I'm sure most of you are aware of the Austrailian DJ's prank call to the London Hospital where Prince William's wife was hospitalized in which the DJ's impersonated themselves to be the Queen and Prince Charles inquiring about the health of Kate and where put through to the ward and received confidential informaton. The call was played on the radio, created a firestorm and two days later the humiliated nurse that transferred the call to the ward killed herself.
So was this just free speech or was there a crime?
Defense; prank calls made alll the time by radio stations but unfortunately this one ended badly, with the apparent suicide of the nurse.
Plantif; this was an outrageous attempt to violate health privacy laws and invade personal privacy issues. The incident left the nurse humiliated and she could handle the worldwide shame.
I think there is more to the story and the hospital was embarassed by the event and most likely came down very hard on the nurses involved; after all the nurses not only violated protocol on release of medical information - it was the information of British Royalty.
Like most stories this is complicated; the trigger was the prank call, the accellerant was the hospital's reaction with its employees and the undetermined mental health of the deceased nurse is the unknown.
Crime - No
Business ethics and humanity violation - Yes as there are unexpected consequences to peoples actions and the consequences should be mitigated by ethical behavior.