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Facebook Private Info Increasingly Used In Court

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the poking-for-fun-and-profit dept.

Facebook 270

Orome1 writes "Making the content of your Facebook account private can thwart the social network's plan to share as much information as possible with advertisers, but may not keep out lawyers looking for material that will contradict your statements in a court of law. US lawyers have been trying to gain permission to access the private parts of social network accounts for a while now, but it seems that only lately they have begun to be successful in their attempts. And this turn of events is another perfectly good reason to think twice about what you post online."

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Is it truly so hard? (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#35079842)

"it seems that only lately they have begun to be successful in their attempts"

All they needed to do was write a simple and silly app which requires all your user data and BAM, you have everything. You won't even need a court order for it.

Re:Is it truly so hard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35079900)

Facebook apps are still opt-in. For now.

Re:Is it truly so hard? (0)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080126)

And the Brooklyn Bridge is still for sale.

Re:Is it truly so hard? (1)

bobbinspenguin (1988368) | more than 3 years ago | (#35079906)

Can't you just say you lied on your Facebook page?

Re:Is it truly so hard? (1)

davev2.0 (1873518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35079922)

"So, you are claiming you lied to your friends and family, but told the truth to the plaintiff. Is that right? And, you are telling the truth now? If you are willing to lie to your friends and family about this, why should the court believe any of your testimony?"

Re:Is it truly so hard? (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080092)

...why should the court believe any of your testimony?

You got it... That would include anything they see on Facebook. "Not guilty"

Re:Is it truly so hard? (1)

davev2.0 (1873518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080232)

One would only be considered not guilty if the prosecution or plaintiff did not present any evidence. Even if it came down to word vs word, the plaintiff or prosecution would, or at least should, win because one would have shown that one's word is not reliable.

Re:Is it truly so hard? (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080432)

No, it is wrong to give the advantage to the prosecutor. It's innocent until proven guilty. Mere presentation is not proof of anything if the evidence is tainted.

Re:Is it truly so hard? (1)

ewhenn (647989) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080096)

If you are willing to lie to your friends and family about this, why should the court believe any of your testimony?"

In court, I'm under penalty of perjury.

Outside of the courtroom, there is no law prohibiting me from being a lying douche bag with any/all of my interactions with people.

I was lying to them your honor, not to you.

Re:Is it truly so hard? (1)

davev2.0 (1873518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080250)

"It is also in your best interest to lie in court if you are guilty, is that not correct?"

The penalty of perjury is often less than the penalty of losing the case, whether the case is civil or criminal.

Re:Is it truly so hard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35080640)

If you are willing to lie to your friends and family about this, why should the court believe any of your testimony?"

In court, I'm under penalty of perjury.

Outside of the courtroom, there is no law prohibiting me from being a lying douche bag with any/all of my interactions with people.

I was lying to them your honor, not to you.

"Your honor, what we have done here is established the defendant's character: By his own admission, he is willing to lie, without remorse, to friends and family, yet he expects this court to believe he has suddenly gained a conscience standing here. Therefore, I wish to request any evidence and testimony presented directly by the defendant to be thrown out of court."

Re:Is it truly so hard? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080098)

Rule #1 - never take the stand

Re:Is it truly so hard? (1)

rogueippacket (1977626) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080218)

Rule #1 - never take the stand

Rule #0.5 - Never divulge important information online.

Re:Is it truly so hard? (1)

davev2.0 (1873518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080282)

In civil cases, one may not have a choice. And, if one's alibi is contradicted by what one put on a social networking site, the point is moot.

"The defendant claims to have been out with his friends on the night and at the time in question, but in his Facebook profile, he states he did not go with the friends because he had no money to do so."

Re:Is it truly so hard? (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080286)

As Spock said... "I exaggerated."

Re:Is it truly so hard? (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080318)

So, you are saying you never lie to your family or friends?

Quite frankly, I find that hard to believe.

Re:Is it truly so hard? (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080602)

"Because I am currently under oath and perjury is a felony"

Social bullshitting is a place where falsehoods and stretches of the truth are completely normal and expected.

In the courtroom however it's a completely different ballgame.

Re:Is it truly so hard? (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#35079932)

I think its against the Facebook TOS to put up false information about yourself (given that its amazingly long, I never read ALL of it myself). I'm pretty sure they could use that.

Re:Is it truly so hard? (2)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080078)

That doesn't prove you haven't lied. It just means Facebook has a reason to ban you.

