All a twitter over #superinjunction tweets. Advice to celebs “STFU”

May 21, 2011

So, the gloss is wearing off social media; the excitement is waning and the holy-roller experts are starting to sound like hollowed-out snakeoil sellers after a beating in the Dry Gulch town square.

We have been taken for a ride once too often. The world of celebrity tweets as a viral marketing tool may (hopefully) be over now that the super injunction scandal is hitting harder at so many British Nobs and Toffs.

But this stupid, Luddite old judge in the UK has got his judicial robes in a twist over the very obvious techno-legal time gap that has the Twitterverse all a-gush over trying to guess who’s got a super injunction in place preventing publication of details about their personal lives.

Attempts to identify a famous footballer hiding behind a privacy injunction have spiralled into an online battle over freedom of speech, as internet users responded to high court action by repeatedly naming him on Twitter.

The high court granted a search order against the US-based microblogging site on Friday as the lord chief justice, Lord Judge, warned that “modern technology was totally out of control” and called for those who “peddle lies” on the internet to be fined. (Guardian.co.uk)

It highlights once again the ever-widening void between rich and poor that super injunctions (whose very presence was itself suppressed until a few weeks ago) are available to those who can pay a high-priced whore-of-QC to front the Lords of the Court behind closed doors and tightly-drawn velvet curtains and get unsavoury details and incidents suppressed.

BTW: the footballer is apparently Manchester United’s Ryan Giggs, but that’s just a rumour I picked up on Twitter. I’m willing to repeat it because I don’t really care. I think Ryan Giggs is a great player, but the whole idea of banning coverage in the media via an all-inclusive and secret gagging order is disgusting. On balance, naming the celebrities and public figures caught up in this is the least of sins.

Giggs apparently spent 50,000 pounds on the injunction reportedly to keep his name out of a sex scandal involving a woman called Imogen Thomas who seems to be famous for taking her clothes off in lad mags like Zoo and Loaded.

Ms Thomas working hard for the money

Giggs probably didn’t want his family to know about his affair with her.

Now Giggs has outed himself by suing Twitter, Ms Thomas and several Twitter users who named him in tweets. According to the Guardian, it is possible a tabloid news organisation first leaked his link with Thomas and the superinjunctions.

A PREMIERSHIP footballer is suing Twitter and several of its users after information that was supposed to be covered by a super-injunction was published on the micro-blogging site. (The Scotsman)

Giggs was named by Spanish media ahead of the Man U v Barca UEFA Champions’ League final next weekend. Perhaps a little pride and niggle in that?

All I can say to that is “Idiot”. Did Giggs really think that suing Twitter was going to shut this matter down.

It seems that Ms Thomas was a former Big Brother contestant and she is upset that Giggs was able to keep his name out of the papers while she is the centre of allegations she tried to blackmail the Premier League player.

‘Yet again my name and my reputation are being trashed while the man I had a relationship with is able to hide.

‘What’s more, I can’t even defend myself because I have been gagged. Where’s the fairness in that? What about my reputation?

‘If this is the way privacy injunctions are supposed to work then there’s something seriously wrong with the law.’ (Daily Mail)

But, wait it gets worse. Now grubby politicians are getting into the act of breaking suppression orders and super injunctions. A Liberal Democrat in the UK has used parliamentary privilege to attack a merchant bwanker for an alleged sexual dalliance.

Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge criticised MPs and peers for “flouting a court order just because they disagree with a court order or for that matter because they disagree with the law of privacy which Parliament has created”.

Yesterday Lib Dem peer Lord Stoneham used the protection of parliamentary privilege to reveal allegations that former RBS boss Sir Fred Goodwin had taken out a super injunction to conceal an affair with a colleague at the bank. (epolitix)

Why are these people so ashamed of what they’re doing? The fuckers (and they are at it like rabbits) should either stop shagging with people they’re not supposed to or learn to live with the consequences of their actions.

Are we over it yet?

The most sensible #superinjunction tweet

Some numbers that don’t add up

My colleague Joseph Peart put together some numbers for me regarding the use of Twitter and they are interesting.

