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Pippa Middleton Wins Emergency Injunction in Internet Hacking Case

The activities of internet hackers are a scourge on society – but the law can act fast to protect the privacy of victims. In one case, a judge issued an emergency injunction after the iCloud account of the Duchess of Cambridge’s sister, Pippa Middleton, was raided and a raft of personal material downloaded.

Miss Middleton’s lawyers were alerted after photographs and private details that had been hacked from the account were offered for sale to the national press by a person who sought to conceal his or her identity. A man had been arrested on suspicion of involvement but police were still investigating the matter and the identity of the individual, or individuals, responsible remained unknown.

The injunction was sought on the basis that the unauthorised accessing of Miss Middleton’s account amounted to a misuse of private information and breaches of confidence, copyright and the Data Protection Act 1998. The order, which forbade the use, sale or disclosure of certain hacked material, was granted by a judge who was contacted outside normal business hours.

Following a fuller hearing, the Court extended the injunction to cover all material and information that had been downloaded from the account. Any argument that the order – which was issued against a person or persons unknown – infringed freedom of expression rights would be very weak and, in the circumstances, there were compelling reasons why the terms of the order should be broadened.

Middleton & Anr v Person Unknown or Persons Unknown. Case Number: HQ16X03369

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