26th May 2011
The Guardian has reported that Twitter will notify its users before handing any of their personal information to UK authorities which could seek to prosecute them over alleged breaches of a privacy injunction.
Twitter's general manager of European operations, Tony Wang, said: "Platforms should have responsibility not to defend the user, but to protect that user's right to defend him or herself."
Twitter became the centre of the storm over privacy injunctions when some of its users named a footballer in connection with an alleged affair with the former Big Brother contestant, Imogen Thomas. The footballer launched legal action to prevent himself being named.
The footballer's lawyer Schillings filed the legal action against Twitter and its users on Friday, after tens of thousands of internet users allegedly exposed details of his alleged extra-marital affair.
The court order – known as a Norwich Pharmacal order – could force Twitter to hand over the name, email address and IP address of the person behind the account.
The MP who named the footballer in the House of Commons this week, John Hemming, Liberal Democrat, was reported on the Financial Times website (paywall) as saying UK courts would have difficulty in prosecuting Twitter users who had broken the embargo.
"With about 75,000 people having named Ryan Giggs on Twitter it is impractical to imprison them all," he said.
To receive our free weekly email sign up here.