Super-injunctions are causing a media controversy this side of the pond.
With courts handing out gagging orders, preventing people from saying something but also preventing the injunction from even being mentioned, many are questioning how free the press is, or whether the days of freedom of speech and expression is all but over.
Yet over the weekend, users of Twitter took to the site to, granted without foundation, 'unmask' the identities of those with super-injunctions in a bid to circumvent the press and speech suppression laws.
Campaigner Jemima Khan, known for her work during the Wikileaks affair, recently denied getting a super-injunction -- thus proving that she could not have done, otherwise would have been in breach of it -- after claims emerged that she was having an affair with Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson.
A super-injunction handed down by a court however, prevents someone -- often the press -- from doing something and saying something, and are not allowed to even say that an injunction is preventing them from saying something. They are, however, allowed to discuss this with their member of parliament who can speak about it in the House through the legal indemnification of parliamentary privilege. This is how many of the super-injunctions have been circumented.
But because the courts and the government are two separate entities, increasing pressure is mounting on politicians to prevent an infringement to freedom of expression, speech and press. In the UK, there are privacy laws to prevent harmful disclosure of information, but also contradictory laws to allow the freedom of speech.
But when something hits Twitter which is controversial or not meant to be said, one tweet can in effect cause a downfall of a person, a company or even a law -- hitting the retweet button can cause a chain reaction spreading like wildfires, unable to be stopped.
Lord Falconer, former justice secretary, said that tweets make it "very difficult" to ensure that injunctions are adhered to. As super-injunctions are not allowed to be spoken of, it is not clear how one is supposed to know whether something falls under one, leading to further confusion.
The Catch 22 situation is where, as Torin Douglas with the BBC describes, is that media outlets often need to be told something so they do not unwittingly publish it. This cannot happen with Twitter, however, as the site does not control members tweets and only removes tweets which are criminally unlawful.
Twitter users who do break injunctions, however, could face a contempt of court charge, if they are identified. But the efforts and lengths the courts will go to are often only spurred on by public interest -- and often in the case of super-injunctions, the focus is on the content rather than justice seen to the original tweeter -- or if
But 'leaky' society, ominous as it sounds, has prevailed in light of the recent Wikileaks diplomatic cables and Guantanamo files were released, starting a similar movement with OpenLeaks and UniLeaks, a site dedicated to blowing the whistle on higher education institutions and practices.
Super-injunctions may not be safe for now. Where there is a will, there is a way, and often that way is through social media and blowing the whistle. Perhaps society has more morals than we first thought.