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‘Consider the risks’ warning over super injunction Tweets

May 10th, 2011Posted by in Editors' pick, Legal

Many of you are likely to have heard by now about the Twitter account which appeared on Sunday featuring a series of allegations about public figures taking out super injunctions. The allegations, which received widespread coverage in the press, have since been denied by some of the individuals who were named, again using Twitter.

Since then there has been much debate about what this means for the future of this type of court order in an online world.

Yesterday on the International Forum for Responsible Media blog, Judith Townend collected together a number of opinions on the legal implications. One media lawyer, said to be a specialist in privacy law, told Townend that both social media users and mainstream media organisations should consider the risks.

But according to Danvers Baillieu, a senior associate and social media specialist lawyer at Pinsent Masons quoted in this article by the Telegraph, when it actually comes to the likelihood of someone taking action, “pragmatism prevails”.

…already thousands of people have either tweeted or re-tweeted protected information in the last few weeks alone. He said there was “no way” the authorities have an appetite to take action against swathes of Twitter users.

Similarly in such situations Twitter, for example, could say it is a US-based company and therefore not subject to European laws, the article adds.

It can also argue that its users are responsible for their own tweets and not the company. Furthermore, Baillieu said that Twitter can also defend itself on the basis of freedom of speech, under the First Amendment of the US constitution.

But while the legal issues remain cloudy, as Jon Slattery usefully illustrates in this blog post today, much of the national press continue to show the clearness of their feeling on the issue, claiming recent actions have “humiliated” the courts and resulted in a “legal crisis”.

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