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Twitter Reveals User Details In UK Libel Case

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the phrase-your-subpoena-in-140-chars-or-less dept.

Twitter 127

whoever57 writes "In a case that could have implications for the Ryan Giggs affair, Twitter revealed user details in response to a legal action filed in San Mateo county, CA by lawyers representing South Tyneside council. The alleged libel refers to critical comments made via Twitter. It is possible that one of the people making the critical comments is one of the council members."

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UK citizens are such pansies (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36278450)

Oh *whine* he said mean things about me!!!!!

*piddles*

Mister judgie please beat them up for me!

*whine*

Re:UK citizens are such pansies (2)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36278546)

At this rate we'll get the reputation of being as lawsuit-happy as the US :-(. Though we've been Reagan's bitch ever since Thatcher. As, sadly, has the US.

Re:UK citizens are such pansies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36278558)

Don't be ridiculous. The UK is already known as the go-to country for defamation lawsuits.

Re:UK citizens are such pansies (2)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 3 years ago | (#36278574)

England is the go-to country for defamation lawsuits. Scottish courts are nowhere near as generous with their damage awards.

Re:UK citizens are such pansies (2)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#36278612)

Is anything Scottish anywhere near generous? They only put salt on their porridge because it's cheaper than sugar.

P.S. Nicely picked up. I missed it first time.

Re:UK citizens are such pansies (1)

nadaou (535365) | more than 3 years ago | (#36278664)

the trotting out of stereotyped remarks is a clear indicator of one who is either too weak or too stupid to come up with thoughts and judgments of their own.

Re:UK citizens are such pansies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36278858)

stereotypes are just shortcuts to the truth.

Re:UK citizens are such pansies (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#36280220)

I do beg your pardon - for forgetting that you're also dour ginger alcoholics with no sense of humor.

Re:UK citizens are such pansies (1)

Mystiq (101361) | more than 3 years ago | (#36278892)

Irish boobs? (Sorry, had to.)

Re:US citizens are such fatties (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#36278608)

Right, because those are the only kind of lawsuits.

Re:UK citizens are such pansies (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36278576)

This "sue everyone" behavior came straight from the US, you moron.

Could you stop, please? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36278466)

Could Slashdot editors stop mentioning the name of supposed UK super-injunction recipient? I don't need to know it, I don't want to know it. In fact I applaud that at least in one country in the world privacy is something other than a stomping ground for multinational corporations. UK at least tries to give some tools for its people to protect their privacy.

And yes the irony that by posting this on a US company's website I have put my own privacy in jeopardy is not lost on me.

Re:Could you stop, please? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36278486)

Ryan Giggs. Ryan Giggs. Ryan Giggs. Ryan Giggs. Ryan Giggs. Ryan Giggs. Ryan Giggs. Ryan Giggs. Ryan Giggs
My right to free speech is more important than the right to privacy of a public individual being protected by an abusive court order in a completely different jurisdiction. The fact that this is a legally enforceable order handed down by a branch of government makes it a political issue and thus political speech. If a court order was never issued in the first place people would have stopped caring by now. [wikipedia.org]

incorrect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36278936)

Your right of free speech is juridiction dependent. You can have all the free speech you can have in the US. But if you anger some other governement because they consider that blasphemous/libelous/whatnot, then you better *never* go in *their* juridiction : you will be held to the full length of the law, free speech in the US or not. And there is not DIDLY SQUAT that the US could do agaisnt it.

Re:incorrect (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 3 years ago | (#36280128)

Ryan Giggs. Ryan Giggs. Ryan Giggs.

Bring it on you tea-guzzling fucktards. I'll be in London the weekend of June 18th.

Re:Could you stop, please? (1)

xelah (176252) | more than 3 years ago | (#36278984)

My right to free speech is more important than the right to privacy of a public individual being protected by an abusive court order in a completely different jurisdiction.

I don't believe you. Your right to name him is a complete irrelevance to you. It's not a serious political issue, it's not a serious social issue, it doesn't advance any public debate and it's not going to make the slightest difference to your life, or anyone else who isn't directly involved. This case isn't primarily about rights, it's about money and who is allowed to make it by doing what to whom. Some newspapers make a lot of money from following people around, photographing them in the street, out shopping, dining in restaurants, reporting on every first date or slip in dress sense, perpetually harassing and degrading the quality of life of some individuals. If anything, there should be more widespread access to privacy protection, for example through the Press Complaints Commission....just look at the way the much less wealthy woman involved has been all over the newspapers.

The case in the current article is much more serious, and this is one that's gone straight through the US courts (or so the article says, the BBC are saying it's not known if the court has agreed to the request). IMO threats or actual libel action and the crippling or impossible costs associated with it are a much more serious threat to genuine freedom of expression that limits on reporting individuals' private lives where there's no public interest justification at all. Not that the council bringing the action can sue for libel, which rather questions whether it's a legitimate use of public funds to do this in the first place.

