Nitwit hits Twitter with writ (Twitter faces legal action by footballer over privacy)


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Nitwit hits Twitter with writ < I couldn't resist using that headline from 'The Sun' in thread title, but for a more serious take on this story, this is 'The Guardian' report - Twitter faces legal action by footballer over privacy.

A footballer has launched legal action against Twitter after a number of the microblogging site's users purported to reveal the name of the player who allegedly had an affair with model Imogen Thomas.

The footballer's legal team began the legal action at the high court in London on Wednesday, in what is thought to be the first action against the US social media firm and its users.

The lawsuit lists the defendants as "Twitter Inc and persons unknown". The latter are described as those "responsible for the publication of information on the Twitter accounts" in the court document, according to reports.

Earlier this month, an unknown person or individuals published the names of various people who had allegedly taken out gagging orders to conceal sexual indiscretions on a Twitter account. The account rapidly attracted more than 100,000 followers.

Twitter declined to comment.
The BBC is reporting this morning that the High Court in London has ordered Twitter to release details of the people that tweeted this information in breach of a so-called 'super injunctions'.

These 'super injunctions' not only ban the media from publishing details about whatever is the subject of the injunction, but goes further by even banning the reporting that an injunction has even been granted.

There's a massive debate going on in the UK over these injunctions, the battle between the 'right to privacy' and the 'right to publish', and the internet has been used to expose what the UK media can not on several occasions over the last couple of years.

The lord chief justice, Lord Judge, on Friday said Twitter and its users were totally out of control when it comes to privacy injunctions and court orders.
Twitter and other social networks were accused of making "an ass of the law" by culture secretary Jeremy Hunt and [other] politicians after a number of celebrities with injunctions were allegedly exposed online.
This is the first time someone has turned to the courts in response to such information being published online - this is a story worth watching IMO.


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This is the first time someone has turned to the courts in response to such information being published online - this is a story worth watching IMO.
worth watching for no other reason than it may well have an impact on information posted on forums as well.

Privacy debate aside, you can't have people anonymously posting information that breeches court orders and no way to actually punish or even trace them.

This should be interesting to see how it turns out.


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worth watching for no other reason than it may well have an impact on information posted on forums as well.
Yep, this is what I was thinking. It seems they are not trying to sue Twitter as the publisher, but to trace the person/people that tweeted as the publisher(s), which is reassuring.

Privacy debate aside, you can't have people anonymously posting information that breeches court orders and no way to actually punish or even trace them.
Indeed, although these UK injunctions don't stop overseas media reporting the cases/stories, so one assumes if it was an overseas tweeter involved there would be no case.


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I have no interest in celebrity gossip, nor indeed football, so I had no idea who was involved here.

But I've just had a call from my 76-year-old mother, following this case being the main story on the BBC News Channel [which can't mention the name] this morning, and bemoaning the fact that she must be the only person left in the UK that doesn't know the name and begging me to check twitter for her! :D

A quick search on twitter for 'super injunction' reveals the name, a quick search on google for 'twitter+[insert name] returns over 4.5m results for his name on twitter, I wonder what percentage is concerning football-v-the super injunction.

It seems like many thousands are re-tweeting his name since this story broke, which should keep his lawyers very busy - and the super injunction is also mentioned on his wikipedia page.

Anyway, that's two more people that know the name now, and I am sure many millions more across the UK, which just goes to prove these super-injunctions are a complete waste of money, the truth will get out.

I guess the bottom line is; if you're a celebrity and don't want to be exposed for shagging someone behind your wife's back, don't do it.


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Indeed, although these UK injunctions don't stop overseas media reporting the cases/stories, so one assumes if it was an overseas tweeter involved there would be no case.
Yup. I wonder how long before there is an international agreement on policing the Internet for cases like this...

A long time I suspect, but the more times the inability to 'control' the Internet becomes an issue, the nearer that day comes.


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Whatever...there is a price for being wealthy because of the love of the the end if he was married he should have kept it in his pants if he wasn't he should have been more selective than to choose either A. the girl he had a go with if she blabbed or B. whoever he told.

I as a average person can't sue someone for publicizing an affair of mine nor would it make it less private...why should someone who has the money to shelter themselves from the rest of the world get treated any different. Personally speaking, I don't want to know how someones hammer is swinging...never mind putting a face to the story. So basically he gets laid and paid and in the end everyone has a good old time. Isn't that prostitution which would make the twitteree person a pimp. I dunno but if you are walking around with a scarlet letter on your chest you shouldn't be taking anyone to court.

It's common courtesy not to publish peoples personal crap...the problem is people are effing nosey and WANT to know this crap (every country has their Jerry Springerish crap not just America folks.) which furnishes itself to a social network user in the form of fuel for a fire to get people's attention and say COME HERE LOOK AT ME OMG. It's low down and a horrible journalistic tactic.

People who blog, post, tweet, whatever...must not be realizing that they are publishing documents that can be seen forever and must take accountability for their actions BEFORE acting. There is a virus of a people in the world who do not care about the weight of their words and actions and will use whatever they can to gain for self even to the advent of weakening the whole of that which sustains them. When you mix that with journalism you can sum it up as taking a check for throwing someone under the bus.

There is no good guys in this situation...nobody should be publishing anything about anyone in a private way without consent and nobody should be having an affair and get mad when people find out...if someone blabbed it started with him or the woman. Who should he be suing if don't cut down a tree buy cutting off a branch. No matter what nothing good comes out of crap like this. It was either a cry for attention or a spiteful act done for love or money in the end.

end random rant


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end random rant
Couldn't agree more.

Super injunction sounds like a horrible idea.
They are, my concern about these 'super injunctions' is just how many have been issued and for what purposes, bearing in mind that they actually ban the reporting of the injunction even being issued.

