Monday, December 31, 2007

Elf n' Safety at the Supermarket

We called in to a local branch of Asda/Wallmart yesterday to get some school clothes for our nine year old. Not used to Asda's sizes (stores don't have standardised age-height sizes), I asked if he could try them on. The reply? "I'm afraid the changing room is closed for health and safety reasons".

A nine year old trying on a pair of trousers, accompanied by a parent: what "health and safety" issues could possible be engaged in that?

Result? We got home only to find the trousers don't fit - so guess where I'll be spending part of New Year's Eve.

Happy New Year - thanks Asda.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Who's been commenting on your Blog?

The High Court has recently ordered the publisher of a football website to reveal the identity of those posting comments on the site. Neil Hargreaves runs the site, which is dedicated to those following the fortunes of Sheffield Wednesday FC. After a run of poor results, derogatory comments about players and management starting appearing on Mr Hargreave's site.

Although most bloggers and many of those who comment on blog sites will have no idea of the extent of their liability for the material they post, this case establishes that their right to privacy may not be an overriding consideration. While most websites display warning about defamatory or abusive material, the suspension of an account for breaching the rule would not generally be susceptible to challenge on freedom of expression grounds.

However, before relying on the decision in Sheffield Wednesday v Hargreaves claimants seeking what is known as a Norwich Pharmacal order will need to show that the comments are really defamatory, not merely trivial or mildly abusive.