Saturday, February 25, 2012

Service of Process Via Social Media and Authentication

In 2002, a U.S. court approved service of process via email. In 2008, an Australian court first allowed for service of process via Facebook and then earlier this week a UK High Court Judge approved service of process via Facebook. Therefore, service of process via electronic means is gaining acceptance around the world and it may only be a matter of time before a U.S. court will allow for service of process via social media.

Before a U.S. court allows service of process via social media it should understand the authentication issues involved. During my discussion with ABC News about this issue I stated, "[a]uthentication is a major issue since you must be sure that the person with whom you are trying to serve online is the same person offline. You don’t want to have someone’s due process rights infringed upon due to not being properly notified.”

Maryland's highest court came out with a seminal decision almost a year ago discussing authentication of social media evidence. The court understood that just because a social media profile appears to be genuine does not make it so. A person must do their due diligence to ensure that a social media account is the real McCoy.

Therefore, before a U.S. judge allows for service via social media the court must ensure that the person being served online is the same person offline. Authentication must not become an afterthought.

To learn more about these issues you may contact me at www.shearlaw.com.

Copyright 2012 by the Law Office of Bradley S. Shear, LLC. All rights reserved.