Twitter users will be warned before names passed to authorities

Darren Allan

May 26, 2011

It seems that the super-injunction busters on Twitter could potentially be in a degree of legal hot water.

Speaking at the e-G8 summit in Paris, the BBC reports that European boss of the social network Tony Wang said: “Platforms have a responsibility, not to defend that user but to protect that user’s right to defend him or herself”.

While Wang wouldn’t comment on specific cases such as that of Ryan Giggs – whose lawyers are attempting to identify the source of the tweets which spilled the allegation his super-injunction kept locked away from the press at large – he did say that when dealing with illegal activities, Twitter would co-operate with authorities and hand over the user’s details.

He did add, however, that the user would be informed that their details had been sought and turned over.

Where this leaves the super-injunction busting Twitter accounts is still unclear, but it’s a rather ominous statement, for freedom of speech, too.

Should the Giggs-offending Twitter user be based in America, it’s highly unlikely that US courts would co-operate with UK authorities and hand over names because of the freedom of speech provisions in the constitution.

Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales told the Beeb: “The US is going to be absolutely inflexible on this point. It is in the constitution.”

He also commented: “I do view it to being similar to the Chinese situation where they also cover up misdeeds of high ranking people.”


Comments in chronological order (2 comments)

  1. Lew says:

    I’d laugh my head off if the twitter user was Giggs’ wife.

  2. Brian Turner says:

    The law of England and Wales has jurisdiction in England and Wales only.

    If they have a problem with content on Twitter, they will need to take it up with the corresponding legal jurisdiction in the US, for which I doubt censorship by the UK would be supported in any respect.

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