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Facebook Posts Mined For Courtroom Evidence 191

Posted by timothy
from the objection-relevance dept.
littlekorea writes "Defense lawyers are increasingly gaining permission from US courts to mine the private comments and postings on Facebook accounts to be used as evidence during trials. The first example — noted in Slashdot in September — has given way to an avalanche of new cases — and a worrying precedent that judges consider social networking content to be public data."
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Facebook Posts Mined For Courtroom Evidence

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  • Helpful tip (Score:3, Informative)

    by JamesP (688957) on Friday January 28, 2011 @09:16AM (#35030846)

    Treat all information posted on social networks as public

    It is anyway, after a court order, or a systems invasion, or a dodgy employer.

  • Re:Well... (Score:3, Informative)

    by commodore6502 (1981532) on Friday January 28, 2011 @09:36AM (#35031034)

    Not in the European Union:

    ARTICLE 8

    1. Everyone has the right to the protection of personal data concerning him or her.

    2. Such data must be processed fairly for specified purposes and on the basis of the consent of the person concerned or some other legitimate basis laid down by law. Everyone has the right of access to data which has been collected concerning him or her, and the right to have it rectified.

    3. Compliance with these rules shall be subject to control by an independent authority.

  • Re:Public they are (Score:5, Informative)

    by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Friday January 28, 2011 @09:43AM (#35031106)
    Forensic traces at a crime scene dont have to swear an oath either, and they can be used in court as evidence - you seem to be misconstruing testimony and evidence.

    Its quite simple - if the network in question can provide enough information to suggest "this account posted this text on this date from this address" and the lawyers can provide enough corroborating evidence to allow a reasonable person to accept that as a truth, then its good enough to be used in a court. If you dont want it used, dont post it - or dont allow a third party to hold it.
  • by davev2.0 (1873518) on Friday January 28, 2011 @12:10PM (#35033242)
    So many people here miss something very important. Almost anything, whether it is public or private, can be used as evidence in a trial, whether civil or criminal, if it is properly subpoenaed and collected.

    Your diary, your Facebook postings, the contents of your computer and cell phone, and your mail, it doesn't matter what it is as long as it is properly subpoenaed and collected.

    There is no story here. It has been like this for centuries. The court can order access to almost everything considered private.

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