Re:Is it truly so hard? (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080624)

They don't need a reason to ban you.

They reserve the right to ban anyone at any time for any or indeed NO reason AT ALL, just like with any other forum or site where barring a contractually enforceable obligation to the contrary, it's private property and the owner can do whatever they fucking want to.

Re:Is it truly so hard? (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080696)

Facebook TOS and US Law are not the same thing. So I lied about something on Facebook. Cancel my account, fine, but you can't use that as TRUTH against me in court.

Re:Is it truly so hard? (1)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 3 years ago | (#35079958)

Sure you can. However that may put a dent in your credibility with the jury. You would need to convince them that sure, you lie on your Facebook page (where you really have nothing to gain or lose), but you would certainly not lie now (when your side of the story is the one they simply must believe).

Re:Is it truly so hard? (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#35079992)

Of course you can. And of the course the jury can now consider everything you say to be suspect and be more likely to take the other guys word in a "he said/she said" situation.

Re:Is it truly so hard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35080180)

What I wonder is if they find statements contradicting their stance, will they present that in court or allow it as evidence? I suspect not.

Re:Is it truly so hard? (1)

Seraphim1982 (813899) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080434)

I'm pretty sure that in the US in criminal cases the prosecution is required to reveal all evidence that they have to the defense regardless of who it helps. So if the DA came across something on Facebook that would help the defense and didn't reveal it they could be in serious trouble.

I have no idea how civil cases work.

Re:Is it truly so hard? (1)

yog (19073) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080188)

Can't you just say you lied on your Facebook page?

That's what I was thinking. Since when can a court hold you to whatever statements they find on the internet that are supposedly attributable to you? It's what you say, there under oath at a hearing or on the witness stand, that should count as the truth.

There are plenty of instances of people hijacking accounts and putting up bogus postings. For all anyone knows, some enemy could have created a whole website about you and filled it with hate speech supposedly written by you, but there's absolutely no way to prove it's yours short of a credit card in your name being used to pay for the thing (and even those can be stolen).

Courts and lawyers are always looking for the low hanging fruit. They'll subpoena every letter you ever wrote, every email you ever sent, and force you to bare your entire life to the court just to force you to plea bargain or compromise your principles in some other way.

Safest thing is, be careful what you post online and make sure it really reflects your core beliefs. Avoid attacking any individual (except for public figures) by name. And be prepared to fight fire with fire. If someone is going after your assets in some case, and is trying to establish nefarious motives on your part, go after theirs and attempt to prove they have a personal stake in your destruction. Subpoena everything they've ever written or done. If you have the money, you can play the same game.

Re:Is it truly so hard? (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080650)

And if you don't have the money you're screwed.

Re:Is it truly so hard? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#35079942)

All they needed to do was write a simple and silly app which requires all your user data and BAM, you have everything. You won't even need a court order for it.

But if the data is gathered under false pretenses by a law enforcement professional then it is theoretically inadmissible in court (although this has been tampered with of late, don't assume anything!)

They make me go poopy. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35079846)

What do CmdrTaco and Facebook have in common, Alex?

Facebook alternatives? (2)

sageres (561626) | more than 3 years ago | (#35079886)

A few weeks ago, after finding out that some big economic and political heavyweights invested in Facebook, I decided to cancel my account. Two weeks after I filed the request, I finally no longer have it. It seems to me that Facebook itself rose to prominence after MySpace became overpopulated and polluted with spam. It was a good social network for educational sources, but now -- it has become conglomerate of something that it does not even deserve to be. Facebook has become too mainstream, its login service is used by many websites and the private lives and information of people is willingly compromised. So, would anyone recommend a small but dedicated social network alternative that I could try and recommend to my friends. It must have a strong privacy emphasis, anti-spam features and simplicity.

Re:Facebook alternatives? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#35079986)

well, you could try diaspora, it's basically functional. but nobody is on it, so the only way to really gain traction is to convince whole groups to use it.

Re:Facebook alternatives? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080106)

Or Appleseed. Hopefully they'll agree on some protocols (even if they implement others too) so that they can federate.

Personally, I've installed StatusNet (Twitter-like) on my host and have been federating seamlessly with identi.ca.

Re:Facebook alternatives? (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080406)

Or you could just be antisocial like the rest of us.

Sheesh. Kids these days.

