Figures obtained from the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) have identified that nearly 12,000 individuals have been wrongly labelled as criminals over the past five years. some 4 million checks are carried out each year, typically by prospective employers. It is understood that in more than a quarter of the cases that the information disclosed was inaccurate because it related to another individual.
The number of criminal allegations made to the police for the misuse of Facebook and Twitter has increased from 556 in 2008 to 4,908 in 2012. Commenting on the statistics, Andy Trotter of the Association of Chief Police Officers acknowledged that the figures demonstrated a new challenge for the police. It was recognised that offences involving social media, such as harassment or genuine threats of violence could cause real harm. However, Mr Trotter also stressed that it was important that criminal allegations were properly prioritised and freedom of expression was not curbed: “It is a new world for all and we could end up in a situation where each constabulary needs a dedicated Twitter squad. In my opinion, that would not be a good use of resources in difficult financial times. We need to accept that people have the right to communicate, even to communicate in an obnoxious or disagreeable way, and there is no desire on the part of the police to get involved in that judgement.”
The Government has announced that it will delay the implementation of sections 44 and 46 of the Legal Aid, sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 in relation to defamation and privacy claims until an appropriate ‘costs protection’ regime has been introduced.
On 3 and 4 December 2012 the Court of Appeal heard the appeal in the case of Tamiz v Google Inc. Brett Wilson LLP acts for the Claimant/Appellant Payam Tamiz, who is appealing the High Court decision of Mr Justice Eady (Tamiz v Google Inc Google UK Ltd  EWHC 449 (QB)). In March 2012, Eady J struck out Mr Tamiz’s claim against Google Inc for libel arising from postings on Blogger. Eady J held, inter alia, that Google [in relation to Blogger] was not a publisher at common law. The appeal is the first time that this issue has been considered by the Court of Appeal and the decision is likely to have important ramifications on the liability of online intermediaries.