(June 19, 2009) In one of the first cases in the United Kingdom to test Internet confidentiality rights, a police blogger, known under the moniker “NightJack,” recently lost his bid to obtain an injunction to protect his anonymity. The NightJack blog was pushed to the forefront of public attention when it won the Orwell Prize for political writing. The blog had an extensive following, and provided gritty details regarding the politics of the police force and cases under investigation.
THE TIMES newspaper had sought to reveal NightJack's identity. In seeking to prevent an injunction from being ordered, THE TIMES argued that the blogger, although he changed names, had revealed information obtained during the course of his work as a detective constable that was not only in breach of the code governing police behavior, but that could have also prejudiced prosecutions.
The high court judge who handled the case ruled that NightJack could not have a reasonable expectation of anonymity because “blogging is essentially a public rather than a private activity,” and that even if the blogger could have claimed a right to anonymity, the ruling would have still been against him on the grounds of public interest. (Frances Gibb, Ruling on NightJack Author Richard Horton Kills Blogger Anonymity, THE TIMES (London), June 17, 2009, available at http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/the_web/articl
e6509677.ece; Richard Horton, NightJack: My Everyman Posts Seemed to Strike a Chord, THE TIMES (London), June 17, 2009, available at http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/article6515061
.ece; Michael Peel, Night Jack Blog Loses Fight for Anonymity, FINANCIAL TIMES (London), June 16, 2009, available at http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/24e078d2-5a7a-11de-8c14-00144feabdc0.html.)