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Facebook, MySpace information not private

In a very recent court case, the judge held that the plaintiff's user name(s), his login name(s), and his password(s) were not entitled to protection from disclosure in a civil lawsuit.

When requested by the defendant, the plaintiff asserted a right of confidentiality and privacy in response.  The court, in McMillen vs. Hummingbird Speedway, Inc. et al, a Jefferson County, Pennsylvania trial level court held that: "Facebook, MySpace and their ilk are social network computer sites people utilize to connect with friends and meet new people.  That is, in fact, their purpose, and they do not bill themselves as anything else.  Thus, while it is conceivable that a person could use them as forums to divulge and seek advice on personal and private matters, it would be unrealistic to expect that such disclosures would be considered confidential."  The court also said that there was no privilege to protect the plaintiff's postings, and therefore, the requested information had to be disclosed to the defendant.

We like to tell our clients that anything they post on the Internet might be viewed by unintended recipients, and therefore, not to post anything which is sensitive or they don't want anyone to know about.  Be careful out their folks! 

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