Stats from Fortune magazine, May 2, 2011 (pp42 – 45). “Trouble @ Twitter” by Daniel Roberts

• 47% of those who have Twitter accounts are no longer active on the service.

• The time spent per month has dropped from 14min 6sec in 2010 to 12min 37sec in 2011. (Joseph Peart estimates that if usage continues to drop at 1 ½ minutes a year; by 2020, there will be no Twitter users.)

• 40% of Tweets come from a mobile device.

• 70% of Twitter accounts are based outside the U.S.

• 50% of active users access Twitter on more than one platform.

• Not all Twitter users are tweeters: less than 25% of users generate more than 90% of worldwide tweets.

• Ashton Kutcher and Britney Spears have more Twitter followers that the entire populations of Sweden or Israel.

Then, from the book “Socialnomics” by Erik Qualman.

• We no longer search for the news the news finds us via social media.

• 96% of Millenials have joined a social network.

• Facebook tops Google for weekly traffic in the U.S.

• If Facebook were a country it would be the World’s 3rd largest.

• 60 million status updates happen on Facebook daily.

• 50% of mobile internet traffic in the UK is for Facebook

• It seems that Gen Y considers email passé, so some Unis have stopped distributing email addresses and are distributing eReaders, iPads and/or Tablets

• YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world

• There are more than 200 million Blogs worldwide.


Sunday papers – Sunday funnies

February 14, 2010

A brief round up of the Sunday funnies

Name that crim…

Whaleoil -aka the blogger Cameron Slater – must be feeling a little chuffed this morning, his ‘name and shame’ campaign got a morale boost from two columnists.

Kerre Woodham in the HoS and Rosemary McLeod in the SST are both on board with the Whale’s crusade to have a Manawatu man exposed as a serial downloader of child porn. The man has name suppression – to protect his wife, not him – but there’s been a teacup full of storm about lifting name suppression so that other men in the region aren’t under a cloud of suspicion.

My feeling is that anyone who needs to know who this guy is probably already does,  so lifting name suppression is really only going to satisfy some public curiosity, not actually improve the standard of living in Manawatu. Read the rest of this entry »


Whale-watching: Interesting Names and SHAME

January 19, 2010

The fiesty blogger Whaleoil has ramped up his campaign to reform New Zealand’s name suppression laws by launching a (so far) online crusade called SHAME.

It’s a shame to mix up Whale’s campaign for justice – ie. his legal defence – with this campaign to reform name suppression laws,which has a focus on sexual offending, rather than the broader debate about name suppression. There has to be more intellectual rigor around any campaign to change suppression laws, rather than the simplistic and moral-panic inducing call to expose alleged and/or convicted pederasts.

The Whale is also publishing “interesting names” on his Gotcha blog. They are mostly convicted and registered US sex offenders who have been arrested on serious charges in the last few days. The exception is Scott Ritter – former UN weapons inspector – who was recently arraigned on charges laid after a police online sting operation.

But for at least one of the Whale’s “interesting names” there’s more than one prominent individual at the top of the Google list. An indication of how releasing and publicising common names can also create accidental victims.

Whale is probably trying to make the point that NZ suppression laws prevent the establishment of a public sex offender registry like those operating in many American states and nationally, such as Family Watchdog. In Britain there is The RatBook, Unofficial and the no vigilante disclaimer seems a little hollow in tone and intent.

Read the rest of this entry »


Whale-watching: S(hit)nitches get st(orm)itches

January 17, 2010

Shitstorm to&fro

It’s late, it’s Sunday, commonsense comes with the (I don’t like) Monday(‘s) (morning blues)…meanwhile…Martini music

Keep going


Name suppression: Hypothetical

January 15, 2010

Would Scott Ritter have got name suppression in New Zealand?

PHILADELPHIA – A longtime UN weapons inspector who blamed a 2001 sex-sting arrest on his criticism of the Iraq war has again been charged in an online child-sex case, and this time he was caught on camera. [NZ Herald 15/01/10]

He’s no doubt considered (by right-thinking individuals in the herd) to be darling of the “liberal intelligentsia”, so I would suppose that the dribblejaws would argue “Of course,” because of his supposed “hero” status among those of us who were against the Iraq war from the beginning. That’s the sort of fevered logic you might find in some sections of the blogosphere – out in the the opinionated ooze.

