- A Facebook Tag May Mean You Are It!
- May 12, 2011
- Law Firm: Dressman Benzinger LaVelle psc - Crestview Hills Office
- The Kentucky Court of Appeals recently issued a decision that, whether it knows it or not, has garnered some national attention. In LaLonde v. LaLonde, a divorce case, Senior Judge Lambert wrote an opinion with ramifications to the so-called world of Cyberlaw. The LaLonde case was posted on Standford Law School's website for The Center For Internet and Society (cyberlaw.standford.edu). This is a leading source of information for the field of Cyberlaw.
The facts of the case are simple. Mrs. LaLonde was on medication for bi-polar disorder. She needed the medication to effectively parent her daughter. She was not to drink alcohol while on the medication because it reduced the medication's effectiveness. A friend took a picture of Mrs. LaLonde while out for a night on the town with drink in hand, posted it on Facebook, and tagged Mrs. LaLonde. Her ex-husband saw it and then used it as evidence in support of his petition for custody of their child.
Mrs. LaLonde argued that because she did not give permission to be tagged on Facebook, the photo should not be admissible as evidence. The Court of Appeals held that "There is nothing within the law that requires her permission when someone takes a picture and posts it on a Facebook page."
The implications of Facebook deserve an entire book or maybe a movie (The Social Network was a great film), but the legal implications are just developing. For example, what if a person took an unflattering picture of someone, posted it on Facebook, and a thousand people saw it. Might that person have cast the person photographed in a false light? Is there any expectation of privacy in today's world of cell phone cameras? The legal implications of social networking are enormous. One small divorce case in Kentucky illustrates that we have just begun to explore them.