Lone tweeter challenges the role of online media in privacy law by revealing puported celebrity injunctions
A loneuser has set out to flout privacy laws by tweeting a list of celebrities who – it is claimed – have taken out so-called “super-injunctions.”
The leak is apparently designed to discredit the trend for celebrities who take out injunctions to protect their privacy, forbidding the media to report the story or name the people involved. However, the list is apparently full of inaccuracies, and at least one celebritiy – socialite Jemima Khan – has tweeted to deny the allegations that refer to her.
It’s not just about celebrities
The twitter user posted six tweets only, in the space of seven minutes on Sunday afternoon, and has since gained 26,000 followers, along with a lot of satirical retweets spinning even more fanciful rumours on the hashtag #superinjunction.
The tweeter clearly intends to expose the use of privacy injunctions to ridicule, but the effect has been to heighten the debate about privacy laws and the role of the Internet, with some arguing that celebrities should not have access to such injunctions.
“If you have one of these injunctions you will probably find you are exposed on the Internet within hours and the press interest will last much longer,” said Conservative MP Louise Bagshawe, quoted in the Mail, adding: “Another consequence is if anyone has a super injunction for a good or valid reason, they are tarred with the same brush. That is something judges ought to consider.”
A legal committee set up by the Master of the Rolls is due to report on so-called gagging orders next month, and will have to deal with publication online, according to BBC legal correspondent Clive Coleman: “If it doesn’t, the super or secret-injunction may no longer be an effective tool in the administration of justice.”
Tweet important stuff
True super-injunctions include a requirement that the existence of the injunction itself must not be mentioned, and some Twitter users have pointed out more serious cases where superinjunctions have been challenged.
Two years ago, Wikipedia and Twitter users broke a super-injunction issued to shipping company Trafigura which forbade discussion of allegations the company had dumped toxic waste in Cote d’Ivoire.
“Let’s just remember why we got angry about #superinjunction – Trafigura. Not who is shagging who in what way,” tweeted ChicaLolita. “Leak important stuff, not this.”
Twitter has denied any responsibility for its users’ tweets, in a statement: “On a practical level, we simply cannot review all one 55 million-plus tweets created and subsequently delivered every day. There are tweets that we do remove, such as illegal tweets and spam.”
However, it is possible that the anonymous tweeter may get a visit from the authorities. In March Twitter was ordered to hand over details to the US government, of three users who had contact with WikiLeaks.