back to article Super-injunctions 'unfair' cos of Twitter gossip, says Cameron

Current privacy laws, which gag newspaper editors from reporting stories that are widely in the public domain courtesy of online tools such as Twitter, were "unsustainable" and "unfair", the Prime Minister said this morning. David Cameron, speaking on ITV's Daybreak show, said that "like everyone else" he knew the identity of …


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  1. Richard 120


    Just read at -

    "Revealed: In a Mail on Sunday poll 80 out of 35 people asked at random could name the player"

    That's all the proof you need that 98% of statistics are made up on the spot and that the Mail on Sunday is rubbish.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Who wrote the law?

    "He reiterated concerns that that super-injunction judgments were, in effect, writing a new law without the Palace of Westminster first clearing such court rulings."

    Sorry, but parliament brought about the laws. It's their fault if it's not going according to plan. Write better laws. Judges can only follow the law, they can't make up new laws.

    1. Jonathan 10

      No strictly true...

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge


        The judges are having to fill in the gaps left by an all too hastily drafted law - how far should the courts go to protect an individual's *right* to privacy. That it is a right means that cases against it can go to the European court(s). Politicians are hiding behind the scorn being poured on the judges but it was there failure in the first place.

        We are going to have to learn to live the fact *everyone* has the right to a private life and adultery is a private matter. Other countries can manage it so it can't be that hard.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They didn't write this law they got it 2nd hand...

      It's the courts interpretation to the Human Rights Act, the law that guarantees those in the UK protection under the European convention on human rights.

      It was brought in by the last govenment and at least 50% of the current govenment were against it. Though mainly for things like giving people in prison the right to vote. I doubt many even realised teh priviacy implications at the time.

  3. Pete 2 Silver badge

    The simple answer

    > I'm sure there is going to be a simple answer," said the PM.

    Well, there are two simple answers. Either for the british public to stop buying papers that trade on salacious rubbish or for people to stop doing things they're ashamed of and wouldn't like to see published.

    Sadly I can't see either happening any time soon - so the least-worst alternative is to get it ALL out in the open, preferably in a medium that no-one can make money from. That would remove most of the incentive for digging up the dirt (which, let's face it is neither newsworthy, relevant nor particularly entertaining) in the first place.

  4. Michael Hawkes
    Big Brother

    It's not fair

    "It's not fair on the newspapers if all the social media can report this and the newspapers can't. So the law and the practice has got to catch up with how people consume media today," Cameron said.

    It seems as if he's implying stricter control of social media, without actually saying it. If the PCC gets renamed the Ministry of Truth, then we'll know the Memory Hole is on the way.

  5. Owen Carter

    News Corpse?

    "It's not fair on the newspapers if all the social media can report this and the newspapers can't."

    Do you think he had a tear in his eye for his sugar daddy (referred to only by the initials 'RM') as he said that...

  6. Wize

    Since the injunction doesn't cover Scotland

    Would I be allowed to say his name?

    1. Colin Miller

      Avoid England and Wales

      IANAL, but as long as you don''t say it in England or Wales, or on a web site hosted in those countries, or from a computer located in those countries, then you should be fine.

  7. Colin Miller

    Summary of video

    For those of us who can't watch video at work, Auntie has a summary here

  8. Naughtyhorse


    I thought that was the motorcycle proficiency test.

    If only i knew _something_ about footbalists - or even cared.

    So Mr cameron, Not everyone knows who he is. You could priont his full name, DoB, playstation network login credentials and inside leg measurement and I would still neither know nor care who he was.

    Imogen Thomas???

    isnt she Mr & Mrs Thomases little girl?

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  9. Steve Murphy

    Cameron's priorities

    So, Cameron knows a bit of celebrity tittle tattle but when asked about Ken Clarke's rape comments he replied that did not hear the show. Nice to see his priorities

    1. Jonathan 10

      Not quite,,,,

      When he replied he didn't know about Ken Clarke, he probably was bending the truth. It was a way of dodging the question because his PR team hadn't thought of way of shutting it down before he went to PMQs. He can't pass a judgement if he isn't aware and be then scrutinized and ridiculed by the House - it was tactical.

      I'm not saying its a good thing, just the motivations behind it.

      This super injunctions thing is different, he wants to be seen to being supportive of the traditional media and dealing with things that society currently deems relevent a.k.a public opinion. Remembering of course that public opinion is held in trust by our heroic 'Guardians'. I.e. the media he is wants to be supporting :o).

