Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Facebook Privacy Security Social Networks The Courts Your Rights Online

Judge Makes Divorcing Couple Swap Facebook Passwords 332

Posted by Soulskill
from the be-careful-whom-you-poke dept.
PolygamousRanchKid writes with news of a recent court order during divorce proceedings: both parties must give their social networking passwords to the other, so that each side can snoop for evidence. From the article: "Everyone knows that evidence from social networking sites comes in handy for lawsuits and divorces. Attorneys usually get that material by visiting someone’s page or asking that they turn over evidence from their page, not by signing into their accounts. But judges are sometimes forcing litigants to hand over the passwords to their Facebook accounts. Should they be? What was the reason behind the court-authorized hacking in the Gallion case? ... While all may be ‘fair’ in love and war (and personal injuries), password exchanges like this are not kosher according to Facebook’s terms of service. I wonder if Judge Shluger is aware that his order violates Facebook’s TOS, which require that users not hand over their passwords to anyone else. Shluger did, at least, try to limit the privacy invasiveness of his order by telling the parties not to prank each other. 'Neither party shall visit the website of the other’s social network and post messages purporting to be the other,' he included in the order."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Judge Makes Divorcing Couple Swap Facebook Passwords

Comments Filter:
  • Go on, take the Facebook password, but if anyone touches my Linked In password, there will be trouble,

    • by Z00L00K (682162)

      And by violating TOS - the accounts shall be killed and erased. Problem solved.

  • What was the reason behind the court-authorized hacking in the Gallion case?

    So I can "hack" my buddy's game account by asking him for the account/password? Wow, this social engineering is getting pretty ingenious. I bet the judge humps corpses in those eff pee ess games too.

  • Terms of Service (Score:5, Informative)

    by CmdrPony (2505686) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @01:50PM (#38035588)

    I wonder if Judge Shluger is aware that his order violates Facebook’s TOS

    Why the hell would he care?

    • by broken_chaos (1188549) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @01:54PM (#38035616)

      Since one party just has to inform Facebook to (probably) get both accounts shut down, locking away any 'evidence', as long as it's done quick enough.

      • by chrb (1083577)
        I doubt Facebook would close an account just because some random person emails them saying that the owner of said account broke their Terms Of Service. Also Facebook might face some legal problems if they deleted the account when they had knowledge that it was subject to a court order. Imagine the non-internet scenario: you are facing divorce, so you store some documents relevant to the legal proceedings with a lawyer for safe keeping. Your spouse's attorney knows of the existence of the documents, requests
      • by jklovanc (1603149)

        Sorry but TOS does not trump a court order. If one or both of the accounts were shut down the court could order them restored and made accessible again.

        • Of course. It's just that ordering an exchange of passwords is completely unacceptable. All you need to do is issue a subpoena on Facebook for the relevant information. I constantly remind my users to never ever divulge their passwords, not even to me, as conveniant as that might be sometimes. Frankly, I wouldn't want to log in to someone else's Facebook account, just for fear of accidental settings changes and things like that.

    • Well, he is only ordering the couple to brake the TOS, he isn't giving any order to Facebook itself. So now the wife can give the password to the husband, then call Facebook that she has broken the TOS and request her account to be removed. Then just wait for this thing to be over with and create a new account.

      • by jklovanc (1603149)

        And the court could issue another order to Facebook to restore the account and keep it up until the case is over. Things do not disappear instantly from the internet; there are always backups.

      • by BitZtream (692029)

        And the court will follow up with an order compelling facebook to make the data available to the court, oh, and they don't actually give a fuck about your account, thats just an excuse to use as an option to turn people off as needed.

        Its cute how you think you're going to out smart the legal system because of some silly ToS. You do realize the law tramps anything in Facebook's retarded ToS, right?

    • by Calibax (151875) * on Saturday November 12, 2011 @02:05PM (#38035706)

      oh, I don't know. Perhaps because each of the parties agreed to a contract with Facebook, and he's ordering them to break that contract - when Facebook isn't even a party to the case.

