Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Who's looking at you, kid?

Social networking is all the rage these days. Myspace, Facebook, Bebo and other social networking sites are booming with new pages going up all the time.

What does that mean in the world of litigation?

It means, be careful, since you never know who is looking at your Myspace page. In a recent Personal Injury lawsuit, the plaintiff's Myspace page was used to prove that the claimed injuries suffered did not prevent the person from partying, applying for jobs and other activities that contradicted the plaintiff's story about the extent of injuries.

Here is a blurb from the story in NC Lawyers Weekly:

"MySpace photos used against injury plaintiff

The plaintiff's story was the kind that demanded sympathy: A 21-year-old college student whose dream of becoming a teacher vanished after she collided with the defendant's dump truck and suffered a traumatic brain injury. Pictures from parties on her MySpace page told a different story to the defense: The plaintiff's life wasn't as hard-hit by the May 2005 accident as she claimed."

You can view the whole story here if you are a subscriber or want to do the trial thing.

I recently worked on a case where MySpace was a big factor.

More and more, what you are doing on the Internet is opening doors for savvy attorneys and forensic examiners to add to the evidence in cases to see if your story lines up with what you are telling the world about yourself.

In cases where a person locks their on line profile by making it private does not necessarily protect a person if their computer is examined by a computer forensics expert. Many of the activities a person does to edit and maintain their MySpace or other profile is all cached on the user's computer and can be recovered and reconstructed.

This includes MySpace chat, profile edits, gallery photos and other artifacts.

The next time you get a case, checking out a person's MySpace or other social networking site can be a gold mine, even if you have to get the computer to get to the information.

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