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Judge Issues Gag Order For Twitter 154

Posted by timothy
from the good-luck-with-that dept.
the simurgh writes with this excerpt from Reuters: "A British judge has banned Twitter users from identifying a brain-damaged woman in one of the first attempts to prevent the messaging website from revealing sensitive information. The ruling follows the publication on Twitter on Sunday of a list of celebrities alleged to have tried to cover up sexual indiscretions by obtaining court gag orders. The injunction, dated May 12 and seen by Reuters on Friday, includes Twitter and Facebook in the list of media prohibited from disclosing the information. It was issued in the Court of Protection in the case of a mother who wants to withdraw life support from her brain-damaged daughter. It prevents the identification of the woman and those caring for her."
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Judge Issues Gag Order For Twitter

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  • Oh boy... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Retron (577778) on Saturday May 14, 2011 @01:49PM (#36128054)
    If ever there was a way to get information out and about, trying to gag Twitter and Facebook is it! And once it's leaked, it's out there forever.
    • Re:Oh boy... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by plover (150551) * on Saturday May 14, 2011 @02:09PM (#36128164) Homepage Journal

      The whole idea is really sad. The judge's order is basically "don't be a dick about this, we are trying to spare a family the additional pain of dealing with a bunch of idiots making death threats while they're already having a hard time dealing with the issue at hand."

      If they were celebretards, I wouldn't care as much, because they have practice in dealing with the media and idiots. But these are just ordinary people who are already having a hell of a bad time.

      • Re:Oh boy... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MightyMartian (840721) on Saturday May 14, 2011 @02:48PM (#36128348) Journal

        Injunction laws are dead dead dead dead. Unless you're going to turn the UK into the Peoples Republic of China, the judge is wasting his time and everyone else's. Whether injunctions are good or bad is utterly and completely and now permanently irrelevant. A law that cannot be enforced is a pointless law and should simply be removed by legislators.

        The day is done. The Internet has made gag laws pointless. You might be able to go after British subjects who break the injunction, if you can figure out who they are, but the US has become so angry at the UK being used for libel tourism that the odds of any American-based site actually having to provide the identities of British subjects to a British court is extremely low.

        There's no solution here. The law has been rendered pointless. The British Parliament has dragged its heels about this for so long, despite demands that it start updating its injunction laws, and has basically made the whole thing pointless. Maybe that was the plan, don't do anything, let the Internet make the judiciary impotent and then shrug and go "Oh well, sorry 'bout that."

        • Re:Oh boy... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by plover (150551) * on Saturday May 14, 2011 @05:17PM (#36129400) Homepage Journal

          There's no solution here.

          He wouldn't have to prohibit the publishing of the name. He could use social pressure instead.

          "The court orders that if the name of the woman is published, that the person who reveals the name will also be published, and they should be reviled by all civilized people."

          Imagine what would happen to the guy if he was outed to a group like /b/, and they decided he was scum. We've seen what happened to the woman who threw the cat in the garbage can. That public spanking didn't stop at national boundaries.

          Of course, John Smith might be a member of /b/, and might be revealing the name just for teh lulz. He might get spanked, he might not. But it's an approach we could consider.

        • by dryeo (100693)

          What about British citizens? As the only British subjects left are people born in The Republic of Ireland before 1949 who did not claim any countries citizenship there can't be many left, probably only a few dozen if that.

        • by cgenman (325138)

          There are actually laws in the US to help prevent US citizens from falling prey to UK libel laws. The UK really needs to get its act together about libel. If the US is looking at you saying "you need to get your books in order man," then things have gotten pretty bad.

          And the idea of issuing a gag order for "Twitter" is amusing. Twitter Incorporated doesn't actually post anything. They might as well have thrown a gag order at British Telcom to prevent people from talking about it on their phones. If the

          • The UK will get right on it. The moment the US sorts out its insane patent laws, its copyright laws, respects international law on war crimes etc etc.

            Pot calling Kettle, come in Kettle!

          • by Cederic (9623)

            This doesn't use libel laws. This is a court order, transgression of which is contempt of court.

            I still don't see how it would apply to non-UK residents, but it's likely none of those know the lady's name anyway. Yet.

        • by julesh (229690)

          You might be able to go after British subjects who break the injunction, if you can figure out who they are

          And if they've actually broken the injunction.

