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Australian Court Lets Lawyer Serve Papers Via Facebook

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the super-poked dept.

Social Networks 204

a302b writes "A Canberra lawyer has been permitted to serve legal documents via Facebook for a couple who defaulted on a loan. He claims he needed to do this because he was unable to track them down to a physical address. At what point does our online presence become 'real?' And what opportunities are available for fraud, if social networking sites are considered legal representations of ourselves, even when they can be anonymously created under any name?"

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Well (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26140975)

I'm surprised they even have lawyers in that colony of misfits.

Re:Well (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26141311)

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Australian Debt Recovery anything goes (5, Interesting)

tg123 (1409503) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141865)

I'm surprised they even have lawyers in that colony of misfits.

Your not too far wrong sadly enough.

This story is really about australian debt recovery. In australia short of actual physical violence you use any tactic you like to recover debt.

You can even make threaten violence and scare the sh*t out of someone to get your money and the court will let you get away with it.

this is a link to a few who got fined. NOTE: ONLY FINED

http://www.fairtrading.qld.gov.au/OFT/OFTWeb.nsf/Web+Pages/3C3C486D9B068FDF4A256FDC007E3CB5?OpenDocument&L1=News [qld.gov.au]

Re:Australian Debt Recovery anything goes (5, Informative)

digitalchinky (650880) | more than 5 years ago | (#26142441)

While I understand this is the usual mode of operation for debt collectors (from personal experience), they are actually very strictly bound to various legal codes, including codes of conduct. They violate them often at their own peril. They routinely end up in the courts for this activity, the problem is that for every agency that goes under for harassment, there are 30 more in the queue lining up to take over.

* a little bit unrelated to your post *

It's a pretty sleazy industry, if you're at the wrong end of one of their phone calls, simply tell them you will only communicate via the written word, and that you wont hesitate to go to the ACCC (And numerous other watchdogs) if they fail to abide by your directive to do so. Don't be afraid to do this either, you might be in debt, but you still have rights - and most of us do actually like to keep some shred of dignity about us, even in our worst moments.

Believe me, these bastards wont hesitate to tell everyone all about your financial situation, including your boss, your friends, family, their aim is to cause embarrassment and get a quick settlement - they get a cut of this, so it's in their interest to do it fast.

If you are in debt and really can't pay at their stupid rates, then you are actually better off going to court and discussing your options with a judge. They are far more understanding, compassionate, and willing to intervene so you can continue to live your life.

Back on topic, there have been other precedents to inform people of such things via the internet, it is rare, but it happens. I live in Asia now, it's even worse here, if they can't find you the law says they have to publish the details in a paper of general circulation - some of it is amusing to read, but mostly it's just sad.

But.... (4, Interesting)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 5 years ago | (#26140987)

How does he know that the person is infact the one he wants? It could be someone registering with a false name. No, I guess it could not be cause that is now illegal.

Re:But.... (3, Insightful)

Nasajin (967925) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141019)

Also, the fact that there are many people on facebook with the same name, let alone false ones. For many of my friends I was only able to track them down with email addresses, because there were too many other people with the same name.

Re:But.... (5, Informative)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141097)

Also, the fact that there are many people on facebook with the same name, let alone false ones. For many of my friends I was only able to track them down with email addresses,

Yes, but if you were looking for a couple on facebook & found (as the article states):

they listed their birth dates, full names, and they had listed each other as friends,

You'd probably be pretty confident that you'd found the right people hey?

For the record - I don't think anything other than in person should be a legal way to serve, but email is not superior to Facebook.

Re:But.... (1)

Nasajin (967925) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141175)

I don't think anything other than in person should be a legal way to serve, but email is not superior to Facebook.

Too true. I wonder about the crediblity of an legal document sent to someone with an email address. I mean, you'd be sending stuff addresses like "donglecrotch@example.com"...

Although... I'd love to see that appearing in court documents, permanently attached to someone's name.

Re:But.... (5, Insightful)

spazdor (902907) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141187)

You'd probably be pretty confident that you'd found the right people hey?

Well, I'd be confident that I'd found someone claiming to be the right people.

Re:But.... (2, Interesting)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 5 years ago | (#26142345)

More important than that, in Australia court papers need to be served in a manner that ensures the person being served is both given the information and also is aware that they are given it.

Sending papers by the mail for example is NOT considered good enough.

I don't see how this guy could guarantee that the users got proper notification that they did in fact get served the court papers. Short of getting the person to write a reply email confirming that they have indeed accepted the papers (which I would see as being as good as a signature on a sheriff's slip) I can't see how this can possibly stand up.

