Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


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

Judge Makes Divorcing Couple Swap Facebook Passwords 332

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This discussion has been archived.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:
  • divorce (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nomadic ( 141991 ) <nomadicworld AT gmail DOT 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 12, 2011 @01:59PM (#38035656)

    You disgust me . Only the worst sort of people not only fall for the scam but love it.. Dragging the rest of us with you whenever we have to apply for work.

  • 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?
  • 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: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 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.

  • Re:Passwords, keys (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 12, 2011 @02:37PM (#38035894)

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

    Gee, I don't 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.

  • 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?

"We don't care. We don't have to. We're the Phone Company."