Social Media Policy Group  (Public)

This group explores the risk presented by unfettered postings into social networks. The risk is serious, pervasive, and increasing. Existing policies are unlikely to cover evolving situations, but even assuming existing policies are in place, enforcement... Read More
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Comments (4)

Mike Mintz wrote on 27 Jan 2010 4:28 PM

Donna: great write up and you explained some of this in the presentation today.  What is the difference between permitted "dissemblance" and illegal deception?  The balancing factors you provide are a helpful guideline in making a decision.  Is the thought here that lawyers will use investigators posing as legitimate online "friends" to gather information prediscovery in assessing the case and building a solid foundation?  I ask b/c this information is all discoverable and can be legitimately obtained.  Are we talking about catching people in the act before suit is even filed?  Is the unethical practice in the monitoring pre-suit?  If so, what methods do lawyers have then to protect their clients interests on networks?    

Donna Seyle wrote on 28 Jan 2010 12:46 PM

Those are lots of good questions I couldn't really get to yesterday. This topic has so many lines of questioning, it's hard to keep it from veering off in difference directions (as you could tell from the webinar). I will take time this afternoon to answer these questions thoughtfully and clearly, so everyone please stay tuned - I'll be back with more comments. Thanks.

Gwynne Monahan wrote on 3 Feb 2010 1:30 PM

The more security measures, the greater the expectation of privacy.

That is an interesting notion. For the time being, I think it assumes people know about different security measures (or levels) and thus make a conscious choice. Not necessarily a fair assumption but that may change with future generations who will grow up with such technology, literally.

It also introduces the question of companies changing privacy practices. As users, we have little control over changes in policy. Sure, we can raise a public stink, but that doesn't always work. It worked for Beacon, but not for Facebook's privacy policy change.

The issue is kind of scary, too. I know if you Google me (name spelled correctly anyway), my Twitter, LinkedIn and Associated Content profiles appear, as well as JDSupra and my blog. My Facebook profile does not, but that does not necessarily mean we don't share people in common. And that doesn't necessarily mean you can't deduce my online habits either. I've become a little more conscious about Twitter while mulling this whole privacy issue. As more tools proliferate to mine the data of Twitter, I wonder what kind of assumptions people make about me. And it's a bit frightening to think of the overall picture someone could put together of my online habits (for lack of a better term).

Another thing that strikes me is how ingrained technology is in our culture now. We've become accustomed to posting without thinking, to sharing without thinking. Sort of like our mental filters have been removed.

Will tweeting over take a fair trail? Kind of like gladiatorial combat. You fight in public (tweet about the case), and if the crowd approves, you live to see another day (not guilty).

Donna Seyle wrote on 3 Feb 2010 2:05 PM

Yes, it does assume that people know about control over privacy settings. I brought this up to make the point that a lawyer would need to take more surreptitous steps if privacy settings were high. But  I would agree that most people don't even consider these questions when engaging online. In fact, when I returned from a day-long seminar on these issues and started warning everybody I knew, not one of them expressed any concern whatsoever. Just as you questioned in your post regarding privacy & convenience (, it does appear convenience has won the race.