Twitter furore could force change to privacy laws
The Government may be forced to change privacy laws to resolve the ongoing super-injunction stand-off between celebrities and social networks such as Twitter, according to Prime Minister David Cameron.
The legal system is currently grappling with how to police the gagging orders, which prevent news organisations from publishing the names or details of the injunctions, which are brought to prevent publication of private affairs.
Last week, a married footballer took legal action against Twitter and unnamed users for breaching a gagging order regarding an affair, and judges have been struggling to cope with how to handle the situation, given that Twitter is based in the US and many users are anonymous.
It’s not fair on the newspapers if all the social media can report this and the newspapers can’t, and so the law and the practice has got to catch up with how people consume media today
Speaking on ITV’s Daybreak, Cameron said the Government could amend rules in order to prevent judges from effectively developing a blueprint for social media on the hoof.
“There’s a difficulty here because the law is the law and the judges just interpret what the law is,” Cameron said, adding that there was a risk that recent rulings were “effectively writing a sort of new law”.
“So I think Government [has] got to take some time out, have a proper look at this, have a think about what we can do,” he added. “But I’m not sure there’s going to be a simple answer to it.”
According to Cameron, the current gagging orders were effectively leaving traditional media at a disadvantage because newspapers and websites risk prosecution if they publish what is common knowledge on Twitter.
“It’s not fair on the newspapers if all the social media can report this and the newspapers can’t, and so the law and the practice has got to catch up with how people consume media today,” he said.