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Twitter Sued By British Soccer Player 264

Posted by timothy
from the ooh-right-footballer dept.
norriefc writes "Here in the UK super injunctions are all the rage. These are injunctions that bar the press from even mentioning that the injunctions exist. Recently a Twitter account exposed several of these super injunctions and named several people involved and what their alleged indiscretions were. Now one 'famous' soccer player is trying to sue Twitter and the yet to be named tweeters for invasion of privacy, apparently in ignorance of the Streisand effect. I'm doubtful of an American company paying much attention to UK anti-free-speech laws"
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Twitter Sued By British Soccer Player

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  • Quandary (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WizardMarnok (2032762) on Saturday May 21, 2011 @05:26AM (#36200554)
    How an I supposed to know what I am not allowed to say, when the very injunction which forbids me to say it prevents me from knowing what I'm not allowed to say?
    • by AGMW (594303)

      How an I supposed to know what I am not allowed to say ...

      Exactly so Sir. I don't know who was served with super-injunctions which prevented them from saying things about some anonymous person (or persons) and also prevented them from even talking about the fact they can't talk about it, but I certainly haven't been told I can't talk about it?

      Hmmmm. That Super-Injunction's not looking quite so Super now is it!

      Honestly, I really couldn't give a toss about what footballers get up to off the pitch - actually, I don't really care what they do on the pitch either,

    • Re:Quandary (Score:4, Interesting)

      by BasilBrush (643681) on Saturday May 21, 2011 @06:19AM (#36200738)

      A superinjunction is sent to named individuals or organisations. But it includes an additional clause to "Any person who knows of this order..."

      Thus if you know of the superinjunction, you are forbidden from saying what the superinjunction says you can't say.

      If you don't know of the superinjunction, you can say what you like.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by grahammm (9083) *

        Thus if you know of the superinjunction, you are forbidden from saying what the superinjunction says you can't say.

        If you don't know of the superinjunction, you can say what you like.

        In this case one of the things the court is ordering is that the identity of the person posting the tweet be revealed. So how does the court know that the tweeter was either aware of the existence of the superinjunction or, if they were aware of the existence of a superinjunction, that the person about whom they were tweeting was the subject of the injunction?

        • Because the tweet mentioned the two people and was tagged #superinjunction. Pretty easy really.

      • by ukemike (956477)

        Thus if you know of the superinjunction, you are forbidden from saying what the superinjunction says you can't say.
        If you don't know of the superinjunction, you can say what you like.

        I'm dizzy.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by 91degrees (207121)
      Super injunctions are actually fairly new, and on the whole, people don't really understand them.

      To the best of my knowledge, the law says that people are entitled to their privacy. If you violate his privacy then you may well be liable for damages caused by that breach. It's up to the court to decide whether they were entitled to privacy and whether you violated it.

      Unlike the US, the courts can apply prior restraint. That is, if a publication is going to breach privacy, you can get a court injunctio
    • by JWSmythe (446288)

      Because you read the article. Or at least the summary. So you and I both know that there's someone out there that plays sports, that had an affair with a smoking hottie (scroll up for the name). So clearly, you can't say "Tiger Woods". [google.com]

      Wait... Who were we talking about again?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 21, 2011 @05:27AM (#36200564)

    Why would Ryan Giggs try to sue Twitter over exposing his affair with Imogen Thompson? It doesn't make sense...

    • Because he's pissed that it was some page nobody looks at and not a The Sun exclusive shocking story that would at least put his name in SOME context into people's mind.

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

    [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 informatio

  • by Winckle (870180) <mark.winckle@co@uk> on Saturday May 21, 2011 @05:54AM (#36200658) Homepage

    See title, tag the story so no one misses it :D

  • Can someone clarify (Score:4, Informative)

    by funkatron (912521) on Saturday May 21, 2011 @06:25AM (#36200762)
    Is Ryan Giggs suing for privacy or for libel? Basically, is he confirming the story?
    • by Relyx (52619)

      The fact that he hasn't come out and announced the rumours as libellous confirms the story. The other week, Jemima Khan was wrongly named and she promptly put that story to bed.

