Author archive

Paul Bernal

Dr Paul Bernal is a lecturer in IT, IP and Media Law at the UEA Law School. He specialises in internet privacy issues and is the author of Internet Privacy Rights: Rights to Protect Autonomy, published by Cambridge University Press in March 2014.

Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook seem to be in the news all the time at the moment, from Facebook’s involvement in the Cambridge Analytica saga to Mark Zuckerberg’s failure to appear before the “international grand committee of elected officials” in the Houses of Parliament in late November last year.

The issues that Facebook face seem, on the face of it, to be very varied and different. Fake news. Extremist speech. Political advertising. A failure to deal with trolls. Invasions of privacy. Use of big data. Empire building through the acquisition of the likes of Instagram and WhatsApp and the potential for monopolistic practices that come from this. Despite appearances, however, these things are all very closely connected – and understanding that connection could be the key to finding some solutions, or at least ameliorating some of the problems. That connection is privacy.

When the CJEU’s ruling in the Google Spain case (Google Spain SL, Google Inc v Agencia Española de Protección de Datos (AEPD), Mario Costeja González) appeared on 13 May 2014 it sent shockwaves through the internet. Almost no-one had expected it, partly because it was almost the diametric opposite of the opinion of the Advocate General a little less than a year before, but more because it seemed, to some at least, to have enormous implications not just for Google but for the whole balance between privacy and freedom of expression.