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In Court? Be Careful What You Post On Facebook

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the post-only-pics-of-your-favorite-caskets dept.

Privacy 147

mbone writes "Going to court? Seeking damages for injuries? Be careful what you post on Facebook (and, presumably, elsewhere). In the first case of its kind (analyzed in the Courtroom Strategy blog), a Suffolk County, NY Judge allowed a defendant in a personal injury lawsuit to obtain access to the Facebook profile of the plaintiff suing them, saying 'Plaintiff has no legitimate reasonable expectation of privacy.' You have been warned. I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice, but I would expect this to become common." Readers might be reminded of the Canadian case reported last year of a woman whose cheerful Facebook pictures led an insurance company to yank coverage.

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The Plaintiff? (1)

Reilaos (1544173) | more than 3 years ago | (#33696566)

That's pretty strange. It's almost as if he's the one on trial.

Re:The Plaintiff? (5, Insightful)

boxwood (1742976) | more than 3 years ago | (#33696618)

Yeah its almost as is the Defendant was trying to defend himself by proving the Plaintiff wasn't really injured.

Re:The Plaintiff? (5, Informative)

x_IamSpartacus_x (1232932) | more than 3 years ago | (#33696820)

I agree with you and think this isn't that big of a deal.

I've tried to look into the details of this and this is what I've come up with.
A woman named "Romano" is suing Steelcase Inc for some kind of personal injury and is seeking damages to pay her for "loss of enjoyment of life". The judge granted Steelcase Inc the ability to look into Romano's personal files to show that she's not telling the truth in her claims of injury "especially her claims for loss of enjoyment of life". Here's the court order. [state.ny.us]

The present application was brought on by Order to Show Cause. The Court has reviewed the submissions both in favor of and in opposition to the relief sought, as well as the applicable federal statutory law, specifically the Stored [*2]Communications Act, 18 U.S.C. 2701 et seq., which prohibits an entity, such as Facebook and MySpace from disclosing such information without the consent of the owner of the account (see, 18 U.S.C. 2702(b)(3); Flagg v City of Detroit, 252 FRD 352 [ED Mich 2008]).

In the "Stored Communications Act 18 U.S.C section 2701 subsection (a) article (1) basically says you can't go snooping around in other people's facebook/myspace/emails but subsection (c) article (3) says section 2703 shows some exceptions. Here's 2701. [cornell.edu]
Hop over to section 2703 and in subsection (b) article (1) subsection (B) subsection (ii) says you can get a court order as long as you follow article 2703 subsection (d) which give the rules for a court order. Basically if the plaintiff “specific and articulable facts showing that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the contents of a wire or electronic communication, or the records or other information sought, are relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation” then they can go for it.
Now the only thing that I can see that can derail this is if this isn’t a criminal investigation. Otherwise this isn’t a revolutionary ruling and it’s completely within the bounds of the letter of the law.
Here's 2703. [cornell.edu]

If you’re going to sue someone for personal injury don’t post things online that contradict what you’re claiming in court. Not that hard to figure that out.

Re:The Plaintiff? (2, Insightful)

Jurily (900488) | more than 3 years ago | (#33696942)

Hop over to section 2703 and in subsection (b) article (1) subsection (B) subsection (ii) says you can get a court order as long as you follow article 2703 subsection (d)

No, at this point you give up and ask a lawyer. Wanna bet there's another text somewhere that further qualifies this?

Re:The Plaintiff? (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 3 years ago | (#33697702)

Speaking of lawyers... the judge said "I am not a lawyer." How do you get to be a judge, then? I always thought judges were promoted from the ranks of lawyers... can you go to university to study judgification?

Re:The Plaintiff? (1)

bruce_the_loon (856617) | more than 3 years ago | (#33697774)

That line is from the poster, not the judge. The judge said what in the quotes.

Re:The Plaintiff? (2, Insightful)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#33697598)

"Yeah its almost as is the Defendant was trying to defend himself by proving the Plaintiff wasn't really injured."

Odd, I thought it was "innocent until proven guilty." Shouldn't the plaintiff be the one who proves that the defendant injured them? The defendant shouldn't have to prove that they didn't injure them.

Re:The Plaintiff? (3, Interesting)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 3 years ago | (#33697694)

This is a civil, not criminal, hearing, right? In that case there's none of this 'beyond reasonable doubt' and 'innocent until proven guilty' stuff, you just have to show that you've got a bit of a point. That's why ridiculous things happen like some sports star being charged of rape, successfully defending the charge in criminal court, and then being immediately sued in a civil court for damages over the 'emotional trauma' caused by the rape that no-one could prove even happened.

Regardless, if you're being charged with permanently injuring someone, while the onus of proof is on them to show that you did it, it may well be quicker, cheaper easier to show that they're not, in fact, injured, than it would be to wait for them to produce some sort of evidence and then rebut that evidence.

Re:The Plaintiff? (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#33697898)

Yeah, it does make it quicker, but I was just saying that it would be completely idiotic if they would expect the defendant to prove that they didn't do what they were being accused of.

if you dont want anyone on the internet to know (5, Insightful)

sakura the mc (795726) | more than 3 years ago | (#33696568)

then stop posting shit on the internet.

Re:if you dont want anyone on the internet to know (4, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#33696746)

But Facebook has all sorts of privacy controls so that only my friends can see stuff!

What we have is a can of worms (3, Interesting)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 3 years ago | (#33697326)

Trouble is, Facebook doesn't have much (apart from a dodgy honour system) in the way of identification of individuals. I have often wondered (hypothetically) how things would pan out if I were a defendant in court where evidence from Facebook posts were presented against me.

I do not have a Facebook account, and for a variety of reasons never will, but I often wonder how I would convince a court of that, given that I can find half a dozen individuals there who share the same name as myself.

Re:if you dont want anyone on the internet to know (1)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | more than 3 years ago | (#33697364)

Then stopping friending judges.

Re:if you dont want anyone on the internet to know (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33696778)

Yeah, that kind of reminds me of that thing Midge on that 70s show said. This is one of those obvious moments like when she said "Bob! If you tell them, they’ll know!".

Re:if you dont want anyone on the internet to know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33697438)

Stop posting shit on the internet? But! But stupid people aren't able to do that! I mean, there's all this stuff you would expect people to know they're not supposed to talk about in public, and the stupid people don't even know enough not to do that!

