After the whole world debated the identity of a married couple
known as 'PJS' and 'YMA' earlier this year, we
wanted to highlight what this latest news actually means for the
privacy of you and your global clients in the digital
So, what was the story?
A celebrity couple were faced with news breaking in the
world's press about their sex life, specifically a threesome.
One half of the couple (PJS) obtained a privacy injunction in the London courts
– this injunction promptly became the subject of
sensationalist gossip and speculations, fixing itself in the
headlines of the world's press and social media for months, and
eventually the identities of the couple were revealed. This case
was a vital development in the battle between those who want to
expose private information, and those who want to establish a way
to defend privacy in the world of online news – one that
highlighted the murky scope of effectiveness of injunctions across
legal and geographical borders.
What could this mean for me and my clients?
In an irony that will not be lost on the media, if they sought
to use this high profile case as a poster-boy for judicial
silliness and to show up the domestic courts of England and Wales
as powerless against the might of the media in an online world,
they failed. Rather, the Supreme Court in England and Wales has
posited even more forcefully, the right of individual citizens to
have their privacy protected where there is no public interest
justification for it to be exposed. Rather than weaken privacy laws
in the UK they have, in fact, been strengthened.
That said, our globally mobile clients are still not safe in
their beds – or the beds of others for that matter –
because it is apparent from this case that the omniscient Internet
does not allow our domestic laws of England and Wales to provide a
fool-proof blackout curtain against the windows of private life,
keeping the prying eyes of the papers at bay. But having forced the
Supreme Court's hand, the so-called 'watchdog and
bloodhound of society' that is the press will likely be well
and truly in the doghouse with the judiciary if it continues to
savage the private lives of individuals where it cannot justify
that mauling with a legitimate public interest justification.
For further commentary please click here and here.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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