A Connecticut judge has ordered a couple to give each other passwords to their Facebook and online dating accounts as part of their divorce proceedings.
“Taking electronic discovery of social media content a bit too far?” asked @AgentDarkApple on Twitter.
While information on such sites has long been fair game—and great fodder—for divorce attorneys, the Connecticut case is believed to be the first time a judge has ordered litigants to hand over access to the accounts, which would presumably give the sides access to information that goes beyond the scope of the case.
“Oh my God this is awful. WTF how is this even legal?!” @charnanigans tweeted in response to an article about the case.
It may not be legal, but judges are still trying to figure out the best way to handle such cases. For starters, password exchanges may violate Facebook’s terms of service, and similar cases are expected to be challenged, including a cases where a judge themselves logged into a litigant’s Facebook account to review the contents.
Even if such reviews don’t hold up in the long run, the amount of information available online is so great that it’s inspired one of the attorneys in the Connecticut case to do away with his computer and email account altogether.
“I see the information people can get from computers, in lawsuits and through hacking,” Gary Traystman, who represents Stephen Gallion, told Forbes. “They scare the hell out of me.”
Illustration by StoneySteiner