Case in point: One time while riding the bus, a pair of trailer trash girls sitting at the back were talking about their mutual (to their temporary surprise) boyfriend, and all of his bad habits. Including his habit of urinating anywhere and everywhere, and how often they thought they were drinking beer, only to realize that it shouldn't have been that full, or warm. Followed by "And this one time I was jus' down there doin' mah thang, and he jus' start's goin!" "You too? Did ya finish off or throw up?" These two girls were discussing their sex lives and other unsavoury details at sufficient volume that people on the street were blushing every time the bus stopped, and the only open windows were at the front. Some people are just no longer capable of filtering out those "things you shouldn't say in public", and if they can't do that in a crowded public place where people are staring at them in shock at what they're saying, do you think they're capable of stopping when they're sitting alone in front of a computer where nobody can see them?

On a more relevant topic to the article, a friend of mine was going through a very messy divorce, and his psychotic ex was one of those people who friends everyone and their dog on facebook - she unfriended his account, but didn't realize that he still had about twenty or so "real life" friends (including his new girlfriend eventually) who were still on her friends list. Every time she came up with something new to try and screw him over with in court, or attempt to catch him unprepared (ie: without proper forms, paperwork, or research already done) she posted bragging about it on facebook. And then a week later posted complaining about it on facebook when it didn't work because he was always prepared ahead of time. "But I'll totally get him next time when I do this...."

First post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33696572)

First post, Brasil!

bullshit (3, Funny)

moxley (895517) | more than 3 years ago | (#33696586)

Of course he has a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Unless the person was on his friend's list and permitted to see particular posts, the ONLY thing the court should be able to see are things that are viewable by everyone - everything else is SPECIFICALLY set up to be private by way of the passwords and permissions system inherent in having a Facebook account.

Re:bullshit (1)

WillyWanker (1502057) | more than 3 years ago | (#33696606)

I was thinking the same thing. If the page is completely public and viewable by anyone then that's one thing. But if it's not, and material is restricted then there most certainly is an expectation of privacy.

Re:bullshit (3, Insightful)

cynyr (703126) | more than 3 years ago | (#33696764)

If i ask the court to look as i feel the plaintiff feels contrary to the suit IRL. So I ask the court to look on facebook to see if he/she has been posting contrary to their position on court. The court looks at my reasons for wanting that information, and in this case decided to let me "discover" what is there. Seems fine to me. Don't be claiming you are injured in court and then brag that you are sueing some guy in court over your paper cut on FB.

Re:bullshit (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33696642)

This is a personal injury case. The plaintiff has put their health at issue. By going to the courthouse and claiming that your health was injured you've put your health at issue and the opposing side is given more power to find out about your health.

These slashdot stories about the screwed up law are often the real bullshit here. If we had a story about someone on facebook sending messages suggesting that she wasn't really injured, and then the court didn't allow that evidence into a personal injury hearing, then you'd all be screaming about how stupid the court is.

Re:bullshit (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 3 years ago | (#33697556)

I do not think the defendant should have been allowed this for completely different reasons.

By refusing to pay they are essentially implying that the claimant has committed insurance fraud and filed a fraudulent claim. That is a felony in nearly any jurisdiction. So they should put their money where their mouth is on this one and sue her accordingly or at least countersue her immediately after she filed a lawsuit.

Then they can subpoena access to her facebook account and a whole lot of other stuff. That is the way this should be done instead of granting the defendant access to material which they should not have to.

Re:bullshit (3, Insightful)

boxwood (1742976) | more than 3 years ago | (#33696674)

Uh no.

If I tell all my friends that I'm faking my injury, and the person or company I'm suing hears of it, they can put my friend on the stand and my friend has to tell the court what I said, or risk being charged for perjury.

The company can even hire a PI and can submit photos of you doing activities that you wouldn't be able to do if you were uninjured, as long os the PI doesn't break any laws in getting them.

The courts have always been able to do this, and they've always been able to subpoena things like phone records and emails. Why should it be any different for facebook?

Bottom line, don't sue someone for personal injury if you're not really injured.

Re:bullshit (4, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#33696730)

Uh no.

If I tell all my friends that I'm faking my injury, and the person or company I'm suing hears of it, they can put my friend on the stand and my friend has to tell the court what I said, or risk being charged for perjury.

The company can even hire a PI and can submit photos of you doing activities that you wouldn't be able to do if you were uninjured, as long os the PI doesn't break any laws in getting them.

The courts have always been able to do this, and they've always been able to subpoena things like phone records and emails. Why should it be any different for facebook?

Bottom line, don't sue someone for personal injury if you're not really injured.

I always find it amusing whenever there's a story that sums to "social networking sites are like everything else you have ever experienced in your life -- irresponsible/thoughtless use can bite you in the ass" and the people involved seem shocked to discover this.

Re:bullshit (1)

kesuki (321456) | more than 3 years ago | (#33698256)

"I always find it amusing whenever there's a story that sums to "social networking sites are like everything else you have ever experienced in your life -- irresponsible/thoughtless use can bite you in the ass" and the people involved seem shocked to discover this."

that reminds me of something i read lately. Stephen king/peter straub novel 'black house' ISBN 0-375-50439-7 something about 'the fisherman' and bitten asses..

Re:bullshit (4, Interesting)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 3 years ago | (#33697350)

In the 80s, a good friend of mine retired from police work and went into PI work for insurance companies. He related one of his early close calls to me...

He went out into the woods a bit to videotape a man who was collecting worker's comp for a back injury for a few years. He taped him for a half hour chopping wood in his backyard. After a moment's break looking around (it was deer hunting season), the subject put down the axe, walkd over and picked up his rifle, and looked to be sighting a deer.

My friend is still taping, and he zooms in for a moment, sighting right down the scope. He can see the subject's eye in the scope.

The first round hit 2 feet to his right. He moved out.

The subject spent the next two weeks looking for my friend. At the next administrative hearing, he got to see the tape. My friend is a patient and kind man. He offered to refuse to testify at a trial for attempted murder if the subject gave up his claim and went back to work. Sadly, the subject balked, and went to jail for aggravated assault. And this cost him his job. Apparently, at the nearing, he railed on about how the PI was trespassing. He was filmed from a public logging road.