      In this case it's no big deal at all. But a judicial order that involves deliberately breaking two contracts that were agreed with an uninvolved third party is not exactly what you'd expect to see. Maybe that's normal in divorce courts, no experience there.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Why is it that every would-be lawyer who's watched 3 or more episodes of Law & Order thinks that his legal insights about contract law are brilliant and worth sharing?

        I bet the lawyers for both parties haven't even considered this line of reasoning, and wouldn't have used it on appeal if you hadn't brought it up here. I bet they didn't even use it when arguing about this order in front of the judge in the first place!

        It's a good thing Slashdot has so many bar-qualified lawyers willing to do some monday

    • by perlchild (582235) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @02:10PM (#38035748)

      The judge might not care that it's Facebook's TOS, he should care however, that he's asking for the worse possible way to get what he wants.

      Having the court order facebook to give both parties the information for both accounts is the right, "least abusable" way to go about this.

      Ordering people to give over a password to someone they despise, when the only POINT of the password is that it's not known to anyone else is ludicrous.

      Thinking that the only damage they can do is limited to the pranks he ordered them not to do is criminally misinformed.

      The law in many countries state "ignorance of the law is no defense".

      It should have a matching "no judge may be ignorant of the nature of the things he orders about.

      • by Bogtha (906264)

        Having the court order facebook to give both parties the information for both accounts is the right, "least abusable" way to go about this.

        There are two other ways he could have gone about it - it's possible to create Facebook applications with read-only access. It's also possible to export your data from Facebook.

        Also, if I were a friend of only one of these people and I used Facebook's privacy controls to share things with my friends only, this judge would be forcing my friend to violate my privac

    • by geekmux (1040042)

      I wonder if Judge Shluger is aware that his order violates Facebook’s TOS

      Why the hell would he care?

      Gee, I don't know...how about the fact that he's a judge and SHOULD know if what he's handing down as a court order violates anything...the fact that he's presiding over one of the most common events that take place in courtrooms today...the fact that actions like this will set precedent in damn near every single future court case involving two people who are divorcing who happen to have Facebook accounts(that would be just about EVERYONE)...dunno, those seem like pretty damn good reasons to me.

      He's treadin

      • by BitZtream (692029) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @03:24PM (#38036198)

        Gee, I don't know...how about the fact that he's a judge and SHOULD know if what he's handing down as a court order violates anything

        Its cute how you think a ToS is something someone somewhere cares about. Its not law, its not even a binding contract. The judge doesn't care about the Facebook ToS because he overrides it.

        Companies don't get to override the law, no contract (in America) part can be held binding if it is against the law. Look up how slavery was outlawed as written into law.

        the fact that actions like this will set precedent

        Setting precedent requires you to be the first to do it. He isn't. Not even close. This is just a continuation of typical divorce proceedings and Facebook is just one more thing in the loop. Judges have been ordering divorcing couples to share info for thousands(?) of years, Facebook's silly little ToS doesn't override common sense, practicality, or most importantly in this case, the law.

        He's treading on thin ice with this one. What's next, swapping bank account info?

        Already pretty much standard practice in a divorce case so both sides lawyers can figure out which one is paying for everything. Who owes how much child support or alimony. Which by the way, that information in most cases is legally obtainable by the other one because you are married. You shouldn't have gotten married to someone you didn't plan on sharing everything with. You're legally bound to do so at this point, just like they are also legally bound for certain mistakes you make.

        And if the two laymen involved in a divorce case are basically being tasked to "snoop" on the other and find out every bit of information, then what the hell is anyone paying a highly educated divorce attorney for...

        The divorce attorney is acting on behalf of the people getting divorced. The judge doesn't ever tell the lawyer to do anything, he tells the litigants to do shit, and the lawyers do it on their behalf. If you want the lawyer to do the snooping, then you can pay him to do so.

        If you didn't want to end up with your soon to be ex-wife/husband having access to your Facebook account during the divorce then you might want to consider who you marry, not expect the courts to protect you. When you got married you agreed that BY LAW for MANY PURPOSES that there is no YOU, only US, and this is one of the consequences of your choice. Don't get married if the risk is something you're not willing to take. Its not the courts job to fix your bad life choices.

