The papers today are filled with comment on the implications of the Twittersphere’s response to UK superinjunctions. There’s a lot of comment on how the originator of THAT Twitter account, and others, can expect to be identified and have legal action taken against them. One omnipresent media lawyer is quoted in The Independent, and probably elsewhere, as saying; “the emails being used to upload this information are be traced, I imagine, as we speak”. What? What emails exactly? It seems remarkable that quite a few people prepared to comment have yet to grasp how Twitter works. An internet cafe paid in cash, a new Twitter account and a hashtagged post – it’s wholly anonymous if that’s how folk choose to use it.
Social media has far wider implications than simply super-injunctions for how previously guarded information flows around the world. I attended a dinner last night where a former Cybersecurity minister told me that if people broke the secrecy laws then they had to be pursued. Well, I wouldn’t argue with the notion that there is information in the public and private sector which deserves to be allowed to be kept secret. But we are where we are now and the simple fact is that if information moves beyond a tiny group of identifiable people and onto the internet, there’s nothing governments, or anyone else, can do to keep it private. That’s just the way it is. Organisations, and individuals, need to find new ways of holding on to information they want to keep secret. But it’s now going to be much, much harder than ever before. Governments and courts are largely powerless. Human behaviour, moderated or not by themselves, is pretty much everything.