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Court Rules Nonpublic Facebook Posts Protected by SCA

PRIVACY LAW—U.S.

September 12, 2013

The U.S. District Court in New Jersey has ruled that nonpublic Facebook posts are protected under the Stored Communications Act (SCA), reports Hunton & Williams’ Privacy and Information Security Law Blog. The case involved a hospital worker who posted to her page a negative comment, which could only be seen by her Facebook friends, about paramedics’ handling of a situation. A Facebook friend then took a screen shot of the post and shared it with hospital management—none of whom had access to the post through Facebook. The employee was suspended and issued a memo saying she had deliberately disregarded patient safety; she then sued on the grounds of SCA violations, among others. The court interpreted the 1986-era language and determined the post is protected under SCA, as it is an electronic communication “transmitted via an electronic communication service” that was in storage and not public.
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