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UK (May 29) – South Tyneside Council is attempting to take Twitter to court in the US to try to find out the identity of someone who tweeted potentially libelous statements about local government officials.
Four councilors are claiming that they were libeled in a blog called Mr. Monkey. Twitter have refused to comment on the case so far, the move could prompt more humorless cretins to seek legal damages if they are targeted on the internet.
Independent councilor for South Shields is said to be the man behind The Monkey, so to speak. Ahmed Khan denies being the author of the unfounded allegations about the three council leaders but has blasted the move as, “Orwellian. It’s like something out of 1984.”
The aggrieved are Iain Malcolm (Labour), David Potts (Tory), Anne Walsh and Rick O’Farrel (Labour). They are all named on the papers delivered by the council’s lawyers to the Superior Court of California.
A spokesperson for the council had this to say; “The council has a duty of care to protect it’s employees and this blog contains damaging claims about council officers, legal action is being taken to identify those responsible.”
If the British public were forced to learn anything this week, whether they cared or not, it’s that the legal system has absolutely no jurisdiction in the world of the Internet, they certainly can’t force anyone to release private details.
What exactly Mr. Monkey had to say about these people is not clear. In an effort to find out, I did a quick search that threw up no interesting info, but for the sake of the integrity of the council in question, I hope that the allegations are nothing to do with wasting money, as is the case with all local councils… Because what could be more wasteful than paying for these part time citizens to get an all expenses trip paid to California, all to find out the name of some taxpaying citizen who thinks that the council aren’t doing a decent job. It’s paradoxical and utterly despicable. Taxpayers pay these people to do a job. If a tax payer doesn’t like the job that’s being done they should be allowed to moan about it in any forum without fear of interference by their government or the American legal system.
There is no difference between me moaning about something in a bar, and writing it on the internet, but there is an ongoing movement, by the rich, to squash freedom of speech and expression on the internet. We can call them what we like, and for the more popular tweeters, that message goes out to a lot of people.
You may disagree. Feel free to write on your blog, your twitter, facebook, tumblr, or just moan about it in a bar. Write it in big, massive writing “DEATH TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH!!” Without a hint of irony or intelligence, no doubt.
I hope none of the people I rip to pieces on twitter (h_hunter) or my tumblr (iamhenryhunter) ever see it, I cannot afford legal help, but I guess I could do with the publicity.
Henry Hunter – WorldNewsVine