The US attitude to this is inevitably going to win, to a point, because of the nature of the Internet and US arrogance on the issue. I'm more worried about certain other restrictions than celebrities' privacy.....things like restrictions on reporting rape victims' names, children's names, or restrictions on reporting until trials have been concluded to avoid tainting jurors and witnesses (not to mention innocent people's reputation, like Jo Yeates's landlord who was all over the press when he was arrested for her murder and is now having to sue half the nation's press).

The US won't have it all it's own way, though. Even the US has restrictions on speech and is not going to be happy at not being able to shut down everything from libellers and people who sell holidays to Cuba to Wikileaks and Jihadis. It's going to be a messy fight.

Re:Could you stop, please? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#36280642)

IMO threats or actual libel action and the crippling or impossible costs associated with it are a much more serious threat to genuine freedom of expression that limits on reporting individuals' private lives where there's no public interest justification at all.

Libel and privacy are actually two entirely orthogonal concepts. For example something could be true (so by definition not libellous) but it could still violate privacy laws because it's nobody else's business.

Re:Could you stop, please? (1)

piripiri (1476949) | more than 3 years ago | (#36278580)

Ryan Giggs, is that you?

Re:Could you stop, please? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36278876)

Ryan Giggs? Ryan Giggs Ryan Giggs Ryan Giggs Ryan Giggs Imogen Thomas Ryan Giggs. Ryan Giggs, Ryan Giggs Ryan Giggs, Imogen Thomas super injunction.

Ryan Giggs Ryan Giggs Imogen Thomas. Ryan Giggs!

also, details (2, Informative)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36278484)

The footballer thing is about being silenced against telling the truth.

The Tyneside council thing is about being identified for libel proceedings.

Lots of people in the US have had the latter happen to them. But the former does not and still does not apply in the US. The only "implications" are that in both cases the complainant is from the UK.

Also, this is one of the most boring distractions from real problems the media has been stirred up into obsessing itself with. Cameron's a smart fucker.

Re:also, details (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36278794)

The footballer thing is about being silenced against telling the truth.

The Tyneside council thing is about being identified for libel proceedings.

Please explain how, injuntion aside, details of the the footballer thing are not libelous. Remember that truth isn't a defense in libel cases, merely that the details were made public with the intent to defame. If you're not personally involved in the footballer thing, it's none of your business is it?

Re:also, details (4, Interesting)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 3 years ago | (#36279214)

I believe truth is a defense in in US libel cases, which is where the case is apparently being tried. According to the Journalism about.com article [about.com] : "Libel is by definition false. Anything that is provably true cannot be libelous. " I'll grant you that "about.com" is not he most reliable source ever, but I doubt they'd get this wrong. I realize that in the UK truth is not a Libel defense (which makes no sense to me at all, but no one asked me), but in California it almost certainly is.

Re:also, details (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#36280732)

I realize that in the UK truth is not a Libel defense

There's no such thing as UK law, which means you are totally unqualified to comment on the subject.

Now that doesn't mean you're necessarily wrong. However, it happens that you are. [wikipedia.org]

Re:also, details (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#36280680)

Remember that truth isn't a defense in libel cases

Wrong.

However in the UK the newspaper (etc) must prove the accuracy of its statement. Hence the proverb, "if in doubt, leave it out".

Re:also, details (1)

Homburg (213427) | more than 3 years ago | (#36280762)

Truth is an absolute defense in libel cases; whether there was malicious intent is only relevant in cases of qualified privilege (for instance, reporting on proceedings in parliament, or attempting to claim that a defamatory statement was made in the course of reasonable journalistic practice). English libel law requires that the person making a defense prove that what they are saying is true (rather than requiring the person making the complaint to prove that the supposed defamatory statement is false), but, if they can prove that what they were saying is true, they haven't committed libel. Giggs, AFAIK, has never maintained that the claims about this affair were false, and so hasn't attempted to bring a suit for libel. So this case is, as the parent said, quite different from the one concerning privacy injunctions.

Being dim is no defence Hazel. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36279016)

You say, "...this is one of the most boring distractions from real problems the media has been stirred up into obsessing itself with."

Leaving aside the fact that it is barely literate you have confused the footballer's indiscretion (Ryan Gigg's affair) with the issue at hand (freedom of speech.)

I couldn't really care less about what affairs Ryan Giggs or Hugh Bonneville have got themselves involved in but I do care very much that they have been able to take out court injunctions to prevent the press reporting the facts. The principle applies to the Giggs case, Sir Fred Goodwin's and more pointedly to the Trafigura injunction.

