British footballer takes legal action for Twitter details

AFP, Saturday 21 May 2011

A British footballer is taking legal action to force Twitter to give the details of users who broke a gagging order granting him anonymity over an alleged affair, his lawyers said Friday.

The married player had earlier obtained an order from a judge banning publication of his identity over an alleged sexual relationship with a female contestant on the reality television show Big Brother.

"An application has been made to obtain limited information concerning the unlawful use of Twitter by a small number of individuals who may have breached a court order," his law firm, Schillings, said in a statement.

The player is not identified in the court documents.

A spokesman for US-based Twitter said: "We’re not able to comment."

Earlier this month a Twitter user published the names of several British celebrities who have allegedly obtained anonymised injunctions or so-called super-injunctions which prevent even the mention of the order itself.

A long-awaited judicial report on Friday said that the gagging orders should only be granted where strictly necessary and that media who may be silenced by such bans should also be informed beforehand.

But senior judge David Neuberger also urged lawmakers to think twice before using their right of unrestricted freedom of speech in parliament to undermine them.

On Thursday, a member of the House of Lords revealed that Fred Goodwin, the former boss of the bailed-out Royal Bank of Scotland, had won an injunction banning publication of details of an alleged affair with a colleague.

The High Court subsequently quashed the anonymity order that had been protecting him.

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