It seems like everybody is on Facebook or a similar social networking site. The prevalence of such websites has raised interesting questions relating to the level of privacy that should be afforded to users.
People often post intimate details concerning their lives and daily routines on Facebook. From a lawyer's perspective, scattered among the minutia may lie pertinent information or evidence relating to legal proceedings the user is a party to.
Canada has some leading jurisprudence relating to this issue. A recent New York decision, Romano versus Steelcase, dealt with the defendant's efforts to be granted access to the plaintiff's current and historical Facebook and MySpace accounts.
The New York judge in Romano relied on the principles from the leading Ontario case on the matter, Leduc versus Roman from 2009. The judge in Romano echoed the reasoning in Leduc, demonstrating the court's unwillingness to allow users a high level of protection.
In Leduc, the court held the moving party did not have the right to access the Facebook profile as a right. However, the court went on to state if the moving party can produce sufficient evidence there is information of relevance on the profile then the court can order the production of the evidence.
Based on the court's finding it seems the level of privacy that will be afforded to Facebook profiles is considerably less than that afforded to other electronic communications, such as e-mails. The very purpose of social networking provides the reasoning behind this position...