My understanding is that any ruling based on "being served" can be easily disputed if the party serving the papers cannot prove that the right person got the papers, and that they have proof that they got the papers. I cannot see that via facebook.

Re:But.... (5, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141225)

I wouldn't be so sure. Here in little nowhere AR I had to argue with a bank and several other businesses that I wasn't some other guy. Finally I tracked him down and we went together to straighten it out since he TOO had been getting stuff that was for ME. When we sat down together it turned out we had the same first and last names, our fathers and mothers had the same first and last names and the same middle initials. And to top it off his sister had the same name as mine(which my mom made up) so he called his mom and it turned out she was having his sister in the same hospital at the same time my mom was having mine, and when she overheard my mom talking with the nurses about the made up name she thought it was cute and named her girl the same!

So while I am sure that this lawyer probably has the right people, never underestimate the power of coincidence. After all if two people whose families have never met face to face could have so much in common in a little place like AR, imagine how many similar couples or families there could be on something as large as FB?

Re:But.... (5, Funny)

z-j-y (1056250) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141291)

some time traveler screwed it up.

Re:But.... (1)

Kooty-Sentinel (1291050) | more than 5 years ago | (#26142431)

Hiro Nakamura... is that you?

Re:But.... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26141345)

I used to live next door to a guy with the same first name and last name as my self, and it turns out my current girlfriend was flatting with him at the time as well. Much hilarity ensued when we found out.

Re:But.... (3, Interesting)

nextekcarl (1402899) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141355)

My dad ran into someone with the same first name, last name, and one of my middle names and when he talked to the guy a little more he found out we were born on the same day in the same hospital! This was a few years ago in a small town we lived in at the time (which is over 800 miles from the said hospital, so it is even more interesting.) The guy was just passing through town with his family, so I never met him (time travel paradox adverted!)

Re:But.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26141413)

>(time travel paradox adverted!)

The word you were looking for is "averted", not "adverted".

HTH. HAND.

Re:But.... (0, Offtopic)

Whiteox (919863) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141989)

3 stories.

1. I went into a cafe and saw an old friend that I haven't seen for years. I went up to his, grabbed him (ermm.. in a manly non-sexual way) and said "Larry! You old bugger! How's things hanging?" At which point I realised it wasn't Larry at all..... I felt like a dick.

2. Small country town. This pretty woman approached me and with a wided eyed look said "OMG! What are you doing here?" Eventually she admitted that I looked exactly like her gynecologist. (No nothing ensued).

3. After I completed uni, I went back for some reason or other and found out and was introduced to another person bearing my exact name (which is pretty unusual as my last name is spelt oddly).
He complained to me that I left such a legacy there that everyone would ask him "So YOU'RE that {firstname lastname} that I keep hearing about!"
Later, I discovered that he altered his last name to avoid confusion... True story.

{grin}

Re:But.... (1)

davolfman (1245316) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141629)

That's downright scary.

Re:But.... (0, Flamebait)

nog_lorp (896553) | more than 5 years ago | (#26142045)

What kind of bitch would hear someone saying "I came up with this totally unique name for my daughter, that will be hers alone and no one else's!" and jump to "I think I'll name my daughter that!"?

Re:But.... (1)

mellon (7048) | more than 5 years ago | (#26142059)

pics, or it didn't happen!

Re:But.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26142237)

But it doesn't count if the other guy was your brother and your parents gave you guys the same name.

Re:But.... (5, Interesting)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141427)

There was trouble tracing a problem with a person in our DB at a college I used to work in. They were listed in the system twice. Same Name, birthday, address, marital status, and age. In fact, the only difference was the social security number and gender. One had taken a few classes, one was full time. We spent forever tracking down the problem, assuming someone created a typo when they created the student record, then thought to call the phone number listed as their phone number (yep, same number) and they both came in. Husband and Wife were both named "Leslie" (Not common for a man, but not unheard of) both were born on the same day, in different states, and had been married for 25 years with children also attending the college. That day taught me a reminder I still keep around about jumping to conclusions. Sure, your 99.999% sure, but that leaves 1 out of 100,000, and someone has to be that one...

Re:But.... (1)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141619)

You know, women who have the same first name as their husband really need to buck the tradition of taking their husband's last name, if only to avoid confusion that, if added up, could easily waste a year of their life.

Of course, having a married couple with the same first name and different last name would also result in confusion. Just not as much.

Re:But.... (1)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141627)

Oh, and this is ignoring the fact, obviously, they could have the same last name to start with.

What would be a real hassle is if husband and wife had a last name that's pronounced the same but spelt different.

