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Giggs named as super-injunction player as Twitter avalanche hits the Commons

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The floodgates have finally opened on the married footballer who sought an injunction to prevent his alleged affair with a former Big Brother contestant from being reported, after an MP named him in the House of Commons.

John Hemming, Liberal Democrat MP for Birmingham Yardley, named Manchester United star Ryan Giggs in the chamber on Monday afternoon, using parliamentary privilege to avoid contempt of court and a possible jail sentence of two years.

According to reports, the MP was immediately rebuked by the speaker of the House for having done so, although he explained that his outburst had been down to the farcical situation created by the super-injunction.

"With about 75,000 people having named Ryan Giggs on Twitter it's obviously impractical to imprison them all," he reportedly said.

The revelation of the identity of the player, which won't come as news to many, came just minutes after The Sun newspaper lost an appeal to have the injunction overturned.

Even prime minister David Cameron told ITV's Daybreak programme this morning that privacy laws need to adapt to the era of social media, as sites like Twitter make a mockery of super-injunctions.

With the Sunday Herald in Scotland taking advantage of a legal loophole to publish the identity of Giggs on Sunday, and the player's Wikipedia page having already been amended with details of the injunction, it was only a matter of time before the truth was outed.

The difficulty now will be for the governement to construct some kind of meaningful privacy law that takes account of social media and the worldwide nature of the web.

What could be more likely, however, is that shamed celebrities will try slightly lower-profile ways of keeping their stories out of the news. If this case has shown anything it's that the internet doesn't like being told what it can and cannot say.

23 May 2011

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