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Judge Issues Gag Order For Twitter

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the good-luck-with-that dept.

Facebook 154

the simurgh writes with this excerpt from Reuters: "A British judge has banned Twitter users from identifying a brain-damaged woman in one of the first attempts to prevent the messaging website from revealing sensitive information. The ruling follows the publication on Twitter on Sunday of a list of celebrities alleged to have tried to cover up sexual indiscretions by obtaining court gag orders. The injunction, dated May 12 and seen by Reuters on Friday, includes Twitter and Facebook in the list of media prohibited from disclosing the information. It was issued in the Court of Protection in the case of a mother who wants to withdraw life support from her brain-damaged daughter. It prevents the identification of the woman and those caring for her."

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Oh boy... (5, Insightful)

Retron (577778) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128054)

If ever there was a way to get information out and about, trying to gag Twitter and Facebook is it! And once it's leaked, it's out there forever.

Re:Oh boy... (3, Interesting)

plover (150551) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128164)

The whole idea is really sad. The judge's order is basically "don't be a dick about this, we are trying to spare a family the additional pain of dealing with a bunch of idiots making death threats while they're already having a hard time dealing with the issue at hand."

If they were celebretards, I wouldn't care as much, because they have practice in dealing with the media and idiots. But these are just ordinary people who are already having a hell of a bad time.

Re:Oh boy... (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128348)

Injunction laws are dead dead dead dead. Unless you're going to turn the UK into the Peoples Republic of China, the judge is wasting his time and everyone else's. Whether injunctions are good or bad is utterly and completely and now permanently irrelevant. A law that cannot be enforced is a pointless law and should simply be removed by legislators.

The day is done. The Internet has made gag laws pointless. You might be able to go after British subjects who break the injunction, if you can figure out who they are, but the US has become so angry at the UK being used for libel tourism that the odds of any American-based site actually having to provide the identities of British subjects to a British court is extremely low.

There's no solution here. The law has been rendered pointless. The British Parliament has dragged its heels about this for so long, despite demands that it start updating its injunction laws, and has basically made the whole thing pointless. Maybe that was the plan, don't do anything, let the Internet make the judiciary impotent and then shrug and go "Oh well, sorry 'bout that."

Re:Oh boy... (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128762)

> the judge is wasting his time and everyone else's.

No he's not. He says don't post it; you post it, you get to go to jail. The information is still out there. But you're still in jail. You can stay out of jail by not posting it. Your choice.

It's like saying laws against murder are stupid because everyone's got a knife or something.

Re:Oh boy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36129256)

Who's going to jail and where, when I'm in one country, my proxy's in another, Twitter's in the US and dumb ruling is in the UK?

Do they extradite me to UK for this? Do they go after all forums where I could have posted forbidden names and all search engines that could find and cache my posts?

Re:Oh boy... (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#36129378)

no it's stupid because UK gag orders aren't going to be applied to US citizens and if most of the userbase aren't gagged then everyone is going to hear anyway.

As far as I know gag orders don't apply to 1:1 communication between people not named in them so you call your American friend on the phone or send him and email and he publishes it all, job done.

the judge is wasting his time and everyone else's.

Re:Oh boy... (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 3 years ago | (#36129612)

> As far as I know gag orders don't apply to 1:1 communication between people not named in them so you call
> your American friend on the phone or send him and email and he publishes it all, job done.

It would be inadvisable for a journalist to email someone if they want to avoid going to prison for contempt of court. I don't agree with these injunctions either, but you can't say that just because it's possible to put something on the internet that you can't attach a punishment to it. Bradley Manning is in the same boat; everyone can buy a paper and read stuff he's allegedly provided to Wikileaks, but the US government is hardly going to give up the concept of privileged information because of it.

Re:Oh boy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36129864)

So, someone's gonna spend as much resources to track down one who ratted out some brain-damaged girl's mom as they spent to track down one who ratted out the US Military. ... Right, and tomorrow it's gonna rain donuts.

Re:Oh boy... (3, Interesting)

plover (150551) | more than 3 years ago | (#36129400)

There's no solution here.

He wouldn't have to prohibit the publishing of the name. He could use social pressure instead.

"The court orders that if the name of the woman is published, that the person who reveals the name will also be published, and they should be reviled by all civilized people."

Imagine what would happen to the guy if he was outed to a group like /b/, and they decided he was scum. We've seen what happened to the woman who threw the cat in the garbage can. That public spanking didn't stop at national boundaries.

Of course, John Smith might be a member of /b/, and might be revealing the name just for teh lulz. He might get spanked, he might not. But it's an approach we could consider.

Re:Oh boy... (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128404)

If they're not famous why are they trying to gag facebook and twitter? This is not the first brain dead girl to have the plug pulled, why are these people soooo special that anyone would care so much as to go on twitter or facebook and talk about it?

And now I'm curious, along with probably a million other internet users, as to who this girl is. Anyone know yet?

Re:Oh boy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128622)

And now I'm curious, along with probably a million other internet users, as to who this girl is. Anyone know yet?

