Privacy on the Internet?

The internet has recently become a very popular place for people to socially network with others.  Friends, family and previous acquaintances call all log on to the internet and find out what is going on in most people’s lives.  There are many different social networking sites.  The most popular are Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and Bebo.  These sites allow users to update “the world” on what is happening in their life on literally a minute by minute basis.

Although these sites are fun and popular, you should be very careful about the information that you post and about the “friends” you invite to view your information.  In addition to the obvious safety reasons involved in giving out your personal information, there are a number of legal reasons you should be aware of before posting information.

If you are involved in any type of legal action, either as a plaintiff or defendant, the information you post on your social network may very well be discoverable as part of the legal proceedings.  For instance, let’s say you were injured in an auto accident and you filed a claim or lawsuit against the other driver for your injuries.  The lawyer who is defending that case can access information on your social network site.  If you make statements on your site which he can prove show you are not injured or not as badly injured as you claim, this information may be used against you.

Also, pictures which you post may be accessed by others, including future educational institutions or prospective employers to see if you are engaged in activity which may be objectionable to them.  Young people in particular need to be careful about posting pictures of them showing  alcohol,  drug use or with firearms.  Even if the pictures are made as a joke, they may still be used against you.

In divorce proceedings, attorneys may use information on a social web site to prove adultery or community property assets.  Law enforcement may also access this information in attempting to prove certain crimes.

In sum, you should think carefully before posting any information or pictures which has the potential to cause you harm in the future.  There are many ways information may be damaging besides the obvious safety reasons.

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