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Privacy and Copyright in the Internet Age

28 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 28 February 2012

Joshua Rozenberg considers the law on privacy in the light of two recent, highly significant - and little-noticed - decisions of the European Court of Human Rights. He talks to the senior appeal court judge, Lady Justice Arden, about what the rulings mean and how they relate to the courts and the press in the United Kingdom. They are already having an effect here in Britain. Last week, the High Court in London ruled on a claim for privacy brought by the young international rugby player, Jonathan Spelman - who is also the son of the Cabinet minister, Caroline Spelman. Joshua Rozenberg talks to a leading media lawyer about how young people who are well-known in their field may be legally affected.

On an important day for the search engine giant, Google, the programme also looks at how, in the internet age, personal privacy is safeguarded and copyright could change. The BBC's technology correspondent, Rory Cellan-Jones discusses how data on computer users is collected as Google implements today changes to its privacy policy. Simon Davies of Privacy International and Nick Stringer of the Internet Advertising Bureau then debate the issues of personal privacy and targeted advertising. The former UK Information Commissioner, Richard Thomas, considers how far proposed new EU legal rules will protect users while enabling companies to carry on their legitimate data-gathering activities.

William Patry, senior copyright counsel at Google, Inc., has recently published a book called "How to Fix Copyright". Joshua Rozenberg questions him about his proposed reforms, especially as they relate to the United States. How far these might serve the interests of the company for which he works - and how will existing copyright holders in film, music and books be affected?


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