Super-Injunction Dysfunction & Information Control Follies

by on June 1, 2011 · 5 comments

My latest Forbes column is entitled “With Freedom of Speech, The Technological Genie Is Out of the Bottle,” and it’s a look back at the amazing events that unfolded over the past week in the U.K. regarding privacy, free speech, and Twitter. I’m speaking, of course, about the “super-injunction” mess. I relate this episode to the ongoing research Jerry Brito and I are doing examining the increasing challenges of information control.

I begin by noting that:

When it comes to freedom of speech in the age of Twitter, for better or worse, the genie is out of the bottle. Controlling information flows on the Internet has always been challenging, but new communications technologies and media platforms make it increasingly difficult for governments to crack down on speech and data dissemination now that the masses are empowered. The most recent exhibit in the information control follies comes from the United Kingdom, where in the span of just one week the country’s enhanced libel law procedure was rendered a farce.

I go on to explain how Britain’s super-injunction regulatory regime unraveled so quickly and why it’s unlikely to be effectively enforceable in the future. Read the entire essay over at Forbes and then also check out Jerry’s Time TechLand editorial from last week, “Twitter’s Super-Duper U.K. Censorship Trouble.” I also just saw this piece by British defamation expect John Maher: “Law Playing Catch-up with New Media.” It’s worth a read.

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