Open Secrets

Published December 11, 2011

Postings on Facebook are not private, and they are fair game for disclosure in court cases.

Lawyers have known this for years, but their clients are just finding out–the hard way.

Among those clients are a divorcing couple in Connecticut, where a judge ordered both the husband and wife, engaged in a custody battle over their two children, to disclose their Facebook passwords to one another.

The wife had posted photos of her children on an online dating site. Her husband argued this posting rendered her an unfit mother. “My privacy was completely invaded,” the mother said. “It’s embarrassing to have someone read messages that you thought were private and confidential.”

But things posted on the Internet are not private, according to one prominent divorce attorney. “This is a brave new world. You’re going to see this more and more,” he said. “If you’re going to use the Internet and you’re in a relationship, you’re going to have to do it very carefully–like two rhinoceroses making love,” he said.

Source: Michael Gartland, “Couple forced to exchange Facebook passwords during divorce,” New York Post, November 20, 2011