BJ went on a long career catching people doing all kinds of bad things. His PI work turned his opinion of people sour much more than his police work did. He was even more disappointed at the things people would do for just money, and not very much at that.

Discovery sucks, but being guilty sucks more.

Re:bullshit (-1, Troll)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 3 years ago | (#33697388)

In the 80s, a good friend of mine retired from police work and went into PI work for insurance companies...

...the subject put down the axe, walkd over and picked up his rifle, and looked to be sighting a deer. My friend is still taping, and he zooms in for a moment, sighting right down the scope. He can see the subject's eye in the scope. The first round hit 2 feet to his right.

Wow. Stupidest friend EVAH!

...My friend is a patient and kind man. He offered to refuse to testify at a trial for attempted murder if the subject gave up his claim and went back to work.

That would be "obstruction of justice," Your friend is not only stupid, he should be in jail.

Re:bullshit (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 3 years ago | (#33698062)

He should be in the grave. I know I can shoot better than that.

But for the subject, losing his comp AND his job was punishment enough. There is the question of leaving a person free who was willing to commit murder, but it is also very possible he meant off scare off BJ. Mind you, that's still assault at least.

Re:bullshit (1)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 3 years ago | (#33697998)

If I tell all my friends that I'm faking my injury, and the person or company I'm suing hears of it, they can put my friend on the stand and my friend has to tell the court what I said, or risk being charged for perjury.

The key distinction being that your friend did indeed have access to your profile. The general public did not.

Court doesn't work like that... (3, Interesting)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 3 years ago | (#33696692)

You can get access to a huge amount of non-public data about the other party. It's called "discovery," and in civil cases you are supposed to turn over even things that will clearly make the other side win. (Nothing like the fifth Amendment right against compelled self-incrimination applies).

That being said, the discovery requests theoretically are supposed to have something to do with the case. Depending on the case, FB information may or may not be relevant. But keep in mind that Judge's also don't *Want* to get involved in fights over discovery, as a rule, so if the lawyers can't work it out he might just rule against the party that is being the most stubborn.

Incidentally, discovery is a huge part of the reason our justice system is as bad as it is. It has advantages--makes it easier to go after a corporation that has done something evil, for example--but it makes going to court *a LOT* more expensive, which makes the courts less accessible to small and medium-sized businesses and to individuals.

Re:Court doesn't work like that... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33696768)

Discovery makes a justice system bad? Discovery is nothing more than how we deal with the fact that people are people. If people were completely honest, and fair, then yeah, discovery wouldn't be necessary, but then neither would be a court of law.

Even if somebody isn't lying deliberately, people are more than capable of distorting the truth just because they are biased in favor of their own interests.

I don't know what problem you think Discovery causes, but the lack of it would be far far worse.

Re:Court doesn't work like that... (1)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 3 years ago | (#33696918)

> I don't know what problem you think Discovery causes, but the lack of it would be far far worse.

The lack of it in *every* case might be bad, but in most cases, a very very limited discovery would be sufficient. Notably, in most business disputes, everyone has good records and all of the paperwork. In most other disputes, everyone already *knows* what happened, otherwise they wouldn't be in court. Adding discovery just makes the trial longer and more expensive, which increases the transaction costs of trials, which makes the justice system less accessible.

Make someone produce what they're going to use, unless they can make a good showing for why that's not sufficient.

Discovery is also something that's a pain to efficiency nerds, because it is so frequently an incredible waste of resources and duplication of work. Both sides paying lawyers to review tens of thousands or millions of the same pages, when ninety-nine out of a hundred times the case could be resolved the same way without the expenditure if neither side were able to do discovery.

And look up "e-discovery" for related problems.

Re:Court doesn't work like that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33697252)

The lack of it in *every* case might be bad, but in most cases, a very very limited discovery would be sufficient.

There are provisions in many places for limited discovery, which if you'd said was what you wanted, I'd at least accepted. You didn't even qualify your remarks with a modifier like "Unrestrained" though so...yeah, to me, it seems you're overreaching a tad.

Re:Court doesn't work like that... (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 3 years ago | (#33697300)

"Notably, in most business disputes, everyone has good records and all of the paperwork."

Mod parent FUNNY. Please.

In suits against corporations, records and evidence are always the first thing to be destroyed. Just as you would perhaps delete and burn the photos of your drunken partying if faced with a DWI, corporations might not hesitate to destroy or'lose' documentation. If that's too hard, they will bury you in mountains of unrelated records, make you ask specifically for things you are not sure even exist but have to ask for, delay production, and try to charge 'reasonable' costs for documents. Perhaps they will deliver you data that is encrypted, saved in obscure formats, or even damaged.

Without discovery, you may have a hard time proving the corporation knew of a problem, or had done the same thing before. Without discovery, you may be unable to show the truth of the driver who injured you, something a simple as their eyeglass prescription or their drinking habits, or their need for speed.

While the Fifth Amendment doesn't require you to aid the prosecution, or generally be compelled to provide evidence (not always), it doesn't shield you from establishing facts about you without your consent, if they are available. In the end, are you asking that the truth not be available? Be careful what you ask for. By your measure it will be measured to you.

And go ahead and try to prove they are denying you discovery. Maybe you can, maybe not. Many a corporation will apologize for their electronic data problems, pointing out they have the same issues. Generally, the penalties for being unable (and implicitly but unproven unwilling) to produce what is asked for are less than what the damages and penalties would be for a serious (and sometimes minimal) lawsuit.

Pretty funny that you think corporations will deliver these good records without resistance, and you would delete your Facebook page in a New York minute if you thought it would tend to imcriminate you. And now you know how pointless that would be.

Facebook exposes you. Remember this.

Re:Court doesn't work like that... (1)

TheoMurpse (729043) | more than 3 years ago | (#33697654)

In suits against corporations, records and evidence are always the first thing to be destroyed.

Unless the lawsuit would be catastrophic to the company, it knows better than to destroy records. We have this lovely thing in the American jurisprudential systems. It is embodied as the Latin phrase "omnia praesumuntur contra spoliatorem." Assume all against the spoiler.

In effect, it means that if you know a record was destroyed, you can assume basically the worst against the person who destroyed it.

