Manchester United's Ryan Giggs

Giggs super-injunction reveals limitations of data regulation

The Ryan Giggs super-injunction affair has highlighted the limitations of individuals to control information stored about them.

Regulation of information technologies like analysis and advanced data-mining has become increasingly difficult, while profiling and tracking of personal data is changing the relationship between individuals, governments and corporations.

Manchester United player Giggs discovered this to his cost when he took out a super-injunction prohibiting the publication of details of an alleged affair, as well as blocking the reporting of the injunction's existence and details.

Twitter users were the first to break the injunction through circulating Giggs's name and photograph, and shortly afterwards Scotland's Sunday Herald editor Richard Walker and MP John Hemming identified the footballer as the subject of the injunction.

Digital experts have questioned whether individuals need to accept that technological progress will inevitably lead to a loss of privacy, or if technology needs to adapt to society's demand for protection of sensitive data.

Data protection lawyer Paloma Llaneza, who represented several Spanish citizens in a case earlier this year asking Google to remove search links to websites displayed outdated information, has spoken of the importance of data services complying with legislation.

"The truth is, we very much care about privacy and about data protection," she explained to the Outlook Series.

European Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding has also urged that adequate rules must be put in place to protect the privacy of web users as the European Commission updates its 1995 Data Protection Act.

The right to control, access and delete personal information online should be guaranteed in today's digital world, she has argued.

Further reading:

See E&T's feature on technology versus privacy

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