Sarah Palin

Re:Oh boy... (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128752)

If they're not famous why are they trying to gag facebook and twitter? This is not the first brain dead girl to have the plug pulled, why are these people soooo special that anyone would care so much as to go on twitter or facebook and talk about it?

Because there are plenty of people who strongly, even violently believe that survival (even if the entire duration will be miserable, painful, or simply vegetative) is to be extended by all means possible. The family are having a tough time already, and if their names got out there then there's every chance that the forced survival brigade would come along making their lives, and whatever time the daughter may have left, even more unpleasant.

It's really a no-win situation; the injunction is unenforceable and will irritate many (myself included) simply on principle, but the judge's heart was in the right place - it's basically a legal way of saying "Seriously, guys, don't be dicks.".

Re:Oh boy... (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 3 years ago | (#36129106)

Were Michael and Terri Schiavo famous prior to the massive amount of bullshit (Protests around the hospital, death threats to both the husband and relatives, etc.) surrounding that incident? I sure as fuck wouldn't need that around me at a time like this.

Re:Oh boy... (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 3 years ago | (#36129884)

If they're not famous why are they trying to gag facebook and twitter?

Because they don't want to become famous by having their personal tradgedy plastered all over the internet.

Re:Oh boy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36129100)

Yes, but if they're going through such a hard time, why would they care about what's happening on twitter?

Re:Oh boy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36129236)

Yes, but if they're going through such a hard time, why would they care about what's happening on twitter?

Because twitter will attract idiots like moths to a flame. The family won't care about twitter, but about the fools it brings to them.

3... 2... 1... and cue the Streisand Effect (2)

dotHectate (975458) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128056)

Now that it's banned on twitter, it'll be the number one trending topic.

Identify her, everywhere. (3, Interesting)

Weezul (52464) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128140)

I'd fully support not identifying her. if there was no gag order, well pro-lifers are asshats. All over-broad gag orders must be defied.

Re:Identify her, everywhere. (2)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128188)

I fully understand the point of this order, after seeing the lunacy that happened in the US with the Terry Schiavo case.

It helps nobody to have a gaggle of crazies showing up trying to hold a "protest" or worse yet, actually getting into the hospital room. All you get is the potential for a riot, or for someone else's needed care to be impacted because a bunch of idiots are getting in the way of hospital operations. But that's what would happen if news agencies or someone else puts the information out there.

Re:Identify her, everywhere. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128730)

It would be poetic justice if someone decided to withhold 'life support' (food and water) from you.

Re:Identify her, everywhere. (1)

Weezul (52464) | more than 3 years ago | (#36129330)

England's ridiculous libel & public discours laws & judicial precedents are archaic relics of their class system. And these injunctions they produce are a fundamental affront to modern civilized society.

There simply aren't enough Terry Schiavo cases that anyone should give a shit. Yes, pro-lifers, the WBC, etc. are all assholes, heck a few are even dangerous. Fine, we should confront the pro-lifers in public.

We should not perpetuate the insanity that protects companies like Hempel and Trafigura from media exposure while they're busy poisoning people.

Do you prefer a couple silly Terry Schiavo cases or thousands of new cancer patients? That's the choice we're actually discussing here.

There is a place for gag orders covering the parties, lawyers, especially lawyers, jurors, and witnesses involved in an existing criminal trial, as well as penalties for violating NDAs, but simply seeking a gag order against the whole world is beyond the pale.. and anyone who does so deserves to have it thrown back in their face.

Re:Identify her, everywhere. (4, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128344)

So you hurt people just to spite them? If someone asks you to hold the door for them, do you slam it in their face for not saying "please"?

Re:Identify her, everywhere. (2)

gabebear (251933) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128492)

Yep! I can be pretty damn spiteful!

Not for little things like not saying please, but if someone tried to pass a law baring me from ever slamming doors I'd certainly try to slam doors in their face.

Re:Identify her, everywhere. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128576)

If they pass a law against mere speech instead of saying "please don't reveal"...

You can be damned sure I'll go out of my way to cause any and all injury.

Re:Identify her, everywhere. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128694)

More people should. I just usually say, quite loudly, "you're welcome." It gets the point across and I hope it teaches them a lesson too.

Re:Identify her, everywhere. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128994)

your starting to understand now.

learn to read instead of just jerking knees (1)

IBitOBear (410965) | more than 3 years ago | (#36129104)

The "pro lifers" in the grandparent post are the people being gagged and the grandparent post the poster is decrying the fact that without such a gag order the the "pro lifers" would be trying to turn the personal and painful decision to terminate life support into a media and internet circus just like with Schivo (spelling?).

So the poster you are criticizing is saying "yea, to give this family some peace I would support the court order" and you are what...? saying it is being mean to the people who would make this family's pain into political hay for their own gain to support a judge telling them to STFU?

Your position would be spiteful indeed, except your post makes no damn sense.

Re:Identify her, everywhere. (3, Insightful)

Weezul (52464) | more than 3 years ago | (#36129196)

Free speech is infinitely more important.

It wasn't a free speech issue until the judge granted the gag order, just an "oh yeah pro-lifers are shit stains" issue. By applying for the gag order, the family created a free speech issue and painted targets on their foreheads. And yes I'd indirectly help people I loath do despicable things simply to make that point.

