Student Files Lawsuit After Teacher Demands Facebook Password, Logs Into Account & Distributes Private Messages
from the wow dept
Remember the story recently about how Bozeman, Montana was asking all applicants for city jobs to hand over their social networking passwords so city officials could log into their accounts? After some widespread complaints, the city smartly backed down, but apparently they’re not the only ones demanding passwords. CitMediaLaw points us to a lawsuit filed in Mississippi, concerning a high school student who turned over her Facebook password at the demand of a teacher at the school. The teacher proceeded to log into her account, read her private messages and then send them around to others at the school, causing a lot of problems for the girl.
Apparently, the teacher had originally demanded usernames and passwords to Facebook from a bunch of students to see if they were doing anything illegal (drugs, drinking, etc.), which is already pretty questionable from a privacy standpoint (and violates Facebooks’ terms of service). But to then use the contents of private communication to publicly humiliate the girl and punish her for her private messages seems to go way beyond what is both right and legal. Other students at the school had quickly deleted their Facebook profiles when the teacher demanded their passwords, but this girl chose not to, but certainly never expected what followed. It’s amazing that any teacher would think that they have a right to demand access to private social networking accounts and then to make use of the content of private messages in that manner.