        I'm fairly certain you have absolutely no idea what so ever about anything related to divorce or legal proceedings in general. Its really scary how little you know about how your country works.

      • What's next, swapping bank account info?

        Court-ordered swapping of bank account info in divorce cases isn't "next," it's previous - as in it's been a pretty standard order in contested divorce cases for years.

      • by WorBlux (1751716)
        I'd bet Facebook already has a method to export data to LEO's. The judge should just issue a subpoena for Facebook to send a copy of the data to the court.
  • divorce (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nomadic (141991) <[nomadicworld] [at] [gmail.com]> on Saturday November 12, 2011 @01:52PM (#38035600) Homepage
    In my opinion anytime someone enters into contested divorces they should be assigned a guardian by the court with full power of attorney and the ability to have the person they represent temporarily institutionalized until the divorce is finalized. People who get divorced and have any sort of adversarial proceedings typically turn into raving lunatics who are dangers to society.
    • Re:divorce (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Knave75 (894961) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @01:56PM (#38035628)
      Well, I will probably looking at a divorce in a year's time or so, and if I was ordered to turn over my facebook password my very first action would be to delete my profile.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Nailer235 (1822054)

        Well, I will probably looking at a divorce in a year's time or so, and if I was ordered to turn over my facebook password my very first action would be to delete my profile.

        Then you would potentially face penalties for spoilation of evidence in which case you could potentially face imprisonment and a jury would be permitted to "assume the worst." Good job. (Note: I am NOT a lawyer and I am NOT offering legal advice)

        • Re:divorce (Score:5, Funny)

          by jpapon (1877296) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @02:08PM (#38035718) Journal
          Spoilation of evidence? Is that when you give away the ending of a cop drama?

          Spoilation alert!

        • by Knave75 (894961)
          Did the order state that I also lose control over my account? My understanding is that users can delete their account at any time, is that not correct? (Luckily, I suspect it will not be a contested divorce, so I won't have this issue, but imprisoning me over deleting my facebook account seems to be... harsh.)
          • Re:divorce (Score:5, Informative)

            by nomadic (141991) <[nomadicworld] [at] [gmail.com]> on Saturday November 12, 2011 @02:16PM (#38035776) Homepage
            They wouldn't throw you in jail but you could face sanctions for doing it. Word of advice for dealing with judges, do NOT try to pick holes in their orders like that.
          • by dcollins (135727)

            Prediction: You will have one helluva hard time in your divorce. Just sayin'.

          • by Ihmhi (1206036)

            but imprisoning me over deleting my facebook account seems to be... harsh.)

            Despite the fact that they were once lawyers, judges have emerged from their Armani cocoons as something vaguely resembling a human. Humans can be petty.

          • by Americano (920576)

            If you deleted your account before the order was given, you'd probably get away with it. But if the judge ordered you to give the password, and you went home and deleted your account and then said, "HA, sorry, here's my password, I DELETED MY ACCOUNT SUCKERS," you'd piss off the judge, probably end up in contempt of court, and surely would be on the losing end of any further ruling the judge makes.

            If you think giving up your facebook password is bad, just imagine how much more painful giving up the legal m

          • Re:divorce (Score:4, Insightful)

            by BitZtream (692029) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @03:35PM (#38036280)

            You've already told us you're going to delete it to avoid court issues. Thats all thats needed. You told us you were going to break the law, and you've been told doing so now would be clearly illegal and indicative of you trying to avoid evidence being brought into court ... you have basically given the person you're divorcing a loaded gun, already held up to your head for them to legally pull the trigger on.

            You aren't being imprisoned because you deleted your Facebook account, it really blows me away that you think thats what its about.

            You would be imprisoned for intentionally destroying evidence and the proof that you intentionally destroyed evidence is this discussion you're having now about how to do it and get by with it. Judges don't like when people try to cheat/sneak around the law. They tend to spank idiots like you who think you're going to be clever to avoid the law.

            You WILL NOT BEAT THE JUDGE BY TRYING TO BE CLEVER. All you're going to do is piss the judge off, and thats going to get you the short end of the stick.