Facebook & Myspace: HTML for dummies (1)

Tink2000 (524407) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080684)

Make your own website. Of course, that might be too much like work and you'll have a little harder time getting people to visit it (unless it's interesting). I have always regarded social networking sites (FB, MS, Linkedin, etc) to be little more than HTML for people without HTML abilities. Sure, you can go one place and access 500,000 people, but when all those people are doing is basically a great big attentionwhorefest, what's the point?

Oh yeah, Farmville. *groan*

Why shouldn't it? (2)

Fibe-Piper (1879824) | more than 3 years ago | (#35079892)

The crap people say about themselves online is ridiculous.

People without sense to moderate themselves will no doubt end up paying for it one way or the other. Talk about your hard partying lifestyle all the time and get a divorce, or charged with drunk driving, or dismissed from a job... good luck keeping that to yourself at that point

Think harder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35080066)

The issue here is oppression, not stupidity -- and there is no justification for oppression, including stupidity. I don't give a damn how stupid and careless you think these people are -- if their civil rights are attacked, then logically, mine and yours are too.

A populace that turns a blind eye to oppression ("why should I care when it doesn't affect me") is the wet dream of every executive in the business of government. Wake up and realize what they are really after: money and power, the same thing governments and their associates in the "private" sector have chased after since the dawn of organized coercion.

Re:Think harder (1)

kevinNCSU (1531307) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080160)

Where are you getting oppression out of this story? The issue here if you read it is the DEFENSE requesting a subpoena for the Facebook pages to prove the the plaintiff is lying in a civil case. As in, this is only a problem for you if YOU are suing someone else for making your life so miserable you can't get out of the house while at the same time posting a bunch of photos from your recent marathon and kayaking trip on Facebook. This has nothing to do with the State or oppression it's all civil suits.

Re:Think harder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35080168)

The issue here is oppression, not stupidity -- and there is no justification for oppression, including stupidity. I don't give a damn how stupid and careless you think these people are -- if their civil rights are attacked, then logically, mine and yours are too.

So if I hire some guy to work on my house and he slips and falls and sues me for thousands of dollars claiming terrible injuries, it's "oppression" if I try to find out if he was really injured?

I must be crazy, because I would think that *I* was the one being oppressed to the tune of thousands of dollars!

Re:Think harder (2)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080288)

and there is no justification for oppression, including stupidity

Yes there is. Society cannot function with too many stupid people. They need to be oppressed and suppressed. That's how we get awesome laws like Obama Care, we're too stupid to do it ourselves, we need to be forced into doing what is smart. /sarcasm

Re:Why shouldn't it? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080138)

Why shouldn't it?

For the same reason that taking stuff from your house is still illegal even if you leave your door unlocked.

Yes, people should be more careful, but that doesn't excuse such intrusions.

Re:Why shouldn't it? (1)

Fibe-Piper (1879824) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080256)

Why shouldn't it?

For the same reason that taking stuff from your house is still illegal even if you leave your door unlocked.

Yes, people should be more careful, but that doesn't excuse such intrusions.

It's not an intrusion if its up there where any one of your 3000 "friends" can drop a dime on your activity - perfectly legally and without any repercussion.

It's the people who aren't weary of any concerns they should have that I am talking about - not the person who only has meatspace "friends" and has had their data maliciously intercepted by lawyers.

Re:Why shouldn't it? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080654)

Since they are requesting the data directly to Facebook by asking the judge to make the plaintiffs sign a consent form, the amount and type of "friends" is irrelevant.

Re:Why shouldn't it? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35080258)

The crap people say about themselves online is ridiculous.

People without sense to moderate themselves will no doubt end up paying for it one way or the other. Talk about your hard partying lifestyle all the time and get a divorce, or charged with drunk driving, or dismissed from a job... good luck keeping that to yourself at that point

Hell yeah. Fuck those party people. How dare they live a life that is not perfectly whitewashed and 100% compatible with a Puritannical lifestyle. They deserve to suffer for that! They deserve to suffer even when they acted like responsible adults and only had their fun when they knew it would not interfere with any of their obligations or responsibilities. The nerve of those people, doing things with their own lives that maybe I wouldn't do with my own life.

I've decided that this offends me, and as we all know, that gives me the right to demand that they either change their ways or suffer. After all, the person who takes offense is never the one who needs to change, no, not even when they actively sought out the things which offend them. Having cleared that up... get a divorce you say? Clearly anyone who would ever want privacy from the outside world for any reason didn't deserve to be married. Charged with drunk driving? They obviously had no business having a license in the first place. Dismissed from a job? Well then, no matter the quantity or quality of their work, no matter how professional they were, no matter how well they separated their private life from their work life, they are clearly riff-raff and it's an excellent business decision to get rid of them. Fools.