England's ridiculous libel & public discours laws are archaic relics of their class system that have no place in the modern world.

Parent read article (1)

forand (530402) | more than 3 years ago | (#36129276)

He is saying that while he doesn't like the pro-lifers who may want to make the woman's death and how she is cared for into a show. I don't see why he would expect this in Britain (US ok but not Britain). The gag order is to stop people from harassing the family when they need to make decisions about how to care for their loved one NOT to protect some pro-lifers. So what is your point?

Re:Identify her, everywhere. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128702)

OK, here I go: Sarah Palin

Done.

Re:Identify her, everywhere. (1)

eleuthero (812560) | more than 3 years ago | (#36129294)

As a Christian and someone who self-identifies as "pro-life," we recently had to deal with whether or not to unplug a relative. Most who are jerks about the process have probably not had to go through it--there are tensions on both sides. Are we playing God by leaving the person plugged in? Are we committing murder by unplugging? Where is the line? Harvard (and I can't find the link) has a good list of questions to confront when determining whether or not unplugging is ethical or not--and this is not (anymore) a Christian institution (in case you are put off by my original statement).

We determined that "present normal level of care" was appropriate in our discussion of the situation (though at the last minute, the decision was thankfully taken from us)--would I have turned off the feeding tube in the Schiavo case a few years ago? I don't think I would have, but I wasn't there. With this said, there should definitely be a medical ethics board composed of members from different walks of life to approve such before any disconnecting is allowed (emotions run high and there should be a double check to any decision).

Re:Identify her, everywhere. (3, Insightful)

Weezul (52464) | more than 3 years ago | (#36129460)

This ceased to be about pro-life protesters, or even gun toting pro-lifers, the moment they applied for an injunction on people not currently involved in any related court proceedings. It's now only about the gag order.

I think people should die whenever they damn well feel like it. If their brain has been fried badly enough that they no longer have any opinions about anything, then their family should decide.. and pay for the life support after some reasonable period. If there isn't anyone to decide, then the hospital should humanely terminate them, and spend it's resources on people with working brains.

All that's irrelevant now though, British libel & gag laws are a despicable manifestation of that country's historical class system, originally designed to protect the toffs from the plebs papers. Yet, today they protect companies like Hempel and Trafigura who're busy poisoning people.

Re:3... 2... 1... and cue the Streisand Effect (1)

BitterOak (537666) | more than 3 years ago | (#36129126)

Actually, if you read the article, you'll see this wasn't merely an injunction, but something called a "super-injunction". This will no doubt give rise to something which will be called the Super-Streisand effect, in which every leaked name has a super-symmetric partner.

Streisand effect away! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128058)

Identify that brain damaged woman. It's for free speech.

Re:Streisand effect away! (0)

x*yy*x (2058140) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128104)

Or what about if we save those situations to something like revealing bad companies instead of harassing people who already have hard time?

Re:Streisand effect away! (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128110)

The issue is that the court is trying to prevent nut jobs from harassing the family about the decisions they make regarding end of life care. I don't personally agree with the notion in this case, however the intention of releasing the information is to harass the family rather than over legitimate free speech grounds. They could just as easily have a debate without releasing the names, the point of the names is to encourage people to contact the family in a vexatious way.

The UK is much more strict about such things and celebrity are frequently able to get injunctions to block damaging reports there than we are in the US.

Re:Streisand effect away! (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128356)

The UK was more strict. The government looks to be ready to reform the law, but I'd say that the willingness of British subjects to violate the law by the use of foreign websites means the government and the courts have literally had this power ripped from them.

Re:Streisand effect away! (2)

skywire (469351) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128774)

Ending the life of someone who was not dying is "end of life care"? You belong in an Orwell novel.

Re:Streisand effect away! (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128976)

Frequently these people are not alive in any meaningful sense of the term. Their bodies stay warm because it turns out that if you shoot nutrients straight into their veins and pump air in and out of their lungs at roughly a normal breathing rate, then most of the autonomous processes manage to keep some stuff going. You could cut their head off and they'd continue to "live" in the same way.

I don't call that "alive".

Re:Streisand effect away! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36129504)

Then the question is, how much is life extension worth/how much is it to sustain somebody who can't do it on their own? $10M for 20 years? for 1 year? for 3 months? I don't think i'll make $1M in my lifetime, and some people have been kept on life support for decades and costs like that.

Pool (1)

Manos_Of_Fate (1092793) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128062)

We should start a pool for how long it will be until someone posts that info here. Of course, by the time we got it organized that will probably have already happened.

Re:Pool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128116)

Just because we can, doesn't mean we will. Yes, I am more curious about the case. But a brain damaged woman hardly ranks amongst the worst of corporate misbehaviour. I would have to find a compelling reason that would justify outing the individual.

In the case of a brain damaged woman, I would suspect the only people who are big on this issue are right-to-lifers. Not exactly they type of crowd I want to support.

Ineffectual by design. (1)

darknb (1193867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128090)

Well this bound to fail no doubt, but I think the judge already know this? From the article:

"They (injunctions) depend really on people's willingness to follow the rules rather than any ability to force it on them," [intellectual property and media partner Keith Arrowsmith] told Reuters when asked about Twitter.

