Wednesday 11 May 2011

Indy on super-injunctions: 'Privacy law and regulation of social media could be coming'

Ministers are to hold emergency talks over super-injunction that could pave the way to a privacy law and an attempt to regulate social networking sites, the Independent claims today.

It says: "As the names of public figures alleged to have taken out ultra-restrictive gagging orders continued to circulate freely on Twitter – and newspapers from Spain to Peru repeated their identities – Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the proliferation of information on the web had made a 'mockery' of current privacy rules.

"Mr Hunt raised for the first time the possibility of a new watchdog to ensure that social media such as Twitter and Facebook were subject to controls similar to those faced by the press and broadcasters, saying there may be a case for converging the regulation of traditional and new media."

The Independent adds: "The Culture Secretary revealed that the proliferation of super-injunctions – thought to number more than 30 orders barring the publication of details of the private lives of the rich and famous – has been raised at Cabinet and that he is to meet Kenneth Clarke, the Justice Secretary, to seek a solution to the 'crazy' situation.

"In a signal that the Government could consider fresh legislation, he repeated David Cameron's insistence that Parliament, rather than judges, should be responsible for ruling on the balance between privacy and freedom of expression.

"Mr Hunt said: 'We are in this crazy situation where information is available freely online which you aren't able to print in newspapers. We are in a situation where technology, and Twitter in particular, is making a mockery of the privacy laws we have and we do need to think about the regulatory environment we have. In the end, I do strongly believe it should be
Parliament, not judges, that decides where we draw the line on our privacy law'."

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