The law may be slow because it is deliberate: but it gets there. Twitter may have seemed to be a bastion of private speech but a court order to Twitter from a California Court prompted by a UK case shows that it is not.
A UK local council made Twitter reveal the details of a “Mr Monkey” and others who had been testing its patience with Tweets and, previously, blogs. They accused
councillors of wrongdoing.
UK discovers indentity of Twitter users
The significance of this case is that UK subjects aggrieved by Tweets made a successful injunction to deliver the identities of UK Twitter users in a US court. You may think this is an invasion of privacy. I think you and I should be confident enough to stand up for what you and I say.
Until this case many had said because Twitter is based in the USA the identity of Tweeters could not be revealed. Not so, it now seems.
The law may be slow but if you have the energy and the money to use it then it can be effective.
Another case reveals that Twitter will not remain an open platform for any comment beyond the law. A UK judge got Sir Alan Sugar to delete a Tweet which, the judge said,
could prejudice the decisions of a UK jury.
Libertarians always hope that new technologies will be outside the restrictions of local laws they do not like. Laws such as copyright, libel, and privacy.
But this case shows that, however slowly, the law does catch up. The law is fragmented nationally, slow to operate because of case loads, and dependent on the ideas which have gone before. But it does seem to be robust despite how fast technology changes.
This is not by far the end of the constant battle between law and technology. Technology will move on and challenge the law to understand it.
But the law is dogged and will always be in persuit.