So really the judge is just asking Twitter and Facebook very nicely to not talk about it. Ineffectual by design.

Go ahead and post it here (1)

Cito (1725214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128096)

I'll be sure it's on twitter, blogs, facebook, etc It's one thing not to do something out of your own judgement but it's more fun when someone uppity thinks they can control others and force them to conform.

Re:Go ahead and post it here (2)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128196)

Yeah, let's mock those who have just lost a loved one, and expose them to threats of violence from those who think that withdrawing life support is immoral! That'll show 'em for wanting privacy in their time of suffering!

Want to join me at a WBC funeral protest afterwards? You know, just to show those uppity conformists who's boss.

[/sarcasm]

If you really think mocking the grieving for wanting privacy is "fun" then you're a fucking sociopath. Unfortunately, portions of society have decided that trolling is hip, and don't seem to understand that antisocial behavior in "cyberspace" has consequences. A full crackdown with serious fines and maybe even jailtime would do society a load of good. Free speech has never covered harassment. Performing the harassment online with thousands of your buddies doesn't change a thing. Even in cases where it is covered by the first amendment, hurting people just to prove you can makes you absolute filth.

Re:Go ahead and post it here (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128346)

If you really think mocking the grieving for wanting privacy is "fun" then you're a fucking sociopath. Unfortunately, portions of society have decided that trolling is hip, and don't seem to understand that antisocial behavior in "cyberspace" has consequences. A full crackdown with serious fines and maybe even jailtime would do society a load of good. Free speech has never covered harassment. Performing the harassment online with thousands of your buddies doesn't change a thing. Even in cases where it is covered by the first amendment, hurting people just to prove you can makes you absolute filth.

I completely agree. To gang up on some people and rape them (figuratively speaking), just because you happen to disagree on an issue that is not yours to decide for them in the first place, is about as despicable as it gets.

FSM! (1)

MrQuacker (1938262) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128108)

They must be trying to protect the identity of that lady at the Royal Wedding with the pastafarian hat.

Re:FSM! (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128254)

There were pastafarians at the wedding? This may make me care about the wedding after all! Do you have a link?

Re:FSM! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128476)

Looks like this is the picture http://www.venganza.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/noodlehat.jpg
Context : http://www.venganza.org/

Re:FSM! (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128516)

WTF is a pastafarian? Pasta glued to a hat? Never mind, I don't really want to know. But, what wedding?

Re:FSM! (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128870)

WTF is a pastafarian? Pasta glued to a hat?

Is this a troll, or genuine lack of knowledge?
FYI, a Pastafarian is a member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster [venganza.org] . Most of my family are Pastafarians when a religious affiliation is demanded. Otherwise they're either Brights [the-brights.net] or just plain atheists.

Re:FSM! (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#36129530)

Pastafarian is a worshipper of the false god FSM. We all know that the real god is Cthulhu

Someone needs a reality check (1)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128132)

Information can't be stopped. If it's out, it is useless try to stop to spread it legally. If you know censors or TPTB, then it's another talk.

Re:Someone needs a reality check (2)

DaveGod (703167) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128350)

It's only useless against those people who are both aware there is something to look for and interested enough to make at least some effort to find out.

It won't help against pro-lifers who are already actively seeking out and going around harassing people. Other laws exist for dealing with these people.

It will help against some of the more opportunist pro-lifers, not prone to go around harassing people unless it is brought to their attention that there is a potential victim living locally.

It will help against the British tabloid Circus, which involves them hyping up (non-)stories and continually repeating and (re)creating "news" until the story is the story. Lack of identity means much less fuel for the hyperbole.

It will help the mother go about her daily life in a relatively normal fashion, without every single person staring and making comments, because 99% of people have better things to do.

Regardless, this is really a non-story. Injunctions against stating names are quite widely supported in the UK, especially when it is Joe Public and even moreso when a moral dilemma rather than to save some embarrassment caused from repugnant behaviour. The related-ish hot issue in the UK is the super-injunctions, which go so far to ban reporting the existence of an injunction, when we generally consider celebs who markets him/herself as wholesome while having affairs as fair game.

Information like this shouldn't be banned... (1)

Tangential (266113) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128146)

Information like this shouldn't be banned...It isn't going to work.

A better approach would be to ignore or scorn those who would post such personal information about something that is purely a painful family issue.

Re:Information like this shouldn't be banned... (2)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128218)

Information like this shouldn't be banned...It isn't going to work. A better approach would be to ignore or scorn those who would post such personal information about something that is purely a painful family issue.

I don't think your definition of "work" and the judge's definition are the same. No one expects that this info won't be made public on the internet. By issuing a gag order, however, the judge provides legal leverage to prosecute or legally disadvantage dickheads who are harassing this family. What we have evidence you got your religious friends across the pond to post this info in defiance of UK law? Guess who's church is now classified as a criminal group collaborating with foreign religious extremists to undermine the lawful authority of the commonwealth?

