Courts and social media: privacy and authentication

On Feb. 4, 2010 Maria Nucci sued Target for the injury she sustained while working at the store. However, when Target requested access to her social media account, Nucci objected. As a result, 36 photos were deleted two days later. However, the Fourth District Court of Appeals for the State of Florida granted Target’s motion with respect to all photographs on the Facebook page that included Nucci. She argued she had a right to privacy, but the judges used that very argument against her.

“Because ‘information that an individual shares through social networking websites like Facebook may be copied and disseminated by another,’ the expectation that such information is private, in the traditional sense of the word, is not a reasonable one,” the panel ruled, partially quoting another Florida case. It also added, “Before the right to privacy attaches, there must exist a legitimate expectation of privacy.”

Using social media in court cases continues to skyrocket. It has been used about 80% of the time. According to John Facciola, the information has to be collected. Second, they have to sorted out into what the attorney needs and does not need. Courts are still trying to figure out what to do with social media in discovery and the privacy rights of those whose profiles are in question. This past year, the arguing has centered on two main issues: authentication, and where the expectation of privacy stops.

Social media is notorious for one particular thing: you don’t have to be who you say you are online. This is demonstrated in parody Twitter accounts and multiple Linkedin profiles. State courts have different standards on the authentication of social media. For example, the Maryland standard is that “the judge had to be ‘convinced’ that a social media post wasn’t falsified or created by another user. On the other hand, the Texas approach stipulated that any evidence could be used “as long as the proponent of the evidence can demonstrate to the judge that a jury can reasonably find that evidence to be authentic.” In United States vs. Vayner, Aliaksandr Zhyltsou accused Vladyslav Timku of providing a forged birth certificate for an imaginary infant daughter to avoid compulsory military service in Ukraine. The key piece of evidence was in the defendant’s social media account. However, the federal agent could not provide authenticity. As a result, Maryland revisited their standard and deemed that the judge has to identify which evidence would be sufficient. In other words, the judge has to determine that “there is proof from which a reasonable juror could find that the evidence is what the proponent is claiming.”

Article via Legaltech News , November 2, 2015

Photo: Affiliated Network for Social Accountability- Arab World via World Bank Photo Collection [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]


Spotlight on Peacebuilding: TechChange

Collaboration and technology are both key to successful peacebuilding. TechChange effectively incorporates both into the classes they offer. Their classes range from Introduction to Excel for Data Visualization to Mapping for Social Good and Basics of Digital SafetyTheir learning platform, which all of their courses utilize, also encourages learning from other students by including live group discussions and chats with experts as part of their courses. Additionally, the average course features students from multiple countries around the world, ensuring that the discussions have a global perspective. For those who wish to share their expertise, TechChange also allows individuals to create their own course using their platform. Or, if the class you want is not among the twenty-four courses currently available, TechChange will accept suggestions for future courses. If you aren’t ready to commit to taking a course, their blog offers advice on peacebuilding, utilizing technology, and expanding peacebuilding efforts into global endeavors.

TechChange also recognizes the importance of monitoring professional growth and development. Students can choose to take multiple classes and work towards a diploma, which recognizes that they have taken several classes on using technology to understand and present data. Students working toward a diploma also get to attend workshops and TechChange’s annual conference to further enhance their skills.

To learn more about TechChange and everything they offer, visit their website.

Photo: Peace via Steve Rotman [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]


International cyberwar policy to be updated

International law experts are on track to publish a manual amending the current Geneva convention for cyberwar in late 2016. The Tallin Manual 2.0 – an update of the original Tallinn Manual on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare—is backed by a NATO-run military think tank based in Estonia.

Military strategists deem cyberspace the fifth dimension of warfare, the others being land, air, sea and space. An example of an “armed attack” in cyberspace is the Stuxnet worm, an Israeli-U.S. programmed computer virus that caused severe disruptions to Iran’s nuclear plants. By the original manual, similar attacks in the future would legally validate proportional retaliation, considered in this case to be self-defense.

The Tallinn Manual 2.0 will discuss peacetime international law, including human rights law in regards to cyberspace. The current question begin argued is whether international human rights norms apply to different widely practiced cyber activities, such as the collection of metadata by national governments.

“If the answer is yes, we then have to examine whether the state has actually violated the individual’s rights. For instance, assuming the collection of metadata implicates human rights norms, under what circumstances is a state authorized to engage in such activities?” asks Liis Vihul, managing editor of the Tallinn Manual and legal researcher at the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence.

Additionally, the updated manual will include sections on diplomatic law, the responsibilities of international organizations, global telecommunications law, and peace operations.

Article via The Register, October 12, 2015

Photo: Satsop Nuclear Plant via Michael B. [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]