While 'H' last week secured a High Court apology after the E!Entertainment TV website had previously wrongly pictured him alongside a report of the guilty plea lodged by Ian Watkins (formerly of the Lostprophets) - and E!Entertainment had been quick to spot and correct the error and fully admitted fault - this did not stop the same happening again. This time (see Press Gazette for full reports) Google News had published the wrong (i.e. 'H' from Steps rather than Watkins from Lostprophets) picture alongside a CBS News Story of Watkins' conviction. It appears this matter has not been resolved:
It seems ironic that one of the (many) key points drummed into journalists as part of their training on things legal is the need to identify the specific person in relation to any report, especially in relation to court proceedings [ See CPS guidance on identification ] and that where someone may share a name or address or profession one has to include sufficient detail (where permitted) to correctly identify. So in this case one would ascertain that there were indeed two Ian Watkins who were in the music industry and from Wales and ensure one identified the correct one. But a computer can't do this, it follows an algorithm which, sophisticated as it may be, cannot pick up every distinguishing feature.
So while 'H' from Steps and his lawyers mull over what they can do and who they can sue, the real question is one for news aggregators, namely, how can they build in checks to prevent this sort of mis-identification happening again. To the extent it is great to have a free flow of news and aggregated news from all over the world pulled together and spat out online, there are instances (such as this) where the need for some form of human intervention still seems appropriate and needed. It's the same thing for moderation on websites, chatrooms and twitter, the computer does not always know best.