Posts Tagged ‘Stored Communications Act’

Facebook Privacy Settings Don’t Matter?

February 3, 2011

Here is an article that mentions three recent civil cases where the defense was able to obtain evidence from private Facebook pages in order learn about the extent of injury in tort cases.  It goes on to mention that defense attorneys  are working around the Stored Communications Act by asking judges to compel plaintiffs to sign a consent form added to the subpoena sent to the Internet Service Providers.

I doubt this “work around” will go unscrutinized by appellate courts forever.  I look for better court guidance on this issue.

Stored Communications Act & Social Media

January 22, 2011

Here is a recent case where an employer was liable for statutory damages under the Stored Communications Act because the employer took the employees’ personal email account log-in and used it to access their accounts.  They were looking for information about violations of a noncompete clause and they found it in those emails.   The employee counter-sued and won.

How Does this Relate to Social Media Usage by Employees?

What if the employee had set up a Twitter account for their company and used their private (Gmail or Yahoo) email account to register with Twitter and communicate with company vendors, clients and prospective clients privately?  Now say that on other grounds, the employer decides  to terminate the employee. Afterwards, the employee sues for wrongful termination and the employee gets access to the employees log-on information for the private email account attached to the Twitter account and decide to review the email traffic? If the employee finds out, he might have grounds for another cause of action under the Stored Communications Act according to this decision.

What Should an Employer Do?

If you want an employee to promote the company through Twitter make sure that:

  • The employee is instructed to use the employer’s email domain for all social networking profiles
  • That a unique email account is to setup for the employee to use for social media.  That way if an issue arises and that communication must be revealed, it will be much easier for the employer to identify the appropriate email alias for that analysis.

Showdown On Stored Communications Act?

January 7, 2011

More Juror misconduct – in this case a criminal trial involving the Killa Mob gang trial where the juror posted on Facebook about how boring the trial was prompting the defense attorney to subpoena Facebook to obtain correspondence on the social networking site between the juror and his friends as to whether the friends influenced or bias the juror in any way that might allow for a mistrial.

1986 law pre-Web still govern?

The Stored Communications Act pre-dates the World Wide Web. Googling wasn’t a verb, Friendster wasn’t an outdated social networking site and even email was an exotic communications tool used by scientists and uber-geeks.  Could the Courts rule that technological advancement makes the law useless?