The head of Twitter’s global public policy Colin Crowell yesterday told a Privacy and Injunctions Joint committee of Lords and members of Parliament that they will take into account requests for blocking messages that breach privacy laws, which will be likely to include super-injunctions.
“But the policy as we announced was when we received a request from an authorised entity we will deal with those. Our policy is, now that we have the ability to cater things to a particular jurisdiction, is to work through that on a case-by-case basis.” he said.
He added that Twitter has yet to be issued with a super-injunction from British courts.
“Our policy is, now that we have the ability to cater things to a particular jurisdiction, is to work through that on a case-by-case basis.”
The blocks will differ from country by country, so messages that are deemed illegal in the UK, for example the recent Ryan Giggs super-injunction scandal, will be viewable in other countries.
Government authorities in Thailand, a country that has strict policies about insults about the Thai king found online which have led to prison sentences for citizens, have already given their approval to the new Twitter censorship policies. They already employ experts to trawl the web searching for derogatory comments; a ban on tweets considered offensive is being welcomed.
Meanwhile, Chinese authorities have also applauded the move for censorship, as Twitter is currently blocked in China. State run newspaper Global Times printed that “It is impossible to have boundless freedom, even on the internet and even in countries that make freedom their main selling point.” according to The Independent.
Last Saturday’s (Jan 8) #twitterblackout started by web activists Anonymous ensured that consciously-minded tweeters gave the microblogging site a wide berth for the day in protest at their plans for government and corperate cooperation.
The definitive social networking website Mashable ran a story saying that the new censorship policy was actually a good thing, since previously baning tweets had affected users worldwide rather than in specific countries. Mashable’s Josh Catone said it was “actually a win for freedom of speech and a long-term benefit for anyone who fights for openness and democracy.”
However, in light of the recent revaltions in the House of Commons, this may not necessarily be the case for twitter users in the UK.