UK's High Court orders writ to be served via Twitter

Thu Oct 1, 2009 5:32pm EDT
 
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By Matthew Jones

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Britain's High Court ordered its first injunction via Twitter on Thursday, saying the social website and micro-blogging service was the best way to reach an anonymous Tweeter who had been impersonating someone.

Solicitors Griffin Law sought the injunction against the micro-blog page www.twitter.com/blaneysblarney arguing it was impersonating right-wing blogger Donal Blaney, the owner of Griffin Law.

The legal first could have widespread implications for the blogosphere.

"I think this is a landmark decision to issue a writ via Twitter," said Dr Konstantinos Komaitis of Strathclyde University's law faculty. "You are creating a precedent that people will be able to refer to. It only takes one litigant to open the path for others to follow," Komaitis, a lecturer in IT and Telecommunications told Reuters.

"The law tends to be quite cumbersome and slow, so to have a court deliberate on something like Twitter -- so hot, so relevant -- it shows quite impressive engagement.

Andre Walker at Griffin Law said the anonymous Tweeter targeted by the writ will get a message from the High Court the next time they open their online account.

"Whoever they are, they will be told to stop posting, to remove previous posts and to identify themselves to the High Court via a web link form," he said.

Matthew Richardson, the barrister who won the injunction, said the ruling was a huge step forward in preventing anonymous abuse of the Internet.   Continued...

 
<p>A general view shows Court Three in the United Kingdom's new Supreme Court building during a press tour in Westminster, central London September 14, 2009. REUTERS/Andrew Winning</p>