America baffled by soccer, social media and Big Brother

Turn on BBC News 24 today and the top story will be a review of Britain’s privacy laws and that superinjunction about the footballer. Twitter has got around the whole ordeal and the Lord Justice said the internet mocks the courts. What does America make of it all?

Aside from wrongly calling it “soccer”, Associated Press believes that Britain’s privacy rules are “under assault by rambunctious journalists, Twitter users and even sports fans”. AP rightly raises the question of practicality for superinjunctions when social media has an instant reach across the world and does not fall under the PCC’s regulation rules – yet. 

The word unsustainable has been bandied around, not least by the blue-tied David Cameron, Conservative Prime Minister. 

It then goes into the alleged details of the superinjunction, which means the Big Brother gossip column has officially infiltrated the news media overseas.

The New York Times is more worried about how Twitter will manage. “What began as seamy gossip about an affair between a famous British soccer [sic] player and a reality TV star has quickly become another test over how far the rights of privacy and free speech extend online,” it says. Its hacks underline the fact social media operates outside of countries themselves and the userbase spans continents where the laws differ.

Media law and free speech advocates agree that the superinjunction argument brings forth the importance of privacy online, according to the New York Times. An analyst says, speaking to the paper: “If you step back, that same sort of protection is really vital to have in place when you’re talking about the individuals involved in a revolution or a social movement like the Arab Spring.” 

The paper cites a line from a Twitter blog post in January which would give the same nod: “Our position on freedom of expression carries with it a mandate to protect our users’ right to speak freely.”

Bloomberg plays it straight, reporting that although Twitter is based in the United States, the mysteriously titled CTB is seeking legal action against it. Bloomberg mentions an athlete, not soccer.

Meanwhile, over the weekend, Scottish paper the Sunday Herald posted a front page picture of who Forbes calls “He-Who-Cannot-Be-Named”. Again, the theme is Mob Twitter taking small victories over The Man. 

Forbes’ Kashmir Hill asks: “Can the super injunction withstand this assault from social media and mainstream media alike?”

A journalist in the UK, accused of revealing the details over Twitter, faces prosecution according to the Press Gazette. He reportedly writes for a well known newspaper and appears on the BBC.

Sky News is reporting that Lib Dem MP John Hemming has named Ryan Giggs in the House of Commons “as footballer at centre of injunction”.