Feeds

Parliament probes privacy law

Could give it legislative 'nudge'

Boost IT visibility and business value

Parliament will investigate privacy law in the UK and may give the law a 'nudge', Justice Minister Jack Straw has said. A select committee of MPs will look into how the law has developed and how it is being implemented by courts, he said.

Historically, the UK has not had a law of privacy, but one has emerged in recent years that has combined confidentiality laws covering the exchange of information with human rights laws protecting the right to a private life.

Courts have ruled in several cases that the publication of information violates these laws, and these judgments will form the basis of future rulings.

That case law was ferociously attacked last year by powerful Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre, who condemned the fact that it had developed through the courts and not through Parliament.

Straw has told Parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights, though, that a committee of MPs will look into the development of the law.

"I suggested [to the Daily Mail] that the time had come for a select committee of MPs to study the issue. I understand that is exactly what is going to happen," he told the Committee.

"What my intention is, which is now actually happening, is that there should be a select committee of MPs to look at the law on privacy," he said.

Straw hinted that the review could lead to a change in the law. "Legal systems in common law countries above all are living systems. Sometimes they require a nudge one way or the other by statute. There is nothing wrong with that," he said.

Last summer the High Court awarded £60,000 in damages to motor racing administrator Max Mosley over a video of him engaged in sexual activity which was posted online and formed the basis of an article by the News of the World.

"The Claimant had a reasonable expectation of privacy in relation to sexual activities (albeit unconventional) carried on between consenting adults on private property," said Mr Justice Eady in his High Court judgment. "There was no public interest or other justification for the clandestine recording, for the publication of the resulting information and still photographs, or for the placing of the video extracts on the News of the World website – all of this on a massive scale."

Other judgments in recent years have protected the privacy of JK Rowling's then-infant son, model Naomi Campbell and singer Loreena McKennit.

Copyright © 2008, OUT-LAW.com

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

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Government's 'Google Review' copyright rules become law
Welcome in a New Era ... of copyright litigation
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.