Because of this rule, most of the time a company will not dare to delete records. Unless, of course, as I said above, it would be catastrophic to the company.

Re:Court doesn't work like that... (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 3 years ago | (#33698084)

Even today you give corporations too much credit, I think. Many do not properly evalute risk, even in relatively minor issues. And some, especially some in the news lately, seem to think they can in fact get away with anything.

History would show you this is more true than you are willing to admit to.

Re:Court doesn't work like that... (1)

TheoMurpse (729043) | more than 3 years ago | (#33698274)

History would show you this is more true than you are willing to admit to.

That's selective bias. You only hear about the companies that do stupid stuff.

You don't hear about the tons of lawsuits every year where the companies don't destroy evidence.

Re:Court doesn't work like that... (1)

TheoMurpse (729043) | more than 3 years ago | (#33697640)

in most cases, a very very limited discovery would be sufficient

Then I'm sure you'll be happy to hear that in most cases, discovery is very limited.

Re:bullshit (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33696792)

No, the plaintiff really doesn't. During discovery the judge can, and often does, order things like emails to be handed over when they're relevant to the case. And emails are far more reasonable to expect to be private than facebook posts are.

Re:bullshit (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#33697454)

I don't understand why you would treat a friends-only Facebook posting any differently than you would treat an email.

Re:bullshit (3, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 3 years ago | (#33696810)

You have to be kidding. From Facebook's TOS:

You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof subject only to your privacy settings or (ii) enable a user to Post, including by offering a Share Link on your website and (b) to use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising, each of (a) and (b) on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof.

Does that look like Facebook gives a damn about your rights or your privacy?

Re:bullshit (1)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#33696972)

You have to be kidding. From Facebook's TOS:

You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof subject only to your privacy settings or (ii) enable a user to Post, including by offering a Share Link on your website and (b) to use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising, each of (a) and (b) on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof.

Does that look like Facebook gives a damn about your rights or your privacy?

A site specifically designed to appeal to petty exhibitionists who need attention, by its very nature, is not going to attract people who have their own best interests at heart and are willing to act accordingly with regard to privacy. This is true for all of the same reasons that there are a lot of alcoholics at AA meetings. If Facebook doesn't give a damn about privacy it's because they have discovered something: you can be a big-name site and attract millions of users without giving a damn about privacy.

Re:bullshit (2, Interesting)

koick (770435) | more than 3 years ago | (#33697176)

IANAL so don't know full ramifications of the "subject only to your privacy settings", but seems to me that means if I set something as private then it's private between myself and the person(s) I shared it with.

Re:bullshit (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 3 years ago | (#33697238)

On the public Internet?

There's an old Chinese proverb that goes something like this: "A secret one person knows is a secret; a secret two people know is no secret; a secret three people know is information shouted to the world."

You can add a corollary to that: "Anything posted to the Internet counts as three people."

As others have pointed out, the Internet is just like real life. If you're suing someone for injury and then tell your friends that you aren't really injured, the defense attorney, if they find that out, can subpoena the people you told and the court can and will compel them to testify.

Re:bullshit (1)

lavagolemking (1352431) | more than 3 years ago | (#33696878)

Ok, so assuming the plaintiff didn't have a reasonable expectation to privacy, how did the defendent actually access the plaintiff's private Facebook information? Merely the lack of a reasonable expectation of privacy in what is publicly posted should not entitle someone to otherwise unauthorized access to your account. If they want the full array of information collected on Facebook, that's what a discovery or subpoena is for.

Re:bullshit (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33696974)

They didn't.

"In light of the fact that the public portions of Plaintiff's social networking sites contain material that is contrary to her claims and deposition testimony, there is a reasonable likelihood that the private portions of her sites may contain further evidence such as information with regard to her activities and enjoyment of life...." --emphasis mine

>>>If they want the full array of information collected on Facebook, that's what a discovery or subpoena is for.

...and that's the means they used.

Re:bullshit (3, Informative)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 3 years ago | (#33696952)

"Reasonable expectation of privacy" is a legal term of art that bears very little relation to what a reasonable person might reasonably expect to be private. For starters, and in general (IANAL) if you've told anyone your secret, you no longer have a reasonable expectation of privacy in that information. So even if you post it as visible only to your friends, you've already felt comfortable sharing it with Facebook and with all those friends. It's no longer a secret. Getting the info from Facebook is just faster than subpoenaing your Facebook friends and compelling them to testify about what they saw there.

Re:bullshit (1)

TheoMurpse (729043) | more than 3 years ago | (#33697672)

Getting the info from Facebook is just faster than subpoenaing your Facebook friends and compelling them to testify about what they saw there.

And before someone complains that this would be inadmissible in court due to the rules barring hearsay, statements made against interest are by definition not hearsay in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. In some states, I know for a fact it is by definition not hearsay. In other states, I would wager it is the same, or is at least an exception to the rule barring hearsay.

Just subpoena the people on tfriends list (2, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 3 years ago | (#33696970)

And have them testify as to what the plaintiff had said. You get the same information, but it takes longer, costs more and inconveniences more people (as well as honking off your "friends").

The information will come out, it's just how much extra effort people have to go to, to get it. This seems to me like an efficient way of finding out what the truth (yes, yes I know: what's truth got to do with the law?) is.

p.s. I'm constantly surprised that anyone thinks anything they post anywhere on the internet has, in practice, any degree of privacy or confidentiality - under any circumstances. If you want to keep something confidential DON'T TELL ANYONE.

There is no expectation of privacy on the internet (1)

brokeninside (34168) | more than 3 years ago | (#33697414)

At least not by people that understand how the Internet works. Unless an encrypted connection was used, all those packets floating back and forth between Facebook and the user's computer are the equivalent of a message on a postcard that is delivered from hop to hop by rand strangers that just happen to be going in that direction.

There is no reasonable expectation of privacy in that situation.

As a rule of thumb, no one should put anything on the internet (from email to forums like Facebook) that they aren't will to see show up on the front page of the local newspaper.

Re:bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33697510)

Sorry... I find this humourous. It's only specifically set up as "limited visibility," and only until Facebook changes their TOS/Privacy Policy/etc.

