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Identity Of Nightjack Police Blogger Revealed By High Court Ruling

A covert police blogger, who gained huge popularity for his posts on behind-the-scenes reality into policing, has been recognized as a Lancashire detective following a high court verdict that disclosed his identity.

The officer, Richard Horton, from the Lancashire Police’s Eastern division, had intended to keep his identity concealed as he posted various contentious entries on to his prize-winning blog, popularly known as NightJack.

After a national newspaper probed into who was the author of the critically acclaimed blog, Horton was discovered as the writer, and subsequently he tried to take out injunction against the newspaper, The Times, to stop publishing his name.

However, in a landmark decision about the privacy of bloggers, Justice Eady ruled out that bloggers can’t opt for legal processes to keep their identity a secret.

Incidentally, Horton’s blogs, which received the coveted Orwell Prize for political writing a couple of months back, offered a great insight into policing and suggested those reeling through police investigation to “complain about every officer... show no respect to the legal system or anybody working in it”.

However, no further action will be taken against the 45-year-old blogger after targeting the ministers and forces in an anonymous blog, police notified.

A spokesperson for police said, “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”.


Our Comments

Blogger anonymity comes at a price. We are witnessing the awesome power of citizen journalism with the Iranian crisis. The case of Nightjack poses a moral and legal dilemma because of the impact that his posts could have had on the legal system in the long term. In an article in the Times, Mr Horton said that he regretted what he did and that his life had now changed forever.

Related Links

Police Nightjack blogger's identity revealed as Lancashire officer

(Blackburn Citizen)

'Ello 'ello 'ello. Blogging detective unmasked


No further action against blogger

(The Press Association)

Bloggers do not have the right to keep their identities secret, High Court rules


Ruling on NightJack author Richard Horton kills blogger anonymity

(Times Online)

No more action over police blog

(BBC News)

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.