With a number of high-profile claims against Google in the offing, practitioners and individuals alike are hopeful for guidance on the interplay between the application of the ‘right to be forgotten’ principle and the forthcoming introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Iain Wilson, managing partner of Brett Wilson LLP, considers the issues at hand.
In January 2014, Andrew Skelton, an apparently disgruntled employee of Morrisons Supermarket posted a file containing the personal data (including salaries, bank details, and National Insurance numbers) of 99,998 Morrisons’ employees on a file-sharing website. It seems his intention was to cause mass-scale damage to the supermarket. In March 2014, a CD containing the data was sent to three UK newspapers, one of whom alerted Morrisons. Chief among the company’s concerns was the possibility of the data being used to aid theft or identity theft from the staff concerned. They acted quickly to get the file removed from the Internet within a few hours.
Miles Savory, the director of Accident Claims Handlers Ltd, has been convicted of breaching the Data Protection Act 1998 following a prosecution brought by the Information Commissioner’s Office (‘ICO’) for unlawfully obtaining the name and address of the owner of personalised number plates that he was seeking to purchase.
Websites and social media accounts have been, for some time now, the preferred platforms for those with an axe to grind to attack their opponents. Disgruntled customers, ex-employees and jilted lovers number amongst those who believe the world wide web provides the best opportunity to criticise those who have dared to cross their path.
“#MeToo”: Five letters that have been tweeted millions of times in the past month, and demonstrate the enormous power of social media and how it can bring about change for the good. The feeling of solidarity is a cathartic experience for many who have been the victim of sexual abuse, harassment or other forms of coercive behaviour. Beyond this, the reach of the hashtag is already challenging outdated social values and societal norms.
If one recent survey is to be believed, nearly a quarter of Britons use dating apps. A dating app is a smart phone application which typically allows the user to search or “swipe” through other singles – often presented like a never-ending deck of cards. If the user swipes right, this indicates that they ‘like’ the person. When the same person swipes right, this generates a “match” and each individual has the facility to instant message one another, thus enabling – in theory – a romance to blossom. The best known app of this type is Tinder, but it is a model that has been used or varied by several different platforms.