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back to article Judge orders turnover of woman's deleted Facebook posts

A New York state judge has ruled that a woman's deleted postings on Facebook and MySpace must be turned over to a company fighting allegations she suffered “permanent injuries” that have prevented her from living an active lifestyle. Last week's decision from the Supreme Court of New York's Suffolk County said that under the …

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Anonymous Coward

Well, it tells us a little bit more.

For example that lawyers, and here with judge's assent, will stoop at nothing to bend the case in their favour. If you say you're in pain you'd better never ever have a happy day in your life!

We'll be bendin' 'er 'till she cracks, yer 'onour.

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This Cat Don't Dance

>>For example that lawyers, and here with judge's assent, will stoop at nothing to bend the case in their favour. If you say you're in pain you'd better never ever have a happy day in your life!<<

The insurance fraud investigation in cases of disability, "pain and suffering," follows the same path now as it did in you grandfather's day - and his father before him.

Any publicly visible activity that flatly contradicts the claims you made in court is fair game for the company's lawyers and detectives.

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Anonymous Coward

Weasels

“In this regard, it appears that plaintiff's public profile page on Facebook shows her smiling happily in a photograph outside the confines of her home despite her claim that she has sustained permanent injuries and is largely confined to her house and bed.”

Hmmm, so she claims she is LARGELY confined to her house and bed, but this "evidence" shows her smiling outside her house on one occasion. This disproves her claim how exactly?

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Anonymous Coward

It doesn't, it's just more evidence

Are you saying that evidence should only be collected if it fits your preconceptions?

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Anonymous Coward

It's just more evidence

"Are you saying that evidence should only be collected if it fits your preconceptions?"

If that was what I wanted to say, I would have used those words.

To see what I was saying, read the words I wrote.

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Actually this is useful...

...because since FB is obliged to cough up what material they can, and the details will be public, we can found out exactly what FB caches despite the privacy policy.

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Unhappy

Another person discovers the ethereal world created by the InterNet is more permanent ...

than she realised.

Nothing, but nothing, can be released conditionally on the InterNet. A copy exists somewhere, particularly with e-mail, and so many people have been burned when they didn't realise that the Delete key is not what they think it is.

Just type all the variants of your name, including surname first, followed by initials, into Google - you may be surprised what shows up.

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Bronze badge
Joke

In my experience

Information that you don't want on the Internet stays permanently, the information that you do want disappears just after you link to it.

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Happy

The internet can't find me.

When I type variants of my name in, it never finds an exact match and I don't appear anywhere in the first 15 pages or so.

I suppose I might be there somewhere, but I've yet to see it.

When I search under my online pseudonyms though, there's plenty of hits.

Anon, because I don't like people taking up unasked for challenges.

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Unhappy

You got the wrong icon.

Try this one.

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@the internet cant find me

What you talking about !!

i found loads of stuff about you

you even have a Wiki Page !!

http://www.google.co.uk/search?source=ig&hl=en&rlz=&=&q=Anonymous+Coward&btnG=Google+Search

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Alert

I'm not surprised at all.

Along with reading system logs, cleaning drives, and all the rest of the preventative maintenance that I do here weekly, I turn the search engines on myself in all the various personalities I use on the internet. That only makes good sense and also gives me a chance to find any repies that I may have missed during the week. [I do post a lot, but a couple of decades as a SysOp on CompuServe changes a sysadmin!]

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Big Brother

the lawyers get rich again....

So, the judge orders the documents to be made available...the rest of the court case will go along the following lines...

But your honour, after we waved our bit of paper at facebook and told them we want copies of her facebook profile they informed us that after 90 days the information was not recoverable...

Well that’s a shame isn’t it...

Well, we are still not going to pay you out because although we can’t prove those pictures exist, you can’t prove they didn’t....

Following on from that, it’s another green light to the gubbermint to then insist that facepage and the likes from now on have to forward all data marked for deletion to the ministry of information....

Anon, because they ARE out to get me!!

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Never truly deleted

Facebook doesn't truly delete content. Not unless you specifically go through the process of having your account deleted. I'd love to see the look of horror on an information commissioner's face if they ever got to see Facebook's inner workings.

Any of you remove things like employment history, group membership and liked pages because of concerns over Facebook's ever-changing privacy policy? If you have you may have noticed how your Facebook profile still has connections to those groups, liked pages and employers months or even more than a year later. Posted something to a page you like but later removed the like status for that page? Don't expect to be able to remove earlier posts made to that page after you decide you like it again.

