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Privacy injunction

Who can apply for a privacy injunction

If someone sets up internet pages about you, a website with your name as the URL or a social media account which carry your name, you can apply for a privacy injunction against them.

Websites which carry your name and which attempt to shame you or embarrass you, often also have personal details about you, including what might be considered as private information.

Those websites might be harassing websites but at the same time they might also breach your privacy.

A good example of a case where harassing websites and social media accounts were also breaching the victim's privacy, is the case of LGD v. Curran and Curran Consulting Ltd.

An example of a case where the victim applied for a privacy injunction

The case, which was conducted by the solicitor Yair Cohen, involved both harassment and breach of privacy. The victim applied to the court for a privacy injunction and for an harassment injunction after her harasser, Paul Curran, published websites which carried her name and which included URLs with her name.

Throughout the period of her intenet harassment, which started in 2005 and ended at the High Court of Justice in 2018, Paul Curran harassed his victim by designing and publishing at least 15 websites, most of which were named after his victim and all of which contained materials about her, including a mixture of offensive, private and/or confidential information. This aspect of the case resulted in the victim being entitled to a privacy injunction to protect her private information. 

Curran then emailed, telephoned and sent post to her friends and family, to bring the said websites to their attention. He deliberately search engine optimised the offensive websites to try and ensure that they ranked prominently on a search of his victim’s name and bought a Google banner advertisement which included a photograph of his victim and a link to one of the websites. 

He continued escalating the online harassment by creating two user accounts on Twitter, using his victim’s name. To each account, he posted messages containing his victim’s photograph and a link to one of the websites. This was another cause for the court to grant the victim a privacy injunction.

It is important to note that Mrs Goldrick Dean was not on any social media site and there wasn't anything about her online that she had submitted herself. Curran went to great lengths and expense with his campaign of online harassment. By placing her on social media against her wish, Mr Curran breached his victim's privacy which means she was now able to apply for a privacy injunction in that respect.

Can the police help you obtain a privacy injunction

The case of Ms Godrick Dean showed how little victims of privacy breaches can rely on the the police. Despite reporting the online harassment and his persistent breaches of her privacy, from the beginning in 2005 onward, to the police, the police did nothing meaningful to help her. Privacy injunctions currently can only be obtained from the civil court, which means there is little point in asking the police to assist. 

The case, which was concluded at the High Court of Justice in London, saw another online trolling target winning damages and a court order to restrain her troll from ever harassing her and from breaching her privacy.  

Yair Cohen, a lawyer from Cohen Davis Solicitors said that “there was little justification for the police to leave Lindsey Goldrick Dean to fend for herself in view of the overwhelming evidence against her harasser Paul Curran. However, currently privacy injunctions can only be obtained through a civil court". 

The challenges in bringing privacy injunction cases 

The biggest challenge in taking out a privacy injunction in relation to internet posts is the requirement to secure sufficient evidence which would convince the court that the victim's right to privacy has been breached. The second biggest challenge is the identification of the defendant, although, often, it is possible to take out a privacy injunction against "person unknown". In the case of Paul Curran, he initially denied that he had anything to do with the harassing websites that he created and with the breaches of his victim's privacy.  However, like many of the online harassment and breach of privacy cases that our lawyers take on, this case was challenging, as we were facing an evasive and a particularly difficult internet troll, with knowledge and understanding of computers, websites and SEO, who despite having plenty of opportunities to do so, refused to take responsibility for his own actions and even during the litigation process, he re-registered some sites for another 3 years.

evertheless, eventually our online harassment lawyers forced him to arrive at the right outcome and he was forced to pay his victim damages, pay legal costs, apologise to her, deliver up all domain sites and content material that he had created and accept an order that he will never harass her again. In addition to being awarded an undisclosed amount of damages, Mrs Goldrick Dean’s barrister read a statement in open court setting out the extent of her harassment.

We have more  Online trolling legal help here. 

No matter how complex or challenging, Cohen Davis can handle your online harassment case. Call us today. 0800 612 7211

 

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