John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Wednesday, June 01, 2011
  Twitter and Legal Issues
There is another post of alleged injunctions on Twitter. This time it is done by someone who associates themselves with "anonymous" - this is clear from the use of the anonymous mask image.

For the avoidance of doubt I don't support putting up lists of injunctions.

However, there are lots of issues with trying to stop this.

Firstly, it is very easy for anyone who intentionally wishes to put something up anonymously on the internet to do so. If someone is in England or Wales they can go to an internet cafe and establish an anonymous account with false details.

Secondly, if someone is out of the relevant jurisdiction (that is England and Wales) then they are not breaking the law if they do this.

I am not myself sure what the authorities can do to deal with this. The only people who are likely to be trapped by any legal action relating to twitter are the innocent people who have been making jokes and gossiping.

In the medium to long term it is, of course, possible to produce a form of technological solution. However, that in my view would be wrong because it would have to involve a massive shift in the freedom of people to use the internet. In practice it would involve effectively cutting the UK off from the rest of the world for many websites. This is something I personally would oppose.

As with the first intentional breach, this breach is unlikely to be one which can be forcibly removed from twitter.

Hence we are in a position whereby either reality needs to be changed to fit the law or the law needs to be changed to fit reality.

Personally I am one for the latter. I don't think that criminalising gossip is the way forward nor do I agree with producing a technological solution to give a form of chinese censorship of the internet as appears to be the preferred solution of the judiciary.
 
Comments:
Quick question. How are the accounts that are posting these injunction details (not always accurately it appears) getting their information? Surely someone somewhere is accessing confidential information and either publishing it online or giving it to others to do so. Surely someone is breaking the law when they do this. Do you not agree that those persons should be prosecuted?
 
If it were not already clear, the above comment confirms you are now the go-to person for every tinfoil-hatted loon in the country. Congratulations.
 
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