In today's Philadelphia Inquirer Scott Shane writes:
The FBI investigation that toppled the CIA director and now threatens to tarnish the reputation of the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan underscores a danger that civil libertarians have long warned about: that in policing the Web for crime, espionage, and sabotage, government investigators will unavoidably invade the private lives of Americans. On the Internet, and especially in e-mail, text messages, social network postings, and online photos, the work lives and personal lives of Americans are inextricably mixed. Private, sensitive messages are stored for years on computer servers, available to be discovered by investigators who may be looking into unrelated matters.
How does this story pertain to personal injury into litigation? Question number 17 from the defense attorney's mouth is invariably "do you have a Facebook account?" Personal injury victims have to be aware that what they put on the Web stays there forever, and is searchable and retrievable by insurance companies and their attorneys.
I have written many times on the issue of Facebook and how that effects litigation. This is not to say that just because you have a personal injury case you should not send emails or use social networks. But even seemingly innocuous comments or posts can be twisted in a negative light by an opposing insurance company. That is their job- to reduce the amount of money paid to you as compensation for your injuries, even if that means discrediting you.
As Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union has been quoted as saying in a recent interview with the New York Times.
“It’s a particular problem with cyberinvestigations — they rapidly become open-ended, because there’s such a huge quantity of information available and it’s so easily searchable. ..If the C.I.A. director can get caught, it’s pretty much open season on everyone else.”