0370 270 6000

already registered?

Please sign in with your existing account details.

need to register?

Register to access exclusive content, sign up to receive our updates and personalise your experience on brownejacobson.com.

Privacy statement - Terms and conditions

Forgotten your password?

Balancing confidentiality over freedom of speech

8 July 2013

In the recent case of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft and Thales v Garcia and others, Thales, who makes car security systems, provided such a system to Volkswagen. Academic experts in the field of coding and decoding information intended to publish findings on a weakness identified in a software algorithm that had been devised by Thales. The defendants argued, amongst other things, that there was a strong public interest in exposing security flaws and that the algorithm was not confidential information as it was contained within free software.

However, the claimants were successful in having the academic text appropriately redacted. The risk of putting a new method of stealing cars in the public domain was deemed to justify quashing the academics’ freedom of speech, combined with the fact that the algorithm was found to constitute confidential information.

This case highlights the importance of carefully establishing whether or not information is confidential before proceeding to work with it and then attempting to put it in the public domain.

Related opinions

Insolvency applicants: getting the basics right

A number of interesting developments have emerged from what was quite a run-of-the-mill insolvency application brought by a litigation funder assignee.

View blog

Moratoriums

The new Part A1 moratorium was introduced partly in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on businesses. The moratorium is not intended to be used to simply delay the inevitable insolvency of a company, but rather to allow breathing space for that company to restructure and/or achieve an effective rescue.

View blog

Covid-19 insolvency measures extension

From 26 March 2021 the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 (Coronavirus) (Extension of the Relevant Period) Regulations 2021 will come into force with the effect of extending several of the temporary measures brought in by the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 (CIGA).

View blog

Covid, claims and the courts

The Ministry of Justice has recently released its civil justice statistics for the period October to December 2020. These statistics show an overall significant downward trend in claim activity compared to pre-Covid times.

View blog

Mailing list sign up

Select which mailings you would like to receive from us.

Sign up