Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Roguetweeple-Super-injunctions: Is twitter a haven of free tweech or a legal nightmare?

"A footballer whose identity is protected by an injunction has been named by legions of ordinary Twitter users. What could happen to them?"

"To its enthusiasts, it is a haven of free speech - while detractors lambast it as an online Wild West.

The social networking site Twitter has found itself at the centre of the debate around the balance between open expression and privacy."

"While newspapers, broadcasters and other mainstream media outlets have been bound by gagging orders, a multitude of tweets have been posted by ordinary users circulating information covered by court injunctions or so-called super-injunctions."

"This intensified when a footballer, who can only be identified as CTB, obtained a High Court order asking Twitter to hand over details of users who had revealed his identity."

"Within hours, hundreds more Twitter users responded by naming the player, who is taking action against ex-Big Brother star Imogen Thomas and the Sun newspaper."

"The tweeters are clearly confident that they are beyond the reach of the legal system. But are they?"

"In theory, if a court establishes that they have breached a court order, they would be guilty of contempt of court under the law of England and Wales and liable to an unlimited fine or even a two-year prison sentence."

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