Jun 162009
 June 16, 2009  Posted by  Court, Featured News, Non-U.S., Online

Thousands of bloggers churn out opinions daily – secure in the protection afforded to them by the cloak of anonymity.

From today they can no longer be secure that their identity can be kept secret, after a landmark ruling by Mr Justice Eady.

The judge who has become synonymous with creating a law of privacy has struck a blow in favour of openness, ruling that blogging is “essentially a public rather than a private activity”. In the first case of its kind, Mr Justice Eady ruled that a serving police officer could not have an injunction to stop The Times identifying him as the author of the “NightJack” blog.

The judge applied a two-fold test that is now established in privacy cases: first, whether the police officer had a reasonable expectation of privacy (in this case over his identity); and if so, whether that right to privacy was overridden by a countervailing public interest in disclosure of his name.

Read more in The Times Online.

Update: The BBC is reporting that the blogger, now identified as Det Con Richard Horton, had received a written warning from his police force:

A spokesman [for the Lancashire Constabulary] said: “The commentary in the blog is indeed the work of a serving Lancashire detective and clearly the views and opinions expressed are those of the author himself and not those of the wider Constabulary.

“We have conducted a full internal investigation and the officer accepts that parts of his public commentary have fallen short of the standards of professional behaviour we expect of our police officers.”

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