Re:But.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26142103)

Leaves me wondering why she didn't keep her name when they married

Re:But.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26141611)

In a bit of irony to this...

When I was growing up, we lived 40 miles away from another family where the parents had the same first name, last name, and middle initial as my parents (no relation). Not saying this invalidates what you are suggesting, but its not impossible that Archie & Janet are a different couple (names replaces as I am posting as AC).

Re:But.... (5, Insightful)

mr_matticus (928346) | more than 5 years ago | (#26142007)

For the record - I don't think anything other than in person should be a legal way to serve, but email is not superior to Facebook.

Why?

Personal service is preferred, and process servers go to extreme and often comical lengths to put the paper in your hand, but some people refuse to accept service. Should you have to continue a manhunt for a year, at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars, in order to exercise your legal rights? How would you feel if someone potentially owed you thousands or millions of dollars and you couldn't get it because they wouldn't open the door?

Like all forms of service other than personal service, it's a last resort after a documented showing of diligence. At some point, you're intentionally avoiding being served, because letters and messages have been left for you, and if that's the case, the notice function of service has been fulfilled. Like everything else in law, it's a balancing of competing needs. You also always have the opportunity to fight a default judgment if you can legitimately demonstrate that the dozens of attempted services were missed because you were actually, truly not available.

As you can imagine, the chances of you disappearing from society and leaving no trace of how to contact you with employers, neighbors, family, and friends is fairly small...unless you're running from something.

Re:But.... (4, Informative)

riprjak (158717) | more than 5 years ago | (#26142165)

For the record - I don't think anything other than in person should be a legal way to serve, but email is not superior to Facebook.

TFA Clearly states that the Court only allowed this because it was presented clear evidence that every other avenue had been attempted and exhausted to serve the couple. Our Courts have allowed in the past innovative approaches to serve papers where defendants have failed to respond to traditional means or attend court in their own defence.

Also note that courts in Australia have DENIED such requests in the past, as they were not convinced in those cases that other avenues had been exhausted.

This approach is not "legal" per se but rather only as instructed by the Court in this case; our Judges have discretion in cases where parties are evidently avoiding the serving of papers through "traditional" channels.

This is a story about a clever investigator providing a lawyer with another approach to serve papers after all available means had been tried and failed. And it worked, the day after this was publicised locally, lo and behold the folks in question re-appeared at the address they are about to be evicted from and basically confirmed that they had indeed been found.

err!
jak.

Re:But.... (1)

Swizec (978239) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141033)

I know you're trying to be sarcastic, but you're onto something now. Since that myspace chick got sentenced for fraud or whatnot because of registering under a false name then, legally, any name you put into facebook is either your real name and thus a legal representation of yourself, or you're a criminal and ... well, if they find the papers weren't properly served because the name wasn't real then ...

Oh I don't know. It's all become such a big mess, no wonder we need lawyers to clear up these things.

My real name is Spacecracker (1)

SpaceCracker (939922) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141115)

Honest to god. Cross my heart and hope to die. Would you consider me using a false name in this respectable site? Any legal documentation addressed to Spacecracker (me) can be delivered here. (sorry, I do not "live" in the land of Facebook).

Re:But.... (1)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141667)

Except that ex post facto laws are unconstitutional in the US. So if you put a false name in before the fraud act was passed, you're not breaking any laws.

Facebook no different to email. (4, Informative)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141063)

Yawn - Facebook is no different to email & US courts have served via email [nycourts.gov] in the past.

One crappy, lossy, non-guaranteed electronic communications medium vs another.

Re:Facebook no different to email. (4, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141159)

Actually, there is a difference. In general, you are pretty certain who an e-mail address goes to.

If the ISP is contacted to obtain a person's e-mail address, they can definitely provide the info, they can also match the user up with customer billing records. This information is fairly unlikely to be fake.

With e-mail, your address may also be exchanged in advance, i.e. through some other means of communication, so the person serving can show solid evidence that the e-mail address belongs to the person.

I.e. if the legal matter concerns copyright material posted on blah.example.com, and the WHOIS info for that domain lists the e-mail address, then there is PROOF that the e-mail address is provided by a person who controls the domain.

However, with facebook, the target party is found by a simple search for their name and (possibly geography).

Since multiple people have the same name, even in the same area, it is unreasonable to expect you have verifiably served the right person.

You may have accidentally sent the information to the wrong profile.

Also, the purpose of facebook (for many users) is simply to display profile information.

Many users don't expect to receive messages of any sort, so they don't check them.

This is in stark contrast to an e-mail service whose sole purpose is to receive messages, and is effective, so long as the account is not abandoned.