            Why do you think that some trivial little solution to the problem that you took all of 3 seconds to think of is something they've never seen before or had to deal with before. Do you REALLY think you're going to think of something they haven't seen ... and made a law specifically to avoid it in the future ... 10,000 times before?

            The sneaker you try to be, the harder you're going to get fucked. They detect and stop people trying to do shit like you're talking about everyday. That is their job. And you think you're going to pull one over on them? Seriously?

          • by Greyfox (87712)
            And all you have to do to finalize the deletion of the account is to not log into it for 14 days! So all your spouse has to do to prevent your attempt at destruction of evidence is take your password and log in with it!
          • ...imprisoning me over deleting my facebook account seems to be... harsh

            In the US, divorce court is just a civil proceeding, not a criminal one.

            If you don't care about losing your divorce case, don't even bother deleting your facebook account, then just don't give them your password, give up on the case, and tell the judge to give everything your ex-spouse is asking for. I'm sure the judge has better things to do, than to pry into your personal life, or satisfy your exe's curiosity, or even play your little word games about following his court order.

            If you're willing to conced

        • by hoggoth (414195)

          > face penalties for spoilation of evidence
          > Note: I am NOT a lawyer

          No, clearly you aren't. It's "SPOLiation of evidence", not "SPOILation".
          But everyone knows what you meant, so my point is mute.

      • Re:divorce (Score:5, Insightful)

        by rtaylor (70602) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @02:09PM (#38035730) Homepage

        You need to delete the account before being required to turn over the account.

        Even better if you do it before the divorce is filed.

        • by hedwards (940851)

          You would need to do that before being served with the initial papers and you probably wouldn't get away with it if you were the one asking for the divorce.

          Evidence tampering isn't something that tends to be taken lightly by judges. Same goes for destruction of evidence.

        • by BitZtream (692029)

          And all that goes out the window when you start talking about deleting your account to avoid court issues ... on a public website ...

          Deleting it now will count as destroying evidence regardless, he's made it clear the reason he's deleting it is to destroy evidence, doesn't matter that its not evidence yet, he's still trying to cover up some sort of activity.

          The only way he could have done this without any concern for the law is if he would have just not told anyone and deleted his account.

          He lost all hope w

      • by ClintJCL (264898)
        At that point you would probably be held in contempt of court for destroying evidence, and/or the fact that you deleted it would basically make you lose credibility, causing unproven assertions to be that much more likely to be believed.
        • by nomadic (141991)
          Yep, spoliation of evidence is taken seriously by judges; a common sanction is for the judge to make an adverse inference based on the information lost, with the idea that you deleted it because you were hiding something.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by eudas (192703)

        1) You should probably delete your profile ahead of time, then.
        2) I'm pretty sure that if you took the action to "delete your profile" with such a short turnaround time, then the spouse's login to your FB account would undo the "delete" action, anyway. Logging in to a FB account during the "deletion waiting period" cancels the deletion.

        • by WorBlux (1751716)
          Here's the best idea, stop using facebook, and stop posting anything potentially incriminating or even marginally controversial under your real name.
      • by geekmux (1040042)

        Well, I will probably looking at a divorce in a year's time or so, and if I was ordered to turn over my facebook password my very first action would be to delete my profile.

        Er, "delete"? On Facebook?

        You must be new here.

      • by Hentes (2461350)

        Even then, your data won't be deleted.

      • by khallow (566160)
        So delete it now and avoid the hassle. The judge won't mind giving you jail time for doing really stupid stuff like that.
        • by khallow (566160)
          Ok, looks like I'm wrong about the jail time (from reading other posters), but it's still a bad idea.
      • by BitZtream (692029)

        So, just for reference, you've not made it so that if at any point you delete your facebook profile you are intentionally destroying evidence to avoid it in court, which in and of itself is probably far more damaging than anything on Facebook.

        If I'm wrong, and you did put something more damaging on Facebook, then you're just a fucking moron who gets what he deserves for posting illegal shit the Internet and not expecting it to bite you in the ass later.