If it's on Facebook, it's available to the public, or at least to the court/government (of any participatory country) with a subpoena (or not). Don't post stuff in public that you want to stay private. This is why the Canadian government has had issues with Facebook and has stated that it violates Canadian privacy laws.

Re:bullshit (1)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 3 years ago | (#33698040)

Unless the person was on his friend's list and permitted to see particular posts, the ONLY thing the court should be able to see are things that are viewable by everyone - everything else is SPECIFICALLY set up to be private by way of the passwords and permissions system inherent in having a Facebook account.

That's exactly right. People make their profiles private so only their friends can see them. It's one thing when a court of law orders my friend testify, but the notion there's generally no reasonable expectation of privacy is ridiculous. If I limit access to my profile so only my friends can see it, it is perfectly reasonable to expect that only my friends will have access to it.

WTF would anyone waste time and privacy to have... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33696620)

their 15 minute of fame. Because Facebook and other systems like it leverage the rather insecure feeling of meaningless most people have about themselves. Suckers be suckers, get what you deserve.

Privacy Policy? (1)

JohnG (93975) | more than 3 years ago | (#33696644)

It seems to me that this completely nullifies any privacy policy in force on any website. If you have no "legitimate reasonable expectation of privacy" with a privacy policy in force, than how can an employee of the website in question, or the management themselves, get in trouble for violating said policy? Judges really need to be careful what garbage they spew out, lest they set the wrong precedent.

Re:Privacy Policy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33696712)

... how can an employee of the website in question, or the management themselves, get in trouble for violating said policy?

By not being judges and/or legal officials gathering evidence for use in a trial.

Re:Privacy Policy? (2, Informative)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#33696748)

It seems to me that this completely nullifies any privacy policy in force on any website. If you have no "legitimate reasonable expectation of privacy" with a privacy policy in force, than how can an employee of the website in question, or the management themselves, get in trouble for violating said policy? Judges really need to be careful what garbage they spew out, lest they set the wrong precedent.

Had you read the article, you'd have seen where the court actually referenced the privacy policy. From that thing you didn't read:

Supreme Court Judge Allen Spinner reasoned -I think completely correctly – that social networking sites are not private lockboxes where you store your most intimate secrets; in fact their privacy policies tell you that they are public spaces. Therefore he said:

“Plaintiff has no legitimate reasonable expectation of privacy.”

Re:Privacy Policy? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33696806)

I'm not sure I agree, but ultimately the decision was correct. Most if not all ToS include a line about turning over records when presented with a subpoena relevant to the records. I would've thought that would be the line that did it, however if the ToS state that it is to be considered a public place, that would be a a reasonable ruling as well on the motion.

Re:Privacy Policy? (1)

JohnG (93975) | more than 3 years ago | (#33696808)

I did read the article. The courts can get a search warrant to come into my home and take whatever they want, but I doubt that any judge would ever say about my home that I have "no legitimate reasonable expectation of privacy.” If you have a profile, and you set it to private, than there is a reasonable expectation of privacy. There is not now, nor has there ever been, any privacy against the actions of the courts. Maybe I'm arguing semantics, I just think it was poorly phrased on the part of the judge.

Re:Privacy Policy? (3, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#33696868)

I did read the article. The courts can get a search warrant to come into my home and take whatever they want, but I doubt that any judge would ever say about my home that I have "no legitimate reasonable expectation of privacy.” If you have a profile, and you set it to private, than there is a reasonable expectation of privacy. There is not now, nor has there ever been, any privacy against the actions of the courts. Maybe I'm arguing semantics, I just think it was poorly phrased on the part of the judge.

Another user did a good job of summing up [slashdot.org] why the court made this decision. That agreement makes it clear that you lose control over any data you submit to Facebook. Even if they provide privacy controls, they apparently have no obligation to make sure they work as the user intended since the data submitted now belongs to Facebook. Personally, I find the arrangement unappealing in the extreme; that's why I don't use Facebook.

The idea that anything you post to a social networking site is going to remain confidential and private is a false one, of which it seems many need to be disabused. The common sense rule still applies: don't ever post anything that you wouldn't want to be fully public. I never understood what was so difficult about this that motivates people to keep trying to find ways around it.

Re:Privacy Policy? (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 3 years ago | (#33697382)

The common sense rule still applies: don't ever post anything that you wouldn't want to be fully public. I never understood what was so difficult about this that motivates people to keep trying to find ways around it.

The only thing that seems to be difficult is convincing people that this basic rule applies to everyone, no matter whether they be goodies or baddies. The fact is, people are reluctant to accept responsibility when their own stupidity comes back to bite them on the ass.

Re:Privacy Policy? (1)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 3 years ago | (#33698228)

Another user did a good job of summing up why the court made this decision. That agreement makes it clear that you lose control over any data you submit to Facebook. Even if they provide privacy controls, they apparently have no obligation to make sure they work as the user intended since the data submitted now belongs to Facebook. Personally, I find the arrangement unappealing in the extreme; that's why I don't use Facebook.

That's a technicality. A person's expectation of privacy depends more on the nature of the service (such as the fact that it has privacy controls) than on the contents of a document most people never read. While I don't think there's any problem in allowing access to private data when it's legally warranted, the notion that my Facebook profile is public even when I've made it private is not at all reasonable.

Re:Privacy Policy? (3, Insightful)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33696978)

Yes, you are just arguing semantics.

An "expectation of privacy" has a context, and in this case, the context for that "expectation of privacy" is posts made on Facebook. Given FB's privacy policy, it is not reasonable to assume that your data on FB is private, because FB makes it quite clear that your data isn't really "private," though they "make efforts to keep it private," but specifically call out that it may be disclosed accidentally, or by friends, FB applications, or to properly-constructed and applicable legal requests (subpoenas, etc.)

If your bank offered "social features" that allowed you to link your accounts with a bunch of your friends' accounts, and said "We can't promise other people won't find out how much money you have"... would you bank there? I sure wouldn't, because I want my financial information to be private and secure - and so I wouldn't put my money into a bank that shared my financial info with others.

(And even with a "reasonable expectation of privacy" from a bank... that information is still subject to subpoena and other discovery methods.)

Re:Privacy Policy? (2, Interesting)

boxwood (1742976) | more than 3 years ago | (#33696756)

The Privacy Policy is between you and Facebook. There is no privacy policy between you and everyone in the world.