Re:Facebook no different to email. (4, Informative)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141243)

If the ISP is contacted to obtain a person's e-mail address, they can definitely provide the info, they can also match the user up with customer billing records. This information is fairly unlikely to be fake.

An ISP can provide an email address, but hardly anyone uses an ISP's email - they use one of the big webmail providers. So there's no guarantee the recipient will check their ISP provided mailbox.

However, with facebook, the target party is found by a simple search for their name and (possibly geography).

Since multiple people have the same name, even in the same area, it is unreasonable to expect you have verifiably served the right person.

Since this is slashdot, it is unreasonable of me to expect you to have read the article - so here's the relevant quote:

McCormack argued that he knew he found the right people online because they listed their birth dates, full names, and they had listed each other as friends

Re:Facebook no different to email. (1)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141661)

All of this is stupid. It's impossible to prove they've actually read the summons without the cooperation of facebook. Sure, you can tell when someone has logged in, but not that they've read some message.

And if you have facebook's cooperation, obviously, you should just get their IP and email address and track them down in person.

The courts really shouldn't be letting papers be served in any way but in person.

Re:Facebook no different to email. (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26142021)

An ISP can provide an email address, but hardly anyone uses an ISP's email

I happen to know that a lot of people do use ISP provided e-mail addresses.

I don't have precise statistics on the use of web-based mail services. They are popular, particularly for secondary throwaway mailboxes.

But a lot of people won't touch those services due to the excessive ads, slow user interfaces, and not being able to use Outlook Express, or their favorite mail client with them.

Since this is slashdot, it is unreasonable of me to expect you to have read the article - so here's the relevant quote:... McCormack argued that he knew he found the right people online because they listed their birth dates, full names, and they had listed each other as friends

So?

That doesn't make Facebook the same as e-mail.

He has know way of knowing that a facebook message is likely to be seen.

Someone who uses e-mail definitely has to check their messages to participate in e-mail.

In fact: if they don't, on free services, the account is expired and deleted.

So the fact the account still exists 90 days or so after the message was sent is essentially proof that the recipient has checked their e-mail.

An issue that remains is (though), the message may never have been viewable, spam filters may have stopped it from reaching recipient's inbox.

This is equivalent to trying to serve someone by postal mail, but the message gets lost in the mail.

Without a return receipt, there is no acknowledgement of receiving.

Which brings me to a final difference between facebook and e-mail:

With e-mail the sender can request a return receipt, so that (in general), they actually get feedback when the recipient opens the message.

Proof of delivery to the mailbox is also available (via mail server logs)

A web application offers no real proof. There is no delivery protocol or well-known software involved that assures actual successful delivery of the message. For example, an error in Facebook's custom application may prevent the message from ever having arrived, even though the sender thought it did.

Re:Facebook no different to email. (1)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 5 years ago | (#26142155)

He has know way of knowing that a facebook message is likely to be seen.

The same way that he has no way of knowing that an email message has been seen by the intended recipient.

Read receipts, server logs, etc, etc do not actually show the intended recipient read an email.

A web application offers no real proof.

I wasn't arguing that it did. Neither email nor Facebook offer proof.

Oh - and at the risk of dragging this convo offtopic, all three big webmail providers allow you to read your email through outlook/thunderbird/other offline mail client.

Re:Facebook no different to email. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26141709)

I host my own email for several domains.

Which email address am I legally required to check to make sure I get the documents?

Is the email "received" as soon as my server receives it, as soon as my client receives it, or as soon as my eyeballs receive it? What method is used to determine this has happened?

Is the law firm's email configured correctly to make it past my spam filters (responding correctly to 450's, using a real fqdn, spf set up correctly or not at all, makes it past bayesian filtering, rbls, etc)?

Am I now legally required to keep logs tracking what happens with every single personal email I receive (even those that are rejected at HELO?

What if I share that email address with my entire family and my kid deletes it? Have I been served?

There's no significant difference. Serving someone by email is as stupid as serving someone by Facebook. There is absolutely no method to be verify the communication was received by the correct party at any given time.

Re:Facebook no different to email. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26141217)

If I got something like that in email it would most likely be marked as spam and deleted unread just like everything else that claims to be from some busisness etc. Email is a very dumb place for such and there should never be anything legally binding involved with it as most can never even authenticate the source properly. If this gets to be an accepted method then it will no doubt lead to a lot of fake notices for spam delivery.

It is perhaps time for someone to code an exploit to infect some law firm's computers and send out some bogus legal shit to some congressmen and senators. That might help get rid of some of this stupidity.