          Contrary to popular belief, an injunction cannot prevent anyone in the world from revealing information. In order to be prosecuted, you must also be shown to be aware that the injunction existed and applied to the information you were revealing (source [independen...book.co.uk]). As none of the media discussions so far specify exactly who it is that is subject of this order, I do not know who it is I must avoid identifying. If I were to accidentally do so, I could not be held liable

        • Unless you're going to turn the UK into the Peoples Republic of China

          I think you're a bit late on that one - doesn't Britain already have something like 1 CCTV camera for every 3 persons? I bet even China isn't that monitored.

          Whether injunctions are good or bad is utterly and completely and now permanently irrelevant.

          There are all sorts of injunctions besides ones banning publication of information.

      • by iamhassi (659463)
        If they're not famous why are they trying to gag facebook and twitter? This is not the first brain dead girl to have the plug pulled, why are these people soooo special that anyone would care so much as to go on twitter or facebook and talk about it?

        And now I'm curious, along with probably a million other internet users, as to who this girl is. Anyone know yet?
        • by MoonBuggy (611105)

          If they're not famous why are they trying to gag facebook and twitter? This is not the first brain dead girl to have the plug pulled, why are these people soooo special that anyone would care so much as to go on twitter or facebook and talk about it?

          Because there are plenty of people who strongly, even violently believe that survival (even if the entire duration will be miserable, painful, or simply vegetative) is to be extended by all means possible. The family are having a tough time already, and if their names got out there then there's every chance that the forced survival brigade would come along making their lives, and whatever time the daughter may have left, even more unpleasant.

          It's really a no-win situation; the injunction is unenforceable an

        • by compro01 (777531)

          Were Michael and Terri Schiavo famous prior to the massive amount of bullshit (Protests around the hospital, death threats to both the husband and relatives, etc.) surrounding that incident? I sure as fuck wouldn't need that around me at a time like this.

        • If they're not famous why are they trying to gag facebook and twitter?

          Because they don't want to become famous by having their personal tradgedy plastered all over the internet.

  • by dotHectate (975458) on Saturday May 14, 2011 @01:49PM (#36128056) Journal
    Now that it's banned on twitter, it'll be the number one trending topic.
    • by Weezul (52464) on Saturday May 14, 2011 @02:04PM (#36128140)

      I'd fully support not identifying her. if there was no gag order, well pro-lifers are asshats. All over-broad gag orders must be defied.

      • by Moryath (553296)

        I fully understand the point of this order, after seeing the lunacy that happened in the US with the Terry Schiavo case.

        It helps nobody to have a gaggle of crazies showing up trying to hold a "protest" or worse yet, actually getting into the hospital room. All you get is the potential for a riot, or for someone else's needed care to be impacted because a bunch of idiots are getting in the way of hospital operations. But that's what would happen if news agencies or someone else puts the information out there

        • by Weezul (52464)

          England's ridiculous libel & public discours laws & judicial precedents are archaic relics of their class system. And these injunctions they produce are a fundamental affront to modern civilized society.

          There simply aren't enough Terry Schiavo cases that anyone should give a shit. Yes, pro-lifers, the WBC, etc. are all assholes, heck a few are even dangerous. Fine, we should confront the pro-lifers in public.

          We should not perpetuate the insanity that protects companies like Hempel and Trafigura f

          • by Moryath (553296)

            We should not perpetuate the insanity that protects companies like Hempel and Trafigura from media exposure while they're busy poisoning people.

            Ok, please stop smoking crack.

            FTFA: "The injunction, dated May 12 and seen by Reuters on Friday, includes Twitter and Facebook in the list of media prohibited from disclosing the information.

            It was issued in the Court of Protection in the case of a mother who wants to withdraw life support from her brain-damaged daughter. It prevents the identification of the woman

            • by Weezul (52464)

              Umm, Hempel and Trafigura are chemical corporations that've used the exact same gag order system to silence environmentalists, not parties to the present case. In fact, they were given much stronger injunctions :

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trafigura#Super-injunction

              There are even now "hyper-injunction" that does nothing but limit the public's ability to influence parliament while still granting the company full access.

              There isn't any effective legal way to distinguish between the evil injunctions sought b

              • by Moryath (553296)

                What you've made is an excellent argument for de-personing corporations, not for eliminating these sort of injunctions in cases where having a bunch of rowdy assholes show up would likely cause major problems for an entire hospital.

