Friday, 20 May 2011

CTB v Twitter and Persons Unknown Begins

It has been reported that "CTB" has lodged a claim against Twitter and "persons unknown".

What could this possibly mean?

It is important at this stage to be aware of what one cannot know for certain:

1. that the "CTB" is actually the same person as "CTB" in the recent privacy case (though it appears the same law firm is instructed);

2. what the claim is for in terms of law - is it a privacy claim or is it under some other form of law; and

3. what the remedy requested is - is it a damages claim or is it for disclosure by Twitter of third party information (for example the information of those who have used Twitter accounts to break - rather than repeat - allegations), or for something else.

As yet, we simply do not know.

However, it is unlikely to be a mass law suit against all people who have retweeted the allegations.


No purely anonymous comments will be published; always use a name for ease of reference by other commenters.


Conor said...

Whatever, it's totally pointless. It's not just Twitter now as googling on "CTB" shows. One moderated comment on the Daily Mail story actually names him (or more accurately the first letters of each sentence do)

Alex B said...

This seems like a textbook example of the Streisland Effect; especially now that the Twitter aspect has made the case sufficiently interesting worldwide that the US maintstream press (e.g. Forbes) has seen fit to publish the name of the individual.

I'd be interested in your analysis of the application, and how Schillings believe that the court can enforce a judgement on a California firm with no UK corporate presence.

Arthur Phunding said...

For a different perspective...

Technomist said...

The great thing about living in a country where the rule of law prevails is that we can all expect to be able to say to each other than ignorance of the law is no excuse. (Unless you are an Appeal Court judge who is about to be overturned by the Supreme Court).

Anyway, as I don't know who CBT is, its difficult to know whether I am in breach of any injunctions if I express the view that from my limited personal understanding of these things he or she is definitely not Lakshmi Mittal or Ryan Giggs, neither of whom have ever done anything, as far as I am aware, that they would need to keep private from their adoring publics.

Incidentally, do you know who advises whoever it is who writes the press releases for the Law Society these days? They look remarkably like the kind of thing that Schillings solicitors would like the Law Society to issue on an issue like this.

Vequeth said...

Maybe they were just hoping the world would end yesterday and this would all blow over.

Ian Preston said...

Could I ask a question of someone who might know? Suppose that I were in some public forum discussing the morals of modern footballers and, having expressed the opinion, say, that young men of their age and background cannot be expected to resist the temptations that come with their lifestyle, was asked by someone whether the blameless life led by CTB didn't disprove my argument. What would I be supposed to do? I couldn't refer to his affair with Ms Thomas and I couldn't even say that I was aware of reasons not to discuss his lifestyle. Even to say at that point that I felt it unwise to carry on discussing footballers' lifestyles in case we happened to trespass on the subject of an anonymised injunction which might pertain could be interpreted as revealing. What legal response could I make short of lying?

Dr Dan Holdsworth said...

One thing that is pertinent to all of this is that over the years on matters internet-related, I have watched what has happened to privacy on the Internet. Effectively it has gone two ways; the hard-core UNIX crowd (of which I am one) have steadily improved and refined methods of retaining privacy and keeping the beaky noses of pretty much anyone we don't authorise to look at our data out of said data. On the other hand, modern unskilled users have effectively lose most interest in protecting their privacy.

What I think will happen now is that the Great Un-Clued will now start thinking something on the lines of "Hey, hang on a minute, Twitter is a really nice gossip medium and we like it. That nasty Judge is a rotten spoilsport; how dare he try to spoil our fun with these easily-circumvented super-injunctions! Hey UNIX guys, any chance you could lend a hand here?".

I more or less understand the mindset of the cultural subset I am a part of. If there's one thing that really appeals to us lot, it is a technical challenge, and the challenge of making a de-centralised, anonymised network to propagate information without revealing the identity of individual users is a big challenge. Unfortunately for UK judges it is solveable and has indeed been solved a few times before, notably to thwart the Great Firewall of China, and the pale imitation the Aussies have tried (and failed) to implement.

I would also be minded to remind my learned friends that an interesting thing has happened with regards libel judgements brought by British courts; pretty much every State juresdiction in the USA has now decided that such judgements are so biased as to be unconstitutional and may therefore be ignored by these courts in the USA. This is the price of applying the letter of the law without a thought as to the wider consequences of these actions. Just saying, y'know...