Censoring Tweets Effects More Than Just Oppressive RegimesBy: Shawn Hess - January 30, 2012
UK law states that any high profile figure that is involved in a case can be blocked from mention in the media, legally. This law also includes Twitter and UK representatives say they are using the new privacy feature to help uphold privacy injunctions ordered by their courts.
In the past celebreties and well known political figured could petition the court for an injunction to uphold their privacy which barred the media from specifically mentioning their name in connection with a case.
Vanessa Perroncel, a women who was accused of having an affair with a prominent political figure, said“I think it’s getting out of hand, obviously it’s a very expensive thing to do. [Injunctions are] only there for the rich, really. I guess they can have this luxury.”
So the privacy feature at Twitter would be utilized in cases of an injunction of this type by the UK court system. Twitter’s head of global public policy, Colin Crowell confirmed that the technology is designed for just this type of scenario.
Crowell elaborated on the policy regarding the UK:
”Our policy is, now that we have the ability to cater things to a particular jurisdiction, is to work through that on a case-by-case basis.”
If you are outside the UK, you will still see the tweets. Crowell explains further:
“We will seek to notify the user promply that some authorised entity has requested that the tweet be witheld. We will also be transparent to other users in that jurisdiction, we won’t simply surreptitiously delete it.”
While it may only be the wealthy who can afford such injunctions, the new Twitter privacy feature is making it easier for the government to censor certain news.