Your social media apps and pages may be customized just to your liking but personal touches do not create privacy in the eyes of the law. If there is criminal evidence posted to your Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and so on, it can be collected by the prosecution and used as admissible evidence in any resulting trials.
Time and again, different courts have ruled that the open social media places of cyberspace are not private domains, even if your profile is set to “private.” Essentially, if anyone but you can access that information, such as friends on the social app, it is public information. Many social sites also make it possible to download network activity into various file types, so deleting posts doesn’t even completely erase them.
For example: If you post a photograph of yourself smashing a shop window with a bat, investigators can show up to court with it as proof, even if you took it down immediately. In so many words, you should never post anything that could be interpreted as self-incriminating on social media sites.
The Legal Way to Get Your Data
The prosecution can’t just dive into your data and get whatever they want, though. Investigators need to have reasonable suspicion that your social media apps and accounts hold data relevant to an ongoing case, which is to say they can’t search around to create charges in the first place. This is known as “good faith belief.”
If you have a video upload on your LinkedIn profile of you racing down the street at 100 miles per hour, police can grab it as if it was evidence “in plain sight,” akin to drug paraphernalia sitting on your dashboard when a cop pulls you over for a busted taillight. Once in plain sight evidence is found on your social sites, investigators can get a court-ordered warrant to search elsewhere in your data for more evidence not readily found. In essence, one upload can act as the key to your private information.
Reinforcing Your Right to Privacy
Even though investigators may have grabbed some self-incriminating evidence from your social media sites, you should not allow them to use it as they please without resistance. Take the initiative and begin your defense strongly by retaining the services of the Law Offices of David M. Wallin and our Palmdale criminal defense attorney. We can bring more than four decades’ worth of legal experience and a certified criminal law specialist’s insight to your case. Contact us today to request a free case review.