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Twitter Prepared To Name Users 292

whoever57 writes "Ryan Gibbs, a UK footballer (soccer player) had obtained a 'superinjunction' that prevented him being named as the person involved in an affair with a minor celebrity. However, he was named by various users on Twitter. Now, in response to legal action initiated by Mr. Giggs in the UK courts against the users, Twitter has stated that it is prepared to identify the users who broke the injunction if it was 'legally required' to do so. Twitter will attempt to notify the users first in order to give them an opportunity to exercise their rights."
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Twitter Prepared To Name Users

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  • wrong name (Score:3, Informative)

    by Mr Reaney ( 544642 ) on Thursday May 26, 2011 @05:42AM (#36248464)
    Ryan Giggs

    Does that count as breaking the injunction? :)
    • Not really, you can claim you're quoting a Parliamentarian.

      • Not really, you can claim you're quoting a Parliamentarian.

        Or quoting Wikipedia, which also has a mention [] of the risible procedures, and added it to its article on the super-injunction [] controversies.

      • Depends when the tweet was posted. After, and you're in the clear. Before, and if you live in England or Wales, and you mentioned the superinjunction in a tweet too... then you are liable.

    • Only if you're in England or Wales..

      In Scotland we are not covered by stupid English laws... ^_~ so we've been naming him every chance we get to rub it in...

    • Re:wrong name (Score:4, Interesting)

      by PhilHibbs ( 4537 ) <> on Thursday May 26, 2011 @05:50AM (#36248508) Homepage Journal

      Only if you were aware of the details of the superinjunction, I would assume. If I find out that X is having an affair with Y, but am unaware that X has taken out a superinjunction, surely I am not breaking the law by saying so. The papers and news broadcasters are still not allowed, due to the injunction, to say "Ryan Giggs had an affair with Imogen Thomas", but they can now say "Ryan Giggs has been named as the footballer who took out a superinjunction over allegations of an affair with Imogen Thomas". This is because they know that it was Ryan Giggs, and they know that the superinjunction applies to them. I don't know for a fact that it was Ryan Giggs, I have never been ordered not to say it, because the superinjunction was supposed to prevent me from even knowing in the first place, so telling me not to say it would break the superinjunction. Phew. Did any of that make any sense, semantically or legally?

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        In order to have an effect all parties must be informed of injunctions. Presumably future injunctions will name Twitter directly, but how Twitter would enforce it I don't know. If they simply prevented people from posting a certain name then it would quickly become apparent what was happening. People would then post about it elsewhere, like on their personal blogs. The injunction would have to target every UK based blog too, which in itself would make the matter widely known.

        Giggs can try to use the 75,000

        • Re:wrong name (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 26, 2011 @06:52AM (#36248804)

          my understanding is that English law doesn't require you to be aware of the injunction, it is made "against the world" which means it applies to all parties in England and Wales. Scotland has a wholly independent legal system, or at least should do (see the 1707 act of union - the UK supreme court muddies this someone, and in my opinion is unlawful as it breaches the aforementioned act - but the supreme court ISN'T the highest court in Scotland in civil matters, that is still the court of session). Under Scots law a party must be served with an interdict (our version of injunctions) in order for them to apply to that party so it would be near imposable to impose a "contra mundum" on Scottish parties.

          After the Pan-Am debacle I thought that some American's might have learned a little more about scots law - particularly on the topic of its separation from the English system. AFSAIK were are the only legal system that has three judgements possible in a criminal case guilty, not guilty and "not proven" - we also have 15 on a jury, not 12 as in most other countries.

          We, and I dare say, our Welsh counterparts, feel a little bit of us die inside every time we see UK in a headline of a story that really only applies to England - we have our own devolved governments and in Scotland we even have out own legal system. Wales was conquered so their legal system was subverted for the English one. Scotland was bought (google the darien scheme for a bit of back ground) in the words of our national poet - We were bought and sold for English Gold. One of the conditions of this sale was that we kept our own legal system.

      • Typically, ignorance of the law is not a valid defence.

