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Facebook Tagging Violates Protective Orders

Remember when you kept getting tagged in all those status? How about when you were tagged in pictures which didn’t even contain you? Sometimes it can get a little annoying, and sometimes it can go beyond reasonable. A judge has now ruled though that if you are meant to stay away from people and you tag them, that tagging violates protective orders.

Acting Westchester Country Supreme Court Justice Susan Capeci stated that tagging someone (which will send them a notification and normally an email as well) is enough to be considered a breach of any protective orders. A protective order is similar to a restraining order but is the highest level of protection permitted by the law.

The case features a sister-in-law (Maribel Calderon) being tagged by Maria Gonzalez ( Maribel’s sister-in-law)in status that included calling Maribel “stupid” while another alleged to have read “You and your family are sad…You guys have to come stronger than that!! I’m way over you guys but I guess not in ya agenda”.

Gonzalez has now been charged with second-degree criminal contempt, which her representatives argue she was explicitly banned from contacting Calderon via Facebook or similar services. The Judge ruled though that being ordered not to contact her via “electronic or any other means” meant she was in breach.

Capeci stated:

“The allegations that she contacted the victim by tagging her in a Facebook posting which the victim was notified of is thus sufficient for pleading purposes to establish a violation of the order of protection.”

While I believe this is a great step, I worry that you are required to be notified before it becomes a problem. How do you define a notification? Is it the email saying you’ve been tagged or is the symbol saying “you’ve been tagged” on Facebook enough? While a step forward in helping protect people, the law will need to catch up to technology in order to help protect them to the full extent of the law.

Gareth Andrews

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