If an employee of Facebook violates the privacy policy between you and Facebook then they can be sued. If Facebook gets a subpoena requesting information from their servers then they have to comply or the judge can throw them in jail. You cannot sue Facebook for complying with a subpoena. Because not complying with a subpoena would be against the law. Contracts cannot compel someone to break the law.

So yeah, a subpoena or search warrant trumps any privacy policy or contract you may have.

So Facebook has to abide by its privacy policy, but the courts do not have to abide by Facebook's privacy policy. You could say the courts are above the law, but its more accurate to say that the courts ARE the law.

Re:Privacy Policy? (1)

TheoMurpse (729043) | more than 3 years ago | (#33697682)

Or you could think of the contract between you and Facebook as creating a political subdivision of the US, subservient to municipal, state, and national law. It controls the behavior of its citizenry (you and Facebook), but not those superior to it (a city, state, and nation).

What if you're on FetLife? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33696648)

I'm not on Facebook, so I don't care, but what if my insurance company wants to see what I've been writing to my Cyber Governess...?

I've been a bad, bad boy..

Re:What if you're on FetLife? (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33696790)

Well, they'd go through a judge, who would naturally already have an account.

hmmm (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#33696742)

Shit like this will be the end of facebook. Insurance companies will be lining up to scour the site for people to dump.

Re:hmmm (2, Insightful)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33696894)

Pro tip: If you're trying to hide your diabetes from your insurance company, don't tag pictures of yourself on Facebook titled, "HERE I AM IN DIABETIC SHOCK - DON'T TELL BLUE CROSS LOL!"

Re:hmmm (1)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#33697088)

Shit like this will be the end of facebook.

And nothing of value was lost.

Insurance companies will be lining up to scour the site for people [who are defrauding them] to dump.

Fixed that for you.

So, Facebook provides opportunities for stupid people to shoot themselves in the foot. Unlike say, driving, said stupid people are unlikely to harm someone other than themselves while proceeding to apply a metaphorical firearm to their foot. This is bad? Why?

Re:hmmm (2, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#33697148)

stupid people are unlikely to harm someone other than themselves while proceeding to apply a metaphorical firearm to their foot. This is bad? Why?

Because it's only a metaphorical firearm?

This is a disaster (0)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 3 years ago | (#33696744)

Supreme Court Judge Allen Spinner reasoned -I think completely correctly - that social networking sites are not private lockboxes where you store your most intimate secrets; in fact their privacy policies tell you that they are public spaces. Therefore he said:
"Plaintiff has no legitimate reasonable expectation of privacy."

I find this reasoning to be wildly fallacious.
http://www.courts.state.ny.us/REPORTER/3dseries/2010/2010_20388.htm [state.ny.us]

The Judge (incorrectly IMO) makes a mockery of "self-regulated privacy settings."
The end result of this case is that if you put it online, even for only one person to see, it is fair game for discovery.

In determining whether a right to privacy exists via the Fourth Amendment, courts apply the reasonableness standard set forth in the concurring opinion of Justice Harlan in Katz: "first that a person have exhibited an actual (subjective) expectation of privacy and, second, that the expectation be one that society is prepared to recognize as reasonable." Id. at 361, 516 (Harlan, J. concurring) (internal quotations omitted).

Since Plaintiff knew that her information may become publicly available, she cannot now claim that she had a reasonable expectation of privacy. As recently set forth by commentators regarding privacy and social networking sites, given the millions of users, "[i]n this environment, privacy is no longer grounded in reasonable expectations, but rather in some theoretical protocol better known as wishful thinking."

This is the conclusion of a logical failtrain and I hope it goes to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals

Re:This is a disaster (3, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33696834)

No, the decision was correct. A social networking site is indeed a public place for all intents and purposes. Considering that emails are usually made available during discovery, I don't think this was unreasonable. And really, the plaintiff should have turned over those pages anyways as they're apparently relevant to the case at hand.

Additionally, email providers and other sites of similar purpose typically include language to allow themselves to provide your information in response to lawfully granted subpoenas.

Re:This is a disaster (1)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 3 years ago | (#33697836)

A social networking site is indeed a public place for all intents and purposes.

No, it's not. If I lock down my profile so only my friends can see it, it's really no different than only allowing my friends into my home. Unless your profile is open to the public, there doubtless exists a reasonable expectation of privacy. That doesn't mean the court should not allow access to a person's private profile in cases where it's legally warranted, but the standard should be as high as with any other case where private data is being sought.

Re:This is a disaster (4, Insightful)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33696866)

Facebook's privacy policy specifically states the following:

Facebook is about sharing information with others — friends and people in your communities — while providing you with privacy settings that you can use to restrict other users from accessing some of your information. We share your information with third parties when we believe the sharing is permitted by you, reasonably necessary to offer our services, or when legally required to do so.

Further on, in the context of "when we might share your data:"

To respond to legal requests and prevent harm. We may disclose information pursuant to subpoenas, court orders, or other requests (including criminal and civil matters) if we have a good faith belief that the response is required by law. This may include respecting requests from jurisdictions outside of the United States where we have a good faith belief that the response is required by law under the local laws in that jurisdiction, apply to users from that jurisdiction, and are consistent with generally accepted international standards. We may also share information when we have a good faith belief it is necessary to prevent fraud or other illegal activity, to prevent imminent bodily harm, or to protect ourselves and you from people violating our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. This may include sharing information with other companies, lawyers, courts or other government entities.

And still further down:

Risks inherent in sharing information. Although we allow you to set privacy options that limit access to your information, please be aware that no security measures are perfect or impenetrable. We cannot control the actions of other users with whom you share your information. We cannot guarantee that only authorized persons will view your information. We cannot ensure that information you share on Facebook will not become publicly available. We are not responsible for third party circumvention of any privacy settings or security measures on Facebook. You can reduce these risks by using common sense security practices such as choosing a strong password, using different passwords for different services, and using up to date antivirus software.

