When Your "Private" Status Isn't Private...

September 17, 2015

Information posted behind privacy settings on social media is no longer considered inadmissable in court as more and more judges are compelling plaintiffs to produce the information requested by defendants. I read about an interesting case against Target, where someone slipped and fell in their store & she did not want to provide her facebook photos from that period of time for use in her case against Target.

 

 

She attempted to claim that those photos were set to "private" and therefore the trial court's order invaded her right to privacy.

 

The reason Target's attorneys wanted these photos, is of course, to call into question the true extent of the injury the woman was claiming. They wanted to see if she was posting photos of herself out having fun, they're looking for anything that might show that she wasn't as injured as she claimed to be.

 

The trial court overruled the woman's objections and ordered her to produce ANY photos she posted on her social media accounts as well as photos that were on her CELL PHONE.

 

The court held that the expectation that such information shared through social networking websites is private is not a reasonable one. As the Court aptly stated, “Facebook itself does not guarantee privacy. By creating a Facebook account, a user acknowledges that her personal information would be shared with others. Indeed, that is the very nature and purpose of these social networking sites else they would cease to exist.”

 

My thoughts: I guess there is no variation of the 5th amendment for this type of thing... releasing those photos could cause her to incriminate herself. She is free to keep her mouth closed for fear of incriminating herself, but she must open up her gadgets & let the evidence therein lead to her demise? Well, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and has photos of itself quacking when it's quacker was supposed to be unquackable...  

 

So, what is the takeaway from this? Be mindful of what you post on social media or snap photos of on your own cell phone. Live your life like you're on the 5 o'clock news, you might just find yourself there. You have nothing to hide, because really, nothing is hidden.

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