In fact, I think everyone needs to have their every waking moment scrutinized and archived by strangers. That'll teach them to be perfect and above reproach and nothing could possibly go wrong. Maybe the 1984 style telescreens can be handy for this.

The crap people say about themselves online is not really so different from what they say offline. It's just that when they say such things offline, in person, they usually aren't recording and broadcasting their speech. Now that they are using a medium that both records and makes available ... well, now the vultures swoop down to see if they can find anyone who's out of line. It's the same lovers of gossip who have always existed, just on a newer medium. Like that Sublime lyric, "insufferable informer crazy fools, wait with their fingers crossed for you to break the rules."

Otherwise people have always been a little deviant. It's just that they used to understand discretion.

Re:Why shouldn't it? (0)

hort_wort (1401963) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080378)

Agreed. I like how the summary refers to "private parts of social network accounts". Ummmmmmm.....? This is a joke, right?

Don't be an over litigious money hungry asshole (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35079904)

I think this is a good thing. American sue way too much for completely pointless reasons just wishing to get rich quick easily. If you don't want anyone to know about something, just don't post it. If you break the law / do something sleazy and brag about it all around, you deserve what you get. I write whatever the crap I want because I'm not an asshole, so I won't get into trouble over it (but still have enough sense to post this as anonymous).

Dupe? (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 3 years ago | (#35079914)

Isn't this similar, if not identical, to this story [slashdot.org] from a few days ago?

Re:Dupe? (2, Funny)

gfreeman (456642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35079966)

Yes, but it's Groundhog Day.

Re:Dupe? (5, Funny)

gfreeman (456642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35079972)

Yes, but it's Groundhog Day.

Re:Dupe? (1)

Fibe-Piper (1879824) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080008)

The first time was funny - but the second was brilliant.

Only lately have they been successful? Uh, no (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35079916)

Facebook has always honored valid subpoenas, and lawyers have always been able to get them for this kind of info.
It's more that only now have lawyers started to catch up to the idea that it's a good source of info.

Look at the history of presentations at lawyer conferences, and you will see in the past year or so talks on what info you can gain from social network accounts, and e-discovery type stuff have started happening more and more.

So basically, it was just because lawyers are generally close to grandparents when it comes to the technology knowledge curve

Is this surprising? (2)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 3 years ago | (#35079920)

I don't think this is surprising. I would have figured a court order would make Facebook give up your data to the court.

If it's germain, why not? (4, Insightful)

LaminatorX (410794) | more than 3 years ago | (#35079934)

Subpoenas for all sorts of physical records and correspondence are par for the course. How is this any different than a subpoena for your diary or letters?

Re:If it's germain, why not? (2)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 3 years ago | (#35079996)

Are the lawyers mining this data and then asking the court for permission? That seems wrong.
Or are they asking the courts for permission first? That seems completely acceptable.

Re:If it's germain, why not? (1)

memnock (466995) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080192)

FTA:

"So defense lawyers came up with the following solution: they ask the judges to make the plaintiffs sign a consent form, which is then added to the subpoena sent to the sites in question, who then have no reason not to comply with the request."

So it seems to me, don't sign the consent.

Of course if the judge obliges you to sign, there may be some repercussions, such as contempt. I'd think you should be able to plead the 5th?

Re:If it's germain, why not? (1)

anyGould (1295481) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080360)

I was wondering how that works - how can the judge "make the plaintiff" do anything? If there's a penalty for refusing, doesn't that make the whole "consent" invalid? (As in, signed under duress)?

Re:If it's germain, why not? (2)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080592)

I was wondering how that works - how can the judge "make the plaintiff" do anything? If there's a penalty for refusing, doesn't that make the whole "consent" invalid? (As in, signed under duress)?

The judge cannot make the plaintiff do anything. However, if in a civil case one side asks for information that is relevant to the case, and the other side refuses to give that information, then the judge is required by law that the information would be evidence against the person who refuses to give the information.