    • by azalin ( 67640 )
      Not really. You would also have to name the "minor celebrity" he might have had an affair with.
    • No, but if you were to mention his alleged relationship with a Big Brother actress, or the alleged existence of such an injunction, that would, in the event that such an injunction were to exist, be in breach of it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) *

      Ryan Giggs

      So who's the tart he was boinking?

      Or does the super secret double hyper injunction apply to everyone outside of Great Britain, too?

      Anyway, I don't see why Giggs thinks banging Catherine Middleton is such a big deal.

    • Quagmire best not go to London... Gigitty.
  • This is dumb (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Squiddie ( 1942230 ) on Thursday May 26, 2011 @05:44AM (#36248476)
    This is retarded on a single point. How can they break the injunction if it wasn't directly filed against them. It's not as if all Twitter users work there.
    • Re:This is dumb (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Inda ( 580031 ) <> on Thursday May 26, 2011 @05:51AM (#36248518) Journal
      This is the argument I've been using against the BBC when they've been removing my posts.

      How am I, Joe Public, supposed to know this super-injuction even exists?

      Unless I'm told that mentioning Ryan Giggs is off-limits, how am I to know? I'm not a news organisation, I'm not a journalist, I don't work in the courts, I can't even attend the hearing.

      My name is Joe Public and I broke the super-injuction. Lock me up for two years... if you can catch me copper!
      • I think they should announce it on national TV that
        Mr. X has an affair with Y, and you are forbidden to mention about the affair.

        • by slim ( 1652 )

          This is exactly what was done, for weeks.

          The female half of the affair was named. The male half was identified as "a Premiership footballer", and it was explicitly stated that the injunction meant they were forbidden to name him.

          It has been a farce.

          • by asc99c ( 938635 )

            The real farce has been that they were allowed to tell people everyone was naming him on Twitter, and the woman's name is Imogen Thomas. If the injunction had blocked her name, it would have got rid of the obvious search on Twitter. If the injunction also prevented referring people to somewhere that the information was available, it would have left people googling searches for injunctions.

            If you're going to bother with an injunction, don't let people with internet access have the search term and website s

            • by sgbett ( 739519 )

              The real farce is the legal system being abused by those with deep pockets to promote their own personal ends. I'm shocked and outraged such a thing would occur!

      • The injunction doesn't apply to you unless there is a reasonable reason for you to know it existed - in this case, the injunction was brought out against the news media, and they would have been well aware of both the story and the injunction within the media circles, so they would fall under the reasonable knowledge requirement. You and I however wouldn't know anything about the story nor the injunction until the story broke - at that point, it would be a fair defence that the story was now in the public

        • Afaict anyone following the news in the UK would be aware of the existance of the injunction and could have easilly found out who the woman was by looking back in the paper. The only thing that was censored was who the footballer was.

      • Re:This is dumb (Score:5, Informative)

        by Xest ( 935314 ) on Thursday May 26, 2011 @06:35AM (#36248718)

        I wouldn't worry too much aboutt he BBC removing your posts, I've had them do the same when my posts have been mature, factual, and perfectly legal. The BBC moderators are highly politicised and moderate entirely based upon their personal opinion about a subject rather than following the guidelines laid out on the BBC's site.

        It's probably the BBC's most atrociously biased department, and I personally tend to think the BBC does a good job of being objective for the most part. When the web cuts came swinging it'd have been better if they cut right through that department frankly as I'd rather the BBC has no discussion section than a discussion section moderated by highly biased individuals repeatedly imposing their own world view on discussions.

        That's not to comment about your rights regarding naming those who have taken out super injunctions of course, just as I say, try not to let BBC moderation bother you- it's pathetic.

      • This is the argument I've been using against the BBC when they've been removing my posts.

        I assume you are talking about their "Have Your Say" forum on their web site on which I too have experienced "strange" moderation on posts in the past - though admittedly not on this specific "Prima donna Shags Tart" issue.

        I get the impression that they have quite RIght Wing moderators because I have seen blatantly racial and off-topic posts left on their boards whilst on-topic posts get deleted.

        Suffice it to say, I don

      • This is the argument I've been using against the BBC when they've been removing my posts. How am I, Joe Public, supposed to know this super-injuction even exists?

