Facebook has been a very popular way to communicate since the day that it was invented. Growing from strength to strength it is still becoming increasingly popular. What we expect, however, is that our communications with others, unless on the public wall are kept private.
A recent ruling by the court in California has gone against this. The court has ruled that if evidence can be gathered to receive a subpoena from the court then the criminal authorities have the right to go through a person’s private and personal messages and use it as evidence in a case against them.
Previously it was not against the law for social media platforms such as Facebook to deny infringement of user’s privacy to aid a police case and hand out personal data, unless there are special circumstances. These circumstances include:
The court has now ruled that the social media platform must release all public data related to a case. Private communications are still protected by law.
Whilst the ruling is a strong move to help support cases there are still some ambiguities around the ruling. The word public poses several questions like:
These questions that were left open by the court will need to be litigated.
It has often been argued that the SCA, the stored communications act, is unlawful. The SCA imposes a federal limit on compelled disclosure from Internet sites, including Facebook. Lawyers claim that the SCA gets in the way of and blocks the fifth and sixth amendment rights, preventing a fair trial, to present a complete defense, and to cross-examine witnesses support their subpoenas.
This is because it is thought that the defense can not provide a fair trial without giving all the evidence required if that evidence is not accessible to them due to restrictions in the law. No court ruling to this date has favored this argument.
If you or your loved one are undergoing a criminal investigation of any sort a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer can help guide you through the process. A Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer will use all their expertise to get you the best results available for your case. To explore your options contact our office on 310-430-7799.