Monday, January 25, 2010

Privacy and Social Networking Sites

To protect yourself on social networking sites, you must begin by recognizing that the integrity of your account on any Web site may be compromised. Once something is available online, it is no longer private. Your seemingly private profile may be accessed by any number of people, in many different ways.

Your soon-to-be ex-spouse may know your standard passwords or may be able to answer your security questions. Although few would debate that such invasions of privacy are unacceptable, people sometimes make bad decisions in the midst of divorce. It is best to be prepared for all contingencies, including the possibility that your future ex-spouse will look places he or she should not. Make sure that you are using strong passwords that are difficult to guess, with challenging security questions.

Furthermore, although many social networking sites provide privacy controls, this privacy can be little more than illusory. For example, if everyone in your network is allowed to see your profile, and your network includes a company or a city or a school, your profile may be available to thousands of people you do not know. If you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse are both members of the "San Francisco" network, you may be able to see each other's profiles despite the fact that you have eliminated your direct online connections. When preparing for divorce, check your privacy settings; make sure that you have narrowed the scope of your networks to those people you really want to have access to your profile.

Even if your passwords are secure and your privacy settings are restricted, any person that you provide access to your profile may leak information to your future ex-spouse. Most married couples have friends in common, and these friendships are likely to extend into online social networking services. These mutual friends may share information without understanding the consequences of such disclosures.

For more information please contact the Law Office of Renee Marcelle: 415-456-4444 or visit us online at


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