        You aren't supposed to know. No penalty is applied to you.

        The BBC is supposed to know. A penalty could be applied to them if they did not remove your posts.

    • Re:This is dumb (Score:5, Informative)

      by SimonTheSoundMan ( 1012395 ) on Thursday May 26, 2011 @05:53AM (#36248534) Homepage

      A super-injunction is aimed at everybody. Only peers and MPs can brake the injunction by use of Parliamentary Privileges. A hyper-injuction tries to over-rule these privileges though. Hyper-injunction has only been used a couple of times as far as we know. Example 'Hyper-injunction' stops you talking to MP [], other example would be Trafigura.

      From TFS,

      Twitter will attempt to notify the users first in order to give them an opportunity to exercise their rights.

      You have no rights under a super-injuction. Even the defending party, example a news paper, isn't even allowed in the courtroom when the injunction is made. That's how repressive these injunctions are.

      • by devent ( 1627873 )

        Can you explain that?
        I'm a Twitter user in the UK and I heart of this affair that some guy, name him Ryan Gibbs have some trouble with his girlfriend or what ever, and I write it on Twitter. I didn't know that he have a super injunction because the source I have it from didn't mentioned it. How I am suppose to know about that super injunction? Are the super injunction posted in the news paper or some other way? Shouldn't I get the injunction from this guy before he can sue me of breaking the injunction? Sho

      • The fun will start when they figure out who tweeted, and who retweeted. The original disseminaters can probably quote another source, and so on. So it'll ultimately fall to one 'celeb' (or newspaper) that "can't remember" where they heard it. Then the court case will play out.

        Of course, if law enforcement could be bothered, they could probably work out the people at the top of the tree without asking Twitter anything at all (just by looking at dates of posts etc).

        Ultimately, this will be a typical shit show

        • by Rich0 ( 548339 )

          Ah, one of the very rare cases where US citizens actually seem to have more rights than their peers in Europe. It would be much more difficult to make a case like this in a US court. Plus, even if a court pursued it they would be stopped dead in their tracks when they hit a reporter, since they generally don't have to divulge their sources. A few have been held in contempt over issues related to national security, but even those decisions were highly controversial and I can't see courts going this far ov

      • So really all that's required is for one member of either House of Parliament to publicly say, "X slept with Y", then everyone could just quote him? Seems like a great way to earn campaign contributions "For a small donation to my re-election fund, I will allow you to quote me talking about about any injuncted topic of the day."

    • Furthermore, his name is Ryan Giggs.

      Only one of the most famous English football players in the world. He's got a fucking OBE, for christ's sake.
      • Re:This is dumb (Score:4, Informative)

        by L4t3r4lu5 ( 1216702 ) on Thursday May 26, 2011 @06:49AM (#36248786)
        Apologies for replying to myself, but I should point out two things. Firstly, I hate football. It's corrupt, boring, and too political. Secondly, he's called Ryan Gibbs only once, implying it's a typing error. Samzenpus, do your fucking job as an editor and EDIT THE GOD DAMN SUBMISSIONS.
        • He'll probably not thank you for calling him English either.... ;-)

          • I propose Giggs' Law; When someone reports an editorial error in a post on an online forum, there will be at least one editorial error within the complaining post.

            This is in addition to Muphry's Law; Any post pointing out typographical or grammatical errors will itself have errors of the same nature.
          • by jez9999 ( 618189 )

            He plays in English football leagues. In that sense the sentence is fine. It can be paraphrased as,
            "Only one of the most famous players of English football in the world."

        • Slashdot editors are not real; they're bots.

          Incredibly poorly-written bots.

      • Only one of the most famous English football players in the world. He's got a fucking OBE, for christ's sake.

        I hate to break this to you, but that makes him about as famous to the rest of the world as the guy with the funny voice who sells beer in the left field bleachers at Wrigley Field.

        Why do people in Great Britain make the mistake of thinking the rest of the world knows or cares about their pop stars and other minor celebrities?

        He's got a fucking OBE, for christ's sake.

        That's nothing, I've got a cousi

        • by xaxa ( 988988 )

          Only one of the most famous English football players in the world. He's got a fucking OBE, for christ's sake.

