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Facebook Protects User’s Data In Civil Case

Faced down subpoena, fines

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[ Social Media]

Privacy advocates who are in the habit of protesting Facebook’s policies may owe the social network an apology.  When an airline subpoenaed a user’s data, and even after fines were later levied, Facebook refused to hand anything over. 

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For better or for worse, we’ll never know whether Facebook would have been willing to send armies of lawyers to the Supreme Court; the matter came to an anticlimactic end when the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission backed down and the woman at the center of things agreed to release the data, anyway.

Still, here’s the story.  Shana Hensley hurt her back while working for Colgan Airlines and began to collect disability benefits.  Then, as Declan McCullagh reports, "After about 18 months . . . Colgan Air claimed that Hensley was not cooperating with its efforts to find her a desk job and appears to have concluded that Hensley’s holiday vacation photos posted on her Facebook account would demonstrate that any back problems were not severe."

Hensley’s Facebook info was subpoenaed, Facebook stood its ground, the Workers’ Compensation Commission enacted a $200-per-day fine, and when Facebook cited the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act, everybody backed down.

Facebook spokesman Barry Schnitt explained his company’s actions to Peter Bacque by stating, "Facebook is built on trust and users rely on us to enforce their privacy settings."

Facebook Protects User’s Data In Civil Case
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