The Philadelphia Bar Association has issued an advisory opinion (PDF) concluding that it is unethical for a lawyer to have a third party “friend” somoene on Facebook for the purposes of getting information about that Facebook user.
Facebook lets users fine tune their privacy settings, allowing a user to lock down all their info so it is only visible by friends or subsets of friends. I’m personally of the view that if a user has locked down their privacy settings, they are explicitly expressing an expectation of privacy in the material that is posted. But if someone voluntarily friends someone who made the request for investigation puropses, have they waived that privacy vis-a-vis that person? And is it unethical to try to obtain that info for the purposes of investigation? The Philly bar thinks so, but it would be interesting to know what Slaw readers have to say.
Feel free to comment on this opinion and this issue.