Say the defendant (maybe an insurance company) says "we were informed that the plaintiff was an a skiing trip two days after allegedly breaking both legs while slipping over a banana skin that our client allegedly left on the sidewalk. We want to see all holiday photos that the plaintiff put on facebook after the alleged accident". If the plaintiff refuses to hand the photos over, the judge is required by law to assume the plaintiff is hiding the fact that his legs were just fine.

Re:If it's germain, why not? (3, Informative)

kevinNCSU (1531307) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080194)

The latter. This story is about defense lawyers asking for a subpoena from a judge during civil cases to prove the plaintiffs are lying or exaggerating.

Re:If it's germain, why not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35080242)

Subpoenas for all sorts of physical records and correspondence are par for the course. How is this any different than a subpoena for your diary or letters?

2 things

1) Facebook is on the internet. The internet changes any and all reason legal and personal.
2) Its personal information that people freely give to a 3rd party who mirrors the information for them (at their request) without any binding contract between you and Facebook. This is just a reiteration of #1 just to make more points because they have to be greater than 1.

Oh, and lookout, email, phone calls, voicemail, surveillance cameras, ezpass timestamps, http server logs, cigarette butts, and your sex tape is next. Trust me on that.

Re:If it's germain, why not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35080332)

Well, for one a diary or letters can easily be destroyed. Once your data is on Facebook, they probably have all the data somewhere, even if a user requested it be removed. The persistence of information is completely different.

Re:If it's germain, why not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35080408)

On the other hand, there are some protections for private documents in the physical world. Basically, unless there is an explicit reason, your diary is protected; diaries are supposed to be protected from fishing expeditions.

germane (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35080578)

–adjective
1. closely or significantly related; relevant; pertinent: Please keep your statements germane to the issue.
2. Obsolete . closely related.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/germane [reference.com]

Re:If it's germain, why not? (1)

operator_error (1363139) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080596)

TFA ends:

So defense lawyers came up with the following solution: they ask the judges to make the plaintiffs to sign a consent form, which is then added to the subpoena sent to the sites in question, who then have no reason not to comply with the request.

Why are judges issueing subpeonas merely off a plaintiffs signature? That's what I'd like to know. This seems likely overturned on appeal, except IANAL.

In my client's defence, your honour... (5, Funny)

Vernes (720223) | more than 3 years ago | (#35079948)

...in his Facebook profile, my client clearly states that his shlong is 20 inch long and always ready for action. This would make it impossible to be the person seen, and I quote: "running away from the heist carrying the stolen device". His anatomy would not allow rapid locomotion as witnessed, your Honour.

Re:In my client's defence, your honour... (2)

Escape From NY (1539983) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080142)

If Chewbacca lives on Endor, you must acquit! The defense rests

Re:In my client's defence, your honour... (4, Funny)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080488)

Prosecutor's rebuttal: "I know from personal experience that that condition doesn't hinder running in the least."

It is called discovery and subpoena. (4, Informative)

davev2.0 (1873518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35079952)

When one is involved in a court case, there is discovery where each party is allowed to investigate and examine the other party, including the other party's private documents such as diaries, for evidence. The court can issue a subpoena for said private documents. Facebook and other social networking sites fall under "private documents".

I have no idea why everyone is surprised at this. It has been like this literally for centuries.

Re:It is called discovery and subpoena. (1)

Ancantus (1926920) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080416)

I am just surprised that "Facebook and other social networking sites fall under "private documents"." From what I have witnessed, Facebook is anything but private.

Re:It is called discovery and subpoena. (1)

Khashishi (775369) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080710)

It's private if you aren't my friend and I only allow friends to see.

Actually (1)

deathtopaulw (1032050) | more than 3 years ago | (#35079978)

I'd say the reverse is more true. The more you post online the more accurately you paint your alibi. If you've got a constant stream of "I just walked into this bar!" and "the bartender gave me her number!" and "I just had sex with her!" it's then easy to find witnesses and prove you didn't stab that hooker last night.

Re:Actually (1)

joeszilagyi (635484) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080076)

So by your rationale I can, as a resident of a given city,

1. Drive to a bar in a city 3-4 hours away. Take a variety of photos of myself there/at local attractions. Modify the time stamps/embedded data.
2. Leave my cell phone at home while I do this.
3. Load doctored images to cell phone.
4. Hand phone to accomplice: send them back there to upload them and tweet/facebook up a storm connecting via the local cell towers.
5. Paint an alibi.
6. Go on a criminal spree.
7. If arrested or tagged later, use my alibi: I was 4 hours away at the time. See?

It can't be that simple.