        Either way, I'm fairly certain you're going to get rape

    • by BitZtream (692029)

      No, its not the courts job to protect idiots. The only people being hurt by these sorts of issues are those directly involved and in that case, then there is a lesson to be learned and this is how they can learn it.

  • The cheater must be sentenced for being stupid, not for being unfaithful.

    How can someone use his/her facebook/email account for cheat instead of creating a fake one?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 12, 2011 @02:12PM (#38035762)

      Pretty easily, actually. People actually believe their "private" messages are private. Plus, friending someone on Facebook is something you do even before trading phone numbers these days, so you're going to get their real account if you meet them in real life in any sort of work/school related capacity.

      When I was in college (only a couple of years ago), I met a girl a couple of years younger who was in a history class I was taking to fill up some requirements. She had a fiance, but he didn't pay her enough attention and bored her, so she was looking for action on the side. Some of the steamiest messages I've ever seen on a computer screen, all via her real Facebook account. She married the guy later and still has the account. The messages are at least still in my inbox on Facebook, so I assume they're still in hers too.

  • I wonder if Judge Shluger is aware that his order violates Facebookâ(TM)s TOS, which require that users not hand over their passwords to anyone else.

    I think a court order trumps FB's TOS, so I doubt he cares.

    And would we want it any other way, such as a corporate TOS overriding a court? I think not.

    • by jpapon (1877296)
      That doesn't mean Facebook is obligated to keep the accounts active... Unless of course the judge issues a warrant/subpoena.
      • by BitZtream (692029)

        No.

        Facebook can act according to their policy until the court tells them otherwise OR the become obviously aware of the need to do something different.

        Where facebook would get in trouble is if they did not follow their own internal established policy for data retention.

        If facebook is not aware of the court case (and lets safely assume they aren't), and the guy deletes his account, and facebook really DOES delete it in 2 weeks, then Facebook is not in the wrong, the guy deleting his account is.

        If facebook kn

    • by Mitsoid (837831)

      I think the difference is... I'm not sure the judge can order fb to keep accounts open --- FB could be ordered to provide information... But fb still should be allowed to close/lock accounts that are violating their business practice...

      if it were a fault of the business sure... But FB in this instance is a third party in the dispute. Force the information out from the company... But do not order the company to continue to serve those 2 customers if they choose not to

  • Passwords, keys (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Phat_Tony (661117) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @02:03PM (#38035682)
    Why not also require them to make copies of their house keys for each other so they and their lawyers can go into each other's houses any time they want and rummage through each other's files, look for evidence of affairs in their bedrooms, look for property not reported in the divorce proceedings, look for signs of alcohol or drugs or depression or other personal factors that might have some bearing on the case?
    • In divorce proceedings they often do discuss who has access to the house, how to handle shared accounts, etc.
    • Re:Passwords, keys (Score:5, Informative)

      by Wrath0fb0b (302444) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @02:27PM (#38035840)

      Why not also require them to make copies of their house keys for each other so they and their lawyers can go into each other's houses any time they want and rummage through each other's files, look for evidence of affairs in their bedrooms, look for property not reported in the divorce proceedings, look for signs of alcohol or drugs or depression or other personal factors that might have some bearing on the case?

      They can. It's called discovery, and it's one of the most useful tools for civil litigants because it forces the adversary to disclose (or assert under legal penalty that it doesn't exist) any documents relevant to a particular trial. So if you sue some corporation for selling you a defective widget, you can force them to turn over all emails and notes about quality-testing or safety testing for that widget. Without it, you'd have absolutely no way to prove (e.g.) that Sally in engineering sent an email to her boss explaining that the flux capacitor supplier they chose was cutting corners and that it could cause device failure and you could basically never make a case for knowing indifference. Or if you are suing that corporation for violating the GPL and you have reason (binary similarity) to believe that product X contains GPL code, you can demand they turn over that source code for inspection. Again, without it, you would never be able to prove a GPL violation because that source code would be locked inside some secure internal server and you would be forced to make some equivocal claim about the binaries instead of looking at the plain evidence.

