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Access to Insured’s Social Media Accounts: No Friend Request Necessary

The following article, written by my colleague Nicole Moody, first appeared in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. Thanks to Nicole for allowing us to republish it here.

Rick Bortnick

Many of us have been there. Sipping our morning coffee, signing into our Facebook accounts, waiting to see what notifications will greet us. We are intrigued to see that we have a friend request. Who could it be? An acquaintance from the past? A new colleague who we met at work? Whoever it is, we know that by accepting the request we will be granted access into this individual’s life and will know more about them in five minutes than we would know in a lifetime of small talk.

Due to the use of usernames and passwords, there is a belief that information shared on Facebook is confidential unless publicly shared. However, courts around the country are now addressing just how private this information really is.

In cases nationwide, litigants are asking courts to grant unfettered access to other parties’ Facebook or other social media accounts. Inevitably, in the age of status updates and hashtags, poking and friending, the lines between public and private information have become blurred. This trend has become increasingly prevalent in the insurance industry as insurance companies have realized the usefulness of social media in litigation.

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A Must Attend Event for European Readers: Advisen’s Cyber Liability Insights Conference

I strongly encourage our many European readers to attend the upcoming Advisen Cyber Liability Insights Conference to be held on 13 March at The Willis Building in the City. The inaugural Cyber Insights Conference which Advisen presented in NYC in October was a smashing success and the program planners are expecting an equally respectable turnout in London.

Our friends at Advisen have recruited thought leaders from across the European cyber and technology industries (and a certain U.S. lawyer/blogger) to discuss a myriad of topics of interest to underwriters, brokers and risk managers alike. Speakers include luminaries such as Paul Bantick of Beazley, Stephen Boddington of Chartis, Robert Bond of Speechly Bircham, Dan Trueman of ANV, Chris Cotterell of Safeonline, Emily Freeman of Lockton, Simon Milner of JLT Specialty, Joe Trotti and Jeremy Smith of Willis, Tony Dearsley of Kroll Ontrack, Stewart Room of Field Fisher Waterhouse, Andrew Horrocks of Clydes, yours truly, and a host of others.

Among other cutting-edge topics, we will discuss Privacy and Data Security Regulation, Coverages and Coverage Issues, CyberSecurity Disclosures and Exposures, and Data Breach Responses and Strategies.

Equally important, the program is priced at a level that firms and companies will find extremely attractive. And did I mention that there is no cost at all for Risk Managers to attend?

For program and registration information, please visit Or, feel free to drop me a line at [email protected].

I look forward to seeing everyone there!

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