Yes, but don't you SEE?! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26142035)

This was in AUSTRALIA! kdawson LOVES Australia. It's why Australian stories on Slashdot massively outnumber all other non US-related stories combined.

It doesn't matter that the "stories" fit the criteria "News for Nerds" and "Stuff That Matters" about as well as, say, a page 4 article in the Crescent Valley High School Bugle about freshman quarterback Mark Wilson's missing jockstrap.

Maybe the owners of Slashdot need to hire editors in countries other than the USA and Australia so that the rest of the world is fairly represented at last. The American-centric focus of yore has been replaced with an even worse pro-Australian bias.

fuck off seppo (1)

Shturmovik (632314) | more than 5 years ago | (#26142227)

are you worried because Oz is pushing you off the stage? maybe if you were'nt all a pack of morbidly obese bible bashers you would still be relivent. how do you expect to rule the world when you cant even see your fucking feet becuase of the huge rolls of blubber in the way? its good that you still worship fairies and goblins on sundays coz you'll have someone to talk to when the rest of the world stops giving a rats arse about the United Fat God Botherers of America and has turned to the United States of Australia for leadership and culture instead. oooo no it's happening allready!!!! poor seppo wankers! lol.

LEGAL PAPERS--OPEN ATTACHMENT IMMEDIATELY (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 5 years ago | (#26142359)

Would YOU even read email with a subject line like that? I've deleted spam like that three times without ever reading it.

Re:Facebook no different to email. (3, Funny)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#26142403)

One crappy, lossy, non-guaranteed electronic communications medium vs another.

Email version:
Deposition Subpoena to Testify
GREETINGS: YOU ARE HEREBY COMMANDED TO SUBPOENA AND SUMMON THE FOLLOWING WITNESS:
John Doe of 53 Sanity Street SanesVillie

Facebook version
lolz. Hey John. U been summ'd to Court. cu there. haha. sucker!

Re:But.... (1)

Xaoswolf (524554) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141183)

Well, I'm guessing you can determine it from who they are friends with. You can check recent activity to see if it is indeed active. If the Wall is full of posts asking who the hell they are, then it may be fake, if it is full of posts from friends and family talking about the fun times that they had last night, then it is probably legit. If the person left an email address with the debtor and that email address is linked to the facebook, that would probably help out as well...

The real problem would be in how do you prove that they got the legal documents without getting a subpeona for the records from Facebook. With registered mail, a signature is required, but with facebook messages, there is no proof unless facebook releases the logs showing that it was read.

Re:But.... (1)

cromar (1103585) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141273)

Of course, we don't know if those friends and family members are real ;)

Wha? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26140993)

Dumb sonsabitches still bite into that "social networking" fad? I thought it was just for teenage girls and the pederasts who pretend to be them.

Somewhat reasonable (3, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26140995)

If the couple was in hiding but was maintaining an active presence on Facebook, then I can see how this would be reasonable. The lawyer was required to deliver the papers to the last known address is addition to serving notice via Facebook. Interesting, the profile disappeared after the papers were served...

Of course, it will still be up to the judge to decide if the experiment was a success. If he decides that the papers were not properly served even after allowing it, he won't give a summary judgment. Alternatively, the judgment could be vacated if the couple later challenges the judgment and the next judge finds that papers were not properly served.

(IANAL, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn express once!)

Re:Somewhat reasonable (2, Funny)

danpat (119101) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141037)

I also am not a lawyer, but my housemate is, and he agrees with you.

Re:Somewhat reasonable (3, Funny)

DuranDuran (252246) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141203)

IANALBMHI?

Re:Somewhat reasonable (2, Funny)

Zwicky (702757) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141453)

If I ever get sued for anything I am so working that line into my defense.

Re:Somewhat reasonable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26141367)

I worked with a company developing a Facebook app about a year or so ago. If I remember correctly, there's no way to know if a message has been received by the member.

Things may have changed now, but not being sure it was the right people coupled with not being sure that the papers even got to the people who may not be the right people seems pretty messed up.

One more reason (2, Insightful)

VonSkippy (892467) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141003)

Reason #9,382,329 NOT to waste time on those stupid "social" networking sites.

Re:One more reason (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26141161)

Or at least to not have your profile open to other members of your network - espically when that network is one called "Australia"

Re:One more reason (1)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141693)

Yeah, regional networks are sorta stupid. I mean, I belong to the 'Atlanta' one, despite living over 100 miles away...but I've gone through and set almost all my information to just friends, with my high school and college allowed to 'friends of friends' just in case they think they know me but aren't sure. Networks get nothing.

It's incredibly dumb to use the default and let anyone who just asserts they live in the same region as you have access to your information. Any information.

