Judge's Ruling In Google Privacy Case Might Also Make It Possible To Sue UK's GCHQ
from the writing-wrongs,-righting-wrongs dept
A couple of weeks ago we reported on an important case where a British judge ruled that Google can be sued in the UK over an alleged breach of privacy. As we pointed out at the time, this could have implications for future cases, but a post by Andres Guadamuz on his Technollama blog notes that this is also big news in the rarefied legal world of torts, a concept which Cornell University's Legal Information Institute explains as follows:
Torts are civil wrongs recognized by law as grounds for a lawsuit. These wrongs result in an injury or harm constituting the basis for a claim by the injured party. While some torts are also crimes punishable with imprisonment, the primary aim of tort law is to provide relief for the damages incurred and deter others from committing the same harms. The injured person may sue for an injunction to prevent the continuation of the tortious conduct or for monetary damages.
As Guadamuz explains:
the judge had to consider whether misuse of private information, breach of confidence and breach of [Data Protection Act] statutory duties amount to a claim in tort.
That's because only then could the judge allow the US company Google to be sued in the UK. After referring to other cases that touched on this question, he concluded that:
"the tort of misuse of private information is a tort" within the meaning of the [Civil Procedure Rules] rules, and therefore it would be possible to serve an injunction to Google outside of the court's jurisdiction.
As Guadamuz comments:
This is a very important ruling for various reasons, but mostly because it seems to finally confirm the existence of the tort of misuse of private information, which had been hinted at in other cases.
Guadamuz concludes his post with an intriguing question that demonstrates how a very dry and abstract matter could well turn out to have extremely important practical consequences:
I wonder if this gives us the scope to now sue GCHQ?
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