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Facebook Private Info Increasingly Used In Court 270

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the poking-for-fun-and-profit dept.
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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Facebook Private Info Increasingly Used In Court

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  • by davev2.0 (1873518) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @11:58AM (#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.
  • by kaptink (699820) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @12:08PM (#35080028) Homepage

    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.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @12:18PM (#35080116) Journal
    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?

  • by kevinNCSU (1531307) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @12:25PM (#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.

"If that makes any sense to you, you have a big problem." -- C. Durance, Computer Science 234

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