Editorial: Internet privacy: Where everybody knows your name
Posted in: Legal, Privacy & Security at 20/06/2009 01:58
Nightjack's blog is, as its author put it rather beautifully yesterday, "slowly melting away as it drops off the edge of the Google cache". Nightjack has gone, too, exposed by the Times as Detective Constable Richard Horton from the Lancashire Constabulary, a once-anonymous blogger brought down by his quality writing.
If his accounts of frontline police life had been less brilliant, Mr Horton would not have found a readership among people curious to learn what it is like to enforce the law on a public that resents enforcement, or won an Orwell prize for political writing, or had his identity pieced together by a curious journalist. He would have been like every other blogger who starts typing thinking that a false name offers privacy. Instead he found himself in the high court yesterday, fighting and losing a battle that has alarmed bloggers everywhere. Justice Eady, who heard the case, agreed that many of them would be horrified to learn that the law did not protect their anonymity. But, he said, "blogging is essentially a public not a private activity". The Times was entitled to publish Nightjack's real name if it wanted to.