In other words: If it's a secret and needs to remain so, you don't share it with your 20 closest Facebook friends on the Internet, because you have no reasonable expectation that those people (or others who manage to get elevated access privileges) will keep your secret safe. The court's reasoning is entirely consistent with the privacy policy Facebook has laid out. As far as "if you put it online, even for only one person to see," yes, and that's always been the case. A subpoena can (and often will) result in this information being disclosed, and anybody who thinks that Facebook is magically exempt from subpoenas because "it's a social network with a privacy policy and stuff," is foolish.

Re:This is a disaster (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 3 years ago | (#33697250)

The court's reasoning is entirely consistent with the privacy policy Facebook has laid out.

Since when do we rely on a website's privacy policy or ToS to set public policy?

Re:This is a disaster (4, Insightful)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33697406)

Who's "setting public policy"?

The court is looking at the facts of the matter before it: The plaintiff posted some stuff on Facebook, and the defendant has requested access to that stuff, claiming that it is relevant to the case. This request might be denied if there were sufficient privacy concerns to show that the request would violate the defendant's reasonable expectation of privacy.

The court looks at the type of service (social networking, a public space where people connect with one another); the privacy policy of the site (which states that FB "cannot control the actions of other users [ . . . and . . . ] cannot ensure that information you share on FB will not become publicly available"); From this, he draws a conclusion that you have no reasonable expectation of privacy for posts made on Facebook.

Please explain why you WOULD have a *reasonable expectation* of privacy, in light of the fact that Facebook specifically tells you that anything you post could be revealed to the public? You may have a deep *desire* for privacy... you may wish very hard for it, in fact, but Facebook specifically and completely disavows any responsibility for keeping your secrets.

You: "I really want someplace online where I can store my deepest darkest secrets, and I think Facebook is the place to do it."
Facebook: "Well, anything you post here could be revealed to the public."
You: "But you have these privacy controls!"
Facebook: "Yes, but they're not guaranteed to work properly, and besides, if you share your secrets with friends, they can share them with anybody else without your permission."
You: "I don't care. I want to poke people."
Facebook: "Okay... but just so long as you're clear that everything you say or post could end up being revealed to the public."
You: "Yeah yeah, I know, everything I say is private."
Facebook: "No, that's not what we said at all. That's completely the opposite of what we said, in fact."
You: "LOL FARMVILLE!"

Re:This is a disaster (1)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 3 years ago | (#33698104)

Please explain why you WOULD have a *reasonable expectation* of privacy, in light of the fact that Facebook specifically tells you that anything you post could be revealed to the public? You may have a deep *desire* for privacy... you may wish very hard for it, in fact, but Facebook specifically and completely disavows any responsibility for keeping your secrets.

I have a reasonable expectation of privacy due to the fact that access to my profile is limited to those who are authorized to see it. As for Facebook's privacy policy, that only covers the relationship between Facebook and myself, holding Facebook harmless for legitimate disclosure of information found on my profile. That Facebook isn't liable for such disclosure does not mean the disclosure is legally appropriate or that the information disclosed isn't private.

Re:This is a disaster (1)

nlawalker (804108) | more than 3 years ago | (#33697262)

If it's a secret and needs to remain so, you don't share it with your 20 closest Facebook friends on the Internet

You are absolutely right, but I'd go further and say "If it's a secret and needs to remain so, you don't put it on Facebook." Even if you don't share it with anyone, Facebook is a public website run by a company that makes absolutely no guarantees and enters into no contracts with you to ensure that your information is private or protected. You have no reasonable expectation that Facebook will keep your secret safe.

Putting something on Facebook is the equivalent of leaving it lying on the sidewalk. Setting privacy controls is like leaving a note that says "please don't touch or take this."

Re:This is a disaster (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 3 years ago | (#33697440)

In other words: If it's a secret and needs to remain so, you don't share it with your 20 closest Facebook friends on the Internet...

Or fans of NCIS might prefer this reference:
"Best way to keep a secret is to keep it to yourself. Second best way is to tell one other person if you must. There is no third best."

Re:This is a disaster (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33696992)

The courts have consistently held that if you post something to a web service, and *anyone* can read it such as administrators at the service, (i.e. it is clear text and not encrypted) then you have lost (or at the least, greatly diminished) the expectation of privacy.

It is analogized to the difference between a postcard (which the postal service can read) and a sealed letter (which the postal service can not read). You have no privacy in the contents of the postcard, or in the information on the outside of the sealed envelope (i.e. who you are sending letters to and receiving then from).

Re:This is a disaster (1)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 3 years ago | (#33697918)

The courts have consistently held that if you post something to a web service, and *anyone* can read it such as administrators at the service, (i.e. it is clear text and not encrypted) then you have lost (or at the least, greatly diminished) the expectation of privacy.

That makes about as much sense as saying that my medical records are public information because doctors at the hospital have access to them. Access to a restricted group of people (administrators, doctors, etc) does not in any way imply the information is public.

It is analogized to the difference between a postcard (which the postal service can read) and a sealed letter (which the postal service can not read). You have no privacy in the contents of the postcard, or in the information on the outside of the sealed envelope (i.e. who you are sending letters to and receiving then from).

That information is only available to those who have legitimate access to your postcard. The fact that letter carriers can see what's written on a postcard in no way implies that my neighbor is also to be granted access to its contents when it's not in plain view.

Re:This is a disaster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33698224)

That makes about as much sense as saying that my medical records are public information because doctors at the hospital have access to them. Access to a restricted group of people (administrators, doctors, etc) does not in any way imply the information is public.

The law doesn't say it becomes "public" but just that you lose the expectation of privacy. Those are two completely different legal concepts.

As for doctor-patient records, they, like priest-penitent records, and lawyer-client records, have legal protection called "privilege" and so you have legal basis for asserting that your expectation of privacy is preserved.

If you share information without a law* giving you a right to expect the information will be kept strictly private (e.g. lawyer-client or doctor-patient privilege), you have forfeited your expectation of privacy in the information disclosed to that third party. That does not, however, mean it is "public" or that a legal right to prevent public disclosure does not exist. When you have lost the expectation of privacy, you then have little grounds to prevent an adverse party in a lawsuit from accessing that information, but you may be able to get a protective order forbidding that adverse party from making the information public. It can then be used as "attorney eyes only" and used privately in the lawsuit, but not disclosed publicly.

*Some courts have entertained that a very strict confidentiality provision in a contract can be used to preserve the expectation of privacy in information disclosed to a third party outside of a legal privilege relationship, but there have been only a couple of cases in that regard.