      Has nothing to do with footballers or their (mis-)deeds.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Cameron's priorities

      He's in good company. Almost none of the Clarke commentary in the last few days shows any evidence of "hearing the show". Within an hour or two of the broadcast, the BBC website had a transcript of the relevant section, showing clearly that KC had offered "15yo girl and 17yo boy enjoying fully consensual sex" as an example of rape that is less serious than a knife-wielding nutter terrorising the streets at night, but I haven't seen a single article (in print or on the web) that mentions this.

      1. markfiend

        Ken Clarke fails law...

        IANAL but in my understanding "15yo girl and 17yo boy enjoying fully consensual sex" would not be rape at all.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re; Ken Clarke fails law...

          IANAL, I just worked for one for 6 years. My understanding is that it is counted as rape at current, as the law doesn't allow anybody under the age of 16 to consent. (ie; even if she did consent, then according to the law she couldn't have done and it's counted as a rape should someone report it)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          You can't consent if you are under age....

          I suspect as Ken a QC and has worked on rape cases he probaly knows the law. I believe the example was if a 15 year old girl has sex with her 18 year old boyfriend, he can be prosecuted for rape, as even though she was willing, she was not of an age to be able to legally concent.

          The whole thing was about the interviewer asserting that with a 50% instead of 30% sentence discount, plus time off for good behaviour all rapeists would be out in 18 months. Ken's assertion was that that wasn't true as serious cases of rape got a lot more that the statutory minimum sentence of 5 years.

  10. Admiral Grace Hopper

    "I will be sitting down with [Justice Secretary] Ken Clarke to get the balance right,"

    Excellent. I look forward to learning the defintiion of "proper" privacy and "Serious" breaches of privacy legislation.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    The whole cocept of a super-injunction

    Is antithetical to a free democratic society. All it does is stifle free speech about the wealthy and powerful.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The whole cocept of a super-injunction

      >All it does is stifle free speech about the wealthy and powerful.

      Can you, or anybody, back that up with the actual cost of obtaining an injunction.

      I doubt if the cost is prohibitive to anybody who would wish to prevent idle gossip about their personal life being sensationalised to brighten up the life of complete strangers. Judges have to apply the letter of the law, you go to one, state your case, get your injunction. Having a huge stash in you bank account will not sway them one way or another.

      PS. You can add me to the list of don't know, don't care wrt identity of whoever/whatever

      1. Anonymous Coward


        I seem to remember a BBC report (around the time Andrew Marr came clean) that indicated the cost was in the region of £10,000, so it's hardly small change and accessible to everyone.

        For many years now the reporting by the media has highlighted that the privacy and freedom laws are not in line and that both need severe review. There is a much greater need for privacy for everyone for items that "might interest the public" balancing against items that are "in the public interest".

        Can anyone actually argue that CBT's personal life is "in the public interest" - it's not as if he stands up in church every week preaching fidelity. What happens between him, his wife and anyone else is private, and therefore very much falls into the "interested public" category, not "public interest"

        (Sarah Bee, feel free to remove the last paragraph if necessary)

        1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: Cost

          I can't remove paragraphs. We don't edit comments.

      2. Owen Carter

        Yes; I can

        >>All it does is stifle free speech about the wealthy and powerful.

        >Can you, or anybody, back that up with the actual cost of obtaining an injunction.

        You mean like the way I.Thomas has had her name plastered all over this because she could not afford an Injunction; while her wealthy (very heavily sponsored as a true 'family guy role model for you kids') lover has not.

        Or the guy who wants to tell people why they got sick on cruise-ships but has been gagged by courts after the companies he went against threw money at lawyers instead of product testing and victim compensation.

        That kind of Example maybe?

        In practice you need a very expensive lawyer+legal team in order to obtain an enforce a injunction which is contentious. Occasionally the family courts add their weight to this and the poor get protection; but that is not representative of the sort of situation under debate here.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Yes: I can

          Let me clarify. I'm referring to court costs. I would suspect that a large part of the mentioned 10,000 was lawyer costs and a certain amount of exaggeration, get a cheaper lawyer and don't plead the victim.

          Someone saying they can't afford it is not proof that they are expensive nor are figures stating up to, anything can be up to either quote a real base figure or shut up.

      3. Michael 47

        letters, digits etc

        True, but the issue is if it is contested. You can't just ask a judge for a super-injuction, as I understand it a super injuction is taken out against someone in particular (for example the sun). As for the price, according to the channel 4 website (

        "The cost of super injunctions (£20,000-£50,000 if bitterly contested) may put them beyond the reach of most, but the media seems only interested in the rich and beautiful anyway."

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: letters, digits etc

          As I understand it a super-injunction doesn't exist, it's an injunction that the media wish to hype for their own benefit.

          The additional cost of defending an injunction is again down to the cost of your legal team and that of the contesters if you lose. This goes both ways, didn't Ian Hislop not contest the injunction against Marr because it would bo too expensive for him.