As in this example:

Now, it turns out, Ritter is in the news again, this time for being caught in a teen sex sting. That’s right, the pro-Iranian weapons inspector is also a pervert…

I have a feeling that Ritter’s days as the “sky is falling” king of the far left are over. . .or should be.

[A rake's progress]

Read the rest of this entry »


Name suppression case in Hawkes Bay

January 14, 2010

.. her colleagues lost their jobs.

While a woman was gambling away close to half-a-million dollars’ worth of company funds, her colleagues were being laid off.

A Hastings woman, granted name suppression to protect her former employer, has appeared in the Hastings District Court where she pleaded guilty to one charge of theft.

The woman was employed by the Hastings company in April 2005. [Hawkes Bay Today 13 Jan]

Name suppression to protect the business reputation of an employer…is this a legitimate use of the rules?

As a side benefit the convicted thief also gets some protection. She’s got a gambling addiction – a mental health issue.

The rule in this case would seem to be “undue hardship” for the employer but is it fair?

Anyone connected to the woman, the Hastings company and the Hastings District Court knows who she is and the name of the employer and the company.

In short, anyone who might be materially affected by this woman’s action and the aftermath already knows.

What’s the point of name suppression?

To the credit of HBT journo Hinerangi Vaimoso the story covers a number of similar cases related to problem gambling in the region. It’s a well done story that doesn’t seek to sensationalise the cases mentioned and actually looks at the issues.


Whale-watching: Frenemies like these

January 14, 2010

Prime Minister John Key has warned blogger Cameron Slater he cannot break name suppression laws just because he disagrees with them.

The warning came as Whanganui Mayor and former MP Michael Laws started a fighting fund yesterday on his talkback radio show for Slater’s legal defence.

Stuff.co.nz: Blogger warned

Indeed, the horse has bolted.

Perhaps this is the start of the shitstorm  Whaleoil promised us last week.

  1. I bet Russell is puce-faced
  2. A victim writes
  3. Finally a judge we can believe in
  4. A suppression joke
  5. A mad woman’s poo

The last, in particular invokes the storm image.

The victim’s message is heart-felt, no doubt, but what does it add to rhe debate, The perceptions – that there is no “justce”, that “bastards” deserve “it”, are populist myths that feed the whole vengance riff and notion that the “system” has failed victims of crime, that I mentioned last week.

Here’s a few more links to push some thinking on this issue.

Is there moral equivalence between naming someone who owes you money, a dickhead, local petty crimssex-addict celebrity love rats, sadistic child-killers and state-sanctioned torturers?


Whale-watching: gathering storm clouds?

January 13, 2010

I’m a bit under-capacitated at the moment, here’s today’s links with brief comments.

JamesMurray’s blog at TV3, sustains an argument that the method not the purpose is the problem with Whale’s crusade:

To some degree Whaleoil has a point – name suppression laws, which were last reviewed in 1985, are hideously out-of-date in a society where we can all become publishers of content at the push of a button.

And it seems distasteful, at the very least, that a well-known entertainer should receive permanent name suppression for a sexual assault where revealing his identity might harm his career in a disproportionate manner.

This is not a luxury that would be afforded to someone not in the public eye. It is a double standard that needs to be rectified. There may be an argument that we need to protect celebrities or other well known people from undue media scrutiny in cases like these, but that argument is squashed by the need for a justice system that treats each man as an equal.

My problem with Whaleoil is not his idea but his method.

Views on news: Coward’s way

The question is just how out-of-date are suppression rules? I don’t think we can assume they don’t apply to bloggers as well as MSM publishing ventures.

Second, the rules talk about hardship to victims of crime (including the perps) and the Law Commission’s recommendations include amending this to undue hardship”. One could argue that loss of income is hardship.

Third, why are we so caught up on revenge and the punishment of shame?

The Dom Post‘s editorial has a bit both ways:

Slater is on a mission. He has said, outside the courtroom, that he believes everyone should be equal before the law, that celebrities and the wealthy have their identities suppressed more often and more easily than do ordinary Kiwis, and that the law needs changing.

The Dominion Post agrees. But there are better ways to lobby for a more open court system than by putting at risk the future of a teenage girl.

