Super-injunction farce could raise questions for networkers

Opinion

Super-injunction farce could raise questions for networkers

The sheer farce surrounding the breaching of so-called super-injunctions on Twitter has reached new heights in the past week.

Yesterday, Lib Dem MP John Hemming took the step of naming Ryan Giggs as the footballer behind one of the super-injunctions, and the levels of madness quickly reached fever pitch as the media leaped into the loophole that he opened.

Network Noise has talked before about attempts by various entities to control and censor the Internet, and each time we have drawn the same conclusion; it simply never works.

In fact, any attempt to do so inevitably seems to backfire with spectacular consequences.

This is known, tongue-in-cheek, as the Streisand Effect, after an incident some years ago when the singer attempted to block publication of photos of her California home online.

And it is proof positive of the increasingly autonomous power that the network holds in modern society. When you stop to think about it this is really rather scary.

Much of the current fuss has centred on an anonymous Twitter user who initially breached the injunction, and hundreds of thousands of others who gleefully joined in.

Clearly it is impractical to send everybody up before the beak for this, but the fact that lawyers attempted to bring Twitter to account through the courts raises questions over responsibility.

A case could easily be made against the likes of Twitter, but what about the ISPs and network providers that supplied the technical means for the breach?

The Digital Economy Act is already seeking to drag ISPs kicking and screaming into the fight to control illegal downloading.

Is it so far-fetched to imagine a case being made for our corner of the industry to shoulder some of the blame in this sort of situation?

I for one hope not.

This was first published in May 2011

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