                • by Weezul (52464)

                  I'd agree that "corporate personhood" yields numerous "bad things", but corporations are owned and made up of people. Ergo, you need some alternative legal theory to gain acceptance, which might take a while. How long have people been campaigning for IRV?

                  If you nixed corporate personhood for speech abridging cases, you'd still face issues like the union for the chemical workers asking for an injunction "on behalf of the employees blah blah" when in-fact the company just asked them to.

                  There are otoh strong

      • by artor3 (1344997) on Saturday May 14, 2011 @02:47PM (#36128344)

        So you hurt people just to spite them? If someone asks you to hold the door for them, do you slam it in their face for not saying "please"?

        • by gabebear (251933)
          Yep! I can be pretty damn spiteful!

          Not for little things like not saying please, but if someone tried to pass a law baring me from ever slamming doors I'd certainly try to slam doors in their face.
        • The "pro lifers" in the grandparent post are the people being gagged and the grandparent post the poster is decrying the fact that without such a gag order the the "pro lifers" would be trying to turn the personal and painful decision to terminate life support into a media and internet circus just like with Schivo (spelling?).

          So the poster you are criticizing is saying "yea, to give this family some peace I would support the court order" and you are what...? saying it is being mean to the people who would m

        • by Weezul (52464) on Saturday May 14, 2011 @04:46PM (#36129196)

          Free speech is infinitely more important.

          It wasn't a free speech issue until the judge granted the gag order, just an "oh yeah pro-lifers are shit stains" issue. By applying for the gag order, the family created a free speech issue and painted targets on their foreheads. And yes I'd indirectly help people I loath do despicable things simply to make that point.

          England's ridiculous libel & public discours laws are archaic relics of their class system that have no place in the modern world.

          • by Kijori (897770)

            "Infinitely" more important is a very strong classification indeed. If free speech truly is infinitely more important than another right then it must be an absolute right; that is, it could never be permissible to put a restriction on what a person can say no matter how trivial the desired speech or how serious the consequences. With respect, that is a difficult position to defend. There are some occasions where the value of the speech is negligible while the consequences are enormous - in some cases death.

          • This is not a free speech issue, because the identities of these persons is not an opinion, nor an information that bears anything remotely resembling a matter of public interest. As such, it's not protected speech.

            By your reasoning, what course of action should this family have followed to prevent harm from being done to them? Publicly threaten to track down and kill the person who'd out them? Is that your idea of civilisation?

            And I firmly suggest that you refrain from saying you can't harm people with spe

        • He is saying that while he doesn't like the pro-lifers who may want to make the woman's death and how she is cared for into a show. I don't see why he would expect this in Britain (US ok but not Britain). The gag order is to stop people from harassing the family when they need to make decisions about how to care for their loved one NOT to protect some pro-lifers. So what is your point?
        • by Nyder (754090)

          So you hurt people just to spite them? If someone asks you to hold the door for them, do you slam it in their face for not saying "please"?

          Yes, and I'll bet they'll remember to say please next time. Mainly if I'm the one holding the door.

      • by eleuthero (812560)
        As a Christian and someone who self-identifies as "pro-life," we recently had to deal with whether or not to unplug a relative. Most who are jerks about the process have probably not had to go through it--there are tensions on both sides. Are we playing God by leaving the person plugged in? Are we committing murder by unplugging? Where is the line? Harvard (and I can't find the link) has a good list of questions to confront when determining whether or not unplugging is ethical or not--and this is not (anymo
        • by Weezul (52464) on Saturday May 14, 2011 @05:25PM (#36129460)

          This ceased to be about pro-life protesters, or even gun toting pro-lifers, the moment they applied for an injunction on people not currently involved in any related court proceedings. It's now only about the gag order.

          I think people should die whenever they damn well feel like it. If their brain has been fried badly enough that they no longer have any opinions about anything, then their family should decide.. and pay for the life support after some reasonable period. If there isn't anyone to decide, then the hospital should humanely terminate them, and spend it's resources on people with working brains.

          All that's irrelevant now though, British libel & gag laws are a despicable manifestation of that country's historical class system, originally designed to protect the toffs from the plebs papers. Yet, today they protect companies like Hempel and Trafigura who're busy poisoning people.