Re:This is a disaster (1)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 3 years ago | (#33698264)

The law doesn't say it becomes "public" but just that you lose the expectation of privacy. Those are two completely different legal concepts.

If the data isn't public, then it's private.

As for doctor-patient records, they, like priest-penitent records, and lawyer-client records, have legal protection called "privilege" and so you have legal basis for asserting that your expectation of privacy is preserved.

Certainly. On the other hand, that a document lacks such protection does not automatically nullify any expectation of privacy I may have.

If you share information without a law giving you a right to expect the information will be kept strictly private (e.g. lawyer-client or doctor-patient privilege), you have forfeited your expectation of privacy in the information disclosed to that third party.

Only with respect to that third party. With respect to others, I still have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Re:This is a disaster (2, Interesting)

Kijori (897770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33697258)

I'm not sure I can agree with you.

The most important elements of this decision seem to me to be:

-The public portion of the respondent's FB profile shows her smiling outside her house, which would appear to contradict her claim that she has lost all enjoyment in life and cannot leave the house
-It is likely based on this that further relevant evidence is contained in the private section of her FB account
-It would be against the interests of justice to allow a respondent to hide relevant evidence behind self-administered privacy settings

Regarding the privacy issues:
-Both a subjective and an objective expectation of privacy are required under NY law
-Materials that have been distributed to third parties are prima facie not subject to an expectation of privacy since the respondent no longer has control over their distribution.

This seems reasonable to me, and on the facts of this case - the woman is alleged to be committing fraud and is attempting to suppress the discovery of further evidence - the outcome would appear to be just.

Re:This is a disaster (1)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 3 years ago | (#33697972)

Materials that have been distributed to third parties are prima facie not subject to an expectation of privacy since the respondent no longer has control over their distribution.

Except that, unlike a physical object that is relinquished to another, a person's Facebook profile remains under that person's control.

Re:This is a disaster (1)

Kijori (897770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33698258)

Materials that have been distributed to third parties are prima facie not subject to an expectation of privacy since the respondent no longer has control over their distribution.

Except that, unlike a physical object that is relinquished to another, a person's Facebook profile remains under that person's control.

Sorry, I perhaps should have explained the point more fully. An example often given is that of a letter: you prima facie have no right to privacy regarding the contents of a letter since you have placed the information in someone else's control, and that person might choose to divulge it. The situation here is analogous: by putting the photographs or information on her Facebook profile the woman accepted that any one of her Facebook friends might then distribute them, which suggests that she did not consider the material she was posting to be private.

Re:This is a disaster (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#33697578)

The end result of this case is that if you put it online, even for only one person to see, it is fair game for discovery.

The whole point of discovery is to expose as much evidence as possible. The ideal outcome is not the expense of a trial but a settlement based on what both sides know to be true - or at least what both sides know can be proven.

Thanks for the free hacking law! (-1, Flamebait)

santax (1541065) | more than 3 years ago | (#33696766)

Since they have no reasonable expectation to privacy in the first place I think I'm gonna have a blast this weekend.

Re:Thanks for the free hacking law! (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33696876)

See, the problem with that is that hacking into a computer system is a violation of the law. Facebook responding to a subpoena during the discovery phase of a lawsuit is not.

Re:Thanks for the free hacking law! (1)

santax (1541065) | more than 3 years ago | (#33697008)

My parade.... you are raining on it :(

Re:Thanks for the free hacking law! (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33697104)

Why not spend the weekend studying the law - go to law school, pass the bar, become a judge, and then you can subpoena records legally... no need for all that messy and illegal hacking. :)

Re:Thanks for the free hacking law! (1)

santax (1541065) | more than 3 years ago | (#33697248)

Neh, I still have some ethics!

It's worse than you think (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 3 years ago | (#33696864)

If there's a single insurance company lawyer who doesn't have several fake profiles up on Facebook so they can track plaintiffs to whatever extent they can get away with, I'd be very surprised.

Real friends don't let friends do Facebook. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33696872)

With all these reports of people screwing themselves because of Facebook, people need to learn to 'Just say "No"!' (to facebook)

This could also be used in reverse (2, Interesting)

Schemat1c (464768) | more than 3 years ago | (#33696946)

What if I decide to commit a crime and I 'arrange' a nice alibi with pictures and well timed postings on my FB page?
Could I use that to defend myself in court?

Re:This could also be used in reverse (2, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#33697190)

What if I decide to commit a crime and I 'arrange' a nice alibi with pictures and well timed postings on my FB page? Could I use that to defend myself in court?

It'd be up to the prosecution to prove that your alibi is not valid. The fact that the pictures were posted to Facebook doesn't change anything.

Sort of like the way fraud is not some strange new crime requiring new laws merely because a computer was involved (think phishing scam) instead of a telephone or a face-to-face con man.

Yawn (1)

Stan92057 (737634) | more than 3 years ago | (#33697218)

Yawn,yet another "Beware what you post" article. like a slashdot member would do something so stupid.

Stupidity tax (1)

TimHunter (174406) | more than 3 years ago | (#33697278)

This is called a stupidity tax. There are many different kinds of stupidity taxes. This is just one of them.

Another Total Garbage Court Ruling (0, Troll)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 3 years ago | (#33697708)

Yet another total garbage court ruling.

If I set my privacy controls on FB to exclude others then I have a perfectly reasonable expectation of privacy.

And if I share everything with everyone, then the defendant wouldn't have needed a court order to see it.

I'm really coming to hate stupid judges with no understanding of technology, apparently no understanding of the law, and jobs guaranteed for life!

Consider This... (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 3 years ago | (#33697728)

Consider this: The defendant is trying to prove that the plaintiff said that they were more healthy on FB than they claimed in court, hence they were lying to the court.
But...
Suppose the plaintiff claimed even worse injury in FB. Would that count in their favor in the court, or would they now simply be accused of lying on FB?
Seems to me that the defense wanted the most favorable picture that they could get and whatever was posted on FB (not under oath) weighed more heavily than court testimony (that was under oath).
True Fail by the court.

Reasonable expectation of privacy (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 3 years ago | (#33697958)

Nope, don't need that anymore, that is so 1990's.

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