The Legal Perils of Social Networking


I’m quoted today in E-Commerce Times about some of the threats of participating in social networking sites. The article cites the obvious risks of being fired for blogging on company time or blogging about happenings at work.

These issues are typically viewed from the angle that you’re wasting your employers time (which they’re paying you for) when you do this stuff. Your employer is also being represented by you online in some cases. Pretending to be someone you’re not online can also have consequences.

But I pointed out a less widely-acknowledged issue:

Cyber Espionage a Growing Risk

Another factor to consider is that these sites are potential gold mines for competitors, Tracy L. Coenen, a fraud investigator with Sequence Forensic Accounting, told the E-Commerce Times.

A key question in most investigations is relationships — who knows who, who is transacting business with whom, she said. Connecting these dots becomes much easier when people link to their friends for all the world to see.

Twitter especially can be valuable in this way, she continued. “People aren’t using nearly as much discretion as they should — they will mention a project they are working on on Twitter. If a competitor is watching, it could pick up valuable nuggets of information.”

One thought on “The Legal Perils of Social Networking

  1. Very good warnings. We had to get rid of an employee at our company not too long ago for releasing company information via Instant Messenger. It was quite a nasty situation – made worse by the guy in question being a really good employee otherwise.

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