So Cameron Slater is off to the High Court today, aided by a very capable Barrister, John Billington QC.
Mr Billington is not cheap. Slater’s Whaleoil site must be very profitable, presuming that he is actually paying Billington’s fees. Steven Joyce denied this morning that the National Party has had anything to do with the litigation. But the circumstances make you wonder who is paying for the case.
I suspect that Slater’s prospects against the unknown fourth defendant are very good. After all if someone hacks your website and downloads your data there should be a legal remedy.
His prospects against the media are not so good. As long as the media confirm that personal emails should remain private then the Judge may be tempted to allow at least the Jason Ede emails to be published. After all a great amount of detail about these emails has been published. And Slater has (hasn’t he?) claimed that at least the Facebook messages are forged and the need for an injunction to prevent the spreading of a falsehood that can be disproved should not be necessary. Slater may however be able to get an interim injunction so that the matter can be properly argued.
But Slater has talked repeatedly on his blog about the Streisand effect, “the phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely, usually facilitated by the Internet.” I wonder if he thought of this when he filed his case.
There is a strong hint of hypocrisy in Slater engaging in this action. He claimed that going into the Labour Party server and downloading its CMS data is somehow different to the hacker going into Cameron’s computer and downloading a copy of his email.
He has also refused to respect Matt Blomfield’s rights of privacy while he now asserts his own rights of privacy in very similar circumstances.
The last person that I am aware of who tried to injunct an unknown person to prevent the release of private information was Don Brash. That did not end well. Time till tell if Cameron Slater and co will face a similar fate.