    • by BitterOak (537666)
      Actually, if you read the article, you'll see this wasn't merely an injunction, but something called a "super-injunction". This will no doubt give rise to something which will be called the Super-Streisand effect, in which every leaked name has a super-symmetric partner.
      • by Cederic (9623)

        If it was a so-called Super Injunction then the media would not be able to report that the injunction exists. The British media have mentioned a number of times that this injunction exists.

  • We should start a pool for how long it will be until someone posts that info here. Of course, by the time we got it organized that will probably have already happened.
  • Well this bound to fail no doubt, but I think the judge already know this? From the article:

    "They (injunctions) depend really on people's willingness to follow the rules rather than any ability to force it on them," [intellectual property and media partner Keith Arrowsmith] told Reuters when asked about Twitter.

    So really the judge is just asking Twitter and Facebook very nicely to not talk about it. Ineffectual by design.
  • I'll be sure it's on twitter, blogs, facebook, etc It's one thing not to do something out of your own judgement but it's more fun when someone uppity thinks they can control others and force them to conform.
    • by artor3 (1344997)

      Yeah, let's mock those who have just lost a loved one, and expose them to threats of violence from those who think that withdrawing life support is immoral! That'll show 'em for wanting privacy in their time of suffering!

      Want to join me at a WBC funeral protest afterwards? You know, just to show those uppity conformists who's boss.

      [/sarcasm]

      If you really think mocking the grieving for wanting privacy is "fun" then you're a fucking sociopath. Unfortunately, portions of society have decided that trolling i

      • by gweihir (88907)

        If you really think mocking the grieving for wanting privacy is "fun" then you're a fucking sociopath. Unfortunately, portions of society have decided that trolling is hip, and don't seem to understand that antisocial behavior in "cyberspace" has consequences. A full crackdown with serious fines and maybe even jailtime would do society a load of good. Free speech has never covered harassment. Performing the harassment online with thousands of your buddies doesn't change a thing. Even in cases where it is covered by the first amendment, hurting people just to prove you can makes you absolute filth.

        I completely agree. To gang up on some people and rape them (figuratively speaking), just because you happen to disagree on an issue that is not yours to decide for them in the first place, is about as despicable as it gets.

  • They must be trying to protect the identity of that lady at the Royal Wedding with the pastafarian hat.
    • by gweihir (88907)

      There were pastafarians at the wedding? This may make me care about the wedding after all! Do you have a link?

  • Information can't be stopped. If it's out, it is useless try to stop to spread it legally. If you know censors or TPTB, then it's another talk.
    • by DaveGod (703167)

      It's only useless against those people who are both aware there is something to look for and interested enough to make at least some effort to find out.

      It won't help against pro-lifers who are already actively seeking out and going around harassing people. Other laws exist for dealing with these people.

      It will help against some of the more opportunist pro-lifers, not prone to go around harassing people unless it is brought to their attention that there is a potential victim living locally.

      It will help again

  • Information like this shouldn't be banned...It isn't going to work.

    A better approach would be to ignore or scorn those who would post such personal information about something that is purely a painful family issue.
    • Information like this shouldn't be banned...It isn't going to work. A better approach would be to ignore or scorn those who would post such personal information about something that is purely a painful family issue.

      I don't think your definition of "work" and the judge's definition are the same. No one expects that this info won't be made public on the internet. By issuing a gag order, however, the judge provides legal leverage to prosecute or legally disadvantage dickheads who are harassing this family. What we have evidence you got your religious friends across the pond to post this info in defiance of UK law? Guess who's church is now classified as a criminal group collaborating with foreign religious extremists to

      • by gweihir (88907)

        Information like this shouldn't be banned...It isn't going to work. A better approach would be to ignore or scorn those who would post such personal information about something that is purely a painful family issue.

        I don't think your definition of "work" and the judge's definition are the same. No one expects that this info won't be made public on the internet. By issuing a gag order, however, the judge provides legal leverage to prosecute or legally disadvantage dickheads who are harassing this family. What we have evidence you got your religious friends across the pond to post this info in defiance of UK law? Guess who's church is now classified as a criminal group collaborating with foreign religious extremists to undermine the lawful authority of the commonwealth?