      A divorce case is (in the eyes of the law, which has this odd thing about procedure being uniform) no different -- each party is entitled to any document or file, electronic or paper, that's relevant to the divorce. That includes anything inside your house, anything in your bedroom, unreported property*, hospitalization records. If it has a bearing on the case, the parties are absolutely entitled to it (under restrictions mind you, public disclosure of any information derived from discovery subjects you to criminal and civil sanctions plus is a great way to get the judge ticked off at you).

      * I used to work the tech side of things for an investigation firm involved in the child-support end of divorces (long after the litigation ended) looking for evidence that parties exaggerated or even fabricated their claims of poverty when accused of nonpayment or underpayment. Some of these guys would come in to court pleading that they had no disposable income only to find our pictures of them at strip joints getting lap dances. Concealing assets and income from the court can land you in jail for contempt. Don't do it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Is forcing a password disclosure really ok though? Sure, force them to disclose all their facebook photos, but not a password. That's like saying they must give each other their personal debit cards w/ pin, as opposed to the just the records for the accounts. Passwords are sensitive things.

        • by khallow (566160)
          I don't see that argument flying ever for a facebook profile. It's not sensitive. And if the spouse does something untoward, it's easily exploitable in court.
      • by skywire (469351)

        Thanks for the dandy explanation of discovery. But you just made it crystal clear that what the judge ordered is not that.

        • I was responding to the GP's breathless assertion that what the judge did would be like giving litigants access to each other's homes and personal/medical information. Which they have.

          He tried for an absurd comparison and landed right on the truth!

        • by jklovanc (1603149)

          He missed a couple of tools that lawyers use for discovery. Search warrants are one of them. For example if a litigant find a safety deposit box that reasonably may contain hidden assets the court may issue a search warrant for that box. The exchange of passwords is in effect a search warrant for the Facebook account.

    • by BitZtream (692029)

      Uhm, thats all pretty much standard operating procedure during a divorce case.

      See the thing is, when you get married, you're legally saying 'its okay for my spouse to know everything about me and act on my behalf'. So when you get divorced, nothing is off limits, and trying to prevent the other person from getting access to stuff just makes you look guilty of SOMETHING that would be bad for you in the courts eyes, so they're going to hold it against you either way.

      If you don't want this person knowing ever

  • I would write a letter to facebook stating the following:

    I intent to share my password with another person for my own advantage. Since i intentionally violate the TOS i would kindly ask you to delete my account or prohibit access.

    Then i would wait try to delay swapping of the passwords until that is processed.

    • Or change your profile picture to a giant erect penis and start uploading full frontal nudity/porn. Your account will be banished shortly, I think.
      • by Greyfox (87712)
        From what I've seen of divorce proceedings, there's a pretty good chance your soon-to-be-ex-spouse will do this, anyway.
    • by BitZtream (692029)

      And then you'd be found guilty of contempt of court and possibly destruction of evidence, which is almost certainly far worse than getting caught cheating because your dumbass posted it on your FB page for the world to see.

      • by drolli (522659)

        I am not sure how pointing a TOS violation would make you liable. If the court wants facebook to open access to your profile then it should rule so.

        If i own a shop where somebody bought something or use my services he used for cheating on his wife then - if the court thinks its necessary - the court should rule that i grant the court and the opposing party access to the proof.

        The court should not allow to give unauthorized persons the key to a room i possess without asking me. In fact its not even unlikely

  • by Intropy (2009018) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @02:09PM (#38035738)
    Does it seem strange to anyone else that while in a criminal trial you can't be compelled to testify against yourself, in a civil trial you can be?
    • by nomadic (141991)
      Not really, the Constitution clearly states that protection against self-incrimination extends only to criminal cases.
      • by Intropy (2009018)
        Right. No argument there. No argument at all really. I was just commenting that limiting the protection to criminal cases strikes me as an odd choice.
        • by Soporific (595477)

          If it extended to civil cases you'd never see anyone successfully sued for defective cars or harsh work conditions, etc.

          ~S

      • It doesn't mention anything but criminal cases, but your assertion that it "clearly states" anything about limiting it "only to criminal cases" is absolutely false.

