Tuesday, May 24, 2011

So what is privacy?

Yesterdays judgment on whether CTB's anonymity could be lifted following his outing in Parliament of Ryan Giggs as being CTB, the Court has decided to keep the injunction in place. This is one reason:

"It is important always to remember that the modern law of privacy is not concerned solely with secrets: it is also concerned importantly with intrusion". Intrusion in this sense includes harassment.


The problem the Courts have is in defining what is privacy.

The Calcutt Committee in 1990 said that, "nowhere have we found a wholly satisfactory statutory definition of privacy." But the committee was satisfied that it would be possible to define it legally and adopted this definition in its first report on privacy:

The right of the individual to be protected against intrusion into his personal life or affairs, or those of his family, by direct physical means or by publication of information.

The Human Rights Act 1998 says:

Article 8: Right to privacy

(1) Everyone has the right for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

(2) There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

Tell us what you think a Privacy Law should be because it is clear there is no clarity in the courts or the Law and Jeremy Hunt needs some help.



  1. There can be an intereference with Art 8 if it is (i) in accordance with the law (ii) for a legitimate purpose at which it is aimed (iii) whether on balance the public interest in the breach outweighs the rights of the Claimant. I find worrying the judge's attempts to introduce section 55 which is not a law, it is something the Secretary of State to consider before removing a child from the UK. I don't understand the judge's judgement in these cases. Giggs children are MORE likely to see the mockery on twitter / facebook as they would if they read the newspaper so how can it be justified? Children don't read newspapers but they DO read twitter - so out of touch...

  2. You forgot your trollface.jpg

    Strictly defining privacy in legislation is a bad idea, because it means having to draw a bright line and say "everything inside here is private, everything outside here is not", or alternatively leaving a wishy-washy definition that punts it back into the courts.

    Don't legislate for individual cases. We saw that with the Terrorism Act, yet the best known uses have been to hold down a naysayer at a party conference, seize cameras from legitimate photographers, and freezing Iceland's assets. Pretty much all the control orders have been struck down as unlawful. We saw it before with the Hunting Act, which hasn't seen a single successful prosecution because it was drafted so badly.

    These are all individual cases where there have been individual circumstances. That's best left to the courts - that's what they're there for.