      I am still trying to grapple with the stupidity of his legal advice.

      • by sincewhen (640526)

        the stupidity of his legal advice.

        Why? I'm sure it's turning out to be quite lucrative for his lawyers...

        • by funkatron (912521)

          the stupidity of his legal advice.

          Why? I'm sure it's turning out to be quite lucrative for his lawyers...

          Surely they can only take that path so far before he gets different lawyers.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 21, 2011 @07:51AM (#36201040)

      The footballer in question (I'm in the UK and I will take no part in mentioning of names), obtained a UK court injunction stopping his name from being published, under UK privacy laws. There has been no mention of libel, but under UK law you have a right to privacy from the press. Although this is only the case if you are rich and can afford such injunctions.

      A famous welsh footballer who has played professionally for the same top club for 21 years, winning 12 Premier League titles and two UEFA Champions League titles could certainly afford such an injunction.

      • by igb (28052) on Saturday May 21, 2011 @09:29AM (#36201354)

        There are no privacy laws in the UK, which is at the heart of the dispute. Judges are making caselaw out of the Human Rights Act, and therefore the European Convention on Human Rights. The balance between article eight privacy and article ten freedom of expression is unclear, and because European caselaw isn't incorporated into UK caselaw, and anyway there isn't very much of it, this is all pretty unexplored.

        What's happened now is not that his lawyers are suing Twitter as a defendant, they're trying to get a Norwich Pharmacal order against Twitter. That's an order that says "I want to sue someone, and you have information that is important to that action". It doesn't injunct Twitter, and wouldn't even if they were a UK company, it merely demands they hand over information they have. It's going to be a car-crash, because Twitter don't (and don't need to) authenticate users, IP numbers have already been found to be insufficient evidence of identity as part of the ACS:Law debacle, and as others have pointed out there's US legislation (SPEECH Act?) which makes assisting overseas censorship an offence for a California company. "CTG"'s lawyers (like we don't know who it really is) appear to think the Streisand effect is a good thing.

    • by advocate_one (662832) on Saturday May 21, 2011 @08:10AM (#36201100)
      no, a footballer who cannot be named has sued Twitter. It may or may not be him, but he's relying on the injunction to keep his real name off the court papers...
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The UK doesn't have any anti free speech laws. It has laws against Libel and Slander, and there are some european laws on privacy that the UK courts are inerpreting in a rather broad manner to give rise to these superinjunctions. I suspect Twitter will just tell the UK lawyers to go to a US court first, and it'll stop there.

    • by Bogtha (906264) on Saturday May 21, 2011 @10:12AM (#36201550)

      The UK doesn't have any anti free speech laws. It has laws against Libel and Slander

      The UK does have anti-free speech laws, and libel/slander are examples of them - restriction of speech. Every country has laws like these, because every country has decided that completely unrestricted speech is unwise.

      However some countries cling to the concept of free speech as a propaganda tool. Their people are so indoctrinated to believe that their country has free speech and that makes their country special that they convince themselves that any law contradicting this belief must therefore not be actually restricting speech. So you get convoluted explanations as to why laws that quite clearly restrict people from saying things aren't actually curtailing free speech.

      If I am restricted from knowingly saying untrue, disparaging things about another person, then that is a restriction of my speech. There's no getting away from that. You can either think the law is bad because it curtails free speech, or you can accept the idea that restrictions on free speech is sometimes acceptable. The more common third option, "excusing" the law (most likely by redefining "speech" to exclude the unwanted speech), is not intellectually honest.

      To put it another way - if it's an anti-free speech law that you have grown up with, then you are likely to be unable to recognise it as an anti-free speech law. It's just the way things are for you. If it's a new law that is being introduced, then you are more likely to recognise it as such.