At times of egregious breach, the solicitor-general has been keen to go after those in the mainstream media who have broken suppression orders or otherwise committed contempt of court.

Either everyone who breaches this law is prosecuted, or no-one is. And were the latter to become the reality, those sections of the Criminal Justice Act pertaining to suppression orders need to be repealed.

Dom Post: …take notice

Media law academic Steve Price provides some welcome legal context:

Why are they picking on Mr Oil? Well, whereas the media pay lip service to the suppression orders and laws, Mr Oil rather thumbs his nose at them. Also, I’m guessing the police may well be using Mr Oil as a test case to send a message to others. I don’t like that practice much, but again, they’re within their rights, and it’s no defence for Mr Oil to complain that he’s been singled out. The Solicitor-General has done that with contempt prosecutions fairly regularly…

For those who think it’s discriminatory to give suppression orders to celebrities but not oiks like us, consider this: if you got prosecuted for weeing behind a pub, the media wouldn’t be interested. If it was an All Black, it would be front-page news. Those are the effects of a judge opting not to impose a name suppression order. Isn’t there a decent argument that that would be discriminatory too, and that name suppression merely irons out the discrepancy? (Not saying I buy that entirely, just that the issue’s a bit more complicated than some people suggest.)

Media Law Journal: Whale of a campaign

There was another name suppressed today. The alleged cop-shooter on attempted murder charges in Manukau District Court.

There may be a gathering storm…

When the Police charged me to “set an exam­ple” they picked the wrong per­son. If they wanted a sac­ri­fi­cial lamb they should have picked a lefty, they would have lain down and said fuck me in the arse because I like it and I’ll say sorry after­wards and pay a fine, I should have been more sub­servient, and doff their caps to the estab­lish­ment as they left court. But then lefty weak­lings never test the edge unless it is in favour of peo­ple like Pol Pot or Hamas.

Whaleoil: Sanctimonious, unctous twat alert.

A pithy and pungent attack on Whale’s political foes and those who question his purpose.

Mr Slater isn’t prepared to allow the process of legislative reform take its course. You see, he already knows what needs done, and knows that he is just the person to bring about these needed changes. So he’s started “outing” the names of individuals where these have been suppressed by the courts, on the basis that people want to know them and so he’ll tell them. And anyway, why should criminal scum get to hide from the righteous wrath of the mobilised mob?

Pundit: Wonky jihad #2.

An object of Whale’s substantial scorn, but raising serious issues about suppression & blogger “justice”

Cameron will find out in due course, whether or not that is seen to identify the ex-MP with name supression, but if they do prosecute the Whale, the question has to be asked whether newspapers should be charged also?

The man’s name was suppressed when he appeared in the Nelson District Court on Thursday.

A Sunday newspaper published details about the man, which Slater said had narrowed the field of possible accused to three.

He wanted to clarify who the accused was so the other two men were not unfairly accused.

Now I am not gunning for the Herald on Sunday. But I would say that far more people worked out from their story, who the accussed is, than the handful of people who were capable of working out the code Cameron had used, and reverse engineering it into hexadecimal and finally the  alphabet.

Kiwiblog: Who made it easier?

Has the HoS breached?

I don’t believe that Cameron Slater is giving power to the victims in these cases, nor do I believe that is his intention, although it might be a justification he is using now. I think he is trying to build power for himself. And that’s a cynical abuse of very real situtations for actual real people.

The hand mirror:  Cameron Slater please stop.

Victims of sexual violence could be the losers here

Prick seems to think he could put this child’s identity into the public arena with his stupid coded message and get away with it. (Don’t fool yourselves, pathetic righties. The identity of the alleged assailant will have identified the victim to those who know them). He actually said the Police should have better things to do than nab him for his blatant, unrepentant crime. He thinks he has the right to add to the suffering of sex victims to get himself some more airtime. (Congrats, btw, to news outlets that are refusing to name his blog and its URL).

The Standard: Scumbag Slater.

Dishing & taking the shitstorm, vitriol all’round

We think that Whale is bloody brave, but in this incident the victim could be a family member and if that is the case we can see some justification for suppression.