As far as I know, people can join as many regional networks as they want, as often as they want, so with a few logical deductions about you they could figure out what networks you're in, join them, and see all that stuff.

What next? (1)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141017)

A flushing WC in the woods for our friends of the Ursine persuasion?

Wait, via Facebook? (4, Interesting)

strredwolf (532) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141047)

Couldn't the lawyer request Facebook give up the goods on the couple?

Re:Wait, via Facebook? (1)

SpaceCracker (939922) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141177)

Couldn't the lawyer request Facebook give up the goods on the couple?

Yeah, they probably registered their home address in Facebook as 17 Main street, Disneyland or something of the sort. (and phone # 234-DONALD)

Re:Wait, via Facebook? (1)

HJED (1304957) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141587)

No, Facebook is not hosted in Australia

Re:Wait, via Facebook? (2, Informative)

WallyDrinkBeer (1136165) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141761)

I'm sure Facebook would be happy to supply IP/date-time details if they were Chinese bloggers. Alas, they are just Australian deadbeats.

Re:Wait, via Facebook? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26142321)

Well, when the cops got to 1060 W Addison they weren't able to find the couple.

WTF -- this is OLD news (0, Troll)

hardcorejon (31717) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141095)

fer chrissakes, i read about this during my morning commute -- on the AP news iphone app.

Slashdot used to break news, now they rehash stuff that the MSM picked up 12 hours earlier, very disappointing. get with the times dudes.

    - jonathan.

Re:WTF -- this is OLD news (4, Funny)

hardcorejon (31717) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141197)

ah, if only there were a "troll but true" comment rating.

Re:WTF -- this is OLD news (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26141417)

this place is so fucking gay anymore it hurts my ass. i'm sick of the shit around here and that bitch cmdr dildo doesnt do shit about it because he's rolling in the cash.

Re:WTF -- this is OLD news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26141649)

ah, if only there were a "troll but true" comment rating..

Re:WTF -- this is OLD news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26142439)

I'm sorry, but someone who uses "anymore" in the positive rather than in the negative can't possibly be speaking truth. They're speaking gibberish.

Poke! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26141099)

poke poke poke

o btw when you poked me you agreed to the 5$ fee for each poke, plus a 5$ return-poke fee. plus taxes. you owe me $42.80

Re:Poke! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26141339)

OK, what's your address, I'll mail you the money!

Signed, not a process server...

This could be used for (3, Insightful)

gregbot9000 (1293772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141169)

a new type of spam.

The question I have is how dose he know they read it? As I understand it, the key is making sure the person knows they have been served.

Re:This could be used for (4, Interesting)

jamesh (87723) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141605)

That's a very valid point.

"Yes your Honor, I do recall receiving a message with that subject/content but I deleted it assuming it was spam or a virus. After all, what kind of an idiot would serve a legal document via Facebook?".

Aside from the fact that inferring that a judge is an idiot is seldom a good idea, it would appear to be a valid assumption - it's what I would do if I saw an email with a subject that looked like it contained a legal document (or any attachment from someone I didn't know), and ditto for a facebook message if I had a facebook account.

Internet Filtering is the Answer (1)

innocence18 (897646) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141207)

Hopefully when we get our mandatory internet censorship that Stephen Conroy wants they will blacklist Facebook and we can finally put an end to this sort of stupidity.

Proven by the RIAA (2, Interesting)

BearGrylls (1388063) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141209)

If nothing else, the RIAA has proven that the end of online anonymity is coming. Why is anyone surprised that this is happening? It's sketchy, and from what I understand barely legal, but it's gaining momentum.

Re:Proven by the RIAA (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26141247)

serves you right, you fucking thieves. get a job and pay for music bitches.

That wasn't me... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26141259)

If someone tried to serve me via Facebook, they wouldn't be serving me--they'd be serving someone who created a fake Facebook account in my name and posted a bunch of my pictures.

E-mail? That damn hosting provider of mine keeps losing e-mail; I must have never gotten it.

If you want me, you'll have to use Certified Mail or serve me in person. :-)

As a sysadmin, I had one extremely difficult user who would e-mail me with "read receipt" AND "delete receipt" so she could time my replies from the moment I read her messages. Of course, I declined every single receipt from her. I'm just thankful the higher-ups running the Exchange server required permission to send receipts...

Re:That wasn't me... (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141507)

I'm just thankful the higher-ups running the Exchange server required permission to send receipts...

Tools > Options > E-mail Options > Tracking Options.

It's not your system administrators who make that decision.

Re:That wasn't me... (2, Informative)

jamesh (87723) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141657)

It's not your system administrators who make that decision.