        Exactly. You cannot prevent people from being intrusive wastes-of-space. That would require censorship and censorship is neither desirable, nor works anymore today. But you can make it possible to kick them painfully afterwards.

    • by burne (686114)

      A better approach would be to ignore or scorn those who would post such personal information about something that is purely a painful family issue.

      I'd guess you've never had to deal with the British press. I'd like to use the occasion to offer you earplugs, a ball-gag, a large amount of your favourite lube and copious amounts of a benzodiazepine-derivative. Might give you a fighting chance to survive the ordeal.

  • Those bewigged fossils in the law courts really are living in a different age. Someone needs to give the poor things a crash course on what the internet is and how it works. I realise the sort of people who studied law are usually the sort who think using a pocket calculator is major techno kudos but it really is time they dragged themselves into the late 20th century, never mind the 21st.

    • by Livius (318358)

      Not everything is a matter of what is or isn't legally enforceable. The injunction makes a statement that disclosing the information is unfair to the people already victimized by the situation and just plain wrong.

      That's the judge's opinion and not an absolute truth, but coming from a professional judge representing the community at large who has first-hand information on the subject matter, people are on notice that they're anti-social jerks if they defy the order without some kind of compelling reason.

      • by Viol8 (599362)

        No, all this injunction does is make the law seem an ass. They might just as well do a Cnut and make a ruling that its illegal for the tide to come in. Creating a ruling that does nothing except make people point and laugh at the judge who made it brings the whole legal system into disrespect.

        • by gweihir (88907) on Saturday May 14, 2011 @02:37PM (#36128314)

          Entirely wrong. This also prevents newspapers and TV from reporting that this issue was on Farcebook or Twitter.
          I also gives explicit moral support for the family affected that they are right in not wanting to have this dragged out in the open.
          My guess is the judge in question knows exactly what he is doing and what effects it will have. I applaud his decision.

        • by belthize (990217) on Saturday May 14, 2011 @02:43PM (#36128326)

          Laws don't prevent anything, just because somebody wrote somewhere 'Thou shalt not kill' has no bearing on your ability to kill.

          The use and appropriateness of injunctions doesn't change as a function of technology and the injunction will in fact have an effect; it will deter some people, the
          fact that it won't deter 100% is immaterial. The real problem is the exposure created by the injunction. That exposure only exists because it was the first injunction (according the author) that explicitly referenced twitter. The 2nd, 3rd or 100th time there's an injunction explicitly referencing twitter nobody will talk about it and the injunction will have roughly the same effect as it would have 20, 40 or 80 years ago.

          • by mjwx (966435)

            Laws don't prevent anything, just because somebody wrote somewhere 'Thou shalt not kill' has no bearing on your ability to kill.

            What a very odd definition of "law". What planet do you live on where laws work like that?

            Laws do prevent crime, they prevent it by providing a disincentive to commuting an act. A law is written "if you kill, you will go to jail" not "Thou shalt not kill". A written law must define an act and a punishment. It is the risk of that punishment which prevents crime.

            Now a law tha

            • by belthize (990217)

              They don't prevent, they dissuade. As I said, laws have no bearing on your ability to commit a crime. A metal detector is a form of prevention, a law that says you can't carry a gun into an airport does not actually prevent you from doing it.

              The rest of your post seems to be restating what I said, you somehow misread my point by misconstruing the nuance about prevent. The GP was saying the injunction would have no effect because it didn't actually prevent the transmission via Twitter. My point was it wo

              • by mjwx (966435)

                They don't prevent, they dissuade.

                By dissuading they prevent it. You're next statement would add wieght to that, if it were not based on bad assumptions.

                As I said, laws have no bearing on your ability to commit a crime

                Actually they do, law changes the likelihood of a person commuting a crime. The fear that they will be fined or jailed for doing so, this is an effective motivator. This motivation is a good prevention mechanism.

                A metal detector is a form of prevention,

                A metal detector will not stop yo

        • by Livius (318358)

          People are judged on their actions in a way that the tide is not.

      • by grahammm (9083) *

        In practice, how is it going to work? If Joe Public knows or sees "X", unless the court publishes the very information which the injunction is trying to prevent being published, how is he to know that the particular fact "X" is the one covered by the injunction? Or does the injunction prevent any discussion or mention of any brain damaged people just in case the person is the one covered by the injunction?