However, we have also read the post of Lisa Lewis today, who writes about being abused at a young age and wished that at the time the name of the perpetrator was made public.

Its clear to see that this debate will continue for some time and its a hot issue – Gotcha – Whales website has crashed and our site is getting many hits searching for anything we have published on the MP who is alleged to have been charged with sex offences.

RoarPrwan: Whale’s dork.

Fence-sitting, fame by association

Lets put that into perspective for a minute.

If every blogger in New Zealand posted the man’s identity in the headline of a post, and nothing else on the post. Would that breach suppression? Would the Police charge every blogger who posted his name in the headline and nothing else in the post?

Because if even 20 blogs did it that is an awful lot of police work required.

Where is the link?

That link would be formed by the MSM who post their own stories such as this one.

In isolation Whaleoil’s post meant absolutely nothing. Others have simply decoded it and then wrote their own stories in relation to linking it back to the details released at the weekend. Some haven’t even bothered to decode it at all and have just jumped up and down saying Whaleoil has breached the suppression order.

Cactus Kate: You can’t suppress a whale

An offshore perspective.

Whale is unrepentant and determined to continue making his points. He’s inviting legal retaliation and seems to be relishing the fight.

Thanks to his binary code stunt, it seems many more people are aware of the identity of the former MP who’s now an alledged sex offender.

The issues are becoming a little clearer and it seems that a perceived double standard is at the centre…

Do high-profile defendants get preferential treatment in name suppression?

Can a blogger be charged/convicted for a breach in the same way as the MSM?

How will the government react to the pressure for change & what will happen to the Law Cnnission report?


Whale-watching: Always take the weather (with you)

January 12, 2010

I really don’t know why Cameron Slater (aka Whaleoil) wants to take on the NZ legal system, but my advice to the balls out blogger comes in two parts:

  1. Shut-up
  2. Get a good lawyer

?The first part is easy. Cameron, no matter how much you believe in your anti-name suppression crusade, you are making things worse for yourself by tricks like this:

Police will investigate a blogger for revealing the identity of a former politician accused of an indecent assault on a 13-year-old girl.

Cameron Slater yesterday outed the former MP from the top of the South Island by naming him in a binary code on his blog.

[NZ Herald, 12.01.10]

In a post yesterday Whaleoil said the binary code doesn’t breach name suppression orders:

  1. Firstly I did not defy name sup­pres­sion laws. I cat­e­gor­i­cally deny I did any such thing. I sim­ply posted some Binary Code with a Base64 Title. None of which iden­ti­fies by name, address or occu­pa­tion “in any account or report relat­ing to any proceedings”
  2. The “binary code which, when con­verted”, does NOT reveals the iden­tity of a defendant.

The link in 2. is to a TV3 piece that claims the code does reveal details likely to identify someone subject to name suppression

When converted, the computer coding in today’s post reveals the name of a national figure charged with the indecent assault of a girl aged between 12 and 16.

3news.co.nz had the code analysed by one of our programmers, who confirmed it indeed does reveal the name of the accused and his former role.

Court documents show it is alleged the man touched the girl’s breasts and genitals on December 30, 2009.

[Blogger investigated

Mocks suppression laws]

I don’t know if the code does or doesn’t translate, but both Fairfax and TV3 are reporting that they cracked it.

There’s more coded text on Whaleoil’s blog and I sadly think that this cat&mouse game is a sign that something is wrong.

It seems clear to me that Mr Slater needs some solid and effective legal advice. Maybe he’s getting it and he knows what he’s doing. Or it’s Don Quixote territory.

I’m also not sure Cameron is all that clear about his own motives. He seems naively surprised that his actions have attracted police and media attention.

Slater said he had received many supportive messages from victims of sexual abuse, saying they wished they were able to name their abusers.

And he said he did not name the former politician to attract publicity.

“People say that I’m publicity-seeking but I’m not,” Slater said.

“I didn’t seek for the police to charge me and I didn’t seek for you guys to publish about it.”

[NZ Herald, 12.01.10]

I don’t know what he expected then.  Of course there’s interest. After Cameron’s 1st legal outing last week, any further development was always going to get attention.

