Unknown Users Suing Twitter for the Publishing of Court-Protected Info

By Beecher Tuttle May 20, 2011

An unnamed UK soccer player has filed a lawsuit against Twitter and a number of the micro-blogging site's users for publishing information that was protected by a super-injunction, according to the Guardian.

In a legal sense, a super-injunction is a court order that stops the press from reporting on specific information, as well as prohibits them from declaring that an injunction exists in the first place.

The lawsuit in question reportedly stems from a series of Twitter messages that were posted earlier in the month that disclosed the names of UK celebrities that were said to have won these super-injunctions. The tweets also allegedly detailed the activities and indiscretions that were meant to be kept secret by these orders. The Twitter account that divulged the information on May 8 quickly attracted more than 100,000 followers.

Several European media sites are reporting that one of the gag orders was used to ensure the anonymity of a player, who allegedly had an affair with model and former Big Brother star Imogen Thomas.

The lawsuit lists Twitter and “persons unknown responsible for the publication of information on the Twitter accounts" as the defendants, according to Bloomberg. The person bringing the legal action is referred to in court documents only as CTB, which are the same initials used in an earlier court case where an athlete won an anonymity order.

James Quartermaine, a lawyer at Charles Russell in London, told Bloomberg that Twitter will most likely not cooperate with the suit, which he believes is intended to give people reason to refrain from breaking super-injunctions. 

"Twitter will probably just ignore it and consider it to be offensive to their first amendment rights," he told the news source. "It’s probably an attempt to try and show that actions have consequences in cyberspace."

The issue is further complicated by the fact that Twitter is a U.S.-based company. It is still unclear whether the social media outlet is subject to the jurisdiction of the U.K. court.

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Beecher Tuttle is a TechZone360 contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jamie Epstein

TechZone360 Contributor

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