Show us your private Facebook crap, says judge

Thank you, the Hon. Mr. Justice David M. Brown, you giant tool.

An Ontario judge has ordered a man who is suing someone over injuries sustained in an auto accident to answer questions about his private Facebook content.

The ruling comes in the lawsuit of plaintiff John Leduc against defendant Janice Roman.

He launched the suit following a Feb. 7, 2004 accident in Lindsay. Leduc claims the event lessened his enjoyment of life.

Roman’s lawyers want to cross-examine Leduc about what he is saying to friends in the area of his Facebook profile that is off-limits to the public.

— “Facebook user must open up about private content“, CTV Toronto, March 14th, 2009.

The judge’s reasoning is that a person’s Facebook profile can contain things (like photographs) that indicate a person’s ability to engage in sports or other recreational activities.  Which is correct, sorta.

What it doesn’t establish is a timeline of when those photographs were taken.  I have many, many photographs posted to Facebook that were taken several years before Facebook itself existed, and there is nothing within the images themselves to suggest the date the photographs were taken; the only date/time stamp is that given by the site, indicating the date they were uploaded.

This is not exactly a reliable indicator of image creation, since there are photographs up there that pre-date the existence of me, or either of my parents, but the upload date is 2008-something.  It doesn’t mean those people and those places look that way as of 2008.  Nor does it mean I went back in time, somehow maintained an IP connection to today’s internet, and uploaded the photos from the actual past.  It means I scanned the damn photos a few decades after they were taken, and then uploaded them.  I am sure Mr. Leduc may have photographs of himself playing sports, pre-accident.  Now, unless the photographer (or a witness) is available to attest to the date, or he’s got the negatives along with the receipt for photo development, or he’s got the images in RAW format stored on a hard drive somewhere, he’s got to play he-said, she-said with the defence.  Lovely.

I hope for Mr. Leduc’s sake that every second or third status update over the past few months has been “Gee my life sucks now that I can’t play sports”.  He better not be having any fun.

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