Social media can be a great way to connect, share events, and so much more. But, as with most
things, there is a risk of misuse. The best part about being as old as I am is that I wasn’t in high school with smart phones and social media. While I was not out there breaking the law and
partaking in a lot of questionable behaviors; I was still a kid having some fun. When I was a teenager, I would have never thought that a picture, video, comment or meme is forever. I would have allowed my immature, teenage humor to block any logical thinking I may have had. The reality for today’s kids is that they will be judged on those immature, teenage humor pictures, videos or comments, potentially for years to come. A company 10 years later may unfairly dismiss them from a job because they found something on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram that has no bearing on who that person is today. The notion that the internet is forever does not only apply to teenage humor, it also applies to the legal field.
BTG has worked on several federal cases that are largely being adjudicated because of Facebook returns and cell phone dumps. Facebook returns are what the government will receive from a subpoena of Facebook, to receive all of the metadata related to your account. Within the metadata, is your GPS coordinates when that post was made, all individuals you have contact with, and all photos, videos, telephone calls and comments you make. Even a picture or video that you’ve shared and then deleted will still be provided in the subpoena request! This is also true with a cell phone dump. Any and all metadata on your phone is now in the hands of the government. Even if you are not under investigation for federal crimes, this metadata, if hacked, can contain some very personal information.
Knowing what I know now does make me pause before I hit send on that post or text message. Not only should we be bringing this to the attention of our children, we as adults need to realize the harm that a picture, video, or comment can cause you if somehow your metadata becomes available to someone you wished it wouldn’t have. Whether you’re under investigation or not, a friend of a friend of a friend’s cousin’s uncle’s brother may be- and that might unwittingly lead to your data being available to complete strangers.