What Human Rights do for Privacy

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Privacy
2014
UK

Secret mass surveillance can be unlawful

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A group of human rights organisations argued that secret mass surveillance uncovered by Edward Snowden was illegal. The Investigatory Powers Tribunal said that it had been illegal for years before the policy had recently been changed.

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Children
1989
Europe

Care leavers can access their child care records

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A care leaver wanted access to care records to establish whether he had grounds to complain of ill-treatment whilst in care. He was not permitted to see the entire file. This breached his right to respect for private life.

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    TOP 50
    50 Cases
    1984
    Europe

    Police need a warrant to tap our phones

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    A businessman had his phone tapped by the police without a warrant. The European Court of Human Rights said this as a violation of his right to privacy. So, the government introduced the Interception of Communications Act. A warrant is now needed for phone tapping by police and security services.

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    Privacy
    2011
    UK

    The right to privacy can be protected through “super injuctions”

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    A celebrity was threatened with the publication of intimate photographs. The judge unusually allowed the use of a special injunction, binding everyone and forever, to ensure the protection of the privacy of the victim once the trial was over.

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    Privacy
    2007
    Europe

    There is a right to privacy in the workplace

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    Ten years after Halford, another case of workplace privacy: the monitoring of telephone, e-mail and internet usage of a employees is unlawful and violates her right to privacy, unless it is clearly and fairly disciplined.

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    Privacy
    2011
    UK

    A culture of illegal phone hacking killed the News of the World

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    The tabloid newspaper was exposed as using illegal phone hacking to steal private information. This was possible thanks to the Regulation of Investigatory Power Act (see Halford v United Kingdom) and ultimately led to the demise of newpaper.

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    Privacy
    2000
    UK

    The right to privacy is recognised by UK law

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    Since October 2000, when the Human Rights Act entered into force in the United Kingdom, people in the UK have acquired the right to privacy. This was not explicitly protected under UK law pre-2000.

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    Children
    2012
    UK

    Children in care must be properly protected by the state

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    Two boys came into local authority care and were freed for adoption. The boys were moved between foster placements for 11 years, becoming increasingly unsettled. This breached several of their rights and local authorities had to re-examine their care systems.

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      Health
      2004
      Europe

      Medical staff can’t ignore parents’ objections to treatment of their children

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      A mother had fought doctors' decisions to give diamorphine to her critically ill disabled son as it could speed up his death. The Court said the approach of the doctors breached the mother and sons' right to family and private life.

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      TOP 50
      50 Cases
      2010
      Europe

      Police stop and search powers can’t be limitless

      Related European Convention Articles

      Two protesters were stopped and searched, without any grounds for suspicion, by the police. The European Court of Human Rights said this was a violation of their right to privacy. The UK government had to review its anti-terrorism law.

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        TOP 50
        50 Cases
        2004
        UK

        The supermodel’s privacy was breached by a tabloid rehab scoop

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        Naomi Campbell complained about photos taken of her leaving a rehab clinic and published in the Daily Mirror. The UK's highest court found Campbell's right to privacy outweighed that of the press to run the photos.

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        Privacy
        2001
        Europe

        Public activities may be protected by privacy

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        The European Court of Human Rights condemned the unlawful recording of two suspected criminals at their house and at the police station and said in principle a person's activities may be part of their private life even if they take place in a public context.

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          Privacy
          2014
          UK

          Private information can’t be misused by organisations

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          A group of UK Google users sued Google for the unlawful tracking and collection of their private information. The judge allowed the case to proceed and acknowledged that misuse of private information could result in a damages claim.

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          Privacy
          2013
          Europe

          UK may develop a law against secret filming and photography

          Related European Convention Articles

          The European Court of Human Rights decided that Sweden’s lack of a legal ban on secret filming and photography violated the right to privacy. The judgement may have significant consequences in the UK too: paparazzi beware!

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          Children
          2011
          UK

          Children’s rights are better protected in immigration detention

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          Asylum seekers and their children were detained in an immigration detention centre. Their detention was found to be unlawful and breached their rights to liberty and privacy / family life.

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          Privacy
          2011
          Europe

          If mass surveillance occurs, it must be through clear, accessible laws

          Related European Convention Articles

          Russia's registration of human rights activists in a surveillance database regulated by a ministerial order is unlawful. All States are required to regulate mass surveillance through clear and accessible laws.

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          TOP 50
          50 Cases
          2003
          Europe

          A council shouldn’t have given CCTV suicide footage to media

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          Mr Peck's suicide attempt was caught on CCTV. The local council gave the footage to the media. This was a violation of his right to privacy - things happening in public can still be private.

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            Children
            2008
            UK

            Children can be protected against intrusive media attention

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            A photograph of the author JK Rowling's son was taken and published without permission or consent. It was decided that the child was entitled to privacy and the law should protect children against intrusive media attention.

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            Privacy
            2011
            UK

            Reporting of highly sensitive cases can be stopped

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            A woman in a semi-vegetative state wanted to be allowed to die. A judge defended the privacy of her and her relatives through the first injunction stopping publication of private information on any social media, including Facebook and Twitter.

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            TOP 50
            50 Cases
            2014
            UK

            The police can’t keep you on their database for ever

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            Two people wanted minor crimes committed years ago (shoplifting a packet of fingernails; stealing a bike aged 11) to be removed from the national police database, as it was stopping them getting jobs. Their privacy had been breached and the law was changed.

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              Privacy
              2010
              UK

              Police can be sued for revealing a person’s private sex life

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              A man sued the police for making damaging revelations on his sex-life without proper cause. He won his case, as his right to privacy had been breached.

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                TOP 50
                50 Cases
                2008
                Europe

                Government spying powers are too wide

                Related European Convention Articles

                The European Court said the government's powers to spy were too wide and opaque. Liberty and other civil liberties organisations accused the Ministry of Defence of spying on their phonecalls and emails. This is one of a series of cases challenged the UK to greater openness about surveillance.

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                Privacy
                2012
                UK

                Sex offenders can’t be name-shamed on Facebook

                Related European Convention Articles

                A man who had been convicted for sex crimes involving children acted to have Facebook remove his data and photographs from the page "Keeping Our Kid Safe From Predators". Facebook agreed, as that posed a threat to his safety and privacy.

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                Privacy
                2011
                UK

                A new law of privacy is evolving, case by case

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                After the enactment of the Human Rights Act, the UK government blessed the development of privacy law by the Courts. A new claim for misuse of private information is being shaped by judges.

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                What Human Rights do for Privacy
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