UK High Court Serves Injunction Via Twitter

    October 1, 2009

The UK High Court has found a new use for Twitter: serving legal injunctions.  It seems that an anonymous Twitter user was satirizing/impersonating another man, and the High Court decided that the easiest way to contact him (or her) was through the site.

Here’s the backstory: Donal Blaney runs a blog called Blaney’s Blarney.  He also owns a legal firm called Griffin Law.  However, Blaney does not run the Twitter account blaneysblarney, and he took legal action to stop whoever’s behind it.  Blaney was successful, which led to the injunction.

As for what exactly the court order entails, the BBC reports, "The order demands the anonymous Twitter user reveal their identity and stop posing as Donal Blaney . . ."

This is really rather interesting for two reasons, then.  First, although we’ve seen Facebook get drawn into legal battles before, Twitter is new to the arena.  Second, the case might have some effect on what would-be anonymous individuals can get away with online.

Of course, with respect to this specific situation, it remains to be seen if the Twitter-delivered injunction will have any effect.  It might fall victim to a "delete" command, or Twitter, which has rules against impersonating people, could suspend the blaneysblarney account before it’s even viewed.