          I hate to break this to you, but that makes him about as famous to the rest of the world as the guy with the funny voice who sells beer in the left field bleachers at Wrigley Field.

          I hate football, but I can't deny he's well-known internationally for his football. He's one of the best-known players for one of the world's most well known teams, you can find Manchester United fans all over the world.

          In 2010, [] Forbes magazine ranked Manchester United second only to the New York Yankees in its list of the ten most valuable sports team brands, valuing the Manchester United brand at $285 million

          (I've heard of the New York Yankees. I couldn't tell you whether they play baseball or American

  • Maybe the Twits should apply for a super-injunction to keep their name secret? After all, it's not in the public interest for them to be outed and it might hurt their families etc.

    Oh, sorry, I forgot - you have to be rich enough.

    Or Ryan Giggs could just instruct his lawyers to stop digging him into an even deeper hole, the end result of which will be that he'll have even less privacy than when he started.

    A year ago: "Ryan Giggs had an affair" would have been a one-day, one-column bit of news and nobody would have cared.

    Today, the thing has been in the papers every day for several months and is going to be the subject of (in the worst case) 75,000 lawsuits.

    Similarly, other people who had superinjunctions (including a BBC journalist!) confessed to them, and the affair they had that was the subject of the censorship, and within a day they were out of the news.

    Nobody will go to jail - and if they do it'll be so incredibly expensive that you'll be more likely to have riots over the costs than the privacy implications... MP's in the UK have already said it's far too impractical to jail (or even identify) 75,000 people for such a thing, especially when days later an MP themselves used parliamentary privilege to announce who the subject of the injunction was (and Scottish newspapers have already printed it, as have Italian, American, etc. etc.)

    And the whole question of superinjunctions has gone so far that the prime minister himself said that he doesn't understand how they were issued and thinks that it's wrong that they were.

    Twitter have said they'll co-operate. But nobody's actually ASKED for that data yet. And they probably never will.

    • by ledow ( 319597 ) on Thursday May 26, 2011 @05:54AM (#36248550) Homepage

      P.S. Next time keep it in your pants, and you won't have a problem, Ryan.

    • According to the media, *he* has requested it.

      But then again this is the same media that weren't meant to talk about it ;)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Xest ( 935314 )

      I agree but what I'd add is that Twitter should be absolutely lambasted for agreeing to hand over the names as that's what really stinks in this scenario.

      They're a US company and the data is stored on US servers, they've only just recently opened an office in the UK and did so as part of the British Prime Minister's push for a greater digital economy in the UK but aren't yet heavily invested enough here to be harmed financially.

      They are perfectly positioned to outright defy such a request with the ultimatum

      • by c ( 8461 ) <> on Thursday May 26, 2011 @07:39AM (#36249020)

        I agree but what I'd add is that Twitter should be absolutely lambasted
        for agreeing to hand over the names as that's what really stinks in this scenario.

        The qualifier is "... if legally required". Hate to break it to you, but there's darn near no corporation on the planet which will outright refuse to do something if they're clearly legally required, especially if compliance is cheap. The ones with balls will refuse to do things they're not legally obligated to do, and a few will even refuse to do things which fall into legal grey areas, but otherwise they'll do it. I this case, Twitter hasn't actually done anything except, maybe, compile that list just to ensure they know they could do it if they were asked properly.

        Now, that being said, it stands to reason that Twitter will probably ignore any legal requests from inapplicable jurisdictions. This may or may not include the UK. They may also contest requests where they think they might have a strong legal backing (i.e. privacy laws).

        • by Xest ( 935314 )

          But why even make such a statement? Why not make the point of saying that they'll consider moving their office location should there be any sign of such legal obligations? It's not as if they've had their office here for more than a few weeks so there's really very little to lose at this stage for them- again, particularly when they have the ear of the prime minister.

          By simply saying "Yeah, we'll hand it over if we're legally obliged" they're really saying "We really can't be bothered to fight this one, so

  • She has arisen.
  • Ryan Giggs. Not Gibbs. Agile but hairy Welsh player who's been playing for Man U practically forever. Or maybe the spelling mistake was a bid to avoid a superinjunction?
  • Twitter has stated that it is prepared to identify the users who broke the injunction if it was 'legally required' to do so.