Some of those may seem petty while others are not, but the principle remains the same and it is not possible to pick and choose where it will be applied and where it will not. It has to be applied across the board precisely to avoid having a judge allowing some to hide behind an injunction while others cannot.

Twitter is a large corporation and they have done what we might have expected them to do; that is, to stuff their users who are the product which Twitter sells for profit and to bow to corporate entities who are the real customers of Twitter.

Re:also, details (2)

troll -1 (956834) | more than 3 years ago | (#36279116)

I thought California had banned British libel cases [guardian.co.uk] so I wonder why the a California court is ruling against twitter in a Tyneside libel case?

Re:also, details (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#36280808)

I wonder why the a California court is ruling against twitter in a Tyneside libel case?

They probably think it's pronounced Tin iss ee day and it's an island in the Caribbean.

wat (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 3 years ago | (#36278498)

A council spokesman said: “The council has a duty of care to protect its employees and as this blog contains damaging claims about council officers, legal action is being taken to identify those responsible.”

That's some GREAT use for public money -- feeding lawyers, fueling scandals and elevating shit posted on twitter to something other than rumors.

California company obeys California court order (4, Informative)

ThreeGigs (239452) | more than 3 years ago | (#36278512)

Twitter is in California, and a California court ordered them to reveal information. Twitter is complying with the law.

Try making it more relevant:
Brits using American court system to sue Americans.

Still News at 11 for me.

Re:California company obeys California court order (2)

ledow (319597) | more than 3 years ago | (#36278530)

Yeah, because the US *never* tries to override or manipulate a foreign court to get to foreign persons...

*cough* Assange *cough* McKinnon *cough*

Re:California company obeys California court order (1)

MimeticLie (1866406) | more than 3 years ago | (#36281528)

Aside from Assange's accusations and the posturing of random congressmen, what evidence is there are the US is behind the attempt to extradite Assange to Sweden? If the US wanted to go after him, having him in the UK would be much more advantageous, seeing how they have a close legal relationship [wikipedia.org] with the UK.

Re:California company obeys California court order (4, Insightful)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 3 years ago | (#36278588)

Well it is English people using the Californian court system to sue English people.
Now they have the information they requested from Twitter, they will go back to England and take a similar action against the ISP. Then they will commence libel proceedings against the Twitter account holder; but if the tweets came from a cellphone connection - and twitter has a higher than average proportion of its visits from cellphones, the telco will only be able to say approximately which county the tweet came from, as lots of users share the same public IP address behind a NAT connection. For everyone else, there is the insecure Wifi defence.

Re:California company obeys California court order (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36279066)

Ryan Giggs is Welsh.

Re:California company obeys California court order (2)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 3 years ago | (#36279224)

This case isn't about Ryan Giggs. It is about some officials at South Tyneside Council who deny allegations of ballot rigging, drug taking and expenses fraud.

Re:California company obeys California court order (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 3 years ago | (#36279356)

I would be surprised if the trail didn't lead back to a TOR node or proxy. That is basic stuff for staying anonymous online.

Re:California company obeys California court order (0)

sosume (680416) | more than 3 years ago | (#36278660)

This is absurd. Tweeting is like saying something on the street in public. How can you be prosecuted for expressing yourself? Time to dump Twitter and find a new ground for exercising free speech.

Re:California company obeys California court order (0)

imthesponge (621107) | more than 3 years ago | (#36278684)

The UK does not have free speech.

Re:California company obeys California court order (3, Informative)

digitig (1056110) | more than 3 years ago | (#36278726)

The UK does not have free speech.

Yes it does, via article 19 of the universal declaration of human rights, which is (indirectly) binding on all members of the UN. Of course, there are specific pieces of legislation that are problematic in the light of that right. The UK is not unique in having legislation that is -- er-- problematic in terms of its constitution [*cough* Patriot Act *cough*] is it?

Nice try but wrong; UK does not have free speech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36279424)

You might as well quote the various UN resolutions regarding the left bank in Israel to say that they are binding. It makes no difference. If the government in question doesn't apply the law it has no effect and the 'freedom' does not exist.

Re:Nice try but wrong; UK does not have free speec (4, Informative)

digitig (1056110) | more than 3 years ago | (#36279686)

How about Article 10 of the European Declaration of Human Rights, which trumps UK law, and the government in question (the EU) does enforce it (via the European Court of Human Rights). Sorry, but this whole "The UK doesn't have freedom of speech" is just a US myth, like the myth that we don't have a constitution -- we do, and it's legally enforceable. It can be difficult and expensive to pursue a case, but I don't think the UK is alone in that.