        No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

    • by Americano (920576)

      No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; n

  • [insert spouse's name]isabitch
  • I wonder if Judge Shluger is aware that his order violates Facebook’s TOS

    Facebook's TOS stops applying where the Judge's order starts. Facebook's rules are always overridden by laws. This isn't difficult. Company rules have to follow the law, even when the law is changed right underneath them for something like this.

  • by Lulu of the Lotus-Ea (3441) <mertz@gnosis.cx> on Saturday November 12, 2011 @02:55PM (#38035982) Homepage

    I can actually see a reasonable discovery purpose in looking at the contents of FB pages, and that is mentioned in the article. For example, if the parties have made comments about how responsible they might be in a custodial role (something suggested in article), that could be germane.

    But FB isn't really a walled garden anymore. Now there is a quite good "export my data" functionality within it. A reasonable judge's order would simply be for exchange of that downloaded data, which will contain all the relevant background that might exist with past posts. Obviously, this is contingent on parties not deleting old posts first, but other posters have already noted how doing that would be spoilation of evidence (and if parties would do that, they could equally do so with a live account after passwords were shared).

    I do recognize that the article mentioned "dating sites" too. Those sites may still be walled gardens, and may well not provide easy data export capabilities. For those, the only way to look at relevant posts/emails/profiles/etc. might indeed be password sharing. Of course, who knows what general data policies those sites have--i.e. are messages automatically deleted after N days, and archives inaccessible to users? Access to password may or may not reveal the full history of site usage.

  • Most things on Facebook are already public, or did it become that secure that a move like this is necessary?

  • by froggymana (1896008) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @03:35PM (#38036276)

    What if they hand over their passwords without changing them first? Chances are they use that same password for just about everything, and could then give their spouse access to other things like email or other IM accounts.

  • by jensend (71114) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @05:59PM (#38037114)

    So now we're defending arbitrary, silly, and unenforceable TOS and EULAs! Glad to get that cleared up!

    Troops! ABOUT-FACE! March!
    Yes Sir!

  • by Roogna (9643) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @06:18PM (#38037204)

    That's pretty ridiculous for any case whatsoever. Why do I feel like this whole thing isn't really accurate. Wouldn't a judge be more likely to make them each turn their passwords over to the court? Allowing the lawyers to perform discovery? But turning the passwords over to the respective people themselves, why would the judge do that?

    After all, lawyers, despite what it may seem, do as far as I know (I'm not one), have rules they have to follow to continue practicing law. Breaking those rules could greatly impact their chances at winning their side's case. Or even continuing to work as a lawyer at all. On the other hand, the couple doesn't have any such issue really since they obviously already hate each other.

  • by DCFusor (1763438) on Sunday November 13, 2011 @12:00AM (#38038984) Homepage
    They deserve one another, and we deserve to be free of them both. Let them destroy each other - I'll bring the beer.
  • by Registered Coward v2 (447531) on Sunday November 13, 2011 @07:58AM (#38040436)

    IANAL, but here's how a real lawyer explained it to me at a previous company:

    While once you know something is likely to be used in a legal action you can't destroy it; it is perfectly fine to routine destroy material that you don't want to have to share. If you routinely delete all messages once every 30 days, for example, on an ongoing basis, then you aren't try to destroy evidence since it hasn't yet become an issue in a legal proceeding. Once you reasonably would know it may become evidence, you can't destroy it; and must stop any routine destruction activity.

    We routinely, as soon as the final report came out, destroyed all our working papers and the floppies that contained them. Sensitive topics were not discussed via email. In our case, it was a written policy.

    There are of course, exceptions to that - if you were engaging in criminal activities the courts may take a different view of your actions.

    Moral issues aside, one only compounds the stupidity of using Facebook for illicit activities and keeping the messages instead of deleting them right away.

    Facebook could, of course, be ordered to turnover the deleted messages; but I would think they would fight such an order since it would potentially open them to becoming a virtual repository of evidence that they would have to retain forever at great cost to store and retrieve.

Loose bits sink chips.

Working...