“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Posts Tagged ‘Fred the Shred

Twitter Vs. Unnamed Sportsman.

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Up front, I like Twitter, the ease of accessing masses of information appeals to me, plus the fact that the rich and powerful can’t exert their customary controls and are brought down to the ground by the free availability of Twitter, so the new court case against Twitter should prove very amusing.

Apparently, lawyers on behalf of a Premier league footballer have served an injunction on Twitter, Business Week reports:

“May 20 (Bloomberg) — Twitter Inc. and some of its users were sued by an entity known as “CTB” in London, according to a court filing.

While the document gave no details, CTB are the initials used by the court in a separate lawsuit to refer to an athlete who won an anonymity order banning the media from publishing stories about his alleged affair with a reality-television star.

The Twitter suit was filed May 18 at the High Court in London according to court records, and named as defendants the San Francisco-based company and “persons unknown responsible for the publication of information on the Twitter accounts” listed in confidential court documents.

A Twitter user on May 8 posted a series of messages claiming a number of U.K. celebrities had received so-called super-injunctions and made claims detailing the activities that the people had sought to keep out of the public eye.

Twitter didn’t respond to a messages seeking comment. Daniel Ingram-Fletcher, a spokesman for the law firm representing CTB, didn’t respond to a messages seeking comment.

The case is: CTB v. Twitter Inc., Persons Unknown, High Court of Justice (Queens Bench Division), HQ11X01814.”

I imagine within an hour or two we will know from tweets on Twitter who CTB is and what’s going on!

It all seems so self-defeating as it highlights these issues and people are naturally going to comment on them, on Twitter, again, leading to the Barbra Streisand effect.

I suppose lawyers love it, they will end up suing tens of thousands of people across the globe who use Twitter, or perhaps they will realise the futility of such actions? When will the legal profession, the rich and powerful finally catch up with technology?

(Hat tip: Index on Censorship)

Update 1: The Guardian has more.

Update 2: Heresy Corner posts on this topic:

“It’s not yet clear how Twitter will respond to the lawsuit. Their terms of service specify that “international users agree to comply with all local laws regarding online conduct and acceptable content”, but the most notorious of the Twitter accounts listing alleged injunctions (@InjunctionSuper, which posted details of six supposed cases on 8th May and then went quiet) has not been taken down. The company is based in the United States and has little to fear from the English courts – although any assets they have in this country might be vulnerable.

In the short term, however, two things are clear. It is impossible for Twitter to delete all references to the alleged affair from their website. It has long since gone viral. It had gone viral even before the @InjunctionSuper account was set up, which is one reason why (unlike David Allen Green) I don’t think there are good grounds for saying that the account was a deliberate leak by someone in the know. (At least, if there are such grounds they do not lie in the content of the Tweets themselves, but rather in the immediate and disproportionate attention they attracted.) Predictably, the main result of today’s news on Twitter itself has been the proliferation of the name Giggs. Twitter, as a company, is powerless to shut this one down.

Secondly, there are now so many thousand “persons unknown” that they cannot all be sued, or even identified (the more likely intention). And even if CTB’s lawyers were able to track them all down and serve them with injunctions, the self-defeating effect would be to confirm the facts. Suspicion would become actual knowledge.

So how can Twitter satisfy the demands of the English courts – assuming, that is, that CTB’s case is found to have merit? The obvious way would be to block Twitter from the UK, putting it permanently out of the reach of British judges. It could happen. Already some US-based news and gossip sites, including National Enquirer, are unviewable in Britain without use of a proxy server, so alarmed are the publishers by English libel law. If CTB’s case succeeds, or inspires other, Twitter’s bosses might begin to see such a course of action as preferable to fighting costly legal battles on foreign soil. “

Update 3: The Guardian explains the Streisand effect: Secrecy in the digital age.

Update 4: TechCrunch is perplexed by the British legal system and I don’t blame them:

“We’ve been watching the British legal system turn itself into knots for the last couple of weeks, largely due to the ability of Twitter users to break just about any legal ‘super injunction’ a ‘celebrity’ (usually footballers) has on the reporting of their private life (usually affairs). So far so normal for Twitter. What’s a super injunction? It’s when someone rich (these things are very expensive) takes out an injunction on the press that not only stops them reporting something but also stops them reporting that the injunction even exists. That makes it ‘super’, which of course it is anything but.

But today the story took a new turn when it emerged that Twitter Inc. itself is being sued. Oh yes. They are going there.”

Update 5: David Allen Green blogs on it, carefully:

“It is important at this stage to be aware of what one cannot know for certain:

1. that the “CTB” is actually the same person as “CTB” in the recent privacy case (though it appears the same law firm is instructed);

2. what the claim is for in terms of law – is it a privacy claim or is it under some other form of law; and

3. what the remedy requested is – is it a damages claim or is it for disclosure by Twitter of third party information (for example the information of those who have used Twitter accounts to break – rather than repeat – allegations), or for something else.

