A Princeton New Jersey judge has done something this week that we haven’t seen before – ordering the victim in an alleged rape of a minor case to turn over the password of her Facebook account.
In the case at hand, the alleged victim, a teen who was 16-years-old at the time of the incident, accused a 22-year-old of rape after being supplied with alcohol.
We have to assume that the girl’s Facebook account is set to private, or else the judge wouldn’t need her login credentials, unless he is focusing on her private Facebook messages, which are also by definition private.
Facebook privacy is a big deal, especially for minors.
Let’s not forget that the girl is the victim. In no way do we support her being forced to turn over passwords to private content and messages, even though there are indications that the teen has agreed. It sets a dangerous precedent.
According to Wendy Patrick, a prosecutor from California not involved in the case:
“Think how you would feel if someone went into your room and said, ‘I must read your diary to see if anything is relevant?'” Patrick said. “It’s just invasive.”
We understand that social media is becoming more important in the investigation of crimes. We’re okay with that, as long at the accused and not the victim is the one being investigated. Private needs to stay private.
Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring child and teen internet activity.