    Or, to put it another way:

    If the law says we must do something, we'll do it.

    No kidding. What's important is what they haven't said. They haven't said:

    Even though we're a US-based company, we'll honour an order from a UK court.

    Nor have Twitter said:

    We still plan to open an office in the UK, and there's a good chance that as soon as we do we'll be slapped with a UK court order which we'll have to honour.

    • If a British owner of an online gambling website can be arrested on felony charges the moment he steps into the US, simply on the basis that his website allows US citizens access to online gambling (illegal in most US states), then why can't a British court request data from an American company?

      • Well for one thing, the owner of the website was accepting business from people in the US, it was easy enough for them to determine that as the money has to come from and go somewhere. Something similar happened a while ago with that dumbass up in BC who wound up in prison in the US over what would otherwise have been a misdemeanor at best in Canada. The crime in those case would have involved the US in that it was perpetrated on our soil. And in the case of the former through banks which are also on our so

  • Background (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    To explain why this is a big deal:

    In the US, freedom of speech is seen as the most fundamental of human rights, trumping all others.

    In the EU, the right to personal privacy has been given a higher weight than freedom of speech by the EU bill of rights.

    The result of this is that when the two come into conflict -- ie when talking about someone infringes on their personal privacy -- it is privacy that wins in the courts.

    The definition of personal privacy is quite hard to nail down, and there are any number of

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Zugok ( 17194 )

      Actually, no in EU, privacy and freedom of speech are prima facie equal. Then the circumstances are considered in the balancing exercise. See von Hannover v Germany

  • There's a good article on this issue at []

    Privacy law in the UK is fairly simple but its application is confusing, and this confusion has not been helped by recent events. Over the last few weeks we have seen intense criticism of the law, and its application by the judiciary, coming from politicians, the media and even the Prime Minister. Not everything being reported by any of these groups is entirely accurate.

  • How an injunction granted by a UK court can apply to a web site hosted in the US or to users of that web site who are located in countries other than the UK.

    • by Chrisq ( 894406 )

      How an injunction granted by a UK court can apply to a web site hosted in the US or to users of that web site who are located in countries other than the UK.

      My understanding (and I could be wrong) is that they are going to try to get an injunction in a US court to ask Twitter to release information necessary for them to take proceeding against British twitters in a British court. Well actually probably only English and Welsh twitters, because the gagging order only applied there.

    • by Zedrick ( 764028 )
      It's not a UK court, it's an English court - which means that newspapers in Scotland are free to publish his name. Media in the US should be able to do the same.
    • by Tim C ( 15259 )

      It doesn't, and it's not Twitter that is under threat of prosecution but the English and Welsh users who have defied the injunction. Twitter have merely announced that they'll comply with any legal requests for information that are made concerning the injunction.

  • Suppose I went to a public library, logged into my Twitter account and forgot to sign out before leaving. Someone uses the terminal immediately after my departure, notices my Twitter account, tweets Ryan's name, then signs me out.

    What if a thief ran off with my phone while I was tweeting, tweets Ryan's name, and then the police recover my phone, but not the crook.

    Am I liable? How could they prove it was me?

    • by Tim C ( 15259 )

      How could they prove it was me?

      The same way you prove anything - present evidence and let the magistrate/jury/whatever decide. Proving this is difficult, but not impossible - for example your defences won't wash if you tweeted about this a lot over a relatively extended period of time.

    • I don't know what the standard of evidence in this type of case would be (e.g. reasonable doubt), but if any of these things happened, you'd likely have deleted the offending tweet and/or tweeted an "I'm sorry, someone got access to my account" tweet. If both of those are lacking, the "someone else tweeted it under my name" defense gets pretty shaky.

    • Beyond reasonable doubt is the usual standard, not "absolute 100% certainty". (though I don't know if this is criminal or civil, or what England uses).

      Sure if you provide the police report and the tweets are after the theft and before the recovery with none outside of that timeframe you'll likely win.