Re:Nice try but wrong; UK does not have free speec (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 3 years ago | (#36280308)

We don't have free speech in the sense that the US does. If you read the wording of the Human Rights declaration there are quite a lot of exceptions to all parts of it, e.g. national security. Well, actually that isn't that different to the US these days, but the point is that in some cases free speech is not allowed. In the UK "incitement to racial hatred" is a crime, in other words you are not free to say something which might induce someone else to hate others based on race. People have gone to jail for doing it. It is actually worse than just curtailing free speech because it creates a situation where the thoughts other people have because of something you said can incriminate you.

Re:Nice try but wrong; UK does not have free speec (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 3 years ago | (#36280518)

The trouble is, it is free speech in pretty much the sense that the US has it -- there are limitations in the USA too. I doubt Bradley Manning would (will?) get far on a freedom of speech defence. The situation in both countries is that there is a constitutional right to free speech, but there is a recognition that there are limits to freedom of speech, and government from time to time passes laws restricting speech that might or might not be within those limits; it then gets fought out in the courts.

The UK government seems to be arguing that the threat of racial violence in the UK is so real and imminent that incitement to racial hatred is comparable to shouting fire in a crowded cinema. I happen to think that argument is rubbish, but that's besides the point. There's nothing to stop the US government trying exactly the same thing. If they do then in both the UK and the USA it's then up to the courts to decide whether the argument is valid or whether it's a violation of the relevant constitution.

Re:California company obeys California court order (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36280496)

The UK does not have free speech.

Yes it does, via article 19 of the universal declaration of human rights...

UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights [un.org]

Article 29 - Section 3
- These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

What a useful document.

P.S. My /. captcha was 'tricked', deliciously appropriate.

Why do people repeat this lie? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36279450)

Aside from the very long tradition of free speech in England and the UK, the people also have the protection of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights which guarantees free expression - but people should be responsible for what they say, and if someone makes untrue statements which impugn another person's character it is only fair that they should be held accountable.

Re:California company obeys California court order (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36278706)

This is absurd. Tweeting is like saying something on the street in public.

You are an idiot. You have no understanding of the issue but that doesn't stop you from spouting your stupid knee-jerk opinion.

Re:California company obeys California court order (3, Insightful)

digitig (1056110) | more than 3 years ago | (#36278716)

This is absurd. Tweeting is like saying something on the street in public.

I am not a lawyer, but I know the difference between libel and slander. I'm not sure you do.

Re:California company obeys California court order (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36279048)

I am a lawyer and I am pretty sure you don't.

Re:California company obeys California court order (-1, Troll)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36279430)

Regardless of their differences, and I will no longer argue the rationalizations that people make up, they're both scams used to stifle a person's right to speak. Time to fight back. Take no prisoners. As always, the best defense is a strong offense. One is to stop foolishly giving out any real details about yourself to these services, who are only data mining anyway. Another is to fill the system up with as much chaff as possible to make identification as difficult as possible. Use proxy servers, alternative DNSs, etc where you can. Use public wifi. Use live CDs to avoid the storage of possibly incriminating evidence on your machine. We have the tech.. we need to use it to our advantage. We should never let anyone tell us what we can say, no how 'offensive' they think it is. Render them absolutely powerless, and nail the people who act, those who actually use information against another person via physical force.. That's where the real, and only harm is being done.

Re:California company obeys California court order (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36280466)

Troll
Ahhh, the mods [ajr.org] are more cowardly than a drone pilot... Bombs away from a nice safe distance so as to not get any of their own blood on their nice suit..

Tweets are visible to hundreds or thousands (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36279348)

and the US has defamation laws too.

Re:California company obeys California court order (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36279150)

"Still being milked in the milking parlour at 11 for me"

There corrected that for you.

Constitutional amendment needed (0, Troll)

Dainsanefh (2009638) | more than 3 years ago | (#36279648)

Ban non-U.S. person to use our judicial system. If non-Americans get screw up by Americans, too bad it is your own fault.

At least in China it works that way, that is why it is so prosperous and literally immune during the economic downturn. If we EVER want an economic recovery it is time to copy some tricks in the Chinese playbook.

We have given the Brits too much free pass already, look at how our government treat BP. Just because we speak the same language means we are allies. Time to kick the bucket and show the finger.

More flames? (1, Insightful)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 3 years ago | (#36278516)

WTF is with editors these days? First, title of article is totally wrong, because this legislation has NOTHING to do with UK, but with US per se (they had to brought it to US court where there you can still sue for libel, but well you can't do superinjuction woodoo). Article also makes sensationalist claims that this decision helps "That Another Football Player" case - well, it doesn't. This is one, concrete person, who is sued for libel. This is not injunction to stop the spread of information - people who will retweet this person message or information won't be liable for any violation of law as long as they will reference this user and his information accordingly.

Re:More flames? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#36278626)

it has to do with how twitter has grown itself to a size where they start getting both carrier type of lawsuits(give us what you know of customer 'xx') and press lawsuits(don't print this and that or else). frankly it's the fault of their business model, they shouldn't have started recommending stuff un-automatically(technically, spamming and moderating user names got them into this mess).

