Secret tweets

In February (a while ago, but IP Draughts wasn’t around then), the Press Complaints Commision (PCC) decided that the Daily Mail’s re-publication of some tweets posted by a civil servant did not infringe the PCC’s Editors’ Code. The Code states that everyone is entitled to respect for “his or her private and family life, home, health and correspondence, including digital communications”. The tweets that were highlighted mainly complained about hangovers and expressed what the Daily Mail felt were political views.

This is the first time the PCC has considered the re-publication of tweets. It did not consider that the re-publication amounted to an unjustifiable intrusion. The tweets were open to public view and the potential audience was far greater than the number of actual subscribers.

No surprise there: the tweeter had the option to restrict the re-tweeting of her tweets and had chosen not to do so. It is difficult to see how the tweeter expected that any further use of the tweets by the Daily Mail could have been a violation of privacy.

As a tangential footnote, the Information Commissioner published a report in 2006 looking at privacy in the press. According to that report, when police raided the premises of a private detective in 2002 they found records of payments made by newspapers for the provision of personal information, the majority of the payments were made by….the Daily Mail.

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