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Twitter’s Legal Tweet Breaks New Ground

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It’s surprising that it took this long but social media site Twitter struck new ground regarding the ability to remain anonymous while using the internet as well as identity theft. The site, which has been in business for over three years, took over the nation and added a whole new way to communicate with others by “tweeting”

Besides becoming a forum for celebrities, news personalities, and just about anyone who wants to let friends, families and followers up to date on exactly what they are doing every minute of the day, Twitter is now the first to address improper internet protocol.

The incident in question actually occurred in the UK and involves an anonymous Tweeter who had been impersonating a man named Donal Blaney on the site. The irony is that the British High Court ordered a writ to be issued and served through the Twitter site. Officials felt that it was the best way to reach the person who was anonymously posing as Blaney.

On October 1, the British High Court set a new precedent by serving the writ via Twitter. The procedure now is considered common law and it is known also as binding authority or a mandatory precedent. The Order has become known as Blaney’s Blarney Order, named after the blog of the victim Donal Blaney. It requires anyone who is using Twitter under an anonymous persona and posting under someone else’s name to identify themselves immediately and cease posting any further. The anonymous posting under someone else’s name breaches the copyright and intellectual property of the real blog owner.

Because the problem of establishing the real identity of its users began to grow and out of control, Twitter had incorporated a process of using a seal that appeared on the profile page of its users after their identity was verified. The verification process was a result of previous problems from such celebrities as Kanye West and manager of the St. Louis Cardinals Tony La Russa.

When the British High Court wanted to reach the anonymous tweeter, it used the very medium that the fake tweeter was using to send out the “landmark tweet.” A direct message or DM was sent and could only be seen by the recipient. The offender was met with a message that began “You are hereby Ordered by the High Court of Justice to read and comply with the following Order…”

The real Donal Blaney is happy to have played a part in setting a new precedent on the internet. He states that he is in the process of settling with the individual who stole his identity and rather than take up a lot of time and money by going to court, he said he would let the guilty party impersonate him one last time by donating the money to a favorite charity.

Tweeters are being asked to go online and vote between Help for Heroes, the Royal British Legion, the British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research among others.