Postings on Social Networks Give Rise to Net Law Specialty
Sentinel, Orlando, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
The next time you log into Facebook, Twitter or any other social media network, keep in mind that anything you post could be used as evidence in a lawsuit.
That's the message that experts in Internet law, a complex and new emerging aspect of the legal profession, are trying to get across to consumers.
Adam Losey, an attorney with Foley & Lardner's office in Orlando, Fla., runs the IT-Lex.org website, which explores issues concerning technology and the legal system. He says any number of things from a person's digital trail could possibly land them in a court.
"The information overload started hitting the tipping point around the new millennium," Losey said.
"But that amount of information is staggering now that there are so many different ways people communicate on the Internet or electronically."
Losey is expanding his specialty through his website, in part by sponsoring annual writing contests with up to $5,000 in cash for law students interested in pursuing technology law.
Losey, who served as adjunct professor at Columbia University teaching electronic discovery, lectures on technology law at his alma mater, the University of Florida, and at Florida A&M University's law school in Orlando.
"Getting lawyers involved in technology law is important for the field because rules defining e-discovery and other aspects of Internet law are constantly getting revamped," he said.
Avid Facebook and Twitter users post hundreds of images and comments on their personal social media sites.
While users expect a certain level of privacy, social media sites are often very much open to outside inspection.
Insurance companies prowl the Facebook and Twitter accounts of clients who file accident and personal injury claims against them.
Attorneys also monitor and download huge amounts of data from them and other Internet sites as possible evidence.
But a seemingly endless stream of electronic data also could -- at least in some instances -- cripple a case.
A federal judge in August dismissed charges against Armando Angulo, a fugitive Miami doctor indicted in one of the nation's largest cases against Internet pharmacies, in part because prosecutors said that maintaining more than 400,000 documents and two terabytes of information was too expensive for the Drug Enforcement Administration. …