He's suing the wrong people (2, Insightful)

oobayly (1056050) | more than 3 years ago | (#36278528)

Personally I think he should be suing his solicitors for not acting in his best interest. The details of almost every "super" injunction have been released, thanks mainly to parliamentary privilege. Once the injunction was made a lot of people wanted to know who it was, so when his name does get released there was massive coverage. They would have known this, but advising your client to put his hand in the air and say mea culpa means you can't charge quite so much.

Quite frankly I couldn't give a damn about who it was and who he slept with, but some people do. The only reason I can see why is that people like Ryan Giggs actively sell themselves to the public - effectively training people to want to know everything about him - and he derives a handsome income from it. He also appears to sell himself as a family man, so having it made public that he had an affair may affect his earnings. Clearly he couldn't make a choice between keeping his dick in his pants and keeping his name clean.

I don't like these injunction has they can be abused - as seen by Trafigura [wikipedia.org] case.

Re:He's suing the wrong people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36278552)

The only reason I can see why is that people like Ryan Giggs actively sell themselves to the public - effectively training people to want to know everything about him - and he derives a handsome income from it. He also appears to sell himself as a family man, so having it made public that he had an affair may affect his earnings.

I'm not aware of any of this - what he derives a handsome income from is kicking a ball around. For all I've heard about Ryan Giggs he could be an intensely private man who never conducts any interviews - I don't think I've ever even heard him speak.

Re:He's suing the wrong people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36278712)

It's called endorsements and they tend to be ruthless about public images.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ryan_Giggs#Endorsements_and_public_image
http://www.therichest.org/celebnetworth/athletes/footballer/ryan-giggs-net-worth/

Re:He's suing the wrong people (1)

nfc_Death (915751) | more than 3 years ago | (#36281346)

Yes thats right, he kicks a ball around, in public, for millions of the publics money. If he was the best football player on the planet but played in a dark room, where no one could see him I sincerely doubt he would make the money he has made.
In summation he made his money on the back of public perception, if he chooses to be involved in actions which alter the publics perception of him, he cannot demand to be suddenly out of the public eye.
Actually he can buy a small property in Kamchatka, and stay out of the public eye for the rest of his life and wow then no one will care who he slept with.
Oh does he want his cake and want to eat it too? Well then expect people to talk about you.

Freedom Of Speech, eh? (5, Insightful)

gowen (141411) | more than 3 years ago | (#36278540)

Freedom of speech does not include the right to slander or libel people you don't like, and it absolutely does not include the right to do so anonymously. You have the right to free speech - but you also must obey the libel laws, and you must be prepared to take the legal consequences of your free speech.

Re:Freedom Of Speech, eh? (0)

sosume (680416) | more than 3 years ago | (#36278670)

Does this include private conversations? How about private conversations in a public space? In other words, I cannot both be in a public place AND talk gossip? Because that is what this is about. People eavesdropping on all possible conversations (twitter) and then sue anyone whose conversations you do not like.

Re:Freedom Of Speech, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36278688)

Does this include private conversations? How about private conversations in a public space? In other words, I cannot both be in a public place AND talk gossip? Because that is what this is about. People eavesdropping on all possible conversations (twitter) and then sue anyone whose conversations you do not like.

Twitter is written word not verbal speech

Re:Freedom Of Speech, eh? (2)

stevelinton (4044) | more than 3 years ago | (#36278700)

Twitter is not, in any reasonable sense, a place to have private conversations. A more interesting question perhaps is whether this is slander (defamation in a public but transitory form, as by telling a lot of people verbally) and defamation in a permanent form (as by printing a book). In fact, in this day and age is slander even possible?

Re:Freedom Of Speech, eh? (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 3 years ago | (#36278890)

In fact, in this day and age is slander even possible?

Well, you could commit slander by, oh I don't know, telling a lot of people verbally...

Re:Freedom Of Speech, eh? (1)

stevelinton (4044) | more than 3 years ago | (#36278940)

Assuming none of them record it on their phones

Re:Freedom Of Speech, eh? (2)

cheros (223479) | more than 3 years ago | (#36278746)

Expecting to have a private conversation on Twitter is like having a discussion with megaphones on the street and expecting that to be somehow private.

For heaven's sake, when did we remove the clue gene?

Re:Freedom Of Speech, eh? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#36278676)

Just wait till the state picks up on libel. Dont like cradle to grave protection? Have some issue with distant wars? Eastern Europe used to love the legal consequences of any speech.