Mind you, I don't particularly support the legal system to undermining the basic right of free expression, but at the same time if these people are claiming the legal protection of the law for themselves, they have to acknowledge that just because a law is not practically enforceable does not mean they won't be punished for breaking the law or encouraging those beyond its reach to do so. And in the end that may be enough to at least quash some of these religious nutjobs and keep them from harming innocent people in their attempt to force their own religious beliefs on others.

Re:Information like this shouldn't be banned... (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128300)

Information like this shouldn't be banned...It isn't going to work. A better approach would be to ignore or scorn those who would post such personal information about something that is purely a painful family issue.

I don't think your definition of "work" and the judge's definition are the same. No one expects that this info won't be made public on the internet. By issuing a gag order, however, the judge provides legal leverage to prosecute or legally disadvantage dickheads who are harassing this family. What we have evidence you got your religious friends across the pond to post this info in defiance of UK law? Guess who's church is now classified as a criminal group collaborating with foreign religious extremists to undermine the lawful authority of the commonwealth?

Exactly. You cannot prevent people from being intrusive wastes-of-space. That would require censorship and censorship is neither desirable, nor works anymore today. But you can make it possible to kick them painfully afterwards.

Re:Information like this shouldn't be banned... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128944)

>And in the end that may be enough to at least quash some of these religious nutjobs and keep them from harming innocent people in their attempt to force their own religious beliefs on others.

If Britain wants to worry about religious nutjobs, they can start with the Muslim extremists who have been immigrating in droves.

In before I get modded "Troll" by someone who has no substantial counter-argument.

Re:Information like this shouldn't be banned... (1)

burne (686114) | more than 3 years ago | (#36129204)

A better approach would be to ignore or scorn those who would post such personal information about something that is purely a painful family issue.

I'd guess you've never had to deal with the British press. I'd like to use the occasion to offer you earplugs, a ball-gag, a large amount of your favourite lube and copious amounts of a benzodiazepine-derivative. Might give you a fighting chance to survive the ordeal.

Oh dear, the legals just don't get it do they. (0)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128148)

Those bewigged fossils in the law courts really are living in a different age. Someone needs to give the poor things a crash course on what the internet is and how it works. I realise the sort of people who studied law are usually the sort who think using a pocket calculator is major techno kudos but it really is time they dragged themselves into the late 20th century, never mind the 21st.

Re:Oh dear, the legals just don't get it do they. (2)

Livius (318358) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128234)

Not everything is a matter of what is or isn't legally enforceable. The injunction makes a statement that disclosing the information is unfair to the people already victimized by the situation and just plain wrong.

That's the judge's opinion and not an absolute truth, but coming from a professional judge representing the community at large who has first-hand information on the subject matter, people are on notice that they're anti-social jerks if they defy the order without some kind of compelling reason. Note: making the point that the technology can't be stopped is not a compelling reason.

Re:Oh dear, the legals just don't get it do they. (0)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128260)

No, all this injunction does is make the law seem an ass. They might just as well do a Cnut and make a ruling that its illegal for the tide to come in. Creating a ruling that does nothing except make people point and laugh at the judge who made it brings the whole legal system into disrespect.

Re:Oh dear, the legals just don't get it do they. (4, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128314)

Entirely wrong. This also prevents newspapers and TV from reporting that this issue was on Farcebook or Twitter.
I also gives explicit moral support for the family affected that they are right in not wanting to have this dragged out in the open.
My guess is the judge in question knows exactly what he is doing and what effects it will have. I applaud his decision.

Re:Oh dear, the legals just don't get it do they. (3, Insightful)

belthize (990217) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128326)

Laws don't prevent anything, just because somebody wrote somewhere 'Thou shalt not kill' has no bearing on your ability to kill.

The use and appropriateness of injunctions doesn't change as a function of technology and the injunction will in fact have an effect; it will deter some people, the
fact that it won't deter 100% is immaterial. The real problem is the exposure created by the injunction. That exposure only exists because it was the first injunction (according the author) that explicitly referenced twitter. The 2nd, 3rd or 100th time there's an injunction explicitly referencing twitter nobody will talk about it and the injunction will have roughly the same effect as it would have 20, 40 or 80 years ago.

Re:Oh dear, the legals just don't get it do they. (1)

Livius (318358) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128398)

People are judged on their actions in a way that the tide is not.

Re:Oh dear, the legals just don't get it do they. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36129160)

Cnut did it to prove to his sychophantic flunkies that he was not all-powerful. Not that such a thing wouldn't be a good thing to prove to this judge.

Re:Oh dear, the legals just don't get it do they. (1)

grahammm (9083) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128722)

In practice, how is it going to work? If Joe Public knows or sees "X", unless the court publishes the very information which the injunction is trying to prevent being published, how is he to know that the particular fact "X" is the one covered by the injunction? Or does the injunction prevent any discussion or mention of any brain damaged people just in case the person is the one covered by the injunction?

Re:Oh dear, the legals just don't get it do they. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36129158)

>Note: making the point that the technology can't be stopped is not a compelling reason.

Note: arbitrarily saying something you disagree with "isn't a compelling reason" doesn't suddenly make it not a compelling reason.