          1. stuff and nonesense

            They do exist

            An injunction stops the press from publishing a story, however, that story could be raised in Parliament (under parliamentary privilige). People involved could approach an MP to make this happen.

            A super injunction prevents communication of the story (within the law). The parties involved, say Imogen Thomas, would not be allowed to talk to her MP and have the matter raised in parliament under parliamentary privilige.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: They do exist

              And I suppose "serial killer" is an offence. An injunction is taken out and what that injunction covers can vary. There is no such thing as a super injunction nor hyper injunction. A serial killer would be charged with murder, someone who breaks a so called super injunction would be charged with breaking an injunction. The superfluous adjectives are mere garnish tagged on by the media to make a story sound more salacious and so they can bleat about how unfair it is that they can't pry into so and so's private life.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    The solution

    to all these super injunctions is simple.

    Keep your dick in you pants.

    1. Chris Harrison

      An easier way

      is to remain poor and a nobody.

    2. TelePom

      re: The Solution

      Adultery isn't against the law.

  13. Dave Murray Silver badge

    "like everyone else"

    Actually everyone else doesn't know this overpaid ball kicking lout's name. I have no idea who he is and his initials mean nothing to me. Mind you even if you told me his name I probably wouldn't know who he is nor would I care.

    That said, I fail to see why we are not allowed to publish his name. If he didn't want his name in the papers he shouldn't have become a footballer and if he didn't want people to know who he's shagging he shouldn't have had an affair. Try keeping it in your pants next time.

  14. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      Anyone else think this is all a bit Harry Potter?

      HE THAT SHALL NOT BE NAMED... shagged a girl. (Voldemort felt horny.)

      Still rumour has it that you may or may not find out the identity of someone who may or may not have committed this offence by doing a google search for "super injunction footballer" and observing the names that may or may not appear.

      Anonymous because I am protected by a super injunction and also cannot be named.

      Bottom line we need freedom of speech in the UK

      1. Piezor

        @AC: not to nit pick....

        ...but reporting the existence of the superinjunction you are protected by finds you in violation of the superinjunction that protects you.

        This is what I find confusing about this whole thing. As I understand it a superinjunction prevents the media reporting the story or the existence of the injunction which surely finds just about every news outlet in violation of the injunction since they are now reporting that a footballer has taken a super injunction out against Imogen Thomas? Or is my understanding of a superinjunction wrong?

        It's all a bit silly if you ask me.

    2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  15. NoneSuch Silver badge

    The shape of things to come...

    When the Twitterati are used by valid press as a "source" be afraid. Be very afraid...

  16. Colin Millar
    Big Brother

    Strange way to use public interest

    I would have thought that the courts are using it the wrong way round. Usually you use a public interest test to see if you should stray from the normal course of action.

    So I am assuming that the judges are saying that our current laws establish a norm which is to suppress information.

    Looks like judges and politicians using freedom of expression in a game of handbags at twenty paces.

  17. Just Thinking

    Love it

    In several of these cases of these cases, the woman has been named but the guy has paid to keep his name out of the press. Tells you everything you need to know, really.

  18. James 100

    What matters

    I too couldn't care less about some 'sportsman' having an affair - but when he tries to bar us from discussing it, it becomes very important to me. As I recall, the European Convention on Human Rights says the right to freedom of expression may be infringed only in the interests of *national security* - which, IMO, is pretty much the right test to use. Perhaps lower that bar slightly to allow withholding witness identities - only during a trial, generally - but never, ever permit the existence of the injunction itself to be concealed.

    "So, you want the media gagged from discussing your affair? How would this damage national security?"

    "Uhh ... it wouldn't"

    "Injunction denied, pay their lawyers' bills as well as your own on your way out."

  19. Purlieu

    Todays' one

    "the arguments put by the footballer's legal team that it would have a devastating effect on his marriage, his wife, and particularly their children."

    No mate, sticking your dick into some bird had that effect you dimwit.

    1. Lamont Cranston

      I'm sure his children will be so proud

      when they find out what's been going on (if they haven't already).

      What a sorry affair.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    how can you know....

    if these super injunctions are so powerful even the fact they exist is not allowed to be known how can you flaunt the gagging order you cant be told about? is it not possible that you know the contents but if you are not allowed to find out that a super injunction exists then surly you have done due diligence and can publish your knowledge?

    perhaps that twitter user should get a super injunction against twitter to stop them revealing their details and have the fact the posted that text string eradicated from peoples memory...., as its just as bad for them as the other celebs having their dirty laundry aired?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Streisand effect

    Generally, trying to keep something secret on the net has an adverse effect.

