Social networking Web sites such as Facebook and MySpace have become an increasingly popular vehicle for people to communicate with friends and family, share their innermost thoughts, feelings and post personal photographs. These personal Web sites generate a plethora of personal data and may be an enticing source of information about an unwary plaintiff to adversarial e-wolves. It is no longer “think before you speak.” Now it must be “think before you twitter.” Certain sites allow open access by the public while others, such as Facebook, permit individuals to restrict access to their pages exclusively to their “friends” — i.e., people who have their permission and are invited to view their information. However, there is no assurance of privacy even on the “invitation only” sites.
It is imperative to ask a client whether he or she participates in a social networking site. Plaintiffs in personal injury actions are generally made aware of defendants’ use of traditional videotaped surveillance techniques and warned that they may be on “candid camera” when they leave their homes. The potential incursion into their privacy by unwanted “e-peepers” is becoming an ever-increasing issue. Clients must be strongly cautioned, as they would with respect to videotaped surveillance, that not only their public sites may be viewed by defendants but even their private restricted sites may be invaded. In this article, we consider some of the issues raised by the proliferation of the exchange of personal information over the Internet and the application of existing legal principles to control potential abuse by aggressive adversaries.
This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.
To view this content, please continue to their sites.
LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.
For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]