Monday, October 11, 2010

On the ethics of fake friending

An ethics committee for the Bar of the New York City Bar has concluded, unsurprising, that it is unethical for a lawyer to pretend to be someone else to become your friend on Facebook in order to get at your secrets.

The opinion concludes:

"Rather than engage in 'trickery,' lawyers can -- and should -- seek information maintained on social networking sites, such as Facebook, by availing themselves of informal discovery, such as the truthful 'friending' of unrepresented parties, or by using formal discovery devices such as subpoenas directed to non-parties in possession of information maintained on an individual’s social networking page. Given the availability of these legitimate discovery methods, there is and can be no justification for permitting the use of deception to obtain the information from a witness on-line."