Facebook use court ordered

Canadian plaintiff has to provide Facebook history

The Canadian courts, in particular the New Brunswick Court of queen's bench has ordered that the plaintiff in a disability insurance claim to get a history of her computer account use from her Internet Service Provider (ISP) in order to generate a record accountng for her Facebook use.

The case is Carter v. Connors and the ruling was made in the courts on December 2, 2009. The background on the case is that the Applicant-Defendant brought a motion for an order that the Plaintiff request this information from the ISP, Bell-Aliant. The Plaintiff is undergoing discovery examination by the Applicant's counsel. This all relates to a motor vehicle accident that happened in 2004. The internet use record requested goes from the date of the accident until current day.

Part of the request is that if the motion succeeds, the technician who puts together the Internet use record segregate as a discrete record, if possible, the time spent on Facebook.

Discovery is the legal process where the defendant and plaintiff declare what evidence will be used in the trial. Motions can be made by one side or the other about evidence to be brought to light.

The claim under dispute is a soft tissue injury that is stated to have resulted from the accident that prevents her from returning to her full time job.

The courts found that in this particular case, "the probative value of the information requested is of such a level that its disclosure will not infringe upon a reasonable expectation of privacy. That is so because the information sought is not, at least at this stage of proceedings, information that could qualify as revealing very personal information over which most right thinking Canadians would expect a reasonable expectation of privacy. Put another way, it does not reveal: “intimate details of the lifestyle and personal choices of the individual.”

There will be an ongoing assessment to be sure that Charter rights or expectation of privacy are not violated. Be aware that a forensic inspection of your computer could be ordered. Be aware that what you post can be viewed by many. Do you want it brought into a courtroom?

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