Twitter will leave users at the courts' mercy

Twitter boss Tony Wang said the short-message site would hand over users details to law-enforcement agencies when required and thereafter users would have to fend for themselves.

The site caused a kerfuffle when the name of Ryan Giggs was bandied about willy-nilly over allegations the footballer sought to hide his extra-martial shenanigans behind a superinjunction.

MP John Hemming then really gave the game away under the protection of parliamentary privilege

Speaking to BBC News at the e-G8 forum in Paris, Wang said: "Platforms have a responsibility, not to defend that user but to protect that user's right to defend him or herself".

What he means is he's happy to use people to post comments on the site so that he can earn money out of them. But if a comment attracts the attention of law enforcement officials he'll out them. He did say Twitter would let the users know that the Plod were after them, however.

"If we're legally required to turn over user information, to the extent that we can, we want to notify the user involved, let them know and let them exercise their rights under their own jurisdiction" he said.

Lawyers representing Giggs, petitioned U.S.-based Twitter through a London court for names and addresses of those they claim broke the superinjunction. There are about 75,000 of them.

"That's not to say that they will ultimately prevail, that's not to say that law enforcement doesn't get the information they need, but what it does do is take that process into the court of law and let it play out there," Wang said.

MP Hemming claimed he outed Giggs on learning of the legal moves afoot to appraoch Twitter on his behalf. "If you are going to have an expensive firm of lawyers chasing down ordinary people, with a view to threatening them with a jail sentence because they have gossiped about a footballer, that is fundamentally wrong," he said.