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?