The root cause of this binary charade is that Cameron Slater doesn’t like the legal niceties that allow some defendants and convicted criminals to have their identity suppressed by the courts. He has repeatedly said so on his blog. This recent example pretty much sums up Whaleoil’s position:

All the hush-hush that comes with name sup­pres­sion in cases like this [sexual assault of a minor] is sup­posed to be for the ben­e­fit of the vic­tim. the thing is no-one ever asks a vic­tim what they think about it usu­ally because they are too young at the time. This allows the kiddy-fiddlers to get way with it for so long.

Right now one of the cases that I am alleged to have named both the vic­tim and the accused (”The Olympian”) and the case of the “Come­dian”, both of these fel­lows have been ordered to stay away from the com­plainant and in one case ordered to stay away from young chil­dren. The ex-MP with name sup­pres­sion is in the same boat. The thing is this. If we can’t be allowed to know who it is that should stay away from var­i­ous sit­u­a­tions or peo­ple then how can they be reported for breach­ing the court instruc­tion because we aren’t allowed to know who they are in the first place. There­fore we run a real risk of there being more vic­tims, espe­cially as they are all out on bail. If they were known then they would effec­tively be under house arrest as they sure as hell wouldn’t show their faces anywhere.

[Gotcha 12/01/10]

There might seem some logic here, but it is fatally flawed. In these cases, there is an accused and these person’s have a right to the presumption of innocence until the legal system says otherwise. I think the cops have got it right on this one.

“Clearly it attacks the very heart of our criminal justice system in a number of ways; that a person is entitled to presumption of innocence until the opposite is proven, the right to a fair trial, and in this case the breach of that order has the potential to identify the victim – the very reason the order was imposed.”

Mr Winter said he would be liaising with police in Auckland over the previous breaches as well as speaking to a crown solicitor and the judge who issued the suppression order.

“He’s certainly testing the boundaries of the law which doesn’t adequately cover the use or abuse of the internet, so there’s grey areas in both domestic and international law,” he said.

[Nelson Bays police area commander Detective Inspector John Winter @ Stuff.co.nz]

When media outlets get involved in trying cases before the courts they overstep the mark. We call it “trial by media”.

It is not up to Cameron Slater, the Weekend Truth, or anyone else ; either private individual, or media outlet, to prejudge the issues in these cases.

I wrote last week on the emotional pull of vigilantism in sex cases, we clearly see that here.

Bloggers and tabloid media want to be judge, jury and executioner.

I have more to say on this but I’m painfully pecking with one hand due to a large cast on my left arm. More later.


Whale-watching update: No “shit storm” on horizon

January 6, 2010

Here’s a round-up of some blogosphere commentary on the Whaleoil (Cameron Slater) story.

[If you need to backfill on this, a qick review of this NZ Herald story will get you up to speed.]

Whaleoil has a true friend in Cactus Kate. Not only is she prepared to stick up for him, even wondering if there is either a) some kind of set-up involved with Slater being in court on the same day as a “kiddy fiddler” (her words), or b) if the police are reluctantly pursuing the blogger because of an agenda being run from higher up.

I am wondering whether the Police actually want to charge Whaleoil with this crime? There are several factors that Whaleoil will use in his defence that make me think that their heart is not really in it and other external forces are at play.

This is interesting if a little ingenious. Rightwing bloggers were forever accusing the Labor government of politicising legal proceedings; but really coincidence or conspiracy? It seems an easy choice. But one thing about Ms Cactus,  she’s also prepared to dish some tough love:

As I advise anyone who comes to Whaleoil’s attention, the best course of action is to be polite and either ignore what he has written or write to him in a manner which puts your side of the story and he will more often than not be reasonable enough to publish that. He has a short span of attention thanks to his depression and soon moves to a new target.

The worst course of action is to give Whaleoil opposition. He is mental. I mean this in a loving caring way to his friends, but to his foe he shows as much hatred as he does love for his friends. Whaleoil loves opposition, he loves conflict and more importantly will never back down.

This could be coded warning for people not to get in Whaleoil’s face about this, we’ll see. However, some are pointedly ignoring this advice and are getting stuck into Whaleoil. He has supporters and detractors in equal measure it would seem.

Read the rest of this entry »


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