    • You are insulting the legal system in a full-fledged attempt to mockery, but I can't read any rationale among your words why you are doing that.

      If you just criticize them, and don't explain why you are doing it (I'm sorry, it is not obvious to me), then you are trolling.

      Your reply to Livius below doesn't help to make things clearer.

      It'd be time for some people to learn how to argument their positions, instead to spit venom on anything moving nearby.

    • Since injunctions like this have existed for all of the past 15 years of popular Internet and have worked at minimising information spread in the UK without anyone being up in arms... I'd say the law is effective.

      Sounds like you just have something against people "who studied law", though, which is a bizarre appeal to ignorance. Established law mostly adapted to the Internet quite well, as is the way with common law systems. It's new legislation lobbied for by special interests with a good knowledge of the

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 14, 2011 @02:30PM (#36128270)

    I've had to make a decision to remove extraordinary medical treatments from my father. It was not easy, but it was his wish. I discussed it with other members of the family. I only regret that his body lived for 3 more weeks before he died. I wish we could have ended his life quicker, pain free. He wasted away. I could be more humane towards a dying animal than towards my father. That's just sad.

    I'd hope that my family would choose similarly if I ever need this decision made about me. I'd want them to have closure and move on as best they could. A quick death would be appreciated when the time came.

    I'm certain the judge and the petitioners thought they were doing the best they could by asking to block this information publication. It shows little understanding of the web and internet.

    I will not attempt to find out who this was. Sure, I'm curious, but my humanity tells me to leave these people alone.

    Religious fanatics - screw you. This is real, not some imaginary friend you can "prey" to for wishes to come true.

    A few weeks ago, my Aunt died and I expect my mother to pass away in the next year or so. She is ready and has made her wishes known to me and the other family members. I'm certain that a few will want to do everything they can to prolong her suffering. That is not her wish.

    Have this discussion with your family. Having your wishes in writing helps, but they can overrule those at the time. Have the talk before it is too late. Don't leave them guessing. They will wonder for the rest of their lives and it can eat away at them if there's any doubt.

  • ...were Twitter and Facebook "media?" The point of a gag order on a media agency is that you can tell a group of a few individuals who adhere to a common code of conduct not to do something. That just doesn't work when you tell a massive group of millions of people who don't read or know of the existence of certain gag orders not to do something.
    • by artor3 (1344997)

      The people who don't know about the gag order won't be in a position to violate it by accident. Those who do know the name, are now banned from releasing it through any medium. They can't post it on Twitter and then come back and say "oh, well, the gag order only applied to newspapers!"

  • Since how can a British judge have jurisdiction over a US Company? Are the Twitter uses going to be polled on whether they are Brit or not, and if they, pre-emptively slap their wrists with a harsh cry of "Don't eye try it, matey!"
    • by gweihir (88907)

      If they are now or in the future doing any business in the UK, then there is jurisdiction. As their websites can be accessed from the UK and there is advertising revenue generated from that, the issue is quite clear. Enforcement is a different issue, but this comes with personal liability (if I understand this right), so any company official traveling to the UK could face arrest and a sentence if they are in violation.

    • Congress has taken steps to prevent American courts from being used as enforcers of Britain's libel laws, because those laws are so outrageous and unfair and so often for the purposes of libel tourism. I think the day of Britain's laws in this regard are now numbered. No one actually believes a British judge can have a hope in hell of making Twitter do anything.

      • Britain's libel laws, because those laws are so outrageous and unfair

        You think it's outrageous and unfair that the details of a family making a private decision in the best interests of a suffering patient under tragic circumstances should not be revealed on a widely-read public forum for the benefit of religious nutjobs who might express their disagreement through violence?

        Free speech is not an absolute right anywhere that I know of, and this sort of case is one reason why. The fact that the Internet makes it more difficult to enforce this law does not make the ruling any l

        • by MightyMartian (840721) on Saturday May 14, 2011 @07:10PM (#36130072) Journal

          Don't get mad at me. Get mad at all those libel shopping celebrities and other assorted wealthy folks who have abused Britain's incredibly bad injunction system. You certainly don't see a lot of this behavior elsewhere.

          But no, it must be the Internet's fault that Britain's incredibly abused injunction system and the worthless brainless judges that have let it go on is now basically evaporating.

