British local authority takes Twitter to court in US

29th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

An English local authority said on Sunday it had taken US micro-blogging site Twitter to court in California and forced it to release the details of a British user.

South Tyneside Council, in northeast England, took the legal action in a bid to discover the identity of a blogger behind allegedly libelous statements.

The blogger, known as "Mr Monkey", has levelled a stream of criticism and allegations against councillors and council officers.

A council spokesman confirmed Twitter had released information after they took the case to the Superior Court of California.

"Twitter have released information to our lawyers and this is currently being analysed by technical experts," the spokesman told AFP.

Twitter was not immediately available for comment but a spokesman told the BBC: "We cannot comment on any specific order or request.

"As noted in our law enforcement guidelines, it is our policy to notify our users before disclosure of account information."

The South Tyneside Council spokesman added: "This legal action was initiated by the council's previous chief executive and has continued with the full support of the council's current chief executive.

"The council has a duty of care to protect its employees and as this blog contains damaging claims about council officers, legal action is being taken to identify those responsible."

The latest controversy came a week after a Premier League footballer began proceedings against the website when a blogger identified him as the player who had taken out an injunction banning the media from exposing an alleged affair.

A Liberal Democrat lawmaker later used his parliamentary privilege to name the player as Manchester United's Ryan Giggs.

© 2011 AFP

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