Injunction Delivered Over Twitter Worked, Attorney Says

A U.K. lawyer is claiming victory on Tuesday after a court-ordered injunction delivered over Twitter has stopped his antagonist from impersonating him on the microblogging service.

The mystery impersonator, who lives in the U.K., contacted him and has agreed to pay damages to Help for Heroes, a charity for injured soldiers, said Donal Blaney, owner of the Griffin Law firm based in Hawkhurst, England. Blaney said he knew the person. Terms of the deal are confidential, and the impersonator has not been publicly identified, Blaney said.

On Thursday, a High Court judge for the first time allowed a link to the injunction order to be delivered over Twitter since the identity of the impersonator was unknown. The case has received much attention in legal circles.

The impersonator had set up a Twitter account that used Blaney's photo from his blog, posted tweets that linked to his blog posts and generally wrote in the same style as the attorney.

Unfortunately for Blaney, the rush of publicity around the case in addition to his opinionated right-wing blog has caused another impersonator to spring up. This time, the impersonator has created a Twitter account with a photograph of Blaney's head superimposed on a Nazi flag. Blaney said he found out after the second impersonator sent him a message on the service.

Blaney reported the second impersonator to Twitter on Friday, but the account has not been removed yet. Twitter is far too slow in responding to abuse complaints, Blaney said.

The first impersonator's account has not been removed by Twitter yet, Blaney said. Blaney's attorney is scheduled to see a judge on Thursday, where the court is expected to approve the settlement, and Blaney will receive the login and password to the offending Twitter account in order to shut it down.

If Twitter doesn't shut down the second fake account soon, Blaney said he is prepared to return to the High Court and obtain another injunction.

If one is granted and the person doesn't come forward, Blaney said he might have to file proceedings in the U.S. against Twitter in order to reveal the IP (Internet protocol) address of the computer that sent the Twitter message. Then, an ISP could be queried to reveal the subscriber, which could lead to the person who set up the account.

Blaney said the attention around his case has drawn more attention to the problem of bullying over the Internet. It has also highlighted problems with how Twitter deals with abuse.

"Twitter is going to end up paying damages if they're not careful," Blaney said.

Subscribe to the Today in Tech Newsletter

Comments