          I will not take the blame for this. The UK has a shitty vile unfair system and all of sudden because someone relatively innocent is caught in the net bad law, bad judges and lazy politicians, you think you have any right at all standing on some sort of high horse? This has been coming for a while, and despite repeated commitments to review the current system, the politicians refused to and the judges would know no restraint, and now it's dead. Dead dead dead dead dead. Get over it and get over your holier-than-thou attitude. I didn't kill it. The judges and the celebrities and the wealthy did.

          • The UK has a shitty vile unfair system

            So many people here are saying. The thing is, I've never really understood this. What does it matter that tabloid newspapers and celebrity wannabes are having a collective pissing match over things? If, for example, a serving MP were arguing strongly against gay rights while being a closet homosexual, there would be a legitimate public interest in the story. However, most of the time when people like professional sportsmen have taken out these injunctions, frankly I'm not sure there was any legitimate publi

            • One word: Trafigura [wikipedia.org]

              UK's justice system has been so heavily abused that no one respects it any more. For law to function it must be respected. The British judiciary has brought the system into disrepute. End of story.

    • The British Judges issuing these "super-injuctions" have been out of control for some time.

      Recently, they've begun issuing so called "hyper-injunctions [telegraph.co.uk], where not only are you not allowed to reveal details of the matter, and not only are you forbidden from revealing that you are forbidden from reveal details of a matter, you are further forbidden from talking to any journalist or even your own MP about the matter or the fact that you are unable to reveal details of a matter.

      When one of these injunctions was revealed by an MP speaking in parliament, the judges attempted to prevent newspapers from publishing the proceeding of parliament. (Like the spineless curs they are, the British press immediately capitulated). The matter caused quite a todo, but instead of reforming the system, the judges invented hyper-injunctions instead.

      Basically, the British judges are out of control. And the judges are the problem here. No sensible judge concerned with the dignity of his office would issue such a ridiculous gag order for twitter users. It's barely one step above ordering people to stop gossiping in pubs. Ordering around citizens from other countries is hardly a major move by comparision.

      It would be interesting to figure out why the judges are behaving like this, particularly in England, where judges are renowned for issuing decisive judgements and setting common law precedent. While I know little about it, I'm going to pre-emptively blame whatever pro-business, anti-justice legal philosophy that has been promoted over the last 30 years in law schools, until I see evidence to the contrary.

      • Super injunctions are no longer made in English courts and none have been made for over six months.

      • Basically, the British judges are out of control. And the judges are the problem here. No sensible judge concerned with the dignity of his office would issue such a ridiculous gag order for twitter users.

        It should be 'some British judges are out of control', and it is about more than the dignity of their office. To forbid someone from talking to their member of Parliament on any matter that concerns them is, to me anyway, interference with the functioning of Parliament. The proper action here would be for the House of Commons to impeach the judge responsible. Will they do so, given that MP's have slipped into a well established role as lobby fodder rather than the supreme authority in the land that they sho

      • No sensible judge concerned with the dignity of his office would issue such a ridiculous gag order for twitter users. It's barely one step above ordering people to stop gossiping in pubs.

        Don't be silly, that's what ASBOs are for. [the-joke-shop.com]
        OK, that's a gag, but this is real. [mirror.co.uk]

  • surely the only way to stop twitter users from posting the information is to tell every twitter user who they are gagged from posting about, otherwise someone could easily post it without knowing they are breaking the gagging order.
  • by VortexCortex (1117377) <VortexCortexNO@S ... t-retrograde.com> on Saturday May 14, 2011 @02:56PM (#36128402)

    Seriously -- The safe harbor provisions of the DMCA provide Twitter, Facebook, Slashdot, and any other user generated content providers protection against their users' blatant disregard for retarded orders such as these.

    Effectively, The Facebook or Twitter staff themselves can't release the info on their home pages / blogs / etc, but we, as users, can post whatever the hell we want (esp. in responce to a blog post by a Twitter or Facebook employee's saying that they have been gaged against releasing the information).

    It's the 1st amendment because it's the most important one -- they can't inhibit the spread of information if it wants to be free; To do so is unconstitutional.

    • It's the 1st amendment because it's the most important one -- they can't inhibit the spread of information if it wants to be free; To do so is unconstitutional.

