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Injunctions, super-injunctions and internet meet, and it is not pretty

We all take internet for granted.  I worry about where internet will be in the next few years.  The words ‘unintended consequences’ leap off the page on most things we read about regulation or freedom of expression online.

On the one hand we have the academic leaders of internet freedom in the US, and the counterpoint is probably the European contingent lead by France and Germany who want to control every cookie it seems.

So in concert with the G8, France produced the e-G8 that has some very interesting participants including Eric Schmidt, and Mark Zuckerberg, but also some others less well known in the west but influential nonetheless.

Internet chiefs set to address G8 summit

The e-G8, the first event of its kind, was organised by Publicis Groupe chief executive Maurice Lévy, who will be leading the delegation to Deauville along with Yuri Milner, the Russian entrepreneur and investor who founded Digital Sky Technologies, Stéphane Richard, chief executive of France Telecom, and Hiroshi Mikitani, chief of Rakuten, Japan’s largest online retailer.

While it is easy to write of French attempts to ‘control’ internet, the larger issue is the common set of beliefs that prevail online which are contradictory to many of the laws of each country.

The classic example is the ridiculous situation in UK right now.  If you are not aware we have injunctions and super injunctions.  The injunctions prohibit disclosure by mainstream media from mentioning affairs by famous figures such as Ryan Giggs with hookers.  Super injunctions require that media not mention that an injunction exists. 

Where do we start to describe the ludicrousness of this. The courts agreeing to stop people talking about legal rulings.  if we think this through, how can the court prescribe that people not talk about something that they know about as if it did not happen.  Court proceedings are public by design. 

The entire concept here is a result of government inaction on privacy, particularly in the UK despite changes driven by internet.  Enter the latest problem when twitter followers decided to react by publishing information about people under injunction en masse.  The latest is that Twitter might release the names of those who mentioned Giggs name to the police.

Where will all this go?

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Written by Colin Henderson

May 26, 2011 at 08:15

Posted in Uncategorized

4 Responses

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  1. Surely the principle is anonymity. Freedom works both ways you can tell the world anything but the world should know who you are. People are less likely to create malicious chatter if they are identifiable and should be responsible for their statements. Freedom produces information anarchy produces junk.


    May 26, 2011 at 09:40

    • I think the principle of anonymity is lost when you do something against the law for sure, and for that matter anything newsworthy and in public. The issue with the likes of Giggs is that he did something that was public. If you want anonymity then be anonymous.

      The Btitish law on privacy is so out of step that injunction tourism is a new cottage industry.

      Colin Henderson

      May 26, 2011 at 18:54

  2. Ryan Giggs hasn’t been with any ‘hookers’. She’s a reality TV ‘personality.


    May 26, 2011 at 10:30

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