Monday, May 30, 2011

UK Council Takes Twitter To Court In California

In a US court, South Tyneside Council has succeeded in forcing Twitter to name a bothersome tweeter
South Tyneside Council has successfully taken Twitter to court in California to force it to reveal the identity of a troublesome user.
The council decided to take action to reveal the identity of a tweeter, aliased Mr Monkey, who has been posting contentious messages. This is a different spin on the methods chosen by the legal team using English law to try to persuade Twitter to name users who transgressed the super injunction ruling awarded to footballer Ryan Giggs.
Twitter Is Subject To California Law
Whether Twitter, as a US-based company, will accede to rulings taken by foreign courts is yet to be seen. However, it appears that South Tyneside’s direct method of using a Californian court has succeed in persuading Twitter to deny the user a right to anonymity.
The council claims it already has been given the identity of the allegedly libellous user but Twitter is keeping tight-lipped about the issue. The messaging company usually resists revealing information about users even though its privacy policy says it will “comply with a law, regulation or legal request”.
The case surrounds councillor Ahmed Khan who is suspected of authoring unfounded allegations against council leaders. He denies the allegation but said he was told by Twitter his account details would be disclosed if a subpoena was granted by a Californian court. He claimed that the move “not only breaches my human rights, but it potentially breaches the human rights of anyone who has ever sent me a message on Twitter”.
The cost to the council of the action has not been disclosed but is believed to run into hundreds of thousands of pounds. This could give rise to complaints from local tax payers because the council cannot sue for libel. Any councillors affected would have to take private proceedings at their own cost.
A spokesman for the local authority explained, “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.”

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