Schoolboy Arrested In TalkTalk Probe Sues Google, Twitter


The Northern Ireland boy alleges the Internet companies and three national newspapers disclosed his identity

A Northern Ireland schoolboy arrested in the TalkTalk data breach investigation has taken legal action against The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mail and The Sun, as well as Google and Twitter, for alleged breach of privacy.

The 15-year-old from County Antrim was arrested and released on bail last month by police investigating a highly publicised hack that compromised the personal details of TalkTalk customers.

Identity protection

police handcuff security crime keyboard © Oleksiy Mark ShutterstockInitially the legal action could not be reported, for fear of triggering further Internet searches, but
restrictions were partially lifted by the High Court in Belfast on Friday after Google and Twitter took measures to protect the boy’s identity.

The judge also granted injunctions against the two Internet companies in an effort to remove online references to the boy’s name, address, image or information about his physical appearance.

The teenager’s lawyers have issued writs claiming negligence, misuse of private information, defamation, breach of confidence and data protection, according to a report by Irish broadcaster RTE, also carried by the Irish Independent.

The action included legal measures intended to ensure the removal of information published about the boy and where he lives. They told the court the boy’s family has had to move home due to the publicity around his arrest.

Data accessed

During one hearing The Daily Mail reportedly rejected claims that information it had published could be used to identify the teenager. The newspaper said it had altered the boy’s appearance and changed his hair colour in a photo it published.

The case is due to be heard again in December.

TalkTalk has confirmed that details concerning 157,000 of its customers were accessed in the hack, the third to strike the company in the course of a year.

While the number is less than 4 percent of the company’s overall user base, HSBC on Monday downgraded TalkTalk shares from “buy” to “hold” over the incident, saying in a research note that the “implications for the company are potentially far-ranging”.

Police have arrested four suspects and released all on bail. They include the Northern Irish boy, a 16-year-old boy from Norwich, a 20-year-old man at an address in south Staffordshire, and a 16-year-old boy from Feltham, west London.

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