There's a big different between them being used to gag something of 'public interest', rather than something that maybe of 'interest to the public' as in the case that started this thread, an example of the former happened back in 2009 and was the first time I had heard of these things:

In England and Wales, a superinjunction (or super-injunction) is a form of gagging order in which the press is prohibited from reporting even the existence of the injunction, or any details of it.[6][7] An example was the superinjunction raised in September 2009 by Carter-Ruck solicitors on behalf of oil trader Trafigura, prohibiting the reporting of an internal Trafigura report into the 2006 Côte d'Ivoire toxic waste dump scandal. The existence of the superinjunction was revealed only when it was referred to in a parliamentary question that was subsequently circulated on the internet (parliamentary privilege protects statements which would otherwise be held to be in contempt of court).

Before it could be challenged in court, the injunction was then varied to permit reporting of the question.[8] By long legal tradition, parliamentary proceedings may be reported without restriction.[9] Parliamentary proceedings are only covered by qualified privilege. Roy Greenslade credits the editor of The Guardian, Alan Rusbridger, with coining the word "super-injunction" in an article about the Trafigura affair in September 2009.[10]
And to me super injunctions should never be used to try to cover up when, for example, companies or politicians screw-up.


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Yeah I could understand their purpose in issues of national security but not because some athlete can't keep it in his pants.


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Super injunctions are too commonly used. It seems all morals of law go out of the window when some wealthy footballer whips out a chequebook.


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I'm surprised TheLaw hasn't replied to this thread yet!
He's too busy trying to get a contract with Chelsea or Manchester United ;)

Interesting position twitter may find themselves in. Have no ideas of the merits or otherwise of the actual case, but would applaud anyone prepared to take a social site to court if they are allowing the publication of information that is wrong. Similar situation to a newspaper or any other media outlet. I note twitter don't get upset when referenced in media reports as a source, ergo you live by the sword.

For the record, yes I twitter ... badly and haphazardly.


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Super injunctions are too commonly used. It seems all morals of law go out of the window when some wealthy footballer whips out a chequebook.
Having whipped out something else before, hence the whole mess. :D

Actually they are not that common now - I've just been looking at a report by a committee chaired by the Master of the Rolls, Lord Neuberger, looking into them, which was released last week, and suggested only two have been granted so far this year:

There was justifiable concern, when the Committee was formed, that super-injunctions were being applied for and granted far too readily. This concern has now been addressed. Since January 2010, so far as the Committee is aware, two super-injunctions have been granted, one which was set aside on appeal and the second which was in force for seven days. Super-injunctions are now only being granted, for very short periods, and only where this level of secrecy is necessary to ensure that the whole point of the order is not destroyed.
I think that not only is it getting harder to get the High Court to grant one, but also people are waking-up to the fact that they are a waste of time, as they tend to leak and result in the Streisand effect, which basically means even more people end-up hearing the details than they would otherwise had done.

The stupid thing in this case, is if a newspaper had published the story it would have just about been forgotten about within a week and everyone would have moved on, instead the story has been dragging on & on and every man & his dog now seems to know his name.

It's gone way beyond a joke, the BBC is reporting that over the weekend his name was being re-tweeted at a rate of 900 times an hour on Twitter and in Scotland the Sunday Herald exposed him on their front page yesterday, as Scotland has a separate legal system to the rest of the UK and therefore the Scottish media isn't gagged by the injunction granted in London. An image of the front page spread like wild fire on the internet resulting in the paper's website going down due to pressure of traffic.


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Another update, this second footballer has fallen into the same trap as the first, by supposedly instructing his lawyers to go after some reporter that tweeted his name in connection with him also having a super injunction.

So, now twitter is going mad over this second name, which is trending in the UK, the name is being re-tweeted at the rate of 10+ times per minute, so around 600 times in the last hour - totally bonkers.

Even the Prime Minister has now spoken out on national TV about it being 'unsustainable' to gag the media, when the information is available online and everyone is talking about it.

I can't see anyone being mad enough in the future to apply for a super injunction, reportedly costing between £75k-£200k in legal costs, when they face it back-firing like this.

Internet 1 - UK courts 0

Some of the jokes on twitter connecting the two names are well funny, sadly I can't repeat them for fear of getting xf into trouble.


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This concerns the naming of the second footballer on Twitter....

Journalist could be jailed over Twitter comments about injunctions.

The journalist allegedly made a series of jokes about the player just hours after the High Court granted him a gagging order to prevent another newspaper revealing details of an extramarital affair.

Yesterday, the offending Tweets had been removed from his page, but lawyers acting for the footballer – who is an England international – have successfully applied for the case to be referred to the Attorney General.

If the journalist is found to have deliberately flouted the injunction, he could be found in contempt of court, meaning he could be fined, have his assets seized or even jailed.

It is understood to be the first time a case involving a breach of an injunction on a social networking site has been referred to the Attorney General.

Another leading footballer has attempted to halt the widespread use of Twitter to circumvent gagging orders. Last week, lawyers acting for the Premiership star applied for a disclosure order against the San Francisco–based microblogging site that would force them to name users who have breached injunctions.
If the UK authorities are looking to make an example of someone, this could be the fall guy.

Meanwhile, the BBC is reporting that an 'urgent question' concerning super injunctions has been tabled to be asked in Parliament this afternoon - the circus continues.


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The Sun newspaper this afternoon lost their appeal against the super injunction in respect of the first footballer.

A few moments later Ryan Giggs was named in Parliament by a MP, which is now being covered on Sky News and various UK newspaper websites, so it's game set & matched on that one.

Next up, the second footballer.

This is such a pantomime, the court is just looking so stupid - beaten by the internet, Parliament and finally the media.

What a crazy mess!