As yet, we simply do not know.”

Sir Fred Goodwin And The Super-Injunction.

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News is coming out of Fred Goodwin’s Super-Injunction, which bans any UK media outlet from reporting on Fred the Shred and the fact he is or was a Banker.

It is not too clear what case this relates to, but I would guess (and it is only a guess) it is something to do with RMJM.

I can’t be sure but a Scotsman article on them and Goodwin vanished and it seems that he was employed by the boss of RMJM.

Elsewhere RMJM seem to be falling apart, as a US employee resigns in anger, Building Design covers it here.

This is a copy of the Scotsman article, from the Google cache.

“Leader: RMJM the architect of its own woes

Published Date: 10 March 2011

IT MAY seem that the ongoing troubles at RMJM, one of the world’s biggest architectural practices, is a matter of some internal difficulty of relatively little import to the public at large, but the fate of one of the few Scottish firms with a global reputation should be of great concern.

The collapse of Royal Bank of Scotland and HBoS were major blows to national confidence, as was the revelation that as solid a firm as Weir Group was involved in illegal kick-backs to Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Scotland needs its few big players to perform at the top of their game.

RMJM took a dent with its involvement with the Scottish Parliament project, but the problems were not of its making – it did not draw up the contracts, set an unrealistic price-tag or indeed devise the extraordinary concept. But its architects made the challenging Miralles vision happen, it continued to secure major international projects and stands eighth in the rankings of world architectural firms.

However, since the arrival of Sir Fraser Morrison and his son Peter, its fortunes have been on the slide. The misguided decision to employ Sir Fred Goodwin meant the firm was driven by people with little relevant experience and it was no surprise that as its troubles deepened Sir Fred decided to back off. Now it is in the extraordinary position where mismanagement has led to a mass walkout of senior staff in Hong Kong and a potential strike in the London office.

Maybe it’s time for the Morrisons to move on while there is still a business to sell. “

Also see RMJM: The highs and lows.

Remembering the timeline of RBS’s problems and Fred’s role.

Fred’s replacement, Stephen Hester, is stuffing millions into his pockets, BBC News reports:

“Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive Stephen Hester has been awarded a pay package currently worth £7.7m for 2010.

That includes £6.5m worth of shares that won’t be available for three years. Two-thirds of these are pegged to meeting management targets.

It also includes his £1.2m salary, which has remained the same since he replaced Sir Fred Goodwin in 2008.

RBS made a loss of more than £1bn last year, and is 83%-owned by the UK government.

Under the Long-Term Incentive Plan (LTIP), Stephen Hester is to be awarded 10.1m shares, which are valued at £4.5m at the current share price.

That element can be clawed back, and is dependent on achieving certain targets.

If the share price increases from 45 pence, and above the government’s break-even point of 50p, then Mr Hester and others on the LTIP will benefit from that increase when they are allowed to sell the majority of the newly-awarded shares in March 2014.

Last year, he declined to take an annual bonus, but did receive 8.5m shares under the LTIP.”

So this Banker, along with Fred the Shred effectively won the lottery year-on-year, millions one year and even more the next, and then more, which probably explains Fred’s sensitivity to his failures, which seem to be numerous.

If anyone finds out what the real matter is with this super-injunction, please leave a comment.

Update 1: Slate on Who’s the World’s Worst Banker?

“The result? RBS’s stock (here’s a two-year chart) has lost 91 percent of its value since March 2007 and retains value thanks only to massive government intervention. A job well-done, Sir Fred! “

Update 2: Roy Greenslade contributes:

“Meanwhile, will we read more about Goodwin? I understand the order is very firm indeed and that The Sun’s legal arguments about public interest justification have not found favour with judges.”

Update 3: Slate in France picked up the story, but still no real evidence as to why the super-injunction, L’ancien patron de la banque britannique RBS interdit aux médias de l’appeler «banquier»

Update 4: Jon Slattery argues that the super-injunction has been shredded.

Update 5: RTE News has a snippet:

“FORMER RBS CHIEF HAS ‘SUPER-INJUNCTION’ – British newspapers report that Sir Fred Goodwin, the former chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland, has obtained a secret super-injunction banning the publication of information about him.

The Daily Telegraph says the existence of the injunction was revealed by John Hemming, a back-bench Liberal Democrat MP, during a business debate in the House of Commons yesterday morning.

The paper says his comments are protected by parliamentary privilege, which means he cannot face court proceedings for revealing the injunction’s existence.

The Telegraph says his question raised speculation yesterday about the nature of the information which Sir Fred is trying to protect.”

Update 6: Finally, BBC News picked it up early Friday morning.