      Fortunately for the family in question, they live in the UK, not the US.
      The "right" to say what one pleases unfettered by the responsibility to do no harm, is itself harmful

    • It's the 1st amendment because it's the most important one -- they can't inhibit the spread of information if it wants to be free;

      It is not the first because it is the most important one, it is the first because it was the first, rofl. Perhaps you don't know what the word amendment actually means? The original bill of rights did not have that "addition".

      angel'o'sphere

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      what's more, twitter is affected by more than one constitution.

      anyways, how the fuck do you know you're not supposed to re-release information you found with google, without knowing the names and why in the first place? and these gagging orders do nothing against discussing it in a pub for example.

      so, anyone can try a modern book burning, but it just doesn't go well because of some fundamental reasons, it just makes it into an archived case for history. but 5 years down the line, nobody cares or remembers

    • RTFA. It was an order by a British judge. They don't have to care about the Constitution.
  • This superinjunction is only vaild in UK. Everywhere else it does not have any legal meaning. So it can save too be ignored if you are not in the UK.

    (Sorry for spelling errors. Firefox Spell check does not work on slashdot with the new comment boxes.)

    • by gmhowell (26755)

      This superinjunction is only vaild in UK. Everywhere else it does not have any legal meaning. So it can save too be ignored if you are not in the UK.

      If all the Brits who had character or personal integrity hadn't headed for other shores (US, Aus, CA, etc.) over the past 300 years, maybe they'd grow a pair and ignore it in the UK, no matter the consequences. Of course, these spineless turds let themselves get shamed into [wikipedia.org] dying in horrendous ways [wikipedia.org].

      (Sorry for spelling errors. Firefox Spell check does not work on slashdot with the new comment boxes.)

      Slashdot is broken. S^2D^2 for 10+ years.

  • by SlithyMagister (822218) on Saturday May 14, 2011 @03:15PM (#36128562)
    The point of the order is not to prevent people identifying the family. This is a mistake common to law-abiding people -- thinking that a law or a court order prevents a behaviour. Such a law/order can never do so, however, it gives the people harmed by a breach of the law/order a legal remedy. "a lock only stops an honest man", however if a dishonest one breaks that lock, the crime is more severe than had he merely walked in through an unlocked door. Without the order, bringing attention to this family is merely reprehensible socially inexcusable behaviour, now it is a crime, and the might of the law can be brought to bear on those who ignore the order.
    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      The point of the order is not to prevent people identifying the family. This is a mistake common to law-abiding people -- thinking that a law or a court order prevents a behaviour. Such a law/order can never do so, however, it gives the people harmed by a breach of the law/order a legal remedy

      Judges usually lift gag orders when publication has made the order moot.
      And really, who are you going to sue when a British injuction against an American company is violated by someone living in a third country?

  • Seriously, it's not long, it'll only take a minute of your time.

    As far as the article I would really like to read documents relative to the gag order and the source of the news; as mentioned in a few comments, is this gag imposed on twitter itself or users using twitter (the twitters legalese is specific on the subject and knowing UK judges anything is possible). Also, is the gag order specific to UK users or does this judge think we still live in colonial times (I repeat: anything is possible).

    I could
  • From what I can tell, most Twitter users are brain-damaged. The writing alone will identify them immediately!

  • Several tedious Z-list celebrities [newstechnica.com] have demanded Twitter user @injunctionsuper post details of their tawdry and squalid lives too.

    [REDACTED] tweeted: "Rumur that I hv super-injunction preventing publication of 'intimate' photos of me n my bank account. NOT TRUE! Also, tits. FER FUXAKE PLS RT"

    The revelation that decent British people can read things on Internet services that aren't even based in the UK has left celebrities and politicians shocked, shocked that people actually have ways of gaining information that aren't filtered through the hamstrung UK print press. "Clearly," said minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries Ed Vaizey, "we need to protect our valuable pop music and football industries with a Great Firewall of Britain without delay."

    "In the modern world of the Internet, the secret or super-injunction may no longer be an effective tool in the administration of justice," said BBC legal correspondent Clive Coleman, in an attempt on the world record for fatuity.

    "We tried to bugger the Internet last year," said Peter Mandelson, "but did you listen?"

    A spokesman for Wikipedia suggested that journalists looking for space-filler stories just fuck off until August as usual.

The key elements in human thinking are not numbers but labels of fuzzy sets. -- L. Zadeh

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