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TalkTalk cyber attack: Antrim schoolboy ends Google legal action

Published 09/03/2016

No charges were ever brought against the boy over the attack
No charges were ever brought against the boy over the attack

A Co Antrim schoolboy arrested over the cyber attack on TalkTalk has ended his claim for damages against Google.

The 15-year-old's action was discontinued during a brief hearing at the High Court in Belfast today.

His lawyers had been seeking permission to serve proceedings at the internet giant's US headquarters in a world-first attempt to sue it for negligence.

The development comes just over a month after the teenager settled his privacy lawsuit against Twitter on confidential terms.

Separate actions are continuing against three national newspapers over the publicity surrounding his arrest. 

He was questioned in October last year by police investigating a major hack into the phone and broadband provider's database.

The boy was among a number of suspects to be detained in connection with the TalkTalk probe.

He was interviewed on suspicion of offences under the Computer Misuse Act before being released on bail. No charges were brought.

Since then his lawyers have issued writs claiming negligence, misuse of private information, defamation, breach of confidence and data protection.

The three newspapers defending the action, The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mail and The Sun, have all given undertakings aimed to protecting his identity pending the outcome of the case.

Legal steps were also taken to secure the removal of material published online about the boy and where he lived.

The court was told that the boy's family has had to move home following the publicity surrounding his arrest.

His lawyers claimed he could be identified from newspaper articles and partially blacked out photographs which appeared at the time.

Barristers Ronan Lavery QC and Sean Mullan contended that the content contributed to their client being "stigmatised" within his community.

They said the teenager's name also featured in tweets and online searches.

During one of a number of hearings in the case, a lawyer for the Daily Mail rejected claims that it had revealed his identity.

She said the newspaper altered the boy's appearance, changed his hair colour in the photo used and never published his name or address.

An order prohibiting the publication of any material that could lead to the boy being identified remains in place

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