Guiding you through topical issues

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Is your reputation being threatened?

Has someone threatened to post something about you online? Or has a journalist been in touch about an article they intend to publish about you? Unfortunately, sometimes a business competitor, an ex-employee, an ex-partner, someone you have met in your personal life or even a member of the public can post malicious or false posts about you online for all the world to see. If you are a public figure or a high profile company you may be more likely to be the subject of negative media interest.

New Media and Communications Court list reflects surge in internet defamation claims by Laura Baglow

On 1 October 2019, the Civil Procedure Rules will be amended to create a new formally designated specialist Media and Communications list in the Queen’s Bench Division. From this date onwards all High Court claims that include a claim for defamation, misuse of private information, data protection and/or harassment by publication must be issued in the new list. New procedural rules will also apply to media and communications cases, including a pre-action protocol. This development reflects the growing increase in media claims in the Courts, after the decline of past decades.

Has your personal information been shared without your permission?

It can be extremely upsetting if your personal information has been shared online or elsewhere without your permission. This could include your financial details or medical information or even details of your address or a photo or video of you. Sometimes a person’s personal information is leaked by mistake by companies or organisations or sometimes it can be shared deliberately by disgruntled individuals such as ex-partners or ex-employees.

The death knell for ‘kiss and tell’?

In a recent privacy claim involving a ‘kiss and tell’ publication, the Claimant was a former lottery winner. He and his then wife won £41 million on the ‘Euromillions’ Lottery in 2012 and their win was surrounded by extensive publicity. In 2016 the Claimant started a sexual relationship with the Defendant whom he met in Tenerife. Their relationship broke down the following year and she wrote and published a book about their relationship entitled “Google Me No Lies”.

Privacy rights and aerial images

Drones or Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAEs) have become increasingly popular and are now being sold online or on the high street in the thousands. However, because most drones have cameras fitted which record and store footage captured from the air, they can also present considerable privacy and data protection risks.

Is your organisation protected from employee social media legal risk?

Are you aware that employers can be liable for their employee’s unlawful social media posts made in the course of their employment? It doesn’t matter if the unlawful post was made deliberately or unintentionally or even without the employer’s knowledge. This can sometimes include posts made outside of office hours and can be very costly as well as damaging to an organisation’s reputation.

Have you been targeted by negative social media posts?

Did you know that your business reputation can be damaged by negative online posts and reviews, causing loss of customers and profits? Your personal reputation can also suffer. Contrary to popular belief you do not have to stand by and do nothing if you are the subject of false online posts.  In fact, there are many things that can be done to seek removal of the post/s and to restore damage to your reputation.

NetRights welcomes new protection for social media users

This week the Government published its long-awaited White Paper on “Online Harms” which contains proposals intended to reduce harmful content on the internet. The key proposals include the establishing of a new duty of care to legally oblige tech firms to take steps to protect their users. Compliance with this duty will be overseen by a new independent regulator and will be set out in new codes of practice. Tech companies that do not fulfil their duty of care could be fined, their senior managers held criminally liable or their website blocked entirely.

Supreme Court recognises that social media is a “casual medium” in libel battle

In this long running defamation claim Mrs Stocker posted on Facebook of her husband, Mr Stocker, the words “He tried to strangle me”. Mr Stocker claimed that these words meant that he had tried to kill his wife but she claimed instead that they meant only that he had gripped her neck, inhibiting her breathing so as to put her in fear of being killed, and not that he had intended to kill her.

Anonymous pub and restaurant online reviews leave a bad taste

Restaurants and pubs across Cornwall are complaining about a series of negative reviews on TripAdvisor left by an anonymous reviewer. These reviews criticise the food and drink of the establishments and make unwelcome observations about the staff.  Unpleasant and anonymous social media posts have become an undesirable reality of today’s social media world.  Derogatory internet reviews can damage personal and business reputations and cause loss of customers and profits.  But is there anything that the restaurateurs and publicans can do about negative online reviews?