General Chat Thread, Facebook legality question in General; Anyone know the legality of looking at a pupils Facebook to print of evidence of unacceptable behavior using the Facebook ...
27th June 2013, 11:21 AM #1
Facebook legality question
Anyone know the legality of looking at a pupils Facebook to print of evidence of unacceptable behavior using the Facebook account of another pupil if you have permission from that pupil to use it?
27th June 2013, 11:23 AM #2
Anything there is public domain. If you can see it, then print it, and use it as evidence as needed.
Had a similar issue when I worked in a school, and schools lawyers advised the above. If everything is set to hidden and you needed to befriend the person to view the information, you are getting into grey areas.
27th June 2013, 11:23 AM #3
I would suggest using an account made by yourself and remember facebook minimum age 13
27th June 2013, 11:30 AM #4
If you have the permission of the facebook account holder whose account you are using to collect evidence, then there is no problem. If you don't, then you you are in muddy waters.
Thanks to elsiegee40 from:
27th June 2013, 11:30 AM #5
The account is set to either friends only or friends of friends, we are accessing it through a friends account and we have permission from that friend to use the account.
27th June 2013, 11:32 AM #6
As others have said its in Public Domain so its not illegal.
What will be the problem is if your are accessing it through a childs/owners account.
Best thing to do is get the owner of the account to print off the evidance
Thanks to hardtailstar from:
27th June 2013, 11:32 AM #7
It my last school the child protection team would often ask IT to access Facebook for just this purpose. The school had a Facebook account but inside the BGFL, Facebook is banned although they will allow one PC per school to access FB. The PC was in the IT office, where were could control it.
27th June 2013, 11:34 AM #8
Just get the account owner to sign a bit of paper saying that he was with with you on such and such a date when you printed off the information from his/her facebook account.
Originally Posted by Disease
27th June 2013, 11:42 AM #9
You could argue that (if the school is using another pupil's account to view it) the school is using coercion* to gain access to a computer system.
*because the school is in a position to lean on the pupil.
27th June 2013, 11:45 AM #10
Agreed, have the students parents/guardians been informed that you wish to use their childs FB account to grass up another pupil? And would there be any comeback for the persons account that you are using, bullying etc?
Originally Posted by pete
27th June 2013, 11:50 AM #11
We have parental permission.
27th June 2013, 11:51 AM #12
The copyright of Material on someones facebook page belongs to them. Reproduction of it as evidence of unacceptable behaviour should be covered by fair use.
Originally Posted by Disease
As long as you have permission, then accessing a resource (account, computer etc) should be OK. If you want to be safe, get the permission in writing and if the pupil is under 16, get the permission of the parents too. Accessing resources without permission would potentially fall under the computer misuse act which can be extremely serious.
using the Facebook account of another pupil if you have permission from that pupil to use it?
As always 'legal opinions' even from a lawyer are merely opinions. The actual judgement of a court is the only 'opinion' that really counts!
27th June 2013, 12:21 PM #13
How can anything on facebook be real evidence? Anyone can fabricate an account to look like it was from someone else. If the person in question of the facebook abuse denies it, how can you prove it was actually them??
27th June 2013, 03:33 PM #14
Originally Posted by Zourous
It's not really evidence unless you can PROVE that these messages (or whatever) came from a specific IP address linked to the person in question. Anything else is just hearsay - I could manipulate facebook now with any message I wanted from whoever I wanted, print off a screenshot, give it to police and make up a story - doesn't mean it's real and doesn't prove anything.
You have to be careful because the parents of this child could say you've made it all up because you have something against their child - and can you prove them wrong?
Last edited by BassTech; 27th June 2013 at 03:35 PM.
27th June 2013, 04:29 PM #15
Absolute proof is something that only really exists in the realm of mathematics.
A defamatory facebook page is evidence of ... defamation. That will probably get you a court order which would force Facebook to reveal other information about the account holder, such as email addresses used and IP addresses used during access. That might still be difficult to pin as 'proof' that a particular individual was responsible for the content, but civil law goes on a "balance of probabilities" rather than "beyond reasonable doubt", so you don't (necessarily) need a single solid piece of evidence that is absolute 'proof' that X did Y. A succession of items of evidence which point toward that may be sufficient. A facebook page created by an imposter with the intention of getting the real person into trouble by posting defamatory material is likely to be very different (shallow and with few interactions) than one maintained by a real person who was being thoughtlessly malicious.
In terms of a school environment, my experience is that generally students fess up on very little evidence. I think you need to tread carefully with 'evidence' and be careful with 'proof', but I think it is reasonable to operate on balance of probabilities.
Last edited by pcstru; 27th June 2013 at 04:30 PM.
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