Let’s say you’re the plaintiff in a civil case against a neighbor, an employer, or a company you’ve done business with. And let’s say that you have a Facebook account. The other side believes that some of your Facebook communications might be relevant to the case, so they specifically request access to your account. You refuse, and the issue goes to the court to sort out. How should the court rule? Specifically, what should the court order you to do? Do you have to give the password for your account over to a party that, to put it mildly, you are probably not on the best of terms with?
Surprisingly, at least one court has said yes, and I believe similar requests are being made in courts all around the country. I believe this is a deeply disturbing development and is the result of either a failure to understand social networking technology, the rules of civil procedure, or both.
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