Re:Actually (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080114)

Sure it can, until a CCTV camera near the scene of the crime catches your license plate...

Re:Actually (1)

joeszilagyi (635484) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080156)

Well we're getting into the what-if game, but that's when you use a boosted car and one of those realistic latex masks to change your race, etc. -- but yeah, I'm surprised this hasn't come up yet with someone trying to paint a false picture of activities via online records.

Re:Actually (1)

Rob Kaper (5960) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080140)

It can't be that simple.

It strengthens valid alibis, not forged ones.

Re:Actually (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35080128)

For your own sake, get out of the habit of assuming the truth cannot be used against you if you're innocent.

They crooks haven't figured it out yet, have they? (1)

supremebob (574732) | more than 3 years ago | (#35079998)

You would think that at least some of the smarter criminals would know by now that nothing that you put on Facebook is even remotely private. Even if you spent the time restricting all of your posts, photos, and comments so only your friends would see them, all it takes is for one of your friends to click on a rogue poll or Facebook application for them to pull a bunch of your so-called "personal" information through them. Not to mention that they're constantly changing the settings and adding new services for advertisers to grab your data on what seems to be a monthly basis.

Seriously, anybody who posts stuff on Facebook that they wouldn't want their mother or boss to read deserves to have that information used against them as a warning to rest of humanity.

Amen! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35080026)

You would think that at least some of the smarter criminals would know by now that nothing that you put on Facebook is even remotely private. Even if you spent the time restricting all of your posts, photos, and comments so only your friends would see them, all it takes is for one of your friends to click on a rogue poll or Facebook application for them to pull a bunch of your so-called "personal" information through them. Not to mention that they're constantly changing the settings and adding new services for advertisers to grab your data on what seems to be a monthly basis.

Seriously, anybody who posts stuff on Facebook that they wouldn't want their mother or boss to read deserves to have that information used against them as a warning to rest of humanity.

Amen Reverend!

The Choir here completely agrees with you!

Re:They crooks haven't figured it out yet, have th (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35080112)

You would think that at least some of the smarter criminals ...

The are. However most criminals are pretty dumb. Or more accurately the set of criminals brought to court has a strong selection bias favoring the dumb ones because they're the ones who leave enough evidence around for the DA to bother prosecuting.

Re:They crooks haven't figured it out yet, have th (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080340)

I imagine that smart criminals are somewhere in between not using Facebook at all and only using it in a limited context (say, for the social part of their lives, which they compartmentalize from the criminal part of their lives).

Re:They crooks haven't figured it out yet, have th (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080384)

Who said anything about crooks- that's just the tip of the iceberg there.

Open your mouth in the wrong way anywhere on the 'net and you could be facing the consequences of that act down the line. As an object lesson...I offer myself. I "opened my mouth" about a patent troll I used to work for on THIS forum about some of their activities in anger because of the nature of the company's laying people off and how it all could've been avoided. As a result, several years later I got the angry remarks flung back in my face by the attorney for the company when I was being deposed as an expert witness in one of their patent troll trials, in an attempt to impeach my testimony. It was NOT a fun experience, let me tell you, because part of what I'd mouthed off about was technically in violation of my employment agreement at the time, still in effect when I'd made the remarks. It's damned easy to get yourself in a deep dark crack with this stuff.

It doesn’t necessarily mean that its the tru (3, Informative)

kaptink (699820) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080028)

It doesn’t necessarily mean that anything you put on facebook is factual or true. Its not like your facebook page is a legal declaration of the truth. You could I assume argue that whatever they find or claim was just made up. As long as you don’t claim to not know someone in your friend list that you added yourself. I don’t think you can tell who added who anyway.

Re:It doesn’t necessarily mean that its the (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080672)

True but the fact that you said it is a fact. Think of it with facebook out of the picture.
Q. Mr. Kaptink did say that you where going to buy a gun and shook Mr. Jones in the head?
A. Yes but I was just kidding.
Of course when they find Mr. Jones with a bullet hole in his head that looks very damming.

Same thing if you are are on probation for DUI and they find a picture of you in a car with a beer in your hand on face book dated the day before your hearing.
Yea it could be a fake but....
Really people guess what. Stupid hurts. Act stupid in public and there is a good chance it will bite you in the rear. BTW a party is still in public.
Is it so hard for people to understand this? Facebook is not now and never was "private" don't publish private information on it... You do know that publish means to make public right?