The absolute classic though would be the posting of a comment while frustrated or annoyed, only to delete it moments later as common sense kicks in. A few days later you meet a friend in the street and find out your heat-of-the-moment comment is still visible to everyone except yourself...

I like the concept of Facebook. I seriously dislike MZ and the attitude he likes to portray. I don't feel safe using Facebook because of the murkiness of their T&Cs, whereas a couple of years ago I did feel safe using it. I don't think the way I use Facebook has changed, other than to be extremely selective about what I now post or share there. The only reason I continue to use it is because it *is* a good way to keep in contact with friends living in other parts of the country.

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FAIL

So to paraphrase what you've said:

in order to "keep in contact with friends" you've chosen, eyes wide-open, to continue to pay with your privacy and an undeletable history of your activity. I don't see you have any reason to whine about it then.

Me? I don't have a Facebook account, nor do I have a twitter account and nor can I text using both my thumbs

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Anonymous Coward

Agreeing with the first comment...

To me, managing to get into the yard and smile for long enough to have a photo taken doesn't prove anything relevant. A person who is *mostly* confined to home may still be able to get outside on occasion. Especially with the help and reassurance from another person (the photographer) being there in case something goes wrong. As for the idea that anyone with any injury, illness or disability must be miserable 24 hours a day for the rest of their lives - it's pathetic.

In my view, these lawyers are human rights criminals. It doesn't matter the means - if your actions force people into a life of misery as the only means of survival and punish any sign of human dignity, it's all the same thing.

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This post has been deleted by its author

FAIL

Yes your so right...

..becuase I think we should hand over the cash to anyone, I mean what can a little photo or video prove. After all who would stoop to such things as claiming for things they are not entitled to.

Oh hold on....

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-10868506

oh that was a one off..Hang on...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/4524614/Family-of-benefits-cheats-caught-by-holiday-photos.html

ok just two. Wait!

http://www.metro.co.uk/news/830001-benefit-cheat-caught-doing-tv-desert-trek

mmm I see a pattern...

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1132164/Pictured-Disabled-100-000-benefits-cheat-caught-mowing-lawn.html

Ahh but none of these were caught by facebook posts..

Oh look

http://benefitfraud.blogspot.com/2010/08/telford-benefits-cheat-caught-on.html

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out of conext.

Facebook would seem to be particularly untrustworthy. I've had friends go on vacation. On the phone I find out he was in pain most of the time, was using a cane, rented scooter and even then spend the entire second day in the hotel room due to his back. On facebook he is smiling and enjoying himself in every photo (none of which show any mobility aids), and all his status updates only mention the fun parts of his trip.

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Gold badge

Not proof or the case would be done with

"Any of you remove things like employment history, group membership and liked pages because of concerns over Facebook's ever-changing privacy policy?"

I never put it up to begin with; in fact I don't have a Facebook *or* Myspace page, because it appeared from the start they had no particular sense of privacy. In fact, the whole point of them is to distribute info far and wide IMHO; I don't want to.

"To me, managing to get into the yard and smile for long enough to have a photo taken doesn't prove anything relevant.".

No it doesn't at all, I think you guys are overstating the importance of this photo. I don't think anyone is claiming she's not allowed to go out front and smile for a photo, if this was considered proof they wouldn't be trying to look at her facebook and myspace data, the case would be done with. However, there is apparently SOME doubt of her claims or the company wouldn't have bothered to take her to court; the photo doesn't PROVE anything but brings enough doubt that the judge decided they should look at her pages. If she's not playing tennis or like bicycling or posting "lolz I totally scammed that company" or whatever, I'm sure she's fine.

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Coffee/keyboard

Oh my GOD !!!!

"However, there is apparently SOME doubt of her claims or the company wouldn't have bothered to take her to court"

tell that to Hugh Callaghan, Patrick Joseph Hill, Gerard Hunter, Richard McIlkenny, William Power, John Walker, Paul Michael Hill, Gerard Conlon, Patrick Armstrong, Carole Richardson, Anne Maguire, Patrick Maguire, Patrick Maguire jr, Vincent Maguire, Sean Smyth, Patrick O'Neill, Patrick Conlon, Judith Ward, Michael Hickey, Vincent Hickey, James Robinson, Barry George, Paul Blackburn, Robert Brown, Kenny Richey....... I could go on...