Just about all such settings are enforceable via group policy these days, and as such can be 'enforced' by your system administrator. It's easy enough to get around though that I don't think it would stand up in a court of law.

Re:That wasn't me... (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141635)

It's even easier than that. You saw the message but assumed it was spam and deleted it without reading it. It's possible to prove that the email made it to your inbox (assuming someone, somewhere is keeping logs), but it's not possible to prove that your lack of response was anything other than that you assumed it was spam and deleted it.

It makes me a bit mad that someone would try and get out of their debts by just hiding, but me getting mad doesn't make this solution any more valid, and if someone tried it on me they'd get stonewalled.

Re:That wasn't me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26141679)

And if someone would have tried that, even if the higher ups would have required permission, it wouldn't have left my workstation.

I pull from the server over pop3s. My client isn't Outlook and ignores server policy altogether.

Necessary or Just Cheap? (1)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141265)

"He claims he needed to do this because he was unable to track them down to a physical address."

He's not necessarily supposed to be able to. That what they hire investigators for, and process servers to deliver them. My money says he just wanted to keep as much of his money as he could.

The usual excuses will now be compounded with the excuses familiar to anyone who's been on line for long: "I downloaded it with my email, but it got corrupted." "My hard drive crashed" "Someone hacked into my computer/account and" [deleted it/I thought they faked it/they put that page up, that was never me to begin with/etc.] "I haven't used that account for X amount of time" "My hard drive crashed" (yes, that gets used enough to bear repeating) "You must have sent it to the wrong account because I never saw it" "It was in some format I couldn't read; I only use FooBar format".

Anyone who really wants to avoid it will make sure one or more of those are true when it comes to telling the court why they didn't respond, and very few will be available that will be able to prove otherwise.

At what point isn't an online presence 'real'? (4, Interesting)

Zadaz (950521) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141287)

What trog wrote the summary?

Most of my clients know me only via phone number, email address, or chat alias. I still produce work and they still pay me.

My bank and my credit cards knows me by a made up user name. They still let me move my money around.

Amazon only knows me by a made up name and they trust me enough to take my money and ship goods to some address I just gave them.

The only thing controversial about serving documents via Facebook is that I don't know how you can verify delivery, which is kind of the whole point of serving papers.

Re: At what point isn't an online presence 'real'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26141449)

My bank and my credit cards knows me by a made up user name. They still let me move my money around.

Not true. Your bank knows who you are. Banks in all civilized countries (even Switzerland) are required to "know your client" to prevent money laundering and other financial crimes.

Having established who you are (by some reasonable means), the bank then allows you to use other means (credit cards, online banking) for transactions. But the transactions are still tied to you.

Amazon only knows me by a made up name and they trust me enough to take my money and ship goods to some address I just gave them.

And behind the scenes, Amazon and other large retails have programs to combat detect fraud.

Re: At what point isn't an online presence 'real'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26141561)

what's so uncivil about money laundering?

it's really backward and barbaric to forbid drug sale, gambling, pimping, and moving hard earned cash anywhere anonymously.

Post Anonymously for obvious reason.

Re: At what point isn't an online presence 'real'? (3, Insightful)

Jessta (666101) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141549)

In Australia to get a bank account you have to provide 100 points of ID. So my bank knows who I am.
Amazon is a company that provides a service, they don't care who you are as long as they get their money(eg. like a supermarket etc.).

I imagine your clients would regret not having more information about your identity if they paid you and you failed to produce the work required.

Online identity could be the same as physical identity if online services required you to actually provide some form of identification(eg. credit card number, copy of driver's license, etc.) although I've always been horrified at how little is required to prove one's identity and how much that identity gains you.

If I received papers via Facebook I'd just ignore them, as there is not way anyone else could know whether I received them, or that the account was actually me.

- Jesse McNelis

Re: At what point isn't an online presence 'real'? (1)

B4D BE4T (879239) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141645)

Most of my clients know me only via phone number, email address, or chat alias. I still produce work and they still pay me.

I'm sure you have enough of their info to find them in case they ever fail to pay you for the work that you do. And I'm sure that they would have a fairly easy time finding you if they paid you and you failed to do the work promised (follow the money trail).

My bank and my credit cards knows me by a made up user name. They still let me move my money around.

If you're in the US, they have your SS number. They probably also have a lot of other info like address, phone number, birth certificate, etc. If by "made up user name" you mean your online banking username or your credit card/account number, these are all linked to that other info so they can find you if they need to.

Amazon only knows me by a made up name and they trust me enough to take my money and ship goods to some address I just gave them.