So what? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080034)

Why should Facebook files be treated any differently than any other document? Is Zuckerman your doctor or lawyer or priest, to be given special privileges with respect to discovery? You can subpoena your opponent's private emails. Why should they not be able to subpoena your facebook files?

Re:So what? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080130)

For the same reason that we make laws to protect mentally handicapped people. The average facebook user is so dim that honestly, she needs protection from herself.

BREAKING NEWS (3, Funny)

joeszilagyi (635484) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080042)

Posting unencrypted data on 3rd party corporate services exposes them to legal requirements! We never saw that coming!

This is dumb. (1)

SaidinUnleashed (797936) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080062)

All of my information on Facebook, and much of the info my family and friends have on there is fake. They don't even know my real birthday, where I live, or my gender. 99% of the stuff I post on there is fake as well. What will the lawyers do, when the info they get from FB contradicts the other documented info?

Re:This is dumb. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35080600)

They will use it to show you are a liar. Not a good thing in court, where credibility is everything.

How is what you post on FB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35080070)

not considered hearsay?

Oh No (1)

DarkofPeace (1672314) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080080)

I know its against the spirit of Slashdot, but I RTFA. These are civil cases and the judge is making them sign a waiver to access the information. Sounds to me like a case of bad lawyering.

Privacy on Facebook... (1)

pasv (755179) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080082)

doesn't exist when you are a "criminal". It could be argued that no one really has privacy on facebook anymore. This is just becoming common knowledge, I am unpleasantly unsurprised.

"...think twice about what you post online." (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080084)

In other words, if you are trying to swindle an insurance company, don't brag about it.

Facebook has no interest in protecting you (3, Informative)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080116)

Users of Facebook are not its customers, they are its product. FB sells data about them to advertisers. So once a court order/subpoena has been received, it will act to limit damage to itself. That means full compliance and cooperation with the suing attorney. "Here are the keys, look as much as you want, Copy anything, don't bother us" would be its response.

But now a days there are so many companies providing host space, offline storage and backup, on line collaboration tools, even project planning tools on line. Many small businesses are using google cloud or microsoft office live cloud services. Now if some such small company is sued, and the lawyers ask for all documents saved in Microsoft Office Live servers with a proper subpoena would MS refuse? Would MS try to limit the discovery process to relevant documents? Would they do everything in the best interest of the defendant or in the best interest of the hosting company alone?

Re:Facebook has no interest in protecting you (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080480)

And here's why I think the "Cloud" is a stupid thing for people and businesses to utilize.

Google's little video about ChromeOS machines not withstanding, are the "features" they use to entice you to use it worth having the possibility of someone getting access to your info through a fishing expidition? I can assure you, Google's not going to push back on a subpoena unless it's so egregious that they can't do anything else- and it'd be doing no evil for them to fork stuff over on a lawyer's fishing expedition (whereas you can get an attorney and push back when they're asking for too much...) And, this is someone as big as Google. What about that little player? They're really not going to push back and before you know they've caved, they'll have done it and divulged info that probably should've been kept confidential.

I think evidence for lawsuits is what... (1)

Dr_Ken (1163339) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080124)

is being cautioned here. If you claim your back was hurt in a slip n fall accident and you show recent pictures of yourself skiing or running a marathon on FB you may have an issue. I'd be more afraid of stalkers, identity thieves, scammers, and the like getting your data.

Doesn't it really suck when the subject field (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35080398)

is used as the first line of the comment?

facebook is a liar's worst enemy (3, Interesting)

goffster (1104287) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080158)

My mom is a family law attorney and uses facebook to consistently tear down
the defenses of liars on the witness stand.

No surprise (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080316)

IANAL, but if emails are discoverable (and they are) I don't see why Facebook posts wouldn't be either.

There is only one rule (1)

Fujisawa Sensei (207127) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080328)

Never put anything is writing your don't want somebody else's lawyer holding up in court.

If it's on Facebook (1)

Pop69 (700500) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080514)

then it's not private, I don't care what you think your "privacy" settings are keeping secret from other people.

Keep it simple (3, Insightful)

pat_trick (218868) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080700)

Don't get a facebook account. I don't have one and never intend to.

So what you're saying is... (1)

AdamHaun (43173) | more than 3 years ago | (#35080714)

...that I should avoid Facebook to make it easier for me to lie under oath? What exactly is the motivation here? It's not exactly new to have private information be used as evidence in a court of law.

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