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Privacy vs the right to know – how far is too far?

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How much do we really want to know about a professional footballer who’s ‘allegedly’ had an affair with a reality TV star? Do we really care about it, or are we interested simply because the player in question didn’t want us to know and used his wealth and influence to try and stop us finding out?

Would there really have been as much interest on Twitter if he’d just held his hands up and admitted to the affair, like many thousands of people do every year? Or should he be allowed to use his wealth, influence and the weight of the courts to protect his privacy in such matters?

I’ve a long held belief in the freedom of speech and I don’t think power, privilege and wealth should give someone the right to try and stop information being posted in the public domain. The people that are now coming out and saying we need to control the internet are the very same people who’ve criticised regimes who endeavour to restrict what the general population consume in terms of news, views and opinion.

As for trying to find out who the 75,000 Twitter users were that named the player, doesn’t this smack slightly of hypocrisy? Surely, the 75,000 Twitter users who named the player are entitled to their privacy too?

The internet has been a great success in promoting campaigns that provide endless good for communities and individuals, together with exposing and bringing down some of the very regimes that try to repress public opinion and freedom of speech.

Therefore, is it right that the antics of a footballer – or indeed anyone else who chooses to earn their living by being a high profile figure – should give the courts and law-makers the right to try and restrict what is published and consumed online?

Of course there have to be controls over some of the vile, illegal rubbish that is peddled online, and these people need to face the full weight of the law – but seriously, halting freedom of speech on the internet because of a few celebrity ‘misdemeanours’ seems a trifle harsh to me – but I’m happy to debate the subject! Let me know what you think below.
 

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