There is a misconception that the law does not apply to online content in the same way as it does to conventional platforms such as television. In fact, online content is subject to the law in the same way as any other published content. This includes, for example, the laws relating to libel, contempt, child protection, copyright, privacy, data protection and criminal and terrorism legislation.
Further details about these areas of the law can be found in the Media Law section the Handbook.
Anyone involved in commissioning, creating and/or publishing content for Channel 4 should be conversant with the Handbook.
In addition to other areas of the law, Online staff need to be particularly aware of the Data Protection Act 1998 ("the DPA") and the General Data Protection Regulation ("GDPR") due to come into force on 25 May 2018 which set out rules, concerning the collection, storage, use, processing, provision of access to and safeguarding of "personal data". Breach of these rules can result in civil and criminal sanctions.
Personal data is any data from which an individual could be identified – for example, names, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, dates of birth, bank and payroll details, next of kin, passport details, driving licence numbers, or any combination of that type of information. You will be involved in activity covered by the DPA and GDPR whenever you deal with any personal information relating to individuals e.g. competition entries or the creation of a database of people interested in a certain subject.
If you are planning anything which may involve the collection or storage of personal data, and are in doubt about your legal obligations, you should seek legal advice at an early stage from the Corporate Legal Department, who specifically advise on data protection issues.
In addition Channel4 along with the BBC, ITV, Five, S4C and Pact have also issued joint Data Protection Guidelines - See 'Producers' Data Protection and Security Guidelines' and 'Producers' Data Protection and Security Guidelines: Production Crew - General Notes'.