Insurence companies are not intrested in truth, all they are intrested in is getting out of paying out on a claim. If they can worm their way out of paying out because they throw enough mud at a victim so some of it sticks then the will do so...

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FAIL

Reason not to use Facebook #75644

PS: I hope she wins, regardless, as I dislike insurance lawyers...

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Pirate

<title required>

Agree. And my sister is one.

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Anonymous Coward

Disability

"...However, there is apparently SOME doubt of her claims or the company wouldn't have bothered to take her to court; the photo doesn't PROVE anything but brings enough doubt that the judge decided they should look at her pages. If she's not playing tennis or like bicycling or posting "lolz I totally scammed that company" or whatever, I'm sure she's fine."

My wife is disabled, but the nature of her condition is that she does have some good days intermittently when tennis, bicycling, and other strenuous activities are possible for a little while. Being disabled doesn't mean that you're laid up 24x7, but that you are laid up frequently enough to prevent you from holding down a job.

BTW, my wife's problems are neurological in nature and are related to the two strokes she suffered due to a PFO (one of which occurred while she was pregnant).

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FAIL

Insurance lawyers, ugh! *spit*

"My wife is disabled, but the nature of her condition is that she does have some good days intermittently when tennis, bicycling, and other strenuous activities are possible for a little while. Being disabled doesn't mean that you're laid up 24x7, but that you are laid up frequently enough to prevent you from holding down a job."

If she has a facebook, I doubt the photos and messages are a representation of the reality of her situation. I expect all the photos would be of the few good days, and that most comments would also be made on good days only. The absence of information about the bad days would be twisted by an insurance company to suggest that she was 100% fine.

Which is why doctors' assessments should be overriding. Especially for mental illness (including depression, anxiety, etc), where you can have good days, but you can't plan for them, and the other days mean you can't get anything done. But the lawyers only have to appeal to a jury's prejudices and lack of knowledge, so the defendant is screwed.

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Stop

The middle ground...

First off, I think Henry Wertz has this one called correctly. None of you know the full and detailed history of this case, but there is obviously enough smoke surrounding it for a judge to warrant the pullback of previous data from the FB archive.

The second point is that none of us know exactly what the FB data archiving and retention strategy is, but then, did any of us REALLY question that when we signed up? Like most enterprise level infrastructures I would presume that profile data is NEVER truly deleted from their record until all archive tapes have been audited and destroyed; and that could be anything up to 10 or 20 years from now. With the advent of truly digital archiving systems it may be that your data is NEVER truly deleted. EVER.

I use FB though. Albeit very lightly - and believe that there is no privacy trade off because I have never posted, nor would I post, anything that I might later regret or that I am not happy to share publicly.

If you are dumb enough to feel that the world is really interested in your daily ranting status updates, or your silly photos - then you really need to start to consider the long term affects of reapage, and sowage.

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WTF?

privacy

This article and many of the subsequent comments leave me scratching my head, I'll explain why.

A judge has ordered that the data be turned over, the reg manages to turn this into a criticism of the facebook privacy policy... The judge could equally have ordered her ISP and her webmail provider to turn over her emails, I doubt that this would spark a rant about their privacy policy, simply because no matter what the policy a court order overrides it! So this is nothing to do with facebook privacy at all.

Then there's a bunch of people commenting on the photo mentioned in the article. Why, you're all saying things like "one photo doesn't prove anything". Nobody claimed it did, who are you arguing with?

Then comments criticising the lawyers for doing their job. As one comment already asked, would you prefer that the insurance company pays all claims without any investigation or due diligence? Would you like your premiums to go up tenfold to cover the costs of this policy?

It's a non story really, the only interesting thing is how long the 'deleted' information remains available, at some point it will really have been deleted and even a court order can't bring it back at that point.

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Anonymous Coward

The main point, to me at least...

is the resurrection of data *that has been deleted* on court order. Which is with high probability feasible and might well be much longer than the time set in the policy. It's contentious for a number of reasons, including choice tidbits like showcasing that you don't have control over emptying the digital bin your "deleted" posts go in; can't take anything out but others can, and of course mark "bitch" zuckerberg's stellar track record on privacy.

