A cross-party Commons and Lords committee has today told the government that it should consider introducing legislation to better protect the online privacy of those who have been granted injunctions in court.
The report was delivered with cases such as Ryan Giggs in mind. The footballer obtained an injunction to keep details of an affair secret last year, but the spread of knowledge online rendered a media black-out on the mention of his name pretty much irrelevant.
The committee didn't call for new privacy laws - and in fact warned against them. However, the report did give both barrels to Google, along with other sites such as Twitter and Facebook, for not doing enough to maintain injunctions online.
According to the Guardian, the committee stated: "Google and other search engines should take steps to ensure that their websites are not used as vehicles to breach the law and should actively develop and use such technology. We recommend that if legislation is necessary to require them to do so it should be introduced."
The panel approved the high court injunction process, and insisted the law be applied to social networks, as it was with newspapers. The Attorney General was urged to be more proactive in launching contempt of court claims against Internet users who breach privacy injunctions online.
The committee also believes Google should be forced to monitor and censor its search results so injunction-breaching material isn't returned to searchers. The search engine quite rightly argued that this threatened the freedom of information online, but the committee called Google's objections to filtering "totally unconvincing".