Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Big Brother (or Big Sister) is Watching

You’d best be careful with your Facebook account. Yes, seriously. I’m not taking about posting naked pictures of yourself. Even though that wouldn’t be very smart. I’m talking something even more serious.

In Canberra, Australia, an attorney has used the popular networking Web site Facebook to notify a couple that they lost their home after defaulting on a loan. The Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court last Friday approved lawyer Mark McCormack’s application to use Facebook to serve the legally binding documents after several failed attempts to contact the couple at the house and by email.

Australian courts have given permission in the past for people to be served via email and text messages when it was not possible to serve them in person.

The lender’s application to take back the house in the capital, Canberra, was approved on October 3 after the couple failed to appear in court. The lender was then required to serve the so-called default judgment on the couple before it could seize the property. “It’s somewhat novel, however we do see it as a valid method of bringing the matter to the attention of the defendant,” said McCormack, who represents a mortgage lender.

Facebook has become a wildly popular online hangout, attracting more than 140 million users worldwide since it launched in 2004. Facebook friends can “poke” or “superpoke” each other—terms for giving someone a playful nudge.

In the latest ruling, Master David Harper insisted that the documents be attached to a private email sent via Facebook that could not be seen by others visiting the pages. McCormack said he and a colleague found the woman’s Facebook page using personal details that she had given the lender including her birth date and email address. The man was listed on her page as a friend.

So, what do you think? Is that fair? Is that a fair use of Facebook?

I’m fairly new to Facebook. What’s the best use of it that you have found? Any problems you’ve encountered?


  1. I don't think that's a fair use of it but then again... I'm not a legal type person.

    Facebook is a part of ministry for me! It's amazing to me at times the response I get on "Praying Monday".. most of the time the prayer requests come in via message, text, or a phone call instead of a comment. Individuals from all over the world so thankful to know that someone is willing to pray for them! Prayer requests go from what seem like every day type things to real painful ones!

    I also use it to reconnect with individuals from elementary school to high school too. They are some of the ones requesting prayer just as much as the ones I've met later in life.

    I find Facebook to be a valuable tool in being a lifestyle missionary. I cannot always go to another part of the world physically - but through facebook in some ways - it is just like being a part of what's going on there!

    Okay... I'll stop there... otherwise I might be seen as advertising for it! lol

    Oh... I personally haven't experienced any real problems on it... but know some who have. Right, Kevin?

  2. Steve,

    I thought it was silly at first. But now, with almost 500 "friends" I feel like I am still connected to areas where I am no longer resident.

    I've been contacted by people I don't know with questions about life and God because I have "FB" listed on my blog and church website.

    Personally, I think it is a valid communication tool. If the courts want to use it, I say, "let 'em"

  3. Rick,

    There you go making me rethink my position on them using it like that..

    Very helpful of you! lol

  4. Camey,

    I wish folks in my church thought that my making them re-think their positions was helpful!

  5. Rick,

    Praying for you and them about that!

  6. I am still on the fence about FB. On one hand, I think it's rather silly. On the other hand, it kills time when I'm bored. As far as this story goes, they shouldn't have done anything to attract an attorney to begin with. Right?


  7. Personally, I don't have time for the social networking sites (FB, MySpace, or any others). It's clearly a multi-million dollar industry, or you wouldn't have so many companies trying to create another "hip" site for teens to utilize.

    The key is that this was the "last-ditch" effort to contact them. If email and texting are already allowed, then a social-network "message" shouldn't be considered any different. Although, I personally don't know how you can prove the recipient actually received the message.

    FYI, my Sister was served by her now-ex a few years back - she wasn't home but they handed the papers to her son, who was 12 at the time, which was a legal "serve" in GA (at least back then). I have the same questions over actual service as above, but it happened.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I can't wait to read what you have written.