Re:Freedom Of Speech, eh? (3, Insightful)

pdabbadabba (720526) | more than 3 years ago | (#36278742)

This problem also occurred to the U.S Supreme Court in 1964. We now have an exception in defamation law for speech about public officials on matters of public concern. A public figure has to show that the speaker either knew what he was saying was false or spoke with reckless disregard for the truth. It's a very very tough standard to meet.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_Times_Co._v._Sullivan [wikipedia.org]

Re:Freedom Of Speech, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36279700)

>> or spoke with reckless disregard for the truth.

How is FOX News still on the air then?

Re:Freedom Of Speech, eh? (1)

Rennt (582550) | more than 3 years ago | (#36278698)

You might not have a protected right to slander, but you absolutely should have the ability to post any kind of information in public anonymously if you really need to.

The news (and warning) here is that twitter is not the right channel to use if you wish to remain anonymous. Perhaps this is not news to everybody... but after all the "twitter: tool of the people" stories to come out of places like Egypt, it is probably a timely reminder.

Re:Freedom Of Speech, eh? (3, Insightful)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#36278724)

Except telling the truth is neither slander nor libel. This law is consistent in every country I have heard it used in.

Ryan Giggs had an extra-marital affair with Imogen Thomas.

See? That wasn't libel.

Re:Freedom Of Speech, eh? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36278980)

Except telling the truth is neither slander nor libel. This law is consistent in every country I have heard it used in.

You should check Italian law. In Italian law you are not allowed to use as defense the "truth" or "notoriety" of statements in defense of a slander or libel case unless very specific scenarios apply (statements about civil servants about their responsibilities, if there are penal proceedings, if the "victim" asks for the truth to be verified in the proceedings).

Re:Freedom Of Speech, eh? (3, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | more than 3 years ago | (#36279170)

Same as in the UK, which is part of the problem in this case; truth isn't an absolute defense under English libel law. However, in this particular suit in California court, they would have to follow California libel standards. A problem is that they may be able to siphon off evidence this way: sue in U.S. court, lose, but get some evidence through discovery, then introduce that evidence in UK court. A US court would not generally agree to do discovery for a UK libel suit, but it's not clear they would try to stop discovery for a US libel suit being used in a UK libel suit.

Re:Freedom Of Speech, eh? (1)

Sasayaki (1096761) | more than 3 years ago | (#36279292)

(I am not a lawyer...)

In Australia, Defamation is an interesting complication, though.

For example, while you could say "Ryan Giggs had an extra-marital affair with Imogen Thomas", yes, it just means you could say it privately, or in the context of, say, the media. If I were to erect a giant billboard outside their house saying the same, while completely true, would be defamation.

Re:Freedom Of Speech, eh? (2)

Ltap (1572175) | more than 3 years ago | (#36279340)

IANAL, but from previous /. comments (the case of the chiropractors suing the skeptic), it seems that in British law, something counts as libel if it's considered damaging whether it's true or not, which makes review sites like Yelp very libelous indeed. For an example, if I told people that your restaurant had horrible service it would be libel because it damaged your business, whether or not it was actually true. From the perspective of someone from a legal system that values the truth (which, for all its faults, the American one does) this is absolutely abhorrent. I believe this has something to do with the foundation of libel law in Britain, which was designed to protect the nobility and rich businessmen from personal attacks.

Re:Freedom Of Speech, eh? (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 3 years ago | (#36280330)

You are incorrect, it is perfectly possible to review restaurants negatively without libel. Of course, just like in the US, that doesn't prevent people from suing you but unless something you said is factually incorrect you will win. The onus is on the accuser to prove that what you said is incorrect, and that you knew it was so at the time. We don't have punitive damages here so the amount they are awarded if they win is based on the financial loss they have suffered.

Re:Freedom Of Speech, eh? (1)

Homburg (213427) | more than 3 years ago | (#36280848)

something counts as libel if it's considered damaging whether it's true or not

That's not exactly true. The problem is that it's up to the person accused of libel to prove that what they said was true, rather than the person making the accusation of libel to prove that what was said is false.

Re:Freedom Of Speech, eh? (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36279502)

Even if it was libel or slander, too damn bad... He has every right to say that he didn't, and that's as far as he should be allowed to take it.

Re:Freedom Of Speech, eh? (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36279508)

Oh, and I forgot to add, he has the right to say the accuser is a liar and anything else he can think of...

Re:Freedom Of Speech, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36279578)

"This law is consistent in every US state I have heard it used in."

FTFY.

The US is practically unique in the protections its states gives to truth-telling in cases of slander/libel/defamation. There are reasons why people of note would rather sue in England and Wales than in any state of the Union.

Go look up "libel shopping."

Re:Freedom Of Speech, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36280260)

Except telling the truth is neither slander nor libel. This law is consistent in every country I have heard it used in.

Try it in Germany some time. Truth is not an automatic defense against libel/slander charges here.

