Want to investigate an opposing party or witness online?
Want to ask to “friend” someone to access their non-public information on social networking websites like Facebook?
Want to use a computer username or other alias to hide your identity?
Oregon jumps into the discussion on whether and how lawyers may use information on social networking websites with a recently issued ethics opinion, OSB Formal Ethics Op No 2013-189. The opinion concludes:
1. A lawyer may access publicly available information on a social networking website.
2. A lawyer may request access to non-public information if the person is not represented by counsel in that matter (See RPC 4.2) and no actual representation of disinterest is made by the lawyer (See RPC 4.3).
3. A lawyer may not advise or supervise the use of deception in obtaining access to nonpublic information unless Oregon RPC 8.4(b) applies (our covert activity exception).
For more discussion, see the following ethics opinions: New York City Bar Formal Opinion 2010-2; New York State Bar Ethics Opinion 483; San Diego County Bar Association Ethics Opinion 2011-2; Philadelphia Bar Association Ethics Opinion 2009-02.Leave a Comment »