Facebook... again...

When I first saw the headline for this story I dismissed it as just being another piece of spouse-having-an-affair-on-Facebook nonsense, but now I realise that it is (or at least appears to be) considerably more serious.

A judge in Connecticut has ordered a divorcing couple to hand over the passwords of their respective Facebook and online dating websites to each other's lawyers, after the husband looked at his wife's Facebook profile and found certain evidence about her feelings toward him, the children and her ability to take care of them. His lawyer sought the order, believing that the online evidence would help his client in arguing for full custody.

The order appears to be in breach of Facebook's terms of service, despite the judge including in it a provision that: “Neither party shall visit the website of the other’s social network and post messages purporting to be the other".

That, however, is of no concern to me; what interests me is whether such orders might in future become commonplace, including on this side of the Atlantic, in proceedings relating to children. I realise that the occasions when one spouse may know that the other has posted something 'incriminating' may be few, but there is also the possibility of 'fishing expeditions'. The thought of prying into the other party's feelings in this way fills me with unease.