murray

12 12 2015

mi5The United Kingdom Parliament is currently in the pre-legislative scrutiny phase of a new Investigatory Powers Bill, which aims to “consolidate existing legislation and ensure the powers in the Bill are fit for the digital age”. It is fair to sat this Bill is controversial with strong views being expressed by both critics and supporters of the Bill. Against this backdrop it is important to cut through the rhetoric and get to the heart of the Bill and to examine what it will do and what it will mean in terms of the legal framework for British citizens, and indeed for those overseas. Read the rest of this entry »





The Labour Party “purge” and social media privacy – Paul Bernal

30 08 2015

Labour PartyThe so-called ‘Labour Purge’ has many disturbing elements – from the motivations behind those who might ‘need’ to be purged to the motivations of those who want to purge them – but there is one aspect that appeared yesterday that seems to have been largely ignored: the attitude to people’s privacy. Read the rest of this entry »





Do we remember the point of the “right to be forgotten”? – Paul Bernal

18 11 2014

Google ForgottenWhen the CJEU’s ruling in the Google Spain case (Google Spain SL, Google Inc v Agencia Española de Protección de Datos, Mario Costeja González) appeared on 13 May 2014 it sent shockwaves through the internet. Almost no-one had expected it, partly because it was almost the diametric opposite of the opinion of the Advocate General a little less than a year before, but more because it seemed, to some at least, to have enormous implications not just for Google but for the whole balance between privacy and freedom of expression. Read the rest of this entry »





To suggest terrorists are using the right to be forgotten online is absurd – Paul Bernal

15 11 2014

Sajid JavidThe culture secretary, Sajid Javid, used his speech to the Society of Editors conference on Tuesday to spread misinformation – highly damaging misinformation – both about the importance of privacy generally and about the sadly mislabelled “right to be forgotten” in particular. Read the rest of this entry »





Samaritans Radar: misunderstanding privacy and ‘publicness’ – Paul Bernal

5 11 2014

Samaritans-Radar-_Page_5The furore over the launch of the Samaritans Radar app has many dimensions: whether it’s ethical, whether it will help, whether it will chill – putting vulnerable people off using Twitter, whether it’s legal – there are huge data protection issues – are just a start. Read the rest of this entry »





Trolls, threats, the law and deterrence – Paul Bernal

26 10 2014

trollhunter600“Internet trolls face up to two years in jail under new laws” screamed the headline on the BBC’s website, after Chris Grayling decided to “take a stand against a baying cyber-mob”. It’s not the first time that so-called ‘trolls’ have been made the subject of a government ‘stand’ – and a media furore. This particular one arose after TV presenter Chloë Madeley suffered online abuse – that abuse itself triggered by the comments about rape made by her mother, Judy Finnigan, also a TV presenter, on Loose Women. Read the rest of this entry »








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