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Court-mandated Facebook password share raises eyebrows

Nowadays, dating and social networking sites are a common way of meeting people. People get strange looks if they say they are not on Facebook. As these sites are infused into popular culture, the law is just catching up.

A case made headlines recently when a couple in the process of a divorce was ordered by a judge to exchange Facebook and social network site passwords. Using Facebook in family law cases is becoming quite ordinary. But it's not as often that passwords to access private information are exchanged.

According to Forbes, a recent study found that 80 percent of divorce cases include evidence relating to social media posts. Evidence can include pictures and other information taken from profiles.

In the recent case, a husband apparently came to believe that his wife posted incriminating statements on Facebook, including posts about her children and her ability to care for them. The couple was asked to hand over Facebook passwords, as well as passwords to other social sites. The wife, for example, was ordered to hand over passwords for match.com and eHarmony accounts.

Some are questioning whether the order is invading the ex-couple's privacy. On the flip side of the coin, one could argue the information on such sites is relevant for a family law case.

The issue is certainly not going away anytime soon; quite the contrary. What do you think? Is asking for passwords a necessary step, or a step over the line?

Source: Forbes, "Facebook passwords must be shared in divorce case," Nov. 14, 2011

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