Twitter and Ediscovery on a Collision Course?

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Keywords: CTB, ediscovery, Twitter, privacy, policy, ERM, tweets

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What happens when thousands of people break privacy laws and a court injunction while tweeting?

We may be about to find out.

In England, a show called Footballers Wives is about all the naughty things beautiful people (at least on TV) get up to with the deadly combination of too much time, money, and vanity. But it’s a footballer husband who has caused this current mess.

In brief, a player on Manchester United, who by court injunction can only be identified as CTB, has requested that Twitter disclose details of users who have used his real name in Tweets. The reason for the court order is all too basic: marital infidelity.

Setting aside the National Enquirer aspects of the story; what does this mean, if anything, for the use of Twitter – or any micro-blogging platform?

Is it as simple as what we’ve all learned not to do on Facebook; don’t post that 3:19 a.m. tequila-inspired photo of you riding a pony at the Taco Bell drive-thru wearing nothing but a bag of burritos.

How do you make sure your secrets stay secret? Does it “just” boil down to good policy and employees? Is this any different from email other than the 140 character limit?

If Twitter has to comply with this request, what does it mean for the U.S. Library of Congress? How difficult would ediscovery be in a Tweet archive dating to 2006?

It seems to me that discretion, as ever, is key.

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Comments

Chris Walker

Celebrities are different

From a legal perspective I think that celebrities are mostly treated as public domain. However, for those of us who have no claim to fame it could turn out to be a colossal headache.

Ultimately I think it's going to be the lawyers and ediscovery practitioners that are going to make a lot of money on this in the short term. In the longer term I think we'll figure something out to help alleviate the ediscovery burden.
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