Right to Pirvacy with Social Network Sites

In New York State, Romano v. Steelecase Inc decided on Septermber 21, 2010, the court opinion presented an interesting position on invasion of privacy case involving Facebook and MySpace.  It is one of the first cases where the pictures posted were used as evidence in a trial and presented as discovery material.

It is a case where a plaintiff, Romano, sued Steelecase for some emotional turmoil, not important to this review of court decision.  What is important is that the courts ruling on information sought by a defendant to use the Internet sites and the posts of Ms. Romano.

The plaintiff claimed permanent emotional injury, however her FaceBook pictures showed her happy and traveling around the world.

The bottom line was that the material from the sites was considered applicable discovery material and evidence for discovery because neither FaceBook nor MySpace provided any guarantee of complete privacy.

But wait a minute!  The plaintiff had checked “private.”  According to the court, this did not matter.  The plaintiff claimed that using the “private” pictures against her in court would be a violation of her right to privacy.  Not so said the court.

The bottom line is that Social Networking sites are NOT private and anything posted is viable court discovery material and evidence.