Saturday, July 16, 2011

Easy BBC Questions

Can celebrities expect privacy?

Or, more specifically:

But how much privacy can, and should, celebrities - who make their living in the public eye - expect?

And the answer is simple - within the limits of the law.

So, clearly, phone hacking is illegal - a s1 offence under CMA90, at least - we'll agree that both the statute and the case law around RIPA s1 offences is less clear (particularly about what "in the course of its transmission" means). And CMA s1 offences can now attract 2 years inside - which would probably calm the fevered brows of the Murdoch-bashing mob.

We might disagree about how much HRA98 Article 8 should be usable to protect public figures (and we'll certainly disagree about who is a 'public figure') from the consequences of having acts committed in public places being publicised. We'll disagree more, or less, about acts committed in private - whether it is long lenses, kiss and tell (or, wonderfully in this week's Private Eye's cartoon - "shag and brag") or planting an "investigative" reporter in a position of actual or presumed confidential access.

We might campaign - on the same or different sides - for changes in such law.

But, it is simple - the law is the law - for the Prime Minister, Hugh Grant and Milly Dowler. Sympathy may vary but that's why we have judges, not libertarian bloggers, to preside over cases.

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