Thorny problems of Internet privacy are popping up in the courtroom with increased frequency. This was demonstrated most recently in a Connecticut divorce case where a judge ordered the attorneys to exchange their clients' Facebook and dating-site passwords.
While it is common for litigants to be required to disclose information from their social-networking pages, it is rare-though not completely unheard of-that they be required to turn over the passwords themselves.
Here, the attorney for the husband thought there was evidence on the wife's Facebook and dating-site pages that would help his client get custody of the couple's children.
After the wife voluntarily gave her passwords to her soon-to-be-ex husband's attorney, she immediately tried to get a friend to change them. Soon thereafter, the presiding judge issued an order saying that both husband and wife had to give their passwords to the other side's attorney.
Interestingly, a Forbes columnist points out that disclosing passwords is against Facebook's terms of service, which say, "You will not share your password [or] let anyone else access your account."
When it comes to Internet-privacy issues, we are still on the frontier, in a landscape that is continually changing. One thing remains certain, though-what you post online may come back to haunt you later.
The attorney for the husband in this case has absorbed that lesson so well that he doesn't even have a computer or an email account. "I see the information people can get from computers, in lawsuits and through hacking," he told Forbes. "They scare the hell out of me."
To learn more about divorce, alimony/spousal support or property division here in Texas, contact an experienced and skilled legal professional. Names have been withheld to protect the identity of the parties.
This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.
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Forbes, "Judge orders divorcing couple to swap Facebook and dating site passwords" Nov. 7, 2011