Employer was entitled to access employee’s private Yahoo! messages (and to sack him)

January 13th, 2016 by Robin Hopkins

Employers very often wish to monitor how their employees are using work computing facilities during office hours. They may suspect wrongdoing, such as improper use of confidential client or business information, or accessing material which is prohibited by the employer’s policies. They may be concerned about employees using work facilities – and work time – for personal communications. Can the employer investigate by accessing the employee’s communications without their knowledge? Read more »


‘Plebgate’ and the protection of journalistic sources

December 17th, 2015 by Robin Hopkins

It has been a mixed day for the media’s entanglements with the judiciary. Chris Knight posted earlier today about the unhappy outcome for Mirror Group Newspapers before the Court of Appeal in the Gulati privacy damages litigation arising from phone-hacking.

News Group Newspapers, however – together with Sun journalist claims Tom Newton Dunn, Anthony France and Craig Woodehouse – had a happier outcome in another case about telephone privacy, though this time with the media as victim rather than perpetrator of the interference.

Judgment IPT/14/176/H saw the claimants succeed in part in their claim against the Metropolitan Police in the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (‘IPT’). Read more »


Fees in the GRC: Apocalyse Postponed

December 17th, 2015 by Christopher Knight

One of the more popular posts Panopticon has been responsible for was alerting people to an MoJ consultation proposal to introduce fees for all cases in the General Regulatory Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal. That includes appeals against DPA information, enforcement and monetary penalty notices, and appeals against Information Commissioner decision notices under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

A mass campaign was orchestrated by the Campaign for Freedom of Information which generated over 40,000 responses opposing fees for FOIA appeals. Read more »


Dransfield and the Supreme Court: Game Over

December 17th, 2015 by Christopher Knight

By way of brief update, Panopticon has learned that the Supreme Court has refused Mr Dransfield permission to appeal against the Court of Appeal’s judgment concerning vexatious requests under section 14(1) FOIA. This represents the end of that important piece of litigation. The Supreme Court also ruled that the issue of European law raised in the application for permission was “irrelevant”. It is unclear from the refusal of permission what that issue was, or what it could have been in the circumstances.

Christopher Knight


Phone Hacking and the Level of Damages

December 17th, 2015 by Christopher Knight

It is panto season, and everyone loves a good villain. This Christmas’ Wicked Stepmother is the Mirror Group who, when asking ‘Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who is the most liable of them all?’ has received the answer from the Court of Appeal that they are and must pay the consequences.

The Court of Appeal’s decision in Mirror Group Newspapers v Gulati & others [2015] EWCA Civ 1291 is a ringing endorsement of the lengthy (over 700 paragraphs) and detailed approach of Mann J at first instance, which Robin Hopkins has previously discussed (here). Given that endorsement, the judgment of Arden LJ can perhaps be taken more quickly than might otherwise be the case. Read more »


The new General Data Protection Regulation: nearly there

December 15th, 2015 by Robin Hopkins

As has been foretold (see for example this prophecy from Christopher Knight), there is soon to be a new birth of exceeding great import, ushering in a new world order.

And lo: the General Data Protection Regulation is approaching the end of its long incubation. The text appears to have been agreed in the last few hours: see this press release from the European Commission. It will go to a committee vote on Thursday of this week and will then be put before the European Parliament. Happy Christmas everyone!

2016 will be a momentous one in data protection ones. Panopticon will try to round up some wise women or men to dissect the new GDPR for readers in due course.

Robin Hopkins @hopkinsrobin