New PCC Privacy Guidelines on Undercover Reporting

The Press Complaints Commission (PCC) has issued new guidance on privacy and data protection compliance for newspapers when involved in undercover newsgathering.

The guidance follows a PCC investigation into industry practices following the jail sentences handed down earlier this year to a News of the World reporter and a private investigator who tapped phone messages of Royal Family employees in order to source stories. Despite the successful court prosecutions, the PCC felt the case raised sufficiently important issues on compliance with its Code of Practice, to merit further investigation. It was also concerned that the case would not be seen as an isolated one and would undermine public confidence in journalism.

Following its report, the PCC have made six new recommendations in relation to undercover newsgathering. These include a recommendation for newspapers to incorporate explicit obligations to comply with data protection legislation