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Twitter Privacy

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

    by PhilHibbs ( 4537 ) <snarks@gmail.com> 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?

  • Background (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 26, 2011 @06:18AM (#36248644)

    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 fringe cases, but discussion of someone's sex life is fairly clearly within scope. This is why My Giggs is able to prevent the media from discussing it, and to sue those who do so.

    The next argument is about jurisdiction. British newspapers are one thing, but Twitter is based in the US. This is a whole other discussion, and could lead to very long and drawn out (and expensive) legal arguments, but Twitter is sidestepping the whole thing by stating publically that they won't fight it.

  • by Xest ( 935314 ) on Thursday May 26, 2011 @06:48AM (#36248782)

    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 that they will take their European office to somewhere else such as Paris or any number of other European countries. This would put immense pressure on the PM to make the UK more suitable for tech companies by ensuring our laws are not a deterrent to such innovation as they are currently.

    But instead they've chosen to just fuck their users to save themselves a little bit of hassle and at the expense of what would've been some great PR for them in doing what is right.

    Worse, it wouldn't be so bad if it weren't the immense hypocrisy of it. Previously Twitter has cashed in on it's useage during the Iranian protests, and the Arab Spring uprisings yet what does this precedent say, that if an authoritarian regime wants names it'll hand them over? or is it simply being two faced here and saying it'll gladly allow dissenting voices in some countries, but not others?

    Twitter's stance is pathetic, completely and utterly pathetic. They had here an opportunity to really use this as an example of why countries like the UK can never have a silicon valley because of absurd laws, and instead of using that example to push for a better place for a European HQ they're just doing a Sony and fucking their users for nothing more than an absolutely tiny short term economic gain, one that will likely dent their image and do them far more harm longer term.

  • 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.

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