Re:Freedom Of Speech, eh? (1)

gowen (141411) | more than 3 years ago | (#36281644)

Except ... this judgement isn't related in any way to Ryan Giggs or superinjunctions. It's about revealing the source of very specific, possibly untrue, allegations of actual malfeasance in reference to the governance of Sunderland.

Re:Freedom Of Speech, eh? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36278734)

Come back when you get a clue about Free Speech.

FUCKTARD!

Re:Freedom Of Speech, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36278752)

Laws concerning libel and slander normally provide a requirement to prove financial loss. Truth is also an absolute defense. So if the man was in fact having an affair he would come up empty handed in the US. There are also situations in which an individual repeats that he has heard it told that a person has done this or that and does not directly accuse anyone. Public figures such as sports stars and politicians also lose protections from libel and slander.
                      Frankly England is over the edge on this type of law and needs to get rid of most of their libel law and slander provisions. Concepts like deliberate malice need to be part of their laws as well as proof of financial harm.

Re:Freedom Of Speech, eh? (2)

namgge (777284) | more than 3 years ago | (#36278776)

Truth is also an absolute defense. .... Concepts like deliberate malice need to be part of their laws as well as proof of financial harm.

Malice is part of UK defamation law; truth is not an absolute defence if the motive was malice. Namgge

Re:Freedom Of Speech, eh? (-1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 3 years ago | (#36278760)

Freedom of speech does not include the right to slander or libel people you don't like, and it absolutely does not include the right to do so anonymously.

Of course it does. What part of free speech do you not understand?
Freedom of Speech is the ability to speak without consequence and anonymity is vital to ensuring that the speaker can avoid persecution for that speech.

Libel law is a violation of free speech and should be abolished.

Re:Freedom Of Speech, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36279302)

I can understand having libel laws protecting people from falsehoods, but if something is known to be true i really don't understand how revealing it is a crime. If the truth damages ones reputation then they should have had better judgement.

People should be able to defend themselves against someone creating a major ad campaign saying "Ryan Giggs can't climax unless he kills a puppy" without proof though.

Re:Freedom Of Speech, eh? (2)

jimthehorsegod (1210220) | more than 3 years ago | (#36279392)

Um, so say for example that rivals in your personal or professional life decide to run a newspaper ad and poster campaign (falsely) outing you as a child molester, complete with photographs of you and graphic descriptions of your actions, you'd take that on the chin, seeing as you'd have no defence?

Re:Freedom Of Speech, eh? (3, Insightful)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 3 years ago | (#36279676)

Freedom of Speech is the ability to speak without consequence

Wrong. Dead wrong in fact. With every freedom comes the responsibility of using it wisely.

Freedom of Speech merely curtails what steps the state may take to stop you from saying things. It does not mean you can just say anything about anyone without any consequences.

Re:Freedom Of Speech, eh? (2)

anotherzeb (837807) | more than 3 years ago | (#36279744)

"Libel law is a violation of free speech and should be abolished."

So do you believe I should be allowed to email your boss and colleagues / friends / partner / newspapers / whoever else that you are a sadistic paedophile with details of your illicit sexual encounters?

Yes it does. Btw. You have a small penis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36279162)

Freedom of speech does not include the right to slander or libel people you don't like, and it absolutely does not include the right to do so anonymously. You have the right to free speech - but you also must obey the libel laws, and you must be prepared to take the legal consequences of your free speech.

Yes it does. Btw. You have a small penis :P

Re:Freedom Of Speech, eh? (-1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36279482)

Freedom of speech does not include the right to slander or libel people you don't like...

Yes it does. That's what 'freedom of speech' means. Part of that freedom is the freedom to offend.. And as a counterpoint, I will state that nobody has the right to use rationalizations such as 'libel' and 'slander' to stifle the right to speak. So I hope that people will make the maximum use of existing tech and create new tech to help stamp out the stiflers. If you don't like what's being said about you, say something back.. That's as far as your rights go..

Bah, no point in discussing it, since all rights and freedoms depend on a gun to back them up against the attackers. The freedom fighters just need a bigger gun.

Re:Freedom Of Speech, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36281578)

So what this guy did is equivalent to saying "gowen RAPED AND KILLED A GIRL IN 1990"?

I mean, it would be terrible if anyone suggested that GOWEN RAPED AND KILLED A GIRL IN 1990.

Nobody would dare suggest, that gowen, raped and killed a girl in 1990.

Twitter v. Journalism (2)

retroworks (652802) | more than 3 years ago | (#36278682)

The freedom of speech is not in question in the article. The journalistic source is also not in question. It appears that people who find Twitter turning this information over to be controversial are mistaking Twitter for a journalism publication. Twitter is the mechanical "printing press". Freedom of speech is not the same as freedom on anonymity. The Boston Globe or NYT don't demand that THEIR identity be protected, they demand that the source be protected (and don't always win on that, and sometimes the journalist has to sit in the pen awhile).

