Some sections the UK political blogosphere and of the newspapers, are discussing the implications of the recent failed attempt by a blogger to obtain an injunction preventing The Times newspaper from publishing his name as the author of an "insider,"on the job" blog based on his experiences as a serving Police Detective Constable
See the ruling by Mr. Justice Eady: The Author of A Blog v Times Newspapers Ltd  EWHC 1358 (QB) (16 June 2009)
Justice Eady's ruling does not really change the legal privacy protection currently enjoyed by bloggers in the UK i.e. none whatsoever.
Bloggers are threatened by the UK's appalling "libel tourism" laws, which favour rich people can afford the financial legal risk of large legal fees, and by various repressive bits of UK Government legislation for "national security" or "serious organised crime" purposes, but which have been used for political purposes, or to harass critics of the Police and the bureaucracy.
Perhaps insider police, or other public service, "on the job" blogs will now become even rarer, as a result of the revelation of Detective Constable Richard Horton identity as the author of the Night Jack blog.
N.B. you can still see many of the entries by subscribing to it via an RSS feed aggregator like Bloglines , even though the Wordpress hosted blog has been nominally deleted.
To "delete" a blog more thoroughly, each of the entries should have first been censored and then re-published, to infect the RSS feed caches with an updated censored or blanked out version of each article, and then the blog can be deleted or unpublished, with less of a persistent data shadow. Even so, there will still be many copies of the now embarrassing or offending blog somewhere on the internet.
Such ongoing "on the job" blogs, are not usually primarily for whistleblowing purposes, but they do give a valuable picture of life at the sharp end of such public service organisations,
Where they highlight or just hint at abuses and incompetence, such blogs should actually be read and acted upon by the senior management (and external regulators) of such organisations, not just suppressed and covered up.
However, The Times newspaper has further damaged its reputation over this affair, because it is not at all clear that there is any public interest in "naming and shaming" the author of this blog, and they were simply wrong to manufacture this "story" in the first place.
The reporter Patrick Foster, whose byline accompanies the story, also has a history of "breaking the rules":
The BBC reported that Patrick Foster was rusticated from Oxford University in 2005
Oxford pair suspended for hacking
for having, with an accomplice,
infiltrated the university's computer systems and said they were able to view live closed circuit material and access information about students' computer use.
Why should any whistleblower or other confidential journalistic source trust Patrick Foster, Media Correspondent or any of the other journalists at The Times ?
If what Patrick Foster claims, in a follow up article, Writer advised on how to evade long arm of the law is true
Mr Horton was adamant that he had taken great pains to keep his identity secret. But on his blog, he also described his visits to a jiu-jitsu club, adding a hyperlink to the website of the organising body for the martial art. Lancashire Constabulary jiu-jitsu club lists only one member who is a detective -- Detective Constable Richard Horton.
Mr Horton was also a member of a number of social networking websites. Those who logged on to his account on the Facebook website could follow posts written by his brother, Roger, who currently lives in Texas. The pair had conducted a conversation about the blog on a publicly accessible part of the website.
then it appears that Richard Horton did not really go to any great lengths to hide his identity online, apart from using a pseudonym, and shared blog space in the USA, especially since since he linked to various social networking sites etc. and mentioned details which were very specific to his local, Lancashire based private life.
Obviously there are other, somewhat more cumbersome and stealthier ways of publishing information - see Spy Blog's Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers etc. - Technical Hints and Tips for protecting the anonymity of sources for Whistleblowers, Investigative Journalists, Campaign Activists and Political Bloggers etc. (and other political opponents of Gordon Brown).
The Times' claims that the details and opinions published by Night Jack about some notorious local criminals, somehow might have been a breach of confidence etc, which might, in theory prejudice a fair trial, seems to be rather far fetched.
However it was only after the criminal trials were over, and the names and details of the offences were publicised by other local newspapers, that Patrick Foster was able to link the names and offences, to the opinions and anonymised skeleton facts, published on the Night Jack blog.
Spy Blog agrees with Mr. Justice Eady that it would have been wrong for Night Jack / Richard Horton's attempt at getting an injunction to muzzle the The Times to have succeeded, since whenever the Law meddles with free speech and privacy issues, there always seem to be second order knock on effects, way beyond the specific case,
There is no benefit to society as a whole, in giving "meedja reputation" lawyers like Schillings any more legalistic tricks and threats to use to try to suppress bloggers rights.
If Mr. Justice Eady is correct that
10. ... Although the Claimant here is not a journalist, the function he performs via his blog is closely analogous. I see no greater justification for a reasonable expectation of anonymity in this case than in that concerning Mr Mahmood.
11. I consider that the Claimant fails at stage one, because blogging is essentially a public rather than a private activity.
then surely this could and should be applied to anonymous Whitehall public relations spokesmen, briefers, spin doctors and lobbyists as well ?
Presumably they cannot now expect to get a legal injunction to suppress the "detective work" by other journalists or bloggers, who might expose their names "in the public interest" ?
Will this ruling affect our, and other people's, Freedom of Information of Information Act requests, where the names and or job titles of civil servants are redacted or censored ?
Other informed coverage of this case: