Feeds

IT contractor broke law in data raid on playground firm

Copyright and database laws violated

The essential guide to IT transformation

An IT contractor who was part of a raid on a company, copied all of its electronic business records and locked staff out of computer systems, infringed copyright and database rights, the High Court has ruled.

But the man, who operated his own IT consultancy, should be indemnified for any damages by the ex-director of the company who had instructed him, the Court said.

Wayne Canavan was the owner and sole employee of NextGen Technical Services. In 2003 he was instructed by Sean Holly to accompany him to the premises of Magical Marking, of which Holly was a director.

Holly had fallen out with the founder of the company, Jean Phillis. Holly had started work as a consultant to Magical Marking some years earlier and had taken a 25 per cent share in the company in lieu of fees. The company painted patterns in children's playgrounds as play aids.

In the weeks leading up to the raid on the company's offices he had told Phillis that he wanted to be bought out of the firm.

Holly visited the company on 13th February 2003 with his solicitor, two security men and two IT experts. The visit was timed to occur when Phillis was on holiday in New Zealand and the other directors were conducting a board meeting whose purpose was to remove Holly as a director of the firm.

The High Court heard that the conduct of Holly's party was aggressive and intimidating, and that staff had been pressured into giving the group passwords for the company's IT systems. One witness who had served in the Territorial Army for 32 years said that he advised a colleague to give the group passwords because of threats of violence.

Canavan argued that he should not be held liable for the infringements of copyright, database and confidentiality laws because he was acting on Holly's instructions. Canavan said that he cannot be liable because he believed that Holly had the authority to issue such instructions.

Mr Justice Norris said that Holly did not have that authority and that Canavan could not have thought that the circumstances surrounding the copying of the information were normal. Canavan should have realised that Holly was acting in his own interests and not those of Magical Markings, he said.

Canavan had been suddenly summoned to a car park to carry out the actions, as had many others. This, at least, should have alerted him to the unusual nature of the assignment, the Court's ruling said.

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
Hello, police, El Reg here. Are we a bunch of terrorists now?
Do Brits risk arrest for watching beheading video nasty? We asked the fuzz
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
Felony charges? Harsh! Alleged Anon hackers plead guilty to misdemeanours
US judge questions harsh sentence sought by prosecutors
This'll end well: US govt says car-to-car jibber-jabber will SAVE lives
Department of Transportation starts cogs turning for another wireless comms standard
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?