HTH HAND

Re:Oh dear, the legals just don't get it do they. (1)

tchernobog (752560) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128334)

You are insulting the legal system in a full-fledged attempt to mockery, but I can't read any rationale among your words why you are doing that.

If you just criticize them, and don't explain why you are doing it (I'm sorry, it is not obvious to me), then you are trolling.

Your reply to Livius below doesn't help to make things clearer.

It'd be time for some people to learn how to argument their positions, instead to spit venom on anything moving nearby.

Re:Oh dear, the legals just don't get it do they. (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128712)

Since injunctions like this have existed for all of the past 15 years of popular Internet and have worked at minimising information spread in the UK without anyone being up in arms... I'd say the law is effective.

Sounds like you just have something against people "who studied law", though, which is a bizarre appeal to ignorance. Established law mostly adapted to the Internet quite well, as is the way with common law systems. It's new legislation lobbied for by special interests with a good knowledge of the Internet which has damaged things, from the pressure which produced the IWF all the way to the draconian DEA.

Taste and Classless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128182)

So, we have a highly personal life and death situation between a mother, her brain-damaged daughter, and the medical staff who are directly involved.

Short of any of those individuals posting something about this to twitter, how the fuck is this 1) anyone elses business, and 2) why is it being used as a free speech case against twitter, and the Internet*?

Are they really using the above medical scenario to try and pass precedent for a favorable outcome on a untouched technical meets speech legal arena? This smells of someone trying to get a 'trial case' through with a favorable ruling so that future cases can compound on it, stifling to a degree, free speech (yes, I know it's Englnd..). Tasteless and Classless indeed!

Re:Taste and Classless (1)

oldredlion (1663421) | more than 3 years ago | (#36129064)

"how the fuck is this 1) anyone else's business, and 2) why is it being used as a free speech case against twitter, and the Internet" 1) - No idea 2) - Because we don't know which side wants the injunction. For all we know, it could be the Medical staff who want this kept quiet and the mum who wants people to know.

Pulling the plug (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128250)

If there are a lot of people who have a problem with life support being pulled (hence the reason for the banning?), maybe they can help accrue the funds to help it continue. I'm sure it was very difficult for the family to consider. Or does the public just want to complain/see a hanging?

I've had to make this decision (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128270)

I've had to make a decision to remove extraordinary medical treatments from my father. It was not easy, but it was his wish. I discussed it with other members of the family. I only regret that his body lived for 3 more weeks before he died. I wish we could have ended his life quicker, pain free. He wasted away. I could be more humane towards a dying animal than towards my father. That's just sad.

I'd hope that my family would choose similarly if I ever need this decision made about me. I'd want them to have closure and move on as best they could. A quick death would be appreciated when the time came.

I'm certain the judge and the petitioners thought they were doing the best they could by asking to block this information publication. It shows little understanding of the web and internet.

I will not attempt to find out who this was. Sure, I'm curious, but my humanity tells me to leave these people alone.

Religious fanatics - screw you. This is real, not some imaginary friend you can "prey" to for wishes to come true.

A few weeks ago, my Aunt died and I expect my mother to pass away in the next year or so. She is ready and has made her wishes known to me and the other family members. I'm certain that a few will want to do everything they can to prolong her suffering. That is not her wish.

Have this discussion with your family. Having your wishes in writing helps, but they can overrule those at the time. Have the talk before it is too late. Don't leave them guessing. They will wonder for the rest of their lives and it can eat away at them if there's any doubt.

Since when... (1)

SailorSpork (1080153) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128280)

...were Twitter and Facebook "media?" The point of a gag order on a media agency is that you can tell a group of a few individuals who adhere to a common code of conduct not to do something. That just doesn't work when you tell a massive group of millions of people who don't read or know of the existence of certain gag orders not to do something.

Re:Since when... (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128372)

The people who don't know about the gag order won't be in a position to violate it by accident. Those who do know the name, are now banned from releasing it through any medium. They can't post it on Twitter and then come back and say "oh, well, the gag order only applied to newspapers!"

I don't understand (1)

BigBadBus (653823) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128284)

Since how can a British judge have jurisdiction over a US Company? Are the Twitter uses going to be polled on whether they are Brit or not, and if they, pre-emptively slap their wrists with a harsh cry of "Don't eye try it, matey!"

Re:I don't understand (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128378)

If they are now or in the future doing any business in the UK, then there is jurisdiction. As their websites can be accessed from the UK and there is advertising revenue generated from that, the issue is quite clear. Enforcement is a different issue, but this comes with personal liability (if I understand this right), so any company official traveling to the UK could face arrest and a sentence if they are in violation.

Re:I don't understand (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128428)

Congress has taken steps to prevent American courts from being used as enforcers of Britain's libel laws, because those laws are so outrageous and unfair and so often for the purposes of libel tourism. I think the day of Britain's laws in this regard are now numbered. No one actually believes a British judge can have a hope in hell of making Twitter do anything.

Re:I don't understand (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 3 years ago | (#36129402)

Britain's libel laws, because those laws are so outrageous and unfair

You think it's outrageous and unfair that the details of a family making a private decision in the best interests of a suffering patient under tragic circumstances should not be revealed on a widely-read public forum for the benefit of religious nutjobs who might express their disagreement through violence?