In other words, there is good news and bad news about "self publication". The good news is that you don't have to convince a reporter or editor to run your story. The bad news is that you are identified the same as the editor or reporter is immediately identified when they run their story.

Re:Twitter v. Journalism (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36279882)

The freedom of speech is not in question in the article. The journalistic source is also not in question. It appears that people who find Twitter turning this information over to be controversial are mistaking Twitter for a journalism publication. Twitter is the mechanical "printing press". Freedom of speech is not the same as freedom on anonymity.

I disagree. I think what we're seeing here is a digital reflection of the same sort of information exchange that would happen normally verbally face to face or via telephone. We are in an adjustment period, the Information age makes old laws irrelevant as our new instantaneous communication and information archival capabilities become a part of human culture.

Or, would you deny that in public places -- the pub, the park, the barber shop -- that these very same sorts things are said by the general public, and the same is also now happening online.

This is not an example of "the digital printing press", no! This is an example of the first attempts to test our new digital voices being choked off by ancient irrelevant laws. Is it libel to gossip amongst those in the pub!? Would you punish us ALL? I agree that there is some confusion -- We are not all now news agencies simply because we now have the capability, and I would say the right, to speak and globally as previously only the news broadcasters, and before them published authors & artists, were capable.

Wake UP! Take a step back, and look at the larger picture. How many laws must we fight against simply because a new marvelous communication capability is available to much of the world's people. How much longer will the oppressive laws, created by man, stand against the common man? How much longer until the information repression is met with public revolt: "Give Us Our Right To Bear Technology"

Laws such as these were created in an age when only the few and powerful had a global voice, the common man could not hope to reach the same audience in their own defense, and the common people had few sources of information to help them make up their minds. This is no longer true! The laws continue to be turned against the common man as they are each considered to be wielders of powerful technologies, yet the true weight of that power has been diminished due to its now broad adoption -- The power of the few has been granted to the many -- It is the laws that need changing, not human nature!

We are communicators, we always have been, and that's why we rule this planet. It's human nature that struggles against these man made legal restraints -- To tighten the reins and wield the whip against the act of demonstrating our human nature is the very definition of a police state!

Re:Twitter v. Journalism (1)

Velex (120469) | more than 3 years ago | (#36280750)

I think what we're seeing here is a digital reflection of the same sort of information exchange that would happen normally verbally face to face or via telephone.

Just because Twitter does this 140 character limitation doesn't magically make it the equivalent of a conversation. You hit on a lot of good points, but the equivalent of a pub conversation is IRC. Telephone? XMPP. Twitter exists to publish your thoughts permanently. IRC logs would be a gray area, but what if you tape-recorded the pub and published the audio at a later date?

What we're seeing here is an abuse of the legal system by some blockhead that the public sought fit to give tons of money because for some reason they find watching him kick a ball down a field entertaining, more entertaining than getting together with a bunch of their friends for a game themselves. So here's this jock with an overinflated ego who fucked up, someone found out about it, published it, and now there's hell to pay.

Same thing would happen if it were a physical bulletin board. Keep pinning up something annoying to someone with lots of money, and sooner or later you're going to get in trouble. Should you be in trouble? Ideally no, but you pissed off someone with tons of money. Doesn't matter what the law says, that's how life works, kid.

I'm a controversial man in Japan (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36278758)

I ejaculate in vaginas.

Mr Monkey's blog (1)

benjfowler (239527) | more than 3 years ago | (#36279006)

What seems to be the matter here, and what's really riled up the Labor leader of Tyneside Council, Iain Malcom -- is the actions of an anonymous blogger -- Mr Monkey -- on his blog, rather than Twitter. Twitter is a sideshow. Mr Monkey has thrown most of his dookie on his blog, not on Twitter, but the ever-vengeful Iain Malcolm has seen fit to go after Twitter.

By the looks of it, Iain Malcom is a bit of a psychopath, who's waging a war against said anonymous blogger, at public expense. Mr Monkey runs a highly inflammatory blog, which has made unsubstantiated allegations against Mr Malcolm and his cronies, and so Iain Malcolm has been goaded into behaving unethically, by misusing public funds to lean on Twitter to find Mr Monkey so he can crush him in court.

Even if Mr Monkey is lying, I absolutely despite bullies and psychopaths, so I'm hoping that this will ultimately blow back on Iain Malcolm. His actions in this debacle, makes him seem like an extremely unsavoury character, who should probably be kept as far away from political power as possible as it is.

In court in the US?!?!?!???!?!?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36280358)

This whole thing was filed under "Don't give a fuck" until I read the part about the dirty tea sucking cretinous Brits using OUR courts for this shit.

I don't care what happens to soccer players or councilors in the UK, but when these turds wash up on our shores, then we need to stop this shit.

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