When Technology Intersects with Privacy:


Technology can be both helpful — and scary. There was an interesting article recently in the StarTribune about police use of unmanned aerial drones — the ones who helped revolutionize modern warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan. In North Dakota, the police used an unmanned drone to assist in the arrest of a U.S. citizen on his own property. While drones may have some good uses — scouting rural areas for lost children, identifying hot spots in forest fires before they get out of control, monitoring field crops, etc., the use of these drones to spy on public citizens on their own private property raises privacy concerns and is even scary. Interesting article below:

We are sure you can think of many other types of technology that place privacy at risk. Attorneys are concerned that insurance companies will use drones to spy on our clients to gather evidence against them for a future lawsuit.  Maybe try to get pictures of someone claiming to have a bad back taking the garbage out.  They have done it in the past with private investigators who have followed our clients after an accident.  We can actually foresee personal injury lawyers using drones as well.  For example, to get pictures and videos of an accident scene and the route that was driven prior to a car accident.

Of course, the most common use of technology to get personal information on people is through social media.  Our accident injury lawyers have had many cases in Minnesota where the insurance company or their lawyer will investigate our client by searching their social medial.  For example, they will go through our client’s Facebook page to look for information harmful to their case, e.g. doing activities or talking about activities despite being injured in an accident. When social media accounts are open to public view, it is very easy for the insurance company attorney to do this. People like to post their activities and information about their lives on Facebook and Instagram.  We always warn clients that the insurance company will go through their Facebook posts and pick out the ones that help the insurance company’s case.  Out attorneys have seen this done many times.