A judge would order it regardless, but even if it's all fully legal and proper the motivation behind it smells like malice, meaning it's open season for commentards. That is just how teh intarwebz works. Why you're scratching your head on that is perhaps itself scratch-worthy.

Of course you could contend (and heck, I would) that putting the information online on a service outside your control is asking for it, but then again maybe they're a bit too big for that to still be applicable. Or maybe it's "asking for it" only in the "asking for rape" sense. So, interesting question: Should we conclude that the laws and usance on other people's information needs fixing, or that people ought to learn to keep information under tight control and not give it away to the mark zuckerbergs of this world?

Discuss.

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FAIL

While IANAL...

I do know more than a bit about rules of evidence, privacy, and similar Constitutional issues (other countries, of course, have different rules). If you share information with a third party (Facebook friends, Everyone, and/or Facebook itself) there can be no expectation of privacy, or privilege for that matter (not that privilege applies in the case of Facebook). Deleted or not deleted is irrelevant. If it can be found anywhere, it can be used against you. Period.

While dropping a subpoena on Facebook is far easier from a tactical standpoint, the court could, and would if asked , drop a subpoena on all your friends, heck everyone that gets status updates and can view your photos, its all grist for the legal mill.

I don't know why this is an issue unless most everyone, and this does seem to be the case, has a very false idea of what privacy means. The precedents are quite old, hearkening back to English law.

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Unhappy

so what?

That doesn't bother me in the least, I don't have any friends, not even imaginary ones.

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M7S
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Stop

@Winkypop

That's OK then, let every dodgy claimant just get away with it, and the premiums will go up for those of us trying to be responsible with our financial futures. Ta muchly

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Thumb Up

Fair dues to you for playing fair, Sir

But I don't think the insurance companies do too badly.

Perhaps they shouldn't treat people like meat.

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FAIL

No expectation of privacy?

Does it really boil down to that?

So uploading content to facebook after setting appropriate facebook privacy settings, then deleting the content, it's still reasonable to assume the content is public? Even if the data lives on somewhere, that's utter BS.

If it's public, why do they need the judge to order it turned over?

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Stop

@ Craig12

Agreed. It's not public - we can't view it, and FB won't let anyone see it. Hence the court order.

What it calls into question though is the FB data retention policy, and what the words REMOVE and DELETE mean to them in terms of your personal FB data when you ask them to remove or delete your profile. Because in this case, the words seem to imply that to FB, "REMOVE" and/or "DELETE" simply means "ARCHIVE".

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Stop

i can't believe...

...that she's getting so much support from you people - particularly the numerous thumbs-up to posts 1 and 3. Benefit frauds are scum. Whilst I'm not saying she IS guilty if there is grounds for Them to investigate then they'll do so - whether the claimant is on facebook or not. Had she sent an email to a friend regarding a night out for example the investigators could have asked her ISP to turn that over - this is no different.

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FAIL

Oh Dear

"Whilst I'm not saying she IS guilty if there is grounds for Them to investigate then they'll do so"

Whilst I'm not saying she IS guilty if there is grounds for Them to investigate then she MUST be

There, fixed that for you

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WTF?

er...

Sorry - so unless you prove someone is guilty then no one is allowed to investigate anyone about anything ever because they might be innocent, right?! And how do you prove they're guilty without investigating?!

Have I missed something?

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Backups are subject to court order

I'm surprised nobody has cottoned onto this aspect yet. I'll go through it stepwise:

1. user posts content

2. user content is backed up to offline media

3. user deletes content

4. user content is not backed up to offline media

5 court order requests _all_ media, including that of steps 4 AND 2.

The only "fail" here is that people aren't thinking that deleting their content _now_ doesn't affect the way their content was backed up when they first posted it; and that the assumption is that backups _wouldn't_ be covered under a court order.

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Thumb Up

So if I understand the article...

She's enlisted the services of an ambulance chasing lawyer to extort money out of a company because she was stupid enough to have a (possibly fictional) accident on their property and they didn't predict the future and magically stop her before it supposedly happened. And now the usual Facebook posts that criminals like this always make "oh look at me, the authorities think I'm dead but I'm really just living on my luxury yacht - haha fuck society" have come to light. boo hoo.

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Big Brother

no, you didnt understand it properly...

a woman who has some level of dissability has been accused of making up how disabled she is. Investigators want a copy of her facebook pages to see if there are any pictures of her outside her home after she said she can hardly get out.

