Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Facebook Being Sued to Remove Data

Two years ago a woman was murdered in Staten Island, NY. The EMT who arrived at the scene took a photo of the murder scene and posted it on his Facebook page. The murderer was caught and convicted and the EMT lost his job and certification. Now the family is suing Facebook regarding turning over the photos in question and identifying the users who saw and downloaded the photos.

I'm not a fan of Facebook as it concerns privacy rights but in this case the family is in the wrong. The only thing that can be done is to remove the offending photo from the EMT's account (and, if it's in the TOS, to close the account). However, now the family is asking the courts to force Facebook to violate others' privacy by finding out who "viewed" and "downloaded" the photos. Assuming the data exists (unlikely) and assuming that the newspaper account of the suit is correct the family is asking something quite unreasonable.

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