Free speech is not an absolute right anywhere that I know of, and this sort of case is one reason why. The fact that the Internet makes it more difficult to enforce this law does not make the ruling any less appropriate.

Actually, I think the reaction here on Slashdot is rather sad. It's like there's a knee-jerk "we deserve to know, you can't silence the Internet, free speech is more important" response whenever a story like this comes up. And it's like the people saying don't realise how wrong they are, on all three counts.

(After recent events, I find it staggering that anyone still believes the Internet in its current, unregulated form as a haven for breaking local laws using international proxies is going to survive. It's a big network, but you're still paying real companies with legally accountable executives for access to it, and the major infrastructure they depend on is still provided by other real companies with legally accountable executives. If you don't think that makes the common guy vulnerable to serious legal retribution if the Powers That Be decide they don't like something, I invite you to look up the draconian powers that can almost certainly be used against you today if you are even accused of copyright infringement by a major media player and you live in pretty much any first world country. I would also remind you that entire countries have been disconnected from the Internet accidentally, simply by severing the wrong cable, and other countries have had their entire communications networks suspended by abusive governments in recent months. And of course, there are the plans that are no doubt already well under way post-Wikileaks to ensure that anyone who makes a serious attempt to set up an alternative infrastructure that can circumvent such harsh future rules can be "dealt with" before they escape to a neutral country.)

Re:I don't understand (4, Interesting)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128682)

The British Judges issuing these "super-injuctions" have been out of control for some time.

Recently, they've begun issuing so called "hyper-injunctions [telegraph.co.uk] , where not only are you not allowed to reveal details of the matter, and not only are you forbidden from revealing that you are forbidden from reveal details of a matter, you are further forbidden from talking to any journalist or even your own MP about the matter or the fact that you are unable to reveal details of a matter.

When one of these injunctions was revealed by an MP speaking in parliament, the judges attempted to prevent newspapers from publishing the proceeding of parliament. (Like the spineless curs they are, the British press immediately capitulated). The matter caused quite a todo, but instead of reforming the system, the judges invented hyper-injunctions instead.

Basically, the British judges are out of control. And the judges are the problem here. No sensible judge concerned with the dignity of his office would issue such a ridiculous gag order for twitter users. It's barely one step above ordering people to stop gossiping in pubs. Ordering around citizens from other countries is hardly a major move by comparision.

It would be interesting to figure out why the judges are behaving like this, particularly in England, where judges are renowned for issuing decisive judgements and setting common law precedent. While I know little about it, I'm going to pre-emptively blame whatever pro-business, anti-justice legal philosophy that has been promoted over the last 30 years in law schools, until I see evidence to the contrary.

Super injunctions are no longer made (1)

Marcus Green (34723) | more than 3 years ago | (#36129128)

Super injunctions are no longer made in English courts and none have been made for over six months.

Re:I don't understand (1)

AxeTheMax (1163705) | more than 3 years ago | (#36129150)

Basically, the British judges are out of control. And the judges are the problem here. No sensible judge concerned with the dignity of his office would issue such a ridiculous gag order for twitter users.

It should be 'some British judges are out of control', and it is about more than the dignity of their office. To forbid someone from talking to their member of Parliament on any matter that concerns them is, to me anyway, interference with the functioning of Parliament. The proper action here would be for the House of Commons to impeach the judge responsible. Will they do so, given that MP's have slipped into a well established role as lobby fodder rather than the supreme authority in the land that they should be, is another matter.

Re:I don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36129274)

It's mostly one judge, with some slightly less insane stuff by another judge.
The rest is very junior judges being presented with a request for an injunction late at night, and playing it safe and letting the two parties fight it out in the morning.

The former is the downside of over-specialisation of judges - you get to a point where they is only one judge who gets cases of a particular sort, and for a long time, the law as written is merely a set of guidelines to the formation of the law as that one judge wants it to be.

The latter is the result of a complete lack of consequences for judicial incompetence. (As, to some extent, is the former.)

This one appears to fall into the category of the latter, perhaps without the 'late at night' part.

Re:I don't understand (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#36129482)

No sensible judge concerned with the dignity of his office would issue such a ridiculous gag order for twitter users. It's barely one step above ordering people to stop gossiping in pubs.

Don't be silly, that's what ASBOs are for. [the-joke-shop.com]
OK, that's a gag, but this is real. [mirror.co.uk]

counter productive (1)

theeddie55 (982783) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128382)

surely the only way to stop twitter users from posting the information is to tell every twitter user who they are gagged from posting about, otherwise someone could easily post it without knowing they are breaking the gagging order.

Sure, whatever, DMCA, bitch. (2, Insightful)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128402)

Seriously -- The safe harbor provisions of the DMCA provide Twitter, Facebook, Slashdot, and any other user generated content providers protection against their users' blatant disregard for retarded orders such as these.

Effectively, The Facebook or Twitter staff themselves can't release the info on their home pages / blogs / etc, but we, as users, can post whatever the hell we want (esp. in responce to a blog post by a Twitter or Facebook employee's saying that they have been gaged against releasing the information).

