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Super-injunctions 'unfair' cos of Twitter gossip, says Cameron

PM, 'like everyone else', knows identity of footballer

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Current privacy laws, which gag newspaper editors from reporting stories that are widely in the public domain courtesy of online tools such as Twitter, were "unsustainable" and "unfair", the Prime Minister said this morning.

David Cameron, speaking on ITV's Daybreak show, said that "like everyone else" he knew the identity of the footballer, who last week sued Twitter and various users of the micro-blogging site in London's High Court.

The football star, who is referred to only by the initials "CTB" in court, has had his identity repeatedly exposed via Twitter. Separately a Scottish newspaper, the Sunday Herald, published the footballer's picture on its front page yesterday, with a black banner covering just his eyes.

However, court injunctions in England and Wales prevent the identity of the footballer, who is alleged to have had a "sexual relationship" with former Big Brother contestant Imogen Thomas, becoming public.

"It is rather unsustainable, this situation," said Cameron earlier today. "Where newspapers can't print something that clearly everybody else is talking about, but there's a difficulty here because the law is the law and judges must interpret what the law is."

He reiterated concerns that that super-injunction judgments were, in effect, writing a new law without the Palace of Westminster first clearing such court rulings.

"So I think the government, Parliament has got to take some time out, have a proper look at this, have a think about what we can do, but I'm sure there is going to be a simple answer," said the PM.

One possible consideration could involve tightening up the role of the Press Complaints Commission.

"It's not fair on the newspapers if all the social media can report this and the newspapers can't. So the law and the practice has got to catch up with how people consume media today," Cameron said.

Last week, Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt declared Twitter had made the law "an ass" when asked about injunctions at an industry conference.

He said that the UK's law on privacy "as interpreted by judges [is] incompatible" with Parliament's intentions. The "tilt" should be in favour of free expression, he said.

"I will be sitting down with [Justice Secretary] Ken Clarke to get the balance right," added Hunt. ®

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