I thought of an interesting legal conundrum this morning.

Was watching soccer on tv this morning, talking about racist abuse of soccer players on social media. I shan’t even bother on this issue – I very much doubt anybosy who thinks it is acceptable also reads my blog.

It crossed my mind that these players are all multi-millionaires, certainly at Premier League level. So, why can’t they find out who these abusers are, and take action privately?

I suppose the difficulty is getting social media companies to disclose the IP address from which the comment came. I’m sure it must be recorded. Certainly, it can be recorded. I can understand that you probably can’t use the UK courts, because the data will be held offshore, but these footballers are people of means – they can find out where the data is located, and take action in that jurisdiction.

Assuming that they could get that IP address, it’s easy enough to trace that back to an ISP. The ISP will know who and when that IP address was doled out to. The legal conundrum is how an individual can convince an ISP to disclose that information.

You normally assume that a member of the public can’t get at that information. Yet some people, or organisations, can. People in the UK have been arrested for hacking into US government sites, and the technical process there is exactly the same for finding the culprit. I can maybe understand that when the US government comes knocking, then doors are open. But I’m just a little bemused when a wodge of money doesn’t open those same doors.

It’s not even as if this is just a private prosecution. If these guys have suffered racist abuse, then surely the whole thing turns criminal?

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