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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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  • Re:Discovery (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Shihar (153932) on Saturday March 14, 2009 @11:11PM (#27197457)

    I really don't see why this is news worthy myself. So a court ordered someone to hand over private documents... this happens all the time. The fact that it is stuff posted on the quasi private Facebook doesn't really change much. If the government demanded that Facebook hand over its entire database to search for terrorist, I would be concerned. The fact that someone who is being sued is getting their Facebook page opened up as apart of normal evidence gathering is unremarkable.

    People... if you are breaking a law, don't post it on Facebook and assume that the magic of the internet will keep it from the authorities.

  • by rtb61 (674572) on Saturday March 14, 2009 @11:19PM (#27197495) Homepage

    The reality is though that facebook is not about your or anybody else's life, it is a fabricated digital facade, a impression you wish to create of yourself to be viewed by others be they strangers or friends. The lawyers fishing expedition was not even about catching real fish, it was all about trying to catch phantom illusory fish and then hoping to present that illusion as real.

    So a real warning to people who naively surrender their privacy, about how that information can be misused and twisted out of shape to present in what ever light people can use to their advantage. So face book, myspace et al, a really bad idea unless you simply want to put up a completely non personal digital illusion of yourself and present yourself in the best possible light. New online business prospect, the creation and maintenance of PR=B$ on line profiles, you too can now be like the rich and greedy pseudo celebrities, where publicists create an illusion to hide the venal self serving worthless reality.

    Do you also know that you can also use that illusory personal profile in court cases to your advantage, as long as it is suitable and carefully prepared over an extended period.

  • by icebike (68054) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @01:57AM (#27198065)

    Well said. But bear in mind:

    If the loss of enjoyment of life refers to what we all suspect it refers to, and the "vic" brags about banging every hot bod in town to his private friends it goes directly to credibility, and possible perjury.

    The private pages are not necessarily the same as the public facade pages. The public pages amount to public statements.

    The private pages amount to a private discussion in the lobby of a hotel with friends.

    If they differer the vic has a problem.

    Far too many people jump into the meat market of web 2.0 thinking it will make the cool, relevant, and part of the in crowd.

  • by oftenwrongsoong (1496777) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @02:08AM (#27198105)
    The solution to this problem is very simple. After you have an accident, you go to your social profiles and document, as accurately and as specifically as possible, exactly how the accident affected you, including the specific areas of your body that have been affected, how much each area hurts on a scale of 1 to 10, what activities you find difficult or impossible following the accident, etc. Be sure to mention the related expenses that you are incurring. To add a dramatic flair, motion to quash the subpoena that asks to see your profiles and produce them begrudgingly when your motion is denied.

    Alternately you should always write your profile entirely in 1337 5p33k so that if such a subpoena should ever come, the court will have to obtain an expert witness to translate the content. |\/|y L1f3 ha5 b3c0m3 teh suxx0rz!!

  • Re:Discovery (Score:3, Interesting)

    by icebike (68054) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @03:48AM (#27198401)

    > I don't think the 5th protects you from being compelled to give testimony that might damage your civil case!

    The fifth only applies in criminal cases. However, if you are forced to testify in a civil case and thereby lay the groundwork for a follow-on criminal case (fraud, say) you can demand a "use immunity" hearing, preventing any use of the testimony or related evidence derived there from in subsequent criminal cases.

    Criminal cases usually go to trial first in the US, precisely because the state does not want the evidence spoiled by blurting it out in a civil case with or without a use immunity.

    In Canada, it appears that there are even stronger protections. You could confess to murder in traffic court and maybe get away with it. At least that's how I read it, but again IANAL.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_13_of_the_Canadian_Charter_of_Rights_and_Freedoms [wikipedia.org]

  • by vux984 (928602) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @05:47AM (#27198649)

    The reality is though that facebook is not about your or anybody else's life, it is a fabricated digital facade, a impression you wish to create of yourself to be viewed by others be they strangers or friends.

    vs the fabricated facade he and his lawyers are trying to present in court?

    Everyone knows everyone in the courtroom is projecting an image they want bought.

    If the the facade he offers up when not in court are much more caveleir about his accident, or are even contradicts the claims he's making in court, that should count against him.

    Like the cliche about the guy who shows up in court in a wheelchair because 'he can't bear the pain of even walking' yet the insurance investigator catches him on the following weekend moving a fridge and playing ball hockey.

    Or better still catching him bragging about the Swiss Alps skiing trip he's going to take with his 'soon to be paid out' settlement.

    Do you also know that you can also use that illusory personal profile in court cases to your advantage, as long as it is suitable and carefully prepared over an extended period.

    Yes. Of course. The criminal mastermind is truly hard to catch. Most criminals, however, aren't masterminds.

  • Re:Ya well (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DarkOx (621550) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @08:04AM (#27199021) Journal

    Exactly right, its like mother always said never write something down unless you expect others to read it. Anytime you record anything anywhere on any medium you invite the possibility someone else will view it. If that is not ok then don't record it; encrypted or not.

  • It's not private (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anita Coney (648748) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @08:47AM (#27199201) Homepage

    Under the law if you divulge secrets to third parties, they're no longer secrets. So if I write three friends about a secret, heck, even one friend, the state can subpoena those letters even though they were marked as private. The same is true of Facebook. Merely marking a Facebook page as private does not change the fact that it was used to give out information to third parties.

    The only exception to this is if there is some sort of privilege. Such as when the third party is a priest or your therapist and is legally obligated not to divulge your secret. Then, there's an expectation of privacy that you keep. But if you tell your friends, it's discoverable under the law. And it's been this way for centuries.

    Note to the internet generation: If you want to keep secrets, don't fricken tell anyone your secrets!

  • by egork (449605) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @03:25PM (#27201783) Homepage Journal

    The reality is though ... a fabricated digital facade, a impression you wish to create of yourself to be viewed by others be they strangers or friends.

    there, corrected it for you. :-)

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