They take the money before they ship the goods. As long as they receive money before they release their goods, they are happy.

The online presence becomes "real" when the owner must be found for legal purposes. A Facebook account obviously was not designed so that it could be traced to the owner/creator of the account. The author's point was that these anonymous accounts should not be allowed to be used for legal purposes.

Re: At what point isn't an online presence 'real'? (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 5 years ago | (#26142161)

The online presence becomes "real" when the owner must be found for legal purposes. ...

To quote Vulcan metaphysics: nothing unreal exists.

An online presence becomes real the moment it is created.

Re: At what point isn't an online presence 'real'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26142265)

seems controversial enough, no?

Facebook? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26141333)

That's so Web 2.0.

Served implies received? (1)

trimCoder (954838) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141387)

I am interested in how they determine that it was received? If I have a facebook account but have not logged for 3 months then how can anyone claim receipt of the documents?

text of summons (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26141445)

U R SERVED!! U lamers 2 appear B4 judge Dec 19 700 hrs re home loan U "forgot" 2 repay.

G'day.

possible (1)

z-j-y (1056250) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141501)

we need cryptology based authentication, signature and receipt.

none of this OpenID or Facebook Connect crap. God damn it it has been 30 years since they solved the problem theoretically.

virtual identity crisis (1)

blad3runn69 (1022135) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141569)

maybe they should look for them in habbo hotel. Serving papers through facebook is a joke. How can you be certain a) it is the person b) they ever see the notice. Fail. Also most social networking sites are evolving increased level of profile privacy so this method will be rendered redundant anyway.

He serves them on Facebook... then what? (1)

superdave80 (1226592) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141735)

So the judge went for this whole stupid 'serve them over the interwebs' thing (idiot). Now what? What happens if they don't show up in court? Default judgment? What good is that if the guy can't find them in the first place? He still won't be able to collect on the default judgment. And even if they do find them, they will just say, "Papers? What papers? And what the heck is 'facebook'?

The judge should have put his foot down and said, "Find them, serve them, then come back into my court. Otherwise, you are just wasting everybody's time."

Re:He serves them on Facebook... then what? (1)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141945)

RTFA. (Hint: home loan).

Re:He serves them on Facebook... then what? (1)

superdave80 (1226592) | more than 5 years ago | (#26142323)

Please enlighten us as to how 'home loan' will help find these people. THEY TRIED SERVING PAPERS TO THE HOME!!!

FTFA

Attorney Mark McCormack was assigned to the case and unsuccessfully attempted to contact the couple several times at their home,...

I think it is hilarious that you thought you'd be cool by throwing a 'RTFA' at me, when you clearly didn't.

Re:He serves them on Facebook... then what? (1)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 5 years ago | (#26142017)

So the judge went for this whole stupid 'serve them over the interwebs' thing (idiot). Now what? What happens if they don't show up in court? Default judgment?

Default judgement has already happened in this case, the papers that were eventually "delivered" via Facebook were ones informing them that the default judgement had been rendered against them.

I suppose they could appeal this but that would probably require actually turning up in front of it which doesn't seem to be the way they work.

Re:He serves them on Facebook... then what? (1)

superdave80 (1226592) | more than 5 years ago | (#26142357)

Ah, I didn't read the AFP link in the main article. But it makes me wonder: How were the first set of papers served to the couple to get the default judgment? And why would a second set of papers need to be served?

And it still doesn't seem to matter. They served the couple two sets of papers, and they still can't find them. What happens now?

habbo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26141853)

maybe they should look for them in habbo hotel. Serving papers through facebook is a joke. How can they be certain a) it is the person b) they ever see the notice. Fail. Also most social networking sites are evolving increased level of profile privacy so this method will be rendered redundant anyway. At least outlook has read receipt notification ;)

What advantage does the legal notice server get? (3, Insightful)

userw014 (707413) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141857)

So, what advantage does the server of the legal notice get from this? What is to prevent him from creating a false identity in order to advance the legal process towards confiscating the property? What is to prevent someone from filing a false claim against someone, using a falsely created set of identities to serve notice to?

No worries. (5, Funny)

sootman (158191) | more than 5 years ago | (#26141931)

They can just pay back the loan with WoW gold.

.....no way.... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26141947)

This can not be happening.....this is just opening the doorway to huge scams and total bullshit...if we cant escape the real world for just a bit to chat to friends and relax then we are totally controlled by the laws....we will never have a time to ourself's if we are getting stalked by financial institutions in our private friendly place.

Just fuck off!

As Stan Would Say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26142381)

"Dude! That's pretty fucked up right there"

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