      Similarly with showing the tweets were sent from a library IP address and only on one occassion.

  • It seems the wording is interesting. Of course they will give up the names if "Legally required" to do so. Otherwise they are breaking the law.... it's not a hard concept to understand.

    That said the current action being taken against Twitter is basically just asking nicely. It would be a *lot* more complicated for that "asking nicely" to be come a legal requirement. It would require that a US court issues the request and thus cross continent legal corporation which is a) expensive and b) time consuming and

  • So basically Twitter are saying that they'll do what a court in their own jurisdiction tells them to do.

    Isn't that stating the bleedin' obvious? Seriously, did anyone expect Twitter company directors to say "Sure, I'll do jail time to defend some foreigner's rights to call the star of a sport that we don't even play, a slut."

  • ...of social networking. Yeah, yeah, I know, Farcebook and Twit-er are likely here to stay for a while longer, but toss enough legal cases around them, and their popularity will die faster than William Hungs comeback album.

  • by pandrijeczko ( 588093 ) on Thursday May 26, 2011 @07:52AM (#36249076)

    1. The top soccer players earn an absolute fortune so can buy themselves any legal representation they want whenever they want to.

    2. Soccer fans are too caught up in their gang mentalities to realise that they are being ripped off by everyone around them - they pay huge premiums for annual season tickets but it's the Sky Sports channel that dictates when the games start (which can be a different time each week) so it fits in with their live programming schedules.

    3. Those same fans also pay a premium for Sky Sports in order to watch the games.

    4. Soccer players do not believe the laws that apply to the rest of UK citizens apply to them. Many are ill-behaved thugs both on and off the football field, and the poor example they set to youngsters has now filtered down to amateur leagues and schools where complaints about abuse against soccer referees is now common over here.

    5. Because of the bad reputation set by a minority of troublemaking fans, you cannot, even with a highly priced season ticket, drink any alcohol while watching a live game.

    There's a well known saying over here:

    "Soccer is a gentleman's game played by thugs, whilst rugby is a thug's game played by gentlemen."

    And that's why I personally follow rugby and despise soccer - it's a better game, I can have a beer while I'm watching it, I can even have a friendly beer or two with opposing fans in the pub afterwards (rather than in soccer where lines of policemen separate fans entering and leaving the stadium) and it's more entertainment for much less money.

    Plus it's incredibly rare for a rugby player to make the headlines for bad behaviour or shagging some other woman.

    • by Tim C ( 15259 )

      To be fair, the season ticket in 2) only gets you in to one team's games, while the Sky Sports subscription in 3) lets you watch all the other games too.

      That said I too despise football and the primitive tribal mentality displayed by so many of its fans.

    • /*it's incredibly rare for a rugby player to make the headlines for bad behaviour or shagging some other woman.*/

      But when they do, it's a choice lady. Remember who it was that Will Carling (captain of England national rugby team) (allegedly) had a fling with?

    • by jez9999 ( 618189 )

      And that's why I personally follow rugby and despise soccer - it's a better game

      [citation needed]

      Personally I think rugby is deathly boring. Run, pass, slam into opponent. Run, pass, pass, slam into opponent. Run, pass, slam into opponent. Run, slam into opponent. Ruck... pass, run, slam into opponent. Run... good run, close to a try! Slam into opponent, lose possession. Opponent team runs. Slam into opponent. Pass, run, slam into opponent.

      It basically is as exciting as that.

  • by scorp1us ( 235526 ) on Thursday May 26, 2011 @08:15AM (#36249218) Journal

    I've got a lot of sympathy for the Brits. Our government is based off theirs, and at times they do a better job of protecting their citizens rights. But sometimes, not. Our Bill of Rights was formulated with being under the more oppressive side of the British government.

    The internet is becoming less and less free every day. Eventually everyone will need to use a certificate just to make a socket connection.

  • So Twitter is supposed to name names of those who named names?

    "You know by tattling on your friends, you're really just tattling on yourself. By tattling, you're just telling them that you're a tattletale. Now, is that the tale you want to tell?"

I've finally learned what "upward compatible" means. It means we get to keep all our old mistakes. -- Dennie van Tassel