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Court Demands Private Facebook Data 113

Posted by kdawson
from the judge-is-your-new-friend dept.
Defeat Globalism writes in with a Canadian court decision that has ordered a man suing over injuries from a car accident to answer questions about content on his private "friends only" Facebook page. "Lawyers for Janice Roman, the defendant in the lawsuit, believe information posted on John Leduc's private Facebook site — normally accessible only to his approved 'friends' — may be relevant to his claim an accident in Lindsay in 2004 lessened his enjoyment of life. As a result of the ruling by Justice David Brown of Ontario's Superior Court of Justice, Leduc must now submit to cross-examination by Roman's lawyers about what his Facebook page contains. Brown's Feb. 20 ruling also makes clear that lawyers must now explain to their clients 'in appropriate cases' that postings on Facebook or other networking sites — such as MySpace, LinkedIn and even blogs — may be relevant to allegations in a lawsuit, said Tariq Remtulla, a Toronto lawyer who has been following the issue."
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Court Demands Private Facebook Data

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  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Saturday March 14, 2009 @10:20PM (#27197261)

    Like harrassment, it really isn't up to the perpetrator to determine just how victimized a victim feels.

    It is unclear to everyone but the victim just how much loss of enjoyment of life he sustained. Using something as innocuous and meaningless as tweets on Facebook to determine someone's state of mind is like trying to determine the intelligence of someone from their postings on Slashdot.

  • by LKettle (1492341) on Saturday March 14, 2009 @10:33PM (#27197307) Homepage Journal
    From what I understood from this article, and a surprisingly poorly written one for a newspaper imo, is simply that their private facebook postings maybe relevant to a civil court case, and they'll have to provide them to the other side.

    I don't see any problems here. In reading groklaw over the years I was surprised at the level of disclosure IBM and SCO had to provide eachother, whole servers of data were exchanged.

    The moral of the story and a good example in the article: If you're on disability and post pics of yourself skiing on your facebook, even only visible to 'friends', don't be surprised if it comes back to bite you in the ass.
  • with all due respect to a fellow slashdot poster, if you are asking a court to give you money for "loss of enjoyment of life" then your life is now fair game for examination. relying solely on the plaintiffs statements would not make for a just proceeding.

  • Ya well (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Saturday March 14, 2009 @10:51PM (#27197375)

    If you post it online, you should assume anyone can see it. None of these minor protections like "friends only" are any sort of serious impediment. Online is where things go to be seen by the world. So, if you aren't comfortable with it getting out, don't post it. That's not to say you can't make use of privacy settings, just don't count on them to keep everyone out.

    If something is private, keep it off websites and other such things. If something is really private, keep in encrypted and/or stored in a secure location (like a good safe). If something is really, really private, don't have a record of it at all, keep it just in your head.

  • Re:Discovery (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GrantRobertson (973370) on Saturday March 14, 2009 @11:15PM (#27197483) Homepage Journal
    I agree. This is a non-story. Some people just can't get over the notion that "cyberspace" is a separate dimension where the only reality that exists is the one they want to exist. As much as I love the internet, it is only a means of communication. Vastly complex communication, but communication nonetheless. And it is subject to the same laws that already govern communication between individuals or groups.
  • by Peyna (14792) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @01:00AM (#27197905) Homepage

    Typically, in the U.S at least, discovery requests must be reasonably calculated so as to result in the discovery of evidence relevant to the issues in the case. So, if you have good reason to believe that the person's e-mail, voice mail, etc. might contain something relevant to the lawsuit, you are entitled to it.

    "The public has the right to every man's evidence." - Many sources, no idea which is the original.

  • Re:Ya well (Score:3, Insightful)

    by icebike (68054) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @02:11AM (#27198109)

    In the USA for example a court can compel you to provide a decryption key, failure to do so resulting in contempt of court charges.

    I don't believe you have that part exactly correct.

    The only case I am aware of involved Border searches of a laptop, where the suspect cooperated and volunteered SOME information but balked at providing the decryption key.

    Once you waive your right to refuse self incrimination you can not un waive it for certain acts only.

    When asked what's on your lap top the best answer is to simply plead the 5th and refuse to answer anything more. Don't show your soft porn and then expect to hold back the good stuff.

    IANAL, but that is essentially what I read in the MSM on this issue.

  • Re:Discovery (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Paradise Pete (33184) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @03:46AM (#27198395) Journal

    But not if you have self-incriminating evidence. You can't be compelled to provide that under fifth amendment protections. Discovery be damned.

    This is a lawsuit, not a criminal trial. No protection.

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @08:40AM (#27199161) Homepage Journal

    Sure, public information is fair game Watching you mow your grass, or cruise the mall.

    But what abut watching you in your house? That is private. Why is this not also private ? The 'its on the public internet so live with it' argument shouldn't apply as you specifically marked it private.

    Its not much different then reading others emails 'because its on the internet'...

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