Internet Safety from a Legal Perspective
Note: This was featured as part of our Wednesday segment on Charleston’s 105.5 The Bridge on Bridge Mornings with Jessie B. You can catch us every other Wednesday morning at 8:50 am ET for the latest law tips and legal news. You can listen to the segment below:
As social media sites become increasingly popular, lawyers are using Google and other online searches to find witnesses and evidence for cases. Online posts are rarely as private as you think they may be, and many people are guilty of posting a status update without thinking of the potential consequences. How can you protect your personal information in an age where almost everything is public?
Use common sense
If you’re upset or angry about a situation, take a few minutes to vent to a friend or family member instead of posting about it online. While you may think that you can delete a Facebook rant later on, that post could already be screenshotted or permanently recorded.
Lawyers are encouraged to immediately find and print out any damaging information they find posted by the opposing party. So by the time you delete an angry tweet, it may already be too late. As a general rule, never post something that you wouldn’t feel comfortable expressing in a professional environment.
While it may seem narcissistic, searching your name on Google is a valuable method of finding public information about yourself online. Whether you are involved in a legal dispute or not, you may be surprised to learn that information such as your age, address, marital status, and other potentially sensitive details are easily discoverable. However, many websites will remove personal information if you reach out to them.
Update your privacy settings
To be on the safe side, you should update the privacy settings on your social media profiles to be as secure as possible. Even if you aren’t concerned about legal consequences from your posts, criminals or stalkers often target people whose personal information is accessible online.
For example, many thieves search through Facebook to find people who are on vacation and have left an empty home behind.
Post photos wisely
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and the same holds true in a court case. Update your settings so that you have to approve a photo you are tagged in before it posts to your profile. Photographs of a wild party can impact your court case if you are involved in a car accident after leaving, regardless of whether or not you are guilty of drunk driving.
We recommend that you be aware of your online presence and to always think before you post. Are you concerned about the legal ramifications of your online presence? Reach out to our expert team at the John Price Law Firm and let us help you. Give us a call at (843) 552-6011 or fill out our email form here.