Feeds

Mosley asks Europe to change UK privacy laws

'I should have been told first!'

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Motor racing chief Max Mosley has applied to the European Court of Human Rights in an attempt to reform the UK's privacy laws. He wants editors to be forced to tell people when they are about to publish stories about them.

Mosley won the highest-ever UK privacy payout when the News of the World was ordered to pay £60,000 in damages over a story and video it published detailing an orgy in which Mosley took part.

Mosley has said, though, that the payout is not the right form of redress, and that he should have had the right to try to stop the story from being printed in the first place.

Mosley is the president of the body which governs Formula One car racing. He is the son of Oswald Mosley, the leader of the British fascists in the 1930s and 1940s. The News of the World printed details and published an online video of an orgy which they said had Nazi overtones.

The High Court found that the Nazi link had not been proven and that the publication violated Mosley's privacy. Though there has traditionally been no British right to privacy it has begun to be relied on in courts because of Article Eight of the European Convention on Human Rights, which became law in the UK through the Human Rights Act.

Article Eight guarantees every citizen the right to respect for their family and private life. It is this Article on which Mosley is basing his European action.

"The starting point for this application is that Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights provides those in the UK with a right to respect for their privacy," said Mosley's lawyer Dominic Crossley of Steeles Law in a statement. "Following the publication that Sunday, the only legal remedy available to Mr Mosley in the UK was to bring a claim for damages i.e. financial compensation."

"The only effective remedy would have been to prevent the publication in the first place by means of an injunction; but because he did not know about the article beforehand, the opportunity of an injunction was not open to him," said Crossley.

Mosley wants the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights to order the UK to force editors to tell subjects of stories what is about to be published. He claims that this is the only way that a right to privacy can be enforceable.

"The current position in the UK is that, although we all have a right to privacy, it is entirely up to the editor of a newspaper whether or not we are able to exercise that right in any effective or meaningful way," said Crossley's statement. "The editor of a newspaper, acting alone, can take a decision to publish material which may ruin a life or destroy a family, safe in the knowledge that even if publication is later held to be unlawful, there will be no significant consequences for him or his employers."

"Without a legal or regulatory duty upon newspapers to notify an individual before the publication of private information about them, the UK has no real or effective protection in place for the right of privacy, something which it is obliged to do under the Human Rights Act," said Crossley. "Whilst we all have a theoretical right to privacy this right can be and is violated before we can do anything about it. Mr Mosley’s experience is testament to this."

Mosley is not seeking any increase in the damages paid to him and says that those damages have been donated to charity.

Copyright © 2008, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Business security measures using SSL

More from The Register

next story
Hey, Scots. Microsoft's Bing thinks you'll vote NO to independence
World's top Google-finding website calls it for the UK
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
OECD lashes out at tax avoiding globocorps' location-flipping antics
You hear that, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.