The point being, any photograph of her outside looking remotely happy will be used against her. They have no evidence, just accusations so they are on a fishing trip. Would they get a warrent to force her to hand over a personal photo album? no, not a cats chance in hell, but as this is a computer system and the gubbermints want access to everything, no judge will go against it....

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Silver badge

There is only one truth...

Either she is lying or she isn't. I'm not sure if one smiley photo will prove anything (gee, would it be better to have a Facebook profile photo of her in bed screaming? who'd do that?).

I am not surprised that data deleted on Facebook is never truly deleted. It seems to be along the same sort of lines as when I go to look up anything on Facebook I am asked to log in/create account first, but Google can walk right in. Does this mean if you alter your user-agent to be the Googlebot...?

What is of more interest to me is the admissability of this so-called evidence. Her likeness, sure. Uploaded by her? Deleted by her? Kept where? No possibility whatsoever of tampering? It is, no doubt, going to be her photo stuffed into a backup - but is there sufficient traceability for it to be suitable for legal use? And, again, her sitting outside smiling *once* is a far cry from a photo of her dancing on a float à la Ferris Bueller...

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There's the one solid hit in this discussion...

Yes, chain of custody is where the defense should attack this. I, for one, would like to have some definitive precedent on this given that computer forensics is still a legal minefield.

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Grenade

Facebook info would be accurate, anyway?

If the government is going to allow a company to look through someone's personal stuff, it needs a way better reason than a Facebook profile picture. My picture is of me in a diner in NYC. Which I've done exactly one time. I don't live anywhere near NYC! And they want DELETED information? I don't know if this woman is guilty or innocent, but I'll assume innocent until there's more evidence than a Facebook picture.

Facebook is how a lot of people communicate. Laws should reflect this. The insurance company wouldn't be allowed to have access to my time at home with my family, or my discussions with friends down at the pub. They'd need solid evidence linking you to something bad to be able to do that. If you have that evidence, okay, sure, investigate then. You need to have better grounds than a picture.

Facebook should be deleting deleted content, anyway.

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Fraped

Just say someone else posted it on your comp/mobile/etc as a jolly jape

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Stop

For those that have sympathy with her....

like many posters, I.m not saying she is guilty of fraud but there is obviously a disconnect between how she reports her disability and what might have been posted on facebook.

Its not unreasonable to check this. No-one is saying that a disability is on or off, but if someone is saying that it is at one end of an extreme and yet it is at another, it may make a material difference to their lives and hence their compensation. In fact, I would have hoped that some of the posters that have contact with people with delibating disabilities would have more sympathy to this court action as they should welcome a just outcome, which ever it is.

Lastly remember, SHE IS SUEING THE MANUFACTURER OF A DESKCHAIR claiming that their chair caused her injury and made her bed bound, resulting "loss of enjoyment of life" (her claim).

If it turns out that :

a) she isnt actually as bed bound as she states

b) she is enjoying her life by having activities away from the home (going on holiday etc),

then there is a disconnect. Injury claims are based on the level of injury (demonstrated by her disability/ability) and concequently the defendent (the chair manufacturer) is perfectly entitled to put forward that actually she isnt as disabled as she makes out.

Their defendents comments:

"reveal[ed] that she has an active lifestyle and can travel and apparently engages in many other physical activities inconsistent with her claims in this litigation."

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Stop

Too many scammers

I disagree with the statement that the lawyers behind this are "human rights criminals". Clearly a smiling picture is not sufficient to prove anything. But some pictures playing sports, for example? Nothing in the original article says they were just looking for a "happy day". This person isn't asking for life-long disability because they aren't happy. Being unhappy is not worth anything. Being unable to work, is worth something though.

The only reason why people go looking for pictures in cases like, is because the medical evidence is sketchy. But if someone claims pain, and there is no apparent medical reason, you have to wonder. So probably a total scam.

And no risk for the gov't to create legislation. Insurance matters are civil. There are all sorts of data retention laws, but they would require that Facebook actually delete data at some point. Though I don't know that Facebook can actually do that. Their architecture can't actually remove pictures from storage (read up on Haystack), they just mark them as deleted. They probably only purge deleted pictures every 6 months or so.

It is kind of suspicious, that the pictures even need to be restored. I've never seen a single one of my friends delete their entire profile, pictures, and posts, and go offline.

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