Monday, December 15, 2008

Australian first - Court documents served by Facebook

As reported in Friday's Sydney Morning Herald in the article, Australian court serves documents via Facebook,
Today in what appears to be a first in Australia and perhaps the world, Master Harper of the ACT Supreme Court ordered that a default judgement could be served on defendants by notification on Facebook.

Previously both email and SMS text messaging have been accepted as legitimate means for serving certain court papers.

However this appears to be a world first, lifting the status of Facebook in the eyes of the law.

It has some potentially interesting applications by government. For example where people are travelling or otherwise have no fixed address, but do keep in touch with friends via online social media, this is now a potential channel for sending at least some forms of official documentation.

Certain Australian agencies already use internet tools to track schemes and persons of interest - both for fraud and for criminal investigations, and in the future the platform may become more accepted, particularly as more people drop their landlines or in the case of people who are difficult to track down physically.

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