A long time ago, in a life far, far away, I was a deputy constable and I had to physically locate people and hand them court documents (or haul them off to jail). As much fun as it was to run around with a badge and a gun, it would’ve made life much easier if I could’ve just sent them an email! I guess I’m old: “You’ve been served… via Facebook!” just seems odd.
This case took place in Oz, but I suspect that it’s not too far off from becoming the order of the day in other parts of the world, too. Email is pretty common already, and I think SMS (aka text) messages aren’t used only because they can’t carry attachments. As a database-oriented person, I have to wonder whether I could testify to the reliability of Facebook or Myspace as a delivery mechanism. Since the process server got permission from the judge in advance, I guess it’s a moot point.
The court decided Facebook was a legally viable way to communicate.
But, in granting permission to use the social networking site, the judge stipulated that the papers be sent via a private email so that other people visiting the page could not read their contents.
Courts have previously allowed judgements to be delivered by email, but it is not known if Facebook or other social networking sites have been used in the same way.
I do feel for people who are having their homes taken away for non-payment of their mortgages. A lot of people are having a rough time out there. One of the hardest things a constable ever has to do is an eviction, especially if there are children involved.
This story would be funnier if the property being foreclosed was in Second Life or WoW. Heh.