    I had never heard of the footballer before, but now I know from Wikipedia who it is.

    Gone are the days where this could have worked.

    Good for Cameron!

    Signed: Anonymous Coward.

  22. ScottAS2
    Thumb Up

    Wouldn't happen in an independent Scotland...

    Kudos to the Sunday Herald for being the first of the Scottish press to grow a pair and publish. If "CTB" (and all the rest) want to gag the press in Scotland, they should apply for an interdict (super or otherwise) here instead of behaving as if Scots law was subordinate to the law in England and Wales. The press should be ashamed of themselves for allowing them to do it.

  23. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What a dick.

    "but I'm sure there is going to be a simple answer"

    Hands up if you voted for this moron. Ok, thanks, if you could just line up against that convenient wall...

    And what's with the yoof speak? The man seems to avoid sentences of more than 5 words and words of more than 2 syllables.

  25. Mark 62

    Live by the sword, die by the sword.

    I would say just remove all instances of reporting on this person. They score a goal, don't report who did it. Don't even report the scoring of the goal. The team wins 2-1 after the only reported score being by the other team. They won't be listed on the team roster published in the paper. No mention in the stats. If they are traded they will always be "a player to be named later"

  26. Joe Montana


    The whole idea of these super injunctions is ridiculous and unfair...

    Domestic media cannot report it, but we live in an interconnected world where we can simply get the information from foreign sources.

    Similarly, having a system whereby rich people can gag the press while the average joe finds themselves all over the papers is utterly unfair. If you have chosen a career path which makes you famous, then you have effectively given up your right to privacy. If you don't like being in the media, then you should have taken a different career path.

    Ofcourse, it seems most of these celebrities are not very bright and are completely unaware of the Streisand effect... Very few people would have cared if the press had printed the stories in the first place, and people would have forgotten all about it in a few days.

    Now there are far more people talking about it than there ever would have been otherwise.

  27. strum


    There are few sights more dispiriting than the cream of British journalism in high dudgeon about their right to gossip.

    1. Chris Miller

      The cream?

      Is that because they're rich and thick?

  28. S Watts
    Big Brother

    BBC: MP names injunction footballer in Parliament


    So can we say the name now?...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Earl of Post


      If he does, can we?

      Guess we can.

      Good for him!

      Signed: AC

  29. Colin Miller

    parliamentary privilege

    An MP has allegedly named the footballer who was allegedly playing away from home.


  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I can only assume that the strip used to black out the eyes of CTB in the published photo is smaller than the average for an adult caucasian male.

  31. bertino
    Thumb Down

    The thing is, many footballers

    Use Image Rights as a way to avoid paying tax. Therefore it is in the public interest. How they manage to get away with this is for another day.

  32. Richard Porter

    How am I meant to know

    that I can't mention someone's name if I can't even be told that there's an injunction in force that bans it.

  33. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    AFAIK It's virtually impossible *not* to get a super injunction if you put in for it.

    The Plaintiff (whose asking for one):Anonymous.

    That's right even the *judge* does not know whose asking for it.

    The people against who the injunction is being requested: Anyone.

    As the Palintiff might not be *sure* who has the damaging information that's going to be revealed how can they approach anyone who *might* have it?

    And of course who might *contradict* the Plaintiff's description.

    Anonymous plaintiffs, no one to contradict their (expensive) QC's claims (I'd call them an "argument" but who would provide it).

    BTW current privacy laws do *not* gag UK newspapers from reporting such matters.

    UK judges *interpretation* of them do.

    But with so *much* anonymity how could they *not* issue them?

    How could you *not* get an injunction throwing in *claims* (no one to deny them remember) of blackmail, child safety, financial ruin etc.

    Consider the case of the noted romantic authoress who seeks an SI to stop "untrue" claims about her "alleged" lurid personal life involving drink, drugs and promiscuity affecting her children, some of whom have special needs.

    That's right. Katie Price seeks an SI to stop media suggesting she' s a bit of a s**g and *gets* it.

  34. JaitcH

    "Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt declared Twitter had made the law "an ass" "

    Wrong! The politicians were the asses who drafted and passed this legislation, Twitter had nothing to do with it other than asserting it's U.S. Constitutions 1st Amendment rights.

    Mind you the two stuffed dummies, Neuberger and Judge, didn't help themselves much when they opined about technology on the weekend. They are simply out of touch, not too good if they are deciding the merits of your case.

    If married footballers, broadcasters or others want to bed women other than their wives they should understand the risks, including large alimony payments, before they do so. Using injunctions tto stop the publishing of fact is not justice.

    Fred the Bankers, aka Fred the Shred aka Fred to Adulterer, injunction was a mockery of the courts - but they fell for it hook, line and sinker.

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