Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Day Freedom to Tweet Died

The news that social networking site Twitter has divulged the email addresses, phone numbers and other details of alleged abusive users to South Tyneside Council will undoubtably send a shiver down the spine of the injunction-breaching masses. The legal request, lodged in the US courts has forced the sit to give up the data, something many thought would not be possible when initiated by claiments from across the otherside of the pond.

The chief suspect in all the mischief making is independent South Shields councillor Ahmed Khan, who was first contacted by Twitter in April in regards to the court action. The ‘Mr Monkey’ account allegedly made grossly defamatory allegations about sitting members of the Council, incuding accusations of illegal drug use. These are stressful allegations indeed, but does it really take £75,000 of taxpayers’ cash to put an end to it?

This successful action will certainly make would-be injunction breakers think twice before pressing the enter button when naming a celebrity caught in a sordid scandal. It will also dispel the incredibly dangerous myth that social networking sites are somehow immune from the rule of law. But for millions of Twitter users who thought they had discovered the ultimate portal for incredibly free speech, it will hit them like a bucket of cold water.

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