A 15-year-old schoolboy arrested and questioned over the TalkTalk cyberattack is suing three UK newspapers over alleged breach of privacy.
Lawyers for the teenager, who’s from Northern Ireland, told the court that the boy was recognizable in the newspapers’ coverage, even though the publications altered his image.
According to the Irish Independent, his lawyers said that the boy’s privacy was breached following articles that appeared in the Daily Mail, The Sun and the Daily Telegraph.
The lawyers are claiming negligence, misuse of private information, defamation, and breach of confidence and data protection.
The lawyers also took action against Twitter and Google, which were consequently ordered to remove references to the teenager’s name, address, images or information about his physical appearance.
Fears that reporting on the application for an injunction would trigger even more internet searches on the boy’s identity lead to a temporary ban on press coverage of the court action, but it was lifted after Google and Twitter took steps to remove information that could be used to identify him.
Even though the newspapers digitally altered the color of the boy’s hair and partially blacked out photographs that ran with articles about his arrest, his lawyers said that his community could still recognize him, and he’s been “stigmatized” as a result.
His family has had to move home to avoid all the publicity surrounding the case, the court heard.
There have been numerous hearings in the case. In one, a lawyer for the Daily Mail rejected claims that the newspaper had revealed his identity.
Olivia O’Kane said that the boy’s appearance and hair color were altered, neither his name or address had been published, and in the Daily Mail’s view, it never identified the teen.
The 15-year-old is one of four people who’ve been arrested so far in the wake of the TalkTalk breach last month: a breach that was initially thought to potentially involve the personal data of up to 4 million customers.
TalkTalk dialed that number down, on 6 November, to a total of 156,959 customers – 4% of its customers – whose unique bank account numbers and sort codes and obscured credit and debit card numbers were affected.
Besides the Northern Irish teen, police have also arrested three other suspects in the UK: a 16-year-old London boy, a 20-year-old man at an address in Staffordshire, and a 16-year-old boy in Norwich.
An order prohibiting the publication of any material that could lead to the boy being identified remains in place.
The case is due to be heard again next month.
Image of hooded computer hacker courtesy of Shutterstock.com
15 comments on “Boy arrested over TalkTalk attack sues newspapers, claiming privacy breach”
Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time…
He’s accused, not convicted. What happened to presumption of innocence?
The fifteen year old lined in Northern Ireland, part of the U.K. So he is not Irish, but a UK Citizen.
Oops. Thanks, we’ve fixed it now to make it clear he’s from Northern Ireland.
The mere fact that he lives in Northern Ireland doesn’t make him a British citizen, of course. If he was born in NI then he probably is, indeed, British – but IIRC, given his age, that would automatically entitle him to Irish citizenship as well – just to add some handy confusion 🙂
But none of that is relevant to his arrest…his nationality has no bearing on the case.
Whilst I appreciate that there are strict laws (and for good reason) surrounding identifying minors in legal cases, I wonder if the irony of this is lost on him?
There’s a simpler way to avoid being outed.
Don’t do the crime.
He’s been stigmatized because he committed a crime. Not because a newspaper didn’t alter an image completely.
He’s been stigmatized because a mob has decided in advance of the normal judicial process that he’s guilty.
He may or may not have committed a crime, we don’t know — he’s been arrested, not convicted.
If you don’t want the public shaming, don’t do the crime.
lol two people think it’s wrong to suffer the consequences for making others suffer.
I think he has more important things to worry about. Suing the papers is a red herring to draw away from the fact that he is implicated in a crime. He will have his opportunity in court to show whether he is or is not involved in this. As to being outed it seems to me that he outed himself.
Theres alot of comments on here saying don’t do the crime then. He hasn’t been convicted yet so it’s technically possible he is innocent and that his details should not have been released.
It isn’t just technically possible that he’s innocent, he *is* innocent until such time as his guilt is shown beyond a reasonable doubt in court of law.
Careful with what your definition of “is” is (to paraphrase a former US President). More precisely, he’s *presumed* innocent 🙂 Whether he was actually involved in criminal activity or not can’t affected by the subsequent investigation or by the court case, because it already happened. Or didn’t.