  • "How exactly could we know not to allow comments about your injunction if we don't know there is an injunction because of the injunction?"
  • You can't stop the signal
  • by Nidi62 (1525137) on Saturday May 21, 2011 @08:04AM (#36201084)
    So...I guess the first rule about super injunctions is you do not talk about super injunctions?
    • by symes (835608)

      I would imagine that the first rule is not to become embroiled in tawdry affairs that might embarrass you should they become public knowledge, especially if you are married.

  • this footballer has just made himself look massively stupid... so needs his name used to illustrate the futility of attempting to keep something secret in the information age...
  • OK, it may be begging a Streisand effect to attempt to maintain discretion by way of the law, but I'm not wild about the cavalier attitude of suggesting American companies should ignore local laws. If we want one global agreement on rules of conduct, perhaps we should actually negotiate a common set of principles instead of "what America says is the law, is the law because there's nothing you can do about it".
  • by GauteL (29207) on Saturday May 21, 2011 @08:49AM (#36201206)

    Just like with Digital Rights Management / Defective by Design, you see a lot of silly bullish attitude from geeks on this site: "Ever heard of the Streisand Effect? All DRM will eventually be beaten!"

    This is a serious attack on people's rights. What people are forgetting is that while this Welsh footballers privacy is being protected, the big brother's star Imogen Thomas' right to publish accounts about her own private life is impeded. In this particular case, this may seem irrelevant, after all, she's just a gold digger looking to make some money selling her story, right? But what if some famous actor / sports star slept with your wife and when you wanted to expose the wanker, he slaps down a super-injunction on you. How humiliated would you feel? And what if this was actually about something that had serious public interest?

    Just like with DRM, bullishly stating that "we'll always beat them" is besides the point. Just because YOU [tm] may have the means and no qualms about breaking this stupidity imposed on you by law, that doesn't mean everyone are willing to break the law and open themselves up to the legal consequences.

    AND: the fact that Twitter is American is more or less meaningless. Since they operate in Britain, they have to abide by British law and may well have to give up the names of the people involved. And you know what? Chances are they live in Britain.

    This is serious stuff, people's rights are under threat, and arrogance doesn't help anyone.

    • by Phillip2 (203612)

      Everything that you say is correct. This is serious and the rise of the super injunction is not a good thing; even if they are largely aimed at the tabloid press who are a bunch of bottom-feeders.

      None of this, however, changes the fact that the situation is farcical and absurd. It reminds me of the stupidity of the Peter Wright spy-catcher affair, or the entirely ridiculous spectacle of an actor lip-syncing Gerry Adams for two years because he was a terrorist.

      It might be serious and because of this, it's mo

    • by igb (28052)

      the fact that Twitter is American is more or less meaningless. Since they operate in Britain, they have to abide by British law

      Do Twitter operate in the UK? They were talking about opening an office in the UK recently [mediaweek.co.uk] but I don't think they have yet, and the legal action is against their US operation. People who access their website from the UK have to do so within the bounds of UK criminal law, and if anything do is deemed to be "publishing" they are at risk under UK libel and defamation laws, but n

    • This is a serious attack on people's rights. What people are forgetting is that while this Welsh footballers privacy is being protected, the big brother's star Imogen Thomas' right to publish accounts about her own private life is impeded. In this particular case, this may seem irrelevant, after all, she's just a gold digger looking to make some money selling her story, right? But what if some famous actor / sports star slept with your wife and when you wanted to expose the wanker, he slaps down a super-injunction on you. How humiliated would you feel?

      How humiliated would I feel if someone famous slept with my wife and the internet was prevented from echoing that fact ad nauseum. Not humiliated at all, as a matter of fact. I would be grateful to be able to divorce her and get on with my life with a minimum amount of drama.

      The only "right" in danger here is the "right" to profit, either financially or in the esteem of they type of people who follow celebrity gossip. Imogen Thomas is not prevented from prostituting the sad details of her own life. She

  • Yeah, trying to suppress the morale when the UEFA Champions League final is only 7 days away.

    Who ever that post that tweet must be working for FC Barcelona.

    Manchester United for LIFE!

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