Most divorces require spouses to part with some of their property, but in Connecticut, a soon-to-be ex-husband and wife are being asked to give up more than just investments, cars, TVs, kids, and pets. They have to hand over their social networking passwords. At the end of September, Judge Kenneth Shluger ordered that the attorneys for Stephen and Courtney Gallion exchange “their client’s Facebook and dating website passwords.”
Everyone knows that evidence from social networking sites comes in handy for lawsuits and divorces. Attorneys usually get that material by visiting someone’s page or asking that they turn over evidence from their page, not by signing into their accounts. But judges are sometimes forcing litigants to hand over the passwords to their Facebook accounts. Should they be? What was the reason behind the court-authorized hacking in the Gallion case?
I spoke with Stephen Gallion’s divorce lawyer, Gary Traystman, who amazingly has no computer or e-mail account. “I see the information people can get from computers, in lawsuits and through hacking,” says Traystman. “They scare the hell out of me.”