It's the 1st amendment because it's the most important one -- they can't inhibit the spread of information if it wants to be free; To do so is unconstitutional.

Re:Sure, whatever, DMCA, bitch. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128514)

The US Constitution doesn't mean anything in British courts, neither does DMCA.

Re:Sure, whatever, DMCA, bitch. (1)

SlithyMagister (822218) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128654)

It's the 1st amendment because it's the most important one -- they can't inhibit the spread of information if it wants to be free; To do so is unconstitutional.

Fortunately for the family in question, they live in the UK, not the US.
The "right" to say what one pleases unfettered by the responsibility to do no harm, is itself harmful

Re:Sure, whatever, DMCA, bitch. (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128850)

It's the 1st amendment because it's the most important one -- they can't inhibit the spread of information if it wants to be free;

It is not the first because it is the most important one, it is the first because it was the first, rofl. Perhaps you don't know what the word amendment actually means? The original bill of rights did not have that "addition".

angel'o'sphere

Re:Sure, whatever, DMCA, bitch. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36129870)

The 'original' bill of rights?

Sigh... All these ill informed Youropeens who think they know about the US because they watch our TV and movies and use our Internet.

No. The 'Bill of Rights [wikipedia.org] ' refers to the first ten amendments to the US constitution. The first, most important one, points out... Oh, hell, here it is, even Eurotrash should be able to make it through it:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Now toodle on back and start another few wars that make the US actions in Afghanistan and Pakistan look like less than a playground scuffle.

This superinjuction (1)

jonfr (888673) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128554)

This superinjunction is only vaild in UK. Everywhere else it does not have any legal meaning. So it can save too be ignored if you are not in the UK.

(Sorry for spelling errors. Firefox Spell check does not work on slashdot with the new comment boxes.)

Protection, not prevention (5, Insightful)

SlithyMagister (822218) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128562)

The point of the order is not to prevent people identifying the family. This is a mistake common to law-abiding people -- thinking that a law or a court order prevents a behaviour. Such a law/order can never do so, however, it gives the people harmed by a breach of the law/order a legal remedy. "a lock only stops an honest man", however if a dishonest one breaks that lock, the crime is more severe than had he merely walked in through an unlocked door. Without the order, bringing attention to this family is merely reprehensible socially inexcusable behaviour, now it is a crime, and the might of the law can be brought to bear on those who ignore the order.

Re:Protection, not prevention (2)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 3 years ago | (#36129206)

The point of the order is not to prevent people identifying the family. This is a mistake common to law-abiding people -- thinking that a law or a court order prevents a behaviour. Such a law/order can never do so, however, it gives the people harmed by a breach of the law/order a legal remedy

Judges usually lift gag orders when publication has made the order moot.
And really, who are you going to sue when a British injuction against an American company is violated by someone living in a third country?

Tempest in a teapot (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128614)

Corporate greed will decide this. It's not in Twitter's best interest to go through a lengthy court process nor does Twitter need the bad press. You betcha they'll start cracking down on those who violate injunctions. Don't like it? There are plenty of other places to bitch about it. Hell, go bitch about it on your own blog, which no one reads.

How many people RTFA??? (1)

cyberfin (1454265) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128672)

Seriously, it's not long, it'll only take a minute of your time.

As far as the article I would really like to read documents relative to the gag order and the source of the news; as mentioned in a few comments, is this gag imposed on twitter itself or users using twitter (the twitters legalese is specific on the subject and knowing UK judges anything is possible). Also, is the gag order specific to UK users or does this judge think we still live in colonial times (I repeat: anything is possible).

I could go on but as I was typing I stopped caring...

This is gonna be tough (1)

soulsteal (104635) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128758)

From what I can tell, most Twitter users are brain-damaged. The writing alone will identify them immediately!

"Gag Order" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128788)

In the American (English) language, there are terms that suddenly pop up out of nowhere after not having been used publically for decades or ever. Now everyone is gonna use "Gag order" like it's common daily parlance. Same with Recession, a nearly fabricated word that suddenly got thrown around everywhere like nothing.

Super-injunctions “your best publicity value (2)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128892)

Several tedious Z-list celebrities [newstechnica.com] have demanded Twitter user @injunctionsuper post details of their tawdry and squalid lives too.

[REDACTED] tweeted: "Rumur that I hv super-injunction preventing publication of 'intimate' photos of me n my bank account. NOT TRUE! Also, tits. FER FUXAKE PLS RT"

The revelation that decent British people can read things on Internet services that aren't even based in the UK has left celebrities and politicians shocked, shocked that people actually have ways of gaining information that aren't filtered through the hamstrung UK print press. "Clearly," said minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries Ed Vaizey, "we need to protect our valuable pop music and football industries with a Great Firewall of Britain without delay."

"In the modern world of the Internet, the secret or super-injunction may no longer be an effective tool in the administration of justice," said BBC legal correspondent Clive Coleman, in an attempt on the world record for fatuity.

"We tried to bugger the Internet last year," said Peter Mandelson, "but did you listen?"

A spokesman for Wikipedia suggested that journalists looking for space-filler stories just fuck off until August as usual.

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